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Breast Exam & Health Screening scheduled for September 21 Cancelled

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The free breast exam and health screening activity that was scheduled for Saturday, September 21, has been cancelled due to the passing of Hurricane Jerry.

The screenings are hosted by the American University of the Caribbean (AUC) School of Medicine. Other dates for the screening are October 19th, October 26th and November 16th from 8:30am to 3:00pm. The deadline to register is three days before the scheduled event.

To make an appointment, call: 721-545-2298 ext. 404 2242 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The screenings take place at the Vineyard Office Park Building, building #3 in Philipsburg. Those who have not participated in past AUC breast screenings are welcome to participate.

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St. Maarten Tourism Bureau in search of website developers

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The St. Maarten Tourism Bureau is requesting proposals from agencies with website design and development experience to provide services to revamp the official destination website: www.vacationstmaarten.com  

It is important that the destination have a fully functional website that aligns with the latest trends in website development and design to capture relevant audiences, seeing that travelers rely on social, video and photo outlets as well as search engines for trip inspiration.

“Having a website that is not only attractive, but compelling and savvy is key to be able to offer users an invaluable experience while browsing our website, and persuade them why they should visit St. Maarten. Additionally, we also want to offer our stakeholders a common platform to manage and share information. We want to invite agencies to come up with their best ideas to create an amazing website for the destination” says Director of Tourism May-Ling Chun.

The terms of reference for this project can be requested via email from Sabrina Carty at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or it can be obtained at the St. Maarten Tourism Bureau office at 6 Juancho Yrausquin Boulevard, Philipsburg, St. Maarten during business hours from Monday to Friday.  The deadline to submit all proposals is October 4th, 2019 before 5:00 pm. 

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Nature Foundation Announces Participants for Youth Environmental Exchange

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - The Nature Foundation St Maarten selected four youth environmental exchange participants after a tough selection procedure with many suitable applicants. The Foundation congratulates Marshall Leone from the Learning Unlimited school, Maya Speetjens from Milton Peters College, Nubia Stomp from St Dominic High school and Valerie Halley from the Caribbean International Academy for being selected to participate in the Junior ranger exchange on Bonaire from the 25th until the 28th of October this year.

“We had a very difficult job to select the candidates due to the high level of knowledge, motivation and large number of applications which came in after our announcements for the program. I am impressed by the number of 12 and 13 year old students interested in this program and their familiarity and creative answers on our environmental quiz. We do keep all applicants in mind for another possible project in the future, as we were surprised about the knowledge and motivation from many” stated Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern, Nature Foundations Projects and Research Officer.

The four participating students will have an active learning experience, sharing and learning with and from each other, like an activity filled conference. They will return home as nature conservation ambassadors to share and apply this knowledge and experience with their school, the other youths and the community at large. The overall theme of the Junior Ranger Exchange will be Coastal and Marine Conservation. Different topics that will be incorporated, such as (plastic) pollution, coral reefs, shorebirds and the vast biodiversity of our islands.

The four students are also invited for a preparational day at the Nature Foundation Sint Maarten on the 19th of October in order to learn and discuss environmental issues, marine conservation and biodiversity on Sint Maarten. The groups will also visit the mangroves in Mullet Pond, the lagoon and inspect St maarten waters during the introduction day.

“We will learn our students about the projects and activities of the Nature Foundation, the importance of coral reefs, ecosystems, sea turtles, sharks and many more subjects during an interactive and fun day at the Nature Foundation. We will make sure the students are prepared to share their ideas and knowledge during the exchange event on Bonaire and that they will be the future advocates for environment and nature on St Maarten” explained Guillaume Lacome leader of the St Maarten Youth Environmental Exchange student group.

This event is made possible by the project sponsors Rabobank, World Wildlife Fund (WWF-NL), STINAPA Bonaire and the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) together with a great and enthusiastic project team comprised of members from DCNA, STINAPA and Fundacion Parke Nacional Aruba (FPNA).

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Minister Geerlings signs settlement agreement with TelEm

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – On Wednesday September 11 the Minister of Finance Hon. Perry Geerlings signed a settlement agreement with TelEm Group regarding outstanding debts owed by government.

The agreement pertains to a substantial outstanding amount and covers the period 2005 up to 2018. The original outstanding amount as per December 31, 2018 was NAf. 5 million higher than the agreed upon amount reflected in the settlement agreement between government and TelEm Group.

The Government and the TelEm Group were able to agree on this discount of NAf. 5 million under the condition that government will comply to the payment conditions as agreed in the settlement agreement.

Signing this agreement, government agrees to pay back the total amount of the outstanding in the period September 2019 until December 2024 in monthly instalments, and two additional payments will be made of which one in November 2019 and another at the beginning of 2020. The additional payment in November is being financed from the proceeds of the sale of the shares of telecommunications provider UTS.

Similar settlement agreements have also been signed with Social and Health Insurances SZV and utilities company NV GEBE in August. A similar agreement is still to be signed with general pension fund administrator APS.

The settlements are keeping in line with the instruction Sint Maarten received from the Kingdom Council of Ministers with regards to arrears based on the advice by the Committee for Financial Supervision Cft in 2015.

The Minister of Finance has made it one of his priorities to comply with the instruction, to ensure payment arrears are reduced instead of increased.

Government has been trying for several years to make progress with regards to the repayment of arrears, but there was no significant progress in mitigating this issue and payment arrears were just increasing.

With the current settlement agreements, the outstanding debts and payment schedules are clearly defined. With this, government is able to clean up its financial administration and improve its financial accountability towards the people of Sint Maarten and other stakeholders.

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Winair Public Travel Advisory: Flight Cancellations due to Jerry

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY-AIRPORT) – Winair’s flight schedule will be affected due to the impending Tropical Storm Jerry. St. Maarten is under a storm watch as TS Jerry is expected to develop further into a hurricane by Thursday and pass north of the region Thursday afternoon through Friday afternoon.

Winair will take precautionary measures. Canceled flights for Thursday afternoon:

WM 441, 442;     SXM-SAB-SXM

WM 541, 542, 3001, 2542;     SXM-EUX-SXM

WM 661, 662, 681, 682:         SXM-SBH-SXM

All other flights will operate as scheduled. However, depending on further weather developments delays may occur.

Friday September 20, 2019 all Winair’s flights are canceled, due to expected tropical force wind and rain.

Winair’s storm policy is in effect; passengers will be accommodated on next available flights without penalties or fees. Please contact our call center at +1 721 545 4237, customer service agents will assist you with your booking changes.

Saturday September 21, 2019 Winair’s Twin Otter fleet should return to St. Maarten and resume operations as soon as possible and as weather conditions permit. Please check our website and Facebook page for updates and changes.

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BTC, SFC, Business community help reopen Cay Bay daycare

SINT MAARTEN (CAY BAY) – A joint initiative of Be The Change Foundation, Terre Plurielle Foundation and Samenwerkende Fondsen Cariben has led to the reopening of the Little Goslings daycare and nursery in Cay Bay exactly 2 years after it was decimated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.  

Earlier this summer, Be The Change Foundation received a grant from Terre Plurielle Foundation, the corporate foundation of Bouygues Construction who since 2008 has worked to promote education, employment opportunities, healthcare and support for special needs groups wherever the group is established through financial support and the voluntary involvement of their employees. The project, still ongoing and also funded in part by Samenwerkende Fondsen Cariben, is aimed at repairing three daycare centers which were badly damaged by the 2017 hurricanes: Little Goslings in Cay Bay, Discovery Kidz in Dutch Quarter and Lighthouse in Fort Willem.  

Here in St. Maarten, where many children come from single-parent households, and/or households with both parents working full-time (especially in this post-Irma setting), these institutions are especially important for the success and positive development of our communities. According to UNICEF, “children who receive early childhood education achieve more success at school and as adults have higher employment and earnings, better health and lower levels of welfare dependence and crime rates than those who don’t have these early opportunities.” 

However, daycares, play schools and nurseries can often times be considered the ‘left behind’ organizations within the NGO sector since they do not qualify for government subsidy, but are nevertheless government inspected and regulated. Therefore, parental contributions alone make it difficult to cover high utility overheads, teacher salaries, and not to mention, the high construction costs of repairs to their premises.  

Be that as it may, Little Goslings, the first of the 3 daycares sponsored by the joint project has officially reopened, with lots of support from the business community as well. A 19 cu.ft. General Electric refrigerator was donated by SHAMS, a local business providing home appliances, electronics and mattresses that has been serving our island and surrounding islands since 1989. A brand-new full-color aluminum board sign for the daycare was printed and donated by Print & Sign Express located on Cannegieter Street; air conditioning split units were provided and installed by Tony’s Air Conditioning and Brian Boekhoudt; and custom school shirts for new and returning students kindly discounted by T-Shirt Maxx in Cole Bay.  

Colleen Cato, the directress of Little Goslings says she is absolutely elated and overjoyed to be open again, exactly 2 years since she thought all was lost due to Irma's wrath. Cato states, "Now that we are open again, we can direct all of our time and energy towards ensuring the children's development and preparing them for a successful transition into Cycle 1."

For more information about Be The Change Foundation and Samenwerkende Fondsen Cariben visit their websites or email them at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more information on Terre Plurielle visit bouygues-constuction.com.

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BIP SXM presents financials 2018 to the Minister of TEATT

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Bureau for Intellectual Property Sint Maarten (the Bureau), Supervisory Board members and Director met with the Honorable Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunication (Minister of TEATT), Mr. Stuart Johnson to present the Financial Statement 2018.

The 2018 theme for the Financial Statement is ‘Recovery and New beginnings’.
“The devastating (after)effects of hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017 have, as expected, had a major impact on the entire region and on Sint Maarten. The year 2018 thus, was a period of recovery also for the Bureau. Although the road to full recovery is long, together we can all contribute towards Sint Maarten’s growth and this is what the Bureau aims to do. The Bureau looks forward to being more visible in the public by creating more awareness about intellectual property rights which will aid in the further development of the country’s economy.” said the Director. 

In addition to the Financial Statement 2018, ongoing matters of the Bureau and its Supervisory Board were discussed with the Minister of TEATT. The multi-annual budget and policy plan 2020-2024 is scheduled for submission before the end of 2019, which will conclude the Bureau’s financial reporting for this year.

“The Financial Statement 2017 of the Bureau were approved earlier this year and I intend to finalize the review and subsequently approve the Financial Statement 2018 within short. I look forward to the increase in awareness regarding intellectual property rights by the public and more specifically business owners. The small and micro businesses, the creative industries all have valuable rights to be exercised through the use of intellectual property. I encourage the community to visit the Bureau’s website and social media platforms for all information related to IP and the latest in IP news.” said Minister Johnson.

The Bureau registers trademarks and provides information about other areas of Intellectual Property, such as patents and copyright, to the public. More information regarding the Bureau and its services can be found on www.bip.sx and on social media (Facebook and LinkedIn).

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Meyers breaks his silence. Hopes decision will jump-start the fostering of a positive mind-set

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – “As an independent faction, I would like to share with the People of St. Maarten the reasons for the recent shake up that I, Franklin Meyers, caused. It was not an easy decision and one that I pondered seriously for many months,” Member of Parliament (MP) Hon. Franklin Meyers said in a press statemen on Wednesday.

“It is for some time now that I constantly caught myself feeling frustrated about how the political process of our beloved Country was unfolding. This frustration was not unique to me. Prior to making the move to declare myself independent it was clear, after having talks with coalition members, that not only the most loyal coalition member, the SMCP, but also other coalition members shared this frustration perhaps for different reasons.

“I have had the honour to serve St. Maarten for a very long time, both before and after 10-10-10. Since entering politics I have had the privilege of enjoying great mentoring by some of the most seasoned professionals, most importantly my political guru Joe Richardson, who I miss dearly at times like this. The frustration that I have felt for months became so dominant in my life, that I found myself disengaged with politics.

“Looking around me how things unfolded, when push came to shove, I found myself in a position having to defend Government policies that, in the beginning, I was reluctant to agree with. However, for the greater good and for the general wellbeing of St.Maarten and its’ People, I put my personal feelings and convictions aside so that St.Maarten could receive the much needed financial aid after the passing of hurricane Irma (which left us totally devastated).

“I am also aware of the frustration of my colleagues in the coalition concerning the directives of the coalition agreement, which had not changed, and as such we preferred to blame Ministers rather than, as a united front, accept responsibility for having been misled. This is one part of what lead to my inevitable withdrawal. I can assure the People of St.Maarten that, had it not been me, it would have been someone else. I could not stand by and see a concerted effort by members of the coalition as well as opposition trying to “pick-off” Ministers, one by one, until the COM would have not represented the coalition, rather it would reflect individual members of Parliament. This would have set a dangerous precedent.

“There are some MP’s whose intentions are good, emphasis on some, but because of a lack of political mentoring, in which I was lucky to have received from some of the most seasoned politicians who had governed before me, decisions were made without taking the larger political ramifications into consideration. Because of these actions we were faced with a lack of cohesion, communication and common goal.

“Let us be reminded that Article 56 of our Constitution, states that members of the Parliament shall make the following oath (declaration and promise) to the Governor before accepting their appointments: "I swear (declare) that I have neither given nor promised anything, nor shall I give or promise anything, howsoever described and under any pretext, to anyone whomsoever, either directly or indirectly, in connection with my election as a member of the Parliament. I swear (promise) that I shall not accept any promise or gift, from anyone at all, either directly or indirectly, in order to do or refrain from doing anything in the course of this appointment. I swear (promise) allegiance to the King and the Constitution of the Kingdom, that I shall always help to uphold the Constitution of Sint Maarten and that I shall champion the interests of Sint Maarten to the best of my ability. So help me Almighty God (And I hereby make this declaration and promise)!" This is a serious commitment one which I take to heart.

“This is the environment in which I found myself when coming to my decision.

“In addition to this I have to confess that hurricane Dorian triggered something in me. Everyone knows that while I can be passionate, I am not easily moved but now two years after Irma, as I witnessed the devastation that our brothers and sisters in the Bahamas had to suffer, this hit home. Dorian slammed them for hours, families left homeless, and countless unaccounted for. This was frightening. Frightening, in the realisation that this could have been us, AGAIN, and that we are nowhere ready to deal with such a calamity. I asked myself, if this would have been us, would we be able to stand up and muster, once again, the resilience that I am so proud we are able to show time and time again. I reflected on the current political environment and I got even more concerned. The current political environment cannot handle another blow like Irma. I considered the stage we are in with the reconstruction and the need to speed that up, and realised that we would be no better off than the Bahamas should we get struck again.

“I also looked at the potential impact of some of geo-political trends on our economy and our stability as a Country and concluded we are not addressing them to mitigate any impact. Let me share a few of these considerations with you:

  • The threat of being blacklisted if we do not comply with OECD and CFATF guidelines and the impact de-risking will have on our tourism product, our ability as a country to be a trading hub, let alone be a trading partner with the rest of the world. While we are promoting US pre -clearance for hub connectivity throughout the World, on the one hand, we are cutting off ourselves from the rest of the World due to us not taking a decision to comply with the guidelines set forth by the CFATF.
  • The impact of migration from Venezuela on our socio-economic construct;
  • Brexit and the yet unknown impact for our brothers and sisters in Anguilla;
  • The much-needed intensification of relationships with our brothers and sisters on the Northern Part of our island to achieve synergy;

“These are just some current geo-political challenges we are not looking at. We should be thinking about them and get a good understanding so that we can protect the interests of St.Maarten and mitigate the impact. Instead we go about picking petty local fights for selfish or grandstanding reasons, blaming everybody else and not taking our own responsibility where we can, whilst the World moves on and potentially leaves us behind. The St.Maarten I once knew, and still believe exists, was always at the leading edge of new frontiers and we were not afraid to boldly explore those possibilities so that the general population could have a better life.   We voice great ambitions for our Country, but as we are handling things now, we are falling short of that very goal in which we want to achieve for the People.

“I found myself in a setting where the language used in political debate is divisive, unconstructive, negative, demeaning, and where defamation of character was the new order of the day. There was no regard or respect for the truth in the highest body of Government, leadership was not being acknowledged, let alone respected, and too many people wanting to go in their own direction. This is played out in Parliament by grandstanding individuals with a great feeling of self-importance but lacking self-reflection and thinking through the consequences of their actions. The norm no longer seemed to be the pursuit of the interest of the Country and the People we represent. This manifested into a rudderless coalition, with a total absence of cohesion and unity within, worst of all, blatant sabotage for all the wrong reasons.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This is a quote which is attributed to Albert Einstein and is applicable to the rationale for what I did and when I did it. For months, over and over again, together with some others in the coalition members, I attempted to charter and pursue a cohesive and unified course, and over and over again we found ourselves startled by badly-timed, and unconstructive surprise actions.

“So after long reflection, sleepless nights, seeking inspiration in the teachings of Joe, soul searching and seeking solace from God, I decided this insanity needed to stop. Martin Luther King Jr. once said and I quote “there comes a time that one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, no popular but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right”. That was the decision that I took!

“In the past, when any other Member of Parliament made a decision to withdraw their support from the Government, a replacement Government was already negotiated. My actions had nothing to do with forming another Government or trying to use my position as a power move. Rather, it was to take a stance for what I believe is right. We were heading down the wrong path, with the wrong intentions and as such I could not continue to follow. In the end, I decided I needed a different approach, and as the saying goes, I preferred to walk alone than walk with a crowd, going in the wrong direction, a conviction in which I maintain to this day.

“My decision may have come as a shock to many, but the insanity had to stop! We need to start doing things differently in order to achieve a different result and to bring about the desperately needed direction for this Country. Hopefully my decision will force the realisation of the negative environment we have created for ourselves, and jumpstart the fostering of a positive mind-set, and a can-do mentality, to contribute to the much-needed continuity of governance, cohesion and unity.

“There’s a saying “you did nothing to be a shamed of” and my reply to that is, “I’m ashamed because I did nothing”. I am at peace with my conscience, knowing that I did what I had to do, after ample reflection, and did so with integrity and best intentions to make a final attempt, from my side, for the Country to go forward on a more stable basis in the best interest of our sweet St.Maarten land and its’ People because, we deserve that!”

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Chamber calls on Entrepreneurs to Register for the next Grow Your Business Workshop

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) is busy with the organization of its latest product for Chamber registrants, “Grow Your Business with COCI Workshops.,” The next one is set for September 26.

The second workshop is will be given by Attorney Jason Rogers about the Legal System for Businesses. The workshop will take place at the COCI Conference Room from 7.00PM to 8.30PM.

Those interested in attending the workshop must register and pay a registration fee of US$20. Seating is limited and potential attendees need to register as soon as possible. You can register via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 721-542-3590 for further information.

Each workshop will deal with one specific topic and the topics identified are: Tax affairs, Customer service, Human resources, Marketing, Financial planning, and Overcoming challenges to success.

The new workshop product series is being organized in connection with COCI’s 40th anniversary marking the Chambers establishment this year 40-years ago.

The other workshops planned are October 24 Tax System for Businesses, Quincy Lont; November 21 Human Resources, Adelena Chandler-Schaap; December 12 Online Marketing, Member of Parliament Rolando Brison; and January 20 Customer Service, Glen Yeung.

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Port St. Maarten Crane Operators continues to boost their Skillsets

PORT ST. MAARTEN – Two members of the St. Maarten Harbour Crane Company have already passed the first phase of ships gear vessel operations training. They will continue to work on building more hours together with all other members of the team and also participate in a simulator training prior to full completion of the course which is expected to be completed within the next coming months.

In Port St. Maarten’s ongoing mission to improve the port’s operations excellence platform, management decided to also certify all crane operators to work the ships gear in case of auxiliary or activation of emergency measure protocols.

The aforementioned is key especially after a major hurricane as what was experienced after the passing of Hurricane Irma back in September 2017. For example, both mobile Gottwald Cargo Cranes had to go through major and rigorous compliance checks prior to being placed back into operational rotation post-Irma. A port has to have a human resource inventory of certified ships gear operators that can during such an emergency operate cargo vessels without any unnecessary delays.

“The key is to always anticipate and be proactive in ensuring we maintain a high level of operational excellence. This has always been the mantra of Port St. Maarten.

“By having our crane operators fully versed and certified in all aspects of vessel operations may it be mobile crane or vessel ships gear, this can only continue to validate our key role as one of the major hubs within the northeastern Caribbean.

“Global Port Training (GPT), a reputable company out of Belgium, will train and certify our operator’s in ship’s gear equipment. This is one of the key elements of Port St. Maarten Training Outpost activities.

“We continue to see the added value of this company, and we are on the verge of finalizing a full fledge local training outpost center here at Port St. Maarten as a joint venture with GPT. We continue to see the benefit of ensuring our local work pool receive the best that can be offered and ensuring that every member of the Port operations team is fully trained as per international standards,” Port St. Maarten Management said on Tuesday.

Besides investments in infrastructure and equipment and information technology, training of human resources at Port St. Maarten is at the top of the agenda for pilot boat operations and crane operators. The Port continues to invest in young local talent by inviting them to join the Port family, and continuous investment in existing personnel to optimize efficiency within the organization.

Port St. Maarten will be establishing a human resources training outpost. The training outpost will lead to the certification of persons working in the logistics field such as heavy equipment operators, stevedoring activities, and other port-container related operations.

The training Outpost Facility will be a key component to Port St. Maarten’s operational excellence platform ensuring quality and certified port operations across the board via establishing various audit models for continued improvement and success of Port St. Maarten cargo division and will also be used as a catalyst to use St. Maarten as a centralized training hub on a regional and international level.

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