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WICSU-PSU Engages in Productive Meeting with Coast Guard Management on Function Book

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - The Windward Islands Public Service Union (WICSU-PSU) recently convened meetings on November 27 and 28, 2023, in Curacao with the Coast Guard transition team and Human Resource Manager, Mr. Berenos, along with his team. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the function book of the Coast Guard, addressing long-standing concerns raised by union members. 

In attendance were representatives from various unions, including SEPPA Aruba, STRAF, ACOM, ABVO, and SAP. The collaborative session provided an opportunity for all parties to thoroughly examine the function book, which has been a topic of ongoing discussion. The meeting facilitated an open dialogue where the concerns of Coast Guard members were carefully noted. 

The transition team, led by Ms. Magali van der Bunt-George, assured the union representatives that these concerns would be given due consideration. They committed to reviewing the points raised during the meeting and pledged to return with proposals early next year, fostering a collaborative approach to addressing the needs of Coast Guard personnel. 

Additionally, WICSU-PSU gained valuable insights into the formation and functioning of the Coast Guard, not only for St. Maarten but for all Coast Guard Stations, including those in Curacao and Aruba. Acting Director of the Coast Guard Mvr. De Jong-Mercelina and Head of General Affairs, Ms. Zinck played instrumental roles in providing crucial information during the meeting. Their contributions are acknowledged and appreciated by WICSU-PSU as it navigates the discussions and decision-making processes for the benefit of Coast Guard members. 

WICSU-PSU expresses gratitude for the transparency and cooperation demonstrated by Coast Guard Management and looks forward to continued collaboration in addressing the concerns of the dedicated members of the Coast Guard.




Minister of Education Samuel says Pre-Academic Year for Sint Maarten is not Mandatory

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports (MECYS) Hon. Rodolphe Samuel, on Wednesday said the introduction of a pre-academic year is a part of a new education programme within the Kingdom of the Netherlands under a Strategic Education Alliance (SEA), however, Minister Samuel added that the pre-academic year is not mandatory for Sint Maarten.

“In fact, in the case of Sint Maarten, the University of St. Martin (USM) is not ready as yet with a pre-academic year,” Minister Samuel said.

Minister Samuel also would like to address fake news circulating via social media. One item has that Sint Maarten students no longer can study in the Netherlands after completing certain programs on the island.

“This is fake news. As Minister of Education, I urge you to carefully look at the authenticity of what you read or hear before forwarding or circulating that type of information via social media.”



SINT MAARTEN (COMMENTARY – By Kelron Bellot) - Dear Editor, In a country where affordable housing is a pressing issue, the failure to deliver on such a crucial commitment demands scrutiny and explanation. There is a necessity to underscore the actuality of the unfulfilled promise of 1,000 homes made by the United Peoples Party (UP) in the 2019 election season.

The reality is stark: not a single home has been built despite the UP Party's unequivocal pledge. The lack of significant updates on this promise raises questions about the sincerity and feasibility of the proposed plan. Were these promised homes even brought to parliament for discussion, was there any discussion held with the Minister of Public Housing or was it merely a political maneuver to secure votes?

The formation of a coalition government with the National Alliance, which won the majority of seats, adds complexity to the situation. While there may be claims that the coalition hindered the plans, the public must question the true compatibility of the parties' visions for the country. A coalition government should ideally unite parties with similar goals, but in this case, the promised housing project did not receive the attention it deserved.

Despite claims of over 500 homes being repaired; not built, during their tenure, the lack of progress on the promised 1,000 homes remains a glaring issue. The rationale behind this failure requires clarification. Did the coalition partners not find it necessary to address the housing crisis? Were discussions held, and if so, why did they not result in tangible action?

The geographical constraints of Sint Maarten, with major businesses occupying substantial land areas, pose challenges to large-scale housing projects. However, the government's responsibility is to strategically allocate resources and prioritize public welfare. The approval of building permits in areas where public housing could have been a priority demonstrates a lapse in planning and evaluation.

Financial constraints are often cited as a barrier to fulfilling promises, but citizens deserve transparency about the government's fiscal decisions. If the cost of building 1,000 homes is deemed unattainable without additional support, it raises questions about the government's ability to manage finances effectively.

In light of these concerns, there is a crucial need for a proper explanation from the UP Party and to a larger extent the government. The public deserves to know why this promising initiative was not carried through, and what steps are being taken to address the housing crisis. Political parties, especially during election campaigns, must refrain from making extravagant promises without a realistic implementation plan.

As the upcoming election approaches, it is imperative that voters critically evaluate previous manifesto promises that have yet to be fulfilled. Our people cannot afford to be swayed by empty rhetoric; instead, we should demand accountability and tangible solutions from our elected representatives.

Kelron Bellot


Minister Richardson Commends PSVE Students for Apology Following Assault Incident

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - The Honorable Minister of Justice, Anna E. Richardson, is commending the students of Sint Maarten Academy PSVE for their sincere apology issued to fellow students, parents, and the community at large, following an unfortunate incident of assault in the vicinity of the school on Thursday, November 23rd, 2023.

The Minister observed the public apology via social media. In a public statement, Minister Richardson acknowledged the students' accountability, as they not only apologized for their actions but also committed to ensuring that such incidents will not reoccur in the future. The students extended their public apologies, recognizing the gravity of their violent and selfish behavior.

Minister Richardson emphasized the significance of schools as safe spaces for learning and the need for positive relationships among students, teachers, and faculty. She called for an end to violence, emphasizing that respect forms the foundation for healthy community functioning.

"We send our children to school to learn and expect that they are safe. We don’t expect them to assault and harm each another. This behavior must stop! I am calling for parents, families, and the community at large to foster positive examples at home and within neighborhoods so that our children can have healthy and positive communication skills. I am calling for the violence to stop," declared Justice Minister Anna E. Richardson.

The Minister also acknowledged the proactive role played by the P.S.V.E school management and staff for having the conversation, which led to the apology process and ensuring it was shared with the public. She commended the steps taken by the students in the right direction, highlighting their display of remorse and commitment to refraining from such actions in the future. Originally, the negative video highlights were shared prior via social media.

The Ministry of Justice supports the school's efforts to address and rectify the situation and remains dedicated to fostering a safe and respectful learning environment for all.


The 3rd annual WYCCF Pageant dazzled with brilliance

SINT MAARTEN (ST. JOHN’S ESTATE) - On a radiant Friday, November 10th, the White and Yellow Cross Care Foundation (WYCCF) transformed the St. Martin’s Home dining room into a stage of pure magnificence.

From the SMH Nursing Home to Elderly Care, Rehabilitation, Psychogeriatric Daycare, and the Sister Basilia Center, our clients graced the event, competing in an array of categories.

This year, the coveted titles of WYCCF St. Maarten's Day Pageant's overall King and Queen were claimed by the remarkable Mr. Roger Jeffers and the illustrious Ms. Agnes Joseph.

Surpassing her consecutive triumphs in past editions, Mrs. Meredith Dorothea graciously abstained from the competition. Yet, she graced us with a mesmerizing melody that lingered in the air!

This event is the crescendo of our clients' year—a stage to unfurl their impeccable attire, talents, and vibrant personas. They enchanted the audience of peers, staff, and families with amazing dances, beautiful poems, and harmonious melodies.

At the stroke of 10 AM, bedecked in their finest attire, the clients stood poised for the competition. Our trio of judges—Lensy Jones, Minerva Maccow, and Emilia Hughes—scrutinized every nuance, scoring based on effort, presentation, sound, performance, and that indefinable charm.

Mr. Karel Harregan found himself draped in glory, claiming victory in multiple categories: best-dressed male, best costume, runner-up King, and most popular male. The adoration of the crowd bestowed upon Ms. Elvira de Lannoy crowned her as the most popular female. Ms. Agnes Joseph, a double victor for best-dressed female and Pageant Queen, added sparkle to the night. Kimara Washington shone as the best Talent & runner-up Queen, while Mr. Jeffers claimed the coveted crown of Pageant King.

The competition reached soaring heights, intensifying the challenge for our discerning judges in choosing the ultimate victors.

We’re grateful for every contestant, the guiding nurses and group leaders, the diligent sundial students, the enchanting MC, Ms. Hughes, and the resonating support from K1 Britannia.

The clients, families, and staff had a fantastic time, and we eagerly await the grand encore, continuing this tradition as an annual WYCCF celebration next year!


Ministry of VROMI Holds a Successful Re-Launch of Online Electrical Inspection Application Platform

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - The Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment & Infrastructure (The Ministry of VROMI) proudly announces the successful re-launch of its online electrical inspection application platform.

The event, held on Friday, garnered immense success with the active participation of 40 electricians, marking a pivotal moment in the Ministry's commitment to modernization. The online platform revolutionizes the traditional approach to electrical inspections, offering a streamlined and user-friendly experience for certified electricians.

Payment processes have been simplified, with invoices now accessible and payable online. Electricians will encounter a standard processing fee of 30 ANG, along with an additional fee tailored to the specific requirements of their application.

Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment & Infrastructure, the Honorable Egbert J. Doran expressed his enthusiasm for this significant leap into the digital age, stating, "This is a moment I have eagerly awaited, especially with my background in IT.

“It is crucial for us to embrace digitization in our procedures. The launch of the online electrical inspection application platform aligns perfectly with our commitment to efficiency and accessibility." The Minister further highlighted the importance of modernizing processes to meet the evolving needs of the community.

"By bringing our procedures into the digital realm, we are not just keeping pace with the times; we are setting the standard for a more efficient and responsive service delivery," he added.

The online application page is currently live, and electricians can begin submitting their applications. Appointments for inspections will commence after January 6th, allowing for a smooth transition to the new digital process.

To access the services, electricians can visit the official government services portal at and navigate to Featured Services under "Electrical Inspection Request."

The Ministry of VROMI is excited about the positive impact this digitization will have on the overall efficiency of electrical inspections and looks forward to continued advancements in service delivery.

vromi electrical pix3

vromi electrical pix2



Working in the Caribbean – Information Session for the National Career Fair

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Minister Plenipotentiary, Rene Violenus, and his cabinet have reached out both to the Council of Ministers and the Sint Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry (COCI) regarding one of their economic outreach activities that has the potential of contributing to the labor market issue on Sint Maarten, namely “De Nationale Carrièrebeurs.”

The Minister Plenipotentiary personally initiated constructive discussions with the Dutch company Memory Group, the main company for the National Career Fair that promotes “Working in the Caribbean.”

The main goal is to mobilize the diaspora of Sint Maarten in the Netherlands so that talented persons return and contribute to the national development of their country.

On Thursday, November 30, at 10:00 a.m., a live presentation for organizations and companies is scheduled at the Government Administration Building, room 1 + 2.

The information will be about the on- and offline talent acquisition and the process of creating profiles to be matched with an employer will be provided. There will also be feedback from employees from last year talking about their experience(s).

In addition, the Prime Minister/Minister of General Affairs, Silveria Jacobs, the Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor, Omar Ottley, and the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication, Arthur Lambriex, have been invited to join the information sessions underlining the mutual interest in making this initiative a success.

Interested to join Thursday, November 30 information session, you can send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

As part of the promotion, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Memory Group, Geert Nab, and the Chief Operations Officer (COO) Mylene Van Puffelen, are currently conducting a tour within the Caribbean.

On November 2, the Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Ardwell Irion and the Minister of Justice, Anna Richardson were briefed on the significance of the Career Fair and were introduced to the CEO and COO of the company Memory Group.

The company, which has organized more than 50 career fairs in the Netherlands, has recently received the “Corporate Live Wire Innovation in Recruitment Services” Award 2023 which event was held on August 30, 2023, in London.

As a result, they will receive even more international recognition for their innovative recruitment services that will benefit employers and training institutes from Sint Maarten in 2024 and beyond, this according to Memory Group.

“De Nationale Carrièrebeurs” is the largest career event in the Netherlands, with different career sections of which “Working in the Caribbean” is one of them.

Various employers of Sint Maarten already committed themselves which includes the Port Sint Maarten Group, the Council of Advice, the General Pension Fund (APS), and the Public Prosecutors Office.

Over 15,000 visitors are expected at the Fair, which is scheduled for March 22 and 23, 2024 in the Amsterdam RAI, the Netherlands.

For more information:


Cheryl Dangleben-York Emerges Triumphant as Winner of the Face of WOHA

SINT MAARTEN/LONDON, UK - In a blaze of excitement and unwavering solidarity, the St. Maarten Tourism Bureau (STB) proudly declares its resounding support for Cheryl Dangleben-York, setting the stage ablaze as she took center spotlight and emerged victorious at the prestigious Face of Women of Hearts Awards (WOHA) event in London on November 17.

May-Ling Chun, the Director of Tourism for St. Maarten, stated, "In endorsing Cheryl Dangleben-York's vibrant representation of St. Maarten at the Face of WOHA in London, we are not just supporting an individual; we are championing the spirit of diversity, equality, and inclusion on a global stage. Her success resonates as a powerful beacon, embodying the values our destination proudly upholds. STB joyfully rallies behind Dangleben-York, as her presence in London propels our ongoing mission to spotlight St. Maarten's commitment to positive change."

The Face of WOHA, in its fourth glorious year, radiates with professionals from diverse backgrounds, creating a symphony of voices and messages on a global stage. Dangleben-York, a dazzling finalist, stood tall among 20 extraordinary women committed to sparking positive change worldwide.

Dangleben-York's triumph in London not only marks a personal victory but also unlocks a golden opportunity for St. Maarten to shine on the global stage, showcasing positive values that beckon travelers seeking destinations deeply engaged in social and cultural initiatives.

As the curtain falls on the Face of WOHA Speaking Extravaganza, STB joyfully applauds Cheryl Dangleben-York for her victory on November 17. Her achievement echoes the resilience, strength, and excellence that define St. Maarten's spirit.

In her own jubilant words, Dangleben-York expresses heartfelt gratitude for the overwhelming support pouring in from her family, colleagues, friends, Toastmasters Family, and generous contributors. She acknowledges the gravity of representing St. Maarten amidst the grandeur of London and appreciates the unwavering support that carried her through moments of challenge.

STB extends heartfelt congratulations to Cheryl Dangleben-York, illuminating her path with wishes for continued success in her endeavors.


NV GEBE Management & Staff Successfully Completed Legendary Customer Service Retreat

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - The heartbeat of NV GEBE's operations is fueled through the bloodline of the company's hardworking, resilient, and dedicated employees. With consideration that NV GEBE's employees have continually served the community through several crises including, Hurricane Irma, the COVID-19 pandemic and the ransomware attack, management recognized the importance of providing emotional and customer service support.

Over the past two weeks several members of NV GEBE's management and frontline teams participated in a "Legendary Customer Service" Retreat. The Retreat was comprised of a series of workshops focused on self-development and social skills. Unlike the standard customer service trainings, the workshops delved deeper into staff's knowledge, skills and behaviors through emotional intelligence. 

"This wasn't a normal customer service training," expressed staff. "It was truly an extraordinary experience and the best one yet! People and the media are always beating down on us and not realizing that we are human. We sacrifice and go through a lot to provide services, sometimes under dire circumstances. This helps me to understand myself, my colleagues and the customers better. We are grateful for this time spent and looking forward to more." 

These sentiments were further substantiated by the positive results from the post-training evaluation surveys which were conducted by participants. 

The workshops were organized by Jacqueline Louis of IMBRACE Group and passionately facilitated by Wendy Carrington, whose empathetic expertise garnered heartfelt and tear-jerking moments of truth. Carrington shared the following: "As the facilitator of the "Legendary Customer Service" program I must conclude that NV GEBE's Retreat was a resounding success. At the start employees seemed a little reluctant to participate because they felt that they had completed several training programs before and felt this was just another run of the mill program. Once we got going the employees demonstrated a hunger to learn more about themselves, how their past life experiences impacts their present behaviors and were extremely open to learning and growing more. The program focused on Emotional Intelligence and emphasized the importance of effective communication, empathy, active listening, creating 'moments of magic' and all the competencies associated with emotional intelligence; which are crucial in creating a positive, productive and supportive customer experience. I am confident that as a we continue to roll out more programs,  customers can look forward to improved customer satisfaction, a positive attitude and magical moments from NV GEBE's employees. The employees who participated are now equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to handle customer inquiries and challenges with enhanced communication, empathy, professionalism, efficiency and expertise."

Participants were presented with certificates, further solidifying their refreshed proficiency and dedication to providing "Legendary Customer Service" experiences at NV GEBE. 

"NV GEBE's employees are our most valuable asset, which forms the bloodline of our operations. Therefore, it is essential that we equip them with the care, support and tools to better serve our customers. The Retreat was a fundamental stepping stone for several community and customer-centric initiatives that we will be announcing in the coming days," said Troy Washington, Temporary Manager, NV GEBE.


A Spectacular Weekend at the 18th St Maarten Budget Marine Optimist Sailing Championship

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - This weekend, 41 youth sailors from five different countries gathered to compete in the 18th annual St. Maarten Budget Marine Optimist Championship. Sailors from the Antigua Yacht Club, St. Kitts and Nevis Sailing Association, Saint Martin Voile pour tous, Saint Martin MDA, Saint Barth Yacht Club and the Sint Maarten Yacht Club, battled for the win, during two exciting race days.

“It is great to see international teams coming to the Sint Maarten Yacht Club to join the Optimist Championship. In 2022, 26 kids joined the race showcasing the Championship's growth. We hope to continue this next year with teams from even more countries.” Said Dolein van de Loo, event organizer at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club.

The Optimist Championship Kicked off with a ceremony on Friday November 24, for a team presentation, dinner, and the opening of the event. A special moment was dedicated to Carrick Jones for his remarkable achievement of sailing from Antigua to St. Maarten in an Optimist, arriving on Thursday, November 23rd, 11 PM.

On Saturday November 25 the first race day unfolded with 41 competitors racing in 3 different fleets: The Sailqube fleet for the youngest but enthusiastic racers, the orange fleet for intermediate and the blue fleet for the most advanced racers. 

The newest fleet of the championship, the Sailqube fleet, featured 9 young sailors. The competitors sailed 3 races on the first day and another 3 on day 2. The fight for the win was tight but after 2 days, Axel Vanden Eynde came in third place representing the Sint Maarten Yacht Club, Samuel Ricour, from Saint Martin Voile pour tous came in second and Axel le Calvex from the same club won the fleet with 10 points out of 6 races.

In the orange fleet 18 intermediate sailors raced against each other. Ruben van Hest representing Antigua Yacht Club took first place with 12 points out of 11 races. In this fleet the fight was about second and third place. After day one Mia Duce was second and Lluc Agusti was third, both from Antigua Yacht Club. But after race day two this changed and Lluc took over the second place which made Mia come in third position.

In the Blue fleet 14 experienced sailors competed for the win. The podium was dominated by French sailors from Saint Barths. The fight for second and third place was tight and took place between Tao Carmona and Lourenco Rolo Couto Jorge both from St Barth Yacht Club. Tao Carmona claimed second place after 2 days of racing and Lourenco Jorge claimed third. It was Thomas Magras, from the Saint Barths Yacht Club that dominated the event with a total of 13 points out of 11 races sailed. This result named him the overall winner of the 18th St. Maarten Optimist Championship. 

Special awards for Sportsmanship and Newcomer were also rewarded. The Race Organization rewarded Elliot Balland from the Saint Barths Yacht Club, as Best Newcomer. Balland joined the Saint Barths Yacht Club Racing Team only a few weeks ago and became 11th in the Orange Fleet. Congratulations! It was his first race off island.

Carrack Jones was rewarded with the Sportsmanship award. Even though he sailed 100 nm in his Optimist from Antigua to Sint Maarten, he participated in the full regatta. His journey took him over 30 hours, and he added another 10 hours of sailing on top, during the weekend by participating. This is true sportsmanship. Jones finished 6th in the blue fleet. 

Another special mention was there for Nathan Sheppard, from the Sint Maarten Yacht Club. The Sint Maarten Optimist Championship rewards the best sailor of Sint Maarten with the title ‘Sint Maarten National Dinghy Champion in the Optimist’. Sheppard finished 5th in the Blue Fleet, a great result. 

The SMYC would like to thank the protest committee; Steven Kern available online, Iain Mobbs and Nettie Valk.

With prizes from Budget Marine, Dinghy Dock Bar, Shipwreck Shop and the dessert Spot all the winners received an additional prize besides the trophies.

The organizers would like to thank all the volunteers for helping on and off the water, Budget Marine for their sponsorship, and partners Domino's and Zeebest for providing breakfast, lunch, and snacks. SMYC would also express their appreciation for all participating teams making the18th St. Maarten Budget Marine Optimist Championship a great experience.









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