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Special Unit Robbery arrests a male suspect in several robberies

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Special Unit Robbery (SUR) made an arrest of a male suspect with the initials V.O.H early Wednesday morning November 13th, 2019. This suspect is being linked to an attempted armed robbery that took place at a casino and a couple of other businesses a few weeks ago.

On that same evening of the incidents at the casino, a high-speed chase took place, which ended on the Arch road nearby the Seven-day Adventist church. Police was unsuccessful that evening of apprehending the suspects but confiscated the car in which the suspects were driving.

The SUR is still investigating this case and asking anyone who has any more information, to please contact the Sint Maarten Police Force.

They can call the police station on +1 721- 542 22 22 ext. 204 or 205 or the anonymous tip line on 9300.

You can also visit the police website at www.policesx.sx or Facebook page and leave a message. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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COCI: Reminds Registrants to Update Information, Pay Annual Outstanding Fees & Utilize Customer Friendly Enhanced Services

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) is reminding the business community, social organizations, federations, associations, foundations etc. to keep their information up to date in the business trade registry.

It is very important that COCI has the latest information of all entities operating in the country and that the business trade registry is current. Those with outstanding fees for 2019 and later, should utilize one of the services available to the business community to bring their registry status up to current.

Businesses in the Cole Bay, Cay Bay, Simpson Bay, Maho and Cupecoy areas can make use of ‘Get COCI Services’ which are available at the Simpson Bay Public Service Center (PSC) opposite the fish market.

The COCI pick up/drop off services being offered at the PSC Simpson Bay are limited to business name verification, first registrations, changes to registrations, declarations, excerpts, and file copies.

For more information with regard to these services (processing times and procedures), persons can contact the Chamber of Commerce & Industry at Tel.: +1(721)542-3595, call Toll free: +1(844)SXM-C0CI or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or the Public Service Center (Simpson Bay) at 721-545-3380.

Businesses are also reminded to make use of its COCI-2U service which entails the Chamber going to the business establishment after a request has been made for an excerpt and delivering aforementioned document, and at the same time picking up of annual fees due, among other Chamber to Business related matters.

The process entails the customer contacting COCI either by telephone, fax, email or via Facebook with their request. COCI will then proceed to prepare the document (s) requested and deliver them to the customer. Payment could be made by cash, check or credit card, and a receipt of payment will be provided to the customer on the spot by the COCI representative.

Businesses should ensure that the Chamber has current information about any changes to the shareholders lists, articles of incorporation, business address, telephone, fax, cell, website or email address, directorship, board members etc., the COCI business registry must have the most recent information related to the legal operating entity.

Businesses that offer a warranty for products sold are reminded that they are required to have a copy of the warranty deposited in their file at COCI.

Business owners who have for whatever reason discontinued business operations – closed down - should inform COCI, so the business can be registered as inactive or closed. This will allow the owner not having to go through the process of receiving tax assessments and then going through the process of having this rectified.

In the case of a business owner who has passed away, but the business is still registered as active, the Chamber request that the next of kin visit COCI in order to have the files updated to reflect this matter.

Businesses and organizations/foundations are all reminded to make sure that their letterheads and receipts have their COCI registration number printed on the aforementioned as it is required by law.

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Nature Foundation is Providing Presentations about Plastics and the Environment to Schools

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - In the coming months, the Nature Foundation St Maarten will conduct interactive presentations about the impacts of trash on our environment and the need to reduce single-use plastics to primary school students on St Maarten.

The Foundation is planned to visit a broad range of primary schools to show the students what littering does to our wildlife and marine life and why single-use plastics should be urgently reduced on St Maarten.   

Part of the Nature Foundation’s mission is to educate the public on the environmental impacts associated with single-use plastics, which is accomplished through their ongoing ‘Reduce and Reuse’ project. The Foundation believes education is the key and it is important to visit local schools, businesses, and communities to spread awareness about the harm of plastics to our environment, the significance of a single-use plastics ban and how to reduce your own single-use plastic consumption. 

Nature Foundation Intern, Grace Hansen, has developed a 45-60-minute presentation, including a fun activity, to bring to schools and encourage greener habits among students. “We must get the attention of children in school because it is their future that is directly at risk. Kids their age are already seeing our trash wash up on their beaches. Their swimming water is polluted, and they are forced to either avoid playing in the ocean completely, or risk infectious diseases that can be carried by the plastics, wastewater and other trash. If we do not act soon, children on St. Maarten may have a similar future. It is also our duty to take responsibility of our actions and clean up the planet” explained Grace Hansen. 

Of all marine biodiversity, 96% is vulnerable to plastic pollution each year as they ingest and get tangled in the floating debris. Though trash may be discarded properly, it still ends up in our oceans every day. Through wind and storm water runoff, our waste enters and kills thousands of animals each year. The Nature Foundation calculated that Dutch St Maarten alone uses more than 1.4 billion plastic straws a year; straws are used for a few minutes and last forever in the environment. If current trends continue there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. 

Additionally, microplastics are of major concern. Plastic has extreme durability therefore it does not break down, only into smaller pieces. Plastic particle less than 5 millimeters (or the size of a small red ant) is considered a microplastic. Bottled water manufacturers do not face regulatory limits regarding how many microplastics are allowed in your bottled water. A study conducted in 2019 discovered 10,000 pieces of plastics per 1 liter of water in Nestle Pure Life. The effects of microplastics on humans remains unknown, but no one wants to be ‘patient 0.’ 

“There are many alternatives to single-use plastics, however it is a behavioral change among people themselves that is going to solve this problem. Raising awareness of the harmful impacts of plastics is important to creating a community of pollution fighters that will protect and restore the environment” mentioned a Nature Foundation statement. St. Maarten is a beautiful island that attracts millions of visitors from all over the world. The Nature Foundation wants to keep it that way. The community’s help in cleaning up and reducing plastic waste will go a long way in ensuring the preservation of the beauty Sint Maarten is known for. 

Interested schools, businesses or other organizations can schedule a presentation by contacting Grace Hansen at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Sustainable finance project SSS-islands

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - This week the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) and World Wide Fund for Nature The Netherlands (WWF-NL) join forces with Wolfs Company to assist the Saba Conservation Foundation (SCF), St. Eustatius National Parks (STENAPA) and the Nature Foundation Sint Maarten (NFSXM) with strengthening their ability to achieve sustainable financing of the National Parks in Saba, St Eustatius and St Maarten, respectively.

Financing gap

Similar to other protected areas in the Caribbean, the organizations that manage the nature parks in the Dutch Caribbean (Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Eustatius and Sint Maarten) face a structural shortage of financing to fulfil their nature management tasks. In order to address this problem, several reports have been commissioned to, amongst others, identify the actual financial needs of the parks, the financing gaps and the potential financing mechanisms that could be implemented to bridge these gaps. However, these studies do not actually generate additional funding and do not address certain outstanding challenges.

Challenges

Some of these challenges include: The lack of nature and financial management plans that provide a solid basis for financial planning, capacity within the park management authorities to actually undertake activities to identify and implement financing mechanisms, obstacles for putting financing mechanisms in practice, designing feasible financial mechanisms within the contextual constraints and possibilities of each of the islands.

Wolfs Company will bring in their expertise in conservation finance and facilitate workshops on each of the three SSS-islands of the Dutch Caribbean. The objective of this project is to address the challenges identified for the implementation of financing mechanisms to support protected area management, with the ultimate goal of supporting the parks’ management to develop and implement a sustainable financing strategy.

Building on experience and planning for the future

With the experience gained and expertise that is being built-up through this project, DCNA and WWF-NL will assess the possibility to set up similar workshops on the ABC-islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao).

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World Interact Week in commemoration of the first Interact club

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Every year, in the week of 5TH November, Rotary celebrates World Interact Week, to commemorate the founding of the first Interact club in 1962. Interact Clubs are Rotary’s youngest leaders, who make a difference in their schools and communities.

To celebrate World Interact Week, the Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle hosted members of the Interact Club of St. Dominic High School and Charlotte Brookson Academy at their weekly dinner meeting on Tuesday November 5th. Present were, from the St. Dominic High School Interact Club, President Chanae Davis, Vice President Saheli Kirpalani and Sergeant at Arms Diya Chatani and from the Charlotte Brookson Academy Interact Club were President K'Maya Lake, Ma Lyesha Cannegieter and Jamelia Smith.

Interact is an international organization of service and social clubs for young people of secondary school age 12-18 that fosters leadership and responsible citizenship and promotes international understanding and peace. The name “Interact” was created by combining the words “international” and “action.”

Interact clubs are sponsored by Rotary clubs as a program of Rotary International. The sponsor Rotary clubs provide guidance and inspiration, but the Interact clubs are self-governing and self-supporting. Clubs vary greatly, with both single-gender and mixed as well as large and small. The membership base of a club can be drawn from the student body of a single school or from two or more schools from the same community.

Each year, Interact clubs complete at least one community service project and at least one project that furthers international understanding and goodwill. Interact's five primary avenues of service include the following: community, international, school, environmental, and fundraising. Interactors develop a worldwide network of friendships through exchanges with local and overseas clubs. Along the way, Interactors develop their leadership skills and initiative while meeting new friends.

Interactors often spearhead the formation of Rotaract clubs and participate in Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA). Interactors also often go on to become Rotary Youth Exchange students or Ambassadorial Scholars.

The first Interact club was initiated on November 5th, 1962 by the Rotary Club of Melbourne, Florida, USA. Two months later, the first Interact club outside the United States was established in Tanjore, India. There are over 20,370 Interact clubs in 159 countries and geographical areas, 80% of the world’s countries have Interact clubs. Interact is truly a worldwide phenomenon.

Through service activities, Interactors learn the importance of, developing leadership skills and personal integrity, demonstrating helpfulness and respect for others and advancing international understanding and goodwill. Most importantly, World Interact Week celebrates Rotary’s youngest leaders making a difference in their schools and communities. 

The Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle meets Tuesday at 7:30pm at Pineapple Pete in Simpson Bay. For more information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the Facebook page Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle.

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MP Wescot: Time for a Public Discourse on the National Recovery and Resilience Plan

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The administration of the Trust Fund by the World Bank continues to generate much discussion and tension, Leader of the United Democrats Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot Williams said on Tuesday in a statement.

“And while the recent report by the Ombudsman, titled “Home Repair – A Revelation of a Social Crisis” zooms in on deeper social issues than solely housing, that report as well highlights the dire circumstances of several persons in need of urgent help with their homes. 

“It could be coincidence that not too long after this report by the Ombudsman was presented, the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB) organized a meeting for applicants in the home repair program. 

“What matters most to me is whether these applicants have received any definite word as to their status. Are they all eligible? When will they get the help? What percentage cannot be assisted?  While in my opinion this project is one of the most important social projects of the Trust Fund, there are other questions regarding Trust Fund projects and programs. 

“On October 24th, I therefore requested a meeting of the Committee of General Affairs of Parliament to receive this update from the NRBP and the respective Ministers. 

“Another topic of concern are the funds available to St. Maarten in the context of the European Development Programs. There seem to be some serious bottlenecks and it is not clear if the deadlines for these projects will be met.”

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Governor Holiday: Perfecting Our St. Martin Story Together

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – On the occasion of the 60th Anniversary St. Martin’s Day, His Excellency drs. Eugene B. Holiday, Governor of Sint Maarten delivered the following address on November 11, 2019.

My fellow St. Martiners,

It is my pleasure, also on behalf of Marie Louise, to wish you a Happy 60th St. Martin’s Day celebration. (Note St. Martin refers to the entire island, Sint Maarten and Saint Martin)

Today November 11th, 2019, we gather to mark the 60th anniversary of the official joint celebration of St. Martin’s Day. Today we come together as brothers and sisters from North and South to celebrate our oneness based on the founding idea of Dr. Hubert Petit and Claude Wathey. Today is thus our celebration of “Our St. Martin Story”. Every year we start our celebration with the pleasant greeting: Happy St. Martin’s Day. It is a profound greeting. A greeting that reflects the story of the St. Martin spirit. A spirit of community, resilience and unity. It is the source of our kindness, solidarity and determination towards our common happiness and wellbeing. These are the values that have shaped our St. Martin way for generations.

This morning, amid our St. Martin’s Day greeting, we began our observance of our 60th St. Martin’s Day anniversary with a joint Church service at the Philipsburg Methodist Church in appreciation of God’s blessings and to seek his continued grace and guidance for us as a people and for our island. I was pleased to inspect our uniformed men and women in appreciation of their selfless service towards the maintenance of our cherished law and order. We laid wreaths at the Cole Bay/Bellevue border monument in recognition of our shared heritage and as inspiration for our common future. And we prepared a time capsule in acknowledgement of our obligations to future generations.

My fellow St. Martiners,

I highlighted our actions as a reminder of the significance of our St. Martin’s Day celebration as a shared moment of celebration and reflection. A shared moment in our continued obligation to perfect Our St. Martin Story together. It is my hope that you are enjoying our St. Martin’s Day Celebrations with family and friends in good St. Martin tradition and that you will take time to reflect on your contributions to Our St. Martin Story.

Our St. Martin Story is a story of overcoming seemingly insurmountable challenges. Over the years our island transitioned from Soualiga to St. Martin and from salt and agriculture to tourism. As a people,

  • we triumphed over slavery with emancipation in the mid 1800s[1];
  • we built a buoyant tourism economy in the latter half of the twentieth century;
  • we expanded the areas of Philipsburg[2], Marigot[3] and Simpson Bay[4] by reclaiming land in the Great Salt Pond, the Marigot Bay and the Simpson Bay Lagoon;
  • we recovered from the devastation of 7 hurricanes in the second half of the 1990s; and
  • we achieved significant constitutional reforms in the first decade of this century[5].

My fellow St. Martiners,

As we review these major accomplishments in our history the question that arises is what will the next major chapter in our story be? As we observe this 60th St. Martin’s Day anniversary we are, in view of the current challenges of climate change, socio-economic recovery needs and stable governance, reminded that the accomplishments I mentioned only give a snapshot of our evolving St. Martin Story. We are reminded that these accomplishments did not just happen. Our story, as passed down orally from generation to generation, as expressed in our Ponum dance, and as recorded in our Calypso songs, our paintings, our poetry and our history books, is the legacy of the hard work, sweat and sacrifices of our parents, grandparents and great grandparents.

The task before us today therefore is to build on their legacy. It is to write a new chapter in pursuit of perfecting Our St. Martin Story. This in the face of again seemingly insurmountable challenges.

My fellow St. Martiners,

The writing of our new chapter must start with our recommitment to stable governance. This to provide the foundation and leadership to fuel needed investments: in excellence in education, in excellence in health care, in the protection of our land and heritage, in sustainable waste management solutions, in Climate Change Resilience and in the revitalization of our economy. Successive generations of St. Martiners have fulfilled their tasks guided by a spirit of community, resilience and unity in purpose for St. Martin. Anchored in my faith in our people I therefore, on this 60th Anniversary of the celebration of Our St. Martin Story, trust that we will embrace these core St. Martin qualities and write a new chapter towards perfecting Our St. Martin Story.

To close, we are in this regard encouraged by the following messages of our calypsonians about Our St. Martin Story. While we may be “brokes again” as rendered by King Beau Beau, we have a shared obligation to invest in building “a model nation” as recommended by The Mighty Brat, an investment which is necessary to maintain our legacy that “St. Martin is still the best” as sung and affirmed by The Mighty Dow. My Fellow St. Martiners, carrying on our legacy is a task, an obligation which we can only fulfill together.

May this 60th St. Martin’s Day celebration therefore serve as an inspiration for our continued perfecting of Our St. Martin Story.

HAPPY ST. MARTIN’S DAY.

Thank you, God Bless You,

And May God Bless St. Martin and Protect its Coast.

[1] Emancipation of the enslaved black men of women was proclaimed in the North in 1848 and in the South in 1863.

[2] In the late 1960s and early 1970s

[3] In the 1980s and early 1990s

[4] In the late 1970s and early 2000s

[5] The north became a French Collectivity in 2007 and the South became an Autonomous country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 2010.

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Kids Connect with Nature and Heritage at Migratory Bird Festival

SINT MARTIN (FRENCH QUARTER) —On Saturday, hundreds of kids roamed garden paths looking for signs of birds. They dipped nets into huge old boiling coppers to find tadpoles and aquatic insects. They decorated their own bird backpacks to take home and learned how their own family story is part of the island’s history. Learning has never looked so fun!

It was a beautiful sunny day during the island’s rainiest month, and over 250 people came out to enjoy the seventh annual Migratory Bird Festival at Amuseum Naturalis. The festival celebrates the birds that travel thousands of miles each year to come to St. Martin. It also celebrates the things that make St. Martin special to both birds and people. 

“This year’s festival was really special because we were able to provide buses for schools and youth groups,” said festival organizer Jenn Yerkes. “We were able to reach more youth than ever, and it is all thanks to our sponsors. It’s not enough to have a free event if the kids can’t get there, so we want to do this even more in the future.”

At the Portable Pond Station, people learned about all the underwater animals that many birds come to St. Martin to eat. They could even see them up close under the microscope. Kids explored the gardens and paths while playing Bird Bingo and a habitat scavenger hunt from the BirdSleuth Caribbean program. They also learned about pelicans and how plastic can harm birds.

In the craft area, kids and adults decorated canvas backpacks with bird art. They took the backpacks home, to use instead of plastic bags. The mobile media and learning hub IdeasBox were also at the event, bringing books, games and tablets loaded up with videos and e-books about St. Martin’s birds.

Heritage preservation work was also done at the event. One team of volunteers recorded oral history interviews with event visitors. Another team showcased the mobile heritage preservation station, scanning photos and giving advice on how to preserve pictures. Visitors saw how many things can be learned from photos, and how family stories and photos are part of the island’s history. 

The annual Migratory Bird Festival is organized by the Les Fruits de Mer association. The 2019 event was made possible by the generous support of this year’s sponsors: 97150, Animal Hospital of St. Maarten, Belair Beach Hotel, BirdsCaribbean, BZSE, Caraïbes Numeric Print, Delta Petroleum, Dynaf, Etna Ice Cream, Hotel L’Esplanade, Lagoonies Bistro and Bar, Trakx Design, White Sands Beach Club and Yacht Club Port de Plaisance.

les Portable Pond 1

At the Portable Pond, kids got an up-close peek into an underwater world. (Photo by Mark Yokoyama)

les Interviews

An interview team recorded oral histories at the event. (Photo by Mark Yokoyama)

les Boiling Coppers

Historic boiling coppers are a hunting ground for kids looking for tadpoles and aquatic bugs. (Photo by Mark Yokoyama)

les BirdSleuth 1

Kids explore nature while playing BirdSleuth Caribbean games. (Photo by Kristin DeFalco)

les Backpacks

Cotton backpacks are a plastic alternative and look great with bird art. (Photo by Kristin DeFalco)

 

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60th St. Martin Day Celebration Message from MP Wescot Williams

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – United Democrats (UD) Leader Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot Williams released her St. Martin’s Day Message on Sunday evening.

Her message reads as follows: “Fellow St. Martiners, As we celebrate the 60th commemoration of St. Martin Day, let us recognize and be thankful that notwithstanding the many challenges we have faced over the past decades, we have managed to hold on to this day.

“The creators of St. Martin Day, Dr. Petit and Dr. Wathey wanted to celebrate the oneness of the St. Martin people. Their enthusiasm for this day was inspired by the St. Martin people.

“No doubt, 1648, the year of the Treaty of Concordia, is an important year in our nation’s history, as it marks the peaceful coexistence after centuries of warring occupation of our island. But St. Martin Day is a day inspired by ‘We the People’. That’s ‘We Story.’

“That’s how come my navel-string is buried in Marigot. That’s how come my grandfather was caught bootlegging in Grand Case.  That’s how come when hurricane Donna struck, I was at my aunt’s in Concordia.

“There were a few times in the past years, when it seemed as if we were bent on cutting the cords that bind us, but thankfully it never happened. There were times when tempers flared and harsh words spoken, but today we still stand strong.

“This day’s 60th observance, is testimony to the fact that regardless of what tends to get between us, that what keeps us together is resilient and strong. Any attempts to throw a wedge between the 2 parts of this unique island have until now always met with resistance.

“We have firmly stood together when it mattered most.  It is evident nevertheless, that as leaders, we are so caught up with the daily management of our individual responsibilities, that the collective issues we face as one island are too often relegated to second place.

“Even so, we have managed to maintain the oneness, the openness, the freedoms for our people, as if one. However, we must always remember that the world we live in is becoming more complex by the day. The powers that be, the French Republic and the Kingdom of the Netherlands are subject to global demands themselves and in turn they look at us to be in synch, with little regard for our limitations as a small island state.

“We cannot continue to take for granted the bonds that has kept us together for centuries. And if nothing else, every St. Martin Day should serve to reaffirm our commitment to the oneness of our island and its people.  It is time we conceive a modern-day “Treaty of Concordia”, but this time by us and for us, thereby reaffirming the very essence of St. Martin Day. Happy St. Martin Day”

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Coast Guard saves 74-year old sailor who had been drifting for four days at sea

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - Last Thursday the Rescue and Coordination Center of the Coast Guard received a notification from the St. Kitts authorities that a sailboat had drifted near Saba, the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard (DCCG) said in a press statement on Saturday.

“The sailboat named Caribella was 32 miles south of the Saba Bank with a person on board. The captain had been drifting with his boat at sea for four days because his vessel ran out of gas. The Coast Guard Cutter Poema from St. Maarten sailed to the Saba Bank to assist the sailboat.

Upon arrival, the Poema crew gave the captain food and water as he also ran out of food. The 74-year-old man looked very exhausted. The sailboat was initially moored in St. Eustatius where the captain indicated that he would continue sailing after resting.

“After being moored in St. Eustatius and seeing the man's condition, the Poema decided to drag the sailboat to St. Maarten and advised the captain not to continue his journey.”

dccg ins1 0911

 

 

 

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