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COVID-19 update Sint Eustatius

SINT EUSTATIUS (ORANJESTAD) - Two weeks ago a Dutch journalist, based in Curacao (high risk country) visited St. Eustatius (Statia). There was an outbreak on Statia by the visiting journalist. At the moment, the journalist is still admitted in St. Maarten Medical Center.

As a result of the outbreak 42 persons were placed in quarantine. One person became infected and is now recovered.  All persons who were placed in quarantine were tested on their last day of quarantine.

As of Wednesday, August 18th fifteen persons in quarantine were tested. In addition, twenty-six people were tested on Thursday, August 19th. As a result, all tests are negative. Presently there is only one positive COVID-19 case on the Island. A contained case that was contracted on St. Maarten.

Meanwhile the situation on St. Maarten is not improving. St. Maarten will remain a very high risk country. All fully vaccinated persons entering from St. Maarten have to go in quarantine for five (5) days upon arrival.

Persons with a same day transfer from very high risk countries can still enter, if vaccinated with the monitoring protocol.

For medical referrals to St. Maarten there is close contact between QBMC, SMMC, ZVK and Public Health to assure the safety of the medical referrals.

The measures on the island will remain in place for all locations where the public gathers, which are at least: Bars, Restaurants, Shops, Supermarkets, Churches and Public Accessible Buildings.

It is strongly advised that:

  • Each premises has hand sanitizer at their entrance and assures that visitors make use of it.
  • The operator of the premises assures that social distancing is possible through adequate placing of tables, chairs and routing within the premises.
  • The staff of the premises has to wear a facemask.
  • The visitors of the premises have to wear a facemask as long as they are not seated.

Loud music as well as music played by bands or DJ’s is not permitted as during dancing keeping social distancing is not possible. Coming week, the Public Entity will invite event organizers to discuss protocols which make events, including events with bands and DJ’s possible.

The schools will open after the summer holidays as of next week. Facemasks are not required in schools. All schools are informed on the necessity to take hygiene measures and are also informed on the regulations of the monitoring protocol. Parents and children who fall under the monitoring protocol are not allowed to enter schools. (Statia GIS)

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Tourism slowly picking up as restrictions are lifted

SABA/SINT EUSTATIUS - In 2020, tourism in the Caribbean Netherlands declined sharply due to the measures and flight restrictions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Because the islands are relying on various measures to ward off COVID-19, the upturn in tourism differs per island.

In June 2021, tourism on Bonaire had already reached almost 75 percent of the level of June 2019. On Saba and Sint Eustatius, it was 43 per cent and 33 per cent, respectively, of the level of June 2019.

From the start of the pandemic up to and including June 2021, not a single cruise passenger has arrived on Bonaire. This is evident from new figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

Saba

Compared to 2020, tourism on Saba increased in the months of April, May and June. However, the number of visitors was still lower than before the coronavirus pandemic. In June 2021, Saba attracted 300 visitors: 43 percent of the number in June 2019 (700 visitors).

In the first three months of 2021, there were 100 visitors per month. This was due to strict entry restrictions on Saba, resulting in fewer flights to the island than before the coronavirus pandemic.

On 1 May, Saba started reopening the island, which is reflected in the number of visitors.

Sint Eustatius

Sint Eustatius links the relaxation of the restrictive measures for tourism to the vaccination rate of the population. In June 2021, there were 300 visitors, whereas in June 2019, there were still 900 people who visited Sint Eustatius.

The proportion of visitors with Dutch nationality was 70 percent in 2021, versus approximately 50 percent in 2019. This can be explained by the fact that in the second phase of the reopening of Sint Eustatius, vaccinated residents of Saba, St Maarten, Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire were admitted to the island without quarantine.

SEU TOUR Picture4

Bonaire

On Bonaire, tourism gradually increased from November 2020 but declined again in January 2021 and later in March due to government measures. Since April 2021, tourism has picked up again from 3.4 thousand visitors in April to 9.1 thousand visitors in June.

This increase can mainly be attributed to the fact that almost all airlines started flying again as they did in June 2019. Due to the travel restrictions in place in many countries, the proportion of visitors with Dutch nationality increased significantly, from around 57 percent in 2019 to 75 percent in 2021.

The share of visitors with US nationality decreased sharply, from 25 percent in 2019 to 9 percent in 2021.

BON TOUR Picture2

Sources

StatLine – Caribbean Netherlands: inbound tourism by air
http://opendata.cbs.nl/statline/#/CBS/en/dataset/83104ENG  

StatLine – Caribbean Netherlands: inbound tourism by air, nationality
http://opendata.cbs.nl/statline/#/CBS/en/dataset/83191ENG

Cruise passengers Bonaire

https://www.cbs.nl/nl-nl/maatwerk/2021/26/cruisepassagiers-bonaire-2012-2021

Relevant links

Website - World Tourism Barometer UNWTO
https://www.e-unwto.org/toc/wtobarometereng/18/1

Explanation

*Visitors

Visitors include both day-trippers and people who stay at least one night for leisure, work or other reasons.

Visitors from the islands of Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius are considered domestic visitors and are not counted inbound tourism.

The figures on tourism in the Caribbean Netherlands are based on existing registers. Figures are rounded off to the nearest hundred.

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Interparliamentary Kingdom Consultation to be held in Bonaire

BONAIRE (KRALENDIJK) - The permanent committees on Kingdom Relations of the Senate “First Chamber” and “Second Chamber” will organise the Interparliamentary Kingdom Consultation (IPKO) on Bonaire from Monday, 23rd of August, to Wednesday, 25th of August 2021. The IPKO is the consultative structure of the parliaments of the countries of the Kingdom.

The Dutch parliament always hosts the summer IPKO. After the previous two editions (summer 2020 and winter 2021) could only take place in a trimmed-down form via videoconference due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this time the COVID-19 situation allows parliamentarians to physically meet in the Caribbean Netherlands. Current COVID-19 regulations are taken into account by the delegations.

The IPKO will be chaired by committee chairman and member of Parliament Jan Paternotte. The Dutch delegation will be led by committee chair and Senate member Paul Rosenmöller.

Programme

On Monday afternoon, the 23rd of August 2021, the Governor of Bonaire, Edison Rijna, will welcome the participating parliamentarians to Bonaire. On the same afternoon, the four delegations will each give a presentation on recent developments in their country. The parliamentarians will also exchange ideas about the course of the elections held in 2021 in the Netherlands, Curaçao and Aruba, and about the organisation of the election process.

On Tuesday morning, the 24th of August 2021, there will be plenary and group discussions about better and sustainable relations within the Kingdom. Subjects that may be discussed are equality, communication, diversity, the Charter, human rights, the rule of law and good governance, and mutual aid and assistance. This will then be explored more in detail as it pertains to the current cooperation agreements and the implementation of the agreed country packages per country. In the afternoon, there will be an exchange of ideas regarding climate and sustainability in group form and then in plenary. This is done on the basis of a number of sustainable development goals (SDGs).

On Wednesday morning, the 25th of August 2021, the delegations will visit the Washington Slagbaai National Park. They will be informed on site about nature conservation on land and in the waters surrounding Bonaire. This will be followed by the establishment of the IPKO -appointment list in the afternoon and the press conference. 

Working visits

In the context of the IPKO, the delegation of the State General will carry out its own working visits to Bonaire on Monday morning and Thursday morning. These relate to subjects such as determining the social minimum and the poverty problem, education, innovation and infrastructure.

The planned working visits to Curaçao and Aruba had to be cancelled by the delegation, given the increasing number of COVID-19 infections and the increasing pressure on medical care in those countries. The delegation wants to avoid contributing to the spread of the virus or placing an unexpected burden on local medical care, despite the taken precautions.

Delegation composition

First Chamber

Paul Rosenmöller (GroenLinks) – delegation leader

Eric van der Burg (VVD)

Arda Gerkens (SP)

Alexander van Hattem (PVV)

Jeroen Recourt (PvdA)

Second Chamber

Jan Paternotte (D66) – voorzitter IPKO

Aukje de Vries (VVD)

Jorien Wuite (D66)

Inge van Dijk (CDA)

Attje Kuiken (PvdA)

Laura Bromet (GroenLinks)

Don Ceder (ChristenUnie)

The deliberations between the delegations are public and can be followed live on YouTube: youtube.com/channel/UCKhNQfhalzbDvt7qHHquj7A/live

For the programme, see attachment. It concerns local times: NDL time + 6 hours. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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Saba now has compost mulch program

SABA (THE BOTTOM) -- Saba is full of natural resources. One of those resources, often overlooked, is the greenery dumped in an area locally known as The Gut, located between the villages Windwardside and Hell’s Gate. To help fight climate change and global warming locally, the Public Entity Saba purchased a commercial grade Timberwolf shredder to help the decompostion of vegetation and excess pallet debris.

Instead of placing the material to naturally decompose in The Gut, while producing global warming gases that harm the ozone, the Agricultural Department aims to shred the material to limit the harmful gas formations and have the end compost offset the costs for the Hydroponic Greenhouse agricultural project at Rendez-Vous. Secondly, the end compost will be used in the reforestation project.

This week is the start of the compost mulch program at The Gut. To limit the gases from forming by allowing aerobic composting methods to be implemented instead of anaerobic composting methods normally taking place by default in landfill pits. Allowing more air into the mulch means that less harmful gases are produced and released into the atmosphere.

As a secondary benefit, both the hydroponic greenhouse project and the reforestation project will benefit in cost savings from not having to import compost. This helps to reduce the carbon foot print from the transportation of goods.

Gezondheid Farms, a newly contracted corporation from the United States, managed by Jim Garza, has started the initiative to help guide the proper process to compost while measuring heat temperatures, moisture content, nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), or NPK levels, and pH levels in the piles to maximize the decomposition speeds while mininizing harmful gas production from the pile with aeration methods.

Jim Garza, together with the Saba Government, is managing the hydroponic greenhouse project and will develop the future compost mulch facility at the farm as a carbon capture, methane gas burning, closed system to provide carbon dioxide needed at the farm. CO2 is absorbed by the plants to maximize plant health and growth.

Wageningen Universtity in the Netherlands has expressed interest to collaborate in developing the Gezondheid Farms technology to air scrub volatile organic compounds gases and odors. The collaboration will focus on providing carbon capture solutiuons to a global issue while providing nutrient rich compost to future agricultural projects on Saba. Gezondheid Farms will apply for grant funding to initiate its Carbon Activation Recycling Program Utilizing Local Litter (CARPULL), targeting a zero carbon footprint on the farm during operations.

In attendance for the official start of the compost mulch program at The Gut on Wednesday were Commissioner Rolando Wilson, Jim Garza of Gezondheid Farms, Carlos Jebon Weeks of the Agriculture and Vector Control Department and Senior policy advisor to Commissioner Wilson, Menno van der Velde.

“We thank those persons who recycle and place truck loads of vegetation debris at The Gut for mulching. We encourage families to recycle coffee grinds, egg shells, fish bones, banana peels, seaweed etc, and bring these items to The Gut and to place them into a special bin as we continue mulching our local waste from going to the general waste management facility. This is another important project to help restore the agricultural sector on Saba to its former glory,” said Wilson at the official start of the Saba compost mulch program.

sgis Start of compost mulch program

From left: Jim Garza, Carlos Jebon Weeks, Menno van der Velde and Commissioner Rolando Wilson at the official start of the compost mulch program at The Gut.

 

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Four naturalize as Dutch citizens on Statia

SINT EUSTATIUS (ORANJESTAD) - On Thursday August 18th, four Statian residents were naturalized as Dutch residents in a special ceremony presided over by Government Commissioner Alida Francis in the Vincent A. Lopes Legislative Hall. This naturalization ceremony is, as required by law, as a very important and final step in your process of becoming Dutch citizens. The four new Dutch citizens are:

Audrey Rosa Buten

Jedediah Belleau

Elizabeth Carela Almonte

Rousy M. Arnaud Franco; Legal representative: Victor Vencito Arnaud

There are several of becoming a Dutch citizen. (option statement/naturalization) One way of becoming a Dutch Citizen is via option procedure. This involves a person submitting supporting documents regarding their Dutch origins to the IND department. 

In her address the Government Commissioner, summarized what their role in society will be henceforth. “Simply put, you are expected to be an active citizen. An active citizen describes someone who is actively involved in the development and improvement of their society. Contributing where ever you can and however you can to our collective development, in other words being a good citizen”.

Francis went on to emphasize that as a Dutch citizen it is important that they seek to inform themselves regarding all laws and legislation that govern, not just their rights as Dutch citizens but also their obligations to the wider community. “An informed citizen is an effective citizen and effective citizens add value to a community”, stated Francis.

In order to become a Dutch citizen one is required to submit a request to become a Dutch citizen. This can be done through a request for naturalization. The Immigration and Naturalization Office situated on the Cottage Road Tel: +599-318-3376 and the Cabinet of the island Governor +599-318-2552 can be contacted for more information.

(Statia GIS)

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New optician and optometrist on St. Eustatius

SINT EUSTATIUS (ORANJESTAD) - From August 18, Sint Eustatius will have an optician and optometrist, Optica Class Sint Eustatius.

Mr. Jose Javier Rodriquez, owner of Optica Class Sint Eustatius, is a qualified optometrist. He and his assistant will be on St. Eustatius from August 18th to August 23rd. After that, he will come to the island once every two weeks for consultations and examinations.

Mr. Rodriquez has many years of experience with, among others, ophthalmologist De Palm and former ophthalmologist Ferwerda on Curaçao. He then relocated to Bonaire where he has successfully owned Optica Class Bonaire for 8 years and from where he also carries out his optometry work.

Optica Class Sint Eustatius is located at Theodore A.M. Pandt Road #12 in Oranjestad (near the airport). For the time being, the optician will be open half days. They start with a collection of 360 different frames. The collection will be expanded monthly to provide insights into the specific tastes and wishes of the population of St. Eustatius.

In connection with COVID-19, a special protocol has been drawn up and approved for visitors to Optica Class Sint Eustatius. Therefore, an appointment for optometry can only be made by telephone (until further notice) via telephone number 3180450.

ZJCN would like to thank Mr. Jose Javier Rodriquez for his willingness to start on Sint Eustatius Optica Class Sint Eustatius and wish him success with all activities. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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Saba youth train with professional coaches

SABA (THE BOTTOM) - Organized by the Saba Youth Council with funding from the Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS), youngsters on Saba in the first two weeks of August took part in soccer and volleyball practices offered by professional coaches from the Netherlands and Aruba.

The successful project which had a large turn-out, called the Gain Train, was initiated by the Saba Youth Council. The Youth Council approached the Public Health Department of the Public Entity Saba a few months ago to assist.  

Four coaches came to Saba for two weeks of practice. While on the island, Ine Klosters and Jolanda Gudde (both from the Netherlands) of the Netherlands Volleyball Association (NEVOBO), and Bert Zuurman (the Netherlands) and Elvis Albertus (Aruba) of the Royal Netherlands Soccer Association (KNVB), also provided coaching courses. The KNVB coaches and the trainings that they provided were part of the KNVB WorldCoaches program.

Commissioner of Sports and Public Health Rolando Wilson said he was very pleased with the visit of the four coaches. “Their visit and the professional trainings that they provided fit right in Saba’s healthy lifestyle policy and our objective to keep our people, including the youngsters, active and healthy. I commend and thank the coaches for a wonderful job,” said Wilson.

The program consisted of daily soccer practices in the morning with the first session for children age 6 to 11 and the second session for 12-19 years old. Volleyball practices took place in the afternoon, with the first session 6-11 years old and the second session 12-19 years old. The coaching courses for persons 16 years and up also took place on a daily basis. The soccer trainings took place on the Johan Cruyff Court in The Bottom, while the volleyball trainings were at the school gym in St. John’s.

When the coaches arrived, the Youth Council held a reception at the Cottage Club Hotel to welcome the coaches and introduce them to the island. The program ended on Saturday night, August 14, with a gala event at Queen’s Garden to honor the coaches and all participants. The gala event included a full dinner and awards. 

The four coaches were scheduled to leave for St. Eustatius on Sunday, August 15 for similar trainings with the youth there, but because of inclement weather, they could not leave Saba until Monday and Tuesday. The visit of the coaches to Saba and St. Eustatius has been financed by the Ministry of VWS.

Gain Train soccer practice

Soccer coaches

 

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Free Workshop Entitled College or University 101: The US and Canadian Systems

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The Student Support Services Division (SSSD) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Affairs will be holding a free online workshop on Thursday, August 19, 2021, for persons seeking to continue their education in the United States and Canada.

This online workshop entitled “College or University 101: The US &Canadian Systems” will be held from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM.

According to SSSD officials, transitioning from a Dutch or English based educational system on St. Maarten into an American or Canadian tertiary system can be overwhelming for some students but it does not have to be this way. They added that this workshop will be aiming to make this process less cumbersome for students. Students in their last two years of secondary school or recent graduates who are interested in studying in the United States of America (USA) or Canada are invited to attend this free and interactive workshop. 

The workshop will cover from the application process to graduation. According to SSSD officials, “With the global Covid 19 situation, timeliness is even more important. If for example, the required documents are not submitted in a timely manner to the schools then students may not be considered for acceptance, and it can delay the start time of further studies.” 

They added aim is for workshop participants to learn the various steps in applying to schools and what factors to keep in mind when considering schools to apply to. Parents are also urged to encourage their children to sign up and participate in this workshop since this is beneficial to them.

A similar workshop for students aiming to study in the Netherlands is scheduled to be held on September 2, 2021.

Students or parents can register in advance by calling SSSD at 543-1235 and registrants will then receive an invitation by email. On the day of the event, participants can click the link on SSSD’s Facebook page and join the online workshop. Attendants are also encouraged to register for the workshop and log on, on time. If parents or students have any questions on these workshops, they can contact the Student Support Services Division at telephone 543-1235 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

The Student Support Services Division (SSSD) provides services to students referred by the schools such as psychological services, counseling services, social work services, educational diagnostic services, speech language pathology services. SSSD also provides general services such as career services, parent sessions and crisis response.

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Police made several arrests over the past week

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - In the past week, the detectives and patrols of the Police Force of Sint Maarten made several arrests in various cases during last week.   

On Monday, August 9, detectives arrested a man with initials D.L.M. for whom an arrest warrant had been issued. He was arrested in connection with an ongoing investigation into a shooting on 19 March 2021 in St Peters. He is held for questioning. Anyone with further information about the March 19 shooting should contact the detective department on 542-2222 ext. 214, 211 or 208, or call the tip line 9311.

On Monday afternoon around 1:30pm a man with initials R.J.M. turned himself in at the Philipsburg police station after he learned an arrest warrant had been issued for him. He is suspected of committing assault and vandalism on Front Street on 26 July. He was taken into custody by the police at the station and remanded for further investigation.  

On Tuesday, August 10, 2021, around 7:45pm, a police patrol arrested the suspect with initials K.C. for assault. According to the preliminary investigation, it appears that the suspect had assaulted his victim with a hammer after an altercation. The suspect remains in custody. 

On Thursday, August 12, 2021, around 1:30pm, a police patrol was dispatched to Catapult Drive in Cul de Sac for a threatening incident. A man with initials D.P. had reportedly threatened personnel of Mental Health while undergoing treatment. He was in a possession of a machete when he was apprehended. He is detained in connection with the ongoing investigation. (KPSM)

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Registration is open! Organizers confident about hosting the 42nd St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - The 42nd St. Maarten Heineken Regatta organizers have now opened registration for its annual event. Sailing is currently happening worldwide in national and international regattas, showcasing that sailing events can be safely hosted. Relying on implementing proper health protocols, safety measures and clear communication, the event is now accepting entries for the 42nd St. Maarten Heineken Regatta taking place March 3 – 6, 2022.

That people are keen to participate in regattas is evident in the number of entries in recent events. Cowes Week concluded this past week and welcomed close to 600 entries during their weeklong event. Whereas many events have still been hesitant to offer onshore entertainment, Cowes Week opened a Regatta Village hosting a food court, crew bar, live music, and many vendors showcasing their products. Another premium sailing event, the Fastnet Race, is currently taking place with 337 participants from 24 nations racing from Cowes, England to Cherbourg, France.

"Whereas most of the entrants are indeed from Europe, there are owners that decided to bring their boat from the USA, Mexico, and even Japan to participate in these prestigious events. Hopefully, the successful sailing season in Europe and the USA inspires boat owners to make the crossing to the Caribbean to enjoy a multitude of events hosted between January and May." states Michele Korteweg, Regatta Director.

Currently, the Regatta organizers are planning an event focusing on delivering a safe, competitive, professional, and "Serious Fun!" event. The current plan is to deliver on the promise of world-class racing. All participants will have to comply with health and entry guidelines set by the Government and the Event Organizers. These guidelines will be communicated on the official Regatta website and updated regularly on the official notice board (online and during the event).

Many inquiries regarding the upcoming event have been received in the previous months, showing the continuing interest of boats coming to race in the Caribbean. The International Maxi Association (IMA) is still planning its first Caribbean Circuit, starting with the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, followed by the Voiles de St. Barts and Antigua Sailing Week.

"The interest of the IMA and many others to come sail and participate in our Regatta is encouraging, and we genuinely appreciate the support. Over the years, we have built a loyal following of teams that return year after year, and of course, we are enthusiastic to welcome them back to Sint Maarten and offer quality racing. The Race Committee is working hard on the Sailing Instructions and Courses to be able to distribute these early to assist with preparations. We aim to engage the event attendees with an exceptionally warm, professional, and safe experience, comforted with a strong sense of community typical to our "Friendly Island." continues Korteweg.

The island of Sint Maarten started welcoming international visitors back as of July 1, 2020, after it implemented Covid safety measures. To ensure the safety and well-being of visitors and residents, entry requirements will be in place for visitors to enter St. Maarten, which can be found at www.stmaartenupdates.com. St. Maarten is open to Yachts, Cruisers, and Private Vessels. For more information, you can contact the Regatta Organizers or go to the official website of The St. Maarten Marine Trade Association.

All racing will take place in the waters surrounding the dual-nation island of Sint Maarten/Saint Martin, offering a variety of courses suitable for all classes: Maxi's, Ocean Racers, Multihulls, Bareboats, Cruisers, and everything in between. This event will be 'Serious Fun' for everyone.

As far as the event's legendary onshore entertainment, it is still under review as organizers are tracking global and regional progress. They are currently building a plan that will deliver "Safe & 'Serious Fun!'" during the event in March.

Online registration is quick, easy to use, and can be accessed via the regatta website www.heinekenregatta.com where you will also find the Notice of Race for 2022. Sign up now! The island of St. Maarten and the organizers of the St Maarten Heineken Regatta look forward to welcoming you back for "Serious Fun."

St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

Celebrating 42 years, this Regatta just keeps getting better, four days of world-class racing with some of the world's most seasoned sailors, hailing from over 35 countries. This is genuinely a Regatta for everyone, including professional teams sailing Maxis, Monohulls, and Performance Multihulls to holiday-makers on chartered Bareboats to live-aboard families cruising the Caribbean. Crystal clear waters and cooling northeast trade winds give the pristine conditions for spectacular racing just off the coast of St. Maarten. This event is your bucket list must-do! Come and enjoy life in the Caribbean; come for some Serious Fun from March 3 – 6, 2022!

For complete information on the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, including results, photos, videos, party and band information, and much, much more, visit: www.heinekenregatta.com.ww.heinekenregatta.com.

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