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Maintenance window tonight for 2G mobile voice and data service

POND ISLAND – TelEm Group’s mobile provider, TelCell, today (Ed Thursday, March 12) informed customers and the public about an expected interruption in TelCell’s voice and data mobile service due to a scheduled maintenance window tonight (Thursday).

The maintenance window will affect 2G voice and data service only, therefore mobile voice and data customers utilizing the 3G network will not be affected.

The maintenance window will be used to replace faulty cards associated with the Enhanced Base Station Control (eBSC).

Work will commence at 11:00 pm and is scheduled to be completed at 2:00 am Friday morning.

The maintenance window is being coordinated by Manager, Network Operations, Mr. Julien Lake. (TelEm)

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Permanent Committee on Environment scheduled to meet Friday with Nature Foundation

PHILIPSBURG – ThePermanent Committee of Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure of Parliament, will meet in public session on March 13

The Permanent Committee meeting is set for Friday at 10.00am in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.

The agenda point is related to a presentation by the Nature Foundation of St. Maarten on a proposal to protect trees.

Members of the public are invited to the House of Parliament to attend parliamentary deliberations. 

The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House in Philipsburg.

The parliamentary session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 120, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet www.pearlfmradio.com and via www.sxmparliament.org. 

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Government remains committed towards its vision for a “one-stop shop” concept for its products and services

SIMPSON BAY - The Department Head of the Public Service Center, Emilia Thomas recently returned from a working visit to the Netherlands, where she visited the public service centers in the Municipalities of The Hague, Zoetermeer and Stichtse Vecht. 

The purpose of the visit was to (re)-establish working rapport with said municipalities in view of Government’s commitment to improve its efficiency and vision to further expand its services to the public by creating a “one-stop shop” operation. The visit to the Netherlands was co-coordinated by Perry Geerlings, Director at the Office of the Minister Plenipotentiary in The Hague.

Thomas said that the trip was extremely successful. We were able to view first-hand the front- and back office operations at the respective centers. Presentations were made by various management teams about their operation’s success as well some of their challenges.

One of the highlights during the visit was that to the Call Center at the “Stadsdeelkantoor Centrum” in The Hague. Call Centers in the Netherlands are part of the normal operations at the public service centers. The purpose of these centers is to assist all citizens by providing pertinent information about all government services and products.

This information can range from inquiries with regard to the application of processing of a passport; to a citizen reporting about uncollected household waste, making an appointment for a service or informing about requirements for applying for study financing just to name a few. 

It was an impressive operation that we were able to witness at these Centers. The use of (innovative) modern technology, online- and digitalized service processes are standard, which ensures that effective and efficient services are provided to all.  Government’s ICT Information Analyst, Caren Matthew also travelled along on this working visit to witness first-hand how the systems used there could work within the Government of Sint Maarten’s infrastructure.

Thomas said that the way we provide services to our citizens are changing especially in view of new technological advances. The visit clearly underscored the need to focus on improving access to government services and information through the integration and the seamless workflow of the various processes.  As stated before, this form of service delivery aims to bring government services and information together in a way that it is easily accessible to all. Citizen’s service satisfaction is our ultimate goal. This is the premise on which the Public Service Center St. Maarten was established.  

Thomas said that it is our intention going forward to learn from the experiences and make use of the expertise as witness at the public service centers in the Netherlands.

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Minister Bourne-Gumbs calls on nation to join DOET by becoming a volunteer to build a better country

PHILIPSBURG – Minister of Education, Culture, Youth & Sports Hon. Rita Bourne-Gumbs on Tuesday evening made a public appeal calling on the nation to join the organization DOET which is in the process of attracting volunteers.

“I hereby call on you to join DOET, in taking a positive approach towards building a better St. Maarten for yourselves and our children. 

“Demonstrate your confidence by fully supporting, the initiatives of this organization. In doing that, we will surely get one step closer to nurturing the unity among St. Maarteners. We do have a lot to accomplish on our journey for greatness, as the world continues to pay close attention.

“Via DOET and other similar initiatives we can all ease the challenges we face in our society. All it will take is a little effort.

“As a unified people, let’s organize and help make the difference with enthusiasm and determination to follow through with our efforts. We will only have total success at improving our precious little St. Maarten, with progressive critical efforts from all of our people.

“Please do not hesitate to step up to your individual responsibility to help make that difference for yourself and our children.

“Remember we can indeed achieve anything we put our minds to, as we work together to lift St. Maarten to greater heights. May God continue to bless us all, and Bless St. Maarten,” Minister Bourne-Gumbs said on Tuesday.

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Closed Door Central Committee Meeting scheduled for Thursday about Central Bank

PHILIPSBURG – TheCentral Committee of Parliament will meet in a closed door session on March 12 regarding a study that was carried out about the Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten (CBCS)

The Central Committee meeting is set for Thursday at 2.00pm in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.

The agenda point is a discussion about the PricewaterhouseCoopers report that was made about CBCS.

The Minister of Finance Hon. Martin Hassink will be present for the House session which is not open to the public due to the sensitivity of the report content. 

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Arrindell Extends Congratulations to all Female Participants, Winner and Organizers in Heineken Regatta. Peridot Foundation issues Message in relation to International Women’s Day

PHILIPSBURG - Gracita R. Arrindell, Founder of the Peridot Foundation states, “First we take this opportunity to extend heartfelt congratulations to all the female participants, winners and organizers of the 35th Heineken Regatta on Sint Maarten. Happy International Women’s Day greetings go out as well to all Honorable female Members of Parliament, Minister and support staff of Parliament and Government.

The celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8th is commemorated each year by millions of people around the world. Sint Maarten is no exception.

Peridot Foundation continues to join this yearly commemoration including this year’s theme chosen by the United Nations, (UN) is Quote:  “Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity, Picture It!”, as U.N. Secretary General Ban- Ki Moon stated, “Envisions a world where each women and girl can exercise her choices such as participating in politics, getting an education having an income and living in societies free from violence and discrimination”.

Arrindell states; “as we pause and reflect on the objective of this message, it is clear that in this 21st century, women of all walks of life in all parts of the world have yet to experience and enjoy a minimum level of Humanity. Violence and discrimination against women and children are still rampant in our societies. Brazenly and covertly.

“How can we move faster from the stage of ‘imagination to improve and empower, (Picture it!)  to the stage of actually empowering hundreds of millions of women and girls. Or empower starting with one?

This challenge is not an easy task to achieve. In spite of the introduction and digital revolution of social media through the internet, connecting even the most remote areas of the world, steps and programs aimed at empowering women and girls must increase. These efforts must remain on the front burner of our social agenda’s.

Today, there are more NGO’s international and local, celebrities or even a single individual since 1908 that have fought for equal rights for women, or embraced the fight to eradicate violence against women and children. Yet, empowering women, by extension empowering humanity, remains a painfully slow progress. Not in the least due to lack of funds, or still believe it or not, lack of empathy.”

Gracita concludes; “just recently we were once more made aware of the need to find temporary living accommodation (not to be confused with a shelter) to assist women, many with children, who had the courage to leave an abusive relationship. Finding affordable housing has been and still is a serious issue on Sint Maarten. Finding or building a suitable location, thereby empowering humanity right here, we can do it!”

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Ladies Basketball Championship Finals Begin

SUCKER GARDEN - The Ladies Basketball Championship March Madness continued last Friday, March 6 in game 3 of the final 4 as all 4 teams fought for a spot in the championship round.

The suspenseful night began with a game between MGM Lightning and Thunderz. The game was tight in the first and was tied at the half. The Thunderz used a 9-0 in the third to increase their lead and even though MGM Lightning fought back it was too late. Thunderz won the game 35-32 and advanced to the finals.Thunderz was led by Chantel Hodge with 21 Points, 6 Rebounds, 1 Steal, Yolanda Jeffers with 6 Points, 13 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 3 Steals and Joyette Lloyd 3 Points, 12 Rebounds, 6 Steals, 1 Assist.

MGM Lightning was led by Jamaiah Newton-Herbert with 10 Points, 5 Rebounds, 3 Asts, 3 Stls, Shandria Lake with 8 Points, 6 Rebounds, 1 Assist and Micaela Galva with 6 Points, 3 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 2 Steals.

The second game of the night was between Cash 4 Gold Lava Girls and Learning Unlimited. The game was tight throughout and was tied after the third quarter. Cash 4 Gold Lava Girls started the quarter on a huge run to blow the game open and in turn win the series. Cash 4 Gold Lava Girls Won 59-37 and was led by Claudia Fleming with 20 points, 11 Rebounds, 10 Assists, 5 Steals, Selah Fleming with 20 Points, 6 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 2 Steals and Diasha Ferdinand with 12 Points, 4 Rebounds, 4 Steals, 1 Assist. 
Learning Unlimited was led by Daricia Arrindell with 17 Points, 2 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 2 Steals, Jakisha Brooks with 9 Points, 19 Rebounds, 3 Steals, 1 Assist & 1 Block and Rachael Degroot with 9 points, 12 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 2 Steals

The Championship started on Sunday between the two top teams in the Ladies Basketball Championship. Cash 4 Gold Lava Girls took the lead in the first quarter and never looked back. They led by 7 at the half and outscored Thunderz by 12 in the third quarter to blow open the game and win 57-32 in game 1 of the best of 5 series.


Cash 4 Gold Lava Girls was led by Wendy Jack with 19 points, 13 Rebounds, 3 Steals and 1 assist and block, Diasha Ferdinand with 10 points, 6 rebounds and 5 steals and Claudia Fleming with 12 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals and 1 assist.


Thunderz was led by Joyette Lloyd with 16 points, 11 rebounds, 4 steals, 1 assist and 1 block and Chantel Hodge with 10 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 Steals.

Game 2 will take place on Friday March 13th at 7pm, game 3 on Sunday March 15th at 5pm after the LBC Celebrity game rematch at 3pm at Melford Hazel Sports Complex in Sucker Garden.

Come out and support your team to victory!

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Bishop Ellis gets foodstuff from Island Gems

PHILIPSBURG - Bishop Ellis Foundation for the Poor and Needy recently gave members of the island’s oldest charity Island Gems Charity Foundation a tour of its warehouse and information about its work on combating poverty on St. Maarten.

Island Gems had donated US $700 worth of non-perishable food items to Bishop Ellis Foundation to help keep its shelves stocked with basic necessities. The foundation submitted a funding request to Island Gems, motivating its need and outlining what items were needed.

The just over a decade-old Bishop Ellis Foundation caters to some 200 persons, who require food assistance on a monthly basis. Persons receiving food assistance are helped with food boxes, containing staples, such as rice, flour and sugar, of which the quantities depend on the number of persons in the household.

The assistance is rendered for three months, after which the applicant is removed from the list. Bishop Ellis Foundation’s representatives explained this is done to not let people “become reliant on handouts and understand the need to get their life back on track.”

Bishop Ellis Foundation has carried out its work for much of its existence with international aid. However, the aid came to an end over a year ago, after its donor said its supporters were questioning why “a rich country like St. Maarten required assistance.”

After struggling through, Bishop Ellis Foundation, a non-denominational group, is now a grant recipient from St. Maarten Development Foundation (SMDF). That funding should sustain the food programme for another year.

People, who are interested in learning more about this food programme, can call 542-2303.

Island Gems has assisted other similar “food banks” over the years on both sides of the island.

The all-women group applauds the work of Bishop Ellis Foundation, especially for its stance on not keeping people in a needy situation. The funds used to purchase the food, comes from Island Gems’s annual fundraising dinner. The dinner is the only fundraising activity the Gems host annually. This year’s costume gala dinner, themed “Caribbean Creole,” will be at Captain Oliver’s Restaurant in Oyster Pond onSaturday, March 28.

A line-up of St. Maarten’s best entertainers and talents will keep the evening lively and fun. Performers include The York Generations on steel pan, Lomeno “DJ Fun-Ten” Brison, Arias, and Master of Ceremonies Leroy “King Beau Beau” Brooks.

A very limited number tickets is available for the gala dinner. Tickets cost US $125 each and are available from Island Gems members. (Island Gems)

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Massive Manhunt Underway for Shooter in Alleged Dutch Gangster Murder

SURINAME — Police in Suriname have launched a massive manhunt after a 37-year-old alleged gangster was gunned down execution style early Monday morning in a nightclub just north of the capital Paramaribo.

In a bid to get information from the public, police released security camera footage, showing how Dutch national Marchano Pocorni was murdered.

Around 3.15 am, the two hit-men ventured leisurely into Café Shisha Lounge, walked directly to the victim, pulled out their guns and fired several shots at him from very close range. Pocorni was hit at least twice in the head, while he was also shot in the hip and one leg. The perpetrators subsequently ran from the scene and disappeared, possibly in a getaway car waiting nearby.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Acting Chief of Police, Agnes Daniel, said that in the meantime authorities in neighbouring countries were informed and asked for assistance. Also the Dutch judicial authorities were informed.

According to several newspapers and other media in the Netherlands, Pocorni was a notorious criminal in Amsterdam and suspected of being involved of the killing of another gangster in Antwerp, Belgium.

He allegedly shot and killed fellow criminal Najeb Bouhboub in front of a hotel in Antwerp on October 18, 2012. In October last year Pocorni was the target in a botched assassination attempt in a bar in Amsterdam. He escaped unhurt in that shooting.

Pocorni allegedly fled the Netherlands to seek refuge in Suriname.

“We want to reassure the public that the police will track down and arrest the perpetrators of this heinous crime”, Daniel said at the press briefing.

Pocorni’s killing is the fourth murder registered in 2015 by the Suriname police. 

By Ivan Cairo

Caribbean News Now contributor

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Soccer players enjoyed another great day of games

BELVEDERE - During the Heineken Regatta weekend the games continued at the Johan Cruijff Court in Belvedere. It was a beautiful but windy day, which challenged the players regarding their technical skills.

On this day also the last games were played in the A and B pools of the 9+U category and the 13+U category. After the first round one team each in the 9+U and 13+U category will be eliminated. The results and standings will follow in the beginning of the week, as well as the new schedule for the teams in these categories.

Results of Saturday March 7, 2015:

Game 1: Category 7+U

Sr. Regina vs Sr. Magda Greenboys: result 0 – 1 (at halftime 0 - 1)

The lone goal of the game was scored by Sr. Magda Greenboys in the first few minutes of the game. The goal scorer was Elaijah Baker after an assist by Jayden Blomont. After the quick goal both teams were able to counter each other’s moves with sublime defensive efforts.

Game 2: Category 7+U

Dr. Martin Luther King vs Sr. Magda Rockstars: result 0 – 2 (forfeit)

A friendly game was played with the one player of Dr. Martin Luther King who showed up on time and Sr. Regina players present who were willing to play a second game. Therefore the shirts of Sr. Regina were used in order to put on a uniform looking team, which explains the accompanying pictures. In the second half of the game Dr. Martin Luther King players replaced all the Sr. Regina players on the field.

Game 3: Category 13+U

Charles Leopold Bell vs Dr. Martin Luther King: result 6 – 0 (at halftime 5 - 0)

Top scorers Charles Leopold Bell: Abijah Adamson and Trace Fisher both scored 2 goals and made 2 assists.

Dr. Martin Luther King team valiantly regrouped in the second half after the disastrous first half, but was unable to put one between the posts. A great effort from both teams.

Game 4: Category 9+U

Leonald Connor vs Sr. Magda Athletics: result 0 – 1 (at halftime 0 - 1)

The lone goal scorer for Sr. Magda Athletics was Gianni Fer. The game was a nail biter as both teams created numerous opportunities, which were voided by great defensive plays by the defenders and the goal keepers on both sides of the pitch.    

Game 5: Category 9+U

Combine Silly Shooters vs Dr. Martin Luther King: result 7 – 1 (at halftime 1 - 1)

Top scorer Combine Silly Shooters: Xabel Dias with 5 goals.

The lone goal scorer for Dr. Martin Luther King was Richie Ellis.

During the first half Dr. Martin Luther King put up a good fight against the offensive onslaught of the Combine Silly Shooters skilled forwards. At halftime the score was tied. After some strategic directions at halftime the Combine Silly Shooters were able to breach the Dr. Martin Luther King defenses in the second half. The change in tactics proved to be very successful resulting in the one-sided looking end score of the game.

Game 6: Category 9+U

Learning Unlimited vs Sr. Regina New Stars: result 9 – 1 (at halftime 7 - 0)

Top scorers Learning Unlimited: Sharky Nowek with 5 goals and 1 assist and Connor Scripps-Ewing with 3 goals and 2 assists.

The lone goal scorer for Sr. Regina New Stars was Thomas Plas. The Sr. Regina New Stars were unable to put the ball in the back of the net until the end of the game when Thomas Plas finally managed to put it past the L.U.’s goal keeper. A feat which he appropriately celebrated, because the New Stars really tried hard to make a goal and definitely deserved to get rid of the nil.

Game 7: Category 9+U

Sr. Regina Masters vs Charles Leopold Bell: result 2 – 6 (at halftime 0 - 5)

Top scorers Charles Leopold Bell: Bernardo Nisbeth-Lopez with 3 goals and 3 assists and Davare Gray with 2 goals and 3 assists. Charles Leopold Bell played great in their new uniforms.

Goal scorer Sr. Regina Masters: Ishrael Charles with 2 goals after 1 assist by Alexander Mulder.

Game 8: Category 11+U

Sr. Regina Goal Getters vs Learning Unlimited Legends:  result 2 – 0 (forfeit)

Learning Unlimited Legends did not have enough eligible players. A friendly game was played versus a team of volunteers.

Game 9: Category 11+U

Sr. Regina United vs Learning Unlimited Goal Machines: result 3 – 12 (at halftime 1 - 6)

Top scorer Learning Unlimited Goal Machines: Noah Ledee with 4 goals and 3 assists

Goal scorers Sr. Regina United: Divano Job with 2 goals and Tomas Bouman with 1 goal.

Game 10: Category 13+U

SXM Schools United vs Genevieve de Weever: result 3 – 6 (at halftime 2 - 4)

Top scorer Genevieve de Weever: Jamard Fleming with 4 goals. Allen Rodrick was instrumental to the win with 4 assists.

Goal scorers SXM Schools United: Jean Jacques Craane with 2 goals and Gilmar Blackman with 1 goal and 1 assist.

SXM Schools United put on a great game with only four players versus a strong Genevieve de Weever.

Game 11: Category 13+U

Leonald Connor vs Sr. Magda United Stars: result 9 - 2 (at halftime 4 - 0)

Top scorers Leonald Connor: Gamy Charles with 5 goals and Isael Medina-Bran with 3 goals and 1 assist.

Goal scorer Sr. Magda United Stars: Jolian Peterson with 2 goals after 1 assist by Paul Speetjens.

A strong game by the Leonald Connor side who dominated the game from the start. It was not until the end of the game when Sr. Magda was able to pass Leonald Connor’s goal keeper Bernard Nisbeth. Bernard Nisbeth displayed great keeper skills with swift reflexes and amazing saves.

Games will continue on Saturday, March 14, 2015.

A general remark regarding the forfeiting of games due to incomplete teams (less than 4 eligible players at game time):

It is not possible to grant a team additional time before starting a game besides the time stated in the rules and regulations of the tournament. It would otherwise be impossible to stay within the allotted time frame for all the games to take place during the game day.

On average 12 games are played each game day, an additional five minute delay for each game would already amount to one hour of delay at the end of the day. The organization is ensuring that all the games start on time. As such there is no reason why teams should not be present at the scheduled time, since these times are communicated way in advance to the teams.

A five minutes respite is already given to the teams in accordance to the rules for which the game schedule makes allowances. It is therefore important that teams do not cut it close when considering transportation and preparation times before their games.

At all times the organization tries to arrange a friendly game to make it possible that all those that showed responsible behavior are rewarded for doing so. Parents are especially encouraged to support their child’s timely attendance.

It is not nice for the teammates, the coach and their opponents, that players do not show up on time or are absent without giving prior notice. There is only so much that coaches and the organization can do to facilitate each team’s attendance. It needs to be supported by all involved.

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