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Prime Minister Jacobs issues National 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season Message

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – On the eve of the start of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, Chair of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) issued her national message to the nation.

“My Fellow Sint Maarteners,

Another hurricane season is before us. The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season traditionally begins on June 1st and ends on November 30th. We are faced with this challenge every year.

“Our country sits in a disaster-prone hurricane risk area. Therefore, we must prepare and be ready! This is a call to action and the time is now to put things into motion.

“Forecasters have stated that we can expect a busy hurricane season. This season is already off to an early start with the formation of the first two named storms forming, namely Arthur and Bertha off the U.S. east coast within the past two weeks.

“This shows the unpredictability of these powerful weather systems, and it further demonstrates that we must be ready at all times throughout the hurricane season.

“This season commences as we continue to go through the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the measures that we have taken as a Government back in March, our country’s COVID-19 situation has been brought under control prior to the start of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season.

“With our phased de-escalation process currently underway, residents are able to prepare for the hurricane season by visiting the hardware stores and other entities such as insurance companies etc., making sure that you prepare early and have things in place before the peak months of the season.

“The time to prepare is now! You are preparing under a new reality, and a new normal. COVID-19 has changed the way we do things and the way we interact with each other. A prepared community means a resilient nation, ensuring a quick recovery in the event we are impacted by mother nature.

“The Government’s Disaster Management Organization has been preparing since early May. All emergency support functions have been preparing their plans for this season in order to safeguard the nation. Hurricane preparation is not only a prerogative of Government, but an individual, family and business responsibility.

“Individually and collectively, we strengthen our preparedness against any disaster or crisis, and COVID-19 is testament to this. As a people you adhered to our advice coming from our health care professionals and other relevant emergency support functions during the past four months who are part of our country’s disaster management system.

“When making your preparations for the hurricane season, you must also keep in mind COVID-19 and the hygiene measures that you must follow daily to protect yourself and your family.

“When preparing your Disaster Kit and “grab-bag,” you have to make sure to include hand sanitizer, soap bar or liquid soap; two cloth face coverings for each person; disinfecting wipes, or general household cleaning supplies to disinfect surfaces. These are all COVID-19 requirements besides the other necessities such as water, batteries, flashlight, radio, medicine, non-perishable foods etc.

“Do not become complacent this hurricane season. Follow the preparedness messages and advice coming from our emergency support functions. Careful preparation will make a huge difference and remain vigilant throughout the season. Stay informed and follow official government information channels for instructions.

“Remember, it only takes one to make it a bad hurricane season. I appeal to everyone including the business community, to make sure you are ready for the season.

“Start preparing from now, and remember, we are a resilient people and a resilient nation, and because of our collective preparation, this will allow us to overcome as we have done in the past, because of a collective resiliency based on how well we are prepared.

“Prepare well and be prepared! May we have a safe 2020 Atlantic hurricane season.

Thank you, and May God Bless our Sint Maarten Land.”

Hurricane Season Related Information

The community is urged to learn more about hurricane hazards and how to prepare for a storm/hurricane strike by visiting the Government website: www.sintmaartengov.org/hurricane where you will be able to download your “Hurricane Season Readiness Guide’ and “Hurricane Tracking Chart.”

In addition, you can also download the ‘Disasterprep Sint Maarten’ app for Android and Apple phones by going to the Google and Apple stores.

The remaining storm names for the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season are: Christobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo, Hanna, Isaias, Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paulette, René, Sally, Teddy, Vicky, and Wilfred.

Listen to the Government Radio station – 107.9FM - for official information and news before, during and after a hurricane.

For official weather-related information, check out the website of the Meteorological Department of St. Maarten (MDS): www.meteosxm.com

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Minister Doran informs public about large scale district cleanup to start in July

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Minister of VROMI, E.J. Doran informs the general public, that following the many district cleanups that have already been taking place island wide, a large scale general cleanup schedule has been put in place, which is set to be executed during the months of July and August upcoming, and will be rounded off in time for the peak of the hurricane season.

Each district will be assigned a date on which they can dispose of unwanted debris. This debris must be placed curbside or at designated central bin locations. Debris in private yards, will not be collected by the haulers. Car wrecks will also not be collected by the haulers.

The Ministry of VROMI has arranged special provisions for senior citizens and disabled persons in need of assistance.

These persons are encouraged to contact Ms. C. Hazel at +17215207023 or Mr. Schaminee at +17215207028 at the Department of Infrastructure Management at the Ministry of VROMI.

The Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (VROMI), encourages the general public to pay keen attention to the districts cleanup schedule and to adhere to the disposal rules.
This schedules will be forwarded to the various community councils on the island in order to be distributed in the districts.

In regards to the above mentioned notice, Minister of VROMI, E.J. Doran urges residents to take advantage of this advanced notice, in order to properly gather all debris in your area, and have it ready to be disposed of, avoiding or minimizing damage to property and human life for this 2020 Hurricane Season.

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MP Buncamper calls for urgent meeting about Trust Fund programs and projects status

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Friday, May 29th, 2020, United St. Maarten Party (USP) Member of Parliament (MP) Claudius Buncamper sent an email to the President of Parliament MP Rolando Brison requesting an urgent meeting regarding the still pending National Program Recovery Bureau (NRPB) programs and projects.

The email suggests that it is imperative that the Prime Minister is invited to the meeting, accompanied by the NRPB directorate and any other support staff desired by the prime minister.

MP Buncamper's request was supported by MP Akeem Arrindell (USP), MP Sarah Wescot-Williams (United Democrats (UD), MP Melissa Gumbs (Party for Progress (PFP), MP Raeyhon Peterson (PFP), and MP Christophe Emmanuel (National Alliance (NA).

The meeting serves to allow the Prime Minister and her support staff to provide an update on a number of pending issues, such as the various approved projects and programs of the trust fund that are yet to be implemented, the upcoming 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season which officially starts on June 1st and jump starting the country's economy.

The agenda points allow also for clarification on the lack of approval of a number of programs that are beneficial to the economic growth of the country, while emphasis is placed also on the Focus Audit which was done by the General Audit Chamber of St. Maarten in May referencing "The Reconstruction Funds for St. Maarten".

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Curfew now from 11.00pm to 5.00am. Businesses can open on Saturdays and Sundays

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) advised and the Council of Ministers decided that movement should be allowed on Saturday, May 30, 2020, and that the curfew hours be adjusted from 11:00 PM until 5:00 AM.

Additionally, businesses will be allowed to open on Sunday as well in accordance with the Ministerial Regulation signed on May 29, 2020, 0324 implementing the changes to Phase 3 which now begins today Saturday, May 30, 2020.

The Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs stated on Saturday that, “I know many work up wondering, but we had to make sure in publishing it first which was published today and now everyone is aware that Saturday and Sundays are now open days as well.

“There was much debate whether tomorrow would be open or not and so I would like to tell the people of St. Maarten it will not be feasible to open if you stay at home. It is still your prerogative to do your shopping and other essential services from Monday to Saturday even though some places will be opening prior to the lockdown on a Sunday.  

“I believe we have learned a lot of lessons thru this COVID-19 reality and the value of family and spending as much time as possible together should remain our focus even as we move forward in reopening our businesses.”

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Leadercast Live 2020 Attendees Empowered To Overcome Challenges of Covid-19

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - "I must express my gratitude to this year's Leadercast. It was so on target. This is what we needed to prepare us for the reopening of our island. As we have had time to reflect or are still reflecting on the information and encouragement shared, today was on the button. Whatever we do must be a community effort. Trust yourself, plan, do a SWOT and go for it!"

These glowing comments were shared by Clara Curiel, an educator and manager on May 7th, 2020, after experiencing Leadercast Live virtually, in the comfort of her home.

Leadercast is the world’s largest one day leadership conference streamed live from Atlanta Georgia, to hundreds of host sites around the world, including Victorious Living Foundation ((VLF). VLF is the non-profit organization based on St. Maarten and headed by Dr. Erna Mae Francis Cotton its visionary. This is the eighth year that VLF has been hosting Leadercast, designed to create leaders who are worth following.

The theme this year was “Positive Disruption.” Leaders of all levels were called upon to shake up the status quo and drive opportunities for innovation and change. The message that echoed through each of the nine influential change-makers who graced the Leadercast stage was: “As leaders we must not fear disruption, we must embrace it. We must face it head on with determination and focus.”

Veteran educator of 54 years and forthcoming author of, In Emilio Wilson Park with Uncle Joe, Oswald Francis, said this of the conference:

"Leadercast 2020 was exceptional. I have heard of this prestigious conference before and decided to participate this year. It was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. The presenters were dynamic; the information was practical, current and very useful. Every presenter was impressive and the nuggets received were invaluable. My favourites are Andy Stanley, Richard Montanez and Magic Johnson. I recommend that all and sundry become part of the Leadercast family."

Francis and the 35 participants who attended Leadercast Live through Victorious Living, learned powerful navigational tools for bouncing back and coping in the midst of Covid-19.

Andy Stanley—Best-Selling Author and Leadership Communicator shared the following powerful nugget which should be embraced by leaders locally, regionally, and globally.

“In times of disruption, clarity is the next best thing to certainty. People crave certainty. No matter how good you are as a leader, you cannot provide certainty. It is beyond our control. We can promise it but we can’t guarantee it. While we can’t provide certainty we can provide credibility. Information doesn’t usually create panic. Withholding information is what often creates panic. It forces people to seek information from unreliable sources; then there is misinformation, conflicting information and that’s what causes people to panic. But information from someone who has authority and access to more information helps to provide clarity; though it doesn’t remove uncertainty.”

Considering how extremely vital Leadercast is to the growth of our nation, Victorious Living will re-broadcast Leadercast on October 9th during VLF’s Leadership Summit from October 9th to 10th at the Simpson Bay Resort Conference Room. Space is limited, as persons have already begun registering for this transformational event.

For more information, or to register, persons may call 1-721-524-8731 or visit https://www.victoriouslivingfoundation.com/441333998 and click the registration link.

LEAD Participants Engaged at Leadercast 2019 with Gayle King INS1

Participants Engaged at Leadercast 2019 with Gayle King.

 

 

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WIB EXTENDS MORATORIUM TO THE END OF AUGUST

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Windward Islands Bank (WIB) continues to support clients in difficult times and has opted to automatically extend the moratorium with 3 months (June, July and August 2020) to provide immediate financial relief to our customers, with no additional charges and or interest.

During the months of June, July and August 2020 WIB will extend the moratorium on Personal Loans, Commercial Loans, Mortgage Loans & Credit Cards. This entails that the client’s monthly payment (on principal and interest) will be deferred for 3 more months (June, July & August) whereby the initial loan term will be extended with the same number of months as the additional grace period. The monthly payments (principal and interest) remain the same.

For Sint Maarten clients including commercial clients on Statia and Saba, the adjustment will be done automatically while Statia and Saba clients with personal loans, personal mortgages and personal credit cards, need to Opt-In if they want to make use of this moratorium (loans and mortgages in arrears for more than 90 consecutive days are not eligible for the moratorium).

OPT-OUT SINT MAARTEN

Clients who do not wish to make use of this moratorium offer and who would like to maintain their current payment agreement, have the option to opt-out. This can be done by filling in an opt-out form via our website: www.wib-bank.net, or by submitting an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling us at 546-2942.

OPT-IN STATIA & SABA (Personal Loans, Personal Mortgages and Personal Credit Cards)

Clients who wish to make use of this moratorium offer, have the option to opt-in. This can be done by filling in an opt-in form via our website or by submitting an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling us at 546-2942.

Important note: The opt-in requests for Statia and Saba is applicable for personal loans, personal mortgages and personal credit cards only and will be evaluated as per the stipulated lending guidelines of the Bank. The clients will be duly informed of the decision.  

When submitting your request, please indicate your full first name, last name, address and phone number (fixed and/or mobile) and provide the loan number of each respective loan and/or mortgage and/ or credit card number to which the opt-in is applicable to. The correct information is required for your request to be processed accordingly.

Corporate Clients for Sint Maarten, Statia and Saba that are wishing to Opt-out are requested to email

Mr. Vasco Daal at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

At Windward Islands Bank, we continue doing our utmost to assist you with your financial needs in these difficult times.

For further assistance:

For additional information please contact the Bank through our contact center: +1(721)-5462942 and/or e-mail us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For bank updates and information on our services follow us on Facebook: WIB Windward Islands Bank or visit our website www.wib-bank.net

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K1 Britannia volunteers organize fundraiser to make needed food-packages for vulnerable families

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - This coming Saturday, on May 30th, dozens of local and international artists are coming together to raise funds for K1 Britannia Foundation’s Disaster Relief and Crisis Team, K1 DIRECT through its online event, “Mobilize Sint Maarten Through Music.”

K1 DIRECT has been instrumental in providing much-needed food and hygiene packages for vulnerable families on Sint Maarten since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. To continue to do their work, more funds are needed.

To generate these funds, K1 DIRECT’s volunteers decided to organize an online show featuring popular artists and other surprises. Musicians, volunteers and companies are uniting to help our community. This online fundraiser will offer an evening of extraordinary music and introduce you to K1’s efforts. We are going to celebrate the beauty, variety and kindness that we have to offer as a destination,” explains Roy Van Zutphen, K1 DIRECT volunteer who is one of the leaders of the fundraiser.

K1 DIRECT, with the help of around 50 volunteers, has been making and delivering food and hygiene packages to vulnerable families in response to the corona crisis. “With the collaboration of government and donations, we have been able to deliver over 4500 food and hygiene packages so far. The need remains great, as a growing number of persons continue to struggle financially,” expresses Alan Schet, Co-Manager of K1 DIRECT.

The online show and fundraiser will premiere on K1 Britannia Foundation’s Facebook page (@K1SXM) on May 30 at 7pm. Persons can make donations by surfing to www.k1britanniafoundation.org and clicking on “donate now” to donate via online bank transfer, credit card or PayPal. Donations are also possible via TelEm text message.

Roy: “Many companies are showing their support by providing amazing prizes to encourage contributions. Any contributor will be eligible to win a variety of great prizes, including: a 7-night stay at Holland House Beach Hotel or the Belair Beach Hotel, a weekend-stay at Simpson Bay Resort & Marina, a luxury catamaran trip, a zipline experience at Loterie Farm, and more.” The prize winners will be chosen and announced live on Thursday June 4th at 8:30 am on Island 92 (91.9fm, or online at www.Island92.com).

Scheduled to perform on Saturday night’s “Mobilize Sint Maarten Through Music” are Orange Grove, Guilda, Mister T, King James, DJ Outkast, Funky Horny Horns, DJ EM, DJ BigBoss, Shady Brothers, JonnyGuy, Percy Rankin, Avocado Pie, Kainos, Gianfranco & Lee, Ebony Empress, Malaika Maxwell, and many more - promising a wide variety of music and entertainment for the evening. Some artists will be releasing new music, and you will be able to see them perform in the intimate setting of their home or studio.

“We are so appreciative of all volunteers, artists and companies that are making this fundraiser happen and we hope that the show will generate a lot of positivity and donations. Every dollar will go towards K1’s efforts to ensure that every person in our community has enough to eat,” says Co-Manager of K1 DIRECT Priya Thirumur.

For more information, head to: www.facebook.com/k1sxm. Those interested in donating, providing prizes, or performing during the fundraiser are encouraged to send a message to K1 Britannia Foundation or call +1-721-553-8186.

K1 DIRECT COVID 19 Food Hygiene Packages INS1

K1 DIRECT COVID 19 Food Hygiene Packages Senior Distribution INS2

K1 Volunteers INS3

 

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COM to deliberate Dutch proposal for financial assistance with Parliament

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The Council of Minister (COM) of St. Maarten has received a proposal from the Kingdom Council of Ministers on the liquidity support for St. Maarten to be able to carry out the Sint Maarten Stimulus and Relief Plan (SSRP).

On Tuesday, May 12, 2020, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte, Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra and State Secretary Raymond Knops, in a hastily called meeting with the Prime Ministers of the Dutch Caribbean via video conference, verbally outlined the intentions of the Netherlands to assist the countries in this time of crisis and beyond.

This discussion was held without documentation or specifics pertaining to the content of what would be proposed. While the Prime Ministers were given an opportunity to give feedback, it was without clear knowledge or understanding of what was on the table. We were informed that the proposal would be added to the agenda for the Kingdom Council of Ministers meeting on May 15, 2020.

Finally, on Thursday May 14, the official documentation was received by the Council of Ministers. In less than 24 hours, the Council of Ministers had to finalise its response in an instruction to the Minister Plenipotentiary Rene Violenus so that it could be presented in the Kingdom Council of Ministers meeting of May 15, 2020.

This was less than sufficient time to prepare St. Maarten’s position, considering the grave and far reaching consequences for Parliament, civil servants, all government subsidized entities, government owned companies, unions and the people of St. Maarten in general.

“Some of the proposed conditions can be attained within the time frame and were already included in our proposal to the unions. However, a number of these conditions set out by the Dutch government are unattainable in this timeframe and do not consider our economic position, especially as we are still in the recovery stages after Hurricane Irma.

“Moreover, legislative amendments are required in order to comply with a number of these conditions which will affect a large number of the population and stakeholders whom we have not had a chance to meet and will not be able to meet before an answer is expected on Wednesday,” concluded Prime Minister Jacobs.

Prime Minister Jacobs is scheduled to be in a Plenary Public session of Parliament today at 3:00 PM in order to bring Parliament up to speed on the proposal made by the Netherlands. This meeting will also serve as an oppotunity for the government to garner the support of Parliament on the way forward.

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Economic Recovery Group Formed. Minister de Weever Calls on All Stakeholders to Come Together

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Telecommunications and Transport (Ministry TEATT) Ludmila de Weever, reached out to various stakeholders in the past several weeks to create an Economic Recovery Group with the aim of achieving a sustainable economic recovery as St. Maarten and the world begin to ease shutdown measures amid the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a statement from the cabinet of the minister on Sunday.

The diverse group comprises both up-and-coming and established professionals from the private and public sectors. They have offered to volunteer their expertise and collaborate with the common national goal of restoring economic activity and safeguarding the quality of life.

The intention is to maintain this group throughout the minister’s term and work closely with our partners in the hospitality, wholesale, retail, marine, and financial services sectors for the economic well-being and benefit of all St. Maarteners.

A revived economy means the return of jobs and income for the country’s workers and much needed revenue for the country’s government.

Minister De Weever emphasized that during a crisis of this magnitude, cooperation toward a common goal is necessary to achieve the best possible level of recovery.

She added that although the pandemic is an unprecedented public health and economic challenge, it can also present an opportunity to enhance St. Maarten’s tourism industry and improve the business and investment climate.

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No agreement reached on reopening border. Public transportation inspection continues

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Prime Minister and Chair of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Silveria Jacobs provided an update to the general public on Thursday, May 14, 2020, as part of the process to keep the community of St. Maarten informed about the latest developments and the Government’s COVID-19 containment, mitigation and response measures.  

COVID-19 Stats

Based on the latest available data provided by Collective Prevention Services (CPS) Epidemiologist Eva Lista-de Weever, for today, May 14, 2020, as of 4:00 PM, there have been no new reported COVID-19 confirmed cases. The data does, however, show an increase of one more person in self-quarantine and two more persons in self-isolation. 

The number of persons with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 currently hospitalized at the Mobile Medical Pavilion has decreased to two patients. Furthermore, CPS updates that its community outreach testing campaign continues in the community on Saturdays and Sundays as businesses are closed on these days. Contact tracing as needed to ensure that the virus is contained will also continue.  

No agreement reached on reopening border

A meeting between the governments of St. Maarten and St. Martin to synchronize the de-escalation measures took place this afternoon, May 14. During the meeting, both governments were able to give a presentation on their phased de-escalation plans with a special focus on educational institutions and public transportation in regard to school busses.

Also, discussed in the meeting was the synchronization of border control measures for each phase of the economic re-opening plans as well as proposals for border re-opening after community testing has taken place.

The governments of St. Maarten and St. Martin were not able to agree moving forward on the re-opening of the internal borders until further assessments are done regarding the medical and health aspects of the COVID-19 virus and its effect on the population in terms of community spread. Once this information has been gathered, both governments will meet next week, to further ascertain the date that the border controls will be lifted. The government of St. Martin shared that they are currently evaluating their school opening to see how many students will be returning.

However, this is being done before any further discussions take place at an executive level in regard to their students who reside on St. Maarten attending school on St. Martin. Despite St. Maarten’s government’s concern for these students, there was no agreement made for such. As per the schools on St. Maarten, only schools that have indicated that they will be re-opening will open. Therefore, parents are asked to stay updated and in contact with their child’s school.

Public transportation inspection continues

Public transportation busses continue to be inspected by the Ministry of TEATT and will be given the green light to commence working on the public roads as long as they meet the safety guidelines. However, they must remain within our Dutch borders until the government has finalized discussions with their French counterparts.

“As we are re-opening our economy in phases, things may seem to be reverting to normal. However, we cannot afford to become complacent, where our safety and the safety of our loved ones are concerned. Rather, we must maintain the personal protection guidelines always. I encourage you to educate your children about the new norm and ensure that they too understand and follow the safety guidelines. Most importantly, be an example to them in demonstrating this.

“Let us remember that mitigating the spread of COVID-19 depends on us all. I commend your efforts thus far as we continue to fight the COVID-19 virus, and encourage each of you to ensure that these practices are habitual for you and your family,” concluded Prime Minister Jacobs. The mitigation of the spread of the virus depends on the behaviour of the St. Maarten people. Let’s stop the spread of this virus together. Together we can! Stay blessed St. Maarten.

Corona Virus Daily Stats May 14

May 14

 

 

 

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