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Soualiga Newsday Top Stories (3079)

17 children win single-use plastics ban poster contest

SABA - Last month pupils of the Sacred Heart school (SHS) were asked to make a poster about plastic pollution, the upcoming ban on single-use plastic and to promote recycling. A winning poster was selected from each grade. As grade five stood out in terms of creativity, two winning posters were selected from that grade. 

The winners are: Grade 1 - Mason Keck and Collun Clegg, Grade 2 - G'marcus Wilson and D'marion Gomez, Grade 3 - Laryanny Del Carmen and Marisa Lucas, Grade 4 A - Meeka Winston and Chariella Hassell, Grade 4 B - Damian Richardson, Gabriel Ramirez and Bear Clegg, Grade 5 - Michaela Johnson and Kristin Zagers, and  Jayquan Charles and Shawn Barnes, Grade 6 - Kendra Gomez and Kerryann Simmons.

The names of the winners were announced during the official Saba Day program on Friday morning. The pupils received a loud applause from the audience. The pupils were asked to collect their prizes. The posters winning are displayed at the entrance of the Government Administration Building and the intention is to reprint the posters and to show them on different locations on the island.

A petite committee, consisting of Commissioner Rolando Wilson, Island Secretary Tim Muller and Head of the Government Information Services (GIS)/protocol officer Saskia Matthew, were asked to select the winners of each class.

Saba has a recycling system whereby residents and businesses separate recyclables such as glass, plastics, aluminum, metal cans, carton. These recyclables are further sorted at the landfill facilities where they are stored until they are ready to be shipped off the island. Tires, steel and household appliances are also recycled. To further reduce the amount of plastics, the Public Entity Saba is preparing a single-use plastics ban, to be implemented in 2020.

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The petite committee, consisting of Commissioner Rolando Wilson (left), Island Secretary Tim Muller (center) and Protocol/GIS Head Saskia Matthew (right) reviewing the posters of the primary school pupils.





SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Member of Parliament (MP), Wycliffe Smith, said that he is not pleased that the urgent public meeting, requested by his predecessor MP Claude Peterson of the Sint Maarten Christian Party (SMCP) Faction in Parliament, was postponed.

On October 23rd, 2019, former MP Peterson requested this urgent public meeting of Parliament with the Minister of VROMI to discuss the land situation with regard to Mr. Denicio Wyatte. Seven days later, on October 30th Peterson followed up with a second letter again requesting the urgent meeting. Eventually, this meeting was scheduled for December 6, 2019, a whole month later. So much for urgent public meetings!

Peterson had requested the Minister of VROMI to give a status update regarding the Government’s lease land or rental agreement with Mr. Wyatte. Over the years, Mr. Wyatte has been recognized locally, regionally and internationally for the great job that he has been doing to promote agriculture on Sint Maarten.

It is unfortunate that Wyatte has to undergo such uncertainty as to his legal claim to the land that he is currently using for his agricultural programs and projects. In his letter to the Chairman of Parliament, Peterson mentioned that Wyatte had “been living in uncertainty with his present [land] situation for the past few years and he has been a victim of the instability in Government and [the] changing of Ministers”.

Indeed, the current Minister of VROMI, Chris Wever, is the fourth Minister that Wyatte is now dealing with and he hopes that Wever will be able to offer a sustainable solution to the land problem. It is for this reason that former MP Peterson called for an urgent public meeting.

Member of Parliament, Wycliffe Smith, who is replacing former MP Peterson, also considers this meeting, which was called for Friday, December 6 at 2:00 pm of utmost importance. Even though MP Smith, together with MPs Wescott-Williams, Emmanuel and Brison, was selected to represent the Parliament in Saba at the Saba Day Celebrations on December 6th, Smith decided to cancel his flight to Saba and to stay to attend the public meeting.

When it comes to putting the people’s business first both Smith and Peterson have deferred traveling and given priority to matters pertaining to the people. As Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Smith is known to be the least traveled Minister.

In fact, MP Smith requested the Chairman of Parliament, via a letter dated Monday, December 2nd to reschedule the meeting for Thursday, December 5th if possible. However, in his letter MP Smith also made it clear to the Chairman that he would not travel to Saba to represent Parliament if the meeting could not be shifted. The following day, December 3rd, the Secretary General informed MP Smith that the meeting could not be rescheduled. Hence, MP Smith cancelled his flight to Saba so as to be able to attend Friday’s meeting.

Regrettably, on Friday morning, December 6th, the Public Meeting was postponed until further notice upon the request of the Minister of VROMI. What does this mean for Mr. Wyatte? How long will Parliament have to wait before another meeting is convened to get an update from the Minister of VROMI regarding the land lease agreement with Mr. Wyatte?  MP Smith says that he will be requesting the Chairman to reconvene this urgent meeting with the Minister before the Parliament goes on Christmas recess.


Crew member receives fine for undeclared money

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Friday the 06th of December 2019, during a routine check of the motor vessel Sea Hustler from St Kitts in the early morning hours, the border experts of the Customs Department encountered an undeclared amount of money totaling EC 21,255 and USD 10,838, the law enforcement body reported on Friday in a statement.

The money was found in several envelopes in the possession of a crewmember of the aforementioned vessel.

The money was initially confiscated, and the crewmember was interrogated. After the Customs officers determined that there was no ground to suspect the crewmember of money laundering, they contacted the Public Prosecutor.

The Public Prosecutor gave the crewmember a fine for not declaring the money to Customs upon his entry to Sint Maarten, the crewmember opted to pay the fine on the spot. The remainder of the money was returned to the crewmember after which he was allowed to go free.

The Customs department wishes to alert the public that any monetary instrument, jewelry and valuables with a value equivalent to or exceeding US$14,000 either entering or leaving Dutch Sint Maarten should be declared to Customs. Failure to do so may result in a monetary fine, confiscation of funds or prosecution. ​


EU Ambassador Cantó pays courtesy visit to Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - On Tuesday, European Union (EU) Ambassador Fernando Ponz Cantó paid a courtesy visit to Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, according to a press statement from the Cabinet of the Minister of General Affairs.

“Priority for the discussion were the ongoing EU funded projects on St. Maarten, the challenges being faced in the process and the commitment of St. Maarten in finalizing these projects.

“Prime Minister said that these challenges have been highlighted in a meeting held with the Department of Interior and Kingdom Relations (BAK) staff of the General Affairs Ministry.

“Prime Minister Jacobs further stated “Ambassador Ponz Cantó was very happy the projects had Government’s attention and pledged to continue to work with us to get them finalized.”

The EU is a major contributor to many island states in the Caribbean Region in Disaster Management projects and programs which was highlighted at the CDEMA conference where Ambassador Ponz Cantó was also a featured speaker on Tuesday evening.


Ray-Angel Simon Lynch to represent Sint Maarten in Cuba

SINT MAARTEN/CUBA - Ray-Angel Simon Lynch has been selected to participate in the Second UNESCO International Science School “Promoting youth leadership on climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in the Caribbean” Regional event to be organized in Havana, Cuba, from 3 to 5 December 2019. 

Ray-Angel Simon Lynch, who is currently in the 11th Grade Honor Levels Student at K12 International Academy, is a talented individual.  He is a first responder, PADI certified scuba diver, underwater action videographer, Championship Regional & National Dancer, 2-time Water Polo Champion(team), Dance Teacher & Drummer to list a few of his accomplishments.

Forty young participants from 16 Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Caribbean countries are expected to attend the regional capacity-building event at which the Caribbean Youth Network on Climate Change will be launched. The event provides follow-up to the successful First Caribbean International Science School for the Caribbean that was organized in Havana in June 2018.

Young people are critical stakeholders who are playing an increasingly important role in designing, co-producing knowledge, providing solutions and raising awareness for climate action. UNESCO recognizes the value of youth engagement in this respect and is committed not only to strengthening youth awareness of climate issues but also to supporting and enabling youth-led action and youth-led knowledge production and dissemination in this field. Minister Irion stated that he was “proud of Ray-Angel for representing the island at this event” and is “looking forward to hearing how it went.”

The event intends to strengthen collaborative learning spaces for young scientists, activists and government officials, aimed at enhancing the contribution of youth through research and civic engagement in relation to public policies for climate change adaptation in the Caribbean, centred on the SIDS of the region.


Grisha championing real reform for Pensioners

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - With all that has occurred over the past two years since hurricane Irma and Maria devastated St. Maarten leaving many without homes and jobs, the people who must be feeling it the most are our senior citizens.

She made the statement made by Grisha Heyliger-Martin on Tuesday as she continues to address the issue of inequality within the Kingdom and defend the defenseless. The effect of pension reform has its place in the overall redevelopment plans of the United People's Party, which her husband former Member of Parliament Theodore Heyliger founded ten years ago.

"The goal I have set where Pension reform is concerned is to ensure that pensioners whose only income is their pension, do not have to be further burdened by having to pay taxes on their small income," said Heyliger-Martin. She said sadly while St. Maarten is part of the Netherlands Kingdom, the reality is that pensioners within the Netherlands receive about US$1000 more than the pensioner in St. Maarten or elsewhere in the Kingdom.

In The Netherlands, the level of protection was established since the 1960's, but the politicians in the Caribbean Netherlands never asked for equal protection. We must have access to good quality healthcare, a basic income in keeping with the Cost of Living and a decent pension when we retire.

They will say the islands in the Caribbean Netherlands are autonomous and should execute the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on their own. This Covenant was for the entire Netherlands Kingdom, executable within five years after it was ratified by the Hague 40-years ago. Yes, we did make our own mistakes on St. Maarten after 10-10-10 when the decision was taken to keep the maximum pension at Naf.1000, and it is high time that we fix it.

"My goal is not to create animosity with our partners within the Kingdom, but rather to point out the areas of the relationship that still needs to be worked on so that we can truly feel a sense of equality and our citizens can benefit from a level playing field."

Today's pensioner in St. Maarten comprises mainly three types of individuals, those who still have loans to pay which they must continue to pay, those who own or operate a business, and those whose pension is their only source of income.

"Whether you support the UP Party or not, you cannot deny that it is unfair for a 65-year old single female to take Naf.1000, pay taxes, and then pay rent, light and water, and buy food and clothes."

She said the vision of her husband and the party he built with its new leader is to ensure that if you are a pensioner with only the pension as your income, you are exempt from paying taxes. She further pointed out the challenge and cost involved in these seniors having to find an accountant to help them file Taxes, which must come from their pension, which is less than the minimum wage on St. Maarten.

"Physically challenged persons in our community should also receive some form of exemption, and I challenge anyone who can point out to me how doing this will break the bank of the government," said Heyliger-Martin.

The role of a Pension Fund is to manage the savings for the retirement of the working class. Each citizen who works and pays into the pension must have a reasonable expectation of a small nest egg that will help him or her get by after they are no longer able to work full time. If this income is again taxed, senior citizens living conditions will continue to decline.


Government establishes group to develop action plan about Single-use Plastics

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – Single-use plastic items are increasingly becoming hazardous to our environment and daily lives. As an important global and local issue, the Government of Sint Maarten has recognized the need to take action to protect the environment and the lives of those residing on the island.

Consequently, the Government – via various ministries – has established an inter-ministerial workgroup to ensure proper development of an action plan and the synchronization of governmental resources in addressing this important issue.

Thus far, the workgroup has been instrumental in organizing a number of activities for the coming months, starting with the first phase of their project; which is geared towards sensitizing the public and raising awareness as it pertains to single-use items.

Another important item on the agenda was meeting with other prominent environmental NGO’s/organizations and forming partnerships. Subsequently, the workgroup met last Thursday 28th November, with representatives from both the Nature Foundation and Waste2Work to foster a more collaborative effort in addressing and reducing plastic on the island.

The main objective of the meeting was to share information and ideas for the second phase of the project, which will be a pilot project launched during the 2020 carnival season.

For more information, as a company or individual on how you can get involved by donating or participating in the 2020 Carnival Single-Use Plastic Project, contact ms. Hickinson at the Department of Interior and Kingdom Relations via telephone number +1721-542-2999 ext. 2895.


Christmas Market registration is open at the Library

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Philipsburg Jubilee Library (PJL) will be hosting her annual Christmas Market on Thursday, December 19th, from 10 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the library’s parking lot, PJL said in a press statement on Monday.

The Library’s annual Christmas Market festivities will be hosting crafters, displaying their arts and creative works. Individual decorated stands will offer handcrafted goods where shoppers can find one-of–akind gifts and decorations.

This year themed “Celebrating Traditions” is promised to be a spectacular community event.

In order to make this event a success we would like to invite all interested persons to come out and register to be part of this wonderful annual tradition.

Persons who would like to display or sell their arts and crafts, baskets, liqueurs, cakes, tarts, puddings, and plants should register by December 12th, 2019. The registration fee is only $40, 00 or ANG 72, 00; food vendor’s fee $60.00 or ANG 108.00, NGO’s fee $30 or ANG 54.00.

There is no fee for visitors to the market.

The Philipsburg Jubilee Library has been in dire straits since the passing of the 2017 Hurricane seasons. A temporary solution has been created to accommodate our loyal customers by using the library parking lot area for the Christmas Market. Due to the constraints following the damage incurred by the hurricanes, vendors are invited to make their own provisions for materials, such as tables and tents.

For further information please contact Maryland Powell at the library tel. 542-2970 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


BIP SX and Orco Bank partner for PWR Mixer and Masterclasses

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - Produce Wealth Revolution Agency (PWR Agency) will be hosting its last event for 2019 to assist entrepreneurs, small business owners and innovative executives to start 2020 strong. This dynamic networking event, the PWR Mixer, will take place on December 8, 2019 at Commodore Suites from 4:30 PM – 7:00 PM with doors opening at 4:00 PM.

Formerly known as the Power Hour, this experience has been redesigned to focus on speed networking, soft launches, and expert insights to help entrepreneurs, executives, and small business owners to quantum leap their business. Back by popular demand, these mixers are an opportunity to build strategic relationships and gain insights in an interactive and relaxed way.

Themed, “Ready for 2020”, this PWR Mixer will showcase the digital tools, strategies, and opportunities for rapid business growth in 2020. On the rooftop floor of Commodore Suites, this evening will provide an opportunity to be matched with businesses and gain insights that will help entrepreneurs to effectively execute growth strategies in 2020 and beyond.

In addition, on December 9, 2019 from 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM, PWR Masterclasses will take place at Commodore Suites.  These master classes provide an opportunity to do to do a deep dive on specific topics from leading experts in our community. The PWR master classes will take place simultaneously.  Based on their current needs, attendees can choose from the following topics: 1) Leading in the Digital Economy, 2) 2020 Money & Planning, and 3) Creating Value with Intellectual Property.

For this reason, PWR Agency has partnered with Orco Bank and the Bureau for Intellectual Property of Sint Maarten (BIP) to provide significant added value for both the PWR Mixer and the Masterclasses. BIP will provide key insights on intellectual property and how it can help to create value in your business. Orco Bank will focus on insights to planning for and building financial freedom. PWR Agency will focus on the digital economy and best practices to becoming a leader in the digital space. Both Orco Bank and BIP will be at the Mixer to provide insights and answer questions. These organizations each play an important role in entrepreneurship development and innovation for progressive local entrepreneurs and small businesses.

The keynote speaker for this PWR Mixer is founder and Chief Experience Officer of PWR Agency, Ife Badejo. Ife, a daughter of the soil, is an international award-winning business strategist, who was named “Woman of Global Solutions” in 2018 by I Change Nations, which is an international organization focused on civility and endorsed by the United Nations.

An entrepreneurship advocate, Ife has hosted events and ran projects that have reached more than 2000 entrepreneurs and 1000 students. These events and projects have brought entrepreneurship awareness to the community and improved business practices of hundreds of businesses. Her keynote, “Islandpreneurs & the Digital Economy”, will address how to overcome some of the major challenges in doing business online.

Light refreshments and materials will be provided. Space is limited. To register, go to Registration for both the PWR Mixer + Masterclass is $50. If persons want to attend the PWR Mixer only, registration is $30.  For more information or to register, WhatsApp at +1-721-523-1842, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or connect with the team on Facebook at for regular updates. 


Vincentia Rosen- Sandiford, Director of Bureau for Intellectual Property of Sint Maarten (BIP)

Mr Halman

Ronald Halman, Managing Director, Orco Bank Sint Maarten




Multidisciplinary Team Controls Inter-Island Black Friday Sale Shoppers

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Friday morning November 29th, 2019, around 6 a.m. a multidisciplinary team consisting of personnel from KPSM/ Immigration and Border Control, KMar, K-9 Unit, Human Smuggling, the ALPHA team, Customs and the Coast Guard did a general control of a passenger vessel that arrived on Sint Maarten with a large group of shoppers, police said in a statement on Friday evening.  

Most of the passengers that arrived on the transport vessel, came to Sint Maarten, to take advantage of the ongoing Black Friday sales that’s taking place in Phillipsburg.

The purpose of the overall control was directed at monitoring and controlling the flow of goods, personal effects and hazardous items and passengers in and out of Sint Maarten. The control will be ongoing over the weekend. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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