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Statia recruits Van Dinter as interim Airport Manager

SINT EUSTATIUS (ORANJESTAD) - Effective July 1st, The Public Entity of St. Eustatius recruits Mr. Richard van Dinter in the capacity of interim Airport Manager.

Mr. Van Dinter will prepare the airport for the future, by focusing on optimally utilizing its capacity for the island. He will also oversee the completion of the ongoing construction of a new air traffic control tower and passenger building.

The Public Entity of St. Eustatius wants to make the island self-sufficient by diversifying the local economy. The airport is a crucial player in this strategy. The Public Entity has taken the first step in realizing this vision by building a new airport terminal and air traffic control tower. The scheduled delivery time for the new airport is November 2020.

Van Dinter obtained most of his training and certification in the Netherlands, in order to serve as an Aviation Safety Inspector Aerodromes & Air Navigation Services at the St. Maarten Civil Aviation Authority.

Besides running the day to day operations, Van Dinter will focus on selection and training of a candidate to be appointed as Airport Manager for the long term. In addition, Mr. Van Dinter shall assist, coordinate and oversee the transition to the new airport terminal and air traffic control tower. (Statia GIS)

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The Questionable Tantrum of MP Gumbs

SINT MAARTEN (COMMENTARY – By Lionel R. Joseph) - I'm not sure what "revisionist history" has to do with anything when a man speaks of present-day issues. I'm not sure what it means at all. Something is either true or it is not. But it was an odd thing to say. Maybe there is something deeper at play within the mind of MP Gumbs. Resentment perhaps? Who knows. 

What we do know is that Sint Maarten faces many problems today. Some of them are home grown and some are not. One of the greatest obstacles to both progress and simple, everyday governing is the broken Charter and Kingdom structure. 

Regardless of how we got here, no one can deny that the current Kingdom arrangement is dysfunctional.  And the consequences of this are clear.  Since 10-10-10, progress and basic decision making is either studied to death by overpaid consultants or suffocated by more and more entities we never asked for nor ever needed.  We don't need to look much further than the recovery after Irma to see this. Something Theo and others try to point out.  Is it a "bold faced lie" that Dominica benefited from international aid while after almost 3 years only a drop of what was promised to Sint Maarten has actually been spent? Even a child can see the obvious.

Is MP Gumbs saying that the roofless homes we see around us is also a bold-faced lie? Are the stars people see at night where once they had a roof a bold-faced lie made up by Theo? Believe the excuses around the trust fund, not your own eyes, is what MP Gumbs is telling people. Don't trust yourself, but trust the experts. It has been 3 long years of waiting and trusting these experts. She wants us to wait some more apparently.  

The MP cites the Citizenship by Investment Program, where islands sell a passport for a hefty price to foreign investors, as the only fund Dominica benefits from to rebuild homes. Now that is a bold-faced lie. MP Gumbs conveniently forgot to mention that the same World Bank successfully provided funds to Dominica's recovery after Hurricane Maria. Speaking about the World Bank funds, Prime Minister Skerrit publicly stated that US$40 million from that international fund will go to housing in Dominica. This fact was published by the World Bank itself back in April 2018. Is this another "bold faced lie"? Why did it work over there and not here? Did she bother to ask herself that? Perhaps MP Gumbs should spend more time researching these facts than she does on a retired politician. It was a transparent attempt to distract from local reality.

The truth is that something is clearly wrong when our Caribbean peers can rebuild while we wait on more requirements, more new entities, more bureaucracy, and more expensive consultants before one nail can be hammered. That is just madness.   

Some may be puzzled why MP Gumbs would throw a tantrum over a casual radio interview about the simple issue of fixing roofs. I certainly was.  What could get her so hot and bothered? Her response was to shoot down any further talk about fixing roofs, like some uptight kindergarten teacher lecturing small children for asking too many questions.  I mean, how dare you point out that almost 3 years later and countless committees, reports, and entities there is actually little to show. But then, who exactly does MP Gumbs serve, if not the St. Maarten people?

Perhaps the truth is that it is a personal matter too close to home for the MP.  The NRPB, the local guardian of the US$500 million promised to St. Maarten, is coming under closer scrutiny by a skeptical population.  Sint Maarten's representative on the NRPB is MP Gumbs' father, a career politician and former Prime Minister, who has enjoyed more government positions over the past 40 odd years than anyone else.  So, the tantrum was nothing more but the same protecting of personal interest over the national interest.  MP Gumbs is not really concerned with fixing roofs, and certainly not the truth, but protecting the bureaucrats who tell you that what you see with your eyes is not real.  In other words, ordinary folks must not criticize what is close to home of those with power and privilege, like an MP. Her message was to sit tight and shut up for another 3 years, and count your lucky stars above instead. 

It's an easy and a cost-free exercise to stab Theo when it suits the moment. It doesn't make MP Gumbs brave. It makes her common. We've seen it before. It's pathological, especially among those who have accomplished little or nothing in their lives. 

The really difficult job is to take on the greatest challenge we face: the broken Kingdom and the very real consequences of it on people's lives.  For a change, let's hold ourselves and the entire Kingdom accountable for the broken promises. Hold the invisible bureaucrats accountable, because they are the only few who quietly benefit while St. Maarten falls apart.  But that would require taking on real risk and facing the brunt of our mighty European partners.  That is a cost MP Gumbs is unwilling to bear.

If that challenge is too difficult for some politicians, like MP Gumbs, then we'll offer her a simpler challenge: start by creating one real job first.  Just one.  The clock is ticking.

Lionel R. Joseph

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Businesses Allowed to Open on Emancipation Day

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The Ministry of TEATT hereby informs that businesses are allowed to remain open on Emancipation Day at their discretion. Emancipation is indeed a public holiday celebrated on July 1st.

There are several activities that will be held on Emancipation Day in recognition of that day. The public is encouraged to participate as much as possible, and enjoy the festivities.

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Minister Samuel reminds public to celebrate Emancipation Day 2020, “Sacred legacies; standing on the shoulders of giants”

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - With only a few more days left before July 1st, Minister of Education Culture Youth & Sport the Honorable drs. Rodolphe E. Samuel is reminding everyone in the community to come out and celebrate the 157th Anniversary of Emancipation from slavery.

Emancipation Day, a public holiday, will be celebrated on July 1st at 9:00 am to 10:30 am at the Freedom Fighter Roundabout located in Philipsburg across from the Sundial School.

This year’s celebration centered around the theme “Sacred legacies; standing on the shoulders of giants” will feature a dynamic repertoire of performances from dance, poetry to drumming.

The production is inspired by the era from 1848 to 1863 when our ancestors fought for their freedom. The performances set out to evoke attendees and viewers to reflect on the situation from then until now. While many may dwell on the many differences we might have as individuals, collectively we are one people, united in the fight for our human rights with the common goal to be free from all forms of oppression.

Minister Samuel has envisioned a presentation that celebrates diverse cultural elements and has involved a small but inspired cast of performers. The Sint Maarten Song will be played on steel – pan by the Mighty Dow. Local calypsonian Marvin “King Stunky” Dollison who will be accompanied by the Community Choir will perform his Emancipation Day song, while the Rudolph Davis Dance Company dancers will be performing contemporary pieces including the “Ponum” Emancipation dance.

Additional features of the program include a musical rendition of the Freedom song by Thierry from Nuff Respek Band. Mention must be made of the revival of drumming, which has always been a part of St. Maarten’s culture.

The program will incorporate the sounds of the West African Drum by Drum-ology lead by Souleyman Camara. Active drummers from Helir Coquillas from the northern side of the island have been an integral part of the revival of the “Ponum” dance since 1989. 

Furthermore, with respect to the health protocols surrounding COVID-19, persons are once again reminded to ensure their safety by wearing masks and maintaining social distancing as they gather during this public event.

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Urgent Plenary session of Parliament about the Ministry of VSA Guidelines for reopening the destination to international travelers

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - The House of Parliament will sit in an urgent Plenary Public Session on Monday, June 29, 2020. The Public meeting is scheduled for 10.00 hrs. and will be held in a virtual setting.

The Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour will be in attendance.

The agenda point is: Discussion on the ministry of VSA Guidelines for reopening the destination to international traveler.

Due to measures taken to mitigate the coronavirus (COVID-19), the House of Parliament is only allowing persons with an appointment to enter the Parliament building.

The parliamentary session will be held virtually and will be carried out live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 115, via SXM GOV radio FM 107.9, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1 www.pearlfmradio.sx, via the internet www.sxmparliament.org, and Parliament’s Facebook page: Parliament of Sint Maarten

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Masked Robber evades arrest after robbing Welfare road restaurant on Friday

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - The Special Robbery Unit is currently investigating an armed robbery which took place today Friday 26th June 2020, at a restaurant on the Welfare Road, the police announced on Friday evening.

The police on the scene were informed that a male, dressed in dark clothing with a mask, entered the establishment brandishing a firearm and demanded the restaurant’s daily earnings. The suspect then fled the establishment on foot towards the Cay Bay area.

The Sint Maarten Police Force is asking the community to be vigilant. We are urging persons in the community who may have witnessed this or any other crime to come forward with any information that may assist in finding the culprit. A search of the area was carried out by the patrols, but the culprit was able to evade arrest.

The detectives investigating this armed robbery case are asking for witness(es) to contact the station at +1 721- 542 22 22 ext. 204 or 205 or the anonymous tip line on 9300 (free of charge).

You can also visit the website at www.policesxm.sx to report a crime anonymously via the tip contact form, or you can leave a Private Message via our Facebook page (Police Force of Sint Maarten - Korps Politie Sint Maarten) if you know or suspect something. (KPSM)

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Islandpreneur Live 2020 ends with Virtual Happy Hour on June 26

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - More than 600 people have registered from all over the world to attend Islandpreneur Live 2020, a virtual summit aimed to empower Caribbean entrepreneurs to thrive in the digital world and be more resilient. The response so far has been overwhelmingly positive. Persons can still register to benefit from all the content in the replay and join the last day of sessions live.

On the last day of the virtual summit, Jeff Hoffman, co-founder of Priceline.com/Booking.com and Chairman of Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN - www.genglobal.org), will give the keynote at 11 AM AST. GEN serves more than 180 countries in entrepreneurship policy development as well as ecosystem stimulation projects such as the Global Entrepreneurship Week which is hosted around the world every year in the third week of November.

Other key speakers include Daniela Papi- Thornton, thought leader, professor, and creator of the Systems Led Leadership model. Systems Led Leadership helps leaders to rethink entrepreneurship and impact education with a systems’ change lens. Daniela has done signifcant work at Yale School of Management, Watson Institute, and Oxford’s Said Business School.

Rene Romer is was previously CEO of the Dutch Caribbean Securities Exchange (DCSX) and is still involved as Senior Commercial Advisor. During the past 37 years Mr. Römer has worked in  the international fiduciary and banking services industry. Rene will share how small medium enterprises can raise capital and position themselves in the global market through the exchange.

Kayanne Anderson is a premier intellectual property lawyer and expert. With more than 20 years of expertise in areas of corporate governance, private intellectual property advocacy and reform, and international cross border transactions. Kayanne will share best practices on how to use the power of intellectual property to transform your business and impact our economies.

Megan Conyers is the Executive Vice President of Florida Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association and an international business growth and strategy executive. Megan has collaborated with various trade and economic development organizations to create thriving business ecosystems and will share on how to best leverage international markets.

The last session of this virtual summit is a roundtable hosted by executive producer of Islandpreneur Live 2020, entrepreneur, and business connector, Ife Badejo. Titled, Digital Revolution & Economic Resilience, this roundtable discussion will focus on how the strategies and policies required to ensure a digital economy and economic resilience during these uncertain times.

There will be two (2) panelists. Arno Boersma is the founding partner of Island Impact - a social enterprise that aims to bring positive impact to small islands through initiatives in sustainable development. Most recently he was the director of UNDP’s Center of Excellence for Small Island Developing States. A knowledgeable strategist with a passion for turning knowledge into action, preferably knowledge related to island opportunities in energy, water, climate, tourism, waste, ocean, and biodiversity. Arno is ideal to share on the impact of digital revolution and small island developing states such as many of the islands in the Caribbean.

Telly V. Onu is the managing partners of Beyond Capital Markets. Ms. Telly Valerie Onu has been at the forefront of the financial innovation ecosystem with over 19 years’ experience as a financial and impact innovator, digital economist and transformation expert and thought leader. She has designed,and led multimillion dollar projects and implementation teams. She has worked with World Bank Group, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, and Microsoft. With an Executive Masters in e-Governance specializing in complex project design implementation & management, cryptography, public key infrastructure (PKI), decentralized networked governance, innovation and transformation and based on the island of St. Kitts, Telly can speak to building economic resilience in the digital age.

After all the sessions are done, Barefoot Wine and Prime Distributors, will host Islandpreneur Happy Hour, which includes the island’s first virtual wine tasting. A hospitality expert will showcase how to create unique drinks for virtual parties of all kinds with Barefoot wine. This type of celebration increased during the past months and has continued as means to connect with family members and friends are still spread around the world. To toast and make the most of this session, organizers encourage attendees to have their favourite beverages close. This part of the virtual summit will be streamed live from the PWR Agency’s facebook page, www.fb.com/experiencepwr.

This summit is complimentary for everyone. The public is still able to register for free at www.islandpreneur.com. For inquiries, kindly email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or whatsapp +1-721-523-1842. Organizers are grateful to partners, Barefoot Wine, Prime Distributors, TelEm, Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten, and Urban Adapters for making this virtual a success.

Telly

Telly V. Onu, managing partner, Beyond Capital Markets

 

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USM Building Bridges of Dialogue for Human Rights

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Coinciding with a structural crisis within the Dutch Kingdom, the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and the uprising of anti-racist activists worldwide, the University of St. Martin (USM) held its very first online seminar on Saturday, 20 June 2020 and broadcasted live from Zoom and Facebook to over three thousand viewers.

The full day webinar, titled Human Rights in the face of COVID-19: Labor, Economy, Education and Migrants, was an initiative co-sponsored by the Sint Maarten Anti-Poverty Platform (SMAPP), an alliance of trade unions and civil society organizations dedicated to combatting social inequalities.

Following introductions and greetings offered by USM President, Dr. Antonio Carmona Báez, SMAPP co-coordinator Claire Elshot, BAK representative and coordinator of SDGs public awareness Drs. Loekie Morales and the honorable Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, five experts presented solid interventions, which in turn led to in-depth discussion with public participation. Dr. Daphina Misiedjan, a lecturer from Erasmus University Institute of Social Studies (ISS) at The Hague, addressed the webinar with a thorough review on the importance of understanding human rights in times of crisis from a global perspective.

“Human rights are tied directly to crisis. The catalogue of human rights as we know it in its modern form, looking at the treaties on economic social and cultural rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and, as an umbrella, the International Declaration on Human Rights – these all came after the second world war. Human Rights means having a minimum standard for a dignified life; this is especially important for those who do not have the means to realize the rights, those who have historically been marginalized,” said Dr. Misiedjan who looked at employment, education, health and political freedoms under lockdown.

Presenting on social, economic and labor rights, sociologist Raymond Jessurun looked at the structural inequalities based on racist discrimination that are now unfolding within the Caribbean part of the Dutch Kingdom due to the Netherlands’ conditions on the islands for receiving humanitarian aid. Challenging Dutch State Secretary Raymond Knops, Jessurun said: “why is Sint Maarten applying the Dutch-recommended hike in retirement age, closer to that of the Netherlands, but when it comes to receiving aid to mitigate the effects of COVID-19, we are not equal….why do we have to give up some of our salary?”

During the afternoon session, former Minister of Public Health, Labor and Social Development (VSA), Pamela Gordon-Carty spoke on the condition of labor throughout the Kingdom of the Netherlands during the COIVD-19 pandemic. Examining the political structure within the Kingdom, Gordon-Carty highlighted the obligations of the constituent countries -Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten and the Netherlands, the last of which is the signing State party to international law and ultimately the sole responsible entity for the realization of human rights. “On different levels, many steps are not being taken and some proposals being brought forth are not in compliance with international law”, she said. “Holland has to remember whenever proposals are executed, they must be in compliance for the masses, not just to a select few.”

On his own behalf Dr. Carmona introduced the topic of human rights and education with reference to processes of emancipation in our Caribbean region. “Education has always been an important tool in the process of emancipation and the struggle against poverty and structural inequalities, the press release stated. “The pandemic has underscored existing inequalities…those without internet at home had little chance of following classes online.”

Also noted were the recommendations given by UNESCO Teacher Task Force, which included not touching teachers’ salaries and including teachers in the planning of responses to the pandemic during and after.

The final panelist for the full day webinar was former Head of the Prosecutors Office Mr. Cor Merx, who focused on human rights for migrants and undocumented workers. Mr. Merx made a call for country Sint Maarten to combat racism and discrimination, and to be careful in how we frame political discourse concerning undocumented persons.

“The broadcasting of the webinar was no easy feat, due to technical limitations and the fact that it was our first time. However, the content was excellent, and the feedback we have been receiving is simply awesome. That is why we want to do this again but then Kingdom-wide,” said Dr. Carmona, who plans to coordinate a webinar with experts from all countries and territories comprising the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

“What our European counter parts in government, academia and activism need to understand is that any dialogue on human rights that excludes experts from the Caribbean part of the Kingdom is simply invalid; and that is why we took it upon ourselves to initiate such public debate.”

The USM webinar was moderated by Marcellia Henry of UNESCO Sint Maarten and Herbert Martina of TVCarib.

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SXM Airport C-19 Measures in full affect. Operational demand for travel reveals steady bookings

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY-AIRPORT) – Continuing on a wave of proactive and emergency responsiveness to combat the invasive Novel Corona virus (COVID-19) is the workforce at the Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM), since January 2020. Throughout a three-month period, the aerodrome was partially operational, as the airport adhered to the travel restrictions as implemented by the Government of St. Maarten, to further maintain the precautionary measures for the inhabitants and its reducible visitors. As a result of the travel restrictions all commercial travel was ceased, however the airport facilitates cargo, emergency and repatriation flights.

A contingent C-19 Prevention and Mitigation plan was established and prompted for execution by the COVID-19 Task Force, with guidance by the SXM Airport’s Managing Board. The efforts work cohesively with the readiness for an influx of travelers in preparation to resume the air transport services, when deemed most safe and secure. With the goal to maintain frequency of service to key markets SXM Airport intends to rely on its short and long-haul carriers to drive growth to the region.

The C-19 plan is governed by the “precautionary principle” to minimize the risk of infection and act as if you and those around you are infected with the untimely virus.

The PJIAE C-19 Prevention and Mitigation plan also serves to protect the livelihoods of the airport community, acknowledging detailed guidelines through virtual and live orientation trainings for high and low risk exposure groups. The scheduled trainings are entitled “COVID-19 Safety at the Workplace -Training for the Airport Community” will be facilitated by a Task Force member.

In accordance with the plan, the “Don’t pass it on” hygiene campaign has also been launched at the airport, emphasizing through noticeable signage that everyone should wash their hands more frequently. Handwashing stations have also been installed throughout the terminal building to further endorse the campaign.

PJIAE installed more than forty (40) plexiglass shielding screens in areas like the departure gates, check-in counters, Passenger Experience desk, Passport Control counter and the Tourist Information booth to further reduce health risks and provide a safe environment for frontline staff and passengers. The ground handling services will also be regulated to serve the prevention and mitigation measures as the management of the passenger shuttle busses are required to also demonstrate more frequent cleansing of the airside public transportation.

“We are offering different levels of protection to fine tune our PJIAE C-19 Prevention and Mitigation measures, thermal temperature screening, mandatory mask regulations and the installation of additional hand sanitizers are just a few of our newly implemented measures. We also have a more regiment cleaning program for all common-use areas,” the Chairman of the SXM Airport Task Force, Connally Connor pointed out during an internal interview.

Stringent safety policies further impose that all frontline employees will be provided with either two (2) types of protective masks; respiratory and surgical. The FFP2 respiratory masks will offer an advanced level of protection due to direct contact with travelers. Furthermore, the surgical masks should effectively minimize the transmitting of probable droplets. The regulation correlates with the suitable Protective Personal Equipment (PPE) for the airport community, admonishing the mandatory use of eye protection.

Task Force Chairman Connally Connor added: “Access into the terminal building will only be granted to the traveling passengers and the obligated airport staff. We will also intensify the disinfecting methods at high touch point areas to diminish the soiled or contaminated surfaces. The Task Force also ensures there will be disinfectant tablets to purify the air through the ventilation system. Thermal screening for staff and passengers will also go into immediate effect upon the permissible reopening date.”

Though the latest outlook by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecast the airline industry to lose billions due to the pandemic, the local airport’s Operations Management long-established there is steady demand for travel to our diverse destination. Flight schedules have already indicated positive bookings on North American carriers.

According to the most current COVID-19 statistical information by the Public Health Department of St. Maarten, there are no active cases on the island. Furthermore, on Friday June 19, 2020 the honorable Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT), Ludmilla de Weever publicized the airport will offer full operations as of July 1, 2020.

If anyone would like to report any hazards and risks related to COVID-19 they are required to call the SXM Airport’s safety hotline at 1-721-546-7504 or 1-721-5467508 or send your comments via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. General information should be directed to the newly operating COVID-19 hotline at 9777 or visit our website at www.sxmairport.com and click the COVID-19 tab for any associated updates.

SXM Airport Terminal Building 2

 

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Happy Father’s Day Message from Prime Minister Jacobs

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Happy Father’s Day to all fathers, here and abroad, Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs said in a press statement on Sunday. “Our fathers, much like our mothers, are an essential pillar in the development of the lives of children. Today, we join the world in celebrating our fathers, who are very much the core of our society. Today, we show love for our fathers, with gifts, words of encouragement, and words of gratitude. Most importantly, let us take the time to tell our fathers that they are loved, and they are appreciated.

“The role of the father has evolved over the years; they are meant to be providers, a leader, and a protector, but they are also role models, guardians, and caretakers. There is a global consensus that engaged fatherhood is what best for the success of children and their mothers.

“Fathers do not forget your best legacy is your example. Your children will do what you do and not what you say. As we celebrate all fathers everywhere and reflect on the roles and responsibilities of fatherhood, on behalf of the Government of St. Maarten, I wish all father’s Happy Father’s Day. God Bless You!”

Fathers Day Graphic

 

 

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