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Justice stakeholders meet to discuss joint concerns about prison

SINT MAARTEN (POINT BLANCHE) - Joint concerns about the lack of prison cells and the poor quality of prison life on Sint Maarten were discussed between the Progress Committee Sint Maarten, Law Enforcement Council, Point Blanche Prison Supervisory Board and the Public Prosecutor’s Office, during a meeting held today, October 29th, 2019.

Sint Maarten is in need of a proper prison with sufficient cells to ensure safety on Sint Maarten. Criminals belong in jail, not on the streets. The group will meet on a regular basis to remain informed and share developments.

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Johnson continuing efforts to improve Local public transportation services

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunication (TEATT), is finalizing a Comprehensive Plan of Action for taxi and bus service on St. Maarten. The goal is “to foster job creation and income generation by empowering and professionalizing the Public Transportation sector and increase their performance and contribution to the socio-economic development of St. Maarten.

As part of the plan of approach the Ministry of TEATT will amend or draft supporting legislation where necessary. This process has taken into account the concerns of the Taxi and Bus as well as other public transport operators on Dutch St. Maarten.

Minister of TEATT the honorable Stuart Johnson said he was very pleased at the turnout and participation of Taxi Drivers and Bus Drivers at a recently held meeting to discuss the Ministry’s plan for the island's transportation services improvement. During the meetings they discussed improvements of physical infrastructure, bus stops, bus depots and routing for buses. He said consultations have also been held with the Ministry of VROMI and the police.

Amongst the things the Ministry has executed is an extended assessment of the Public Bus System, to determine acceptable service levels, assess present and future routing, scheduling and infrastructural needs and determining what policies should be prepared to address these needs.

Johnson said it is also important to assess the public’s perception of the public transportation system according to Johnson. “If we are providing the service to the community, they should have an input into things such as the routing and what type of public transportation service they believe will best suit their needs in the not too distant future,” said Johnson. He said the public transportation service must be service oriented and take into account the fact that visitors and residents use these services and the quality of service they receive is a direct reflection on our island.

Johnson said some improvements to what exists now such as revamping the Public Transportation Committee and identifying their objectives and responsibilities are critical steps that must be taken. Johnson said, "It is important that the public transportation service providers can get access to social services such as Healthcare and Pension as they are contributing to society and earning an income."

While there are several in-depth discussions still to be held and many issues to consider, ultimately these discussions should lead to separating the regulation of licensing of permit holders from regulation of motor vehicles providing public transportation services and the implementation of the concept of PCD (Professional Commercial Driver) certification.

The Ministry of TEATT will be disseminating information regularly to continue engaging the public as it moves closer to improving the public transportation service.

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Mental Health Foundation introduces “Hike for Mental Health”

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - A total of 46 participants took part on Saturday 6 AM “Hike for Mental Health” hosted by the Mental Health Foundation (MHF).

This year’s journey began at Safe Cargo (Pointe Blanche) to the lookout point near the Zipline and back.

“Getting away from the stress of daily life and connecting with nature can be a re-grounding experience which can have a significant positive impact on one’s mental well-being,” stated organizers Ryane Bowers and Cyrille Brooks.

“The idea for the hike was to showcase an activity in support of eliminating the stigma of mental disorders. We are convinced that there is more pain caused by the stigma than by the disease.

“Because of the stigma, the issues are not being treated. And with one in four adults experiencing mental illnesses at one point in their lives, we all know someone who is affected.”

MHF GRP 2810 INS1

 

 

 

 

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Community police celebrate Book Week by reading to students

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - In celebration of book week 2019, the Police force KPSM was invited to read for students of the primary schools on the 23rd, 24th and 25th of October 2019.

Inspectors Leonard and S. Crispulo took up the challenge and organized other officers to read to the students of the Martin Luther King Jr. School. Different books in English and Dutch were read to the students of the school.

Special thanks go out to the management of the Martin Luther Primary School and all the other Police officers who gave up their time to assist and read to the school children. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

police reading ins1

police reading ins2

police reading ins3

police reading ins4

 

 

 

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Ombudsman releases short film on Home Repair

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Friday, October 25 at 11:00 AM the Ombudsman released the short film to complement the report:Home Repair. A revelation of a social crisis’.  

The turnout at the Bureau was successful. Many of the persons who were filmed were present as well as other invited guests such as: the former Ombudsman, Dr. Nilda Arduin,  Director of The National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB), Mr. Claret Connor,  representatives of the Sint Maarten Housing Development Foundation (SMHDF), Sint Maarten Anti-Poverty Platform/ Consumer  Coalition, Sint Maarten Development Fund (SMDF) and Dr. J. Enterprises.

The film depicts the challenges that persons are still going through, two (2) years after Hurricane Irma. After the video presentation a lively and passionate discussion ensued whereby the attendees voiced their frustration regarding the slow pace and criteria of the Home Repair program.

The Ombudsman expressed the hope that the report and the film will prompt government to act upon the concerns of the people.

The film can be viewed, starting on Friday, October 25, at 7:00 PM via the Ombudsman’s Facebook page and via the Bureau’s YouTube channel (Ombudsman SxM Sint Maarten) at 8:00 PM.

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Career & Study Fair 2019: What you do today can improve your tomorrows

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The St. Maarten Career & Study Fair Committee is welcoming you to their annual Career & Study Fair on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 at the Bel-Air Community Center under the theme What you do today can improve your tomorrows”.

Pre-exam and exam students from all secondary schools on the island will be

accommodated from 9:00 a.m.to 1:30 p.m. The Career & Study Fair will be open to the general public from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. The Committee is appealing to the general public to take advantage of this opportunity.

Educational Institutions

Participating colleges and university representatives from the region, Curaçao, Aruba, Bonaire, Anguilla, the United States and Holland will be on hand to share information about their academic institutions and services.

Since studying in the region is being promoted by all the former Netherlands Antilles, the Career and Study Fair Committee is happy to have the colleges/universities from Curaçao, Aruba and Bonaire fully on board.

In addition, local educational institutions such as the University of St. Martin, representatives from the Student Support Services and NIPA, St. Dominic IB, St, Maarten Academy CAPE will be in attendance to provide information to the public regarding their services.

Public Safety and Law Enforcement

Various public safety and security organizations will be in attendance at the Fair. These entities will also be providing information to individuals that are interested in joining their respective forces.

Tourism Corporations

Various representatives of companies that are prevalent in the tourism industry of Country St. Maarten, will be in attendance to present information about their company, andabout the opportunities that are available for students who are interested in obtaining a job after high school.

Medical & Insurance Organizations

Another aspect of the Career Fair will feature medical organizations which will endow attendees with information.

Local Businesses

There will also be other local businesses and organizations in attendance.

“The Committee is grateful for the financial institutions, companies and colleges that have confirmed their participation in this event. The information that will be disseminated will be helpful to not only the youth of Country St. Maarten, but to anyone who would like to further their education, when deciding what their next step in life would be.

Attendees are encouraged to use this opportunity to obtain more information on a particular career they might be interested in”, committee officials said.

This annual event promises to be very informative and serve to support the decision-making process in furthering one’s education and or career path.

The general public is invited to come out and benefit from the information and advice that will be made available. Parents/guardians are especially encouraged to visit the Fair.

 For more information please visit us on facebook: St. Maarten Career & Study Fair
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Les Fruits de Mer Association Launches Mobile Heritage Preservation Studio

SINT MARTIN (GRAND CASE) - The Les Fruits de Mer association is thrilled to launch their new mobile heritage preservation studio. The portable studio can go anywhere. It is made to capture and preserve culture and heritage through oral history and other forms of archiving.

“We wanted to create a small mobile system so we could record heritage all over the island,” said Mark Yokoyama, co-founder of Les Fruits de Mer and Amuseum Naturalis. “It’s simple, it’s not pricey and it lets us document heritage on the go.”

The studio includes a scanner for photos, letters, and memorabilia, and a photo kit for heritage objects. A basic audio and video kit makes it easy to record interviews. Island Gems generously donated some of the items needed for the studio.

“Over time, photos, letters, diaries, and other memorabilia become key records of culture, heritage and history. They are vital clues to how people lived in a previous era,” explained Les Fruits de Mer President Jenn Yerkes. “They aren’t just valued for personal or family history. They become part of the history of the island. So when these things are lost, or damaged in a disaster like Irma, it’s a loss to the whole island. Digitizing them creates a backup for people and families. It also preserves the culture and history of the island.”

The studio will officially launch at Les Fruits de Mer’s 2019 Migratory Bird Festival. At the event, volunteers will be using it to record oral histories. The festival is free to all, and everyone is invited to come share their stories. People can also bring their heritage photos, letters and other items for scanning. 

The festival will feature fun activities for all ages, like birdwatching, bird-themed games, discovery stations, and arts and crafts. It will take place Saturday November 9th from 9am to noon at Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House on the hill above Le Galion in French Quarter. The event is made possible by the 2019 sponsors: 97150, Animal Hospital of St. Maarten, Belair Beach Hotel, BirdsCaribbean, BZSE, Caraïbes Numeric Print, Delta Petroleum, Dynaf, Etna Ice Cream, Hotel L’Esplanade, Lagoonies Bistro and Bar, Trakx Design, White Sands Beach Club and Yacht Club Port de Plaisance.

Heritage Photo

Heritage items are carefully photographed at Amuseum Naturalis.

Scan 1

Scanning can help preserve fragile items like old photos. 

 

 

 

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ST. MAARTEN ANTI-POVERTY PLATFORM/ ST. MAARTEN CONSUMERS COALITION ADDRESSES FOUR ISSUES

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The St. Maarten Anti-Poverty Platform and the Consumers Coalition had a press conference on Thursday and covered the four issues below.

  1. Today the International Day of Eradication of Poverty
  2. Update on the Affordable Health Food and Nutrition Program
  3. Our Affordable Social Housing Program
  4. Updates from the WICLU union meetings

Topic 1: Today the International Day of Eradication of Poverty

The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is annually observed on the 17th of October. This according to the General Assembly of the United Nations in its resolution 47/196 of 22 December 1992. It was the Call to Action by Father Joseph Wresinski for Overcoming Extreme Poverty of 32 years ago on October 17— and the recognition by the United Nations of the day as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty — which inspired the observance of October 17 as the World Day

End poverty in all its forms everywhere. The UN explainsExtreme poverty rates have fallen by more than half since 1990. While this is a remarkable achievement, one-in-five people in developing regions still live on less than $1.90 a day. Millions more make little more than this daily amount and are at risk of slipping back into extreme poverty. Sustainable Development Goal 1 (SDG1) aims to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030.

The theme this year is: Acting Together to Empower Children, their Families and Communities to End Poverty[1]. In addition to the commemorative event to be held by the United Nations in New York on 17 October, commemorations of the international day are being organized worldwide. The online community is asked to use #End Poverty to share messages about the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty via social media.

Here in St Maarten the University of Saint Martin (USM), the Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations (BAK) and UNESCO St Maarten in commemoration of this International Day for the Eradication of Poverty will kick of their Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) seminar series on SDG 1 NO POVERTY with two guest speakers who will elaborate on the Topic Combating Poverty in St Maarten. Topics which the presenters will reflect on are:

  • What initiatives have been taken to combat poverty on St Maarten?
  • What is the poverty line on St Maarten
  • Can we eradicate poverty on St Maarten?

Ms. Loekie Morales from the Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations (BAK) will give an introduction on the Sustainable Development Goals and the SDG 1 NO POVERTY goal in particular. From government Ms. Rose Pooran-Fleming policy advisor Social Development at the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (VSA) will present the policies of the government of St Maarten to combat poverty in St Maarten, whereas your servant (Raymond Jessurun) of the Sint Maarten Anti-Poverty Platform will share the struggle of the platform to eradicate not only extreme poverty but also the relative poverty in this part of the Kingdom.

While this broadcast will air in the news of this evening and tomorrow the event will take place in the USM Lecture Hall from 7-8.30 pm. Doors will be opened on 6.30 pm. We will try to get a recording of the presentations and will definitely come back in our subsequent press conferences with our analysis of the seminar on this NO POVERTY topic.

Topic 2: More than 35.000 views for video on Affordable Health Food and Nutrition Program

Attention.

As we have been informing you the Anti-Poverty Platform / Consumers Coalition initiative is still the talk of talk of the town.

  • Not only locally but also internationally the Affordable Health Food and Nutrition Program for the poor and needy households and the Consumers in Sint Maarten is getting a lot of attention.
  • The interview which the Dutch reporters of Caribbean Network did when they visited the health fair when the second container arrived have received more than 35.000 views already
  • Looking at the amount of shares, likes and comments on social media which videos on our health fair are getting aired by local reporters such as SXM Daily News, 721 NEWS, and our own public broadcasts, we can conclude that we have definitely got the attention not only of our society but also abroad in the Kingdom and in the region.

Membership and Attendance registration.

The most interesting figures which proof the successful response of the local consumers are the following:

  • We have now more than 3000 members in our program! The first container brought 1300 members in the program, the second container brought 1200 new members in the program, and this week another 500 new members signed up for the program.
  • How often members are making use of the program? Since Saturday we started to register the attendance of each member to get an idea. More than 1500 persons came to purchase their produce, and some visited the WIFOL more than once during this week!
  • Members are asking why they have to write their name and phone number each time they come if they have registered already as a member. There is no better proof than you own handwriting to proof that you were present.
  • The statistics we get out of these data will proof to government and the community that our members do want the fresh quality and affordable fruits, veggies and provision is not a onetime hype, but a regular need of our members.

Successes

  • Limes, Green peppers, cucumbers, carrots, watermelon, tamarind, coconuts, provision, spices like cinnamon, thyme are high in demand.
  • This third container in no time the green peppers, carrots were finished.

Obstacles

  • There are always obstacles to confront. One of the obstacles is the need for volunteers to start early in the morning and the challenge to handle the line of patient members with their shopping bags much faster. We hereby appeal to our members to give us at least 4 hours a week of your time to volunteer with the United Consumers Association.
  • We are grateful for the assistance of the volunteers who have supported us in the program so far. Our volunteers who are also consumers understand the vision that to keep the prices affordable not only for themselves but also for all their volunteering is showing the solidarity with all consumers.

Reminder for our event coming Saturday Oct 19 10 am to 16 pm

  • Free Health Screening, health information, personal diet advise from 10 am to 16 pm
  • Thanks to assistance from stakeholders such as the Collective Preventative Services (CPS), the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC)
  • Do not miss this opportunity to check your health condition and ask questions related to your specific health condition

Topic 3: Our Affordable Social Housing Program

As addressed in our former press conferences apart from our Affordable Health Food and Nutrition Program, we embarked also on an Affordable Social Housing Program. The objectives of this program are to bring down the prices of house rent and to provide more resilient social housing for the 13.000 poor and needy households.

Government and the World Bank have concluded that Irma has damaged structurally 13.000 to 15.000 of the more than 19.000 housing units in St Maarten! Yet not even a 1000 homes have been repaired with Dutch funding. With this speed of 1000 homes in two years the 13.000 to 15,000 homes will be rebuild better in the coming 26 to 30 years !! This is unacceptable especially with the risk every year of another hurricane.

The campaign encourages the poor and needy households to file their complaint about the rent they are paying now for a housing condition that still needs repair to be a resilient home. The campaign will demand to bring down the rent just as the Belvedere tenants of the Housing Foundation have managed in court! Also a more permanent solution of 15.000 affordable social homes to be built by the Kingdom government in one year time will be demanded in court based on the huge violation of the human right to adequate housing for years now in this part of the Kingdom.

This evening two of our co-coordinators will give information about this program to the members of the Down Town Business and Consumers Association at 7 pm in the John Larmonie Center. 

[1] https://www.un.org/en/events/povertyday/

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SHTA ANNOUNCES 2020 EVENT CALENDAR, CALLS FOR SENDING IN EVENTS

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - SHTA in cooperation with Carib Beer are excited to announce their 2020 national event calendar. As the country is still recovering from the 2017 hurricane season, the calendar is more relevant than ever to show that Sint Maarten is still alive and vibrant with many events.

The calendar gives businesses and NGOs an opportunity to showcase their activities and events on a global base. Because of SHTAs calendar campaign, which consists of distributing the calendars to members, partners and public places, the reach of the calendar has doubled over the past year.

In addition, the calendar is being showcased in the VISIT, SHTA’s official in-room magazine and events are being shared by Facebook and SHTAs member newsletter.

Both digital and physical editions of the calendar have been actively distributed and reprinted by representatives in both the United States and Europe. The colorful blocks and pictures designed by Loic Bryan,l have been used to promote destination Sint Maarten by Facebook channels and influencers.

If you wish to publish your next upcoming event, SHTA is offering an early bird special up until October 31st, 2019. Please forward your information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call +1721 5420108, please include date, time, location and any specified information. More information can be found on www.shta.com

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Police fire shots in attempt to apprehend three-armed Front Street Casino robbers

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Special Unit Robbery is investigating an attempted armed robbery that took place at the Rouge Et Noir casino on Front Street, during the hours of 00:30am early Thursday morning, police announced on Thursday.  

On the scene the police patrol learned that, three armed men all dressed in a black hooded sweatshirt, stormed into the casino wearing face masks and demanded cash from the cashiers, while threatening the people inside.  The robbers were unsuccessful in their attempt to rob the casino because of the security measures that were implemented by the casino. 

Unable to obtain any cash, the suspects fled on foot towards the board walk area.

While the police were busy searching the area for the suspects, the dispatch center received information about the car the suspects were driving and passed this information on to the officers on the road.

Patrols on duty were able to spot the vehicle on the A.Th Illidge road in the Over the Pond vicinity. The suspects led the police patrols on a high speed chase where shots were fired by officers in an attempt to apprehend the perpetuators.  The suspects abandoned the car on the Arch road area and fled on foot whereby the police were unable to apprehend the suspects.

The detectives investigating this armed robbery case is asking anyone who has information to please contact the Sint Maarten Police Force at +1 721- 542 22 22 ext. 204 or 205 or the anonymous tip line on 9300 .  You can also visit the police website at www.policesx.sx or leave a message via our Facebook page (Police Force of Sint Maarten - Korps Politie Sint Maarten)

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