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Soualiga Newsday Latest News (2128)

TelEm Group joins PM in support of youth soccer program for country schools

POND ISLAND, Sint Maarten – TelEm Group’s involvement in youth sports has been praised by youth soccer sports organizers and Prime Minister Mrs. Sarah Wescott-Williams.

Speaking at the recent ending of the finals of this year’s Interscholastic Soccer Tournament, at the Johan Cruijff Center in Belvedere, the Prime Minister stressed on the positive benefits of sports in the community and the encouragement that is due to those who make it happen.

The Prime Minister was especially pleased to see the large number of parents and supporters who turned out for the games each week and at the finals and she thanked the many sponsors, including TelEm Group, for supporting the work of the event organizers, the St. Maarten Soccer Education Foundation (SMSEF).

 SMSEF member, Mr. David Forsythe, said the youth soccer program for schools is continuing to grow with exciting new plans for the future.

“There is still a lot to be done and a lot of financial support is required if we are do all that we possibly can for the schools and their school soccer programs,” said Mr. Forsythe.

He said the past year has seen a number of donations of equipment and sports gear from overseas organizations and group who have remained in contact with the Foundation.

‘We are most grateful to these sponsors, but most of all to our local corporate sponsors such as TelCell without whom we could not be as ambitious as we are,” said the SMSEF executive officer.

TelEm Group Chief Commercial officer (CCO) Mr. Brian Mingo agreed with the Prime Minister 100 per cent when she urged the young soccer stars to continue practicing so that they can one day be part of a future international St. Maarten soccer team.

“We saw some great talent on the field over the several months of the tournament. Thanks to the work of the St. Maarten Soccer Education Foundation that raw talent is being exposed in a very positive way, and we very much like being a part of that as a corporate sponsor,” said Mr. Mingo.


Regional health agencies urge vaccination against measles and rubella if travelling to 2014 FIFA World Cup

PAHO/WHO, Sint Maarten – During the launching of the 12th annual Vaccination Week in the Americas, the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) urged people to protect themselves against measles, rubella and other vaccine-preventable diseases, in view of the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil and the need to protect achievements in disease elimination in the Americas.

Intensified international travel and population movement associated with mass events such as the World Cup increase the risk of imported cases of measles, rubella and other vaccine-preventable diseases. For this reason, PAHO/WHO is calling on travellers to make sure they are up to date on their vaccines and, if not, to get vaccinated against measles and rubella at least two weeks before traveling.

The theme of this year’s initiative was, “Vaccination: Your best shot!”, is a call to action for people to protect themselves against vaccine-preventable diseases in the lead-up to the FIFA World Cup, which is expected to attract some 600,000 visitors from around the world. Of the 32 countries with teams participating in the World Cup, 19 reported measles cases in 2013.

In the Americas, endemic transmission of measles was interrupted in 2002 and transmission of rubella in 2009. However, measles continues to circulate elsewhere in the world, and some countries in the Americas have reported imported cases.

“Vaccination Week in the Americas has been instrumental in our region’s becoming the first in the world to eliminate measles and rubella,” said PAHO Director Carissa F. Etienne. “These viruses continue to circulate in other regions of the world. The risk of reintroduction of these diseases is especially high during mass-attendance events such as the 2014 World Cup. Getting vaccinated against measles and rubella is your best shot to protect yourself, your family and all the people of the Americas.”

The countries of the Americas have been world leaders in the elimination or reduction of vaccine-preventable diseases. The region was the first to eradicate smallpox (in 1971) and to eliminate polio (in 1991). Diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough have been significantly reduced, thanks to vaccination rates that average 93% among children under 1 year.

Vaccination Week in the Americas began in 2003 as part of a regional response to the last endemic outbreak of measles in the Americas, on the border of Venezuela and Colombia in 2002. Since then, the initiative has taken the benefits of vaccines to more than 465 million people of all ages.


COM Meets with Board of Casino Controllers to discuss issues and concerns

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – On Tuesday, May 27th, a Ministerial Meeting took place with the Casino Controllers to discuss their issues and concerns regarding personnel vacancies and the day shift compensation. The Casino Controllers were represented by their selected board, which consists of President Francelise Mauricia-Peterson, Advisor Philip van Delden, Mediator Reinarda Cranston-Cathalina, and Commies Rignaldo Haize and Alfredo de Weever.

At this Ministerial Meeting the Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams, who is also the Minister of General Affairs, attended and the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications Thadeus Richardson with his support staff.

The Ministers and their support staff took note of the issues and concerns raised during the meeting. The follow up will be handled by the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications. The Casino Controllers were urged to provide their input and the necessary feedback in order to come to a solution which will be agreeable to all parties concerned.

The Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications expressed that he was pleased to finally meet with the board of the Casino Controllers as the Casino Controllers are an important part of St. Maarten’s economy.



Minister Patricia Lourens-Philip says my thoughts and prayers are with you

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Hon. Patricia Lourens Philip on Thursday extended her condolences to the families of Curtis Heyliger who succumbed to his injuries during a tragic traffic accident early Wednesday morning.

“The thoughts and prayers of my family and I are with the Member of Parliament Hon. Theo Heyliger and family, as well as with Debby Zwanikken and family.  We are thinking of you during this difficult time.

“The Sint Maarten community is here to support you in your grieving process.  Wishing you peace to bring comfort, and courage to face the coming days, and memories to forever hold in your hearts of Curtis Heyliger. 

“May you be comforted by the outpouring of love from love ones surrounding you,” Minister of Education Hon. Patricia Lourens-Philip said on Thursday.


Official Police Report about Fatal Accident on L.B. Scot Road

CUL DE SAC, Sint Maarten - On Wednesday May 28th at approximately 04.10 a.m. the Police Central Dispatch received a call informing them that a very serious accident had taken place on the corner of L.B. Scot road/Isis road in Cul-de-Sac, and that the driver of the car was seriously injured.

Immediately several police patrols, paramedics and Fire Department were directed to the scene. On the scene the investigating officers found a totally destroyed blue Ford Edge with license plate M-6380 in the yard of the house on that crossing with the driver trapped inside of the vehicle. Immediately that section of L.B. Scot road was closed off by police, while Fire Department went to work with the “jaws of life” cutting the vehicle open to reach the victim in order give him the necessary medical treatment.

However, Dr. Mercuur arrived shortly after and pronounced the death of the victim. After the victim was removed from the wreck he was taken to the morgue. The investigation by the Traffic Department thus far shows that the victim was traveling at very high speed coming from the St. Peters area in the direction of the Churchill Round-a-bout.

The victim lost control of the vehicle, destroying the concrete fence and a wooden structure on the premises and colliding with a pick-up parked in the yard. The impact totally destroyed the Ford Edge and trapping the victim in the vehicle.

As more information regarding this investigation becomes available the media will be informed.

The victim has been identified as Curtis Heyliger and is the son of Theodore Heyliger Leader of the UPP-party. Deepest sympathy from the Police Department goes out to the family and friends of the victim. (Official Police Report from the Sint Maarten Police Force)


Transfer Passengers at SXM Airport up by 21 per cent in First Quarter

SIMPSON BAY, Sint Maarten - Transfer passengers at the Princess Juliana International Airport, SXM increased by 21% in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2013. This was disclosed by SXM at a recent meeting of the Air Service Development Committee (ASDC) made up of representatives of all the hub partners of SXM.

According to a presentation made by SXM at the meeting, St. Barths is the largest connection market out of SXM with 9,600 passengers, followed by Charles De Gualle, Paris, with 4,033 passengers, and BVI with 1,308 passengers. St. Eustatius with 1,176 passengers and Anguilla with 1,111 connecting passengers complete the top five markets.

SXM stated that the idea of a hub is to enhance air travel and give passengers the option of more flights, more frequency, and more services. It added that minimizing the travel time between the destination where the trip originated and the final destination is key to the success of a hub. SXM intends to continue to attract more passengers by working with all airlines to have Interline agreements that would encourage more passengers to use the airport as a hub, he said.

SXM further disclosed that it will be working with SITA, the world’s leading specialist in air transport communications and information technology, to improve the boarding pass scanning system. This will allow for the capturing of transfer passenger demographics and information and provide a more accurate estimate of transfer passenger information.

With over one million Canadians visiting Cuba annually and another 850,000 traveling to the Dominican Republic, SXM said that targeting Canadian carriers to increase passenger connection through its facility will be a priority. For example, if WestJet were to focus transfer passenger movement to the hub islands, this will increase flight frequencies from three to five weekly.


The factors necessary to improve the hub function of SXM were identified as determining the air travel market sizes by origin cities and countries; seeking new long-haul air routes;  entering into Interline agreements with airlines that currently service SXM and group budgeting and joint marketing by the hub partners.


The meeting, hosted by SXM, was the second for the ASDC, which is seeking to foster, and support the promotion and development of new flight routes to and from the Princess Juliana International Airport, SXM with the intention of increasing connectivity of the visitors to their final destination.


Prime Minister emphasizes need to prepare for natural disasters

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams during a recent radio interview stressed the importance for St. Maarten in cooperating with regional organizations to mitigate the effects of Climate Change and natural disasters.

The Prime Minister stated that proper information going out to the public and technical cooperation in regional organizations such as the Association of Caribbean States is crucial in ensuring the effects of calamities are reduced on St. Maarten; “Information and awareness is key and in the absence thereof you could have a situation where, after an earthquake like the one that shook us some ten days ago for example, some panic and confusion is created within the community.

“We know from history that an earthquake can trigger a tsunami. People realize the connection and start to wonder about what is happening and as soon as one person says something it starts to live a life of its own without correct and official information. It is therefore very important that we inform the population regarding what is occurring on a regional and local scale with regards to disaster management.

During the recent Association of Caribbean States meeting in Mexico strong emphasis was placed on a common system for the warning of natural disasters. Sint Maarten does not have the capacity to handle all of these issues and so being a part of an organization such as the ACS strengthens the capacity for St. Maarten and other smaller islands.

“It can do no harm to constantly revisit our disaster management organization and make sure that the lines of communication and the hierarchy are clear on who is supposed to do what and when it should be done. The other issue is that we need to address the effects and mitigate the future effects of Natural Disasters, including those that will be brought on by Climate Change. Particularly due Especially due to our small size we must not ignore this issue and address these effects it will have on our way of life,” commented Prime Minister Wescot-Williams.  (Cabinet of the Prime Minister)


Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams meets Outgoing Commander of Dutch Navy

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams received a courtesy visit from the outgoing commander of the Dutch Navy Brigadier General Dick Swijgman and his successor Hans Lodder at her Cabinet on Thursday.

The Prime Minister was updated on the change in command and the operational aspect of the Dutch Navy’s presence in the Caribbean. Commander Hans Lodder will receive the command of the Dutch Navy in the Caribbean when he will replace brigadier general Dick Swijgman.

Lodder will also be director of the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard. The Commander of the Dutch Naval Forces in the Caribbean is the highest military representative in the region and monitors the performance of the duties imposed by the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Dutch Military is tasked with the protection of Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius and Saba. 


Turnout for Parlatino Committee Meetings nearly 90 per cent

MAHO REEF, Sint Maarten – The President of Parliament Hon. Gracita Arrindell is very pleased with the turnout to the three committee meetings of Parlatino that were held on May 22 and May 23 when the country hosted Members of Parliament and support staff from the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

The meetings took place at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino saw attendance nearing 90 per cent. The committees that met were: Economic Affairs, Social Debt and Regional Development; Committee of Energy & Mines; and Committee of Political Affairs, Municipal and Integration.


NIA showcase well received at Parlatino's opening reception

MAHO REEF, Sint Maarten—National Institute of the Arts (NIA) showcased St. Maarten’s culture and talent at the Parlatino Committee Meeting’s opening reception held at Sonesta Maho Beach Resort and Casino on Thursday, May 22.

The performance arts institution, known for both its cultural and contemporary repertoire, was charged with adding aspects of arts to the evening.

“The organizers of this event recognize that to showcase a nation's culture, you cannot really do it just through a speech, you have to involve the arts. You need an artistic element to capture the full St. Maarten story. So for them to recognize that and also that NIA is the premiere vehicle from which to display our island’s culture strengthens our awareness that we are on the right path as an arts institution,” Co-Director of NIA, Arlene Halley said.

NIA presented two dances and a medley of St. Maarten’s cultural songs, which highlighted folkloric, Latin and modern contemporary elements. The initial dance was an upbeat piece paying tribute to the polka and Latin influences on the island and was danced to the music of the island’s legendary Tanny and The Boys. The mixture of songs was sung by vibrant trio, Morenika Charles-Arrindell, Lena Browne, and Malaika Maxwell. The second dance, PAC-B-13, is a modern contemporary number, which was choreographed by NIA instructors Peggy Oulerich and EoIia “Bibi” Ada, along with Co-Directors Arlene Halley and Clara Reyes and is named for the quartet.

Each piece seemed to delight the attending guests and earned high applause.

We always bring strong performance elements to all that we do, making sure that each piece tells a story about who we are as a St. Maarten people. When it comes to cultural heritage and its preservation we often hear about all of these wonderful buildings or natural spaces, but it is really the people who create the experiences that are had in the buildings or spaces, so it is the people that really create the legacies that live on and that is what NIA is all about, creating a lasting legacy of arts,” Co-Director of NIA, Clara Reyes said.

Latin American ParliamentParlatino is comprised of regional National Latin American and Caribbean Parliaments. The organization held its annual representatives meeting on St. Maarten last week.

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