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Holland hasn’t subscribed to the 2019 bond prompting the Ministry of Finance to send Reminder Letter

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The Country of Sint Maarten has made preparations in the past year to finance part of its capital expenditure by issuing a public bond for an amount of NAƒ 40 million. The Kingdom Act Financial Supervision Curacao and Sint Maarten (Kingdom Act) regulates the supervision of the public finances of the Country Sint Maarten and the Country Curacao.

As usual, prior advice was obtained from the Board of Financial Support (Cft). In its letter dated 2 September 2019, the Cft advised positively on this bond to cover capital expenditure. 

According to the Kingdom Act, Sint Maarten can finance its expenditure on the ‘kapitaaldienst’ by issuing a bond, once the relevant conditions are met. Sint Maarten sent their issuance of a bond to be subscribed to by The Netherlands in October 2019.

When all of the conditions are met, it is not a matter of The Netherlands agreeing or not but “subscribing”.  The Netherland’s Ministry of Finance has no discretionary or decisive role in the current subscription process, they are only obligated to subscribe. 

The issuing of the bond has been made public. Although the Cft has advised positively on the issuance of the bond, The Netherlands has not yet subscribed to this bond. It is clear that the actions of The Netherlands are not in accordance with the Kingdom Act and violate the agreements found in the Kingdom Act agrees upon by all Kingdom partners. 

St. Maarten’s Ministry of Finance has sent another letter reminding The Netherlands to subscribe.

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RVO & COCI Webinar on Export-Ready Opportunities A Great Success

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) and the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) May 20 webinar about being export ready was a great success President of the Supervisory Board of COCI Benjamin Ortega said on Sunday.

More than 58 companies and persons from the business community registered for the online seminar.  There were also 30+ persons in attendance.

The registered businesses received a wealth of information on what export and being export ready entailed and what instruments have been designed to assist entrepreneurs.

The webinar also covered support in the form of coaching for companies. RVO explained in details the history of this service to the entire Dutch Kingdom and now in particular St. Maarten.

There are many opportunities that St. Maarten is not taking advantage of because the island has been mainly considering imports into the country as a way of income. After COVID-19, things have been put more into perspective, and it is becoming more and more apparent and clear that as a country St. Maarten is in need of diversification of its income.

St. Maarten is already considered a hub in the North Eastern Caribbean, and this puts the island in a better position to start looking within at its very own made in St. Maarten products, and to provide these to the world through export opportunities which means you need to be export ready.

COCI and RVO are asking those that have experience in exporting to other markets and countries, whether its products, services or goods, to become a coach for other entrepreneurs. If you are an export leader or have many years of experience in export, then you too can become a coach to assist other local companies to become export ready. 

Speaking during the webinar Nalia Muriel from SXM Cosmetics spoke about her experience in becoming export ready. This was considered an added value as those viewing could here first hand the experiences of a local entrepreneur on her challenges and successes in becoming an export ready business from a St. Maarten perspective. Muriel also gave helpful tips for banking and online payments as well.

During the webinar many detailed questions were posted regarding shipping too and from St. Maarten and online payment availability and possibilities.

President Ortega explained of ongoing deliberations with local financial institutions and the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten, and within short more information will be made available.

These questions and many more matters relating to being export ready, shipping and online payments will be highlighted in the very near future.

If you wish to receive updates on future webinars organized by RVO and COCI relating to this topic and the other related matters, please send an email to confirm your request.

For more information on becoming export ready, send your question or inquiry to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The webinar slides and discussions can be followed by clicking on the following link:

2020-05-20 16.06 SXM Export Webinar.mp4

If you would like the slides of the May 20 webinar, please send COCI your request at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and it will be emailed to you.

The St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry Management and Board, would like to thank the entire RVO Team for putting this webinar together, and making the various instruments available to the St. Maarten business community. 

The Chamber would also like to express its gratitude to Nalia Muriel for sharing her  experiences as a local export leader on the island. 

The webinar was an opportunity for the Sint Maarten business community, RVO and COCI to provide information about the various instruments and programs that can benefit the country over the mid to long-term.

The webinar’s aim was to improve opportunities for entrepreneurs by strengthening their position and helping them realize their international ambitions by learning how to access funding, networking, know-how and compliance with laws and regulations.

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has made various instruments available to companies in Sint Maarten since January 1, 2018. 

The Netherlands Enterprise Agency is a Dutch government organization which operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy that stimulates entrepreneurs in sustainable, agricultural, innovative and international business.  

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Council of Ministers dialogue on Dutch loan conditions with Unions

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Late Friday afternoon into evening, May 22, 2020, the Council of Ministers (COM) met with the unified unions of St. Maarten in order to clarify the proposal made by the Dutch Government and approved by the Kingdom Council on May 15, 2020, related to the much-publicized 12.5% personnel cost-cutting condition and other conditions within the Dutch COVID-19 support proposal which will negatively affect civil servants.

The unions represented workers in the private and public sectors namely, WITU, WICSU-PSU, ABVO-SXM, NAPB. The meeting was chaired by the CCSU. This as a result of union representatives seeking an audience earlier in the day with Prime Minister Jacobs, Finance Minister Irion, and Labour Minister Panneflek.

Prime Minister Jacobs provided an update on the events leading up to the proposal, while Minister Irion explained St. Maarten’s financial situation, exposing the need for the government to make budget cuts. The government had attempted to do such a few weeks before, however, it was clear from the response that the unions were vehemently against it. While this is definitely a last resort, and one not taken lightly by the government of St. Maarten, it was necessary to secure funding for our SSRP.

“The SSRP provides temporary financial support for three months including April, May, and June 2020, for the un- and underemployed due to COVID-19. The plan provides payroll support for businesses and support for entrepreneurs. The unemployed created and commenced this week out of government coffers. The harsh reality is that it would be unlikely to fulfill the obligations to the SSRP without taking the loan proposed by the Netherlands.” stated Minister Irion.

It was agreed after much deliberation that the government would provide the Unions with a written overview of the conditions as provided by the Dutch in writing over the weekend. Furthermore, Finance Minister Irion would prepare a revised proposal taking the current situation at hand, while Prime Minister Jacobs would ensure that the Unions would also be updated on the Pension Reform law and any other aspect of the loan proposal which had an impact on civil servants.

The government will continue to meet with all stakeholders in the coming days and weeks, including its employees, as well as government-owned companies, ZBOs and other subsidized entities to inform, dialogue and involve them in the planning moving forward as they strive to get financial assistance to the most vulnerable. “Government is seeking understanding and a sense of community from all the stakeholders mentioned to join forces with us to assist the most vulnerable in our society,“ stated Prime Minister Jacobs in an invited comment.

unions meet ins1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SMMC staff extinguish small fire in bathroom

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - Due to the swift action of St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) staff, a small fire in a public restroom in the Obstetrics-Gynecology (OB/GYN) Department was quickly extinguished on Saturday morning.

On Saturday morning, an exhaust fan located in a public restroom at the OB/GYN department caught fire which caused smoke to develop in the immediate surroundings. The fire was quickly controlled through swift action taken by SMMC staff who used the fire extinguishers on site.

The Fire Department was called in who inspected the area and left after confirming that areas were secured and without threat of recurrence because the fire source was contained. A complete check of the electrical circuit was performed and declared safe by SMMC’s Head of Facilities.

The smoke development affected one patient who suffers from asthma and was treated with minor symptoms. The smoke also affected room 8 and 9 which were evacuated and remain unoccupied until cleaning is completed and will be fully inspected before they will be given the all clear.

On behalf of SMMC Board of Directors, Medical Director Dr. Felix Holiday stated: “We are grateful for the swift action taken by our staff members to extinguish the fire and that no staff or patients were hurt in the process. All necessary checks have been performed by both the Fire Department and our own Facilities Department to ensure no recurrence can take place”.

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Yogesh Commercial Complex donates food boxes to those in need

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) – Yogesh Commercial Complex (YCC) donated 50 food boxes to needful persons in the community, YCC said in a statement on Thursday.

Yogesh Commercial Complex, along with the K1 Britannia Foundation put together donation boxes filled with essential food items and distributed it among the most vulnerable in the community.

These names are based on requests from people who are in vulnerable situations or who may have lost their jobs. These people sometimes contact the government who refer them to K1 Britannia, or they send their request to the foundation directly. 

As this is a difficult time in need of solidarity, we must come together to continue these efforts to assist those in need. We can come together as one island and one people to climb out of this, the YCC statement further explained. 

Yogesh Commercial Complex thanks K1 Britannia foundation for their assistance without whom this wouldn't have been possible and hope to inspire more of the community to come forward and help wherever possible the most vulnerable who currently needs our help.

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Chinese business community thanked for non-perishable and dry goods donations

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The Department of Community Development, Family & Humanitarian Affairs, which falls under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA), has been very busy under the auspices of Emergency Support Function 7 (ESF-7), and would like to thank the Chinese Business Community for donating non-perishable and dry goods which allowed for 244 food and care packages to be compiled for distribution.

Members of the Chinese community also assisted with the transportation and loading of the food items which were distributed by K1 Britannia to the most vulnerable persons in the community based on the registrations that the Government received that was entered into a database.

Persons are reminded, those needing assistance should fill in the digital Social Impact Assessment Form by going to the following link for the digital registration system: http://onlineservices.sintmaartengov.org/covid19/SIAForm.aspx

The Social Impact Assessment Form is available on the Government Website for download on smart phones, desktops, or laptops. The forms can also be filled in online and submitted for processing.

There are several sections on the form that needs to be filled in such as Section 1 “Personal data,” Section 2 “Financial/Employment data,” and Section 3 “Basic Needs Assessment.”

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41 SZV PATIENTS RETURN HOME

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY-AIRPORT) - On Wednesday May 20, the second repatriation charter flight brought home SZV insured patients who have completed their medical treatments abroad and are able to continue follow-up treatment on Sint Maarten.

A total of 41 SZV insured patients and their companions returned home from Curaçao and Colombia (Bogota, Cali and Barranquilla). The first repatriation charter flight, carrying SZV insured from the Dominican Republic landed last week at the Princess Juliana International Airport. The returning patients must adhere to the quarantine regulations.

“It’s a comfort to know that our patients and their companions returned safely back on Sint Maarten soil. We would have liked to see our clients return home sooner, however it has been a great challenge to navigate the COVID-19 international health restrictions and travel bans.

“We needed to be sure that we could get them back home with the proper health regulations in place to securing their safety during travel and back at home.”  Mr. Reginald Willemsberg, SZV Chief Operations Officer 

SZV, together with local and international health care providers took the necessary measures to ensure that the qualifying patients who returned home, were in good enough health to travel and could continue their follow-up treatment on Sint Maarten.

The returning patients and care takers had been asked to assess their home situation with their family in order to make the necessary preparations for quarantine once back on Sint Maarten. The patients were thankful for the charter flight and extremely happy to be back home. SZV is pleased to announce that after a long preparation phase, the charter flight was successfully executed.

On board the charter flight of May 20, were also 4 non-SZV medical referrals passengers returning to Sint Maarten. As a humanitarian effort, the departing charter flight from Sint Maarten, was made available for Colombian residents in Sint Maarten to return to Colombia.

The repatriation charter flight was made possible in collaboration with the Government of Sint Maarten, the Foreign Affairs department, the Consul Generals in Curaçao and San Juan, Puerto Rico and the Dutch Embassy Representative in Colombia.

Charter flight passengers during embarking 1

Passengers embarking charter flight to return to Sint Maarten.

Charter flight passengers during embaring 2

Passengers embarking charter flight with additional sanitization measures.

 

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Accessing services from Economic Licenses Counter by Appointment Only

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The Department of Economic Licenses has introduced a new procedure regarding the services it offers. Services will be provided by appointment.

The public is hereby informed that effective Monday, May 25, 2020; an appointment for services offered at the Economic Licenses’ counter at the Public Service Center (Government Building) must be first made online prior to visiting the counter. As of May 25, 2020, services offered on a walk-in basis, will no longer be handled.

Clients are encouraged to visit the website: http://appointments.sintmaartengov.org/services and follow the necessary steps to book your appointment online for your respective service(s). Please be advised to arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment time. Online appointment bookings are available for the following services:  

1.Applications for any Economic License (new requests)

a.Business, branch, and director licenses

b.Operational licenses (HORECA)

c.Vending licenses (incl. up to 21 days licenses)

d.Public transportation (help drivers, transfers, substitute vehicle)

e.Fishery (incl. lobster licenses)

f.authentic copies

g.extended opening hours

h.Bingo/ Buffet/ Raffle licenses

2.Applications for address, name, purpose changes to:

a.business and director licenses

b.vending licenses

c.operational licenses

d.public transportation licenses (bus, taxi, T's, G's, Car rental licenses)

3.Applications for cancellations of:

a.Business and director licenses

b.Vending licenses

c.Operational licenses

d.Public transportation licenses (bus, taxi, T's, G's, Car rental licenses)

4.Operational statements (proof that company is operational).

Proper protective gear (facial masks) and adherence to all security and safety (social distancing) guidelines are required when visiting the Government Building. The public is also advised to stay tuned to the official Government website and other social media platforms regarding other services or adjustments in services that will be provided in the coming weeks.

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School registration can start for new school year from May 25 – June 5

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Division Public Education hereby informs parents and guardians wishing to register their children at a Primary Public School for school year 2020-2021 that they are to do so at the school located in the area where they live.

Registration will be done at the five (5) listed Public Schools from May 25, 2020 – June 5,

2020, during the hours of 9:00 am – 12:00 pm.

          

School

Location

Contacts

1.

Ruby Labega School

Retreat Estate, St. Peters

Tel. 5484414

2.

Oranje School

Frontstreet, Philipsburg

Tel. 5437551

3.

Marie Genevieve de Weever School

Hope Estate, Guana Bay

Tel. 5430284

4.

Dr. Martin Luther

King Jr. School

Zorg en Rust, Dutch Quarter

Tel. 5472441

5.

Leonald Conner

School

Venus Drive, Cay Bay

Tel. 5445246


Parents are required to have the following documents on hand for registration.

  • Birth Certificate (mandatory)
  • Registration form from the Census Office
  • Passport or a valid ID (mandatory)
  • Proof of Dutch Nationality
  • A valid residence permit of the child
  • Immunization Card (mandatory)
  • Two (2) passport pictures (mandatory)
  • Report Card (mandatory)
  • Educational Report (from previous school)

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Only 5.8% from Trust Fund spent on projects at the end of 2019

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Today, the General Audit Chamber (GAC) presented its report entitled “Focus audit on the reconstruction funds for St. Maarten” to Parliament, the GAC said in a press statement on Wednesday.

The focus audit is a new type of audit. Only facts are presented; recommendations and conclusions are not issued.

Based on their review, the General Audit Chamber determined that at the end of 2019, 5.8% of the total funds made available, were disbursed for projects.

The challenge for the near term is ensuring the acceleration of disbursements. In the event money is still available in the Fund after 2025 and the Fund ceases to exist, the World Bank will return the remaining amount to the Netherlands.

An above-average hurricane season is expected in 2020. In combination with the COVID-19 crisis, all parties involved face the increased challenge of getting homes, schools, and shelters hurricane-ready.

The report is published in both English and Dutch and is available on the website of the General Audit Chamber (www.arsxm.org) and on the institution’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

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