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SXM DOET Postponed to May 28 & 29

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Oranje Fonds is postponing the Kingdom-wide ‘DOET Event’ 2021 by 2.5 months. This includes SXM DOET, which is executed by Be The Change Foundation on Sint Maarten.

“Together with the other Dutch Caribbean islands and The Netherlands, we have chosen to postpone our yearly SXM DOET event to 28 and 29 May, 2021. We will aim to hold the volunteer event during that time with safety as our priority. Projects will only be allowed to take place if they can comply with COVID-regulations.” explains Melanie Choisy, President of Be The Change Foundation.

“Let’s achieve more together, safely” is the slogan for the 2021 event. Participating organisations and volunteers are asked to adhere to a set of rules and guidelines so that projects can be completed in a safer manner. These include: maintaining social distancing, proper sanitation, encouraging households to volunteer together, discouraging sharing of materials, and appointing a ‘supervisor’ to make sure guidelines are followed, etc.

All projects will also be provided with ample protective materials such as masks and sanitizer. Organisations can also apply for additional funding to purchase additional protective equipment fitting to their project needs. The full COVID rules and guidelines for NGO’s & volunteers during SXM DOET 2021 are available on www.sxmdoet.com.

With the postponement, community organisations can now register their projects and apply for funding till March 19, 2021. Melanie “We look forward to seeing a lot of outdoor projects for this 7th edition of SXM DOET on May 28 & 29. Let’s have fun and work together safely to bring positive change to the community!”


For any questions SXM DOET can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on their Facebook page.

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Impactful Re-greening SXM Project contributed to the resilience of Sint Maarten

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - The re-greening SXM project has improved the resilience of St. Maarten and successfully planted a total of 609 trees with the help of more than 192 volunteers last year. Albeit the challenges brought about by the pandemic, the project still managed to safely host 5 community clean-ups and 4 community planting events. Due to the great contribution of volunteers, the project was able to reach its successes and the following communities were left cleaner: Madam Estate, Little Bay, Great Bay, Arch Road, Illidge Road and Cole Bay. Currently 82% of the planted trees and plants are healthy and surviving! Besides, environmental awareness was raised among the residents and students to learn about the importance of nature protection and resilient communities. 

The re-greening SXM project was launched to create a greener and more resilient island in 2020 by the Netherlands Red Cross in collaboration with the Nature Foundation St. Maarten. The Project aimed to restore and build environmental resilience here on St. Maarten last year. The Re-greening SXM Project was a component under the Netherlands Red Cross’ Disaster Risk Reduction Project, as part of the Hurricane Irma Recovery Programme. The project’s focus was to ensure ways in which community environments on the island will be better adapted to withstand future hazards and disaster impacts. 

“This has been a great opportunity to initiate a program which links up environmental, disaster, climate, and community resilience. Indeed, the “Regreening SXM Project” did not only raise awareness among the volunteers and community members, but it also influenced various stakeholders such as the government, private sector, academic institutions, and civil society organizations, to come together and complement each other to build a stronger, greener, and more resilient Sint Maarten,” as stated by Martin Dacles, DRR Project Manager of the Netherlands Red Cross. 

The Re-greening project was conducted mainly through the restoration of natural and native vegetation. Land ruin results in soil erosion and vegetative damage which in turn creates a higher risk of flooding. Vegetative restoration mitigates these impacts, builds resilience, and restores proper ecosystem functions. 

“Working on this project has been a blast! I am incredibly pleased with all that has been accomplished throughout this project. I would like to thank everyone who came out and assisted in the project and gave up their time to build a more resilient St. Maarten. It was beautiful to witness the care, love, and passion for St. Maarten through this project.” voiced Ernika van Putten Project Leader of the Re-greening SXM Project. 

“The Nature Foundation is grateful to see more trees planted on our island and the completion of this project. Tree planting will enhance our natural habitats and the environment, creating a more sustainable future. Our nature assists us to protect our island from disasters, such as flooding and storms, their enrichment is critical in the way to recovery and is needed to be prepared for future disasters. Without our natural vegetation, trees, mangroves, and coral reefs, our island would experience much larger impacts from flooding, erosion, and storms, therefore nature restoration activities are of utmost significance for St Maarten” stated Nature Foundation’s Manager Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern. 

Pollution along with soil run-off creates a blockade in the drainages. This ends up slowing down or completely stopping the water flow through these drainages. With heavy rains and hurricane winds added to this equation pollution from afar also ends up in the drainages. Therefore, proper disposal of waste everywhere is very important. For our environment to stay healthy, the community as a majority needs to take initiative on keeping the island clean. Once a healthy ecosystem is promoted, restored, and maintained in our environment, rest assured that our communities will become safer and better equipped to reduce the impacts of disasters. We would love to see that this project further affects the communities positively and that actions are sustained for a St. Maarten that can better withstand future hazards. 

The Irma Recovery Programme will end during the summer months this year. The Red Cross will resume their regular activities. With disaster management prominent on the agenda of The Netherlands Red Cross and Red Cross St. Maarten, the Disaster Risk Reduction efforts will continue to strengthen St. Maarten beyond the Irma Recovery Programme.

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Detectives investigating shooting incident. Victim with multiple gunshot wounds

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Police Force of Sint Maarten (KPSM) detectives are investigating a shooting that took place on the Blyden’s drive on Tuesday evening January 12th, 2021 around 09.30 pm, whereby a young man received gunshot wounds to his upper body, the police announced on Wednesday afternoon.

Members of the Detective and Forensics Departments were summoned to the Sint Maarten Medical Center after receiving information from the hospital personnel that a victim, with the initials J.S. who was brought by friends, seeking urgent medical care from a gunshot wound that he sustained in the area of Blyden’s Drive.

Once given medical attention to the victim, who was in serious but stable condition, he was able to provide his statement to the detectives.

Officers investigated a location on the Blyden’s drive and indeed found indications that several shots were fired. There was blood found at the scene and the personnel of the Forensic Department took samples. A search was done in the area, but the perpetrator was not encountered, police said.

So far, the police have no clear picture of what had taken place up to now. If you or anyone you know may have information as to what took place do not hesitate to contact the Police Detective Department at +1 721 54 22222 or the anonymous tip line on 9300 (free of charge).

You can also visit the website at www.policesxm.sx to report 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.

This investigation is currently ongoing, more details into what took place will be provided as soon as they become available. (KPSM)

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SONESTA RESORTS SINT MAARTEN AND CASINO ROYALE OBTAIN SAFESEAL RECOGNITION

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Friday November 27th, Sonesta Resorts Sint Maarten, the largest duo of all-inclusive resorts, which includes the family-focused Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa and the adults-only Sonesta Ocean Point Resort, and the largest gaming emporium Casino Royale, received a Platinum SafeSeal recognition of best practices in protecting its customers against COVID19.

SafeSeal is an immediately recognizable emblem for companies that are verified that they adhere to strict cleanliness and hygiene guidelines to counter the COVID19 pandemic. SafeSeal standards have been devised by medical and occupational safety professionals. Sonesta Resorts Sint Maarten obtained the Platinum seal in the categories hotel, restaurant and casino.

Before obtaining its Platinum Seal, Sonesta Resorts Sint Maarten invested much effort into adapting to the challenges presented by the pandemic. All properties belonging to the resort are protected by an antimicrobial product, MicroShield 360. This product leaves a residual coating after every spray. The coating protect the guest continuously in between cleanings. It is EPA and FDA approved product that forms a covalent bond to all surface types. This is part of their PureCare sanitation program.

In addition, hygiene protocols are also in place for excursions as well. Tour operators serving the guests through its Nexus excursion desk have been asked to adhere to strict requirements.

SafeSeal’s methods and practices have been used to grant acknowledgement of best COVID19 prevention practices to approximately 1,700 companies in the Caribbean. For Sint Maarten, the checklists of requirements per sector have been validated to the published governmental guidelines on sintmaartengov.org, among other often more detailed parameters.

Vice President of Resort Operations and General Manager Mr. Jamie Lee is elated that the hotel company passed the Platinum SafeSeal certification, in various disciplines. “We can’t stress enough that our Sonesta Resorts Sint Maarten team are putting all efforts into mitigating any risk at our properties. Emblems like SafeSeal help spread the word about proper guidelines being adhered to in the hospitality industry. In addition, it is worthwhile realizing for tourists that Sint Maarten has year-round warm temperatures with most activities taking place in open-air areas.”

"On behalf of the entire team, we are extremely proud that Casino Royale has received this prestigious award,” says Vice President Casino Operations and Maho Group Security Mr. Sergio Porcasi. “The safety of our players and members is paramount, and we look forward to welcoming them with the utmost confidence in our highest hygienic measures.”

Many tourists have over the past months enjoyed a flawless stay at both Sonesta Resorts in Sint Maarten and enjoyed Casino Royale’s membership program. Mr. Lee and Mr. Porcasi encourage more visitors to come back to their beloved ‘Friendly Island,’ as Sint Maarten is affectionately known, and Mr. Lee states further “Our Island is easily accessible from many major airports on the East Coast of the United States; we are ready to receive our guests again – in the most responsible way possible.”

By highlighting best practice companies, supporting organizations Sint Maarten Tourism Bureau, the Sint Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association and occupational health company Medwork want to spread the word that Sint Maarten is making its best effort to be a safe destination. More information can be found at shta.com/safeseal or at stmaartenentry.com.

Sonesta St Maarten Resorts panorama 1

 

 

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Wescot-Williams Makes Inquiries into PJIA calling it an unfortunate situation

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Member of Parliament Sarah A. Wescot-Williams (UD) has made numerous inquiries into what she deems an “unfortunate situation that played out during the latter part of 2020 between the airport holding board and the Managing Director of the Princess Juliana International Airport, Mr. Brian Mingo.” 

A letter from the airport holding board that supposedly was also copied to the Parliament of Sint Maarten, the MP stated in a recent statement,  has prompted her to ask questions to the Shareholder, in this case Prime Minister Jacobs and  Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT), de Weever about the allegations in the letter. 

Wescot-Williams said that the matter is unfortunate and it is lamentable that a corporate matter such as this has played out in the public domain. “The entire matter is all the more regrettable knowing that the airport is St. Maarten’s primary gateway and up to not too long ago has been the proverbial political ping pong, until it was finally able to secure the funding for the reconstruction”. 

It’s only  in the past few months, that  the airport could have started with the reconstruction. Then, this letter from the airport’s  holding board accusing the Managing Director of  mismanagement and in which the  board also cites the shareholder, in other words the Government of St. Maarten. In the  letter from the holding board, several serious allegations are being made and supposedly also on behalf of the shareholder.

The MP continued, “Since all of this has come out in public and reference is made in the letter to the service agreement between the airport operating board and Mr. Mingo, the question is - to whom is Mr. Mingo accountable? 

The letter also refers to a big vision of Government for the airport and I would  like to know what is this Government’s vision for the airport that according to Government and holding board, the Managing Director is not executing?  Is Mingo even aware of said vision?” 

The holding board in its letter accuses the Managing Director of not timely executing what he should be doing as far as the reconstruction of the airport is concerned. I would like to be provided with a timeline of the airport’s reconstruction funding, the different players in the process, the process and activities undertaken and by whom, including  activities undertaken or not by the Managing Director. I want this timeline  going back to when the whole reconstruction funding was an issue and when this Government finally accepted that it had no other alternative than the  Dutch Government and the EIB financing. 

A reference is also made to key stakeholders, both local and International,  being disappointed in the functioning of Mr. Mingo. I’ve requested the correspondence from these stakeholders with respect to Mr. Mingo’s functioning.  In order for that type of report to be made by the holding board, the question would be who has assessed Mr. Mingo’s functioning and on the basis of what?  

Therefore, I’ve also requested to see the evaluation.

Then there is this issue whether Mingo was offered a payout. I want to know if that is so. If so,  how much was offered to Mr. Mingo,  or was it that  Mingo was asked to make an offer?  

I want the Government to provide Parliament with all information that would support these claims. I hope their response is not that they need information from the airport as the conclusions  arrived at by the holding board in their letter to Mingo are purportedly supported by the Government. 

In conclusion, the MP emphasized again that it is unfortunate and the last thing that our airport needs at this time is this kind of a public display of disagreement between the partners of the airport, namely  the Government of St. Maarten, the supervisory boards and the management. 

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First Arrest made in investigation in young man’s death. Police searching for second suspect

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - In connection with the ongoing investigation into the fatal assault which took place on December 7th, 2020, the personnel of the Detective Department arrested the suspect with the initials S.W. on December 24th, 2020, for his involvement in this case, the police announced on Monday. He was later incarcerated pending further investigation.  

During the investigation the officers became aware that a second suspect should be involved in this case, where the victim with the initials J.C. had lost his life after being severely ill-treated on Well-road. J.C. passed away on Wednesday December 9th 2020, due to injuries sustained in this incident.

This comprehensive investigation is slowly progressing, and the Detective Department is requesting the public to provide any additional information that can serve to help in the arrests of the second suspect who is involved in this tragic case.

The Sint Maarten Police Force (KPSM), can be contacted 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 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. This investigation is ongoing. (KPSM)

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SHTA Launches 2021 Event Calendar

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - This week, the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA) started distributing its 2021 Event Calendar. The association is pleased with a record amount of planned events sent in, showing resilience and ambition of the island for the New Year.

In the tradition of St. Maarten cultural icons being featured on the calendar, the 2021 edition highlights Isidore York’s well-known Dow Orchestra. As a first in the history of the calendar, designer Loic Bryan of Artistic Drive held a special photoshoot honoring the steelpan celebrity and his orchestra. SHTA calls on the community and visitors to support Dow’s Musical Foundation preserving St. Maarten culture.

SHTA thanks ILTT’s world famous brands Captain Morgan, Smirnoff and Johnnie Walker, Grant Thornton, Telem Group, the St. Maarten Tourism Bureau and l’Office de Tourisme de Saint-Martin for making the 2021 Event Calendar possible. Last but not least, it thanks the over 50 organizations contributing to the calendar.

As the global pandemic persists, SHTA calls on participants as well as organizers of the mostly small-scale events listed to respect guidelines and government stipulations pertaining to events. To assist in responsible meeting behavior, the calendar reminds of guidelines for events like mask wearing and social distancing and a preliminary warning that all listed events are subject to change as health will remain of the greatest importance.

SHTA and ILTT hope the 2021 calendar serves as a symbol to the community and visitors that Sint Maarten remains a vibrant and dynamic place. Suggestions for events for a next edition can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. St. Maarten residents can collect a free personal printed version via the same e-mail address. Digital versions can be downloaded via shta.com/events.

The SHTA is dedicated to bringing quality to all aspects of life on St. Maarten by promoting sustainable economic development for its members in cooperation with the social partners and the creation of a fair marketplace. For more information please contact our offices at 542-0108 or visit our website at www.shta.com.

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Minister of Justice has first meeting with Integrity Chamber

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - On Wednesday January 6, 2021, the Honorable Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson and her support staff met with the Integrity Chamber Sint Maarten for an introductory meeting. Representing the independent administrative body were Integrity Chamber member Rafael Boasman and secretariat director Charna Pompier.

Minister Richardson stated she considers integrity to be one of the most important values that underpins the activities of the Ministry of Justice and its personnel. She recognizes how it can affect public trust not only in the ministry, but in the entire government apparatus and as such announced that she intends, in this current year, to pay closer attention to integrity issues and ways on how the integrity standards can be raised throughout the ministry.

As such, the Minister asked for the Integrity Chamber’s supports in her efforts on this front. The Integrity Chamber has indicated to render support where possible and required within the ministry.

Mr. Boasman, on behalf of the three-member body that includes Rian Vogels (president) and Hans Lodder (member), said it was a positive step for Minister Richardson to reach out to the Integrity Chamber to share her concerns and to discuss bottlenecks faced within the Justice Ministry.

“The Integrity Chamber is here to assist where possible. It is important for the effective and efficient running of government for integrity to play a very prominent role. We look forward to and encourage others in government and its entities to reach out to us for information, for assistance, for guidance,” said Mr. Boasman.

Minister Richardson was very keen to learn about the Integrity Chamber and its core tasks of rendering advices, giving proposals, investigating suspected misconducts within administrative bodies (i.e., government and its entities, including government-owned companies) and the continuous provision of information to strengthen awareness about the importance of integrity in the community.      

One question posed in the meeting by Minister Richardson was if there has been an interest for the Ministry of Justice by the Integrity Chamber. The response was that there is in fact an interest for all of the ministries and government-owned companies, however in this phase of its activities, the primary focus is on introducing itself to the ministries and learning what is already in place with regards to integrity and how this is being documented. This way the Integrity Chamber knows what issues are in need of immediate attention.

The Integrity Chamber expressed its delight with receiving the invitation for a meeting with Minister Richardson as the Ministry of Justice was also on its list of ministries to visit. This is yet another step  Minister Richardson taking to in her pursuit to to strengthen the Ministry of Justice, the officers and its overall services.

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Chris: PM moving ahead with reforms without Parliament passing COHO law

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Independent Member of Parliament Christophe Emmanuel has taken note that Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs and her government, along with Dutch technocrats, have effectively sidelined the Parliament of St. Maarten and are moving full-speed ahead with country reforms without a legal basis to do so. He also added that State Secretary Knops finally admitted that the World Bank was wrong for St. Maarten.

The legislation for the COHO (Caribbean Organization for Reforms and Development), Emmanuel said, has not been debated and as such not passed. In the meantime press reports indicate that the Prime Minister and her government as well as civil servants, are meeting with the two Dutch technocrats appointed to St. Maarten by State Secretary Knops, who together form the Temporary Working Organization (TWO) of the BZK, awaiting the legal establishment of the COHO.

The MP said the aforementioned parties are moving ahead at a “break-neck” pace, trying to meet deadlines imposed by Knops, at the expense of the role of Parliament in the country. “What it clearly shows is that when the MPs gave the PM the permission to go ahead and sign for the COHO, the Dutch took that as a signal that the PM has full support for everything. Despite MPs stating that their permission was not a green light for everything else, that is exactly what their support is turning out to be. Because once the PM received majority support, the Dutch assumed that the same support will be there for the legislation. In other words, the same rubberstamps. I warned my colleagues about this,” Emmanuel said.

In fact, according to a government press release, Ministers have gone as far as already highlighting areas of importance for which work and collaboration are immediately needed. “Parliament has not been informed what these areas are and why they were specifically chosen. We don’t know how they will affect the people or if they are contrary to existing legislation,” MP Emmanuel said.

MP Emmanuel reminded the general public and his colleagues that the green light that MP’s gave to the PM to sign for the COHO placed St. Maarten in an impossible position when it comes to objecting to any reforms the Dutch want to see put in place by the independent COHO. He explained that “Knops and his COHO” are moving ahead without care because of the articles on the COHO legislation that stipulates the consequences of non-cooperation or getting a reform initiative done in time.

“Funding will be immediately cut off. So they don’t care what Parliament says. And this attitude is being accommodated by the PM and by extension all MPs who gave her the go-ahead to sign,” the MP said. He added that Knops exuded confidence in the speed of the reforms while throwing the World Bank under the bus during his recently held press conference. The same World Bank, Emmanuel said, that was chosen by the Dutch, has stagnated real development on St. Maarten for three years and which has received universal critique of being an ill-chosen entity for the St. Maarten Trust Fund ect.

State Secretary Knops said, and I quote, ‘The COHO is not the World Bank and it has to deliver results. I want to see results because I am not a pencil pusher I am a man of action.’ So he admitted that the World Bank is not result-oriented and slow to the task. That is an indictment of the World Bank and an incredible comparison after three years of nothing from the World Bank on St. Maarten, initiated by the Dutch. Today the Prime Minister is the driver of a fast moving car trying to make ambitious deadlines while being guided by the same person who left her people to suffer under ineffective World Bank policies, and ignoring Parliament in the process,” the MP said.

“Let’s face facts, the World Bank as not meant to work. The World Bank was used as the vessel to ensure that there was limited to no progress in the reconstruction of the island. It was a way to keep the island on a string of dependency. Which has now been compounded by the pandemic, and the rest is history,” the MP said.

Emmanuel said he will be requesting a few meetings this week and he hopes to get the support of MPs at this very crucial time for St. Maarten and its people.

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RISC Takers raise over $4000 for Children organization projects

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - On Tuesday, December 15, RISC Takers organized their second edition of the Children for Children run. The participating teams were RISC Takers Under 7, Under 9 (including the girl’s team) and Under 11, according to a press release from the organization.

The players had to individually find persons who would like to sponsor them for the laps they ran on December 15. The funds the children collect together will be used to support other children in need on Sint Maarten. The first edition was a big success, the players collected USD 4,000 together.

With these funds the children were able to finance some nice projects to support children in need. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic the need for support on Sint Maarten has never been higher. The second edition was even a little bigger success as the kids broke their record of four thousand dollars.

On December 17th, 2020, a special Christmas party was organized by RISC Takers Soccer Moms support group for all their hard efforts the soccer players put forth for running all the laps. Soccer players of U11, U9, and U 7 received an early visit from Santa who did not come empty handed but bearing blue goody-bags and matching blue santa hats.

The coaches and friends of RISC Takers were also treated with Christmas gifts boxes for all their hard work during the year. Both male and female coaches volunteer their time to these children, and they do a wonderful job. To end of the year the RISC Takers coaches hosted a match against Juventus team and with a grand victory of 3 to 0 at the Raoul Illidge Sports Complex.

RISC Takers are very grateful with the donation of one thousand guilders from Guardian Group and water bottles for all the soccer players of the U11, U9 and U7. Guardian Group representative Wai Hing Patterson-Yee even ran a few laps with the soccer players in support of their Children for Children Run and was happy to be a part of such a grand community event for kids by kids. Special thanks and mention to Shop4Less for their donation of their signature edible cupcake toppers for the soccer players.

RISC Takers will use the funds raised for kids related organizations and projects on the island. Adopt an Art Child Kids program by artist Tes Verheij, SaveHaven under the Direction of Vanessa Fraser, Excellence Learning Academy and New Start Foundation.

RISC Takers would also like to extend their gratitude to all their sponsors/partners, volunteers, fans and parents who supported them throughout the year.

For more information you can visit their website, follow them on Facebook or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

RISC Takers FC would like to wish everyone in our community a Happy Kickstart for 2021.

RISCTAKERS SANTA PIC

 

 

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