Soualiga News II

Soualiga News II (2925)


SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The National Institute of Arts’ program “Music Brings People Together” will be hosting a 10-day workshop for the NIA’s NATIONAL YOUTH ORCHESTRA (YO) with Conductor Juan Cristobal Palacios who arrives on the island on Sunday November 24, 2019.

Mr. Juan Cristóbal Palacios is a native of Caracas, Venezuela. He holds a BA in Music Theory and a MA in Composition both from Boston University; he also graduated from Yale University with a MA in Orchestra Conducting.

In Venezuela he founded, and was appointed as the first President and Music Director of the Fundación Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil de Chacao, which belongs to the “El Sistema” national music program. He also served as President of the Fundación Cultural Chacao, where he designed the entire cultural agenda for Chacao County. During his tenure at Chacao he produced a whole range of art manifestations from educational to recreational, from traditional art exhibits or ballet recitals, to urban street art and contemporary dance.

Palacios passion for music education and more specific, community music programs, led him to develop an innovated program for the Fundación Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil de Chacao. All students registered in the program received instruction in the three fundamentals of instrument performance: solo repertoire, chamber music, and orchestral repertoire. The program started in 1993 with five musicians and five years later grew to more than 250 students playing in five different ensembles studying the fundamentals of music theory, music history, and instrumental performance. I am proud to say that of all the students that went through the program during my years in charge, and decided to make music their life project, all became professional musicians and have been playing in professional orchestras as well as teaching music around the world.

Juan Cristóbal Palacios has been living in San Diego, California for the past decade where he became part of the Conductors’ Faculty at the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory. He is responsible for teaching three different ensembles at the Showcase Level. He has also been involved as a Teacher Artist and Supervisor with the Opus Community Program, which is the “El Sistema” Community program developed by the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory. This program is in charge of teaching the fundamentals of music to students that belong to the public education school system.

Palacios, as one of the thousands soldiers from the “El Sistema”, strongly believes on the power that music education has on the youth; it provides them with an important tool for the future, a tool that can help to overcome and navigate the different paths of life. The discipline acquired through music learning, can be translated to any activity or goals they would like to accomplish in life.

For his ability to impart knowledge, promotes enthusiasm, and intellectual curiosity among young people in 2000 Mr. Palacios received the “José María y Bote” Orden en su Primera Clase, the highest cultural award in Chacao County. Since 2006, he has been Principal of JCP Cultural Advisory; a group of professionals that help organizations create, improve, develop, and implement cultural programs.

“Students and teachers are looking forward to this special treat in preparation for the Holiday concerts in December. Parents will also enjoy a workshop by Mr. Palacios involving them in their child’s musical development” said Director Arlene Halley Newhouse. This program is partly funded by the Dutch Disaster Fund. Special thanks to the Belair Beach Hotel for providing a week’s lodging for Mr. Palacios. Stay tuned to the upcoming concert on December 7 which will be a festive affair in the heart of Philipsburg.


US Ambassador Pete Hoekstra visits Saba

SABA - United States Ambassador to the Netherlands Mr. Pete Hoekstra visited Saba on Thursday, November 14. He met with local authorities, climbed Mt. Scenery, the highest point in the Dutch Kingdom, and went to the landfill to be informed about the successful recycling project.

The Ambassador was very positive about his first-ever visit to Saba. This was not his first visit to the Dutch Caribbean as he has already been to Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten. His visit to Saba was historic in the sense that he was the first US Ambassador to climb Mt. Scenery. He did so shortly after arriving on Saba on the first flight.

“It was a hard hike. The nature is gorgeous. Saba is a beautiful island with the white houses and the red roofs. And I had a thrilling entry into this beautiful island, landing at such a short runway,” Mr. Hoekstra said at the end of his one-day visit.

The Ambassador said the island has a lot of potential, depending on how much local authorities want it to grow. “I can understand that they want the right kind of growth so Saba can stay Saba, and not lose its authenticity. Generally, they share the same vision, which is conducive.” He said he was impressed by the project to clean up the landfill, the recycling facility, and the plans to build a new harbor. “These are all major projects that are positive for the community.”

At the landfill, the Ambassador, his wife Diane Hoekstra and his delegation that includes staff from the US Consulate General in Willemstad, received information about the waste management and recycling process from Commissioner Bruce Zagers, landfill manager Arnold Hassell and Head of Public Works Russell Thielman.

Andrew Cadwell of Cadwell Inc., the US company that is removing all recyclables from Saba, shared information on the project to get metal, aluminum, glass, plastics, tires and other recyclables off the island. Mr. Cadwell told the Ambassador that the first batch of scrap metal has already been removed and shipped to Puerto Rico for processing after being cleaned on Saba first. He said that all containers that are filled with recyclables will be shipped off and that the intention is to keep doing so in order to prevent a build-up of stored recyclables on Saba.

The Ambassador and his delegation left Saba on the last flight and will visit St. Eustatius on Friday, November 15.

SAB US Ambassador and delegation at start of hikeUS Ambassador Pete Hoekstra (fourth from right) and his wife Diane (third from right) at the start of the hike to Mt. Scenery. In the centre is Island Governor Jonathan Johnson with next to him park ranger James Johnson (fourth from left) and Island Secretary Tim Muller (third from left).

SAB On the top of Mt. SceneryUS Ambassador Pete Hoekstra (fourth from left), his delegation, Island Secretary Tim Muller (second from right) and park ranger James Johnson on the top of Mt. Scenery.





Loekie Morales a Dutch Caribbean author participates in BNK’s Children Book Week

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - Last week Friday, the children book week in Curaçao came to a closure. Loekie Morales, was invited as a writer of Sint Maarten to visit several schools to read and tell her winning story ‘Ghosts in the Octagon?’, which appeared in this year’s bilingual ‘Children book Present’ ‘Ban Keiru I discubrí Korsou’/’Reis mee en ondek Curaçao’ (‘Travel along and discover Curaçao’).

The book carries 15 winning stories about children experiencing some adventure at touristic attractions in Curaçao. Loekie Morales wrote her story many years ago, and discovered that it fits the criteria set by the National Library of Curaçao (Frank Martinus Arion Library). She sent it and won a prize. Her story to be published in the Children book week of 2019.

All primary schools in Curaçao have gotten some copies of the book. Next to that, there is a song composed that goes along with the book. More or less 30 authors and artists have visited primary schools last week.

Morales: ‘Specifically for my story, I’ve created a rap called ‘Let’s visit our Octagon’ and after reading the story, the children could sing and dance the rap, to get acquainted with the Octagon, the strange building in Willemstad with the black glittering roof, where the history of Simon Bolivar lives up to date.  I have visited the Octagon, the House of Simon Bolivar’s sister, one of my favorite buildings in Willemstad, prior to the visits to schools. The building is now completely restored as a main monument, ‘The Museo Bolivariano’ and is located in Penstraat on the terrain of the Avila Beach Hotel’.

Morales: ‘The welcome ceremonies at several schools were awesome. You can clearly see that schools have put a lot of effort to receive us. The Franciscus College, the school I am ‘Madrina’ of its library, has received us with a parade of children on their bikes, roll skates and skates, blowing their horns, when we entered the school. That was really amazing and very emotional.’

During the week, several activities were organized by the Biblioteka Nashonal Korsou (BNK) for the writers, like workshops and a social gathering together. Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao are taking lead in such reading festivals in the Dutch Caribbean.

‘Morales: ‘It is a privilege and a celebration every year again, to participate in this reading festival. Where Reading is seriously taken as a Fundamental part of our existence, I want to be there and play my role in stimulating it’.



SINT MAARTEN/TRINIDAD - On Friday November 15, Caribbean Airlines Cargo recognised several of its longstanding corporate partners and employees at an appreciation reception held at the airline’s Piarco, Trinidad Headquarters. 

Honourees for the night included 22 longstanding corporate partners across the airline’s cargo hubs in Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, Guyana, Kingston and Miami; along with 13 dedicated employees who have been with Caribbean Airlines Cargo since inception. 

Caribbean Airlines also announced that customers can earn miles, via Cargo. Customers enrolled in the airline’s Caribbean Miles Loyalty Programme can now earn miles every time they ship with Caribbean Airlines Cargo.  Enrolling into Caribbean Miles is free. 

Commenting on the developments, General Manager Cargo Marklan Moseley stated: “Over the last year we have focused on introducing dynamic and competitive elements to our operations and processes in all areas within Cargo, from our customer response to our berth of interline partnerships.   The inclusion of Caribbean Airlines Cargo to our Loyalty Program adds one more progressive development for Caribbean Airlines Cargo and our valued customers.” 

In addition to the loyalty program, Caribbean Airlines Cargo has rolled out, several new initiatives during the year including: 

  • Introduction of a dedicated Customer Service team and call centre operation
  • Real time Cargo Tracking
  • Refreshed freighter network adding key capacity on core trade lanes demanded by our customers, including Curacao.
  • Introduced offer cargo services twice weekly between Curacao and Trinidad each Monday and Friday
  • New interline partners
  • Expanded cargo network to include Anchorage, Hawaii, Utah, Oregon, Toronto and Vancouver
  • For holiday peak 2019 capacity will increase by over 100% to include six weekly flights to Port of Spain, five weekly flights to Kingston and two weekly flights to Guyana and Barbados. 

Caribbean Airlines Chief Executive Officer, Garvin Medera, also spoke on the advances made in the airline’s Cargo operations due to technology, stating: “Today’s launch is a proud result of the interactive dialogue we have been having with our customers over the past months, aimed at enhancing our value offering. This and other programs have been designed to reward growth, trust and consistency, embedding a renewed customer-driven culture into Caribbean Airlines mode of operating.”

Caribbean Airlines continues to serve the people of Trinidad & Tobago, the region, the Diaspora and its valued stakeholders within the Caribbean and beyond.


Minister Johnson provides tents for Philipsburg Market Place vendors

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Honorable Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Stuart Johnson and Lela Simmonds of Port St. Maarten was present late Thursday evening at the Philipsburg Market Place. 

Two large tents have been erected to assist the vendors who have been subjected to difficult conditions.  “A promise made is a promise kept," Minister Johnson said.


47 applications filed with Schadefonds CN

SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS - Since April 1st, 2019, victims of violent crime on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba are eligible for a one-off compensation payment from the Schadefonds Geweldsmisdrijven (Violent Crimes Compensation Fund).

Since the introduction of the fund in the Caribbean Netherlands (CN), 47 applications have been submitted. Applications that meet the conditions and of which the crime was committed on or after January 1st, 2017, are eligible for a financial contribution.

Of the 47 applications submitted, 14 cases have been settled. Of these, 11 applications were granted and 3 were rejected. The other cases are still in progress. In dealing with the cases, Schadefonds assesses whether it is plausible that the applicant (or his or her loved one) was the victim of a deliberately committed violent crime. The perpetrator does not need to be known or convicted.

The compensation payment is a token of recognition for the injustice done to the victim. The benefit must be considered as a compensation and is not intended to cover all damage resulting from the crime. Monique de Groot, director of Schadefonds Geweldsmisdrijven, is satisfied with these results: "I am happy to be able to contribute to restoring the confidence of the victims of violence in the Caribbean Netherlands. I very much hope that more and more victims will find us."

In addition to the regular scheme, the Schadefonds also provides one-off subsidies for preventative security measures. This temporary subsidy scheme is intended for persons or companies that fell victim to a robbery in which violence was used or threatened with. Applications can be submitted for robberies committed after January 1st, 2019. The temporary schema applies until 2022.

For more information about Schadefonds Geweldsmisdrijven, visit From now on you can also find an animation clip on this website regarding the application process.

Do you want to submit an application? Then go to the employees of Bureau Slachtofferhulp. They will gladly help you further. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)


“Future” To be theme of upcoming Crystal Pineapple Awards Edition

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The theme chosen for the 12th Crystal Pineapple Awards will be “Future” announced today the Sint Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA).

By choosing this theme, the SHTA wants to engage in positive thinking about opportunities and outlooks for the island as it still recovers from the damages caused by hurricane Irma. Prior year themes of the Crystal Pineapple Awards Ceremonies have been Branding SXM (2017) and Community Spirit (2016).

The 2019 Crystal Pineapple Awards (CPA), the SHTA’s Annual Fundraising Event started its voting period on Tuesday October 31th, 2019 and will close in Thursday November 21st, 2019. The Gala Award Dinner and Ceremony is scheduled to be held on Saturday November 23rd, 2019 at Sonesta Maho Beach Resort.  

The Crystal Pineapple Awards Fundraising Gala is the main event recognizing the achievements and outstanding service of Hospitality & Trade personnel, organizations and associations, on St. Maarten. Each nominee represents someone to emulate amongst one’s peers. This year’s nomination categories are Employee of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and Manager of the Year in both the Hospitality and Trade categories; plus Restaurant, Entrepreneur, Environment, Community Service and Media Personality.

During its 2018 Annual General Meeting, the association made “Future” a theme too by providing its vision on what a future Sint Maarten could look like providing “better quality of life for all Sint Maarten residents”. This vision ( was based on the three pillars of a sustainable economy, a healthy and beautiful island and good governance.

Voting can be done on The polls will close on Thursday November 21st, 2019 at 3pm. Remember that your vote can make someone feel like a star that evening. Visit and for pictures and videos of all the nominees.

Voting: Please note that the final selection of winners is based on the outcome of popular votes and Crystal Pineapple Awards committee review.  

TICKETS for the Award Gala ARE NOW ON SALE and can be purchased at the SHTA office any time during office hours 8am – 5pm. Please make sure to reserve your Gala tickets right away, as there is limited seating!

For more information, please contact the SHTA office: 542-0108, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Accident on Marigot hill road. Driver suffers minor injuries

SINT MAARTEN (ST. PETERS) - The lady with the Initials B.Y suffered some minor injuries during a car accident that took place on the Marigot Hill road early on Tuesday morning November 12th, 2019, police said in a statement on Wednesday.

According to the personnel from the traffic department, the victim was driving up toward the top of Marigot hill and encountered some zinc sheets that were placed on the side of the road by unknown persons.

The victim lost control of the vehicle and flipped over after running over one of the zinc sheets that were on road. She was later transported to the St. Maarten Medical Center after being treated at the scene by the personnel of the ambulance.

The police force of St. Maarten would like to remind the public to place discarded material in such a manner that it does not interfere with the free flow of traffic or endanger those who are using the road. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

car accid




Youth Sexting Workshop Planned for Nov.20. What Parents Should Know

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The Student Support Services Division (SSSD) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport is organizing an interactive and informative panel discussion entitled, “Youth Sexting: What Parents Should Know and the Role of Adults.” The general public, especially parents of primary and secondary school going children, are invited to attend.

Parents, teachers, and other interested persons in the community are encouraged to come out to this discussion which will be held on Wednesday 20th November 2019 at the University of St. Martin from 7:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.

The objective of the workshop is to educate and empower parents, teachers, and the general public via an open panel discussion regarding youth sexting, the influence of social media, the role of adults, schools and the law. Organizers hope to have a fruitful and interesting discussion to bring awareness on this issue and hope that persons leave empowered to address it.

For more information, contact the Student Support Services Division at 543-1235 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Student Support Services Division (SSSD) provides services to students referred by the schools. These services consist of psychological services, counseling services, social work services, speech language pathology services    and educational diagnostic services. SSSD also provides career services to students, parent support groups and parent education/information sessions.


Minimum wages and benefits increase as of January 1st, 2020

SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS - Income in the Caribbean Netherlands continues to rise as of January 1st, 2020. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment raises the minimum wage on Bonaire by 6.2%, on Saba by 5.3% and on St. Eustatius by 2.7%. Inflation is included in this. The amounts of the various benefits will also increase.

Parents and guardians will also receive more child benefit in 2020. For Bonaire this amount will be $ 83 per child per month. For Saba this amount is $ 84 and for St. Eustatius $ 85.

From 2020 there will also be a supplement for fully and permanently disabled people and for those entitled to Old Age Pension (AOV). With this supplement their income per month will at least equal the Statutory Minimum Wage.

The government has indicated in their agreement that the priority for the Caribbean Netherlands is to improve the economic perspective. To achieve this, incomes must go up and the cost of living must go down.

At the beginning of 2019, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment introduced a first package of measures to increase the Statutory Minimum Wage, child benefit and social relief.

Employer's premiums were also reduced, giving them room to increase employee wages. With the measures taken as of January 1st, 2020, the Ministry is introducing a next package.

The final amounts will be published in the ‘Staatscourant’. The new amounts for benefits and minimum wages for 2020 can also be found on (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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