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Culture Time 35th Anniversary Benefit Show expected to be a Friday Thriller

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - The highly anticipated Culture Time 35th Anniversary Benefit Show, is expected to be a weekend thriller when it kicks off at 8 pm this Friday, September 30, 2022, at the Cultural Center, Backstreet, said organizer Fabian Adekunle Badejo.

The show had to be postponed from its original date because of the passage of Tropical Storm Fiona and the subsequent precautionary measures government announced to keep people out of harm’s way.

“But we’re all cooking on gas now,” said Badejo, founder, and host of the program, which has been on the air on PJD-2 radio for the last 35 years.

Fernando Clark, a former long-time co-host of the program, said Friday’s show will feature some surprises. One surprise, whispered the noted humorist, will be the debut of Shujah Reiph performing a comedy act.

“This is one aspect of Shujah people know nothing about,” said Clark. “But I can assure you, the man has talent. And he brave too!” Reiph, president of Conscious Lyrics Foundation, will also MC the anniversary benefit show.

The Culture Time 35th Anniversary Benefit Show will feature music, poetry/spoken word, dance, and comedy.

“All the performers are contributing their time and talent free of charge, because every cent from the proceeds will go to the Charlotte Brookson Academy of the Performing Arts,” said co-host of the program, Dr. Rhoda Arrindell.

“We are urging the public to come out to have a good time and to contribute to a worthy cause,” added Badejo.

Tickets are available at SoIL café at the entrance of St. John’s Ranch; Organic Creations in Orange Grove, Cole Bay; and at the African Market, across from Orange School on Frontstreet. Tickets will also be sold at the gate. Gates open at 7:00pm.

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More than 33 million euros for sustainable electricity in the Caribbean Netherlands

SABA/SINT EUSTATIUS) - The government is making 33.6 million euros available for an accelerated switch to sustainable electricity in Bonaire, St. Eustatius, and Saba.

This means that within 3 years, an average of about 80 percent of the electricity on the three islands will be generated with wind and solar energy. This results in lower prices, less dependence on oil, for example, and significantly less nitrogen emissions.

Solar and wind energy

On Bonaire, electricity producer Contour Global and policy participation Bonaire Fuel Terminals (BBT), supported with a subsidy of BAT, invest in a solar farm and a wind farm.

There will also be a battery to store and use electricity at times when the wind is less. These investments will be completed in 2024/2025 and then 80 percent of the electricity on the island will be generated from sustainable sources. This also leads to a lower energy bill for Bonaireans.

Two solar meadows have previously been built on Saba. Saba is investigating the possibility of building a combination of an extra solar farm and wind farm. The goal is to generate 100 percent of the electricity sustainably on an average day within 2 years. Saba Electric then only has to use the fossil generators if there is insufficient sun and wind.

On St. Eustatius, Statia Utility Company is expanding its solar farm and battery storage. This will enable around 60 percent of the electricity to be generated sustainably by 2024. The next expansion step will work towards 80% renewable electricity.

The government will continue to work with Bonaire, Saba, and St. Eustatius to further increase sustainability and limit the negative consequences of climate change (climate adaptation).

Minister Rob Jetten for Climate and Energy: "I am very pleased that together with the island governments of Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius and the electricity companies, we can take this important step towards sustainable electricity production. With this, we ensure a significant decrease in CO2 emissions, the Caribbean Netherlands becomes less dependent on fossil fuels and therefore less vulnerable to high energy prices as we currently see them. This makes the Caribbean Netherlands a showcase for making other small islands in the region more sustainable."

State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen of Kingdom Relations also sees this as an important step forward for the Caribbean Netherlands. "This helps the people on the islands because their energy supply remains reliable and their bills affordable. And that without or with much less emissions. I am very pleased that the government is making this possible."

(RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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Attention for social projects during visit to the Netherlands

SABA/THE HAGUE--During a recent visit to the Netherlands, Senior Social Worker Lucrecia Paulina of the Public Entity Saba had several meetings to discuss investments and assistance for social projects on Saba in areas such as poverty, domestic violence, budgeting, as well as culture.

Together with Island Secretary Tim Muller, Paulina had meetings with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (SZW) and the Ministry of Public Health, Wellbeing and Sport (VWS) in The Hague to talk about the policy and financing of social domain projects with emphasis on eradicating of poverty on Saba. The new energy subsidy in the form of a compensation for low-income families was discussed with SZW.

With the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK, Paulina talked about energy-saving household appliances and the possibility for installing solar panels in the long run, items that can help to cut the electricity bill. The plan for energy-saving products for low-income households has been approved.

Budget course

Paulina visited the Netherlands Institute for Budgeting NIBUD in Utrecht. NIBUD will be providing a budget course on Saba in October this year. Difficulties with budgeting can cause great stress and even debts in families. Through this course, people can learn to set goals and deal with monetary stress.

In The Hague, Paulina visited a social community team where she learned about the broad approach of how this team works in their district. In Zwolle, Paulina went to an organization called Kadera which runs a shelter for women and children. The Public Entity Saba is busy setting up a shelter and the visit to the shelter in Zwolle provided useful information about how to design a shelter, how to go about care for the clients and their safety.

Cultural affairs

Island Secretary Muller and Paulina, on behalf of Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Rolando Wilson and policy advisor Elsa Peterson, had a meeting at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) to talk about promoting cultural education and cultural affairs in general on Saba. The Ministry indicated that it can help further develop and implement a cultural policy on Saba.

The accent will be on the local culture and history in teaching materials at the schools, outside the schools through cultural/artistic organizations, and within society in general. There is a formal Work Group Cultural Education of the four countries in the Kingdom, and it was concluded that the Caribbean Netherlands should also be included in it. Also established on the level of the four countries in the Kingdom is a work group that prepares the establishing of a Kingdom Fund for Cultural Research and Documentation.

Saba will tag along in this process which has as its ultimate goal to work on creating more consciousness, through cultural education, of people’s own identity, cultural diversity, a contribution to social cohesion and promote the wellbeing of the community. Saba on September 27 signed a culture covenant with the Netherlands, Bonaire and St. Eustatius.

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Saba co-signs culture covenant

SABA/THE HAGUE--Dutch State Secretary of Culture and Media Gunay Uslu and the public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba on Tuesday signed a culture covenant. In this agreement, the four parties committed to taking joint responsibility for the cultural infrastructure in the Caribbean Netherlands.

Parties want to bring change towards a more sustainable culture policy and establish a better basis.

This will take place through a collaboration in the area of culture education, culture participation, investments in libraries and by improving the accessibility of the islands to culture funds. There will be special attention for the shared cultural heritage and the slavery past.

In the next step, the Netherlands and the public entities will further work out the agreements in the covenant in island culture agendas. At that time, parties will also make concrete agreements about the goals that they want to reach. The local communities and culture sector will be involved in the process. The culture covenant is the start for further cooperation.

Important steps

Saba Commissioner Bruce Zagers signed the covenant on behalf of Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Rolando Wilson who was unable to attend the online signing ceremony due to illness. “We are happy to be a part of this movement that gives culture a priority on the agendas. The signing of this covenant is definitely the first of many important steps that will need to be made to truly establish a comprehensive and executable cultural policy. We have been having these discussions for many years and we are delighted to have reached this pivotal point,” said Zagers.

Zagers said in his short speech during the signing ceremony that the culture covenant was not the end point, but merely a beginning. “We, the public entities now have to do our own work in educating, creating and documenting all necessary information that is vital for our cultural development.”

Continued cooperation

“We look forward to continued cooperation from the Netherlands but also from our counterparts in the Dutch Caribbean. Although we may differ in culture, and are separated by many miles, we still have a shared history which makes it even more unique,” Zagers said.

Some of the agreements stated in the covenant are to promote greater visibility and accessibility of the National Culture Funds for potential applicants from the islands, to arrive at accessible and available Caribbean regional canons, to (further) develop talent in various art fields, and the continued accessibility of the Culture Participation 2021–2024 program for the Caribbean Netherlands.

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Island Secretary Tim Muller to leave Saba, become RCN Director

SABA (THE BOTTOM) - The Executive Council of Saba on Tuesday, September 27, announced that Island Secretary Tim Muller will start as director and quartermaster of the National Government Service for the Caribbean Netherlands (Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland RCN) per December 1, 2022. The RCN is a collaboration between different ministries working for Bonaire, St. Eustatius, and Saba.

Muller said that the decision to leave Saba and the Public Entity was not an easy one. “For seven years, I had the pleasure of working with colleagues on Saba’s development. I will surely miss them, because with this Team Saba we have been achieving many tangible results. This is something to be proud of. Still, there is a lot more to do. That will be something to do for my successor with the team that is in place,” he said.

 “I am thankful for the trust I received to work for the Saba community. I truly enjoy working on and for Saba and I will miss it. I am happy that in my new function on Bonaire, but also for Saba and St. Eustatius, I will be able to continue working on the development of the island(s),” said Muller.

“Saba has been warm and welcoming to my family, and we made solid friendships. We are extremely thankful for the beautiful years.  But it is now time to start a new phase in our family journey,” he said.

Muller states that after his years on Saba, he is looking forward to further contribute to the development of the three islands. “This time together with the RCN colleagues, parties involved in collective labor agreements, the public entities, and the ministries. I look forward to work on the extra assignment as quartermaster focusing on public service to the people of Bonaire, St. Eustatius, and Saba. We will do this together; shoulder to shoulder with all stakeholders,” said Muller.

Muller, who has been Saba’s Island Secretary since October 2015, will take over from Jan Helmond, who has been RCN Director since 2014. Helmond will remain Acting Kingdom Representative (waarnemend Rijksvertegenwoordiger).

The Executive Council will bring in an interim island secretary who will also assists in the selection of a permanent successor. Muller’s appointment as the new RCN Director and quartermaster was also announced by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK.

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Traffic Regulations for Heavy Equipment Vehicles to be Reinforced

SINT MAARTEN (PHIIPSBURG) - Traffic safety remains an important matter for the Ministry of Justice. In a bid to create awareness within the general public concerning traffic regulations, the Honorable Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson hereby addresses the operation of heavy equipment vehicles on the public roads of Sint Maarten. Vehicles such as loaders, tractors, with or without a trailer, concrete trucks, asphalt trucks, gasoline tankers, forklifts and loaded trucks are considered heavy equipment by law. Many operators do not always adhere to the requirements for their vehicles set in the Traffic Ordinance and related legislation. As such, the regulations for heavy equipment vehicles are outlined as follows.

The safety of road users and pedestrians must be taken into consideration at all times. Articles 22 and 63 of the Traffic Ordinance set a large number of requirements for vehicles with a load. A vehicle cannot be overloaded or loaded in such a way that:

- the driver does not have sufficient view of the road or is not able to properly steer the vehicle;

- there is a risk of losing the load due to for example having no cover on the load or not properly tied;

- sharp objects stick out of the vehicle which may cause injury in a collision;

- the load protrudes more than five meters behind the rear axle of the vehicle;

- it causes any other type of danger to traffic.

In the event that the load sticks out of a vehicle, the front end and rear end of the load must have a red flag attached to it of at least 40 centimeters during the day or nighttime. During the nighttime, a light must be attached to the load if it sticks out of the vehicle. In addition to the load, Article 23 of the Traffic Ordinance states that a vehicle is forbidden to drive on the public road if it exceeds the height, including load, of 3.50 meters and the width, including load, of 2.60 meters.

There are also restricted hours for heavy equipment to be allowed on public roads. In view of traffic safety and to stimulate the traffic flow during peak traffic hours, Article 60A of the Traffic Ordinance states that it is not allowed to be on the public road with heavy equipment on weekdays between 6:30 AM – 8:30 AM and 12:00 – 2:00 PM. After Hurricane Irma, this regulation was no longer strictly enforced due to the fact that heavy equipment vehicles were essential in rebuilding the country after the damage caused by the hurricane.

Nonetheless, Minister Richardson and the Chief of Police find it imperative that the strict enforcement of the aforementioned restricted hours to be on the public road for heavy equipment vehicles is reinstated. Therefore, the general public and companies operating heavy equipment vehicles are hereby informed that as of December 1, 2022, vehicles with heavy equipment will not be allowed on the public road on weekdays between 6:30 AM – 8:30 AM and 12:00 – 2:00 PM. All exemptions issued after Hurricane Irma can be considered revoked starting from December 1, 2022.

The Police Force of Sint Maarten (KPSM) will carry out regular traffic controls to enforce the regulations of the Traffic Ordinance and related legislation. Failure to adhere to the (reinstated) traffic regulations can lead to imposed sanctions. Based on Article 119 of the Traffic Ordinance, a maximum penalty of 30 days’ imprisonment or a maximum fine of ANG 500 can be imposed for violations of the aforementioned traffic regulations. A second violation within a period of one year can be sanctioned with a maximum of 60 days’ imprisonment and a maximum fine of ANG 5.000.

Minister Richardson further encourages the general public to ensure that they comply with the additional standard regulations for vehicle owners. This includes being in possession of a valid driver’s license, valid motor vehicle insurance, updated payment of road tax, and a mandatory vehicle inspection.

Violations of the additional standard regulations are as follows. Persons found driving without a valid driver’s license are punishable with a maximum penalty of 30 days’ imprisonment or a maximum fine of ANG 500. Driving without a valid motor vehicle insurance is punishable with a maximum penalty of three months’ imprisonment or a maximum fine of ANG 5.000. Driving without payment of road tax is punishable with a maximum fine of ANG 500. Lastly, driving without a valid vehicle inspection is punishable with a maximum penalty of three months’ imprisonment or a maximum fine of ANG 500.

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Gray SUV in Accident with Governor’s Land Cruiser. SUV Driver Suffers Minor Injuries

SINT MAARTEN (GUANA BAY) - At approximately 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 25, 2022, Central Dispatch received a call of a traffic accident on Guana Bay Road.

A Police patrol and the Traffic Department were dispatched to the location.

At the scene it turned out to be accident between the driver of a Gray Honda SUV and a black Land Cruiser driven by the Governor of Sint Maarten.

The preliminary investigation indicates that the driver of the gray SUV lost control in the turn and collided with the black Land Cruiser coming from the opposite direction.

The governor himself suffered no injuries. The driver of the gray SUV received minor injuries to his knee and his passenger received minor injuries to her nose and was treated at the scene by the paramedics. The child in the vehicle suffered no injuries.

Personnel from the Traffic Department are still conducting this investigation. (KPSM)

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HOPE ESTATE COMMUNITY FUN DAY A SUCCESS

SINT MAARTEN (HOPE ESTATE) - The Department of Community Development, Family, and Humanitarian Affairs (CDFHA) within the ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labor (VSA) hosted it’s third free Community Fun Day on Saturday, September 24, 2022, for the Hope Estate Community and surrounding neighborhoods.

Under the theme ‘We put the unity in community,’ residents came out to interact in a fun filled manner and partake in this community outreach.

This free Community Fun Day was intended to bring families together for a day of fun and community spirit, while the department gave back to the community by giving a platform for community members to learn about the department's services and meet their fire fighters. It was also a day when the department's prominent guests, such as the elders, Mental Health Foundation clients, and Guided Living clients, had the opportunity to partake in the festivities.

Residents enjoyed various activities throughout the day, including live performances by Black Panter, stilt walkers, sweet pan, and a DJ. Fun 10, a senior's activity area, a children's corner, a variety of games, face painting, a bouncy castle, raffles, food, and beverages.

Throughout the course of the day, community members won a Samsung Galaxy Tab A7, a hotel stay, lunch for two, food coupons, and locally created socks.

Minister Omar Ottley and CDFHA would like to thank the Hope Estate community and neighboring communities for their attendance, as well as the Civil servants who offered their time, the many organizations and corporate partners for their collaboration, including Simpson Bay Resort, SZV, FLOW, La Patrona Restaurant, Sunny Food, Red Cross, Leaders For Change, and Garden Boys.

“Through programs such as this, we will continue to make every effort to continue fostering community harmony” Minister Omar Ottley.

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N.V. GEBE's Temporary Manager Focused, Steadfast and Dedicated to Solutions

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Troy Washington, N.V. GEBE's Temporary Manager/Special Representative, hit the ground running with a steadfast focus on the company's vision, ‘to provide regionally competitive, quality, efficient, sustainable and reliable services and products to the community of St. Maarten.’ During the appointed term, Washington is dedicated to restoring consumer confidence in N.V. GEBE's management and operations, by working diligently to lead the company in a manner that is efficient, effective and progressive. 

"This requires a thorough review and possible (re)organization of key aspects of N.V. GEBE's operational processes. Ranging from the financial, technical, human resources and administrative procedures, to, improved services and communications to the community, consumers and all stakeholders, all facets are being carefully reviewed to optimize efficiency," shares Washington. Towards this end, the crisis management strategy encompasses a "7-C" approach geared towards the community, compassion, commitment, competency, courage, change and continuity. 

With a diligent and well-versed financial employment history, which spans over 20+ years, Troy Washington comes highly qualified for this undertaking at N.V. GEBE. He exhibits exceptional experience and professional knowledge within the financial sector that has served the most reputable companies and committees in the industry. This includes Princess Juliana International Airport Operating Company (PJIAE); as exemplified with PJIAE’s capital program where he most recently worked alongside a team and played a pivotal role in successfully raising U.S. $90 million for the company. Additionally, Washington has dutifully served at the Corporate Governance Task Force, the Cabinet of the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunications, the St. Maarten Ministry of Finance, Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten as well as, RBC Royal Bank of Canada within the Caribbean and Astute Management.

Washington played an instrumental role in the financial success of many institutions. Creating accurate data analysis and the implementation of profit-maximizing ideas to ensure long-term success throughout the years, he has successfully executed countless Audits, Compliance, Funding, (Corporate) Governance, Risk Management (including insurances), and Policy Advisory. 

Washington's ability to develop cooperative international business partnerships based on credibility and integrity continues to bolster business relations whilst simultaneously meeting all financial and operational company needs. Additionally, he has garnered a tremendous amount of experience in Advisory, Corporate Finance, and Treasury expertise.

Washington holds a Master’s degree in Finance, a Master’s degree in Business Administration, and a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering. Holding an array of certifications pertaining to auditing, financial management, risk management and more, his knowledge and experience have proven to be an asset throughout the industry both locally and internationally. Moreover, his extensive professional background uniquely positions Washington to develop and implement strategic, results-oriented solutions at N.V. GEBE, with the steadfast focus and dedication to building a sustainable organization.

“As a vested community member, my overarching objective is to diligently employ all required efforts and rebuild N.V. GEBE into a strong, reliable and reputable organization that the staff, consumers, stakeholders, the Supervisory Board of Directors, the Shareholder and overall, the entire community can be proud of,” shares Washington.

N.V. GEBE stands firmly on its mission to serve consumers as a committed company that provides reliable, cost-effective, quality, electricity, water and waste management services in a safe, environmentally friendly, sustainable and innovative manner. Towards this end, ongoing community updates with additional details on various relevant matters will be provided. Please remain abreast of the website: www.nvgebe.com and Facebook page: www.facebook.com/nvgebe, as well as the relevant media outlets for further information.

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The Adult Literacy Program at USM continues to assist adults with reading and writing

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – The University of St. Martin (USM) is pleased to announce that its Adult Literacy Program (ALP) will continue in the Fall semester. 

USM is pleased to announce that its Adult Literacy Program (ALP) will continue in the Fall semester. The ALP began last year in August 2021 and ended in December 2021. The staff at USM is thrilled to kick off the Adult Literacy sessions and welcome members of the community to apply or encourage someone who may benefit from the course.   

The program was piloted back in 2019 as part of USM's collaboration with the St. Maarten Training Foundation (SMTF), where persons who could not previously write or read were taught the requisite skills.  Students in the pilot program reported immense excitement and appreciation for the curriculum since it provided them with more than just skills.

There are many adults in our society, who are literacy challenged. They are functioning with the help of family and friends but are essentially vulnerable and run the risk of being taken advantage of. 

Acquiring literacy skills as an adult is not easy and learning how to read can seem overwhelming at times, even to the most motivated learners, but we at USM are committed to helping these adults conquer this issue. The Adult Literacy Program, which is offered under the leadership of USM ESL coordinator, Mrs. Corinne Lejuez, is scheduled to start on October 11, 2022. The program will be held 3x a week for 2 hours over a period of 12 weeks.

Interested persons, or someone who knows someone who can’t read or write or has issues with both, can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call USM directly at 542-5249 for more information.

USM continues to serve the needs of our community through this initiative.

Do you know someone who has given up on reading and writing because they believe they are too old? Or are they afraid or embarrassed about it? Encourage them to come to USM. It's never too late to learn to read and write! And we are proud of everyone that comes to us for assistance with this!

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