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Mid Isle Assist Safe Haven

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - ‘It’s not just about the holidays for the St. Maarten-Mid Isle Rotary club, they have been a constant support throughout the year for us’, states an emphatic Cassandra Richardson, Executive Director of the Safe Haven Foundation, Rotary Club Mid Isle said in a statement on Sunday. 

“After hurricanes Irma and Maria, The Mid Isle Rotary Club have assisted Safe Haven with replacing beds, office equipment and other items lost during the storms, as well as food and personal items to the women’s shelter.  

“Shelley Gordon, Care Coordinator of the Safe Haven shelter, expressed her thanks and gratitude to Mid Isle President, Denise Antrobus, stating “I am so moved with how good Rotary has been to our Safe Haven women and children. They are so appreciative for all that you do, did, and will continue to do for us”.

“Rotary District Governor Dr. Patrick Adizua while recently visiting St. Maarten was taken to visit Safe Haven, he was pleased to see how the funds and equipment donated by Mid Isle are being utilized. During this visit Mid Isle were able to assist with other items that were needed by Safe Haven. Donated were standing fans, a pressure cooker, and saucepans.”

The Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle meets Tuesday at 7pm at Pineapple Pete in Simpson Bay. For more information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit their  Facebook page Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle.

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Minister Johnson says excitement building for First Annual Caribbean Multihull Challenge Regatta

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – The Sint Maarten Yacht Club will be organizing the First Annual Caribbean Multihull Challenge regatta in February 2019, and excitement is already building with the event approximately five weeks away.

Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Stuart Johnson said on Sunday that 2019 will be a busy year for tourism overall and commends the Sint Maarten Yacht Club for designing a new sailing category, the multihull challenge which kicks off in 2019 and is a spinoff from the annual Sint Maarten Heineken Regatta.

The multihull regatta race will take place on February 8th, 9th, and 10th.  

The organizers stated in a previous press statement that, “In response to the remarkable growth in the multihull category, the Sint Maarten Yacht Club has designed an important annual event celebrating the differences between a traditional yacht race and a race series designed for the special attributes of multihulls.

“And accompanying the hot racing the club will mount a major celebration of multihulls in all their glory. For 2019 great parties, beach games for competitors, and even a small boat show will highlight the three days of this brand-new Festival.

“The experienced Caribbean regatta participant knows that multihulls have always been a “sideshow” of a major regatta. No more. Things changed in high performance and cruising multihull design so the opportunity for close, exciting racing is now at hand.

“Early cruising multihulls may not have been fast or easily maneuverable, but many new designs accelerate quickly and can sail close to the wind. Talented professional racers are now eager captain the high tech multi’s of today in competitive settings.

“This event celebrates the difference. Multihull sailors are a different breed. They eschew hauling large amounts of lead to create stability. They embrace the technology that surrounds modern multihull design.

“They enjoy the space and practicality of multihulls; and they live to celebrate the creativity of these new designs at sea or at anchor. The Caribbean Multihull Challenge is intended to be a Festival to celebrate all of these attributes and differences.

“The Sint Maarten Yacht Club, already enjoying the strongest multihull entry of all Caribbean regattas in its “Heineken Regatta” has created this event to assemble the many multihulls in the region – new and old – to come together to celebrate the multihull lifestyle.”

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One Ship on Tuesday. MSC Preziosa arriving on Wednesday

PORT ST. MAARTEN – On the first day of the New Year, January 1st, there will be one ship in port, namely the MS Braemar with 929 passengers and 371 crew. The MSC Preziosa which was scheduled for Tuesday, cruise ship executives decided to change the initial date to Wednesday, January 2nd.

On Wednesday, January 2nd there will be six ships, the first busiest cruise ship day for 2019. Both piers at the two cruise piers at the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facility will be full.

The approximate number of cruise passengers in port will be 23,000 and crew members 8,000, for a total of 31,000.

The vessels that will be in port on Wednesday are: Allure of the Seas, Azura, Royal Princess, AIDAdiva, MSC Preziosa, and Costa Pacifica.

Two of the vessels will be in port until seven and eight in the evening hours and these are MSC Preziosa and Costa Pacifica.

Port St. Maarten Management is looking forward to continued growth in 2019.

“The New Year will continue to see high cruise ship numbers as the destination continues to recover and grow the cruise tourism product in 2019. All cruise stakeholders have a role to play in order to maintain the attraction of the destination to cruise passengers and crew,” Port St. Maarten Management said on Sunday.

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Preparations underway for New Year’s Great Bay Fireworks Display

PORT ST. MAARTEN – Preparations are well underway by Port St. Maarten who will be sponsoring the 2018-2019 New Year’s Fireworks display in Great Bay. At 12 midnight on Monday, December 31, 2018, the ringing in of 2019 begins with a bang.    

Port St. Maarten Management would like to thank Conan BV for facilitating the usage of their barge.  Securing a barge for the New Year’s Fireworks display turned out to be a challenge but was accomplished with their contribution.   

Port St. Maarten has always in the past utilized the barge from Bobby’s Marina however this was not available for this year’s display.

This year’s Fireworks event in Great Bay will be the 13th edition since Port St. Maarten has been supporting the country’s largest fireworks display for public enjoyment and to ring in the New Year.

The display will last 10 minutes.  The port was unable to sponsor the fireworks show in 2017 due to the challenges caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Port St. Maarten Management would like to celebrate with the entire community with the end of the year fireworks display.  Cruise tourism has seen a remarkable recovery since December 2017 when the first cruise ships returned to the destination.

“We recognize that the country is still going through hardships, but we should also take a moment to acknowledge a near recovered cruise tourism product and jump start 2019 of 55-years of cruise St. Maarten.

“We are very confident in the future and we would like to give back to the community and the children by restoring some of the things that we are accustomed too. 

“A once a year firework display to ring in the New Year is just one of them allowing thousands of residents and visitors to come to Philipsburg and line the roads along the hillsides to watch the fireworks.  Lets all celebrate and look forward to the New Year with confidence,” Port St. Maarten Management said on Friday.

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Deputy Minister Plenipotentiary Somersall visits JC-Electronics

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS - JC-Electronics, an international company in the field of industrial electronics was established in 2006. JC-Electronics contributes to the circular economy by refurbishing used or defected electronics for businesses and factories, a press release Sint Maarten House in The Hague said on Thursday.

“This way, the electronics become available to the market again. Their motto is ‘what has worked before, can work again’. That same motto is felt on the work floor and at the heart of everything the company does. JC-Electronics believes in people and take that same motto and apply it in their recruitment process. ‘If someone has worked before, they can work again’.

“During the visit Deputy Minister Somersall and support staff got a tour of the facilities, where the operation process was explained. The highlight of the visit was the JC-Academy, where employees go through a specialized in-house step by step training, equipping them with the knowledge and expertise needed to carry out their assignments with the goal of exceeding customers’ expectations.

“The meeting between Minister Somersall and the founders Jannes Cruiming, Gerard Katje and team was very pleasant and fruitful. Deputy Minister Somersall and support staff would like to thank JC-Electronics for opening their doors and for their willingness to assist Sint Maarten with building back better by offering skilled training in the field of electronics.

“Diversifying our economy is critical to the sustainability of Sint Maarten. With partners like JC-Electronics we can accomplish that goal the Deputy Minister said. Among the things discussed was a job training location for five Sint Maarten students, studying electronics here in the Netherlands; In-house training for students on Sint Maarten who would like to further their studies in the field of electronics here in the Netherlands; and training for educators from Sint Maarten who are willing to facilitate trainings on Sint Maarten.

“Deputy Minister Michael Somersall expresses his gratitude towards Minister Wycliffe Smith for his support and confidence in the cabinet while exploring and following up on this assignment. A full report of the work visit is on its way to Minister Smith for final decision making,” the Sint Maarten House statement said.

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Rotary club of St. Martin Sunrise held a Christmas party for the children of St. Peters

SINT MAARTEN (ST. PETERS) - Annually the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunrise (RCM) shares the Christmas joy with the community by holding Christmas parties at various foster homes or with children from selected districts, (RCM) said in a statement on Thursday.

“This year the district St. Peters was selected and with the assistance of Mrs. Connie Gumbs Francis of the St. Maarten Youth Council and other prominent figures within the district, 50 children were identified and invited to attend a party organized by the Club.

“The party was held at the Rupert Maynard Community Center in St. Peters where the children were treated to an afternoon filled with games, entertainment, food, Christmas presents and a visit from Santa and his Elf.

“When we saw the excitement on the children faces throughout the party, gave us a sense of satisfaction because this is what we as Rotarians stand for, making positive impacts and bringing cheer to the community, stated Club President Valda Hazel.

“The project committee worked very hard on ensuring the party ran smoothly and was a great success; at the end of the evening the children expressed their appreciation by hugging the members as they leave,” the RCM media release concluded.

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Electronic Bracelet contract signed by Minister De Weever

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The Minister of Justice, Cornelius De Weever recently signed a six-month contract with Comprehensive Security Solutions Inc. (CSSI) for the provision of Electronic Monitoring Equipment and Offender Monitoring Service.

There is currently an urgency for the re-implementation of the Electronic Monitoring system due to the shortage of detention capacity and the challenges to execute mandated supervision on suspected and/or convicted criminals.

With the temporary contracting of the services of CSSI the Ministry of Justice will facilitate in this immediate need as well as be able to bridge the period needed for the development of an integrated advice from key stakeholders for long term needs and services in this area.

The financing for the initial period of six months will be taken from the Crime Funds.

The previous contract with Fennix was ended; therefore, a new company was sought to provide the service.

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Minister Wuite building relationships at Cape Verde President’s Official State Dinner & Working Round-Table Meetings

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS (DCOMM) – Minister Plenipotentiary of Sint Maarten, drs. Jorien Wuite, has been busy developing relationships and creating opportunities at a round-table, lunch meeting and state dinner for the Cape Verde president’s official visit to the Netherlands.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of The Netherlands hosted President Jorge Carlos de Almeide Fonseca and First Lady Ligia Dias Fonseca of Cape Verde on a two-day State Visit to The Netherlands on December 10th and 11th to promote and celebrate diplomatic, economic and cultural ties.

Of particular interest were security, climate change and the maritime or blue economy. As representatives of the Caribbean Countries in the Netherlands, the three Ministers Plenipotentiary were invited to the Round-Table Meeting at the National Maritime Museum, the State Banquet at the Royal Palace and the working lunch hosted by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Upon the request by both a Cape Verdean official and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minister Plenipotentiary Jorien Wuite attended the Round-Table meeting about the Blue Economy.

The Blue Economy refers to the sustainable use and conservation of marine, inland aquatic and coastal resources for food security, job creation and sustainable economic development.

The Cape Verdean Islands are pro-active in their efforts to ensure a continued global platform for the vulnerabilities and opportunities of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), or as Cape Verdean State Secretary of Maritime Economy Paulo Veiga, stated Big Ocean States.

The Round-Table conference consultation, with Cape Verdean delegates, knowledge institutes, business representatives and the representatives of the Cabinets of the Ministers Plenipotentiary in the Netherlands, centered around the three subjects of maritime development, sustainable energy and sustainable tourism.

As Minister Sigrid Kaag, The President of the Cape Verde and King Willem Alexander joined the second part of the Round-Table deliberations, three participants were requested to provide summaries to the dignitaries.

Minister Plenipotentiary Wuite was requested to do this on the subject of sustainable tourism and highlights were shared related to the critical involvement, opportunities and partnerships of Cape Verdean (small) businesses and communities in order to secure that tourism is supported and sustained.

As Cape Verde is much aware and also sensitized through Sint Maarten’s Hurricane Irma impact, the need for economic diversification was emphasized.

Minister Wuite recognized the shared characteristics and heritage of both countries, and their similar challenges as SIDS as she acknowledged Sint Maarten’s enormous economic development through Tourism.

Wuite’s contributions were appreciated as she was also approached about the intention to include Sint Maarten in a follow-up meeting in the near future.

In recognition of similar heritage and ties, Wuite invited the Cape Verdean officials to join her on a special diplomatic visit to Sint Maarten during the 50th Anniversary of Carnival as Cape Verde enjoys life with similar cultural festivities.

Minister Wuite also attended and spoke during the government working lunch about Climate that Prime Minister Rutte hosted for the Cape Verdean delegation.

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Air Quality Assessment Recommends Health and Safety Measures at Dumpsite

SINT MAARTEN/WASHINGTON - A baseline screening of smoke from subsurface fires at the Pond Island municipal and hurricane waste disposal sites was released today by the World Bank.

The screening showed that several air pollutants emitted from subsurface fires exceeded international occupational exposure limits within the perimeter of the dumpsite.

These results were expected as the majority of samples which exceeded limits were collected in the smoke where the concentration of emissions is high. The baseline screening recommends new health and safety protection measures for people active on the dumpsites.

The purpose of this baseline assessment was to identify the chemical composition of the smoke in preparation for fire suppression operations. These are to be undertaken through the Emergency Debris Management Project financed by the Sint Maarten Irma Reconstruction, Recovery, and Resilience Trust Fund funded by the government of the Netherlands. For that purpose, the assessment was conducted on the dumpsites only.

Based on the results of the screening, appropriate occupational health and safety measures have been identified to ensure the protection of workers at the site.  The Government of Sint Maarten will put these in place, with the support of the World Bank.

The Grant Agreement for the Emergency Debris Management Project, which, among other activities aims to extinguish the subsurface fires at the dumpsite while controlling the impacts on the environment and the population, is scheduled to be signed next week and subsequently rolled out. Equipment is currently being procured to help improve landfill management and better control the fires.

As an immediate measure, the Government of Sint Maarten will restrict access to the waste sites to authorized personnel and workers only and will equip them with appropriate protective gear.

In addition, to assess the risk to neighboring communities, air quality measurements will be carried out by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment of the Netherlands (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu, RIVM) in January 2019.

Further air quality monitoring will follow under the Emergency Debris Management Project before, during and after the planned fire suppression operations.

 

Air Quality Assessment at Sint Maarten Pond Island Municipal and Hurricane Waste Sites: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the scope of the air quality screening at the municipal waste sites?

A preliminary screening of smoke from subsurface fires at the Pond Island municipal waste disposal site and hurricane debris site was conducted at the end of August. The purpose of this baseline assessment was to identify the chemical composition of the smoke on the dumpsite, in preparation for the firefighting to be conducted as part of the Sint Maarten Trust Fund Emergency Debris Management Project.

What are the main conclusions of the air screening?

The baseline assessment showed concentrations of emissions that exceeded occupational exposure limits for certain pollutants within the perimeter of the dumpsite. International occupational standards were used. These results were expected as the samples which exceeded limits were collected in the smoke where emissions are high.


What do the results imply for ambient air quality in neighboring communities?

The screening results do not allow us to evaluate ambient air quality in neighboring communities. The measurements were taken at emission sites at the source (in the smoke) and only measured composition, but not emission rates. The screening cannot draw any conclusions about ambient air quality, for this ambient air quality measurements are needed.

Is the smoke dangerous for the people living in the nearby areas?
Currently we do not have enough information to assess the air quality and level of concentration of pollutants in the air of the surrounding areas. The only information we have is that the chemicals in the smoke exceed the allowed limits when they are measured directly at the source in the dumpsite, which may affect the workers at the site.

Why are screening readouts measured against occupational standards?

Occupational standards were used because the intent of the screening was to understand how to protect workers and fire fighters on the sites. Occupational standards are designed to protect workers exposed to the pollutants during working hours, five days a week. In general, the allowable concentration limits for occupational standards are higher than for public standards.

What are the immediate measures put in place following the assessment?

The waste disposal sites will be restricted to authorized personnel, workers at the site will be equipped with appropriate protective gear. Air quality measurements will be carried out in neighboring communities by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment of the Netherlands (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu, RIVM) in early 2019 and further air quality monitoring and a warning system will follow under the Emergency Debris Management Project.

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Win a full St. Maarten Heineken Regatta experience!

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - As one of the loyal supporting hotels Divi Little Bay Beach Resort collaborated with the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta and launched a Social Media Contest with a chance to win a weeklong stay at the luxurious Divi Little Bay Resort during the 39th St Maarten Heineken Regatta.

To compete people, need to like the Resort’s social media channels (@Diviresorts) to have a chance to win a 5 night/6-day complimentary stay for two from February 27 – March 4, 2019! 

One of the main goals of the St Maarten Heineken Regatta is to promote the island of St Maarten through its sailing race, in addition organizers put heavy emphasis on all other experiences there are to enjoy on the island to convert the sailors, their followers and other Regatta visitors to steady island visitors, having them enjoy the island at other times of the year as well.

The winner of the Social Media Contest receives a full Caribbean experience on St. Maarten: a week stay at Divi Little Bay Beach Resort and the total St. Maarten Heineken Regatta experience; Two VIP tickets for the legendary Sunday party and two Saturday tickets on the VIP spectator boat to witness the extreme racing. 

One winner will be drawn by means of a random lottery. Results will be announced on the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta and Divi Resorts Facebook page. With only 6 days left, running till December 20, 2019, the contest is entered in one easy step. Go to  https://www.diviresorts.com/heineken-regatta.htm and enter now!

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