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Positive customer reaction to TelEm Group Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Breast cancer awareness campaigner and radio personality Elektra brought an important “Wellness” message to TelEm Group workers during a visit to the company’s Pond Island location Friday.

Elektra’s message was about the importance of breast cancer screening for women and men to catch the disease in its early stages when early treatment can be most effective.

The visit was part of TelEm Group’s observance of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month during which personnel, customers, family and friends of TelEm Group are encouraged to learn more about Breast Cancer awareness and the effects of the disease on women and men alike.

The visit was organized by the Human Resources & Development Department and also included health checks by medical professionals from the St. Maarten Medical Center and also by students of the American University of the Caribbean (AUC) based in Cupecoy.

According to Human Resources and Development Intern, Shakima van Heyningen, two offices in the TelEm Group building were turned into make-shift screening rooms due to a delay in the arrival of the Mobile Medical Bus where screening was scheduled to be given.

“The rooms were first sterilized before use and made up for not having the bus due to circumstances beyond our control,” said Shakima.

She said, Friday’s screening sessions, along with the informative talk by Elektra, who also demonstrated how to do self-examinations turned out to be a successful event overall with 63 persons taking part.

“The participants were very grateful for the information and also for the initiative of the Human Resources Department and Management to arrange for this important event for family and staff,” continued Shakima. She said those who attended also received a “goodie bag” at the end of their session containing a cup cake and some Breast Cancer Awareness promotional items, including, pins, bracelets and pens.

Visitors to TelEm Group’s main office on Pond Island are encouraged to take a picture in the specially decorated corner and then to post their picture online to pass on the message of the importance of breast cancer screen to others in the community.

“We have seen several pictures online and encourage more customers to come in and help us send out even more messages before the Breast Cancer Awareness corner is pulled down at the end of the October month,” said Marketing Officer, Stephani Jong Loy, during one photo-taking session with a cooperative customer recently.

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TelEm Group men also lent their support to the Breast Cancer Awareness campaign, Friday, by wearing pink ribbons and posing with a giant ribbon to bring home their message.

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Marketing Officer, Stephani Jong Loy (left) and a TelCell customer admire a decorate pink ribbon in the TelEm Group Breast Cancer Awareness Corner decorated by company colleagues.


Communities reminded to prevent mosquito breeding sites after weekend of heavy rainfall

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, DCOMM) – The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a government department under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, is advising communities after this past weekend’s heavy rainfall to be proactive and regularly check their yards and be on alert for potential mosquito breeding sites and eliminate them.

The Aedes Aegypti mosquito is distinguished by its markings such as alternate black and white horizontal stripes. However, it is only the female vector Aedes Aegypti mosquito that spreads mosquito borne diseases.

Vectors are small organisms that carry serious diseases. Just one bite from an infected mosquito can be a threat to our way of living.

The Aedes Aegypti mosquito lays her eggs in clear (clean) stagnant water. Within eight days the mosquito can complete its life cycle from egg, to larvae to pupae and to adult mosquito.

Actively and properly dispose of tin cans, old tires, empty paint cans, buckets, old saucers, flowerpots, cemetery urns/vase, old pet dishes, unused plastic swimming pools or other containers that collect and hold water.

Empty and turn over containers that hold water; remove debris from rain gutters and downspouts regularly; drain or fill low places on your property where water collects and stands for more than five to seven days; make sure permanent water containers in your yard are tightly covered and insect-proof; screen off the cistern’s outlets properly with mesh wire.

Cover trash containers/garbage cans to keep rainwater from accumulating; drain old tires by recycling them; keep boats and canoes/kayaks drained, covered or overturned, empty or covered unused swimming pools.

It is very important to check around your yard at home or around your business to make sure there is no clear/clean standing water after a rain event in order to prevent mosquito breeding sites. All residents are advised to remove all potential mosquito breeding sites in order to reduce the mosquito population.

Keep Sint Maarten mosquito-free and avoid mosquito bites.


CPS: Monday is Global Handwashing Day. Clean hands – a recipe for health

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, DCOMM) – 15 October marks Global Handwashing Day.  The theme is “Clean hands – a recipe for health!”

In 2017, more than 500 million people promoted the simple, life-saving act of handwashing with soap on Global Handwashing Day.

The day was founded by the Global Handwashing Partnership (GHP) in 2008 to help communities, advocates, and leaders spread the word about handwashing with soap, according to GHP.

The day has been dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.

To reach this goal, handwashing must be practiced at key times, such as before preparing food or eating, after using the toilet or sneezing.  Behavior change is essential for making handwashing a habit.

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department from the Sint Maarten Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, says that handwashing with soap is one of the most important public health interventions in the world.

GHP says the 2018 theme emphasizes the linkages between handwashing and food. “Handwashing is an important part of keeping food safe, preventing diseases, and helping children grow strong.

“Yet, handwashing is not practiced as consistently or as thoroughly as it should be. Diarrheal disease limits the body’s ability to absorb nutrition from food and is a major cause of death in low resource settings. Handwashing with soap is an effective way to prevent these losses.

“Critical food-related times for handwashing with soap include: before cooking or preparing food, before eating, and before feeding someone (including breastfeeding).

“The contamination of food can lead to a wide range of illnesses and outbreaks, many of which are particularly dangerous for young children and people with compromised immune systems,” according to GHP.

Handwashing with soap is among the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent these diseases. This simple behavior can save lives, cutting diarrhea by almost one-half and acute respiratory infections by nearly one-quarter.

Handwashing with soap impacts not just health and nutrition, but also education, economics, and equity.

The observations and creating awareness of the annual theme is part of CPSs annual calendar of health observances.

Many infections start when hands are contaminated with disease-causing bacteria and viruses. This can happen after using the toilet, changing a child’s diaper, coughing, sneezing, touching other people’s hands, and touching other contaminated surfaces.

Handwashing with soap works by removing bacteria and viruses from hands before they get a chance to cause infections or spread to other people. This is why cleaning hands with soap, particularly after contact with fecal material from using the toilet or cleaning a child’s bottom, is so important.

For more information, you can call CPS 542-1322, 1122, 1222 or 542-1570.


My88.3 begins roll-out of new shows with ‘My A.M. Shine & The King James Show’

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - My88.3FM will launch its new daily lineup of radio shows on Monday, November 19, spearheaded by its morning and mid-morning-to-afternoon programs which the station announced over the weekend.

Local celebrity King Vers and Sjenaya will hold down the coveted morning slots on My88.3 with “My A.M. Shine”, giving the station a morning broadcast with new, innovative ideas to involve the community first and foremost as well as businesses who wish to advertise on the show/station.

My A.M. Shine will also give listeners the opportunity to win cash daily, engaging the community through life changing opportunities, on-air activities and direct in-person contact with listeners. Informative and out-of-the-box topics will also be discussed, weekly games, pranks and new segments never attempted on radio on St. Maarten. My A.M. Shine will run daily from 7:00am to 10:30am.

Following My. A.M. Shine on the airwaves in the mid-morning slot will be The King James Show hosted by Kelvin James aka “King James” with his sidekick DJ Kembe. This program will focus primarily on music with 15-minutes mixes, engaging segments, news updates, local and international sports and much more. Both of the shows will be guided by Production Director Omari Ferrari. The King James Show will run daily from 10:30am to 2:00pm.

“We are very excited about the potential of both of these shows,” Station Manager of My88.3 Mike Granger said. “A lot of thought and preparation are going into both shows, with creative ideas to approach radio as the strength of both shows. I wish I could unveil everything that these dynamic hosts will be bringing, but good things come to those who wait. We will also include all forms of modern media as part of our broadcasts including live streaming and fully taking advantage of that medium.

“Our hosts are no strangers to the entertainment industry and have huge followings. My88.3 wants to be different and we always want to keep our listeners and business that decide to support our shows engaged. There will be a lot of information coming out about the shows, promo videos, the full works to make sure that come November 19 and beyond, you keep it locked to My88.3,” Granger said.

He added that the station will also be announcing the rest of its daily lineup over the next few days. “About 80% of the station will remain in our adult contemporary format, with smooth music and Top 40 chart hits dominating the airwaves. With the exception of the early morning show (My A.M. Shine) all other shows will be heavily music centric. From 3pm to 7pm for example, there will be strictly great music, modern and old school, a formula that people have come to expect and love from My88.3.,” Granger said.

“We will also be hosting a re-launch event for the entire station in November. More info will come about that. We have a lot in store for radio on St. Maarten. We aim to be a true community station where service clubs, foundations ect can partner with us to meet their objectives and where we entertain, enlighten and empower,” Granger concluded.

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SARID DVN launches “Where is the Church” video and single

SINT MAARTEN/ST. KITTS - Where is the church? The title of the new music video and single by gospel artiste Sarid DVN was released on Sunday October 14 on all digital music outlets and on YouTube.

“The focus of the song is not just a question but it also a statement. The church is not the building, the church is a group of people because there is no building that will be saved in the Kingdom of God,” Sarid DVN said.

“People who are supposed to be the church, their live are nor matching up. I know that God is looking for a Jeremiah, God is looking for a David, God is looking for a Peter, God is looking for a Daniel, a Joseph. In melody that is what we are doing. Just correct the people because I am about love, to bring the people on the right path,” he added. “My desire is to do the work of the Lord and see people be saved.”

The video was filmed and produced by Dason Fraser of ISI Visuals and filmed at Caribelle Batik. “I give God thanks for Mr. Dason Fraser of ISI Visuals and credits go to Caribelle Batik for giving us the opportunity to shoot the video at this beautiful site,” he said.

Meanwhile, the St. Kitts-based gospel artiste detailed to fans and viewers where the song can be found. “The song will be available on ITunes, Amazon Music, Spotify—all those media outlets where we stream music.

“The video will be available on YouTube and you can watch it on my Facebook page, which is Sarid DVN,” he said. More information on Sarid DVN can be found on his website:

Sarid DVN recently launched his record label SARID Records Inc. which is part of his company SARID Enterprise. He will be ministering at an upcoming event in St. Lucia next month.

Originally from Jamaica, Sarid DVN moved to St. Kitts and is married to a Kittitian. Through his company, SARID DVN is hoping to bring hope and the gospel of Jesus Christ to people.

His hope is to sign other gospel artists on the label, but for now he is the only artiste on the label. The meaning of his name: DVN is an abbreviation of his given name Donovan and SARID is the Hebrew of Survivor, which was his previous artiste moniker.


WEATHER WATCH: All quiet for the next two weeks?

SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN – The Department of Atmospheric Science at the Colorado State University (CSU) said on Thursday that none of the reliable global weather models indicate any additional significant tropical storm developing in the next week up to October 24.

The Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) is to weaken over the next two weeks moving from phase 2 to phase 3. In general, the MJO in phase 2 tends to be favorable for Atlantic hurricane activity.

CSU says, although vertical wind shear in week one is predicted to be heightened in the western Caribbean, the shear in forecast to relax in week two, however, potentially leading the way for additional western Caribbean tropical storm activity.

According to the U.S. National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) is a tropical disturbance that propagates eastward around the global tropics with a cycle on the order of 30-60 days.

The MJO has wide ranging impacts on the patterns of tropical and extratropical precipitation, atmospheric circulation, and surface temperature around the global tropics and subtropics.

There is evidence that the MJO influences the ENSO cycle. It does not cause El Niño or La Niña but can contribute to the speed of development and intensity of El Niño and La Niña episodes.

El Niño and the Southern Oscillation, also known as ENSO is a periodic fluctuation in sea surface temperature (El Niño) and the air pressure of the overlying atmosphere (Southern Oscillation) across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.  El Niño is so termed because it generally reaches full strength toward the end of the year, and early Christian inhabitants of western equatorial South America equated the warm water current and the resulting impacts with their holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus (known as El Niño in Spanish).



Carnival Horizon makes Inaugural Call. One Millionth Cruise Couple Treated to Island Hospitality

PORT ST. MAARTEN – Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL) newest and largest class Vista ship, Carnival Horizon, made its inaugural call to the destination on Thursday, and is the first inaugural vessel for the 2018-2019 high cruise season. The Horizon carry’s close to 5,000 cruise passengers and 1,470 crew.

During the inaugural call, the one-millionth cruise passenger couple were also onboard and honored for the destination St. Maarten milestone.

Minister of Tourism Stuart Johnson, Port St. Maarten Supervisory Board and Management, and representatives from the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, Chamber of Commerce & Industry, SXM Airport, Winair, Rainforest Adventures, Dutch St. Maarten Taxi Association, and Delisle Walwyn were all on hand for the celebratory port call.

Carnival Horizon Captain Luigi de Angelis during the plaque exchange ceremony with Port St. Maarten Supervisory Board and Management officials, said Carnival guests love St. Maarten, adding that he was astonished of how quickly the destination has recovered; CCL was glad to have played a role in getting the island back on track to recover as quick as possible; and that St. Maarten was a preferred destination among Carnival cruise passengers.

Minister Stuart Johnson during the plaque exchange welcomed the Captain, his crew and cruise passengers to the ‘Friendly Island,’ adding that the Government realizes the importance of the cruise industry to the national economy, and that Government is committed to the cruise sector.

The one-millionth cruise passenger couple Cheryl and Tim from Miami, Florida, were adorned with tokens of appreciation and gift certificates from several industry players. They said they were honored, blessed to be here, and very appreciative of the gifts and added that they would continue to be ambassadors for the island.

Cheryl and Tim said St. Maarten was a comfortable destination and have been visiting the island for more than 15-years with over 260 cruises under their belt.

The first time they came to the island was back in the late 1980s when they came ashore on a tender. They have been on many cruises, and don’t get off the ship at each destination, but St. Maarten is a must where they get a warm welcome, the people are not pushy, it’s safe and those are some of the reasons that they keep coming back.

They have witnessed the destination grow over the decades and pointed out during the ceremony on Thursday that St. Maarten remains unspoiled.

Cheryl and Tim like to spend time with the locals who they described as amazing people and love the island’s cuisine.

Minister Johnson thanked Cheryl and Tim for their commitment to the destination and he was very pleased that they enjoyed the experiences each time they visited the island.

Minister Johnson said this was a milestone for the country reaching the one millionth mark in cruise passengers, especially after experiencing two hurricanes in September 2017.

“We are a resilient nation whose strength allowed us to bounce back as a destination in order to offer remarkable experiences for our guests despite the challenges as a people.

“We are very appreciative of our guests and I would like to thank Cheryl and Tim for their steadfast commitment to the island on behalf of the Government of St. Maarten and the tourist offices of the Dutch and French sides,” Minister Johnson said on Thursday.

Johnson also recommended to the couple who were to take an island tour to visit Yvette’s restaurant in French Quarter for a special experience in local cuisine.  

A CCL onboard representative stated that Carnival Cruise Lines loves St. Maarten due to its excellent docking facilities; and that guests have rated the destination during a survey high on safety. St. Maarten also scored the strongest where shore excursions are concerned surpassing other destinations in the northern and north eastern Caribbean.

The CCL rep added that the destination is number one for the crew and who prefer the shopping, food and drink experiences as well as the hospitality that they receive from the ‘Friendly Island’ people.

The new 133,500-ton 1,055-foot Carnival Horizon arrived in New York City in May after a 13-day inaugural cruise that started in Barcelona, Spain and kicked off the ships European season that runs through May.

Following its Mediterranean voyages, the Horizon was repositioned to New York for a summer schedule of four-day Bermuda. Carnival Horizon has now embarked on its six- and eight-day Caribbean sailings from Miami, Florida.

The third vessel in the Vista-class series, Carnival Panorama, is currently under construction and set to debut in Long Beach, California in December 2019.

Carnival Cruise Line was founded in 1972 and is considered — “The World’s Most Popular Cruise Line®” — that carries millions of passengers every year. The first vessel of the Vista-class debuted in April 2016, namely Carnival Vista.

Carnival Cruise Line is part of a family of companies owned by Carnival Corporation, which includes sister lines Princess Cruises, Holland America Line and Cunard Line, among others.

Carnival currently has 26 ships operating three- to 16-day voyages, departing from every coast in the U.S., plus from Canada, Puerto Rico, Europe and Barbados.

While Carnival is best known for Caribbean cruises, they sail to other destinations like Mexico, Alaska, The Bahamas, Cuba, Hawaii and the Mediterranean.

Additionally, Carnival Cruise Line Australia now has two ships, and offers cruises from Sydney to New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and Singapore.

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One millionth cruise passenger couple Tim and Cheryl (2nd and 3rd from left) along with Port St. Maarten Supervisory Board and Management representatives on Thursday after presenting a gift certificate to the winners.


14 Schools to participate in Scotiabank Rotary-Rotaract Spelling Bee 2018 this Sunday

SINT MAARTEN (BELAIR) - The 2018 Scotiabank Rotary-Rotary Spelling Bee kicks off this Sunday at the Belair Community center, organized and hosted by The Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle, the latter said in a statement on Thursday.

“Fourteen schools have entered, twelve from St. Maarten and two from Anguilla. The St. Maarten Schools are MAC Browlia F. Maillard Campus, MAC Rev. john A. Gumbs Campus, Marie Genevieve De Weever School, Dr. Martin Luther king Jr. School, Oranje School, Ruby Labega Primary School, Leonald Connor School, Asha Stevens Hillside Christian School, Seventh Day Adventist School, Sister Regina Primary School, St. Dominic Primary School, St. Joseph Primary School, Methodist Agogic Center School (JAG).

“The two schools from Anguilla are Alywn Allison Richardson Primary and The Valley Primary School. There are 34 participants in total. 

“The Spelling Bee will be held at The Belair Community Center over three weeks. The first round, the preliminary round will be held on Sunday 14th October. The fifteen highest scorers from the preliminary round will advance to the second round, the semifinals, which is being held on Sunday 21st October.

“The five highest scorers from the semifinals will advance to the final round. The final round is being held on Sunday 28th October.   

“The participants are expected at The Belair Community Center at 12 noon for a prompt start at 1pm.  

“Due to the success of the first tutorials held in 2016 it was decided to hold four sessions this year at The University of St. Martin.  We hope we have inspired the participants to be the best that they can be. 

“We would like to encourage and welcome everyone to come and give support to the participants at the 5th Scotiabank Rotary-Rotaract Spelling Bee on all three Sundays. The school with the best supporting team will win a prize. 

“Today's Students are our future generation. Teach them well and let them lead the way.” 

The Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle meets Tuesdays' 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.


Suspect arrested in ongoing break-in investigation

COLE BAY - The Detective Department on Wednesday October 10th arrested a male suspect identified with initials N.J.T. in connection with an ongoing break-in which took place at a home on Water Rock lane in Cole Bay on October 5th, police said in a statement on Thursday.

“Part of the investigation included a search of the house of the suspect. During this search several items such as, play stations, computer hard drives, a drone and other electronic equipment belonging to the victim were found.

“All items were confiscated for further investigation. The suspect remains in custody for questioning and further investigation,” the police statement concludes. (Sint Maarten Police Force)


Trust Fund Members Weekers and Gumbs pleased with new hospital plans

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) – On Tuesday, October 9th, members of the Trust Fund Steering Committee, Marcel Gumbs and Frans Weekers were updated on the progress and plans for the new St. Maarten General Hospital.

The St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) has signed an agreement to receive a USD 25 million grant from the Trust Fund that is funded by The Netherlands and managed by the World Bank.

The grant will be utilized to improve services of the current hospital, while the new hospital is being built, and to upgrade the design of the new hospital to withstand category 5+ hurricanes.

Chairman Board of Directors Kees Klarenbeek, accompanied by Medical Director Felix Holiday and managing staff at SMMC welcomed the delegation and gave an in-depth presentation on the progress of the project.

Weekers voiced his support for the project during the meeting: “The plans for the new St. Maarten General Hospital, incorporate all aspects of the type of projects which we like to see realized out of the Sint Maarten Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience Trust Fund”.

Some of the key actions and new services linked to the new St. Maarten General Hospital are: Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation, an increased capacity from 66 to 110 beds, continuing education sessions for current St. Maarten Medical Center staff and new specialties available “at-home” such as urology, neurology, orthopedics, hematology, ophthalmology and pulmonology and four state-of-the-art operating theatres.

These upgrades will greatly enhance the quality of healthcare on Sint Maarten and reduce the need for medical referrals abroad.

“A new and improved hospital is direly needed. I am happy to see it become a reality,” stated Gumbs at the end of the presentation.

Weekers, who is accompanied by Hans van der Stelt, Program Director Reconstruction, Netherlands Ministry of the Interior & Kingdom Relations, arrived on October 7 for a working visit. The purpose of the visit is to get a first-hand update of the progress of the reconstruction in preparation for the next official Steering Committee meeting in November.

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