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Chief of Security suspect in accepting $10,000 bribe and allowing money/precious stones to enter the country

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Wednesday, January 16, 2019, the Anti-corruption Taskforce (TBO) of the Special Police Taskforce (RST) detained suspect S. on St. Maarten, the TBO said in a statement on Saturday. 

The suspect S, 48 years old, is the chief of security of Princess Juliana International Airport and is suspected of accepting bribes, money laundering and complicity in violation of the duty to register foreign exchange. 

“Suspect has accepted on two separate occasions 5000 US dollars in return for Illegally assisting the entry of a large sum of money and a quantity of precious stones. 

“The judge granted an order of detention on Friday January 18, 2019 and S. remains in pre-trial detention in Point Blanche. Given his position, the judge found that the legal order was seriously shocked by the actions of the suspect,” the TBO press statement concludes.

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GENESIS G70 NAMED 2019 NORTH AMERICAN CAR OF THE YEAR

SINT MAARTEN-COLE BAY/DETROIT - Today, the Genesis G70 was awarded the 2019 North American Car of the Year. In receiving this highly coveted industry award, Genesis joins leading luxury and mainstream automotive brands to have won the award and stands as the youngest brand to have done so.

“At Genesis, our brand and products must perfectly match our customers’ lifestyles, mindsets and desires,” said Manfred Fitzgerald, Executive Vice President and Global Head of the Genesis Brand. “This award is a testament to the G70, which combines luxury with sports-focused elegance. And now, for the entire Genesis brand, I’d like to thank the North American Car of the Year jury for taking the time to see and experience our design and engineering teams’ intent.” 

“For a still-young brand, winning this highly prestigious award, as well as the other significant awards the G70 has collected, will certainly give Genesis a presence boost in the marketplace,” said Erwin Raphael, Executive Director, Genesis Motor America. “We’re thrilled to give more people the opportunity to get behind the wheel and experience the compelling qualities and capabilities the expert NACTOY jurors voted for.”

“The Genesis G70 is a game changer for the sedan market,” said Lauren Fix, NACTOY President. “G70 offers a sophisticated, impressive vehicle that delivers an inspired driving experience, safety and technology at a reasonable price.”

The award is bestowed annually upon the car that achieves benchmark status based on innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar. The verdict was decided for 2019 by 54 jurors from outlets in the United States and Canada.

As the first Genesis model in the highly competitive entry luxury segment, G70 outperforms legacy luxury sport sedans with driver-focused performance. G70 resets benchmarks and expectations among luxury sport sedans, with holistic integration of performance, body strength, refined luxury and aerodynamic design. 

Genesis Motor America 

Genesis Motor America, LLC is headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif. Genesis is a global luxury automotive brand that delivers the highest standards of performance, design and innovation. All Genesis vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by an industry-leading warranty with enhanced roadside assistance and concierge services. In just the first half of 2018, Genesis has won highest-ranked brand in the automotive industry awards for quality and owner satisfaction from industry experts such as J.D. Power, AutoPacific, and Strategic Vision.

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Johnson proud of top prizes winners 2018 of FCCA Poster competition

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - For the first time in over 15 years, St. Maarten has two finalists in both categories of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Children’s Environmental Poster Competition. 

Shannaz Horne, a 16-year-old student of the Charlotte Brookson Academy, won first prize in the Senior Division of the annually held FCCA poster competition, while Tefari Prevoo Francisco of the Sister Regina Primary School placed third in the Junior Division.

Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunication the Honorable Stuart Johnson says he is very proud as a former educator of the continued exceptional effort that students from St. Maarten put forward at these competitions. 

As the overall winner in her category, Shannaz received a cash scholarship of USD$3000, and her school received the same. Tefari received a cash scholarship of USD$1000, and her school received the same.

The St. Maarten Tourist Bureau and the FCCA organized a special luncheon on board the Royal Princess Cruise ship on Wednesday this week during which Shannaz and Tefari received their prizes.

The judges for this year's competition had the arduous task of selecting winners from over 17 Caribbean countries, who this year each produced many "exceptional, creative and artistic pieces."

Each poster entry received "exemplified Caribbean excellence" recognition for their depiction of how we can preserve the environment. 

The FCCA poster competition is organized annually as part of its Tourism awareness activities. This year's theme was “Weathering the storm: disaster preparation for my destination.” The competition seeks to promote and stimulate environmental awareness among students. Its primary goal is to educate the younger generation about the importance of environmental protection. Another benefit of the event is that it shows the correlation between Tourism and the Environment.

Johnson was on hand for the presentation to the local winners. He expressed hope that with the FCCA’s annual competition, students and residents, in general, will gain an even greater appreciation of the economic and environmental benefits of keeping St. Maarten clean.

"As we continue to build an environmentally and economically sustainable St. Maarten, it must be clear that everyone has a role to play. I trust that Shannaz and Tefari’s achievement encourages them to continue pursuing excellence and inspires others to follow their lead," said Johnson.  

The Ministry of TEATT extends congratulations to the winners and to the art teachers of the Charlotte Brookson Academy and the Sister Regina School.

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Minister Smith voices support for UNICEF’s Child Rights Situation Analysis

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Early this week, the Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, the Honourable Wycliffe Smith met with UNICEF Netherlands regarding the progress of the Situation Analysis (SitAn) into the rights of children on Sint Maarten. 

The SitAn is examining how vulnerability levels have changed among children and adolescents in the aftermath of the 2017 hurricanes and how social protection systems have responded to these changes. The study will also analyze progress and remaining or new bottlenecks since the last study by UNICEF on the rights of children on St. Maarten published in 2013. In addition, the SitAn will recommend actions that should be taken to improve the rights of children on the island.

In the coming weeks, UNICEF expert Paulette Nichols, will be conducting interviews with professionals working in health, social, and protection services, statistics, law enforcement, education, environmental protection, churches, sports clubs, employment agencies, non-profit foundations and other organizations with duties linked to safeguarding children’s rights. 

There will also be focus group discussions held with adolescents, young adults, (single) parents, caregivers, educators and others who can give valuable input towards the study. The interviews and focus group discussions, along with available statistics, relevant reports and policy documents will form the basis of the analysis. 

“This study will be extremely valuable in providing an evidence-based picture of the situation of children on St. Maarten. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport is committed to its execution and I look forward to the findings and actionable recommendations,” Minister Smith commented at the end of the meeting.

Supporting the process is the SitAn committee, which includes representatives from the youth, education, social development and health, child protection, and statistics departments within government and several civil society organizations.

“This SitAn is unique as we will also be including an implementation and monitoring plan that is linked to our recommendations. In this way, we can measure any progress following the publication of the 2019 SitAn” explains Nichols.  

The SitAn on Sint Maarten will be published in July 2019 and is funded by the Netherlands Red Cross. SitAns are also being conducted on Bonaire, St. Eustatius, and Saba within the same time frame and funded by the Dutch Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations.

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Dead body of mentally challenged person found floating in Great Bay

PHILIPSBURG - On Thursday January 17that approximately 6.45 a.m. a security guard on duty in the vicinity of Walter Plantz Pier in Philipsburg called the Emergency Dispatch informing them that he had located a body drifting near the pier and was not showing any signs of life, police said on Thursday. 

Immediately several Police Patrols, Detectives and paramedics were sent to the scene to investigate what had taken place. On the scene the body was brought to shore by one of the officers. An attempt to revive the victim did not have any positive results.

The victim was later identified with initials N.A.K. (30) from Guyana and was known as mentally challenged person. Dr. Mercuur who arrived on the scene pronounced the death of the victim and the stated that the cause of death was drowning.

The investigating officers did not find any indication that would suggest that foul play had taken place. The body of the victim was taken to a morgue. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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Prime Minister Rutte and Secretary of State Knops to visit ABC Islands

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO – Dutch Prime Minister Rutte and State Secretary Knops (Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations) will visit Bonaire, Curaçao and Aruba on Sunday 20thto Tuesday 22ndof   January. The visit is all about economic cooperation and law enforcement.

Together with more than forty companies, the government officials will take part in the “Bon Bini for Business” conference on January 21st. Entrepreneurs from all parts of the Kingdom come together to discuss the opportunities in areas such as innovation and logistics. Curaçao organizes the conference to attract companies and investors. It is a sequel to the first “Bon Bini for Business,” which took place last year June in The Hague.

In Curaçao, the Prime Minister and the State Secretary will also speak with Governor George-Wout, Prime Minister Rhuggenaath, the Council of Ministers and members of Parliament. The ministers also visit social entrepreneurs in the Otrabanda district and there is a visit to the Coast Guard.

On Bonaire, the Ministers will meet with Island Governor Rijna, the Island Council and the Executive Council on January 20th. The Prime Minister also officially opens the office of Qredits, a Dutch microfinance institution, where the 150th credit will also be granted. 

On Aruba, the government officials will meet with Governor Boekhoudt, Prime Minister Wever-Croes and the Council of Ministers on January 22nd. They will also discuss economic developments, including the expansion of the airport.

Secretary of State Knops will stay on Aruba a few days longer to take part in the so-called Judicial Four-Party Consultation. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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General Audit Chamber presents Compliance Audit for 2016 Financial Statements

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On January 14th, 2018,the General Audit Chamber (GAC) presented its report to Parliament regarding the Compliance Audit of the 2016 Financial Statements of the Government of Sint Maarten, the GAC said in a statement on Tuesday. 

“We review the financial statements of Government on an annual basis. It is a legal requirement that we examine the financial statements and issue a report to Parliament. 

“Examining the annual financial statements of St. Maarten is one of our fundamental tasks. While the budget is a forecast of public income and expenditure, the financial statements indicate the actual amount of money collected and spent. 

“The report is an important instrument for Parliament to use. After all, Parliament discharges ministers of their financial responsibility. By granting discharge, Parliament approves of the ministers’ financial management and their accounting thereof.

“The 2016 Financial Statements were issued quite late by Government: they were due on September 1st, 2017. While we understand that Government’s priority is rebuilding in the aftermath of the hurricanes of 2017, the fact remains the Council of Ministers approved these statements in October 2018. 

“Subsequently, the financial statements were presented to SOAB on November 16th, 2018. The delay negatively impacts Parliament’s ability to review the financial management for fiscal year 2016, and as such, reduces Parliament’s discharge of ministers to a formality.  

“It should be noted that the Minister of Finance is not authorized to unilaterally postpone the legal deadline for presentation of the financial statements. If the responsibility for the financial cycle remains absent, financial management will not improve.

“Similar to recent years, the audit results for fiscal year 2016, are worrisome. Information presented is not sound, substantiation of the use of public funds is minimal, spending of public money was unlawful, and there is a lack of accountability to Parliament. 

“There was one area of slight improvement. Compared to 2015, the 2016 Financial Statements contain fewer errors. However, the deficiencies in the financial management, remain unresolved. For practically every line item, there is uncertainty in either the accuracy and/or completeness of the reported amounts.

“We specifically examined public procurement for fiscal year 2016. The National Accountability Ordinance requires detailed rules to govern public tendering. 

“These rules have not been drafted since the inception of the country on October 10th, 2010. As a result, the process of public tendering is not uniformly organized across ministries. 

“Also, the ministries were unable to provide us with information and documentation required to confirm compliance with the National Accountability Ordinance.  In our opinion, the ministries are not ‘in control’ of public funds as far as public tendering is concerned.

“Our audit results, SOAB’s audit opinion and their audit report, indicate that Government’s financial management is not in order, and not been so from the inception of the country on October 10th, 2010. 

“In the preface of the 2016 Financial Statements, the Minister of Finance claims that the informational value of the statements has significantly improved.  We do not share this opinion. 

“In the interest of sound financial management, it is important that Government recovers as soon as possible.” 

The report “Compliance Audit: 2016 Financial Statement of Sint Maarten” is published in both English and Dutch and is available on the website of the General Audit Chamber (www.arsxm.og).

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Win your 2018 credit back- winner selected

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - UTS is happy to announce the winner for the year-end raffle where customers could win their entire 2018 purchases of prepaid credit back, the telecom provider said in a press statement on Monday. 

“Congratulations go out to Ms. Nateisha Givans for being our winner! Ms. Givans was one of thousands of entries in the raffle over the December 2018/January 2019 period. 

“Ms. Givans was called LIVE on-air during the Suppa Duppa morning Show on Laser 101 to confirm her winnings. UTS customers can still look forward to the results of another raffle, the selection of which will take place later this week. 

“In this second raffle, the winner will win a trip to Curacao during carnival 2019! UTS encourages customers to stay tuned for that announcement and many more activities for 2019.”  

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SOS Radio Celebrates 10 years this Friday

MARIGOT/GREAT BAY — SOS Radio 95.9 FM is celebrating their tenth anniversary this coming Friday, January 18, 2019, according to Jacques “Billy D” Hamlet, managing director of SOS Radio.  

“This first decade has been a very exciting and interesting one for the radio station, and we have a lot to be thankful for,” said Hamlet.

It was on January 9, 2009, when the radio officially transmitted on the airwaves for the first time. “To mark the tenth anniversary, we are inviting the general public, our sponsors, business partners and well-wishers, to join us for an early morning breakfast, on Friday, January 18, 2019, from 7am, at SOS Radio studio in Marigot,” said Hamlet, who has been the driving force behind the success of SOS Radio. 

During the past 10 years, SOS Radio has been awarded the number one radio station on St. Martin in two separate surveys. “With over 18000 family card members, we credit our success to the people who have supported us from day one,” emphasized Hamlet.

“We take our role as media very seriously by providing vital information to the general public. We also try our best at all times to accommodate programs that inform and educate the St. Martin community,” said Hamlet. 

 “With the advent of technology, the internet and the launching of our new App, SOS Radio SXM, our fan base has grown world wide. We have listeners in Africa, Europe, United States of America, Canada, South America and throughout the Caribbean,” said Hamlet.

“We want to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to each and every one for making us your favorite radio station,” concluded Billy D.    

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FOUNDATIONS URGED TO REGISTER SXM DOET PROJECTS

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The annual community service event, SXM DOET, presented by Be The Change Foundation, will take place on March 15 & 16, 2019. While many organizations have already registered, Project Managers Melanie Choisy, Fleur Hermanides and Laura Bijnsdorp are urging all foundations and community-involved groups to consider registering a project for which volunteers are needed before the funding deadline of January 31, 2019. 

Organizations such as schools, daycares, foundations, neighborhood associations, sports teams, youth groups, or volunteer corps may request up to USD $650.00 per project as long as they take place in different locations. At least 5 volunteers must be recruited from outside their organizations to qualify for funding. 

Last year, volunteers had the opportunity to choose from 107 projects scattered throughout the island. Roughly 1,800 volunteers made an impact by volunteering for the two-day event following the destruction caused by the previous year’s hurricane season. 

Project managers Melanie, Fleur and Laura express that they do not necessarily want to see an increase in the number of projects in 2019, but rather an enhancement in the creativity of projects to ensure a positive experience for both organizations and volunteers.

Organizations have until January 31 to register their projects on the www.sxmdoet.com website and apply for funding from the Oranje Fonds for SXM DOET 2019.  There is also the opportunity to come in person and register your project at the Samenwerkende Fonds office in Madame Estate on January 29 from 2-6pm.

For more information or assistance registering, please call 586-0808 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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