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PPA LEADER ARRINDELL: OUR SHIP OF STATE

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Leader of the People’s Progressive Alliance (PPA) Gracita Arrindell says courage and commitment is needed to ensure proper governance and a quicker pace in the rebuilding effort of Sint Maarten.

Arrindell states: “Our Island commemorated Sint Maarten day over the weekend, amid a cloud of serious concerns regarding the day to day management of our still fragile state of our economy. Current governance of the People’s affairs falls short of a clear direction and focus. There’s no need to beat around the bush any longer.

Arrindell said: “Given the current stagnated state of affairs, our present Parliament and Government should be sensitive and sensible enough to demonstrate a hands-on approach in its leadership to our citizens, and business community.

“Providing timely and accurate information in a structured manner concerning our current and future state of affairs. Instead, our citizens are treated to personal distractions plaguing this current government, while many citizens still suffer in the aftermath of the last hurricane.

“The sense of duty to perform and perform diligently without losing sight of what issues need urgent attention is apparently lost on most of these public officials.

How can this government assert its legal and moral authority in the face of such distractions? “

Arrindell said: “with a few appearances here and there from public officials including members of the opposing Factions in Parliament, the sense of direction in which our island is heading is as clear as the mud coming sliding down our hills in rainy season. Partly due to the failure of upholding of what was once our Hillside policy. Several issues which deserves immediate attention, (including the state of the airport and the dump) are for example:

  • A consumers organization is urgently needed. Construction crooks are reigning supreme at the order of the day. First hurricane Irma, then people are hit once more this time by some un-scrupulous people in the construction industry.

Too many people have a negative experience to share. Hopefully governments coffers will reflect an increase from this sector’s increased activities.

  • the deplorable housing situation especially in Belvedere. An urgent reparation and rent to buy plan should be afforded to these residents. Some of the reconstruction funds should be earmarked to these citizens thereby providing a great sense of real relief to this community and others affected by hurricane Irma and living under the same deplorable conditions.
  • The boat wrecks still in the lagoon. We deserve to receive a monthly report and a time line when these wrecks will be out of the Simpson bay lagoon. What is the delay 1 year after hurricane Irma?
  • The traffic situation in the Cole Bay- Simpson Bay area can be greatly alleviated when a serious attempt is made to study the reasons for the bottleneck (most are known). One solution to consider is to turn this area into one large round-about. Bus stops should become real bus stops for busses to pull aside instead of being mere advertising huts. The ring-road in town is neither a ring nor a road! The entire Philipsburg area demands a complete overhaul. I will address this matter in a different article.
  • A monthly or weekly report, depending the issues of the state of affairs, to Parliament must be provided to our citizens. Members of Parliament should not be paid full time for part-time work. Have they no conscience?

“Gracita continues: “Has self- interest replace common interest? Most people do not have time to figure out what’s next on the government’s agenda. The speech given by Governor Holiday on behalf of government on the occasion on the opening of the new Parliamentary year in September, should be the guideline going forward for the new government. A government held together by a razor tin support of one (1) faction in Parliament. A government not held to their task enough by the opposing factions in Parliament.

Arrindell concludes: “We have clear choices to make as this year comes to and end and a new year full of promises lies ahead. Success breeds success, is a popular saying I firmly believe in. Sint Maarten is a great island that deserves to be rebuild beautifully and without distractions. Question remains, what do you as a citizen deserve and require from your Government. Is your silence consent?”

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Justice K-9 undergo recertification. Dogs can now detect banknotes

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On October 22nd, members of the Justice K-9 Unit started two weeks re-certification training. Trainer Dick van Leenen, stationed on Aruba came to provide high quality control and re-certification training, police said on Monday.

In addition to the regular re-certification on the existing disciplines of narcotics and firearms / ammunition, four of the dogs have also learned to detect a new fragrance (scent), namely that of banknotes (money) and are now certified in that discipline.

The KPSM (Sint Maarten Police Force) Management Team congratulates the police dogs and their handlers with the success they have achieved. (Sint Marten Police Force)

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Two seriously injured in traffic accident admitted in critical condition

SIMPSON BAY - The Police Traffic department is presently investigating a traffic accident involving three vehicles and whereby two persons suffered severe injuries, police said on Monday. The accident took place on Sunday November 11th at approximately 10.30 p.m. on Welfare road in the vicinity of Toppers.

According to the report the driver of a white van with license plate 1633-AAB was driving on the Welfare road coming from the direction of Billy Folly road. At the same time two other vehicles namely, P-2784 and M-5131 were also driving on Welfare road coming from the opposite direction.

For still unknown reasons the driver of the 1633-AAB lost control of his vehicle due to the excessive speed he was driving and collided with both oncoming vehicles. As a result of the collision the driver and the passenger of P-2784 suffered severe injuries such as a head concussion, fractures to the neck, chest and arm. No external injuries were visible with the victims driving in M-5131.

The victims were all treated on the scene by paramedics. Only the victims driving in P-2784 were transported to the Sint Maarten Medical Center for further treatment and where they remain admitted in critical condition.

The 1633-AAB was confiscated for further investigation and towed to the Police Headquarters. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

van Aanr. M.p.o. 11112018 2

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Nature Foundation Again Expresses Concern on the Unsustainable Use of Country’s Beaches

SINT MAARTEN (MULLET BAY) - The Sint Maarten Nature Foundation has again expressed concern regarding the way beaches, beach access and beach recreation have been managed in the country.

The Foundation has had to respond several times to issues affecting beaches on the island ranging from beach construction, heavy equipment and other vehicles driving and parking on the beaches, structures such as fences and buildings being built, significant amount of trash being left on beaches, and beach access being restricted.

"Over the past few months we have again been continuously faced with having to respond to issues occurring on the beaches. We would like to remind both the public and decision makers that beaches are our most important natural resource, and all must be done to protect and sustainably develop this resource.

“Unsustainable activities such as beach construction, driving on beaches and littering on beaches not only has significant environmental effects but also affects the economy and the image of Sint Maarten as we are trying to rebuild, " stated Nature Foundation Manager Tadzio Bervoets. 

Bervoets continued by stating that the protection, conservation and proper management of beaches should be established in law, "The Nature Foundation would like to again call on Parliament to come with concrete legislation on how beaches should be managed and protected in terms of their ecological and economic importance.

“There is, or was, a Beach Policy in place but for all intents and purposes this policy is non-functioning or not being taken into consideration. Poor trash pick-up, parking and driving on beaches, the unrestrained placement of beach chairs, and beach construction are fundamental issues hampering the sustainable use of one of our greatest natural assets and is hampering our recovery post hurricane Irma," concluded Bervoets.

Lately the Foundation has been fielding significant complaints about businesses not allowing residents to place personal affects at locations they deem as ‘theirs’ to place beach chairs and umbrellas. 

The Nature Foundation is again calling for the structured management of the country's beaches, protecting and managing the resource sustainably in order to increase and support the recovery of Sint Maarten.

nature MB November 2018 2

nature MB November 2018 3

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MP Doran calls for Urgent meeting with the Minister of TEATT

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Member of Parliament (MP) Egbert Jurendy Doran, says that is high time that the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication, Stuart Johnson appears in Parliament to give an update, pertaining to matters in all areas of his Ministry. 

For the past months, Parliament has been awaiting the visit of this Minister but so far the members of Parliament have only been receiving reasons after reasons why the Minister had to be constantly postponing one meeting after the other. 

MP Doran identifies the recent mention of the intent to dismiss a large number of employees at the Princess Juliana International Airport, as this is a very serious matter, which has caused a lot of concern and worry among P.J.I.A employees and their families.

In addition, MP Doran eagerly awaits the answers from the Minister to questions regarding various topics, for instance;

The Airport, as since assuming his post as Minister of TEATT Parliament has yet to get an update from the Minister to give an overview and a status update on the airport, as far as it relates to the conditions of the terminal building, the operations and working conditions of the employees.

The Harbor, which is also one of the largest ports of entry to Sint Maarten and one of the main pillars of our economy.

Establishing of a Calibration department within the Ministry of TEATT is the last agenda point for this urgent meeting request. This department will function in accordance to the Calibration law (Ijkwezen wet) 

Tourism is our main source of income and thus, proper development and management of these facilities and departments are pertinent to the optimal progress of St. Maarten. 

Parliament and by extension the people need to be properly informed about the statuses. 

MP Doran would like to highlight the fact of all the recent travels by the Minister to lobby and meet whichever entity over the past months, it is hard to understand why the Minister finds it so very difficult to take the one-minute drive to Parliament, and speak to the Members as well as to the people of this country whom he represents.

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CPS invites health care providers to register for AMR Information Session

SINT MAARTEN - (GREAT BAY, DCOMM) – Health care providers are being asked to register to attend the Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Information Session.

The information session will be held on Tuesday, November 13 at 6.45pm at the Vineyard Office Park, Philipsburg, Conference Room at the Ministry of Public Health.

Health care providers are asked to RSVP by sending an email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The information session will cover some local data and will be presented by Microbiologist from the St. Maarten Laboratory Services (SLS) R. Steingrover and a presentation of a case scenario by Internist Samay Nadery from the St. Maarten Medical Center.

The United Nations (UN) health agency, the World Health Organization (WHO), has embarked on a campaign to make antibiotic resistance a globally recognized health issue and to raise awareness of the need to protect antibiotics through appropriate use.

The information session is being organized by the Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA), in connection with World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) which is from November 12-18.

AMR happens when microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites change when they are exposed to antimicrobial drugs such as antibiotics, antifungals, and antivirals.

Microorganisms that develop antimicrobial resistance are sometimes referred to as “superbugs.” Medicines become ineffective and infections persist in the body, increasing the risk of spread to others.

Antimicrobial resistance is a global concern because new resistance mechanisms are emerging and spreading globally, threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases, resulting in prolonged illness, disability, and death.

Without effective antimicrobials for prevention and treatment of infections, medical procedures such as organ transplantation, cancer chemotherapy, diabetes management and major surgery (for example, caesarean sections or hip replacements) become very high risk.

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Courtesy visit by Council of State Member P.R.J. Comenencia

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO – On Thursday morning, the Curaçao member of the Council of State of the Dutch Kingdom, P.R.J. (Paul) Comenencia paid a courtesy visit to the Centrale Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten.

He was received by the Bank’s acting President Leila Matroos Lasten. Topics that were discussed during this meeting are the current economic development in Curaçao and the outlook for the coming years.

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MAC Group 4 Students Become DigiKidz Thanks To Den Bosch, Nos Baranka

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - There were happy smiles all around last week in the Group 4 class of the MAC St. John’s Campus primary school when 48 kids found out that the boxes brought into the classroom were laptops and some additional hardware items.

After Hurricane Irma the city of Den Bosch in the Netherlands, in collaboration with Nos Baranka, a Dutch Caribbean grassroots organization, offered assistance to St. Maarten. One of the main criteria was that the donation needed to meet the global sustainable development goals.

During a post-Irma St. Maarten event in the Netherlands, Mrs. Ludwina van der Meijden, representing Nos Baranka, met with RebuildSXM Foundation who followed up on this request and contacted Foresee Foundation in St. Maarten.

Together with Nos Baranka, Foresee Foundation wrote a plan proposing a DigiKidz project for the MAC school, which had sustained quite some damage during the hurricane and which was eager to bring integrated technology in its schools. A presentation was made by management and IT staff and presented to the committee in Holland.

With the collaboration of the Dutch company Skool who had supplied all three current DigiKidz schools on St. Maarten with network equipment and student devices between 2014 and 2016, 43 laptops, a switch and Wireless Access Points were ordered. The delivery of the laptops to the school was sponsored by shipping agent ProfPac.

CaribWork, partner in all Foresee DigiKidz and DigiTeenz projects, will install a small 2 classroom network so students and staff can effectively use the technology. This additional part of the project will be sponsored by Foresee Foundation through a private local St. Maarten donation.

In the upcoming months the tech savvy Group 4 teachers and IT staff, together with the students, will start exploring the use of the laptops and will integrate them within the Foundation Based Education curriculum.

The next step in this project will be to set up a pen pal partnership with a primary school in Den Bosch, where students on either side of the Atlantic will become pen pal friends through email and social media.

The MAC school Executive Director Mrs. Coram-Hughes expressed her sincere thanks to Den Bosch and all other sponsors.

Group pic DigiKidz Mac school ins1

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Largest Cruise Tourism Conference and Trade Show Opens to Increase Mutual Success for All

SINT MAARTEN/PUERTO RICO – Tuesday, November 06 marked the opening of the FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show, the largest and only official cruise tourism conference and trade show in the Caribbean. Taking place until November 9, the event has gathered over 1,000 attendees and the most executives from FCCA Member Lines in the event’s 25-year history, more than 150 total and over 10 presidents and above, for a series of meetings, workshops and exhibiting and networking opportunities to foster understanding, relationships and business.

“There are plenty of reasons for excitement this year, with historic opportunities to build business and relationships with the cruise industry,” said Michele Paige, president, FCCA, when opening the event. “We are so grateful to all throughout Puerto Rico for making it possible to not only have this event, but also all the enchanting options and the charming long-term partnership between the destination and cruise industry.”

“This is a valuable opportunity for regional destinations and operators to learn how they are being affected by and can take advantage of the industry’s latest developments.” said Adam Goldstein, vice chairman of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and chairman of the FCCA. “The information exchanged and relationships developed over the next few days will help pave the way for the cruise lines’ and stakeholders’ mutual success.”

Goldstein also helped launch the event with remarks at the Opening Ceremony praising the partnership displayed between the industry and destinations, especially over the last year, before welcoming other speakers to help further honor that partnership and commemorate the historic event: Hon. Luis Rivera Marin, lieutenant governor of Puerto Rico; Carla Campos, executive director of Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC); and Hon. Allen Chastanet, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia and Chairman of Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises, delivered the keynote address, with an emphasis on partnership and challenging the status quo.

“Thanks to the FCCA, this week cruise lines and destinations have the unique opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations and together ensure our future in the Caribbean region is prosperous,” said Vago. “We know that by working in partnership we can achieve remarkable things, and it’s up to all of us to continue to evolve and together ensure we’re delivering the best possible customer experience, both on board and ashore.”

With the event now completely open, so are attendees’ opportunities to develop mutual understanding and success with the historic cruise executive delegation through an agenda balancing business and fun, from meetings to social functions.

Meetings will take place throughout the event, ranging from the Heads of State forum between high-ranking government officials and top-level FCCA Member Line executives, to pre-selected one-on-one meetings for Delegates, where they can give a pitch and receive everything from individualized input to business opportunities from executives who decide where ships call, what sells on board and how to invest in products and infrastructure.

The Trade Show has expanded the target to capture the attention of the influential audience. Any booth will put a product, company or destination on participants’ and executives’ minds, but special pavilion options will make the greatest impact with grand sizes, prime locations and the opportunity to showcase a destination or company as a team and even host private meetings with high-level executives directly in their pavilion.

All participants also can meet and mingle with the executives at unique networking functions giving a taste of what Puerto Rico has to see, do and eat. Alongside informal gatherings and lunches throughout the meetings, workshops, Trade Show and VIP room, the event features nightly social receptions. Open to all attendees and participating executives, they will mix the group to create or grow relationships that lead to mutual understanding and success – all while being enchanted by some of Puerto Rico’s local sights, sounds and flavors. With Casa Bacardí, Vivo Beach Club, Bella Vista Terrace and the Trade Show floor itself hosting the events, features include live music, cultural dancing and other local tastes like food stations from roast pork to ice cream and buffets with salads, artisan breads and local delicacies from chicken and cheese to pineapple kebabs with sauce from Bacardi rum.

There will even be tours available for all participants and executives. Launching the morning of Friday, Nov. 9 and wrapping the event, the tours will provide an unforgettable opportunity to develop relationships and business. While spelunking in Cueva Ventana and discovering the local Taíno culture, getting a different taste of culture through the Bacardi rum tasting tour or walking food tour in San Juan’s newest dining destination, La Calle Loíza, or shopping ‘til they drop at the Mall of San Juan, attendees and executives will learn more about both Puerto Rico and each other.

Additionally, lessons about the industry’s inner workings and building mutual success will form the curriculum of workshops led by expert panels of executives and destination representatives. The participating chairmen of FCCA Member Lines—Micky Arison, chairman, Carnival Corporation & plc; Richard Fain, chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.; and Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman, MSC Cruises—took the wheel following the Opening Ceremony. During their “Chair Talk,” they are shining the spotlight on trends and developments driving the industry’s record success and future growth, along with how it all relates to specific topics, and can grow business, for the stakeholders in attendance.

Presidents and CEOs will take the stage later this afternoon. Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International; Christine Duffy, president, Carnival Cruise Line; Roberto Fusaro, president, MSC Cruises (USA); Jason Montague, president and CEO, Regent Seven Seas Cruises; and Andrew Stuart, president and CEO, Norwegian Cruise Line, will join the moderator and FCCA president, Michele Paige. They will deliver the “Presidential Address,” discussing some of the differentiations and innovations driving the unique cruise brands that are going all in to stand out and appeal to their target markets both on board and on land – and how and why working together with destinations and stakeholders leads to benefits for all.

High-level executives representing numerous sectors throughout the industry will get the floor tomorrow. Carlos Torres de Navarra, vice president, global port and destination development, Carnival Corporation & plc, and chairman of the FCCA Operations Committee, will moderate "Creating Great Destinations: From Demand to Experiences, Ports to Tours" with a panel including Russell Benford, vice president, government relations, Americas, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.; Russell Daya, executive director, marine and port operations, port developments and itinerary planning, Disney Cruise Line; Albino Di Lorenzo, vice president, cruise operations, MSC Cruises USA; and Chrstine Manjencic, vice president, destination service operations, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. They will share what draws passengers to destinations and creates unforgettable memories once there, revealing how to increase both demand and guest satisfaction from an overarching destination level to individual port, tour and transportation options.

The final workshop will take place on Thursday, Nov. 8 and gather top representatives from both the cruise line and destination sides, including Adam Goldstein, vice chairman, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and chairman, FCCA; Richard Sasso, chairman, MSC Cruises USA; Giora Israel, senior vice president, global port development, Carnival Corporation & plc; Beverly Nicholson-Doty, commissioner of tourism, United States Virgin Islands; and Carla Campos, executive director of Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC). In “Investing in Your Future,” they will review ways in which both parties are preparing for their long-term futures, and how those plans often involve partnership with each other, from port and destination developments, new attractions and even agreements preserving natural elements, to business continuity, emergency plans and best practices.

Overall, the blend of business sessions and casual interaction will create the perfect forum to exchange information and industry trends, share ideas and proposals, and cultivate valuable relationships—and an expected ratio of about one cruise executive per seven attendees will offer great odds to meet and gain insight from the prominent executives.

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Mosquito fogging campaign postponed due to rainfall. CPS advises to continue to eliminate mosquito breeding place

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, DCOMM) – Due to the recent rain activity, the vector control measure of mosquito fogging was postponed, the Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a government department under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, said on Wednesday.

The Vector Control Unit has reviewed the weather forecast for next week in order to determine when the mosquito fogging campaign will start. Based on the forecast, the fogging will commence next week Monday, November 12.

Additional information with respect to the areas to be fogged will be published in the Government Information Page (GIP) that is published six-days a week in the print media. This information will also be available on other Government Communication avenues such as Facebook and SXM GOV Radio 107.9FM.

CPS in the meantime advises communities to continue to destroy mosquito breeding spots; dress appropriately by wearing light colored clothing at dusk, long sleeve shirts and pants; and defend against being bitten by a mosquito by using repellent.

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. For additional information on mosquito breeding site elimination measures, you can reach CPS at 542-1122, 542-1123 or 542-3553.

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