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NAGICO Insurances awards intermediaries for outstanding performance

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Agents and Brokers from across the 21 territories in which NAGICO Insurances operates were awarded during a Regional Conference & Award Ceremony held in Trinidad & Tobago last Saturday.

The two-day event, which was held at the Hilton Conference Center in Trinidad, saw over 200 guests in attendance and kicked off with a Conference on the Friday morning. NAGICO’s success over the years is largely attributable to its intermediary network so each year it dedicates time to recognize and show appreciation to these persons and also to share in a more intimate setting information about the Group status and its plans. Due to the passage of hurricanes Irma and Maria, NAGICO was unable to host its annual event in 2018 as it was primarily focused on the handling of the voluminous claims received. The invited guests were given the the opportunity to engage one on one with and hear directly from the Management and Board of the Group.

NAGICO Insurances’ new Group CEO, Mr. Detlef Hooyboer, gave his first in person address to the Agents and Brokers, since assuming the role in January 2019, and took the opportunity to thank them for their support over the years. He also shared his vision for the future and invited the audience to share their feedback and ideas with him.

On Saturday, against a backdrop of elegance and sophistication, the Group’s top performers were publicly recognized and presented with awards. There were the many regional awardees, but specific to St. Maarten was Sun Insurance Brokers N.V who earned the Intermediary of the Year title. Other top performing local agents and brokers that were awarded at the event were North Eastern Insurances, Henderson International, Oriental Insurances (OCI), Henderson Insurance, Rai Insurances and People’s Insurance Agency.

“We would like to again congratulate all of our Agents & Brokers for their tremendous support and tireless efforts over the years. We know that the insurance market has become even more challenging and competitive since the two major hurricanes in 2017, but you have weathered the storms with us,” Mr. Hooyboer said. “It is for these reasons and more that we wish to express our profound appreciation and gratitude to you and celebrate your accomplishments.”


VROMI Celebrates World Environment Day 2019. Minister Giterson Plants Trees

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - World Environment Day is celebrated annually and is the United Nation's principal vehicle for encouraging awareness and action for the protection of our environment. This year, the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (VROMI) Minister Miklos Giterson commemorated World Environment Day by planting eight coconut trees (Cocos nucifera) along the beachfront of the Boardwalk in front of the Walter Plantz Square.

Native to India and Southeast Asia, the coconut tree is believed to have been introduced to the Caribbean Region by European explorers in the 16th century. While not native, coconut trees have become quite at home and intertwined themselves into Caribbean culture.

Coconut is considered one of the ten most useful trees in the world with around 83 known functions such as food, medicine, ropes, instruments, and building materials. The planting of these coconut trees will provide a number of benefits such as carbon sequestration, erosion control, habitat for wildlife, air purification, supply oxygen, and improve aesthetics, as well as added shade and recreational value for visitors to the beach. Planting of these coconut trees will also increase coastal resilience to climate change through absorbing the destructive forces of wind and water.

This World Environment Day 2019 tree planting initiative hopes to highlight the commitment of VROMI to providing and maintaining a green and resilient natural environment that is also enjoyable for residents and visitors alike. As well as inspiring environmental appreciation and awareness amongst the population of Sint Maarten.

Minister Giterson and Tadzio Bervoets, Managing Director of the Nature Foundation, were present on the planting day. Through the signed Service Level Agreement with the Nature Foundation, the Ministry of VROMI continues to support their environmental education and awareness raising campaigns.

Procurement and planting of the coconut trees for this initiative was organized with Greenfingers, N.V. These trees will replace some of the palm trees that were lost during hurricane Irma. The Walter Plantz Square staff of Port St. Maarten will tend to the trees so that they may thrive and benefit the area.

The Ministry of VROMI looks forward to similar initiatives and cooperation with the local NGO’s, businesses and organizations to design feasible and ecologically beneficial tree planting schemes.

Min Vromi Palm tree planting ins







SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The People’s Progressive Alliance (PPA) Leader Gracita Arrindell stated on Tuesday in a press statement that: “Nine years into Parliamentary processes and procedures, leaves much to be desired of the performance and level of preparedness of our members of Parliament. The overall behavior of many MP’s in and outside of office lacks professional behavior and is bereft of respect to the office they hold.

“MP’s who are neither ‘fish nor fowl’ because once elected regard their office as a free pass to attend meetings when convenient, while enjoying a full-time excellent salary and benefits.

“When they do manage to reluctantly show up, signing in only to leave to attend other ‘urgent’ matters. A slap in the face of folks who work hard and still struggle to make ends meet. MP’s who do not work, should be held accountable by the people of Sint Maarten. What can be more pressing than attending to the issues that requires the full attention of Parliament. Especially two years after a devastating Hurricane.”

Arrindell continues; “Members of the Council of Ministers fortunate to be appointed, have the audacity to display arrogance and disrespect towards Parliament.

This misguided behavior lacks respect to the institutions of government and of governance. In other words, Ministers by account of their undignified actions in Parliament, show contempt towards the People of Sint Maarten.

“Ministers are dead-wrong in their assumption that an MP can be ’talked down’ to. In Parliament, professional and ethical behavior applies both ways. It is not who is in front of you, but what you represent”.

“Parliament rules of order and Parliament handbook, can be updated to include some guidance in these matters. Any Member of the Council of Minister who defiles the House of Parliament with his/her diatribe and who publicly refuses to retract statements unbefitting for public consumption must be duly noted in the minutes of the meeting for the public record. Do not walk away.

“The Council of Ministers must officially be informed in writing of such misconduct displayed by the Minister concerned and the (possible) consequences thereof. Ministers who do not sincerely apologize during the meeting for their misconduct , or those who act against their oath of office, must be served with a vote of none-confidence. It is high time for Parliament as a whole (Government supported and opposition) act in the general interest of this Country”,

Arrindell states; “Our Island deserves better in all aspects of its existence.

Unruly Ministers as well as members of Parliament missing in action should spare the public their theatrics. It is time to give citizens systematically account of their actions in terms of the policies and projects that are beneficial for future generations.”

“This is Hurricane Season. Before MP’s rush to leave town for the July ‘recess’, it behooves them to stay home and call each Minister one by one to Parliament to give account (not in a press conference) regarding the state of preparedness of Sint Maarten. Above the surface most seems like business as usual. Looking closer reveals much anxiety among citizens and businesses alike.”

“Finally; many matters requires undivided attention of Government and Parliament including but not limited to;

  • The status of rebuilding existing hotel properties, including, Great bay hotel Mulletbay, Summit hotel, Diamond Resort, former Caravanserai, while new properties are being announced with much fanfare. Is there a delay, if yes, why?
  • Debate the merits of excluding taxes on civil servants pension and pensioners in general
  • Approve money-laundering laws. Avoid Sint Maarten being blacklisted. Not doing so affects our overall good standing in the world.
  • Update rental committee ordinance to include rental fee per square meter per area.
  • Government owned companies concession fees should be reinvested in the budget towards school infrastructure and school-fees”

PPA leader concludes; “When elephants fight, the grass gets trampled’

We must redirect our attention away from detractions and rise above the fray as we are still faced with serious issues facing our young nation. These matters are not insurmountable. We can get it right. We all have a stake in forging a great future for our island starting now.”


Ferrier: A question to MP ROLANDO BRISON

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Business operator Michael J. Ferrier on Tuesday issued a “letter to the editor” on Tuesday with respect to a parliamentary session.

“In the session of Parliament of Wednesday May 29th, 2019, you publicly questioned my integrity and good name. You did so relating to the arrears in payments to amongst others the Government and other landlords, as creditors of the SXM Shipyard for long lease rent.

“It is clear this was done as repercussion for me questioning YOUR integrity when you were appointed to the position of Acting Head of the Department of Tourism and put in charge of dispensing millions of guilders from the Government’s coffers in Tourism promotion.

“My action at the time was based on misappropriation of funds by YOU while employed at WINAIR. You acknowledged this in a letter dated April 10, 2012, which I herewith attach for the benefit of the general public.

“I hasten to point out that Members of Parliament enjoy immunity and can say whatever they want IN PARLIAMENT. I, on the other hand, must be FACTUAL. So, MP Brison, I gave an explanation regarding the SXM SHIPYARD’S arrears. Can YOU do the same for the misappropriation you signed for and admitted to?”






National Decree on School Subsidy System Published

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The National Decree on the School Subsidy System was published on the Government Information Page of Monday, June 3, 2019. An allowance of seven weeks is provided for the ordinance to be reviewed by the Office of the Ombudsman before enactment. With the publication of the Lbham, the ordinance will go into enforcement on July 4, 2019, ahead of the opening of the new school year 2019/2020.

The publication of the 'Landsbesluit, houdende algemene maatregelen tot vaststelling van een bekostigingssysteem voor het onderwijs en regels inzake de procedure tot indiening en behandeling van aanvragen voor bekostiging' (Landsbestuur bekostiging onderwijs) was signed on Wednesday, May 29, 2019. This procedure followed the signing of the national decree by the Governor of Sint Maarten on May 22, 2019.

Minister Wycliffe Smith expressed his congratulations and thanks to the team that made it possible. In his statement, the honourable Minister said, "Let me extend congratulations to the team of the Department of Education who worked with great motivation, tirelessly and enthusiastically over the last couple of years to complete the National Decree containing general measures with regard to the funding of education. I am extremely proud of each one of you and the sacrifices that you made towards the finalization of this legislation.

A great thank you goes out to all of you and also to my predecessors who started and continued the process, which I am fortunate to have been able to finalize. We hope that with the piece of legislation we will have a better grip on the financing of the schools. Once again thank you very much!"

All school boards were consulted regarding the drafting of the contents of the National Decree for the funding of education. With the establishment of this decree, the school boards will have a transparent set of guidelines regarding the subsidy process, from beginning to end. The National Decree for the Funding of Education will put in place criteria for the funding of educational institutions at the primary, secondary and advanced vocational education levels.


Pulmonology services available at SMMC’s new multi-purpose clinic

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) recently started Pulmonology services (which is a medical specialty that deals with diseases involving the lungs) within the newly constructed multi-purpose clinic which is being shared with Urology and Neurology.

The Pulmonology Clinic at SMMC is operational on a weekly basis and provides a range of services for the treatment of a variety of lung diseases such as: Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS) Tuberculosis, Lung Emphysema and much more.

The rotating team consists of five Pulmonologists originating from Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, namely Dr. Folkert Brijker, Dr. Caroline Becker, Dr. Selene Kock, Dr. Leontine van Elden and Dr. Monique Wong Loi Sing. The team brings with them a diverse background and sub-specializations within their field.

Dr. Brijker works at St. Elisabeth Hospital (SEHOS) in Curacao as head of the Pulmonology department. He specializes in Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS) which is a minimally invasive, yet highly effective, procedure used to diagnose lung cancer, infections and other diseases.

Dr. Becker currently works in Aruba, she specializes in Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Tuberculosis patient care. Dr. Kock currently works in Aruba specializing in Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) and Sarcoidosis. Dr. van Elden currently practices in New York and Dr. Wong Loi Sing works on both Curacao and Bonaire as a Pulmonologist, is the Director of the Savaan Diagnostic Center and also functions as an Intensive Care Specialist.

Dr. Kock states: “Our aim is to deliver treatment and preventative care in a compassionate manner, with minimal disruption to our patients’ lives. Since the beginning of the Pulmonology Clinic in St. Maarten, we have seen a lot of patients with respiratory diseases, like asthma. Additionally, we have seen many patients on the island with allergic asthma and interstitial lung diseases (a disease of the lung and not the airways), patients with COPD and lung emphysema in frequent smokers. Fortunately, we can now provide the convenience of treatment for these diagnoses right here on St. Maarten”.

Part of the patient care experience within Pulmonology includes patient education. “With several treatment procedures we have to teach the patients how to use their prescribed devices accordingly, when to increase dosage and when to decrease”, says Dr. Kock. “We hope to continue and further grow our work here on St. Maarten and the surrounding islands for many more years to come. Improving the healthcare provided to our patients within the Pulmonology department is the ultimate goal”.

Patients who wish to see the Pulmonologist can make an appointment at the Outpatient department at Tel: +(1-721) 543-1111 ext. 1300 or 1378. Appointments can be made from Mondays-Fridays between 8:00 am – 4:30 pm. SZV patients are requested to obtain a referral letter from their family doctor.

SMMC multi purpose drone shot

In photo 2 (front right, with white roof)): Aerial photo of SMMC’s Multi-Purpose Clinic.





SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Smiles lit up many faces and laughter echoed across the banking halls and offices of regional bank CIBC FirstCaribbean as management toasted its over 3000 employees. 

From mouth-watering breakfast spreads and tasty lunches served by executives turned ‘chefs’ for the day to a myriad other fun-filled activities, the bank said a rousing “thank you” to staff as part of Employee Appreciation Day celebrations on Tuesday, May 28. 

Executives, managers and team leaders also treated their teams to a number of educational and fun activities as well as giveaways and goodies throughout the day. 

In a message to staff at the start of the day, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer Colette Delaney thanked employees for their “great ideas, amazing dedication, loyalty and support that have been truly impressive and thoroughly appreciated”. She noted it was their dedication and commitment that have taken CIBC FirstCaribbean to “a remarkable position” in the region. 

“As we celebrate together we, your leaders, recognize that we are only as good as the teams around us.  Your personal commitment to excellence inspires us every single day. We will continue to foster an environment of mutual respect and to create opportunities for growth that make your professional journey a source of pride and satisfaction,” Ms. Delaney said. 

Staff in St. Maarten took the occasion to celebrate the bank and its history by wearing former uniforms and bank colors. They also shared breakfast, received tokens of appreciation and took part in various activities including exciting rounds of charades and other games. 

In the Bahamas, staff took a musical journey from the 1950s through to the 90s displaying the various dress styles that accompanied the particular music genres. Their colleagues in Barbados engaged in a number of activities including a vintage train ride through the countryside while others took in a special showing of the movie Avengers Endgame at one of the island’s cinemas at Limegrove in Holetown on the west coast. 

The Jamaican team used the day to celebrate diversity. Using the country’s motto “Out of many one people”, they dressed to reflect the various ethnic groups in the country such as Africans, Chinese, Indians, Europeans and Syrians. 

The Bel Jou Hotel was the venue for St. Lucia’s celebration which featured a rooftop sunset cocktail event with karaoke and board games. A tour of the Geothermal Project at Bamboo Range followed by a ‘goat cook’ and lime at Black Point Historic and Recreation Park was the staff in St Vincent celebrated their Employee Appreciation Day. 

CIBC Employee Appreciation 2019 ins2





Minister of Justice signs KPSM function book

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Monday June 3rd the honorable Minister of Justice Cornelius de Weever in the presence of the Police Chief Carl John and the management team, representatives of the NAPB, ABVO and WICSU along with a number of employees at KPSM (Sint Maarten Police Force) signed the Decree for the formalization of the new structure for the employees of KPSM.

This short but historic ceremony took place in the Conference room on the first floor of Police Headquarters Philipsburg. Minister de Weever congratulated all members of KPSM and representatives of the unions. Representatives from the unions thank the minister for making this moment a reality.


Governor’s Symposium 2019 puts focus on Shaping Sustainable Economic Recovery

SINT MAARTEN (HARBOUR VIEW) - The Governor of Sint Maarten, His Excellency drs. E.B. Holiday, announced today that the 2019 Governor’s Symposium will be held on June 21, 2019. The event will be held at the auditorium of the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine in Cupecoy. This year the theme of the event is ‘Shaping Sustainable Economic Recovery in the Caribbean – Challenges and Opportunities’.

The symposium will feature national, regional and international speakers who will share their views and ideas and participate in an interactive panel discussion with the audience. In particular, the speakers will among others address economic trends and characteristics, policy constraints and opportunities and strategic actions in the area of, among others, the environment, infrastructure, and economic sustainability in relation to current and future national development.

Due to the limited space the Governor’s Symposium is by invite only. Governor Holiday will invite persons 15 years and older interested in attending the symposium to submit their personal information in online. Details and the link will be provided in a separate press release.

The Governor’s Symposium Organizing Committee installed by the Governor to organize the Symposium is comprised of Ms. Makhicia Brooks as chairperson, Mr. Patrick Trijsburg as secretary, Dr. Rolinda Carter, Ms. Dahjanarah Philips, Mr. Dwayne President and Ms. Rayan Rammo. As preparations for the symposium progress further updates will be provided.

The overall objective of the Governor’s Symposia is the promotion of good governance. The annual Governors Symposium is considered to be a supportive platform for all invited stakeholders - government, civil society and the private sector - to focus, raise awareness and function as a catalyst for best practices within the community of Sint Maarten. This will be the eight Symposium the Governor has organized.


Prime Minister’s of Barbados & Sint Maarten discuss Areas of Mutual Interests

SINT MAARTEN/BARBADOS - While in Barbados on a working visit, attending the 2019 Understanding Risk (UR) Caribbean Conference, Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin paid a courtesy visit to Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley. Mia Amor Mottley became Barbados' eighth and first female Prime Minister on May 25, 2018. Prime Minister Mottley also serves as Minister of Finance, Economic Affairs, Investment, Minister of National Security, and the Civil Service.

During the visit, discussions were held on how the reconstruction process is going on Sint Maarten and working with the World Bank. Advocating for the spreading of the insurance pool by increasing the number of countries that participating in a common regional insurance scheme.

The two leaders also spoke about the possible future collaboration through the exchange and sharing of knowledge between Barbadian and Sint Maarten professionals. The areas of possible collaboration that were discussed were Education, Disaster Management, Justice, and Hospitality, specifically defining standards of excellence in the service industry.

On the invitation of Prime Minister Mia Mottley, Prime Minister Romeo-Marlin attended the book launch of former Prime Minister of Jamaica PJ Patterson “My Political Journey.” The book covers Jamaican development after colonialism, Caribbean regionalism through CARICOM and bringing back value and ethics to politics by raising the standards of how Caribbean politicians conduct themselves.

Before the visit concluded, Prime Minister Romeo-Marlin extended an invitation to Prime Minister Mia Mottley to be the keynote speaker at the CDEMA Conference, which is slated to take place on Sint Maarten during the period of December 2 to December 6, 2019.

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