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SCDF approach Philipsburg businesses for Carnival 50

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) directly engaged the businesses in the Philipsburg area this past weekend seeking support for the 50thAnniversary of St. Maarten Carnival in 2019. The activity in Philipsburg was a fundraising for Carnival 2019. 

Foundation members, with letters in hand, stopped by stores on Frontstreet and Backstreet to deliver the letters and speak to merchants about Carnival 2019, some of the events to expect and why it’s important for the private sector to contribute to St. Maarten’s  largest annual event.

The merchants were very receptive of the SCDF and said they already have Carnival 50 in mind considering the amount of people expected on island. 

President of the SCDF Alston Lourens said the foundation’s intention is to get everyone involved as much as possible because everyone benefits from Carnival. “The Carnival period is one of the peak times of economic activity in Philipsburg and St. Maarten in general. We are very encouraged by the reception we received and look forward to closer cooperation with the merchants,” Lourens said.

A local small business owner in Philipsburg, Plush Boutique, was the first business to step up for Carnival by presenting her contribution on the spot to Lourens.     

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Several merchants were very receptive to the efforts of the Carnival foundation.    

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St. Maarten Academy: “Extending Hands, Extending Hearts”

SINT MAARTEN (CUL DE SAC) - Despite the challenges St. Maarten Academy faces, the school continued its tradition of giving through the annual service project, Project HOPE. The students and staff of the school donated grocery baskets with turkeys and ham to twenty-four (24) families of less fortunate students and friends during one month’s drive for charity. The theme for this year’s Project HOPEwas “Extending Hands, Extending Hearts”.

Under the guidance of Mrs. Joe-President, Head of the Department of Student Care of the Academy, this is the seventeenth year of this well-supported venture.  The students, staff, parents, management and Board of the St. Maarten Academy had been donating canned goods, non-perishable food items and cash to bring cheer and assistance to some families who have face difficult economic challenges that arose in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. 

Principal, drs. Tallulah Baly-Vanterpool shared, “The St. Maarten Academy is not only in the business of academic excellence, but we are also about shaping character though the development of the whole child. It is how we are teaching this next generation that they have the power to make a difference, and the responsibility of service.”

Students and staff volunteered to sort the items and pack the baskets with much love and care. Staff gave their time in making personal deliveries to the homes of these families in several communities across the island – from St. Peters to Cole Bay/Cay bay to Philipsburg to Dutch Quarter to French Quarter, and anywhere between that we could meet the need. 

The Board of the Foundation for Academic and Vocational Education (FAVE) under which the school falls also extended its benevolence to the school bus drivers who have been going beyond the call of duty to safely transport the students to and from school under the shift schedule.

“Some drivers work all day on the regular route and although they may be tired, they still accommodate our evening schedule without complaints,” one official of the school stated. It is for this reason that FAVE felt it necessary to say thank you to the hardworking bus drivers by giving them turkeys and ham for the holiday. “It may not be much, but we want them to know that we really, really do appreciate what they have done and continue to do for our students.”

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St. Martin writer’s Schoolboy in Wartime at Dutch school in USA

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - It’s back to school for 2019. Teacher Judith’s class at The Bethesda Dutch School in Marylandis set to hear from St. Martin’s author Gerard van Veen. 

It all started when Teacher Judith “heard of my book, Schoolboy inWartime,just when she was planning to speak to her class of 10- and 11-year-olds about the Netherlands during World War II,” said Van Veen.  

The Dutch language teacher then used material from Schoolboy inWartimein her classroom. She also contacted the author “with much enthusiasm” and told him, “that the children were listening to her with ears and mouth open! She asked them to write down, in Dutch, some questions for me to answer,” said Van Veen. 

“One little guy had eight questions!” said the author. “Some things that were extremely interesting for them: ‘Is he your uncle?’ ‘Is he still alive?’ ‘What does he look like?’” When Van Veen finished writing his answers the December holiday-break had set in and the children would have to wait until their Dutch lessons resumed in January.

 Schoolboy in Wartime – Memories of My Early Yearsis autobiographical. The writing, in English, is mostly about Gerard van Veen’s childhood. His family’s experiences during World War II (1939 to 1945) in his native Alkmaar, during the German occupation of the Netherlands, are also highlighted.

“I’m happy that Teacher Judith, her students, and The Bethesda Dutch School are sharing the experiences of worlds away through Mr. Van Veen’s book, which was published in St. Martin,” said Jacqueline Sample of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP).

Since its launch at the St. Martin Book Fair last June, HNP and Van Veen have been promoting the book on-island and abroad as unique reading for adults and children. 

“In Schoolboy in Wartimesenior citizens can get a clearer idea about writing their own life-changing childhood experiences. Children who experience war, major accidents, or natural disasters like hurricanes Irma and Maria, can see that they’re not alone. With this book, boys and girls can also feel for or empathize with children on their island and in other parts of the world who go through such hardships,” said Sample.

As for meeting with students from Maryland, USA, through their written questions and language lessons, Gerard van Veen said, “The human being is always searching and discovering.”

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Minister Johnson encourages persons to volunteer for upcoming Heineken Regatta Activities

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Stuart Johnson is encouraging persons to sign-up to become a volunteer for the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta which is looking for about 150 volunteers.

St. Maarten Heineken Regatta organizers are looking for volunteers to assist with the preparations and execution of the 39thedition of the country’s premiere sailing event that will be taking place from February 28thto March 3rd.  

“According to regatta organizers, the work put in by volunteers is one of the key ingredients in making the annual event a success.  

“The regatta is an event that puts the country on the map around this time of the year, and we must continue to do all we can for its continued success due to the promotional aspect and the contributions it makes to the tourism and maritime sector of the country.

“Working to help prepare for the execution and running of the 39thSt. Maarten Heineken Regatta gives a person experience in organization preparation and management such as this renowned sailing event in the region and would be a rewarding experience for any person who volunteers their time,” Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Stuart Johnson said on Friday.

Event organizers have stated that the event allows volunteers to make new friends and added that enthusiastic and motivated volunteers are needed for merchandise sales, token booth sales, media registration, committee boat assistance, set up and breakdown/logistics and volunteer care. Some more specific jobs include survey takers, hobby photographers, green team (clean-up crew), hostesses at the concerts, and bar staff.

Those interested in signing up as a volunteer should email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

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Grey Goose Luxurious Yacht Activation Platform Winner Announced

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) – CC1 St. Maarten in collaboration with some of the island’s biggest retailers ended their “Grey Goose Luxurious Yacht Activation Platform”. The participating stores were: Prime Distributors, Sunny Foods, Market Garden, Cost U Less, Penha Perfume Store, Booze It Up & Fairway Markit. 

Grey Goose, the world’s best tasting vodka and CC1 are happy to announce the winner of the Yacht Luxury Experience, where Linda Gardener will have a French Riviera style yacht experience with 6 of her friends. 

“We are more than happy to have been able to present the winner with her phenomenal prize. This activation entailed that with the purchase of a bottle of Grey Goose, you could participate in a raffle where the main prize was to spend a day on a yacht with you and six friends. 

“All expenses are paid, Open Bar & Catering on board, not forgetting video and photography to capture the entire experience as this is an extraordinary prize. This activation was supported by various channels to engage and increase participation: in store tastings, Radio interviews, Radio mentions, Social Media and Promotional video.  

“The focus was to promote brand awareness and of course inform the consumer of the prize involved and the participation, which was a landing page: wwww.caribbeangreygoose.com,” CC1 said in a statement on Thursday. 

“It was certainly innovative to have the consumers switch their minds from participating via a digital channel versus the traditional way of putting your name on your receipt and dropping it in a box, however we are happy with the results and the fact that we were able to increase product rotation within the activation period and the various retailers. It also shows that retailers are open to accepting this concept as we continue moving to digital marketing & selling strategies” said Kenty Lichtenberg, Trade Marketer Coordinator for Grey Goose. 

We would like to congratulate the winner, Mrs. Linda Gardener who won via participating at Prime Distributors. We would like to encourage you to look out for the video recap of the Grey Goose Yacht Experience and of course to continue visiting our Social Media pages as we filter our promotions via that channel as well. 

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Former police officer Jermain Arrindell passes away at home

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Wednesday morning January 2ndpolice was sent Wellington road at the home of the former police officer Jermain Arrindell where he was found not giving any signs of life, police said on Wednesday. 

On the scene the doctor stated that the victim had died of natural causes. An investigation done by police on the scene did not indicate any signs of foul play.

The police management and staff extend sincere words of condolences to the family and friends of Jermain Arrindell. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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Request made for the dismissal of the spokesperson of the Prosecutor’s Office

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On 20 December Wladimir Alberto died after a traffic accident on the Julianabrug in Curaçao. After that accident, the press officer for the Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM), responded inappropriately to the death of Alberto on his personal Facebook account, the OM said in a statement on Wednesday. 

“On the same day, Serphos indicated that he had not placed that reaction himself. That his Facebook account had been hacked and that third parties had placed the reaction under his name.

“Serphos then filed a report with the police of the hacking his Facebook account. However, shortly before the turn of the year it became clear that Serphos himself had placed the reaction on the Facebook page of Alberto. The Public Prosecutor regrets the course of events to a large extent, for the relatives of Alberto, but also because of the resulting commotion in society.

“As an employer, the Public Prosecutor’s Office supports its employees if they are wronged and this seemed to be the case here in the first instance. High demands are placed on the employees, daily work is constantly under pressure and, unfortunately, personally they are sometimes infringed. 

“On the other hand, employees are expected to be honest and transparent. Unfortunately, this was not the case with Serphos. Today Serphos has been denied access to the buildings and systems of the Public Prosecutor’s Office by the Attorney General and has indicated that the Public Prosecutor’s Office Service will request his dismissal from the Minister of Justice and the Governor.

“In the coming period the criminal investigation into the behavior of Serphos will be completed. This investigation will be conducted by the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Aruba.

“The relatives of Wladimir Alberto also filed a complaint against Serphos. On December 28, 2018, when it was not known that Serphos had posted the message himself, they had a conversation with the chief officer of Curaçao. This complaint will be assessed as soon as possible and the conclusion will be shared with the next of kin. From now on Roderick Gouverneur will be the spokesperson for the Prosecutor’s Office.”

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Five men arrested in Rotterdam on terrorism charges

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Five men have been arrested in Rotterdam on charges of preparing a terrorist attack, broadcaster NOS said on Saturday. Four were arrested early on Saturday morning at homes in the centre and east of the port city and the fifth man was picked up later in the day.

The first four are aged 20 to 30 and have a ‘non-western’ background, broadcaster NOS said. One is said to be a Syrian refugee with residency status named as Saleh H. A second man is said to be an Egyptian national.

The wife of the Syrian refugee told the Telegraaf she had no idea what is going on. Speaking in the 15th floor flat, where the front door has already been repaired and with a Christmas tree in the corner of the room, she told the paper that everyone was asleep in bed when the police burst in.

A neighbour said the man worked at a nearby garage repairing cars.

No weapons

Five to six homes were also searched during the raids but no weapons or IS related material were found, NOS said. The broadcaster says police received ‘indications’ the men were planning to ‘do something’ a few days ago.

The police have declined to comment further on the case while they carry out further investigations into the ‘terrorist threat’.

Rotterdam

It is not the first-time terrorist suspects have been arrested in Rotterdam. In June, two men were picked up after a tip off from the AIVD security service. The public prosecution department said at the time they were suspected of organising an imminent attack which would ‘result in a lot of victims’.

And one of the seven men arrested in another terrorist investigation in September came from Rotterdam. Several others had lived there or in the vicinity.

In March 2016, four men were arrested on terrorism charges in Rotterdam, including a French national suspected and in December 2017, four other men were picked up in the city, following a tip-off from the Swedish authorities.

At the beginning of this year, AIVD chief Rob Bertholee told a television show the agency has foiled ‘three or four’ serious potential terrorist attacks in the Netherlands over the past six years. (DutchNews)

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Man shot and robbed while at home. Scooter stolen

SINT MAARTEN (SUCKER GARDEN) - On Saturday December 29th after 4.00 a.m. the Emergency Dispatch received a call informing them of a shooting which had just taken place on Pin Cushion Cactus Drive in Sucker Garden, in the vicinity of Lulu’s Garage, police said in a statement on Saturday.

Immediately several Police Patrols, Detectives, Forensic Investigators and Paramedics were sent to the scene to investigate what had taken place.

On the scene the investigating officers encountered the victim who was shot in his left arm and left leg who stated that he was awaken by a knock at the front door. When he opened the door, he was suddenly attacked by two unknown men, one of them carrying a gun.

He was threatened by the man with the gun who ordered him to handover his money. He refused to do so and ran away from the robbers.

The victim returned to his home shortly after and saw that the suspects were still at the home and they were busy stealing his scooter. The robbers then fired several shots at the victim injuring him in his left arm and leg. The robbers fled the scene taking the scooter with them.

The victim was treated on the scene by paramedics and then taken to the Sint Maarten Medical Centre for further medical treatment. The area was immediately cordoned off by police to allow detectives to speak to potential witnesses and the Forensic Investigators to collect evidence. The victim has been admitted to the hospital for observation. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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