Soualiga Newsday Features


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Soualiga Newsday Features (1701)

Department of Youth Affairs to Celebrate 2014 International Day of the Rights of Children

PHILIPSBURG - The Department of Youth Affairs is launching its official annual awareness campaign in commemoration of the International Day of the Rights of the Child, which will be observed on November 20th.

The campaign which is a collaborative effort of the Department of Youth Affairs, the Department of Sports, UNESCO, schools and non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) aims to bring awareness to children, parents, and the community about the rights of children.

Child abuse, the theme for this year’s campaign, will be spearheaded under the slogan: “My Rights to My Protection, My Freedom from Abuse”.  The theme which addresses articles 35, 36 and 37 of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, was deemed necessary considering the spate in reported child abuse incidents since the beginning of 2014. Consideration was also given based on the UNICEF report entitled: “The Situation Of Children and Adolescents on St. Maarten “ which focused primarily on child protection.  Owing to this, the stakeholders committee for the “Rights of the Child” decided that the subject required more attention and saw it appropriate to raise awareness on this issue on a vast societal level.

This year’s calendar of events, as has become customary, will see activities hosted by various stakeholders. Last Saturday, the activities kicked-off with a kid Bike-a-thon and Family Fun Day hosted by the St. Maarten Early Childhood Development Association. The event which started at the Raoul Illidge Sport Complex, ended at the Jose Lake Ball Park with various activities for the children.

Subsequently, UNESCO and the ASCD Foundation will open a week –long exhibition from November 19th through November 28th on children’s rights at the Philipsburg Jubilee Library.

On November 20th, several students and a delegation from the Government of St. Maarten will attend the official commemoration ceremony organized by the Collectivité of St. Martin. This ceremony will be followed by a youth discussion and will include selected students from St. Maarten, St. Martin and Anguilla.   

A movie night hosted by the St. Maarten Promoting Young Ambassadors Foundation will be held also on November 20th for children on the theme of child abuse.

The Youth Parliament will be making a presentation on the Convention of the Rights of the Child to the Members of Parliament on November 21st at 4.00 pm at the Parliament Building. Additionally, an official from the Department of Youth Affairs will also be making a presentation on the developments of child abuse on a policy level. This presentation will be aired live on television.

 On Saturday, November 22nd, the annual Rights of the Child Sports Day will be held in Marigot, St. Martin and will include friendly competitions in track and field, volleyball, tennis, basketball and football.

Finally, on November 28th, the Voice of Our Children will host its annual panel discussion at the Belair Community Center. Other activities are also scheduled and will be hosted by the Collectivité of St. Martin on the French Side of the island.

Historical Developments

Over the years, many individuals in our community have contributed to the cause of the rights of children by organizing various activities that endeavored to empower them on the island. Radio programs, uniformed groups and performing arts were among the ambitious undertakings by loyal persons.

The importance of recognizing the Rights of Children on St. Maarten began as early as 1978 when Mrs. Mavis Salomon Brooks and Dr. Linda Banks wrote the lyrics of a song entitled “Our Rights” for a   children song festival.

 Since then, the developments on children rights on St. Maarten throughout the years have been steady. The former Department of Social and Cultural Development has formulated policy and laws in benefit of children on the island. The now existing Youth Policy, which was finalized in October 2006, can be considered as one of the direct tangibles stemming from the convention that was signed and ratified by the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1996.

By  2004,The Department of Social and Cultural Development, jump started its campaign strategy by employing a unified approach in bringing awareness regarding children’s rights to the community. During that year, an inter- governmental agreement was forged between the Island Government of      St. Maarten and the Commune of St. Martin to jointly organize and host activities for the entire island.  This cooperation has now resulted in the further inclusion of Saba, St. Eustatius and Anguilla in the annual programs.  

One year later, in 2005, the former Department of Social and Cultural Development, the Commune of St. Martin and then Children’s Rights Advocates Group represented by the Federation Antillean Youth (FAJ), the White and Yellow Cross, I Can Foundation, MPO, Safe Haven, SIFMA and Victorious Living Foundation celebrated, St. Maarten’s first week of activities for ”The Rights of the Child” awareness campaign and thus officially marking this year, its tenth consecutive year of observing the Convention of the Rights of the Child.

Subsequently since the latest UNICEF publication, the Department of Youth Affairs as it is now formally called, is representing St. Maarten on a regional and international level. The department has been involved and has participated in the Inter- Parliamentary Kingdom Conference held in April 2014 on Aruba.

The UNICEF report was studied by the Kingdom Partners and established that a Kingdom Taskforce should be instituted to collectively develop an action plan based on the recommendations of the UNICEF report and should include child abuse as one of its priority areas. St. Maarten is scheduled to attend another Kingdom Taskforce consultation in the Netherlands to present its draft plan of action in November of this year.

Ten years later, in an effort to advocate the rights and privileges of children on the island, the present Department of Youth Affairs strives to hone its reputation among the youth by fostering a sense of involvement, by creating more policy and implementing diverse programs and activities that aim to “Inspire, Educate and Empower”.


Pelican Burglar Arrested; Police Vehicles Vandalized and Man Threatened and Beatened

PELICAN - On Friday, November 14th 2014 at approximately 11.00 p.m. a 21 year old man from the Dominican Republic was arrested by police suspected of committing a burglary at a home on Pearl Drive in Pelican. During the investigation of this burglary by the Detectives, they found tracks and traces of evidence that links the suspect to this case. The suspect is in custody for further investigation.

Vandalizing of Government property

PHILIPSBURG - Recently the police have noticed that for unknown reasons, unknown persons have been vandalizing police vehicles which are parked in the parking-lot opposite the back of the Philipsburg police station. This criminal act takes place during the night hours. These vehicles are government property and the police will be paying more attention to this situation. Anyone caught in this act will be arrested, prosecuted and pay for the damages they have caused. This type of conduct will definitely not be tolerated.

Man threatened and ill-treated by two men

FORT WILLEM - On Wednesday November 19th a man filed an official report with the Detective department stating that he was attacked, threatened and beaten by two men on the Fort Willem road. He had just finished washing his vehicle when a white car drove towards him in a very irresponsible manner.

To draw the attention of the female driver he tapped on the roof of the car with his hand. The driver stopped the car and at the same time two unknown young jumped out of the car one of which started hitting the victim in his head. While defending himself he was attacked by the second man who also started hitting him in his head with a metal object he pulled from his pocket.

During the fight another female came and separated them. This is where the victim was verbally threatened. The suspects jumped back into the car and drove away. This is when the victim noticed that the white vehicle in question was government owned. The victim immediately informed the Central Police Dispatch of the situation and said he would come to file an official report after getting medical attention. The victim has in the meanwhile filed his report which will be sent to the Public Prosecutors Office. (Police Force Sint Maarten)


Central Committee Meeting of Parliament scheduled for Thursday with the Ombudsman

PHILIPSBURG – The House of Parliament will meet in a Central Committee session on November 20th and will receive a presentation from the Ombudsman Dr. Nilda Arduin.

The committee meeting is set for Thursday at 2.00pm in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.

The agenda point is a presentation by the Ombudsman on the Year Report 2013, “Completion, Pending Finalizing the ‘Punch List’” and the Annual Financial Report 2013 with elucidation and attachments.

Members of the public are invited to the House of Parliament to attend parliamentary deliberations.

The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House in Philipsburg.

The parliamentary session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 120, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet, and also via


Cable & Wireless Acquisition Ignites Monopoly Fears in the Caribbean

CARIBBEAN – What will this mean for local telecommunication providers such as the St. Maarten Telephone Company (TelEm) and United Telecommunications Company (UTS) and the telecom sector of country Sint Maarten.

US$3B Deal to Acquire Columbus Raises Concerns, Highlights Vulnerabilities in Caribbean Telecom Sector

by Bevil Wooding

When Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) announced an agreement to acquire Columbus International, news of the deal sparked widespread concerns about the impact of reduced competition on consumer pricing, infrastructure investment and wider economic development in the Caribbean.

If approved, the deal will make CWC the Caribbean’s largest wholesale and retail broadband service provider. At the same time, it will return several Caribbean territories into monopoly or near-monopoly markets for telephony, cable TV and broadband services.

Game Changer

“This is a game changer for Cable & Wireless—it puts us very much back on the map,” CWC chief executive officer Phil Bentley said on an investors’ conference call to discuss the acquisition. He referred to the deal as “a great opportunity” for CWC to “build scale and become the dominant player” in bundled cable TV, Internet and phone services in the region.

The acquisition is a major win from the perspective of the once dominant, 143-year-old telecommunications giant. The company previously enjoyed monopoly protection across much of the English-speaking Caribbean. Since de-monopolization began in the late nineties, however, CWC’s slowness to adapt has contributed to its market position being steadily eroded by new, nimble players such as Columbus and Digicel.

In 2013, then UK-based Cable & Wireless Communications, having already separated from the purely UK-focused Cable & Wireless Worldwide in 2010, moved its operations and leadership team to Miami, Florida. The firm now serves 2 million customers in thirteen Caribbean countries with fixed telephony, broadband, cable TV, and mobile services. Publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange, CWC now makes US$1.12 billion in revenue each year from the Caribbean, or about US$48 per customer per month. It has spent the better part of the past decade shedding costs, restructuring and centralizing decision-making in an attempt to escape stagnation. With the Columbus acquisition, CWC is positioning itself to regain market-dominance.

The acquisition is still dependent on shareholder consent and also requires regulatory approval in Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Barbados. If it goes through, CWC will have immediate access to a more modern, more extensive network infrastructure and greater market reach through ownership of Columbus’ three operating divisions—its lucrative subsea wholesale network, operated by Columbus Networks; its business solutions division, trading under the brand Columbus Business Solutions; and its consumer-brand Flow, which currently services households in the Caribbean with cable TV, broadband and landline voice services.

Columbus, registered in Barbados yet managed from Ft Lauderdale, Florida, has grown over the past ten years to serve forty-two countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Canadian billionaire John Risley, American billionaire John Malone, and founder and CEO Brendan Paddick together hold 84.8 percent of the privately owned company. The three would own 36 percent of the new CWC, worth nearly US$800 million.

For the year ended 2013, Columbus had revenues of US$505 million and net profits of US$104 million from a customer base of just over seven hundred thousand, representing about half of all households in the Caribbean territories in which it operates, and an average revenue per customer of about US$60 per month. It also disrupted markets with acquisitions, technology innovations and aggressive market entry tactics. Its Internet offerings are at prices as much as eighty percent lower than comparable services from CWC, its largest competitor in the region. However, its growth has not been without challenges. After doubling its market footprint last year with the acquisition of Karib Cable, doing business in four additional eastern Caribbean countries, the company struggled with network build-outs and launch delays, exposing its technical and human capacity limitations.

Signs of a potential union were first seen last May when the two companies announced a joint venture to share an undersea cable network connecting forty-two countries and spanning more than 42,000 kilometers. The agreement created an entity with control of almost ninety percent of the region’s subsea cable infrastructure and raised the first red flag to regulators across the region.

As with that joint venture, both companies are now doing their best to make the case that this full-blown acquisition is good for the market and good for consumers. Brendan Paddick, Columbus’ CEO, claimed that “combining our businesses makes both companies stronger, faster and smarter in competing with larger competitors.”

Here’s the catch: there won’t be two companies after the acquisition, and there won’t be any larger competitiors. Combining the businesses will make CWC the largest wholesale broadband provider, and a dominant or outright monopoly “quad-play” provider, commanding the markets for the four principle communications services—mobile, broadband, cable TV and landline—in the Caribbean.

News of the proposed acquisition has not been well received by Columbus’ customers. Columbus’ Flow-branded social-media sites have been overrun with negative sentiments from customers, who have also started a movement on<>, with the headline “Vote NO to the Cable & Wireless/LIME acquisition of Columbus Communication/FLOW.” Unfortunately, only stockholders have a vote; the Caribbean public has no direct say in the transaction.

Changing Landscape

What of Digicel, the Caribbean’s largest mobile provider, and the only other significant

telecom player in the region? In a release, they said: “This proposed transaction raises a considerable number of issues for telecommunications regulation and competition generally in the region. The issues that will need to be addressed include such matters as fairness in spectrum allocations, local loop unbundling, price bundling generally as well as a myriad of other likely issues ... and the likely resultant impact on the telecoms market in the region.”

Digicel’s concerns are not surprising given the company’s dependence on wholesale broadband and network services from Columbus and CWC. Probably sensing that consolidation was in the cards, Digicel has made several maneuvers over the past year to safeguard its position. It recently acquired regional sports broadcaster SportsMax and bought cable TV companies in six markets in as many months. Digicel has also made significant investments in terrestrial fibre build-outs in Barbados, Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. In its latest venture, it entered the subsea bandwidth arena by purchasing Global Caribbean Fibre, giving it submarine fibre assets in the eastern Caribbean.

If Digicel gets its acquisition act in order, it might be able to extend its strength in the mobile space to the quad-play market, presenting additional challenges to regulators. But it would take years and hundreds of millions more dollars in investments before Digicel can match the new CWC in terms of capacity or reach—so it offers little challenge at present to the proposed monopoly.

Race for Market Domination

The limited capacity of its largest commercial competitor to respond is one of the reasons why, from a business standpoint, the Columbus acquisition makes strategic sense for CWC. It is also why governments, regulators and consumers should be very concerned. With the proposed acquisition in hand, CWC can consolidate its service footprint in the region, profiting handsomely in the process. According to filings with the London Stock Exchange, CWC estimates that the combined entity would be able to achieve “recurring annualized pre-tax cost synergies of about $85 million.”

Analysts at Jefferies, a global investment firm, say the acquisition “eliminates the competitive risk that would have remained had Columbus remained as a (strong) rival.” What the Jefferies analysis understates is that the sheer reach and scale of combined CWC and Columbus broadband, landline, mobile and cable operation creates an effective monopoly in the form of a market-dominant competitor that will overshadow the efforts of smaller competitors.

Unanswered Questions

This deal between CWC and Columbus may have been transacted in the UK and US, but the brunt of its impact will be felt by Caribbean stakeholders. The benefit to CWC and financial rewards to a handful of Canadian and American investors, cannot distract from the fact that the acquisition directly threatens all aspects of economic development within the region, raising many concerns:

Gaps in Regulatory Structure

The deal exposes in the most extreme manner the limitations of the present situation of optional, ad hoc cooperation among national and sub-regional regulatory authorities. The acquisition agreement adds fuel to a growing debate on whether national regulatory bodies can stand up to the might and reach of firms trading at a multinational level. It also brings fears of a return to the days of high prices, poor service and general arrogance that defined CWC in the heyday of its monopoly in the region.

The potential for monopoly behavior is compounded by the absence of competition regulation in several countries and lack of any effective regional body to regulate competition. Barbados and Jamaica both have working competition legislation and competition agencies. Trinidad and Tobago’s recently established competition body has no authority over telecommunications services, but its telecom regulator does have the authority to amend service provider concessions in the event of an acquisition or change of ownership. Regulators and governments in the eastern Caribbean territories, where there is not competition legislation, are searching for other options to safeguard consumers and markets.

Nevertheless, none of these countries, individually, have the leverage to impact a CWC near-monopoly by way of regulation. Given than these markets are simply too small to wield individual influence, will it be possible for them to pool their resources and collective resolve?

Challenges to Innovation

The acquisition would bring the more than three thousand Columbus employees into the CWC fold, almost doubling CWC’s current staff. CWC may be hoping for the Columbus culture to energize its operations, but it is difficult to imagine that the latter’s enterprising culture and appetite for fast-paced innovation will rub off on CWC’s time-honed bureaucratic, top-down approach.

If CWC is unable to inspire or retain key Columbus staff, the integration of Columbus into their fold could leave the company a larger, slower and more debt-laden version of its current self. This would stymie growth and curtail innovation, not merely of the corporation but of Caribbean economies. This could reverse the gains of the de-monopolization process of the past fifteen years.

Service Disruptions and Layoffs

CWC in its filings indicated that it expects to achieve cost savings of approximately US$85 million, of which more than two-thirds will come from “rationalization of overlapping headcount in back office, sales and marketing and customer service roles, renegotiation of vendor rates, reduction of real estate costs and harmonization of IT systems.” If these “savings” are realized through staff layoffs, service cuts, elimination of market choice, fewer business continuity options and cancelled future development projects, how much greater is the cost to the economy as a whole?

The merger of the employee groups will also have to include integration of CWC’s highly unionized environment with Columbus’ largely nonunionized employees, restructuring of staff and possibly harmonization of employment terms. This process can result in labor-related actions, employee flight and other disruptions to core business. It remains to be seen how many staff and projects of either company will survive the acquisition.

Obstacles to Future Infrastructure Investment

Prior to the acquisition announcement, CWC had promised a US$1 billion “capital investment led strategy” while Columbus had spent nearly US$500 million on actual network build in the prior three years. It is uncertain whether the region will continue to benefit from the same level of infrastructure investment and all of its follow-on economic benefits or see it lost as the companies consolidate their portfolios.

Safeguarding Consumer Interests

Given the strategic importance of telecommunications and Internet connectivity to the Caribbean’s economic and social development, concerns created by the proposed acquisition—covering infrastructure development, consumer prices, employment, service quality, and consumer choice—need to be addressed quickly and comprehensively.

The companies’ shareholders and owners have no particular reason to evaluate these concerns from the perspective of the Caribbean stakeholders. The responsibility falls to Caribbean governments, regulators, businesses, and consumers to make their voices heard.

The disparate expressions of disappointment, disquiet, fear and concern being raised across the region must be focused into strong statements of objection to Cable & Wireless. This will underscore the seriousness of the situation and is the first step toward more robust oversight of the critical Caribbean telecommunication sector. It will also be a strong signal to Caribbean regulators that they must act in concert to meet the challenge of multinational monopolization and limit the damage it will otherwise impose upon regional economies.

Bevil Wooding is an Internet Strategist with Packet Clearing House (<>) an international non-profit organization responsible for providing operational support and security to critical Internet infrastructure. Follow on Twitter: @bevilwooding


St. Martin’s culture and identity in Costa Rica at Caribbean cultures conference

GREAT BAY - The book Language, Culture, and Identity in St. Martin by Rhoda Arrindell was launched recently in Costa Rica at the Caribbean cultures conference, said University of Puerto Rico professor Dr. Danabang Kuwabong.

Dr. Arrindell’s paper, titled after her new book, was also delivered at the 17th annual Eastern Caribbean Island Cultures Conference in the Central American city of Limon, at the University of Costa Rica, November 6-8, 2014.

The launch went very well, and I also read Rhoda's paper, which was well received,” said Prof. Kuwabong. Arrindell and her publisher HNP worked closely with Kuwabong for a St. Martin presence at the regional conference but the author was unable to attend.

“Dr. Kuwabong was the practical godfather of the St. Martin presence at the Caribbean cultures conference,” said Jacqueline Sample, president of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP). 

“In Dr. Arrindell’s absence the professor personally presented the new book to fellow scholars and guests during the book launch ceremony on Friday. On Saturdaymorning he took charge of reading Rhoda’s scholarly paper on the ‘Language Maintenance in the Caribbean’ panel,” said Sample.

Language, Culture, and Identity in St. Martin is the newest study, with a strong research base, of St. Martin’s language history and current developments. Arrindell opens the book writing about the island’s sociohistorical background and concludes with the chapter entitled “Toward a National Identity.”

The book is available at Van Dorp, Arnia’s, Shipwreck,, and bookstores. In the Netherlands Dr. Arrindell’s title is available at

The 17th annual Eastern Caribbean Island Cultures Conference was organized by the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, University of the West Indies-Cave Hill, Virgin Islands Caribbean Cultural Center, and the University of Costa Rica (Cátedra de Estudios de África y el Caribe y la Sede Regional del Caribe). (HNP)


Record Number of Votes cast for Crystal Pineapple Awards

PHILIPSBURG - The Crystal Pineapple Awards voting period closed on November 12th with once again a record number of votes for the more than 65 nominees that are all looking forward to be the winners in the various categories of this year’s Crystal Pineapple Awards. The organizing committee is pleased with the record setting votes cast and thanks the public for their enthusiasm.

This year, Sonesta Maho’s new Executive Chef Misja Ruijs will be the one preparing the culinary extravaganza that over the years has continuously surpassed everyone’s expectations. Glitter Events has been contracted to transform the venue into a magical ambiance suitable only for St, Maarten’s best and brightest stars in the Tourism arena. Guests will be delighted by Arias, St. Maarten’s new classical young vocalist group consisting of sopranos and tenors, who will be opening with the Sweet St. Maarten song and closing with “Time to say Goodbye”. 

With only four (4) days left till the Award Gala Event, limited tickets are still available at the SHTA office at a cost of $150 per person. Individuals also have a choice to purchase a table of 10. Each ticket gives access to the welcome cocktail party, the recognition ceremony, a sumptuous dinner, the silent auction and live entertainment. This year’s Crystal Pineapple Award Gala Event promises to be even bigger and better than before.

The St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association is hosting its 9th Crystal Pineapple Awards Gala Event on November 21, 2013 at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino, recognizing excellence in service in the Tourism, Trade and Environmental industries. For more information, please contact the SHTA office: 542-0108, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our website (SHTA)


WINAIR CEO Cleaver Commends Study Financing and Ferrier

SIMPSON BAY, SXM AIRPORT – Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of WINAIR Michael Cleaver commends the Department of Study Financing and Michael Ferrier with respect to acknowledging the importance of aviation and having certain careers listed by department for career opportunities.

“Most recently I read with interest the curriculum/subjects contained in the 2015 study financing list of subjects offered by this department. Approximately 18 months previously WINAIR was visited by this department at the behest of Michael Ferrier to ascertain what could be offered to the Sint Maarten youth to prepare themselves for meaningful careers in Aviation.

“After several discussions with the study finance group we established the need in Sint Maarten for Aircraft Maintenance Personnel and Commercial Pilots, both disciplines are now available to our youth. Though this training will take several years to develop and train our prospective students, WINAIR applauds the personnel at Study Finance and Mr. Michael Ferrier for connecting the dots - seeing the possibility - in affording the youth a chance at fulfilling jobs in the aviation realm where there is a need in Sint Maarten.

“WINAIR remains committed to working with the department of education ensuring that as many WINAIR positions as possible are ultimately filled by qualified local personnel,” CEO of WINAIR Michael Cleaver said on Friday.


Business Cycle Survey now Underway

PHILIPSBURG - The Department of Statistics (STAT) informs the business community about the start of its Business Cycle Survey this week. This semi-annual survey is geared towards capturing estimates of business developments and opinions for the full-year 2014.

Business Establishments, who received the Business Cycle Survey for the first half of 2014, can now expect to receive a slightly more expanded questionnaire which covers the period of the entire year 2014.  The primary objective of the survey is the collection of up-to-date developments within our economy, based on the performance of the business sector.

Data-collection begins on Friday November 14th 2014 and continues through end January 2015. The survey’s target group includes all businesses with ten employees or more; and a sample of businesses with nine or less employees.

STAT-trained interviewers will be distributing and collecting the Business-Cycle questionnaires from enterprises and will also be on-hand to provide any additional assistance, that may be required.  

The survey will take a short time to complete, and covers questions on the level and changes in items such as turnover, production units, operational costs and investments. Additionally questions will include the opinions of entrepreneurs regarding competitiveness, confidence in Business and the economy and their 2015 expectations. 

STAT urges all businesses approached to fully participate in the Business Cycle survey, as timely input from the private-sector is essential for STAT in measuring economic developments throughout the year 2014. (Dept. of STAT) 


DEI Conducting Desk Research for National Study Database

PHILIPSBURG - The Division for Educational Innovation (DEI) is currently conducting a desk research within several government departments, divisions, government owned companies and schools subsidized by government in order to lay the groundwork for the creation of a national study database.

The study database is part of the “Studying in the Region 2014-2015” project plan.  DEI has been tasked with conducting the desk research necessary for development of this database. One of the goals of the study database is to create better matches between existing vacancies (or positions that will become vacant within a 10 year period) and students currently studying for a particular area of study. The database will provide an overview of study financing recipients, an overview of critical vacancies as well as an overview of expatriates on contract and of persons retiring within ten years in the civil service, government owned companies and subsidized schools on the island.

This project is the result of the bilateral protocol that was signed in the policy areas of Education, Culture and Science between our Honorable Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports and Minister of Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands. An Action plan for 2014-2015 for the execution of the bilateral protocol as well as the project plan “Studying in the Region: Budget 2014” was also signed.

Businesses in the private sector that wish to be part of the national study database can contact Janelle Presentacion, Project Manager DEI, at 542-4594 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  for more information. (DEI) 


Record Number of Participants Register for SXM Aviation Photography Competition, Toppix 2014

SIMPSON BAY, SXM Airport--A record 40 participants, including six from abroad, have registered for the SXM Aviation Photography Competition, Toppix 2014, according to organizer and godfather of the contest, Robert (Robbie) Cijntje.

The theme for this year’s competition - “Sint Maarten, The Most Beautiful Approach” – was finally revealed at the briefing for participants held Friday, November 7, 2014 at SXM Airport’s Training Room. Present were organizer Cijntje, international judge Max Dereta, SXM Corporate Communications Specialist, Kalifa Hickinson, and SXM Business Relations Officer, Audrey St. Luce-Jack, all of whom were pleased at the turnout. 

During the briefing, the rules of the competition were outlined and contact information for airport operations and security personnel was provided.

The deadline for registration for the competition was also extended until Wednesday, Nov. 12, after which date no one will be able to register again. The registration form will remain on

The photos that will be judged must have been taken on St. Maarten between November 7 and November 13, 2014, and can be submitted up until 11:59 PM on November 13. A maximum of three photos per participant is allowed. 

Given the theme of the competition, participants are tasked with capturing the most beautiful approach of an aircraft flying into SXM. In other words, it must be recognizable from the photo that the approach is happening in St. Maarten. 

World renowned photographer Max Dereta who is on the panel of judges, will give a presentation on Wednesday November 12 from 5 – 7 PMat the SXM Airport Training Roomwhere he will be sharing photography tips with the participants.

The prize-giving ceremony where the winner of the competition will be announced will take place on Friday, November 14at SXM Airport’s East Entrance (under the canopy). A prize of US$2,500 awaits the winner. Six photos (including the winning shot) will also be selected by the judges to be exhibited at the Arrival Hall of SXM Airport for an initial period of four months, with the names and e-mail addresses of the respective photographers attached to them. (SXM Airport)

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