Soualiga Newsday Features


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Soualiga Newsday Features (1501)

Fish die-off possible, do not consume fish

ZAGERSGUT, Sint Maarten - Based on ongoing weather conditions the island has been experiencing and based on water quality sampling conducted by the St. Maarten Nature Foundation it has been decided to issue an alert concerning the medium to high potential for a Tilapia fish die off in the Great Salt Pond.

The Nature Foundation has tested the water quality in the Great Salt Pond and has measured a decrease in oxygen levels and an increase in salinity due to the ongoing weather conditions. These factors coupled with the
large amount of introduced and invasive tilapia in the Great Salt Pond have made conditions favorable for a tilapia die-off event.

The Nature Foundation has sent its recommendations to the necessary governmental departments and will continue to monitor the situation as it develops. As of Friday, May 23rd there have been some dead tilapia recorded in the Zagersgut area.The Nature Foundation will issue updates as the situation develops.


African Poet Writes about St. Martin, arrives for Saturday Book Signing

GREAT BAY/MARIGOT, St. Martin (May 22, 2014)—Dr. Dannabang Kuwabong is in St. Martin with his brand new poetry collection, Voices from Kibuli Country, said Shujah Reiph, coordinator of the St. Martin Book Fair.

There will be a poetry reading and book signing by Dr. Kuwabong at Philipsburg Jubilee Library, on Saturday, May 24 at 7:30 PM, as a pre-Book Fair activity, said Reiph.

Voices from Kibuli Country includes poetry about St. Martin based on impressions from a previous visit by the Ghanaian poet who is also a literature professor at the University of Puerto Rico.

“The Book Fair Committee is inviting all poetry and culture lovers, all lovers of good books to come out to this free and inspiring recital. I’m also very interested in how a traveling writer and scholar at the level of Dr. Kuwabong interprets his experiences about the people, culture and land of St. Martin,” said Reiph.

Dr. Kuwabong’s “collection results from the author’s experiences in Ontario … and his travels over several Caribbean islands and in the United States as a person of multiple locations and origins: Canadian, African and Ghanaian,” according to TSAR Publications, the book’s Canadian publisher.

Dr. Kuwabong has been busy in the region and in Canada this year. He was a guest author at Hamilton’s Literary Festival in Ontario where his book signing followed what organizers called, “a fascinating reading and discussion about identity and the impact of cultural heritage on the stories we tell.”

In April, Dr. Kuwabong delivered a scholarly paper on “The Ecopoetics of St. Martin” in Aruba at the 16th Eastern Caribbean Island Cultures Conference. The author of at least five books arrived at SXM Airport on Thursday from a working visit in St. Croix.

In a few days he will be heading to Ghana. While on the Friendly Island Prof. Dannabang Kuwabong will also interview various people for a Caribbean literary project that he is working on.

 The recital on Saturday, May 24 is a pre-Book Fair activity in preparation for the 12th annual St. Martin Book Fair, June 5 – 7, 2014. Conscious Lyrics Foundation and House of Nehesi Publishers are the organizers of the upcoming book festival, in collaboration with St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, University of St. Martin, LCF Foundation, and St. Martin Tourist Office. The SXM Airport and SOS Radio are also sponsors of the St. Martin Book Fair 2014.

Photo caption1:

Dr. Dannabang Kuwabong, poet, professor, literary scholar. 


Martens presents master's thesis to library

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - Paul Martens presented his Master’s thesis, “Varend op eigen kracht: Naar een effectief scheepvaarttoezicht op Sint Maarten” (Sailing with its own power: Effective maritime surveillance on St. Maarten) on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 to Library Director, Monique Alberts. (PJL Photo)


President of Parliament Arrindell to give opening speeches at Parlatino meeting and reception

MAHO REEF, Sint Maarten – The President of Parliament Hon. Gracita Arrindell will give the opening speech on Thursday morning at Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino that starts two-days of Latin American Parliament (Parlatino) committee meetings.

Approximately 75 Members of Parliament and support staff from Parlatino will attend three committee meetings on Thursday and Friday, namely the Economic Affairs, Social Debt and Regional Development Committee; Committee of Energy & Mines; and Committee of Political Affairs, Municipal and Integration.

On Thursday evening there will be an official reception and His Excellency Governor Eugene Holiday and Prime Minister Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams will attend.

During the evening reception speeches will be given by President of Parliament Hon. Gracita Arrindell and one by Acting Secretary General of Parlatino Roland Gonzalez Patricio. 

Parlatino, is a regional, permanent and unicameral organization, comprising the National Latin American Parliaments elected democratically upon popular vote, whose countries have subscribed to the institutional treaty of November 16, 1987, in Lima, Peru.


Princess Beatrix Opens Kingdom Youth Parliament

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - Princess Beatrix opened on Tuesday the Kingdom Youth Parliament (Koninkrijksjeugdparlement - KJP) on Sint Maarten. After a short speech the princess gave the presidential gavel to Trumane Trotman, the Sint Maarten student of 23 who will be the chairperson of the KJP.

For three days 50 youngsters from across the Kingdom will debate with each other on issues such as education and culture, children’s rights and sustainable development. There are five teams from Sint Maarten, Curaçao, Aruba, the Netherlands and the Caribbean Netherlands, which includes youngsters from Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. The debates are bilingual, Dutch and English.

After an intensive pre-selection, in recent months the teams have been preparing for the KJP with their own coach, under the guidance of the Dutch Debate Institute (Nederlands Debatinstituut). The youngsters have been trained in properly substantiating and presenting their views, listening to each other, collaborating and drawing practical and workable conclusions. In the debates and final conclusions the youngsters will give their views on the present and the future of the Kingdom.

In her addressing Princess Beatrix said she highly appreciates being present. "Even though I am not of your generation, I still feel very involved and welcome!”

She called the KJP gathering in Sint Maarten valuable. "We can only be well aware of the significance of 200 years Kingdom, if we do involve everyone's perspective, and if the contribution of all parts of the Kingdom may come into its own. For people from the Netherlands - young and old - it can be refreshing to think about our future in this environment. The trade winds blowing over Sint Maarten have a different 'feel' atmosphere than the southwester near Hoek van Holland. And a cocoa tree at Philipsburg gives a different shade than a Dutch oak at Burgh Haamstede. This variety can be experienced as an asset."

The princess did not shy away from the (cultural) differences within the Kingdom. "Our shared history has known bitter periods and times of hope and expectation. Despite the - sometimes great - differences in experience and perception out there, we have all been connected for two centuries in one Kingdom. That is significant. Without covering the differences of opinion, it is good to have an eye for what unites us and for the positive forces at work everywhere in our Kingdom.

She also expressed the hope that the KJP debates may contribute to the mutual enrichment of shared knowledge, a broader perspective and to an exchange of experience that is stimulating. "It is good as a new generation actively joins in the debate on cooperation within our Kingdom and brings about new ideas. For people of my generation it gives confidence to see and meet so many youngsters who feel co-responsible for our collective future. Your enthusiasm is contagious! "

Trumane Trotman, who also leads the Sint Maarten team and thus is the KJP chairperson the coming days, said in her welcoming speech that the “multicultural Kingdom is unique” and more than worthwhile to invest in. “That way it will still exist in another 200 years”.

Ank Bijleveld, chairperson of the National Committee 200 years Kingdom indicated during the opening that with their debates at the KJP, the youngsters contribute in bringing together the various parts of the Kingdom. She invited everyone to not only think from the common problems, but above all focus on the own contribution to the solutions. “It would be nice if we could get that done in the Kingdom”.

Princess Beatrix will be attending several debates of the youth parliament the coming days and she will personally get acquainted with the members of the five teams. Thursday she will also receive the final conclusions of the KJP. The intention is that the youngsters continue to draw attention to the recommendations contained therein in their own country or island and realize them.

The KJP is the 3rd national event of the National Committee 200 years Kingdom in a series of six. After the start of the celebration on November 30th, 2013 and the Constitution Festival, events in Maastricht, Zwolle and the closure in September 2015 in Amsterdam will follow next.

The opening of the KJP on Sint Maarten was attended by the Governors, Presidents of the Parliaments and the Prime Ministers of Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. The Island Governors of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba were also present.

The full text of the speech of Princess Beatrix at KJP is available on (English and Dutch) and


Minister of Justice Dennis Richardson Receives Anguillan Belonger Status

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - Tuesday May 20, 2014, Minister of Home Affairs the Honorable Jerome Roberts of Anguilla presented the Minister of Justice Honorable Dennis Richardson, with his certificate of “Belonger status of Anguilla” back in November 2013. The Parent and Grand-parents of Dennis Richardson were born Anguillans and in view of this he qualifies for the status of “Belonger of Anguilla”. The status offers the same rights as all Anguillans. 


Prime Minister continues with community based fitness program in Cole Bay on May 24

COLE BAY, Sint Maarten - The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams will continue her U2 Can Move health and fitness campaign this Saturday when she will be bring her U 2 Can Move campaign’s Zumba and Fitness Walk to the District of Cole Bay this Saturday, May 24th.

The PM has commented that a healthy lifestyle is essential for a healthy community; “The health of the St. Maarten Community is a matter of great concern to me. During the course of 2012 and 2013 we have organized several events related to physical fitness and exercise and we are continuing with these events in 2014. I urge each citizen to be physically active; especially considering that many of us lead a sedentary lifestyle so therefore movement is key along with a proper diet.

“What matters is that every attempt to exercise or to live a healthy life style by making the correct nutrition, care and movement choices, counts or rather adds up. So come and join us on Saturday, especially those in the Cole Bay Community to wake up and exercise with us,” stressed Prime Minister Wescot-Williams.

The PM emphasized that every individual’s competitor should be him or herself; “You need to be able to evaluate yourself based on what you were able to do before starting an exercise program and what you are now able to do. You never compare yourself with others.  Max Ehrmann in his poem the Desiderata says that if you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, or always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans” Concluded the PM.


DP Condemns Recent Acts of Violence

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - The Democratic Party condemns the acts of violence perpetuated on the island in recent days. One of these hideous acts took the life of a businessman on the Northern side of the island and a young female student suffered serious injuries at the hand of an allegedly mentally unstable man in South Reward. The use of violence and availability of weapons is all too commonplace in our community.

No excuse however can justify these types of assaults on members of our community and must be condemned in the strongest possible way.

The Democratic Party supports the  increased cooperation between the two sides of the island in the different areas and, while crime fighting is chief amongst these, we note with concern the financial limitations to execute strategic crime fighting projects of the Ministry of Justice.

We extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the late Anan and we express our sincere wishes for a speedy recovery of the young student. We encourage all members of the community to help take a "bite out of crime" by demonstrating tolerance, looking out for each other, not condoning criminals or criminal acts.

It is also with sadness that we received the news of the suicide death of candidate notary Lars de Vries.

All in all, sad days for several families in our communities and as a compassionate society we share in these families' grief. May God grant them strength.


Spate of Violence has Governments Attention

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - The Prime Minister of St. Maarten,  the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams  has expressed  her deep  concern over  the recent spate of violence the community has experienced. The PM made her comments while abroad attending the Caribbean Overseas Countries And Territories of the European Union Conference in Montserrat; “I am saddened to learn of the recent spate of violence  in the communities of both sides of our island and I would like to express sympathy and strength to the victims and their families as they struggle to cope with these incomprehensible acts of violence and disregard for human life and rights. I trust that our law enforcement authorities will do their jobs and  I encourage our citizens to have faith in our authorities and to assist them where they can.

“The situation has my full attention and the Government of St. Maarten will  continue to do all that  is within its power to ensure that our population is safe and secure.

At the same time, attention needs to be paid to the social and health issues that contribute to persons' state of mind. Mental health in its various forms and gradations also deserves our attention . The limited data available to us suggests that there is a worrisome number of persons who have to cope with effects of poor  or unbalanced mental health. 

We need to work with the organizations that provide service to the  chronically mentally challenged as well as those with bouts of mental lapses, chronic depression etc.

We need to sensitize our services to these illnesses.

“Finally I again would like to wish the victims and their families much strength as they seek healing and try to cope and overcome the loss and stress due to these  acts of senseless violence,” concluded Prime Minister Wescot-Williams.


Minister Lourens-Philip tells Caribbean conference delegates to push forward

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – His Excellency Governor Eugene B. Holiday and the Honorable Minister of Education, Culture and Youth Affairs Patricia Lourens - Philip encouraged Caribbean delegates to push the Caribbean forward during UNESCO’s conference closing session on Capacity Building on Heritage Conservation in the Caribbean Small Island Developing Sates (SIDS).


24 members representing SIDS came to a consensus on Tuesday afternoon during the closing of the UNESCO meeting on Capacity Building on Heritage Conservation in the Caribbean with an agenda for follow-up priorities and responsibilities to be delivered during the sequel meeting in St. Vincent & the Grenadines in 2015, during which His Excellency Governor Holiday and Minster Hon. Patricia Lourens-Philip emphasized the importance of “pushing” the Caribbean forward in World Heritage Matters.


“There are challenges we have to overcome and we must continue to position ourselves in the international arena in terms of showing our history and that we can be going forward” said Honorable Governor Holiday during his closing statement as he sat in during the drafting of the agenda.

Among the SIDS representatives were Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Belize, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago and St. Eustatius as an observer.


Honorable Minster of Education, Culture, Youth & Sports, Patricia Lourens-Philip commended each member for accepting their invitation to the UNESCO meeting which was organized by her ministry by the Department of Culture and making measurable progress. “We are convinced that we have a rightful place in the Caribbean History in the English, Dutch, French and Spanish speaking Caribbean and as such we want to say thank you for being here and participating with a lot of passion,” she said.


Himalchuli Gurung, Programme Specials for Culture, UNESCO Kingston Cluster Office for the Caribbean, as well as Victor Marin, CCBP Coordinator, UNESCO Havana Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean on behalf of all participants commended Department Head of Culture, Mr. Neville York for his hard work in putting the meeting together and thanked the St. Maarten government for prioritizing the importance of the meeting and making it happen.


The UNESCO and SIDS representatives avidly worked on identifying areas of development, methods of funding and prospective areas of preservation in respects to creating their respective tentative lists, and nomination dossiers for World Heritage Sites while sharing intelligence and creating an informal network/skills bank to create accessibility among themselves when initiating projects or activities that will require the expertise of one or more of the members.


The official opening of the UNESCO meeting took place last Saturday on May 10, 2014 which commenced with a flag inauguration and supporting messages from Honorable Governor Holiday, Honorable Prime Minister Wescot-Williams and Honorable Minister Lourens, as well as Director and Representative, UNESCO Kingston Cluster Office for the Caribbean, Christine Norton, whom all emphasized 2014 being the international year of Small Islands Developing States and the relevance of the work to follow during the conference.


The conference meetings followed with discussion on Caribbean strategies on managing serial heritage sites, a field trip to Fort Amsterdam and supporting historic areas, updates on the Kingston Action Plan, presentations on country experiences in preparing nomination dossiers, group work, and closed with a St. Maarten Declaration on Caribbean Capacity Building Strategy for the Caribbean SIDS.

All members were given a token of appreciation sponsored by the St. Maarten Tourism Office as well as PITCH-IT Foundation, which was presented to the members by Minister Lourens - Philip and Mr. Neville York.

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