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Members of Parliament tour Hurricane Shelters

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Member of Parliament Egbert Jurendy Doran requested a tour of the hurricane shelters on Sint Maarten during the Central Committee meeting on August 3, 2018.

The Prime Minister stated then that she had no reservations therewith, and on Friday, October 12th, Members of Parliament (MPs) had the opportunity to visit three of the 13 listed establishments that were reportedly adjusted and prepared by Government in such a way that they should be able to function as shelters in the event of a catastrophe.  The MPs that took part in the tour were E. Doran, S. Jacobs, A. Irion, C. Emmanuel, S. Wescot Williams, S. Bijlani, and T. Leonard.

In a previous press release dated 4 June 2018, MP Doran expressed his concerns and stated the following pertaining to the state of affairs of the people, in this quoted statement; “It is extremely heartbreaking to see the situation that our people still find themselves in, no less than nine months after the hurricanes of September 2017.”

MP Doran requested a tour of the hurricane shelters, in order to be assured that all was being done for the people of Sint Maarten in the case of a natural disaster. This is of utmost importance particularly, after Dutch State Secretary R. Knops stated to the press in The Netherlands some months ago, that there were enough shelters (hiding places) for the people of Sint Maarten in the event of another storm.

The Member of Parliament was very concerned about this statement at the time, especially seeing that this information was given to the press in The Netherlands and distributed among the population there, while the local population on Sint Maarten had not heard a word from their own Government concerning the shelters up to that time. This is something that MP Doran says is very confusing for the vulnerable people that went through and still are going through so much already. This request for the Tour was later echoed by MP Christophe Emmanuel.

MP Doran stated that he applauds Government for its attempt to secure the wellbeing of the people of this country and for trying its apparent best to ensure that the country is better prepared for any future storms.

He however stated that while something was done, it is a far cry from what Government promised the people. No timeline could be given as far as it pertains to the completion of the planned underground water tanks, showers, generators and diesel tanks that were illustrated in the manifesto that the MP’S received by Government during the tour.

MP Doran said that while he understands that since the devastation of the hurricane things aren’t progressing the way it normally would, he expects the Council of Ministers to do no less than making sure that particular issues receive priority when listing what comes first or last as far as it concerns the monies from the World Bank.

According to the Member of Parliament, issues such as roof / house repairs and shelter reinforcements should have been handled with the highest form of priority at the beginning of the year.

“As it stands, that is not the case up until this moment and it is a real pity, because our people are suffering, due to the fact that much to their disappointment, the Government fell short on its promise to take care of them” the young MP said.

The Members of Parliament were not accompanied by any Minister, but by representatives and civil servants of the Ministry of VROMI and VSA and representatives of the Sint Maarten Development Fund (SMDF) and the Red Cross.                                                                                                                                                      

MP Doran wishes to thank the facilitators of the tour for dedicating their time and energy to making the tour a very informative one.

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EPIC to Host Full Moon Kayak with Halloween theme

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - In anticipation of Halloween, Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) foundation will host a “Spooktacular” kayak under the moonlight on the Simpson Bay Lagoon on Thursday, October 25th from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.

EPIC, with assistance and sponsorship from Tri-Sport, will host its very first Halloween-themed kayak trip with prizes to be won for best costume.

Kayakers will paddle from Kimsha Beach to the mangroves in front of Port de Plaisance, passing the boat graveyard and searching for strangers to spook under the moonlight.

In the Lagoon, participants will enjoy a complimentary beverage and paddle back to shore, where the best costume will win a prize.

To join in on all the skele-fun, the entry fee will be $25 for adults and $15 for kids under 16 years old, who must be accompanied by a responsible adult to sign the liability waiver.

If you are bringing a child under 8 years old, please bring a suitable life jacket as only adult life jackets will be provided by Tri-Sport. All proceeds from this event will support EPIC’s educational and conservation projects.

Previous EPIC kayak adventures have all been big successes, so you won’t want to miss this one.

Reservations are required, RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or +1 (721) 581-4932 and scare you there!

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New NV GEBE Supervisory Board Members

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Since the announcement of the appointment of the new members to the Supervisory Board of Directors of N.V. GEBE in a press briefing by the Council of Ministers last week, the Supervisory Board of Directors of N.V. GEBE is pleased to announce that they have had their first introductory meeting and appointed the Chairman and Vice Chairman, NV GEBE said in a press statement on Sunday.

The Supervisory Board of Directors is committed to work as a team in continuing to move N.V. GEBE forward the release concludes.

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Country Under a Heavy Rainfall Advisory until Sunday

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY-AIRPORT) – The Meteorological Department of Sint Maarten (MDS) announced late Saturday afternoon that the country is under a “A Heavy Rainfall Advisory” until 12:00pm Sunday 14 October.

“Heavy showers leading to localized flooding are likely over sections of the island. Residents are urged to avoid driving in flooded streets until the heavy rain has tapered off and the flood-waters have subsided.

“In case there are lightning strikes very close to your location (loud thunder, less than three seconds between lightning discharge and thunder), switch off and disconnect any sensitive electronic equipment. Also, disconnect any phone line from your computer,” the MDS special weather bulletin stated late Saturday afternoon.

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Ministry VROMI calls for vigilance due to heavy rainfall

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (VROMI) Miklos Giterson, has taken note of the heavy rainfall being experienced today, Saturday, and would like to assure residents that Department of Infrastructure Management is at the moment busy assessing and resolving issues caused by the heavy rainfall.

Residents are urged to stay off the roadways for the rest of the day unless travel is necessary as all roads have the possibility of experiencing temporary flooding.  If travel is necessary, motorists are advised to pay particular attention to flood-prone roads such as the Waterfront Road, Wellington Road, Zagersgut Road and the Mullet Bay Road leading to the area of the Starz Casino in Cupecoy. 

Persons residing in the hillside areas should be vigilant of land movement, such as mudslides, as the island has experienced an increased amount of rainfall over the past weeks leading to an oversaturation of the ground. Persons residing in vulnerable areas prone to flooding are also asked to remain attentive.

The Ministry has activated its water management system and the Great Bay canal has been opened as a precautionary measure and water is currently being pumped from the Salt Pond into the Great Bay sea.   There have been reports of fallen trees, rocks and debris and the Ministry is actively working on clearing everything away.

The Ministry will continue to monitor for hazardous conditions and will alert the public with more advisories if necessary.

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KFC donates to the Positive and the Elektralyets Foundations

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - KFC has joined the Feel it, Find it, Fight it, Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign with the Positive and the Elektralyets foundation. This is the first time that KFC and staff goes pink for the month of October.

KFC donated 100 shirts to the foundations in aid of their month-long Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign.

The staff at KFC Philipsburg and Cole bay will be wearing their shirts throughout the month as a reminder to the customers to be Breast Aware and to get Checked!

The Positive and Elektralyets Foundation are very happy to have KFC on board to help them with their message that early detection saves lives and they should never give up the fight as it reads on their t-shirts.

The shirts will be distributed to various organizations in the medical realm Breast Cancer survivors and warriors. The foundations would like to thank KFC management Derryck Jack, Anuska Brown and staff for their support.

The Positive Foundation and Elektra have teamed up this year and organized a mirage of breast cancer awareness events throughout the entire month of October. Last year the foundations had to put everything on hold due the passing and subsequent devastation of Hurricanes Irma and Maria on St. Maarten.

Despite the challenges, the foundation heads, Shelly Alphonso and Mercedes “Elektra” van der Waals Wyatt are determined and committed to continue its breast aware campaign to Feel it, Findit, Fightit, during the month of October 2018.

As St. Maarten recovers, people shy away from thinking about difficult things. We want to remind them that timely action can halt things from being truly difficult.” says Positive Foundation President Shelly Alphonso. “It is our responsibility to be Positive in the fight to save our nation’s women by reminding them to be breast aware and providing them with the opportunities to get checked.

This October, the breast cancer awareness activities includes a balance of education, awareness, fundraising, physical activity and opportunities for women to get a free clinical breast examination. Activities still to come include, Paint It Pink do it yourself workshop, Breast Aware & Car Care Workshop, moonlight meditation, a celebrity waiter dinner, Gala movie night, Pink Phit&Phabulousa run/walk challenge, bikers for boobs rally, Pandora’s Pink Party, public service announcements on the radio, public and private group information sessions, the distribution of educational literature like shower guides and women’s breast health handbook and 30 opportunities where women can get a free clinical breast examination offered by our resident health care providers.

Shelly Alphonso and Elektra are enormously grateful to the business community, supporters and volunteers for their continued support. “Despite the aftermath of the storms and severe setbacks, they have embraced the October 2018 Be Breast Aware campaign”, the foundation presidents echoed.

The breast cancer awareness movement launched in 1998 by the Positive Foundation has collaborated with the Elektralyets Foundation for over a decade in the fight to save lives with its early detection messaging.

Check out our Facebook page – Positive Foundation for events and screening opportunities or contact:-

Shelly Alphonso at 580 9658 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or

Elektra at 523-7418 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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CPS: World Mental Health Day October 10 Theme: Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, DCOMM) – 10 October marks World Mental Health Day around the world. The theme is “Young people and mental health in a changing world.”

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department from the Sint Maarten Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, says that World Mental Health Day provides an opportunity for people and organizations around the world working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide. 

The observations and creating awareness of the annual theme is part of CPSs annual calendar of health observances.

Mental health refers to an array of activities directly or indirectly related to the mental well-being component included in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition of health: “A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease.”

According to the WHO, “Adolescence and the early years of adulthood are a time of life when many changes occur, for example changing schools, leaving home, and starting university or a new job. For many, these are exciting times. They can also be times of stress and apprehension however. In some cases, if not recognized and managed, these feelings can lead to mental illness. 

“The expanding use of online technologies, while undoubtedly bringing many benefits, can also bring additional pressures, as connectivity to virtual networks at any time of the day and night grows. Many adolescents are also living in areas affected by humanitarian emergencies such as conflicts, natural disasters and epidemics. Young people living in situations such as these are particularly vulnerable to mental distress and illness.

“Half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14, but most cases go undetected and untreated. In terms of the burden of the disease among adolescents, depression is the third leading cause. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds. Harmful use of alcohol and illicit drugs among adolescents is a major issue in many countries and can lead to risky behaviours such as unsafe sex or dangerous driving. Eating disorders are also of concern.

“Fortunately, there is a growing recognition of the importance of helping young people build mental resilience, from the earliest ages, in order to cope with the challenges of today’s world. Evidence is growing that promoting and protecting adolescent health brings benefits not just to adolescents’ health, both in the short- and the long-term, but also to economies and society, with healthy young adults able to make greater contributions to the workforce, their families and communities and society as a whole.

“Much can be done to help build mental resilience from an early age to help prevent mental distress and illness among adolescents and young adults, and to manage and recover from mental illness. Prevention begins with being aware of and understanding the early warning signs and symptoms of mental illness. 

“Parents and teachers can help build life skills of children and adolescents to help them cope with everyday challenges at home and at school. Psychosocial support can be provided in schools and other community settings and of course training for health workers to enable them to detect and manage mental health disorders can be put in place, improved or expanded.

“Investment by governments and the involvement of the social, health and education sectors in comprehensive, integrated, evidence-based programmes for the mental health of young people is essential. This investment should be linked to programmes to raise awareness among adolescents and young adults of ways to look after their mental health and to help peers, parents and teachers know how to support their friends, children and students. This is the focus for this year’s World Mental Health Day.”

For more information, you can call CPS 542-2078 or 542-3003.

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USP Party applauds former Minister Doncher for JetBlue

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The United St Maarten Party (USP) was very proud to learn that the efforts of former Minister of TEATT Doncher has paid off in the first ever weekday-scheduled service for the island to Fort Lauderdale.

This service was recently announced by JetBlue, and is expected to drastically improve the airlift and pricing of flights to and from the South Florida Area, St. Maarten’s most popular connecting area to the US.

“USP as a party has always taken its work with the TEATT Ministry very seriously, and we know that every day fruits of our labor help the people of St. Maarten; it is what we as a party have always been committed to” stated MP Frans Richardson, Leader of the United St. Maarten Party, “ Today we have just one example.”

Soon after being appointed Minister of TEATT by the USP, Doncher, together with MP Brison who was director of tourism at the time, set out to identify the key route development goals for the Ministry. “Fort Lauderdale was seen as a huge priority for many reasons: It is the fastest growing US international airport for several consecutive years, it would create a new alternative to the increasingly saturated Miami route, and would create competition on that route to reduce prices for travelers,” explained Brison.

“Being that airlines typically plan schedules 9 to 16 months in advance, it takes a long time before route development negotiations pan out into actual flights. In this case, we are happy to see that our efforts that started over a year ago has resulted in such an important route opening for St. Maarten,” stated MP Brison.

In June of 2017, the Minister had received the commitment of JetBlue to launch the service. Even after hurricane Irma, in November of 2017, the Minister and her team had met with JetBlue once again. The airline, voted best airline in North American by Trip Advisor for 2017, at the time commended the hard work the Ministry of TEATT was doing to help in the island’s recovery and committed to not only being among the first airlines to relaunch flights to St. Maarten, but stayed committed to the Fort Lauderdale Route.

Fort Lauderdale represents about 15% of JetBlue’s capacity, it’s the largest airline at that airport. The airline recently said that even though competition may be rising, JetBlue sees South Florida as a “large underserved market” with more expansion capabilities. JetBlue plans to continue to “grow thoughtfully” in the market,” the airline said.

JetBlue also plans to roll out its Mint service (similar to first class) at Fort Lauderdale later this year. In other markets, the introduction of Mint service has led to improved profitability. Mint service was also discussed with the Minister in New York.

The Minister was joined in New York by members of her Cabinet, Head of the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau Rolando Brison and St. Maarten’s marketing firm for the US, MMGY Global/Spring O’Brien, whose representatives attended the meeting to familiarize themselves with the initiatives/wishes of St. Maarten and JetBlue.

USP fully expects that soon, other route development efforts will pan out, such as the other Fort Lauderdale route negotiated with Southwest, as well as first time routes including the Moscow-SXM route of S7 Airlines and the Belgium-SXM route of TUI, among many others.

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Sint Maarten three-member martial arts team competes in Curacao at Honor Fight League 2

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - Sint Maarten Martial Arts Federation (SMMAF) sent a team of fighters to compete in the exciting HONOR FIGHT LEAGUE 2, which took place in Curacao.

All three fighters hailing from St. Maarten were victorious. The team was represented by 17-year-old Avish ‘Dilen’ Wijesiriwardana, Charlie ‘Ohmz’ Marsham and Akeem Lewis and led by kickboxing veteran Sensei Marco London (Winner of the Brown Pelican Sports Award Icon 2016).

Charlie Marsham who trains out of Marco London’s Team Sityodtong, St Peters location defeated Richard Frias from Venezuela. The fight was set at 79kg Thai boxing B class bout.

Marsham won the fight after landing a vicious knee to the head and followed up with pressure attacks, the fight was stopped in the 3rd round by technical knockout (TKO).

Avish Dilen, a 17-year-old student under Akeem Lewis in Cole Bay defeated Gaddy Rodrigues of Venezuela. The bout was at the N-class level. Gaddy came out aggressive in the first round but Avish stayed composed and listened to his corner, coming back to take over the fight and pressure his opponent and got the win by unanimous decision.

A long-time student under Sensei Marco London, Akeem Lewis is the head Muay Thai Kickboxing instructor at SXM BJJ Renzo Gracie in Cole Bay. Akeem Lewis went up against Stevin Berbin of Venezuela in his Professional MMA debut in the middleweight (84 kilo) division.

Stevin took Akeem down in the first round and kept a good pressure from the top position. Staying focused and relaxed Akeem was able to defend and fight off Sevens attacks.

In the second round Akeem used his Jiu Jitsu skills (Akeem holds the rank of purple belt) to get to the top position and started his attack, proving to be too much for Stevin he tapped to ground and pound strikes. Akeem was also awarded KO/submission of the night.  

Muay Thai kickboxing classes are given in both St Peters and Cole Bay. Classes take place at MPC gymnasium Mon/Wed/Fri 7:30-8:30pm.

For more information or to register for classes with Sensei Akeem Lewis in Cole Bay contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 721 544-4444.

honor fight ins2

Akeem Lewis in blue shorts. 

honor fight fpg

Avish is pictured first wearing black/orange shorts.

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Minister Johnson encourages participation in Labour Force Survey

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – The Department of Statistics (STAT) which falls under the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic & Telecommunications, started its Labour Force Survey (LFS) in the week of September 24.

A total of 1300 households have been randomly selected for the LFS.  13 STAT interviewers are conducting the interviews with household members.  The survey will be over an eight-week period.

“I would like to encourage every household to give their full cooperation. These surveys are necessary in order to gather information about our society, the labour market and economy. Every country carries out the LFS. 

“The information helps Government and other entities understand the current situation of the labour market and national economy, and allows it to plan accordingly. 

“The information is also very relevant for international institutions such as the International Labour Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

“This information allows Government to strategically plan and develop policies related to labour; and allows for economic analysis and understanding of the economy. 

“Participation in the survey for persons falling in the sample is mandatory according to the laws of the country.  The information collected is confidential and it’s a civic duty to give your cooperation when interviewers coming knocking at your door,” Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Stuart Johnson said on Monday.  

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