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Tourism Sector and Business Community Reminded It Only Takes One

GREAT BAY – Office of Disaster Management is advising the country’s economic mainstay, the tourism sector and business community, to review hurricane preparation plans since we just started the most active part of the 2014 hurricane season which runs from August 15 and through October 15.

The tourism sector, business community and also residents are advised to pay keen attention to weather reports with special focus on the Eastern Atlantic Ocean where tropical weather systems that form off the African Coast (Cape Verde Islands) can become a serious threat to the Eastern Caribbean island chain. 

At this stage of the hurricane season, tourism-oriented businesses should be prepared.  The prevention of the loss of life of our visitors and staff along with protecting property from damage is the responsibility of every business owner.

The engine of the economy is every single business operation on the island.  Each one plays a very important role in the island’s tourism-oriented service economy.

As the Office of Disaster Management annual theme says, “It only takes one!” Now is the time for business community in its entirety as well as residents to review what preparations are in place, and not when a storm is about to hit.

The hurricane season runs through November 30.

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Library launches Annual Baby & Toddler Campaign with Activities

PHILIPSBURG—Philipsburg Jubilee Library, in collaboration with main sponsor, Guardian Group, will be launching their annual book-start campaign “Read to Me” for babies and toddlers starting, Saturday,  August 23 to August 28.

This Saturday, will be the official opening ceremony of the four-day Baby & Toddler campaign under the theme “Read Together, Study Together” starting at 10:00am, with a packed schedule of activities, prizes, membership drives and information booths.

“We launched the first campaign in 2010 to motivate parents and caregivers to sign up their child at an early age, as library members and also to read to their baby or toddler as often as possible. Many experts have pointed out how important it is to read to children on a daily basis. Not only is it fun and relaxing to read to your preschooler, it also reinforces the bond between parent and child. It has also been proven that children who are read to, from an early age, have a huge advantage over others when it comes to school results, later in life,” stated Library Director, Monique Alberts.

During the opening event, Dexter the Clown will be paying the library a special visit. Patricia Pantophlet will also be conducting a special “dancing with babies” workshop. Storyteller, Gini van Duivenvoorde, will be reading for attending children and parents. Other activities will include: a gift basket raffle, face painting, bouncing castle, and information booths with representatives of Guardian Group and Manrique Capriles and Sons.  Food and drinks will also be available.

Children zero to three years of age, who become a library member, during the campaign, will receive a special backpack with goodies containing:  information leaflets, puppets, Johnson and Johnson’s baby items donated by Manrique Capriles and Sons, reading material, color pencils and a color sheet. Parents will also receive a 25 guilder library membership discount only if they sign up during the campaign week, from August 23 to 30.

The main campaign activities will begin next week, on Tuesday, August 26 and end on Thursday, August 28, 2014. The first workshop, on Tuesday, will be conducted by Zahira Marmar, entitled “Rhyme Time”, from 6:00pm – 7:00pm. The following day, Wednesday, Patti Maier will be doing a “Puppet Show and Reading” workshop from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. The final day, Thursday, there will be the “Brunch and Storytelling for Toddlers” ages 2-3 by Gini van Duivenvoorde from 11:00pm – 12:00pm.

Registration is required for the “Brunch and Storytelling for Toddlers” activity, as space is limited. For more information on this activity please contact Children Librarian, Maryland at e-mail address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call the library at 542-2970.

The public of St. Maarten is invited to participate in this Baby and Toddler Campaign.


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Prime Minister Signs Letter of Intent with French Side for a number of Environmental Areas

PHILIPSBURG - The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams together with the Prefet of St. Martin and St. Barths Philippe Chopin and the President of the Collectivite of St. Maarten Mrs. Aline Hanson signed the Letter of Intent (LoI) for cross border cooperation between both sides of the island at a signing ceremony on Monday.

The European Trans-border Cooperation (ETC) Operational Program is a program of cooperation between both sides of the island to work on various mutually important projects for both sides of the island. Prime Minister Wescot-Williams stated that administrations over the years on a technical level have been making agreements on how to move various areas forward for the people of St. Maarten.

“Today is an important milestone on the history of both sides of St. Maarten, signing an agreement which started when I signed a basis for cooperation in 2006 based on the Treaty of Concordia. Now this LoI will highlight where we will be working with St. Martin North on projects that can fit with the requirements of ETC funding. We have developed an operational program so that we can keep up with accountability to the European Union.

“For many months our technical departments have been looking at draft Operational Programs and have outlines projects, which in our opinion has fit the scope, and we can submit for funding. One of the requirements that we have is that we put the draft operational program available and we have made this public which is now accessible on the Governments website www.sintmaartengov.org. The French Authorities have also made sure to do the same.

We have identified projects concerning a wastewater treatment facility benefitting both sides of the islands; the quality and biodiversity protection; rehabilitation and sustainable development of the Simpson Bay Lagoon; and the risk management of the flooding in the French Quarter, Dutch Quarter, and Belle Plaine Area.

With all of these actions we are having positive developments with regards to structurally getting it right in terms of upgrading the communities through using the funding made available to us by the European Union.  Today we have finally together with the authorities on French St. Maarten, signed the Letter of Intent of Cooperation for the OP-ETC, which is a firm commitment to the program,” commented Prime Minister Wescot-Williams. (From the Cabinet of the Prime Minister)

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Minister Lake meets with South Reward Community Council

SOUTH REWARD - Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake was invited by the South Reward Community Council (SRCC) to a recent informative meeting.

“I was very impressed with the organization and content of the meeting, and it was a pleasure as well to sit with the council and other invitees,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Sunday.

The SRCC would like the Government to look into the possibility of acquiring land next to the Milton Peters College (MPC) to build a community center.

“The youths spoke and came with creative ideas.  They would like to use the basketball court from MPC and for the court to be lighted for evening use.  The youths also questioned what SRCC will be doing for them from the recreational perspective.

“They would like to see a community playground for the South Reward area.  Some residents spoke about trench cleaning, lights, agriculture and cleaning of the neighborhood.

“I listened to the concerns and interests of residents present.  For the past 12-months as part of my back to basics approach, I have been working closely with the community councils.  I commend SRCC for their approach and I look forward to working with them with respect to the issues and matters brought forward by all present,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake concluded.

During the community council meeting, there were presentations made by S. Pauletta from the Fire Department, F. Richards, Community Police Officer, G. Richardson from Meadowlands on garbage collection, and a representative from the Mental Health Foundation with respect to mental health.

President of the SRCC is Mayra Provance. 

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Boat owners advised to review hurricane season preparatory plans

GREAT BAY – Boat owners are being advised by the Office of Disaster Management to review their hurricane preparatory plans so they can be ready to take action in the event of a storm/hurricane threat to the island during the remaining part of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season.

The 2014 hurricane season has already seen two systems form.  With the start of the peak months from mid-August and September up to mid-October, preparation is essential in order not to be caught off guard.

The Office of Disaster Management hereby advises mariners to ask themselves, “How have you prepared yourself for the hurricane season?”

Hurricanes have been the cause of many maritime disasters. 

Systems that are forecast to make landfall within 50-100 nautical miles of a particular port tend to be more destructive than those that approach the port from over land or parallel the coast in the vicinity of the port.  Also, ports located in the right front quadrant, based on direction of movement of hurricanes during landfall tend to have higher winds, seas, and storm surge.

The decision to leave port for hurricane avoidance must be made very clearly.  Consideration to the latest safe departure time and likely avoidance routes must be balanced with a number of other factors.  Most important of these is time versus distance.

The risk of damage to a vessel at sea increases as the motion of the hurricane increases towards the maximum safe speed of the vessel attempting to leave port in advance of that system. 

Considerations to remain in port during hurricane passage must include an evaluation of the amount of protection afforded by the port.  The direction from which the strongest winds are forecast to blow along with the potential for storm surge must be factored in when deciding whether to seek haven pier side or at anchorage.

ODM says, ‘Remember It Only Takes One to Make It a Bad Season.’

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St. Maarten Nature Foundation Snorkel Club 2014 Comes to an End

COLE BAY - The St. Maarten Nature Foundation Snorkel Club came to an end recently with the graduation of some twenty students.

The Nature Foundation, in a continued effort to educate the youth on conservation issues and stress the important role the youth plays in the future of nature conservation on this island, established the Snorkel Club program in 2010 with the aim of educating local youth in snorkelling skills and marine conservation. Children were given a number of lessons with each lesson consisting of both theory and practical elements. “Educating the youth on the environment is one of the most important tasks of the Nature Foundation. It is through educating the children that will eventually inherit this island that we can ensure true development in the sustainable sense while conserving our natural environment,” read a Nature Foundation statement.

The students snorkelled and hiked on Tintamarre where they learnt to identify shells and sea turtles. They were taken on a tour to the various diving sites and learnt how to patrol the lagoon. The students hiked through Genève Bay en route to Back Bay. They also hiked from Guana Bay beach to Gibbs Bay during which they learnt how to identify sea turtle tracks and nests. The students snorkelled at Little Bay and around the Tiki Hut and went on an excursion to the sewage plant. They also received a presentation on how to identify fish and practiced doing so by means of a pop quiz. Snorkel club concluded with an introduction to scuba diving in the swimming pool at IGY Marina.

The St. Maarten Nature Foundation would like to thank Elle Si Belle Agency for generously providing the transportation to and from hiking and swimming activities, Isle de Sol/IGY Marina for the use of their swimming pool, Aqua Mania and Scuba Shop for their generous donation.

“Introducing the youth to the environment and conservation activities is something that we will continue to do. We look forward to next year’s snorkel club.” Tadzio Bervoets, manager of the St. Maarten Nature Foundation.

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Ombudsman Information Session for Political Parties

POND ISLAND - On August 11th 2014 the Ombudsman, Dr. Nilda Arduin and the staff of the Bureau Ombudsman gave a presentation to the representatives of the Political parties in the upcoming Parliamentary election. The theme of the session was “The Role of the Ombudsman in relation to Parliament and the Council of Ministers.” 

From the questions posed it was evident that the participants welcomed the session.  The Ombudsman reiterated the intention was to empower the aspiring Parliamentarians and possible Ministers with the information about the responsibilities of these institutions. In her presentation the Ombudsman compared the organization of the country with that of a limited liability company. Where the citizens in our country are the shareholders, Parliament the supervisory Board and the Council of Ministers CEO’s of the company.

“What should the people/the shareholders expect of their representatives, Parliament? TRUST.   Trust, that Parliament/the Supervisory Board will appoint the right persons to handle the day-to-day affairs of the people. Parliament is the Trustee of the people.The highest vote getters on the list of the parties that capture a seat or seats will be charged with the responsibility of a trustee on behalf of the people.Parliament as a body has the authority to appoint the Ministers, but on the other hand has the task to diligently supervise the work of the appointees as provided in the Constitution.

Ministers can be appointed from the list of political candidates, or outside of the political slate. However, once chosen to serve as a Minister, the Ministerial responsibility kicks in. The responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the country becomes a matter of the Ministers and the Council of Ministers. And here we have to be very aware, and be mature as a young country, as the task of Parliament as the Trustee of the people becomes extremely important.

Whether you support the body of Ministers as a coalition party or not, the Constitution charges Parliament with the supervision of how the country is run. Parliament does not just have the right, but more so has the duty to query the Ministers on all matters related to the affairs of the people as laid down in the Constitution.

Whether the CEO of the company is considered competent to do its job is the task of the Supervisory Board, likewise this is the task of Parliament towards the Ministers. Parliament is accountable to the people”.                      

At the end of the presentation, the representatives of each party was presented with a package consisting of the Constitution, the Booklet entitled “The Constitution made simple”, the National ordinance Ombudsman, the National Ordinance Constitutional Court, the list of Standards of Proper Conduct which is being applied by the Ombudsman in the investigation of complaints, and the documents entitled “Understanding Propriety 2014.”

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Second DP Public Meeting this Friday at the Scot Property in St. Peters

ST. PETERS - The Democratic Party of St. Maarten is inviting the residents of Mary’s Fancy, Saunders, Betty’s Estate, St. Peters, South Reward and Ebenezer to come out to its second public meeting this Friday, August 15th starting at seven pm at the Scot property in St. Peters.

The Board, membership and candidates invite the public to come out to listen to the red thread and hear what the DP plans for its vision bringing St. Maarten forward when elected to Parliament. Candidates will also have the opportunity to interact with the candidates, board members and DP membership and exchange ideas and information.

DP Leader and Prime Minister the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams and the Board and members of the Democratic Party also thanked the public for braving the rainy weather last Friday to attend the first public meeting held in Dutch Quarter; “Despite the rainy weather we had an excellent turn-out with people from all walks of life and every community coming out to hear what our plans are for St. Maarten once we are elected into Parliament,” commented Wescot-Williams.

The DP is urging all to come out and hear the red-thread and its vision for St. Maarten. (Contributed by the DP Party)

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SHTA Organized Networking Mixer for its Members

PHILIPSBURG - The St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA), the largest business representative on the island, recently hosted an informal networking mixer for its members. Ricardo Perez, General Manager of the Oyster Bay Beach Resort and SHTA Board Member welcomed the many members, some prospective members and several guests.

About 85 SHTA members and invitees attended the mixer where they had the opportunity to meet some potential clients and network with each other in an informal setting. They also had the opportunity to meet some of the new members and get better acquainted. Perez gave a short presentation of the goals of The SHTA and the importance of networking, he also invited members to the upcoming Political Mixer at the Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, on August 14th, 2014.

Perez commented on the SHTA’s StMaartenAuction.com which provides visitors and residents with the opportunity to bid on hotel stays, dinners, water sport activities, and much more. Participating companies obtain great marketing exposure on the website and as an SHTA member, share 50% of the highest bid.  The event was a great success and the SHTA even gained several new members through interest and recommendation of existing members.

The SHTA is dedicated to bringing quality to all aspects of life on St. Maarten by promoting sustainable development for its members in cooperation with the social partners and the creation of a fair marketplace. For more information please contact our office at 542-0108 or visit our website at www.shta.com.

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Information Session for Political Parties and the Public Monday Afternoon by the Ombudsman

POND ISLAND – The Ombudsman (OBM) as a contribution to the democratic process has organized an Information Session for Monday, August 11th 2013 for the candidates and board members of all Political Parties in the upcoming election of August 29.

All parties have been invited. As a reminder, the session will be held from 2:00-4:00 p.m. at the University of St Martin under the theme:  “The Constitution and the Role of the Ombudsman.”

The agenda is: Welcome & Introduction; The History of the Institution; Complaint Handling: Ministerial Responsibility and the role of Parliament; Q & A; Break; The Role of the OBM further outlined; Q & A; Presentation documents to Representative of the Political Parties; and Closing Remarks.

All political parties have confirmed their attendance.

A Public Information Session with a similar agenda is planned for Tuesday August 19th 2014 at the University of St Maarten from 7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.  In keeping with the awareness campaign of the Ombudsman, persons of all districts are invited to this session. In light of the upcoming elections the presentation will deal with the Constitution, the role of the Ombudsman in relation to Parliament and the Ministers.

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