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Soualiga Newsday Top Stories (2394)

Solar fades affecting signals to TelEm Group Cable TV customers

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – TelEm Group is advising Cable TV subscribers not to adjust their TV sets if they should happen to experience some brief intervals of interruption of service during the course of the day – The reason could be seasonal “Solar Fades” that occur this time each year.

Usually around the March and September, the Sun produces microwave radiation that affects communication satellites that pass in front of it, causing the signals from these satellites (that Cable TV dishes are pointed at) to become distorted.

More specifically, solar fades happen for approximately two weeks and twice a year. During this time some Cable TV Channels (depending on which satellite they originate from) will go in the dark for 15 to 20 minutes. This can happen anytime between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm.   

TelEm Group Cable TV subscribers are reminded of this natural phenomena and at the same time are informed that a service call to rectify this problem is not necessary as the situation will gradually improve as the Solar fades subside and eventually disappear altogether until the next period of activity.

FPG solar fade iMG 5323



SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN - KICK-'EM-JENNY UPDATE - During the period 12th March, 2018 to 15th March, 2018 (3:40PM local time), there has been a significant slowing of Kick-'em-Jenny (KeJ) earthquakes.

Activity at the volcano has seen such lulls before, without it signaling the end of this KeJ unrest episode. As a result, the alert level at Kick-em-Jenny remains at ORANGE. The UWI (University of the West Indies) Seismic Research Centre is continuing to monitor the situation.

Alert level ORANGE means that an eruption may begin with less than 24 hours’ notice. The volcano is dangerous to ships and boats and there is a 5km exclusion zone around the volcano for mariners.

Due to the current depth and pattern of activity it is UNLIKELY that an eruption of Kick-em-Jenny will cause a tsunami at this time.

The UWI Seismic Research Centre is the official and leading authority on geologic hazards in the English-speaking Eastern Caribbean.

Where is Kick ‘em Jenny located?

Kick 'em Jenny (KeJ) is a submarine volcano located 8km north of Grenada. The volcano is about 1300m high, and its summit is currently estimated to be about ~200m below the surface of the sea.

Has there ever been significant seismicity at KeJ without there being an eruption?

The first time pre-eruption earthquake activity was recorded in the vicinity of KeJ was in 2001, with other episodes in 2015 and 2017. All were followed by KeJ eruptions and/or large slides at the volcano.

If the volcano erupts will it cause a tsunami?

This is unlikely given the present location of the volcano and its pattern of activity. Tsunamis from submarine volcanoes can either be caused by explosions or collapse. The current depth to the KeJ vent (~200m) inhibits its explosive potential and hence its ability to generate a tsunami. It would have to build up a summit closer to the submarine surface for it to attain the ability to generate threatening tsunamis from explosions. Recent modelling undertaken of collapses from KeJ has provided no convincing evidence that it can produce life-threatening tsunamis at the shoreline since the volume of material involved is relatively small. While it is possible that very large explosions or large landslides at KeJ could generate tsunamis, the threat from tsunamis is very low.


TelCell launch 3rd annual Carnival SMS&WIN Campaign

POND ISLAND – TelEm Group mobile voice and data provider, TelCell, has launched its latest SMS promotion just in time for the start of Carnival preparations – with a host of mouth-watering prizes for the entire family.

Last year’s winners were taking home giant TV screens, computers and vacation stays at popular resorts. This year, TelCell has gone overboard “literally” by offering a top prize of a Caribbean Cruise for two with $1,000 onboard credit for the lucky winner.

Other prizes include, top rated Ashley furniture to the value of $5,000, various high-end electronic devices from Klass Electronics, a $1,500 package from Kooyman for those still rebuilding from Hurricane Irma, and lots of other smaller prizes.

“We are once again very thankful to our promotion partners for coming up with some fabulous prizes to make this another special SMS promotion for TelCell subscribers,” said TelCell Manager, Marketing & Sales, Mrs. Grisha Heyliger-Marten.

She said new store Carrefour Market has joined this year’s line-up of partners by offering a $1,000 voucher to a lucky winner in the promotion.

Also included amongst the partners are: The Simpson Bay resort and La Patrona.

According to Grisha the promotion is popular with subscribers because it is so easy.

“All they have to do is text CARNIVAL to 7777 and the more they text the more chance they have to be selected as one of the 10 prize-winners with the most texts sent,” continued Grisha.

She wishes everyone the best of luck noting that the promotion will run until May 2nd, 2018 when the names of the winners will be announced during the burning of King MoMo to signal the end of another year of Carnival.


Minister Gitterson says GEBE customers reconnected to the grid

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – All districts with the exception of those homes and or businesses being reconstructed have been reconnected to the electrical grid of public utility company NV GEBE, Minister of VROMI Miklos Gitterson announced on Wednesday.

Regarding underground cabling, today there are 200 projects which will be executed over a two to three-year period.

In an update on the repairs to NV GEBEs water supply tanks, seven out of 15 tanks were damaged by the September hurricane. Materials to facilitate the repair of tanks arrived in the country last December.

Efforts have been underway to repair the water tanks and the first of two tanks on Cay Hill have been repaired and will be put back into operation this week. Both tanks hold a combined 7.500 cubic meters of water.


Irma: We overcame the challenges of our daily lives and can still smile

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - On Friday 9 March 2018, the Cani T.V Association, in collaboration with Dow Musical Foundation, hosted the Premier of a local movie titled “Irma,” and would like to thank all those who came out in large numbers and witnessed the presentation of certificates, handed over by, the Secretary of the Board of the Association Cani T.V. Annia Lloyd to the Cast Members & the Cani Production Team.

The visitors enjoyed the movie and also a short “skit” in the character of “Ma Butta Cup” by the Lead Actor in the film.

Al Jahmal Burnette was born on French Saint Martin and also lived many years in Dominica. He has a very large following on Social Media and is presently studying Marketing /Computer Science in the USA.

The Director of this Short Film Mr. Joel Ayuk, was inspired through events that took place such as (preparedness, aftermath, rebuilding) before and after the passing of Hurricane “Irma”.

Many untold stories that have never been brought to light. The objective is to shine light on the Drama & Bitter Memories that this hurricane left behind. The idea was born and was brought forth in the form of a comedy to uplift the people of Sint Maarten /Saint Martin.

Cani T.V. has a Vision! We recognize the importance of a Film Industry on this Island to mold future generations.

A heartfelt thank you goes out to all sponsors: Dow Musical Foundation & Steel Orchestra + Booth Holders, Association Cani T.V. Concordia, Van Dorp Bookstores, Telem Group of Companies, Adolphus Richardson NV., Office Supplies and Technology, Inner Harmony Wellness Center / Dr. Peter Amato, Roxy’s Corner at Butterfish Restaurant Simpson Bay,The Cookie Family, Kurt Master, Natson Paul, Rodrigue Gelabale,Youth Radio, PJD2,Radio Saint Martin, Jingle Jam Entertainment.


Chamber of Commerce & Industry: Destination St. Maarten does it right

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - During the period March 4th to 9th, 2018, Board member of the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) Friday and Executive Director Anastacio Baker of COCI, attended the Seatrade Cruise Global in Fort Lauderdale (Conference), according to a press release from COCI on Wednesday.

“It concerned the cruise industry’s most expanded event, bringing together cruise stakeholders from around the world. This year there were approximately 11,000 participants, which included cruise line executives, cruise destinations representatives, suppliers, travelers and journalists from around the world.

“St. Maarten once more attended with a very strong delegation, which consisted of Port of St. Maarten, SXM Airport, COCI, TEATT ministry, St. Maarten Tourist bureau, Toppers Rum and The St. Martin tourist office. The joined rebranding efforts to the cruise community, was focused on the theme communicating that St. Maarten is open for business and inviting all to come rediscover the “Friendly Island.”

“According to Valentina Pietropaolo of MSC, the strong rebranding efforts and the strong delegation at this conference by St. Maarten sent a clear message that St. Maarten is open for business and is serious about its brand. St. Maarten was branded and mentioned in most cruise magazines, as well as in the leading cruise magazine Porthole Cruise, whose representatives were also present at the Conference.

“At the Conference, Porthole Cruise magazine representatives distributed over 10,000 copies of this edition which futured St. Maarten. The entire back cover of the magazine was branded “Come and rediscover St. Maarten, the Friendly Island. We are open for business and building back better.” This feature was sponsored by the Port St. Maarten, St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and St. Maarten Tourist office. Another much talked about rebranding concept was that St. Maarten was branded on all the key cards at the Hilton hotel, which was one of the major hotels that hosted most of the participants.

“Mico Cascais mentioned in an article in the Travel & Cruise magazine first quarter 2018 that “St. Maarten’s return to prominence and lessons for other Cruise destinations” to follow. “St. Maarten was always a go- to reference when often asked, what destination does it right?”  “The sense of unity and collaboration was palpable and visible, with tour operators laying down bricks on Front Street and dozens of stakeholders organizing clean ups. These were many working as one, which continues today.”

“Cascais concluded by mentioning in this article that he is truly excited for the people of St. Maarten and the Port of St. Maarten; “they have the right momentum needed to capitalize on the industry growth. The activation of citizens as destination ambassadors, along with their stories and the new and improved experiences will continue to keep St. Maarten as a leading destination of choice in the Caribbean. He urges other destinations to consider this story and the stories they can tell when considering how to build momentum of their own.”

“During the workshop sessions at the Conference, it was mentioned that bookings for cruises in the Caribbean had fallen sharply after the passing of the hurricanes. However, by end October/early November 2017, bookings had returned to the same level where they had been before the devastating hurricanes.

“Another point worth mentioning is that family travel is a 500 billion dollar industry and bookings amongst families has increased by 26%. This is a trend that we as destination St. Maarten must adjust to, to fulfill the needs of the family travelers. Mr. Gordon Ho of Princess cruises mentioned during a panel discussion that they are modifying the cabin room design in order to accommodate families at a reasonable price.

“It is common for families to travel with a party of four which occupies a standard room, however, when the family consists of a mother and father and 3 or 4 children, that gets a bit complicated. Meaning they would need 2 rooms and a parent would be in one room while the other parent is in the other. Bonnie Levengood of MSC cruises mentioned that they too have been adjusting the trend of family vacations and because MSC cruise line is a family owned business, the children of the owners decided what activities go on the ships such as a go cart race tracks, zip lining and wild swimming pool shoot slides.

“St. Maarten is on the right track in terms of bouncing back after a natural disaster. The collaboration efforts between COCI and all stakeholders on our quest to let the world know we are open for business was heard and seen last October at the FCCA conference in Mexico and last week at the Conference in Fort Lauderdale. It is very important that each business owner continuously train and educate their staff on the importance of providing the best service to each customer that enters their establishment or make use of their services.

“We cannot become complacent as there are other destinations that are working tirelessly to gain the edge on St. Maarten. The fact that more families are travelling together, we as a country, should position ourselves to maximize on this noticeable trend by exploring investment possibilities in family fun activities.  

“As COCI, we will continue to do our part by contribution towards the economic development of St. Maarten, however it is up to all of us to ensure that once travelers return to our shores, that their experience with us is second to none and that they would return yearly,” the COCI press release concludes.

Sea Trade Group Photo coci


Sint Maarten to participate in CARIBE WAVE 18 tsunami wave exercise

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY), (DCOMM) – The Emergency Operations Center (EOC)/Office of Disaster Management (ODM), will be participating in the March 15 CARIBE WAVE 18 tsunami wave regional exercise.

The purpose of the exercise is to evaluate local tsunami response plans. The table top exercise will take place on Thursday morning at the Fire & Ambulance Department Conference room.

The exercise provides an opportunity for the corresponding emergency management organizations to exercise their operational lines of communications, review their tsunami response procedures, and promote tsunami preparedness.

The Intergovernmental Coordination Group (ICG) for the Tsunami and other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions at its eighth session (ICG/CARIBE EWS-VIII, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, 29 April–1 May 2013), decided to conduct tsunami exercises named CARIBE WAVE on an annual basis leaving each Member State to define its level of participation.

Three hypothetical scenarios have been developed for the Caribbean region.

The initial dummy messages for the three scenarios will be issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC), which acts as the CARIBE-EWS Tsunami Service Provider.

The ICG/CARIBE-EWS of UNESCO/IOC, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Caribbean Regional Stakeholders (CEPREDENAC, CDEMA, and EMIZA) are providing the framework for this exercise as a means for emergency responders throughout the Caribbean and adjacent regions to test and update tsunami response plans.


Victims of looting can reclaim goods by validating ownership on April 6

PHILIPSBURG - The Public Prosecutors Office Sint Maarten (OM) and the Sint Maarten Police Force (KPSM) are calling on owners of items stolen during and in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma to visit the police station in Philipsburg on Friday, April 6th, 2018 between 9:00am and 4:00pm, with proof of ownership in order to reclaim their goods, the OM said in a joint OM/KPSM statement on Tuesday.

“Victims of the wide scale looting that occurred, can visit the police station to view the various items and provide proof of ownership for the items identified. Items not claimed will either be donated, auctioned or disposed of.

“A collective decision has been made in accordance with the law to execute the following actions. Food and beverages which are expired will be disposed of. Beverages not expired but not claimed will be auctioned. Cigarettes, cigars, etc., which are expired will be disposed of. Unexpired food will be given to those persons or organizations in need.

“Electronics will either be donated to schools, youth/community centers, auxiliary homes, non-profit organizations or auctioned based on the value. Other goods such as furniture, scooters, motorbikes, etc. not claimed, will be auctioned.”


TelEm Group reports equipment failure Monday, services now restored

POND ISLAND - TelEm Group telecommunication services to residential and business customers was interrupted Monday afternoon following an unexpected failure of network equipment.

At approximately 3.00 pm Monday afternoon, fixed voice and data services and some mobile services were affected by the equipment malfunction.

Technicians and engineers quickly identified the problem and were able to restore all services two hours later.

The company is continuing to monitor the situation and has meantime apologized to customers and the general public for inconvenience caused.



SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – “After one week of discussions with party leaders, MPs (Ed Members of Parliament)-elect, social partners and others, informateurs Jan Beaujon and Dr. Arduin will be submitting their findings to His Excellency, Governor Eugene Holiday,” Leader of the Sint Maarten Christian Party (SMCP) Wycliffe Smith said on Sunday in a statement.

“The first question on everybody’s mind is “which parties are going to form a coalition?” Since the people of Sint Maarten are so accustomed to government-coalitions being formed almost immediately after the election results are made known, this week became a week of speculation, anxiety and having things done differently. In my opinion this has also been a good week for political parties because they got the opportunity to give much thought to ‘whom they could work’ with as well as to the future plans, projects and programs they need to implement in order to move Sint Maarten forward during its recovery and reconstruction phase,” Smith pointed out.

Smith added making reference to last week’s statement, “…I mentioned that the formation of government, after an election, consists of two very distinct yet very interrelated phases. Phase one is the formation of a parliamentary coalition in order to obtain a majority of seats in the parliament or the legislative branch of government. This phase is finalized with a government accord or agreement. Phase two is the formation of the executive branch of government. This phase is finalized with a governing program and the appointment of ministers.

“After the informateurs submit their advice to the Governor, he will then need to meet with the parties that gained seats, to brief them on the findings in the report. The report would answer the fundamental question as to which political parties would be able to form “a new government that is supported by the broadest possible majority in Parliament”. Furthermore, it is expected that the informateurs will be able to indicate how parties intend to tackle the other questions listed in the assignment letter issued by the Governor, such as: the reconstruction of Sint Maarten, the relationship with the Kingdom, the next hurricane season, the landfill and waste management as well as how to involve the social partners in the rebuilding of Sint Maarten.

“Mind you, the report of the informateurs is only an advice. The decision to form a majority-coalition rests solely on the shoulders of the political parties and their leaders. Fortunately, this time around such a decision would not only be based on numbers but also on the research and findings of the informateurs. Subsequently, parties will enter the negotiation stage, taking into consideration their combined seats, their views on moving Sint Maarten forward as well as the ministries to be assigned to the respective coalition partners.

“Once parties have been able to form a majority-coalition they will sign a governing accord and then inform the Governor accordingly. The Governor will accept this governing accord and consult further with the party leaders concerning the appointment of a formateur, which will be agreed upon by the party leaders. Once the formateur has been appointed, he/she then guides the second phase of the formation of the Government which includes the preparation of the governing program and the selection of ministers to execute said program on behalf of the coalition.

“Unlike the parties’ manifesto, which only lists the broad intentions of the party, the governing program must be specific, detailed and prioritized. It gives the what, why, who, when, how and the how much it will cost. SMCP indicated in its Manifesto that in order to ensure a good synchronization between the coalition partners and the Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister should be chosen from the coalition. The ministers, on the other hand, should be capable, qualified and experienced for the ministry they intend to lead.

“Thus far, the informateur process has gone very well. And I hereby publicly commend the winning parties for adhering to the process. This in my opinion is a clear sign of maturity among the parties. It is my hope that the second phase of the government formation, under the guidance of the formateur, will go equally well.

“In part one I wrote that, SMCP is hopeful for a national parliamentary coalition. However, if this is not possible then the broadest possible based coalition that offers a strong chance of Sint Maarten having a durable parliament and a stable government is what parties should aim for. The people have spoken via the ballot and now it is up to the political parties, their leaders and the MPs-elect to present the country a cohesive parliament and a stable government for the next four years. This is what Sint Maarten needs more than ever if she is going to be a leader in this region,” Wycliffe Smith, Leader of the Sint Maarten Christian Party said on Sunday.

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