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Sint Maarten Signs Kingdom MOU for International Rights of the Child

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Minister of Education, Culture, Youth, and Sport, the Honourable Wycliffe Smith today electronically signed the Memorandum of Understanding for the countries and territories within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, pledging to uphold the International Convention of the Rights of the Child on Sint Maarten.

In so doing, on this anniversary of the signing of the Declaration and Convention of International Children’s Rights celebrated annually on November 20, every child on Sint Maarten has been assured that the Government of Sint Maarten will promote and protect these fundamental moralities.

According to Minister Smith, “Every person in the community has the duty to protect the rights of our children. Let us ensure that every child is loved, fed, kept safe, cared for, educated and allowed to speak and play as children should. Some may be too young to advocate for themselves, and this is why, as a village, we will look out for each child as if he or she was our own.”

This year, the United Nations has chosen to promote a world where every child is in school, safe from harm and can fulfill their potential. With the social media campaign #GoBlue, everyone is encourage to participate in advocating for the rights of the child.

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SXM Achievers’ Toastmasters Youth Leaders Graduate

SINT MAARTEN (SOUTH REWARD) - The SXM Achievers Toastmasters Club hosted a Youth Leadership Program (YLP) Graduation Ceremony on Friday, November 16, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. at the St. Dominic High School.

The program was conducted in collaboration with St. Dominic High/IB Program and coordinated by SXM Achievers Toastmasters’ Club President Sharine Duncan and Vice President of Education Vaninica Walters.

17 students signed up and 15 completed the program which consisted of 8 sessions. “Sessions began at 10:00 a.m. every Saturday morning for 8 weeks. Students were required to prepare speeches, speak impromptu, assume meeting roles and constructively evaluate each other.

My team and I were very impressed with the high caliber of enthusiasm, preparedness and professionalism showcased by the students and we would like to congratulate these YLP students for successfully completing the program while juggling school/ exams, other clubs and activities and personal commitments” stated President Sharine. The 15 YLP graduates are:   

Aadira Das, Chanchal Sharma, Disha Sharma, Chantoni da Cunha, Georgia Nelson, Jenna van der Neut, Lee Ann Wyatt, Mahima Panjwani, Priyanka Soni, Rochelle Richardson, Rolland Levestone, Stefanas Waakzaam, Tavania Mathew, Tania Shahani and Vanesca Saint-Hilaire.

During the ceremony, students were tasked to “inspire their audience” and presented a 2-3 minute speech in front of their families, friends and peers.

The YLP Coordinators would like to thank guest speakers and Toastmasters Donovan Smith, Kareem Rombley, Tamara Groeneveldt, Amanda Vital-Bedminister, Jeanina Dupersoy and Malcolm Jacques and Business Professional Women (BPW) guest speakers Ms. Melba Wescott and Mrs. Danielle Chance-Glasgow. 

We also salute Ms. Jennifer Halley and Mrs. Gianne de Weever of St. Dominic High School for making this program possible.

For more information and if interested in the SXM Achievers Toastmasters Club kindly contact us via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and visit/like our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SXMAchieversToastmastersClub/

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Minister of Justice de Weever: Tuesday is World Children’s Day

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – Children are taking over and turning the world blue.  The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) says this year the world is going blue!

“We’re asking individuals, schools and corporates worldwide to go blue to help build a world where every child is in school, safe from harm and can fulfil their potential, and we know you do too.”

Minister of Justice Cornelius de Weever says November 20 is a very important day for the global community of nations and Sint Maarten in particular where it concerns improving the welfare of children.

According to the United Nations (UN) children have their rights denied every single day; 262 million children and youth are out of school; 650 million girls and women were married before their 18th birthday; 5.4 million children died from mostly preventable causes before their fifth birthday.

“UN Universal Children’s Day was established in 1954 and is celebrated on November 20th each year to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children's welfare.

“November 20th is an important date as it is the date in 1959 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. It is also the date in 1989 when the UN General assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“Since 1990, Universal Children's Day also marks the anniversary of the date that the UN General Assembly adopted both the declaration and the convention on children's rights,” according to the UN.

Minister Cornelius de Weever says: “Every child deserves a future, and as a country we have to give them a healthy start in life.  They must be given the tools and the opportunity to learn, and they must be protected at all times from any harm.

“In this post-Irma era, our country is confronted with challenges on every level, but with the assistance and commitment of friends, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, to help parents, it demonstrates our responsibility to our children, and as they say it takes a village to raise a child.

“It will take the entire Sint Maarten nation to help raise our children by providing them with guidance, teaching them values, to respect the law, and nurturing them to become proud citizens of their country.

“Despite the challenges we face today as a nation, we have a responsibility to the nation’s children who depend on us by creating the best environment possible for them to succeed,” Minister of Justice Cornelius de Weever said on Tuesday in celebration of World Children’s Day.

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Mosquito fogging campaign to commence Monday

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, DCOMM) – The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a government department under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA), said on Sunday that it hopes to commence with its mosquito fogging campaign this week once there isn’t any rainfall.

Ministry VSA Vector Control Unit will start with the fogging activity as of Monday, November 19th from 06.00am to 08.00am or 18.00pm to 20.30pm.

The fogging will start in the areas with highest House Index for mosquito counts: Middle Region, Sucker Garden, and Dutch Quarter on Monday, followed by Defiance, Hope Estate, Guana Bay and Point Blanche on Tuesday.

The schedule for the other districts will be published in the Government Information Page (GIP) on Tuesday, November 20th and will also be available online on the Governments Facebook Page.

Residents of the aforementioned residential areas are requested to the follow these guidelines: Leave all doors and windows open to allow the insecticide to enter the building or house; Prevent pets from coming in contact with the insecticide; Toys for children should be covered, stored away and washed as caution to ensure protection; All water containers and foodstuffs etc. must be well protected from exposure to the fogging.

Due to the recent rain activity, the vector control measure of mosquito fogging was postponed.

CPS in the meantime advises communities to continue to destroy mosquito breeding spots; dress appropriately by wearing light colored clothing at dusk, long sleeve shirts and pants; and defend against being bitten by a mosquito by using repellent.

The Aedes Aegypti mosquito lays her eggs in clear (clean) stagnant water. Within eight days the mosquito can complete its life cycle from egg, to larvae to pupae and to adult mosquito.

Actively and properly dispose of tin cans, old tires, empty paint cans, buckets, old saucers, flowerpots, cemetery urns/vase, old pet dishes, unused plastic swimming pools or other containers that collect and hold water.

Empty and turn over containers that hold water; remove debris from rain gutters and downspouts regularly; drain or fill low places on your property where water collects and stands for more than five to seven days; make sure permanent water containers in your yard are tightly covered and insect-proof; screen off the cistern’s outlets properly with mesh wire.

Cover trash containers/garbage cans to keep rainwater from accumulating; drain old tires by recycling them; keep boats and canoes/kayaks drained, covered or overturned, empty or covered unused swimming pools.

It is very important to check around your yard at home or around your business to make sure there is no clear/clean standing water after a rain event in order to prevent mosquito breeding sites.  All residents are advised to remove all potential mosquito breeding sites in order to reduce the mosquito population.

Keep Sint Maarten mosquito-free and avoid mosquito bites.  For additional information on mosquito breeding site elimination measures, you can reach CPS at 542-1122, 542-1123 or 542-3553. 

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‘Way Maker’ Singer, Sinach, for St. Maarten in February

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Renowned gospel singer, Sinach, is scheduled to be in St. Maarten on February 9, 2019, announced Christian Faith Ministries International (CFMI) on Thursday, November 15, 2018, during the launch of its ‘All White Night of Worship’ concert.

According to CFMI’s Apostle Edwin Arrindell, the main objective of bringing the international singing sensation to the island is to uplift the community of St. Maarten and surrounding islands.

“After the passage of Hurricane Irma, the islands were left in a devastated state. Homes, livelihood, vehicles and the economy [were all] impacted. As a result, I began to seek God’s guidance as to what we can do as a church, understanding the social, economic, emotional, and spiritual low at the time,” the Apostle told the gathering at Holland House.

“I believe God guided us as a church to host a national concert that will help to encourage, uplift, inspire, and strengthen our faith [and] …we were able to find one of the best of our time - an artiste, songwriter, and singer who bears the features we were looking for.”

Scheduled to join Sinach on stage at the Festival Village on February 9, 2019, is St. Maarten’s own award-winning gospel singer, Benjamin Bell and his band, God’s Chosen; as well as Cecil Griffith, Shawn J, Raheem Atkinson, Steven Anderson, Mary-Louse Rattan, The Harmonics Band, CFM Choir, CFM Vessels of Honor, and Total Praise dancers.

Sinach, born Osinachi Kalu in Nigeria, is a multi-award-winning recording artiste, songwriter, performer. As a key member of the Love-World music team of Christ Embassy, she started singing at a very young age and has witnessed, first hand, amazing miracles in the lives of people while ministering in music.

The ‘I know Who I Am’ hit singer has written more than 200 songs, including ‘’Way Maker’ and ‘This is Your Season’, the latter of which won her the award for Song of the Year in 2008.  She was also given the award for Global Excellence at the Sixth African Achievers Awards in July 2016 in Abuja at the International Conference Centre. Her latest album release of praise and worship songs include ‘More of You’, ‘In your Presence’, and ‘Awesome God’.

According to Apostle Arrindell, Sinach believes in writing from her heart and knowing what the spirit of God is saying to the Church. As a gifted vocalist, she has ministered to millions of people all over the world.

The community of St. Maarten is being encouraged to come out dressed in white and receive many blessings at the concert. Tickets are available at the following locations: Van Dorp in Madame Estate, Family Bookstore, Lydia’s Flower Shop, Digital Gumbs, SOS Radio, Radio Maranatha, and Christian Faith Ministries International. Prices for adults is $35 and $45 at the gate, V.I.P. $75, while children under 12 will pay only $10.

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Minister of Justice De Weever pleased with border control cooperation between Dutch & French

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – Minister of Justice Cornelius de Weever said he is pleased with the border control cooperation with the two sides of the island, Sint Maarten and Saint Martin by the relevant authorities, adding that the cooperation framework between the entities demonstrates the commitment to control and protect the islands borders.

Back in June 2018, Quadri-partition meeting that included France, the Netherlands, Sint Maarten and the Collectivity of Saint Martin, led to the signing of a Joint Declaration of Cooperation, which aims to strengthen cooperation in various areas but also between border control law enforcement agencies on both sides of the island.

Since the passing of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, there is a need to monitor migration flows from both sides of the island.

French Border Police (PAF) work along with Sint Maarten’s Immigration and Border Protection, the ALPHA Team at the Princess Juliana International Airport (Dutch side), and the L’Esperance Airport (French side), and the various agencies also maintain daily contact with each other.    

“The cooperation agreement aims to leverage synergies between the border control agencies. It is a trusted partnership that benefits both sides of the island in this day and age.

“The collaboration ensures that resources are used in an efficient manner. The cooperation brings added value in expertise and support that benefits our island’s border security.

“Our island is in the rebuilding phase after the devastating and traumatic experiences and damage to critical infrastructure caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017.

“The execution of the declaration ensures during this critical phase in rebuilding, that together we are stronger in tackling challenges based on a common and coordinated approach with the overall goal of protecting our citizen’s security,” Minister of Justice Cornelius de Weever said on Sunday.

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InselAir in Full Operations Recovery Mode

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO – “In our continued commitment to our customers and the traveling public, InselAir is striving to return to normal operations throughout the weekend,” InselAir announced on Friday evening.

“Since Wednesday, November 14th, our aircraft entered unplanned maintenance and all InselAir operations were suspended. While we sincerely understand the inconvenience and frustration this action has caused our customers, we hope that you can understand that the decision to take this drastic action was only done with passenger safety in mind.

“During the past two days, we have been able to accommodate over 90% of all of our passengers that were affected; however, severe weather in St. Maarten has prevented the resumption of InselAir operations on Friday night.

“Current weather forecasts will allow InselAir to resume operations on Saturday morning and all of our current planning is still to resolve each of our passenger’s travel interruptions by Sunday.

“Passengers can check the status of their flights on our website or on the InselAir app. As part of our commitment to improve our customer’s experience though technology, the InselAir mobile app will soon undergo an update to allow passengers, their friends, and family, to subscribe to flight updates and get real-time information on flight departure and arrival status directly from our operations center.

“This functionality is currently in final testing and will be rolled out for all flights within the coming days. We hope that adding the ability to directly and proactively inform all of our customers through their smartphone will help relieve stress and anxiety from your travel experiences.

“As we work on resolving the remaining issues for each and every one of our valued customers, we continue to be thankful for your understanding, patience, and support. For the most up-to-date information regarding flight status and operations, please visit our website at fly-inselair.com, follow us on Facebook, and download the InselAir app from the Google Play or Apple store.”

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Richard Hazel wins SHTA VISIT Magazine Cover Photo Contest

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Sint Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association announced the winner of its Photo Contest for the cover of in-room magazine VISIT; congratulations go to Richard Hazel with his beautiful photograph that captures the iconic airplane approaching PJIA over Maho Beach. The SHTA thanks all candidates who took the effort to send in their amazing photos.

The Destination Marketing Committee of SHTA selected Hazel’s picture out of 16 sent in for its photo contest, which ran from September 13th to September 30th. SHTA congratulates Hazel with his dynamic, artistic and atmospheric picture of one of Sint Maarten’s most well-known landmarks.

His picture will be the cover of VISIT magazine 2019. With 25.000 printed editions, VISIT is the largest and most well-read magazine of Sint Maarten. The Visit magazine is the official in room magazine of SHTA and exclusively distributed in the SHTA association member hotel rooms. It is used by the association as a business card for visiting tour operators and travel writers as well as our esteemed visitor.

To qualify, the photos needed to show the island’s attractiveness after Irma. Contestants sent in scenic beach photographs, footage of the new Rainforest Adventure Park and many more splendid locations capturing the island’s resilience. By means of the competition, the SHTA wanted to offer a platform for artistic talent among our residents and visitors.

The Sint Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association is dedicated to bringing quality to all aspects of life on St. Maarten by promoting sustainable economic 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 5420108 or visit our website at www.shta.com

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Minister Giterson returns from attending Geospatial Forum in Mexico

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (VROMI) Miklos Giterson recently attended, along with Secretary General Louis Brown, the Latin America Geospatial Forum held in Mexico City, Mexico.

The forum, which saw representatives from over forty countries, gathered under the theme: Geospatial Information: Making a Difference for Millions.   This forum is the largest regional conference on geospatial information and technologies and it provided a platform to meet and network with regional leaders and experts from the geospatial domain.

Minister Giterson explains, “The forum provided great insight into many different areas in which geospatial information technology is being used to acquire, manipulate, and store geographic information.

“There were a number of interesting sessions at the forum; two focusses that were of particular interest to me were the symposiums on Climate Change & Natural Disasters and Construction & Engineering. These sessions were very timely given Sint Maarten’s, and all small island developing state’s, vulnerability to climate change and the resulting increase of natural disasters that we are now faced with.”

During the symposium on Climate Change and Natural Disasters it was discussed and demonstrated how geospatial information can be used to develop national strategic plans that can help in measuring the environmental, social and economic impact of natural disasters.

Also discussed at that symposium was the use of geostatistical networks for monitoring biodiversity and climate change and geostatistical solutions for the study of territorial and environmental dynamics.

The Constructing and Engineering session focused on moving countries towards more resilient planning and a better design of infrastructure. It also touched on ways to operate and maintain infrastructure efficiently and effectively as well as post-disaster infrastructure reconstruction and recovery.

Minister Giterson believes that attendance at this forum was of particular importance since it tied perfectly to the National Spatial Data Infrastructure consultation session the VROMI Ministry held in August with a number of community stakeholders.

One of the main goals of that consultation session was to discuss the importance of sharing each organization’s GIS layer in order to create maps with more accurate and detailed information.

In its completed state the National Geographic Information System of St. Maarten will feature information on all established zoning plans, protected monuments, issued permits, and countless other geospatial data features that may be useful for planning, policy development, enterprise asset management and other purposes.

This system will be particularly beneficial to institutions that require accurate and current digital geographic information about St. Maarten to increase their service efficiency and effectiveness.

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November 14 Marks World Diabetes Day. The Family and Diabetes

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, DCOMM) – November 14 is World Diabetes Day (WDD).  Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, as part of its annual calendar of observances would like to share some information with the community.

The 2018 theme for WDD is: “The Family and Diabetes.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), diabetes can be prevented and controlled. 

Approximately 62 million people are living with type 2 diabetes in the Americas and need support from their families.  “Many people with type 2 diabetes do not even know they have it. 

“Support your family to understand the risk factors and signs/symptoms, and to seek prompt medical care if diabetes is suspected.

“Diabetes can be prevented through public health policies and lifestyle changes that support healthy eating, physical activity and healthy weights, and it can be controlled to prevent complications. If diabetes affects you or your family, make sure to follow a healthy lifestyle and adhere to treatment,” the WHO/PAHO reports.

Led by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), World Diabetes Day was created in 1991 by IDF and the WHO in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat posed by diabetes.

WDD became an official United Nations Day in 2006 with the passage of United Nations Resolution 61/225.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.

Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Hyperglycaemia, or raised blood sugar, is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and over time leads to serious damage to many of the body's systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels.

According to IDF, there are currently over 199 million women living with diabetes and this total is projected to increase to 313 million by 2040.

For more information about diabetes, consult your general practitioner or contact the Diabetes Foundation of St. Maarten.

Diabetes controlled poster

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