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New Civil Servants for MECYS Sworn In

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - On Friday, March 1, 2019, fourteen newly appointed civil servants in the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport were sworn into office last Friday. 

The Acting Secretary General Mrs. Shermina Powell-Richardson directed the proceedings of taking the office. Minister Wycliffe Smith charged the employees to embrace the honour and humility of being a “true civil servant”. 

As a servant of the people himself with a lifelong career as a servant of the people, Minister Smith encouraged the new civil servants to devote themselves to helping their fellow citizens in their varied capacities. 

After reciting their promise to serve, the civil servants were pinned with the Sint Maarten Coat of Arms by the Minister.

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Justice Minister De Weever commends NV GEBE for prioritizing community street light repair

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – NV GEBE recently announced that ‘substantial emphasis’ has been placed on the repair of community street lights since Hurricane Irma in September 2017.

Minister of Justice Cornelius de Weever commends NV GEBE Supervisory Board, Management and Staff in connection with prioritizing the repair of street lights whereby the latter provides a number of important benefits for the Sint Maarten community.

NV GEBEs primary focus has been the main roads followed by secondary roads and has already repaired 2400 street lights over the past 17-months.  Another 1800 are left to be repaired within the next 16-months.

NV GEBE has also formed a partnership with the Police Force of Sint Maarten and Ministry VROMI regarding the placement of LED street lights equipped with cameras.

“Street lights promote security in our communities and neighborhoods thereby contributing to the quality of life and wellbeing.  Street lights from a safety perspective improves safety for pedestrians, drivers and those riding their bikes.

“NV GEBE along with our Police Force are in the process of creating ‘Smart Street Lights’ that are LED street lights equipped with cameras.

“This is all part of the global trend of the Internet of Things connected tech. Street light cameras will further increase security and lead to the apprehension of those caught in the act of breaking the law.

“We are in the process of making use of emerging technologies where public safety and security are concerned,” Minister of Justice Cornelius de Weever said on Sunday.

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Citizens of Change Project Celebrates St. Martiners Who Made a Difference

ST. MARTIN (GRAND CASE) - Citizens of Changeis a new project to celebrate St. Martiners who have made a difference on the island. The public is invited to nominate people they would like to recognize. The stories of their work will be featured in an exhibit at Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House, and also online. The Les Fruits de Mer association and Be the Change Foundation are partners in this project.

“Amuseum Naturalis is a place to share all the stories of St. Martin,” explained Les Fruits de Mer President Jenn Yerkes. “Citizens of Changeis an opportunity to share the stories of everyday people who made a difference. It's also a chance for the community to tell us what they want to see in the Amuseum.”

People are encouraged to nominate anyone, living or dead, who made a difference on St. Martin. Nominations for teachers, writers, artists, builders, farmers, craftsmen, cooks, parents and storytellers are encouraged. By “citizen” we refer to ordinary members of the community, rather than political leaders. Nominees may be of any nationality.

Nominations can be made by email toThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., on the Les Fruits de Mer Facebook page, or in person at Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House. Nominations should include the name of the person nominated and a description of their contribution to the island. 

“The success and survival of St. Martin has always depended on ordinary people making a difference,” said Be the Change Foundation Director Melanie Choisy. “Our organization is dedicated to the kind of giving, sharing and volunteering that is part of St. Martin culture. We're excited to support a project that celebrates this spirit and the people who embody it.”

TheCitizens of Changeproject is the Be the Change featured project for March. Donations made to the foundation this month will fund the creation of this exhibit. Donations can be made online athttps://bethechangesxm.com

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Rotary Sunset Makes Donation to Ujima Foundation

SINT MAARTEN (ST. JOHN’S ESTATE) - On February 28, 2019, members of the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset gathered at the Ujima Foundation to give a presentation of educational supplies and recreational items. 

The month of February is recognized as Peace and Conflict Resolution month by Rotary clubs around the globe. Rotary Sunset reached out to Ujima Foundation in efforts to assist the foundation with its Day Treatment Program for “at risk boys”. 

The Ujima Foundation was founded in January 2005 with the aim of providing a healthy, safe and stable living environment for youth with emotional and behavioral difficulties. They offer a residential therapeutic program and an after-school day treatment program, which caters to “at risk” boys between the ages of 8-14. The program specifically targets young boys struggling with depression, conduct disorders, sexual and emotional abuse as well as drug and alcohol addiction.

Ujima Foundation’s residential therapeutic program and the day treatment program both strive to create a sense of purpose, self-worth and belonging in the lives of these “at risk” youth, with the aim of decreasing delinquent behavior and grooming them into mentally and emotionally stable young men.

Through the kind contributions from Office World, who sponsored a HP laptop and Tri Sport, who gave a generous 50% discount on a new Trek bicycle, as well as contributions of educational supplies from the club’s members, Rotary Sunset was able to provide the much-needed items to Ujima Foundation.

Rotary Sunset would like to extend its heartfelt gratitude to Office World and Tri Sport for their generous contributions.

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Police searching for two 13-year old girls missing since Wednesday

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Thursday February 28ththe mothers of two 13 years old girls filed reports at the Juvenile and Morals Department regarding their daughters who are good friends with each other and who have left their homes since Wednesday February 27tharound 06.00 p.m. and have not returned home or heard from since. The reason why these two girls left their home is still not clear.

Kayla Watsonis 13 years old, skinny (slim posture), brown complexion, low cut hair (afro style) and resides with her mother in Cape Bay. Her mother is Carol Watsonand can be reached at Tel: 526-1059

Rhiana Pitteris 13 years old, slim posture brown complexion and resides with her mother in Sint Peters. Her mother is Sophia Roweand can be reached at Tel: 556-6562

There is information that the two teenagers may possibly be hanging out on the French side of the island. Anyone who has any information regarding these two teens should immediately get in contact with the parents or call the Juvenile and Morals Department at 54-22222 ext. 501 or call 911. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

Rhiana Pitter

Missing Rhinna Pitter

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Comparative study of the labour force on the Dutch Caribbean islands

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Today, Thursday, the National Statistical Offices (NSOs) of Aruba, Curacao, the Netherlands and St Maarten, united in the Dutch Caribbean Statistical System (DCSS), for a first joint publication-- a comparative review of the labour force on the Dutch Caribbean islands. 

In the report, the labour market situation on Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, St Eustatius and St Maarten, in the age group 15 to 74 years, is presented. The results cover labour participation according to sex, age and level of education on the six islands, as well as unemployment and a special focus on young people ‘Neither in Employment, nor in Education or Training’ (NEETs). 

A majority of the population aged 15 to 74 years on the Dutch Caribbean Islands are in paid work. The labour participation rate is highest on Bonaire (70 percent), followed by St. Maarten and St. Eustatius (both 66 percent) and lowest on Curaçao (53 percent). The group 25 to 54-year-olds has the highest share of working people. Labour participation is much lower among young people and people aged 55 and over: the young are still in education while older people are often retired. Over 80 percent of working people work 35 hours or more per week. Most of them are employees with a permanent contract, but the share of temporary employees is also relatively high, except on Aruba. Tourism-related economic activities such as accommodation and food serving and trade, and to a lesser extent construction, play an important role on the islands. Another important source of employment on all islands of the Dutch Caribbean is public administration. 

In order to supply context for the published figures, they are compared with the average of all OECD (Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development) countries in many instances or, where this is not available, with the relevant figures for the (European) Netherlands, the United States and the European Union. 

The report is available at www.stat.gov.sx and from the websites of the other three statistical offices. 

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TEATT Inspectorate steps up controls

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Five fuel stations on St. Maarten were controlled to ensure proper calibration of fuel pumps by the Inspectorate of the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic & Telecommunication TEATT as part of a routine control last week. 

Additional inspections were conducted to ensure that the price per litre is displayed in Netherlands Antillean Florins (Naf), which is the official local currency. 

As part of the control, the Inspectors are affixing special marks on equipment to help consumers recognise whether the establishment they patronise has appropriately calibrated equipment. 

These controls are in keeping with Article 19 of the National Calibration Ordinance. "The Inspectorate will be visiting commercial establishments throughout this year to verify that the weights, weighing and measuring instruments and dispensing equipment used in their businesses to conduct trade are properly calibrated." According to the Inspectorate of TEATT thus far 5 fuel stations have been visited namely; 2 stations on Bush Road, 1 station on Sucker Garden Road, 1 station on J. Yrausquin Boulevard and 1 on A. Th. Illidge Road. 

Minister of TEATT, the Honourable Stuart Johnson, is again calling on businesses to ensure proper calibration of their machines and also to cooperate with his inspectors. "It must be clear that the Inspectors do not have a "gotcha" agenda and our goal is the protection of all consumers as well as businesses as often the calibration being offset can mean that the business is selling more for less. We want to ensure that a fair price is paid for the right amount of goods." 

The national ordinance on calibration mandates that sizes, weights, measuring instrument, e.g. fuel dispensers and weighing instruments located in places intended for or used for the conducting of trade must be calibrated or recalibrated. The frequency of the calibration or recalibration depends on factors like usage and environmental factors. Additionally, sizes, weights, measuring or weighing instruments once calibrated or recalibrated, are issued an "approval mark" that has a limited validity period. Once successfully calibrated, a green inspection approval mark is applied. If disapproved, a red disapproval mark is affixed which is an equilateral triangle with perpendicular hatches on the inside. The need for recalibration is denoted by a yellow streak.  

The Ministry of TEATT is encouraging the public to "always pay keen attention when either buying or selling commodities based on weight and size that the weight, size, weighing or measuring instrument has an approval mark affixed to it with a valid calibration period."

The sticker will indicate the next calibration due date. After this date has passed recalibration is required by law before the weight, size, weighing or measuring instrument can be used for trade again. Once calibrated a green inspection mark is applied to the equipment. If the equipment fails the calibration inspection, a red equilateral triangle mark is affixed with perpendicular hatches on the inside. When the equipment needs to be calibrated this is identifiable by a yellow mark. 

Consumers are encouraged to avoid making purchases when the equipment being used to weigh or dispense goods does not have the approved calibration marking and report this to the business owner. Consumers can also report the business to the Inspectorate of TEATT at 542-4511 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If possible, include a photo of the disapproved object in use or record the date and time, you made your observations in your report. 

The public should take keen note, especially businesses that tampering, removing or falsifying of calibration marks, using, misrepresenting or attempting to misrepresent a disapproved object as an approved object carries a punishment of up to 3 years imprisonment and is categorised as a crime.

Calibration Photo for Gas Station 2 ins1

Picture of approval, recalibration and disapproval marks used by the department.

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Over 200 partake in Oasis 96.3 Valentine’s Contest

SINT MAARTEN (MADAME ESTATE) - February 14th was a Happy day for three winners that entered the Valentine’s Contest on Oasis 96.3, Elektra said on Friday. 

“Love is in the Air “n Groovin with Elektra.

“Over 200 entrees for the Valentines contest registered online for the annual contest through their website www.Oasis963.fm

“First Prize was won by Loraine Brooks. She will travel to Bonaire on Winair and enjoy a romantic weekend stay for two at Bamboo Bali Bonaire. Bamboo Bali Bonaire is an intimate family operated boutique hotel onBonairein a tropical, romantic setting with a personal touch. Luxurious jacuzzi's and natural salt water pool available the cottages are perfect for couples looking for something unique on Bonaire.

“Second prize was a couple’s massage mini facials mani and pedicures from the Body Spa won by Mia Libier.

“Third Prize was a gold doubled hearted pendant courtesy of Zhaveri Luxury, winner Natasha Gordon.

“Mercedes “Elektra” van der Waals-Wyatt was happy to see that her fans were so enthusiastic about the annual contest and also thanked her devoted sponsors for their continued support.

“Tune in to Groovin with Elektra weekdays on Oasis 96.3 from 7am to 10am.”

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TOPPER'S RHUM WINS 1ST PLACE IN USA TODAY’S BEST CARIBBEAN RUM DISTILLERY CONTEST

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) – If there is one thing the Caribbean is known for as much as its beaches, is its rum. The spirit was first distilled on the islands during the 17th century when sugar plantation owners discovered molasses, a byproduct of the sugar refining process, which could be fermented into alcohol. Caribbean rum producers have spent centuries since perfecting the process of distillation, aging and blending. Many of the world's best rums come from the Caribbean.

USA Today has awarded St. Maarten’s Topper's Rhum Distillery 1st place in the 10 Best Caribbean Rum Distillery contest. This prestigious competition is amongst some of the most famous rum brands in the world such as Bacardi, Brugal, Angostura, Cruzan, Mount Gay, Appleton Estate and Barbancourt.

USA TODAY’s 10Best.com, provides travelers with original, unbiased, and experiential travel content around the world. At its core is a team of well-traveled and well-educated experts who in their fields are known for their discriminating tastes.

Topper’s Rhum, a truly locally made product, is a world-class, multi-award winning, premium rhum that is handmade, bottled, and packaged with precision right here in Cole Bay, St. Maarten. Topper’s Rhum only uses all-natural premium ingredients and no preservatives. They are committed to producing the world’s best tasting rhum and flavored rhum spirits, using the highest standards of quality. They are re-inventing rhum by continually innovating and delivering unique products to their customers worldwide.

Topper’s Rhum is very environmentally conscientious and well known for their signature reusable swing-top bottles. This official St. Maarten rhum is the only international multiple award-winning spirit distilled and exported from St. Maarten. They currently export to 7 countries and 23 states in the USA and are the official rhum of the Dutch Army. Their products are also sold online throughout the world. Topper’s Rhum has already won 24 international medals awarded by the most prominent rum tasting contests in the world.

Through their tours and their continuing expansion overseas, they are notably promoting St. Maarten internationally.  Topper’s Rhum Distillery is one of the top unique places to visit on St. Maarten, according to the St. Maarten Tourism Bureau.

Come by and visit their newly installed and soon to be world famous Rhum Tap which offers 12 specialty flavors, ready for sampling or enjoy one of their hands-on tours. A guide will take you through the 6,000 sq. ft. distillery where you will learn the history of rum making and you’ll get a behind the scenes look at how they ferment, distill, age, blend and bottle. At the tasting bar you can try some of their 50 unique flavors that are in development and enjoy unlimited samples of all their artisanal products as well as their delicious rhum cake. Visit their boutique where you can purchase unique St. Maarten gifts and of course plenty of rhum including limited edition flavors that are only available at the distillery.

Topper’s Rhum distillery is open for free rhum tastings and shopping from 9:00am – 4:00pm Monday – Friday and from 9:00am – 12:00pm on Saturdays. Tours are available for $20 at 10:00am and 4:00pm, Monday – Saturday.  Sundays are available by appointment only. Call 721-520-0008 for an appointment or book it online at www.toppersrhumtours.com.

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