Soualiga News

Soualiga News (2223)

SCDF opens registration for booths early for Carnival 50

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) has opened registration for potential booth holders much earlier than it normally does on an annual basis.

The foundation announced on Wednesday that registration will open on Friday, May 25, with a continued focus of identifying unique culinary experiences in Carnival Village.

As Carnival 2019 will be the 50th anniversary of St. Maarten’s Carnival, the foundation will expedite several organizational aspects of Carnival in anticipation of a much busier Carnival season.

Registration for booths normally open on September 1. “However, we want to get a jump on certain aspects of Carnival that we can finalize in short time. The allotment of booths is one such aspect,” the foundation explained.

“Every year there are so many people who want the opportunity to operate a booth in Carnival Village. They present various ideas as well. We are opening registration from early to review registrants and their ideas for a booth,” the SCDF explained.

Interested person can register online at: and click on the registration tab. Registration will close on July 31.


Nature Foundation Relaunches Save our Sharks Shark Conservation Project

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - The St Maarten Nature Foundation has restarted its shark conservation program as part of the DCNA Save Our Sharks project funded by the Dutch National Postcode Lottery.

The research is aimed at better understanding the life characteristics of sharks in St Maarten waters including population structure, abundance and migration.

The Foundation has had to suspend its shark research program due to the impacts of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

With the relaunching of the Save our Shark Project for Sint Maarten the Nature Foundation aims to continue to conduct scientific research and monitoring into the shark population and changing perceptions about sharks through education and outreach programs.

“Because of books, movies and news reports sharks have gotten a bad reputation as mindless killers. This is very far from the truth. Although accidents do happen so do they with dogs for example, which kill about 100 times more people than sharks do a year.

“We have been working hard in terms of education, outreach and also science in this case to show the population that sharks are not mindless killers and are very important to the health of our oceans,” commented Tadzio Bervoets of the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation.

Sharks play a very important role in the oceans, on the reefs and taking care of healthy fish stocks. Sharks are at the top of the food chain in virtually every part of every ocean, also on St Maarten.

In that role, they keep populations of other fish healthy and in proper proportion for their ecosystem. Sharks are also very important to the tourism sector with many divers traveling to Sint Maarten in order to dive with sharks.

The Foundation will also host its Third Annual Sint Maarten Shark week starting on June 8th, with various activities being organized centered on educating the public on the important role sharks play in the ocean environment. The public can keep up to date on shark week activities through the Nature Foundation Facebook page.


Prime Minister Romeo Marlin visits the Lions Club Eye Screening Project

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - Last week Prime Minister Leona Romeo Marlin took some time from her busy schedule to visit the St. Maarten Lions Club Eye Screening Project that was held at the Belair Community Center in Cay Hill from Monday May 14th to Friday May 18th.

During the week the Lions Club was able to engage the expert services of VOSH OHIO to carry out the massive eye screening with the assistance of 17 Optometrist and assistants of VOSH OHIO. Preliminary results indicate that 2578 Primary school students were tested. Additionally, some 203 teachers, parents, NIPA Volunteers, Lions, and walk-ins were tested.

The Prime Minister is happy to learn, that there were 690 persons that needed glasses and out of that amount +/- 200 glasses have to be specially prescribed in the US and sent back to us within the next 4 weeks after which we will distribute them to the children via their schools. On another note, nine referrals to an Ophthalmologist for cataracts, glaucoma, and muscle injury were also recorded.

For their excellent cooperation, the Lions Club publicly commends the Health Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labor through its Collective Prevention Services, the Public Health Department, the Ministry of Education Culture Youth & Sport and NIPA who provided 17 volunteers for the entire week.


Hundreds Discover St. Martin Wildlife at Endemic Animal Festival

ST. MARTIN (GRAND CASE) - Nearly 300 people learned about the animals that live only on St. Martin at the fifth annual Endemic Animal Festival on Sunday. They were welcomed by over 30 volunteers and experts sharing diverse topics like nature in St. Martin literature, sharks, iguanas, native plants and animals, stone walls and local building traditions.

The event was hosted by the Les Fruits de Mer association at Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House in French Quarter.

“We were thrilled to see so many people having fun and discovering this island’s unique animals!” said Les Fruits de Mer President Jenn Yerkes. “This was our first public event at Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House.

“We’re working with the community to make this a place where many voices share what is special about St. Martin. So we were also really excited to invite local experts to present. They used this year’s theme—Made Here—to connect local wildlife to many other parts of local heritage.”

Local experts shared on seven fascinating topics at this year’s festival. Tadzio Bervoets and the St. Maarten Nature Foundation presented about the island’s sharks. Author and publisher Lasana M. Sekou prepared selections of local poetry and writing about nature for display.

Christophe Henocq highlighted historic stone walls as a unique habitat for plants and animals. Laura Bijnsdorp and EPIC presented on how local plants help protect the island. Bird specialist Binkie van Es led fun activities from the BirdSleuth Caribbean program.

The Anguilla National Trust shared their work to save rare iguanas on Anguilla, which used to live on St. Martin. Mark Yokoyama showcased St. Martin’s endemic animals.

Kids and adults enjoyed several animal-themed arts and crafts, including making iguana masks and hand-painting wildlife bags. Guests also learned about Plantilles, the heritage plant program getting started on the grounds of Amuseum Naturalis.

The project includes community gardens, a native plants nursery and a bush tea garden.

This year’s festival was the first chance in several years for the public to see the historic Old House in French Quarter. It will be the new home of free nature museum Amuseum Naturalis, which is moving there after two years in Grand Case.

Over 100 volunteers have helped prepare the property since the beginning of the year. Les Fruits de Mer hosts regular volunteer events on weekends and welcomes everyone to get involved. The association is hoping to relaunch the museum itself later this year.

The Endemic Animal Festival was free to the public. This was made possible by the festival sponsors: BirdsCaribbean, Delta Petroleum, Happy Wine, Location De Bennes Diligence Express, Lagoonies Bistro and Bar and Tri-Sport.

Visit to learn more about Les Fruits de Mer, the festival, volunteering and future activities. The public is invited to join the association and take part in creating Amuseum Naturalis and Plantilles for the island.

CUTLINE: Experts from St. Martin and Anguilla shared their work on nature and heritage. (Photo by Jenn Yerkes)


CUTLINE: Lizards and local plants were both celebrated at the Endemic Animal Festival. (Photo by Jenn Yerkes)

Lizards Plants

CUTLINE: Les Fruits de Mer is developing the historic Old House as a museum and community center. (Photo by Agnes Etchegoyen)

Old House

CUTLINE: Over 30 volunteers and experts made the Endemic Animal Festival possible. (Photo by Agnes Etchegoyen)

Volunteers 2



Business Students of the SCS Forms 3 & 4 to host pop-up movie theater

SABA - Tasked with the project of creating a school business, the business students of Saba Comprehensive School (SCS) Forms 3 & 4 decided on the concept of a pop-up movie theater as part of their learning in action called Sabaplex.

Sabaplex will debut this Friday, May 25 at the Sunny Valley Youth Center in The Bottom as it premiers Marvel Studio’s Black Panther on big screen at a 7pm show time. Tickets are available at the Saba Comprehensive School.

The project, led by business teacher Ms. Suzette Fletcher and project coordinator Mr. Shaigan Marten, gives students a first-hand experience into the world of entrepreneurship.

Responsible for realizing the school business, the students were challenged with making their idea a reality and building a feasible business concept. As part of their market research, more than 100 surveys were handed out to create the ideal business model for the pop-up movie theater.

Leading up to Friday’s school business debut, students are fully in charge of marketing, ticket sales, food & beverage as well as setup and security in consultation with Ms. Fletcher and Mr. Marten.

Not only will the pop-up theater create a new weekend activity for teenagers, it’s really good news for the entire community. Compared to nearby St Maarten for example, Saba lacks a full-scale movie theater and entertainment facilities where family and friends can enjoy a night out, with this project, the opportunity exists to fill this void.

Inside Sabaplex, popcorn, nachos, brownies, croquettes, pizza and soft drinks will be on sale to complete the night out. If you don’t already have something planned for Friday night, come out and support the project and have a fun night out with family and friends.

Sabaplex can pop up anywhere and provide entertainment for all. For more information, contact Saba Comprehensive School at 416-3270. Doors open 1 hour before show time.


Minister Wuite and Dept. of Culture express condolences on the loss of SXM icon Roland Bryson

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Jorien Wuite, and Department of Culture Head, Clara Reyes, extend a message of strength and comfort to the family and friends on the passing of Roland Bryson on Saturday, May 19th.

“We express our gratitude to ‘Creator’ for having had the privilege of being beneficiaries of Mr. Bryson’s commitment to St. Maarten and her culture.   We are grateful that we are all able to share in the gift of his life” reflects Clara.

“Mr. Bryson was an integral figure in the development of St. Maarten’s culture through his multiple roles as the nation’s Griot cultural worker, artist, performer, civil servant, and never forgetting the key historical figure of ‘Paben’ which as the venerable all-knowing wise St. Maarten patriarch kept us all entertained over the years.”

Minister Wuite conveyed that Mr. Bryson’s legacy as ‘Mi Paben’ has been significant and unique for Sint Maarten’s cultural heritage, storytelling and performing arts. “Comedian, actor, historian, musician/promoter, photographer; there were many hats that Roland wore and excelled at.

“From his many years at the Cole Bay Theatre Company to his love for all things Carnival, I doubt there was anyone on St. Maarten that did not know who he was. Even in his retirement he was often front and center at our weekly press briefing, always with a smile.

“I will personally and sincerely miss him. Roland ‘Mi Paben’ had a special place in my heart and I extend my genuine condolences to his family. I sincerely hope that artistic contributions will be developed to keep his memory and art-form alive; this is an opportune moment for our creative artists to come together and catalogue his life.”


Local companies and NGOs must be aware of new EU General Data Protection Regulation

SINT MAARTEN/EUROPE - The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, (EU Regulation 2016/679) is a regulation in EU law that was approved by the European Union on April 14th 2016, and set to come into force on May 25th 2018. It’s one of the most significant and wide-ranging pieces of legislation passed relating to technology and the internet, with new guidelines that are better suited to the modern, technology-dominated world.

The GDPR is primarily designed to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens’ data privacy, and to reshape the way organizations approach data privacy.

Explicit consent of an individual (data subject) to store and use their personal identifiable data is one of the focus points of the GDPR. The aim is to give control to EU citizens and residents over their personal identifiable data and protect them from privacy and data breaches in an increasingly data-driven world.

One may think that these new regulations are only applicable to businesses that are established within the EU, but this is far from the truth. This new legislation is vastly different than the 1995 legislation with an increased territorial scope, as it applies to all companies that are collecting and processing the personal data of data subjects residing in the European Union, regardless of the company’s location.

Meaning to say that even businesses outside of the EU that are offering goods or services to anyone living within the EU will also need to ensure they're compliant with these new rules, as they could also be subject to hefty fines up to 4% of annual global turnover or €20 Million (whichever is greater). 

According to BTP, “even though Sint Maarten is not formally part of the EU or the Single Market, we are part of the “Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT)” with a special relationship with the Netherlands – a full member state of the EU. In addition to this, our island is shared with Saint Martin and they are also part of the EU. Because of our close ties with these EU countries, our dealings with them on a regular basis, and the mere fact that thousands of EU visitors come to our shores on a daily base for both business and pleasure, it’s it advisable for entities established on Sint Maarten (Profit & Non-Profit, Public & Private) to pay keen attention to this new legislation”.

The Director of BTP Mr. Anthony Carty stated: “It’s imperative that we follow suit with both the collection and protection of personal identifiable data of EU citizens and residents. All entities that are not compliant with the GDPR by May 25th 2018 are facing the risk of enormous penalties from the European Authorities. 

“We are therefore urging all businesses on the island, - especially those that are targeting EU markets, or collecting and/ or processing personal identifiable data of EU citizens and residents-, to familiarize themselves with the GDPR, and ensure they are compliant with the new regulation by May 25th 2018. Larger entities are advised to appoint or hire data experts to perform assessments, and revisit company procedures”.

More information to be found on:


COCI Coordinates Meeting with Business Sector about Structural Hurricane Pass System

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) Executive Director Anastacio Baker, is very pleased with the outcome of a meeting coordinated by COCI with representative organizations from the Sint Maarten business community with respect to making the country storm-ready for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season from a business perspective, who represent the economic engine of the national economy.

The key discussion point was hurricane passes for businesses.  It has been decided that associations representing individual businesses will be provided with limited hurricane passes that can be used by selected association members to check the status of businesses after the passing of a hurricane when a curfew is still in effect.

The associations have to provide the relevant information by May 25 of those individuals who have been selected in order for the Fire Department to prepare the passes.

Present for the meeting was the Indian Merchants Association, the Chinese Business Community Association, the St. Maarten Banker’s Association, the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association, the Philipsburg Promotional Board, St. Maarten Tourism Authority and representatives of the Fire Department. The Police Department also contributed to the meeting by sending relevant information for discussion. President of the Board of COCI Stanley Lint was also present.

The business sector was informed by the Fire Department that the first 48-hours after the passing of a hurricane is critical for the emergency services and first responders to be able to respond to emergency calls and to clear debris that would be obstructing the country’s main and secondary roads.

The Fire Chief Mr. Richardson added that minimum congestion of the road network is necessary in order to execute a quick clean-up and the country to recover quickly in order to get back to business.

COCI Executive Director Baker during his introductory welcome address to those present, stated that based on a preliminary survey that was carried out amongst COCI membership late last year, a number of concerns were identified by the business community including the hurricane pass system. 

“We also discussed to explore further the possibility of introducing color coded hurricane passes in the future, but this will be discussed by the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) when they have another meeting. 

“The business community would also like clearer instructions from disaster management officials especially when hurricane watches and warning notices are issued.  Not all businesses need to be open after a hurricane passes.  This creates more congestion on the public road.  Everybody’s cooperation is needed in order for our country to have a quick recovery and to resume regular economic activities,” Baker pointed out.

A zero-tolerance approach to looting and the visibility of Police and the Marines before a hurricane strikes was another key topic of discussion at the Tuesday afternoon meeting.  “The business community would like to see proper security in place before the arrival of a hurricane and after the passing of the system.  Business people are then assured that their business and inventory are safe and secure. We cannot afford a repeat of what transpired after the passing of Irma,” Baker said.

The Executive Director of the Chamber is appealing to different sector of the economy, especially the construction sector, to get organized by forming an association.  Other associations that exist should get organized as they are very important platforms where dialogue can take place in a collective manner when dealing with issues of national importance to the well-being of the nation.

Baker concluded that the meeting was a success and it brought clarity to the concerns that the business community had.  

The meeting with the business sector representative organizations and representatives of the country’s disaster management organization took place at the COCI Offices in Philipsburg.


Prime Minister Romeo-Marlin expresses sympathy on the passing of “Paben”

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin in her reaction to the news of the passing of Roland Bryson stated the following, “The people of Sint Maarten has lost a cultural icon in the person of the Roland Bryson aka “Paben”.

Mr. Bryson is a recently retired Civil Servant that rendered years of service to the Government of Sint Maarten in his capacity as an employee at the Hygiene & Communication Departments.”

As old man “Paben” Mr. Bryson thrilled and entertained crowds locally and internationally with his performances with the Cole Bay Theatre Company. Additionally, over the years “Paben” became a cultural fixture with his numerous contributions and love for the annual Carnival festivities.

To his family, former co-workers and friends I extend my deepest condolences and I wish each of you much strength during this time of bereavement.


Prime Minister Romeo-Marlin expresses heartfelt condolences on the passing of Roy Marlin

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - On behalf of the Government & People of Sint Maarten, it is with heartfelt feelings I extend my condolences to the family and friends of my friend Roy Marlin. We have lost another political heavy weight after a long battle against illness.

Mr. Marlin has made his mark on the political arena on Sint Maarten with his contributions as a Civil Servant, board member at NV GEBE, Island Council Member, Commissioner in the Executive Council and Member of Parliament.

The public of Sint Maarten will be able to sign the condolence register in his remembrance starting on Tuesday May 22nd in the lobby of the Government Administration Building. May his soul rest in peace.

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