Soualiga News

Soualiga News (2097)

Tsunami reports are a hoax. High surf causing hysteria

SINT MAARTEN/ANTIGUA & BARBUDA – There is no tsunami or tsunami warning or watch in effect for the Caribbean Region. Apparently fake news started to circulate on the island of Antigua & Barbuda, and the aforementioned was quashed by Meteorologist and Climatologist D. Destin who pointed out that the island is experiencing high surf which has caused flooding in some areas.

Dale also reportedly said that there are no known significant earthquakes that have happened on the past 24 hours to cause a tsunami, and said that the reports should be dismissed as a hoax about a tsunami.

Messages has been circulating on social media that the islands of Antigua & Barbuda were facing a tsunami and has been circulating for two days.


TelCell looking into mobile data issue affecting customers Saturday

POND ISLAND - Mobile voice and data provider, TelCell, says it is looking into a mobile data issue at the weekend that left mobile data subscribers unable to get onto the internet.

The issue involves subscribers who purchased one day data activation Saturday, but found themselves unable to make use of their data purchase because of a malfunctioning internet link. Customers complained that by the time the problem was fixed, their data purchase had expired.

TelCell says it is aware of the problem and is in the process of ensuring that ALL affected subscribers are refunded for their purchased data for that day.

“We sincerely apologize to subscribers who were unable to make use of their data activation last Saturday and will rectify the situation soon.,” said TelCell is a statement Monday afternoon.


Bachata, Salsa, Urbanos for Noche Latina 2018

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) in collaboration with Dewar’s White Label will host Noche Latina 2018 as part of the 2018 Carnival festivities. Noche Latina will be held on April 25 and will feature four popular acts out of the Dominican Republic over three genres of Latin music.

This is the second year that the foundation will host the event, having taken over the concert from independent promoters. It is also the second year that the foundation has stuck to an all “Santo Domingo” lineup of artists before looking to branch out to bigger acts starting in 2019 for Carnival’s 50th anniversary.

Noche Latina 2018 will feature a Bachatero, a Salsero and two Urbano performers. Leading the way are two of the best known Bachata and Salsa singers; Frank Reyes and Yiyo Sarante.

They will be complimented by energetic urban performers La Insuperable and El Alfa. “We wanted a combination that will appeal to all ages. With these four acts we believe we have a spectacular lineup for Noche Latina,” President of the SCDF Alston Lourens said.

Tickets for the show will be US $35 in advance and US $40 the week and night of the show. Ticket locations will be announced at a later date.

La Insuperable

Known for her prolific solo career in the Latin pop music genre. She has maintained her own insuperable69 YouTube channel, where she frequently posts new songs and music videos of hers. She released her debut album, La Mami del Swagger, to iTunes on May 27, 2013. One of her most popular videos on her YouTube channel is the music video for her song "Dime Linda Te Llenaste De Odio Dir" off of her debut album. It has garnered more than 3 million total views.

Frank Reyessmall

Frank Reyes

Frank Reyes born June 4, 1969, he is one of the best known Bachata artists, famous throughout Latin America. Reyes discovered his musical talent when he was a young boy. He and his brothers started their own musical group and had great singing talent. When he was only 12 years old, he decided to travel to Santo Domingo where he worked hard and had many jobs, always dreaming of having his own business. As he got older he recorded his first album Tu serás mi reina and became the self-appointed "prince of Bachata" (El Príncipe de la Bachata).


Yiyo Sarante

Latin pop and salsa star Yiyo Sarante (born Eduardo Sarante) began his music career at an early age as a percussionist. Born into a musical family -- he is the seventh of nine children -- in the town of Bani, Peravia province, Dominican Republic, his early years spent in Dominican orchestras eventually led him to become a singer in a resort, and in 2003 he joined his brother Julián Sarante's orchestra. In 2010 he teamed up with his producer brother José Sarante and began releasing music under the Yiyo Sarante moniker.


El Alfa 2small

El Alfa

Emanuel Herrera Batista (born December 18, 1990 in Haina, Santo Domingo), better known as "El Alfa" is a Dominican urban artist, called by the public as "The most influential dembow artist of all time". His popular brand of music has set night clubs on fire for a few years and is always a big attraction.


CANTO Reaffirms Commitment to Engage Regional Policymakers to Develop ICT Policies that Promote Innovation and More

SINT MAARTEN/TRINIDAD & TOBAGO - At the Annual General Meeting of CANTO held in Port of Spain Trinidad from February 4 to 6, 2018, one of the major points for discussion among the delegates was the recent change of position by the Federal Communications Commission ('FCC') by removing 'Net Neutrality' rules, and restoring a light touch regulations approach to support internet freedom, 'Open Internet'.  

The FCC shared with the meeting that investments by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the US had declined by US$3.6 Billion since the US "Open Internet Order" was implemented in 2015. The FCC found that this lack of network investment by ISPs threatened the US policy objectives, including, bridging the digital divide, promoting innovation and modernizing regulations.

The FCC outlined that having reviewed the evidence and reassessed whether the 2015 Order supported US policy objectives, the FCC decided to revert to the less restrictive regime that underpinned the successful development of the on-line economy in the period up to 2015.

CANTO notes that similar policy driven assessments have resulted in different approaches to internet regulation across the globe, from forbearance from any intervention in Australia to a broader policy approach in the EU which includes stricter rules on the on-line platforms in respect of data and consumer protection and separate investment incentives for networks.

The impact of the FCC 2015 Order on network investment acts a reminder that failing to take account of local market dynamics when making rules can have serious adverse consequences on economies.

Chairman of CANTO and Vice Chair of the Caribbean ICT Collaborative Committee (CICC), Mr Julian Wilkins, in his address to the meeting made the point that:

"The Caribbean needs an evidence based approach to any new rules in order to support investment in networks and services for Caribbean people and not the simple importation of rules designed for larger economies with different market dynamics".

CANTO and its members support the concept of the Open Internet and the general principle that legal content, applications and services should not be blocked. Equally, CANTO and its members recognise the requirement of Operators to run their networks and their corresponding freedom to innovate and develop new services and business models. Effective evidence based regulations must strike this balance. The 2016 CANTO Code of Practice on Safeguarding Open Internet seeks to strike this balance. 

CANTO will continue to engage with regional and international policy makers to identify approaches towards the Open Internet which encourage investment in networks and services to connect the unconnected, make services relevant, foster local innovation and employment in the face of global competition and allow the widest participation in the on-line economy by the citizens of the region.


DG Mobility Delegation concludes Statia infrastructure visit

ST. EUSTATIUS - Director General for Mobility within the Ministry of Infrastructure and Waterways (I&W), Mr. Mark Frequin, has concluded a two-day visit to St. Eustatius on Thursday March 1st, 2018.

Frequin and delegation comprising advisors from the Ministries of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK) and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management are on a working to the Caribbean Netherlands representing the Steering Group Caribbean Netherlands (Stuurgroep CN). 

During his visit to St. Eustatius he visited several infrastructural and environmental related projects such as the central dumpsite recycle plant, harbour, Fort Oranje and Bay Path cliff protection project, homes under reconstruction following hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Meetings were held further with management of Nustar, St. Eustatius Utilities Company (STUCO) and the RCN Unit of Social Affairs & Employment (SZW). A tour was made of the cliff area nearby the FDR Airport runway, which has suffered serious effects of erosion.

A meeting was also held with Mike Franco en Mervyn Stegers, respectively the Central Government Commissioner and Acting Central Government Commissioner, to discuss projects related to rebuilding the island as well as pending projects. Frequin has informed both Franco and Stegers that the Central Government is offering technical support needed to assist St. Eustatius.

“St. Eustatius is in a recovery stage. We noticed a number of infrastructural and environmental projects are important for the future development of the island. We are working closely together to achieve these goals”, says Frequin.

Upon his return to The Netherlands next week, the Director General of Mobility will share his findings with his colleagues in the Steering Group Caribbean Netherlands.

This is a group of high ranking civil servants within the various ministries of the Central Group that confers on a regular basis for exchange on projects and investments on Saba, St. Eustatius and Bonaire to ensure that there is structured and coordinated approach.

Frequin continues his working visit with Bonaire as his final stop where he will hold talk with relevant stakeholders as well as the Public Entity of Bonaire. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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The Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland is online for you

SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS - Today (March 1st) the Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland officially launches its new website. You can access this online platform for all relevant information about the services and departments of RCN.

You will also find the latest news, vacancies and more information about working at the government.

Online visitors can easily find their way through the eight theme blocks. These blocks send visitors along topics such as care, immigration, education and safety.

Information can also be found via the built-in search functionality or one of the most important search engines.

The texts and forms have been updated and information is available in three languages. Moreover, the website is accessible via desktop, mobile and tablet and completely restyled in a modern, Caribbean style.

The new website was created in collaboration with Platform Rijksoverheid Online (PRO). At this central platform, websites for organizations within the national government are managed and hosted. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

You can find the website at: (Dutch) (English) (Papiamentu)


Governor Holiday appoints Arduin and Beaujon as informateurs. Report due by March 12

SINT MAARTEN (HARBOUR VIEW) - On March 1, 2018, the Governor of Sint Maarten, His Excellency drs. E.B. Holiday requested Mrs. Dr. R.J.A. Arduin and Mr. J.J. Beaujon to accept the appointment to take on the role of informateur to research the possibilities for the formation of a new government that is supported by the broadest possible majority in Parliament.

The appointment is a result of the consultations Governor Holiday held between February 27 and March 1, 2018, with leaders of the Political Parties that obtained seats in Parliament (the United Democrats, the National Alliance, the United St. Maarten Peoples Party and the Sint Maarten Christian Party), the president of Parliament, the vice chairperson of the Council of Advice and with the chairperson of the Central Voting Bureau.

The informateurs have been asked to include in their research an inventory of the policy plans of the Political Parties, and particularly their vision on:

  1. a sustainable reconstruction of Sint Maarten with priority for (a) the critical infrastructure, (b) the tourism sector, (c) the social infrastructure, (d) law enforcement and (e) public finances;
  2. the cooperation with the Netherlands and particularly the agreements made with the Netherlands and the World Bank in connection with the reconstruction fund;
  3. preparing Sint Maarten for the upcoming hurricane season;
  4. finding a sustainable and durable solution for the landfill and the problems of waste management;
  5. And the role of social partners in the reconstruction.

Furthermore the informateurs have been requested to involve all relevant stakeholders in the information process.

The Governor requested Mrs. Arduin and Mr. Beaujon to submit their report by Monday March 12, 2018.


Central Voting Bureau to meet on Monday to establish election results

PHILIPSBURG – The Chairman of the Central Voting Bureau for the elections of the Members of Parliament of Sint Maarten announces that the aforementioned will convene a meeting on Monday, March 5 at 10.00AM at the House of Parliament to establish the results of the election of MPs, which took place on February 26.

During the meeting it will be assessed if there are grounds available to order a recount.

The Central Voting Bureau can either ex officio or upon request of an eligible voter determine that a recount will take place, and there should be well motivated grounds for a recount.

The meeting is open to eligible voters, as long as the order is not disturbed and the work of the Central Voting Bureau is not disrupted.


Minister Ferrier says solution being worked on regarding 2018 Budget

POND ISLAND – Minister of Finance Michael Ferrier on Wednesday during the Council of Ministers (COM) press briefing stated that the 2018 budget process has hit a bump in the road with respect to a difference in opinion with respect to the application of the Kingdom Law on Financial Supervision for country Sint Maarten.

Minister Ferrier added that a solution is being worked on by the Committee of Financial Supervision for Curacao and Sint Maarten CFT with the Kingdom Government.


Behind the Beyond host troupe of 16 visiting clowns

POND ISLAND - In September last year, a devastating Hurricane Irma ravished St. Maarten and downed the spirits of thousands in the population who had lost their homes, their jobs, and much of their spirit to live.

Two months later, a performing group of clowns came to the island to lift those spirits and bring some much-needed laughter to St. Maarten’s beleaguered residents. The performers were from the USA, Australia and Brazil, and all teamed up with local theatre director, Albina Matuzko who herself donned her own clown’s nose and costume to make up the quartet of performers under the umbrella of Clowns Without Borders.

The dynamic team were continuing a tradition of performances by volunteer clowns all over the world who make such visits following natural disasters and other calamities where their unique art form and laughter has proven to bring as much relief to the hearts and souls of shocked communities as food parcels or shelter or promises of funding for recovery programs.

The four clowns performed for 10 non-stop days and warmed the hearts of more than 3,500 residents of all ages and from several different communities on the French and Dutch sides of the island.

Indeed, the program was such a success that another group of clowns are again on the island this week to once again bring laughter and joy to the St. Maarten/St.Martin community - still suffering from the effects of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria in September last year.

The team are on the island at the invitation and coordination of Ukrainian director Albina Matuzko of the Behind the Beyond the Foundation, also the initiator of the Clowns Without Borders visit following Hurricane Irma last year.

Starting this week, some 16 clowns under the title “Walking as One” are performing their “Relief” acts around the island. Kirsten Lupke of ClownSpirit is the actual initiator of the ``Walking as `One” phenomena in Holland, which another visitor, Annemiek Van Haaren, took the organizational leadership to make the idea of bringing “Walking as one” clowns to Sint Maarten a reality. The Volunteering clowns are supported by individuals, organizations and families of clowns in the Netherlands.

The clowns are on the island from Feb.25 till March 4, visiting:

  • Elderly clients of the White and Yellow Cross
  • Mentally challenged clients of Sister Basilia Center
  • Elderly residents of the Red Cross
  • Elderly clients of Hope Estate’s Old Citizens recreational Centre
  • Mentally challenged clients of Begeleid wonen in Hope estate
  • Little League baseball After-school
  • Children of the foster homes: Benjamin Home and I can foundation,
  • Willem Alexander special education Primary school

Albina says the visiting troupe are keen to also meet with St. Maarten people on the streets where they will demonstrate their playfulness and contact with the community by displaying their own brand of amazing talents and impromptu performing routines.

“They are all very skilled in the art of emotionally disarming people they meet by touching them visually and mentally with what they do so naturally,” said the locally-based director.

She says residents can look out for an open, fun atmosphere in which they will not only be entertained, but also feel connected to some very special and giving people who travel the world over lifting the spirits of communities like St. Maarten that has suffered a shock, reminding these communities that, in essence, we are all walking as one community.

For Albina it’s a return to a role that she loves to play and badly missed when her co-players from Clowns Without Borders left the island after their own successful visit last year.

“As a clown with the team I brought so much joy to so many faces that I was quite moved and I was at a loss when I could not see those happy faces again,” said Albina.

“The first time I experienced such a loss was my first day out without my red clown’s nose and a woman approached me screaming. Not because she was excited to see me as the children in the school children were when I entertained them with my clown’s nose on, but because I was too “stupid”, according to her, for parking in a wrong place,” said Albina.

She said she tried to joke, since being stupid is one of the greatest compliments a clown can get, however she realized she did not have her nose on.

“Almost instinctively, I searched it in my bag for something I surely know I could defend myself with – my little red nose. But to no avail. I found myself crying the whole way home thinking how protective it could be to maintain the guise of a clown forever,” said Albina.

She honestly believes that people living on St. Maarten, exhausted by the effects of Hurricane Irma and trying to get their roofs and their businesses back, must also be frustrated with losing their connection to the world.

“With such things to worry about such as dump fires and elections recovery funds, we need clowns around us and interacting with us now, as never ever before. The souls need to be softened; the smiles have to get rid of sarcasm. ,” said the theatre director and part-time clown herself. To her this shows the power of the clown and how the red nose creates its own magic.

She says all of the above is why she would like to create any opportunities possible and for as many people as possible to meet with the visiting clowns and to forget, if only for a few minutes, some of the negative things that may be going on in their lives so that they can just crack a smile, clap for joy or laugh out loud – And Albina says - the louder the better for post hurricane relief.

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