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Womanity Fest kicks off with WOW success

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Womanity Fest kicked off March 8th International Women’s Day.  It was celebrated in grand style at Holland House Beach Hotel where over 150 women dressed in shades of purple gathered to empower each other, and socialize for the WOW Gliz and Glam event hosted by Elektralyets, Positive Foundation, Women’s Desk and Posh Productions, a press statement on Sunday stated from Mercedes van der Waals Wyatt.

“Women were welcomed on the “Purple Carpet” with Womanity Fest Backdrop, where they vogued and stood with poise as their photographs were being taken by photographer Randle Martina. 

“The women were greeted with a signature purple WOW coctail sponsored by Malibu and warm smiling staff from Holland House Beach Hotel. The entire venue was festively decorated and illuminated in the color Purple.

“The colour has a long-known history and has been strongly associated with efforts to achieve gender equality and visionary thinking. The colour signifies justice and dignity. As widely associated with contemporary feminism, purple symbolises achievements gained and achievements yet to come.  

“Another notable fact that purple was also the colour of the Women’s Liberation movement. Looking at the women’s rights history, it appears that purple is the best colour accurately representing the strides that women are making to fight for an equal society.

“Women danced to the tunes of the Destiny’s Band with lead singer Shakiya Arrindell, Beverly Mae Nisbeth female percussionist on the island and vocals, Arlington Lake base and vocals and   MarcAugustin on keyboards and vocals. 

“Opening remarks and speeches where held by Mercedes van de Waals-Wyatt as welcomed all the ladies and wished everyone happy International Women’s Day and thanked them for coming out in numbers to celebrate International Women’s day and to reflect that we are all the make-up of this country and the building and nurturing pillars. We should continue to support others, uplift inspire and strife for better for tha ladies of St. Maarten to stay in tune with the theme of this year Think equal, build smart and innovate for change. 

“Shelly Alphonso stressed the importance of women’s Breast and Health Screening in making sure that women need to also put keen attention to their breast health and take advandtage of the screenings and the survey that will be happening this month at the Vineyard Building in collaboration with AUC and Collective Prevention Services.

“Malayka Marlin of Women’s Desk informed that their function is to strengthen the position of women in the community and help were needed.To ensure sustainability of the different positive contribution’s women need to unite and work together. By connecting and collaborating with women and various women’s organisations we can inspire futures.

“Posh Production director Anna Richardson was happy to be part of this collaboration as well showcasing the importance of being ambassadors and providing guidance to young girls, women and men on how to represent our island.

“The women had and opportunity to take pictures with the “WOW” Purple frame and the Photo Booth entrepreneur Ren-dwina Browne donated her time and efforts with a remembrance photo appreciation gift and a special mention to the Belair Beach Hotel Ms. Evans for hosting the invited guest from Anguilla Ms. Jade Reymond co-founder from Hats and Heels organisation in Anguilla developers of the domestic violence Hotline in Anguilla.

“The weekend proceeded with the “Four Faces of Women” workshop given by Sister Devki of Bhrama Kumaris at the Belair Community Center and the 1000 women unity march on Saturday.

Mercedes “Elektra” van der Waals Wyatt president of the Elektralyets Foundation would like to thank all the sponsors for their continued support, that made the events a grand success. And urged people to check out the FB pages of the participating collaborators for more events and activities in the month of March,” the statement concludes.

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PPA: BOTH TRAFFIC & PARLIAMENT ARE SERIOUSLY DEADLOCKED

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Gracita Arrindell, Leader of the People’s Progressive Alliance (PPA) stated in a press release: “Before we delve into the issue of how best to solve our traffic woes, please allow me to comment briefly on our current alleged deadlock in Parliament. To be clear I will not comment or revere publicly nor privately on the personal circumstances surrounding the current leader of the UD party other than wishing him and his family well.”

“The current political situation seriously threatens to affect the governing of our young Nation, if prolonged due to lack of proactive and carefully considered options. Let us keep in mind that we are still at a critical stage of our new constitutional status which became effective on 101010.  Article 50 outlines clearly what happens when an MP (Ed Member of Parliament) is officially suspended from Parliament. A continued deadlock or tie in votes in Parliament will relegate the daily management of our affairs to the backburner until a forcible solution is found.  This is clearly not an option. In the meantime, we humbly suggest several ways to break this impasse for the sake of the general interest of the People of our island.” 

Arrindell states: “The first proposal is a moral and gutsy one. It takes an MP with a clear conscience and the will to uphold the oath he or she took when sworn in.  

It takes an MP from both sides of the isle in the House of Parliament to cross that isle and give the vote necessary to break that impasse.   Secondly, Parliament can enact via a speedy procedure, a law derived from article 50, to clear the path for an acting MP to be sworn in. 

“Thirdly, but not lastly, the Prime Minister can give the mandate back to the People and call for new elections in case of a prolonged deadlock which technically renders our island govern-less. A last resort, which no one wants this at this time.   Fact remains we live in a governmental system, based on the rule of law and decisions will have to be taken based on the system of checks and balances with separation of powers, embedded within our constitution.  Kicking the can down the road and not taking a clear and unambiguous decision (s) will make us no better than the proverbial ‘banana republic. We are at a cross-road, which direction will we take.” 

Arrindell said: “Our traffic situation requires a similar proactive approach as the political one described above. Dead locks, daily traffic jams require clear decision making.  The laid back- lassez faire approach simply cannot work any longer. The patience of our residents and visitors alike are severely tested.  Too many cars, insufficient infrastructural (well-paved) roads, few real bus-stops, unregulated public transportation system, drivers texting, (I’m guilty of this sometimes as well) unruly heavy equipment drivers, to mention a few. Everything goes while we remain stuck and just complain everyday. That  ‘ we can’t do anything ‘attitude and suffer fools gladly, will no longer work. Throwing our hand up in the air and wait for something to happen will not solve the many problems we face. Solvable issues which affects the quality of the lives of our citizens.  There is a combination of solutions.  It requires someone in authority to stand up, step forward and take appropriate action”. 

Gracita continues: We hope that the relevant government authorities, including civil servants, together with the private sector (SHTA and the CoC) get together and bring forward a solution soonest.  In the meantime we propose the following points to consider in the decision-making process.

  • Amend the budget to include the purchase of land where buss-stops are to be located, and make it mandatory. Bus stops should become real bus stops for vehicles to pull aside instead of being mere advertising huts, and fined if drivers do not comply. 
  • Parking meters are a must.
  • The Simpson bay- Cole-bay area should considered to be one large round-about. 
  • The junction of Orange grove road/ Union road facing Tackling gas-station has been suggested by other concerned citizens where the Harley Davidson business was located could be a roundabout.
  • Use new technology to alert drivers whenever there is obstruction on the road. 
  • Last but not least seriously consider car-pooling.

In other words, we must act for the future mobility of our island.

Arrindell concludes: “It is time to understand and demand good governance and executing best practices as elected and appointed officials.  For solving our current dilemma in Parliament as well as the daily jams in traffic. There’s just no other way. When you are once again held up in traffic for thirty minutes and longer, u have time to think about the above train of thought.  I firmly believe that for every problem there are more than one solution, or a combination of solutions to solve an issue and move forward.  Whether it is in Parliament or sitting still in traffic each requires demonstrable political will to move our beautiful island forward. The power lies in the hands of the People.”  

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Council of Ministers grant half day off to all female Civil Servants

POND ISLAND - In celebration of International Women’s Day on Friday, March 8th2019, the Council of Ministers has decided to grant all female Civil Servants half day off starting from 1:00 pm where the function permits. The public should be aware that due to the gender composition of some of the Ministries, some of the service-oriented departments might close at 1:00 pm. 

The Council of Ministers recognizes the importance of the invaluable contribution female Civil Servants continue to offer to the Government and people of Sint Maarten.  Female Civil Servants are represented throughout all the various Departments and Ministries of Government. A quick scan of the Civil Service core indicates that women account for almost 60 % of the workforce in Government. 

As Government continues in its quest to execute the governing program, “Building a Sustainable Sint Maarten” and considering the importance of women in achieving this objective. The Council of Ministers saw it fit to offer time off as a reasonable compensation on this special day. Productivity and innovation throughout Government remains a top priority and a healthy, energized and motivated civil service core is key to achieving the strategic objectives as outlined.

Additionally, the Council of Ministers is asking all women in the community to go out and support the events that are scheduled on the Women’s Desk Calendar of Events for the “Womanity Fest” that runs from March 8thto April 13th. Some of the events includes a 1000 Women March on March 9th, Prominent Women Gala Dinner & Award and SXM Women Strong expo.

The Council of Ministers is encouraging all persons in the community to set aside some time during their busy schedules on March 8thto recognize and appreciate the women in their lives on International Women’s Day. The Council of Ministers has also taken note that International Men’s Day will be celebrated on November 19th, as such a similar recognition will be decided upon as the time draws near. 

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Robbery awareness training takes place at Telem Group

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The Sint Maarten Police force in an effort to provide a safer environment for residents and visitors to the island provided its first robbery awareness training session for the year with the staff of the Telem Group, on Thursday 8thMarch 2019. 

The training session was broken down into two parts which consisted of a theoretical and a practical part administered by the Police Force Arrest Team which is certified in tactical training.

Upon request of the company, the Sint Maarten Police force provides the robbery awareness training free of charge to any business, to help business owners and their employees better deal with the situation in the event they become victims of a robbery. 

The training was well attended, and the staff had a firsthand experience during the practical part on how to stay safe in an event a robbery does occur while at work. 

These safety trainings are available to all and are being conducted with several business entities that have requested them from the police.  (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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Plenary public session of Parliament about update on Airport, Port and the Calibrations Department

PHILIPSBURG – The House of Parliament will sit in a Plenary Public meeting on Thursday, March 7. The Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs and Transport will be present.  

The public meeting which was adjourned on Monday, November 19, 2018, will be reconvened on Thursday at 10.00 hrs. in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg. 

The agenda points are:

  1. Update on status of the Airport (PIJA) and the Sint Maarten Port
  2. Update on the establishment of the Calibrations department (IS/277/2018-2019 dated November 1, 2018)

This meeting was requested by MP A.M.R. Irion, MP E.J. Doran and MP C.T. Emmanuel.

Members of the public are invited to the House of Parliament to attend parliamentary deliberations.  

The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House in Philipsburg.

The parliamentary session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 115, via SXM GOV radio FM 107.9, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet www.sxmparliament.orgwww.pearlfmradio.sx  and Parliament’s Facebook page: Parliament of Sint Maarten.

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30-Year old Employee caught attempting to steal from hardware store

COLE BAY - One employee at a hardware store on the Union road in Cole bay is now in police custody after attempting to leave the premises on Tuesday March 5th, with several store items, police said on Wednesday. 

Suspect with initials O.P. (30) was placed under arrest by officers after the store manager had alerted the police that he concealed several store items under his clothes and attempted leave after his shift was over. 

The store manager had suspected the employee had stolen in the past and upon review of the camera surveillance footage received confirmation of such.  

After a search of the suspect the officers found several items concealed under his clothes, the items found were confiscated and the suspect was placed under arrest for further investigation.  (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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The 2nd Caribbean Well-Being Conference scheduled for August 2019

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth & Sport is proud to announce the 2ndCaribbean Well-Being Conference (CWBC), which will be held on St. Maarten from August 5 to 6, 2019 under the theme: Fostering Resilience: Creating a culture of well-being in schools.The focus for CWBC 2019 will be on Teacher Well-being, Student Well-being and Family Well-being. 

The CWBC is a biennial conference that seeks to promote the positive development and well-being of children, parents, families, schools and communities. The CWBC aims to inform and educate on best practices to promote children’s well-being by looking at the important role that parents, families, teachers, schools, and communities play in the promotion of well-adjusted, socially and emotionally competent youth. 

The CWBC will bring educators, school administrators, social workers, counselors, psychologists, therapists, community leaders, practitioners, parents and all those working in promoting student wellness from St. Maarten, the Caribbean and the wider region. 

The CWBC is being organized by the Student Support Services Division (SSSD), the St. Maarten Youth Council Association and St. Johns University of New York. 

Anyone interested in presenting at CWBC may submit their proposal until March 9, 2019. For further information about the conference, including the guidelines for submission of proposals, one may visit the Caribbean Well-Being Conference Facebook page, the conference webpage on Eventbrite (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2019-caribbean-well-being-conference-tickets-53761614436) or contact the conference chair/founder Mrs. Olga Mussington-Service at 5431235.

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K1 Britannia Foundation marks its 5th year of charity today

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - K1 Britannia Foundation recently celebrated its 5th year anniversary having been established as a maritime foundation locally on February 27th, 2014. K1 has grown to house several charitable projects in the fields of Disaster Relief, Foster Care, Volunteerism and Second Chance – helping vulnerable and at-risk youth. 

Co-Founder Priya Thirumur introduced the basis of the foundation through conversation with the Court of Guardianship that highlighted the need to support vulnerable and at-risk youth. 5 years later, K1 has grown to encompass a network of passionate team members, dedicated local and international volunteers, and unwavering partners that strive to create solutions for evolving challenges faced by our vulnerable youth.  

A large part of whom and what the foundation is today is the volunteer program. In 2014, Program Manager Iris Hakkens jump-started the volunteer program with the hopes to get the people of St. Maarten active in creating solutions for issues on the island. K1 opened up the program to anyone looking to get involved, but mostly attracted a lot of creative, young students wanting to be a part of solutions. Atoya D’Aguiar, one of K1’s consistent volunteers, mentioned “Volunteering has changed my life by connecting to others. It’s good for your mind and body and brought fulfillment to my life. While volunteering with Coach Tom at Player Development, I got an opportunity to prove myself, meet people and gain a father.”

Today the volunteer program comprises a network over of 1,000 local and international volunteers. Many of K1’s Program Mangers started as volunteers, and K1 has drawn persons and international organizations like Menzies Aviation who participated in innovative fundraising activities while actively participating in volunteer activities on the island. 

Coach Tom Burnett of Player Development and beneficiary of the program stated, “K1 is an amazing group of young people who freely volunteer their time and energy to make the community a better place. At Player Development that means they read with the children, play with them and help the children grow.” 

Since the beginning, the Foster Care program has been a very large part of the foundation. As these children are some of the most vulnerable in our society, K1 aims to provide mentorship and experiences to these children to aid in the personal development of each child. The purpose of the program is to provide experiences to improve their emotional, social, and problem-solving skills, but also to guide them through positive role modeling. 

In it’s early years, when K1 Britannia Foundation focused closely on working with foster homes, the foundation then partnered with the Court of Guardianship to also mentor children currently in and transitioning out the justice system.  This transformed into what is today, K1’s Second Chance program; which is a program tailored to this group of youths to provide them with a “second chance” at life. K1 has been involved with a large number of youths assisting with job training, social development and mentoring. Tony Dunkerly alongside with K1, started the Work, Training & Social Development Program (WTSD), for 16-18 year olds to provide them with the tools and trainings needed to become dynamic members of society. 

Richelda Rodriguez- Emmanuel, Former Director of the Court of Guardianship shared, “K1’s Second Chance program, a first of its kind, is able to help children transitioning from the justice system. This program has given them the opportunity to grow and develop and receive various certifications in job training. I’ve personally see youth through the Court of Guardianship grow and develop from this program, in very personal ways.”

For the first time last year, K1 was able to send King, its first youth abroad to the UK. As the pilot program, King is taking part in a 1-year apprenticeship in boatbuilding and other maritime trainings. This program is also in conjunction with K1’s Scholarship Fund. The Fund has been set up to award training opportunities for local youth who cannot afford to do so themselves. K1 has also worked with Kidz at Sea to provide youth with maritime training; 9 youth have now graduated and gone on to work in the maritime field. Ongoing at this very moment, is a fully sponsored carpentry course that was made possible by K1 in collaboration with NIPA and sponsors such as Holland America Line, NRF, and Menzies Aviation to give youth the opportunity to advance in the construction field.

Mr. Spadaro of Maho Group kindly mentioned, “With compassion at its core, K1 Britannia Foundation is an organization that The Maho Group is proud to support. From their unwavering humanity and heart -especially toward children, whom are the pillars in which our society will move forward -  the organization and its leaders are committed to consistently exceeding the fellowship that defines our very community here in Sint Maarten.”

Over the years, K1 has also set up a mentorship program and sustained the Annual Christmas Angels Program that started since 2014. The program has become a tradition that encourages the community to take part in giving back to the most vulnerable in our community. 

The devastation on St. Maarten caused by Irma opened a gap and a role needed to be filled right after the storm hit. K1 along with it’s volunteers worked closely with the Coast Guard, Government of St. Maarten and other entities to provide relief and aid to those who needed it the most. From this, K1 has now set-up an official Disaster relief team called K1 DIRECT on St. Maarten and on Curacao. 

The K1 Britannia Foundation would like to thank all of its partners, sponsors and volunteers that have contributed to the growth of the foundation. 

SMDF kindly mentioned, “K1 Britannia has made a positive contribution to St. Maarten’s youngest residents. In extending grants to K1 Britannia, SMDF is financially supporting an organization that shares our commitment to St. Maarten’s social development and we congratulate the organization on five years of memorable service to St. Maarten.”

Co-Founder Priya Thirumur concluded, “K1 has always been a youth-driven organization, full of life, fire, and ideas.  The ones that keep K1 alive are truly the heart of the foundation. There is no end to what is possible, what challenges can be tackled, what lives can be changed and who may be inspired. We are humbled and ecstatic to have reached this milestone.”

 K1 looks forward to its continued journey of engaging the community and providing solutions for those who need it most. For more information about K1 Britannia Foundation, visit their website www.k1britanniafoundation.org, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit their Facebook www.facebook.com/k1sxm.

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Ombudsman announces Community Outreach Program

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Ombudsman Gwendolien Mossel and her team will be starting a Community Outreach Program during the month of March. The Bureau will be visiting the various districts to seek out the concerns, grievances and complaints of the people as well as continuing to promote awareness on the role of the institution. 

To achieve the objective of the program, the Ombudsman has solicited the assistance of the various community councils on the island, who were all recently invited to a meeting with the Ombudsman to be briefed about the program. 

The respective district councils will be requested to identify the most pressing/urgent cases of the less fortunate within their community where government action is required. Topics to be addressed include, but are not limited to: the elderly, single parent homes, the physically disabled, poverty, unhealthy living conditions etc.  

After the persons have been identified, by the community councils, the Ombudsman team will visit these persons and document their individual circumstances, which will be compiled in a report that will include the Ombudsman’s findings, conclusions and recommendations. The anonymized report will be presented to Parliament and Government upon completion.

Though many councils responded immediately to the call of the Ombudsman and attended the meeting, quite a few did not. The Ombudsman is hereby requesting all community councils that did not respond to contact the Bureau by calling 542-1250 or via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., for more information. 

mon0403 ombudsman ins1

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Thompson Missing since February 19. Police seeks community assistance

PHILIPSBURG - The Sint Maarten Juvenile Justice Department is asking for the help of the community to locate missing minor Kristoff Thompson, police said on Monday in a statement. 

Kristoff left home on the 19th of February 2019 and has not returned since then. He was last seen in the vicinity of Caribbean Liquors. His attire is unknown because he has since changed clothes after leaving home. 

Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Kristof f Thompson are asked to contact the Police Juvenile Department at the number 54-22222 ext 501 or his mother Sharon Spike at  +1721 5536351. (Sint Maarten Police Force) 

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