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St. Maarten Academy P.S.V.E. Report Card Day set for Wednesday

ST. PETERS - By means of this notice, St. Maarten Academy P.S.V.E. hereby request your presence at our Report Card Day on Wednesday 20th April 2016 from10.00a.m. until 2.00p.m.

It is in the interest of your child to make the necessary arrangements with your employer to be able to attend this very important meeting.  

Parents who have not yet paid the $ 5,00 contribution for their child's school ID-card, should do so during this visit.

If parental contribution is outstanding, please pay your outstanding balance at Scotiabank and submit a copy of the receipt to the head office at the St. Maarten Academy Academic section.  

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Minister of Culture Jacobs addresses the Community on Carnival

PHILIPSBURG – The Minister of Culture Silveria Jacobs extends to the entire community of St. Maarten as well as to our treasured visitors a happy and safe Carnival 2016. 48 years of evolving Carnival celebrations have kept segments of our culture alive and it is the hope of the Minister that even more core cultural aspects receive the recognition they deserve during this our largest cultural celebration of the year and years to come.

All stakeholders in Carnival, from the SCDF, the promoters and sponsors, booth-holders, the participants, the spectators and law enforcement are key to the success of this three week event. 

Come and enjoy life, but please do so responsibly. Don't drink and drive, remember your number one responsibility as parents is to keep your children safe. Be an active and involved parent and citizen.

To all our talented participants, calypsonians, dancers, singers, pageant delegates, revelers and performers of every art form, I wish you much success as you continue to promote your talent SxmStyle!

Happy and Safe Carnival to all!

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School Bussing Service Update: Ministers Jacobs and Arrindell meet on about the issue

PHILIPSBURG - On April 7th 2016, a joint meeting was held between the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports (Ministry ECYS), headed by the Hon. Minister Silveria Jacobs and the Ministry of Tourism and Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (Ministry TEATT) headed by the Hon. Minister Ingrid Arrindell, with the intention to work collaboratively to come up with a short term and long term solution concerning the School Bussing Transportation Service.

Both Ministers give the green light for a joint School Bus Committee which includes prominent members of both Ministries, since both Ministries are working on a solution to come to a more efficient, safer and cost effective School Bussing Transportation Service for a number of years.

The joint Committee had its first meeting on April 12th, 2016. The Committee is working diligently to come up with a short term and long term solution and will report to their respective Ministers within short. The strife is to look for solutions which are fair and encompasses the current operators and government in the short term, as well as solutions going forward in the long term, which government feel will be beneficial to all parties involve.

The committee has another meeting scheduled early next week after which they will complete a report and plan of action to the respective Ministers. Once the plan is approved by the Ministers, an information meeting will be scheduled with the current operators.

Let us continue to work together and work and push St. Maarten Forward, a press release from the Cabinet of the Minister ECYS said on Wednesday evening.

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Police Chief congratulates officers and to take force to a higher level

CAY HILL - The Police Chief Commissioner Carl John is publicly congratulating the entire police force for the tremendous job they are presently doing.

In particular those officers who under these difficult circumstances have provided security for the “Menam” Case (Gamali Benjamin case) held at the Belair Community Center in Cay Hill on Wednesday April 13th.

Police Chief Commissioner John said that the officers have shown a high level of professionalism, which is definitely a sign that the organization is on the right track in training its personnel with the limited resources it has.

Commissioner John is encouraging all personnel to continue to do their best and together as a team take the organization to a higher level. (Police Force Sint Maarten)

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Police Seeking Golden Tip as Search for “CHUCHI continues. Use of the Police Tip line

PHILIPSBURG - The Justice Department is still very actively searching for the escaped prisoner Kathron “Cuchi” Fortune. “Cuchi” who is considered armed and extremely dangerous has been in hiding since his daring escape from two prison guards on February 15th 2016 and which has raised much concern for safety and security in the entire community.

A lot of effort is being done by both the French and Dutch authorities in the form house searches, handing out of “wanted” posters, opening contact phone lines, posting of a financial reward etc. in order to get information from the community regarding the where about of “Cuchi” but this has not yet given any positive results. The Justice Department is still lacking that “golden tip” from the community in order recapture “Cuchi” and put him back in prison where he belongs.

“Cuchi” is receiving help from persons within the community in the form of somewhere to remain in hiding, providing him with meals, clothing and transportation from one location to another. The Justice Department is again reminding the entire community that this type of assistance to any fugitive of the law is a very serious crime.

There are persons in the community who have information but are and remain very reluctant to come forward with this information in fear that his or her identity might be released and that they or a family member may become targets afterwards.

To eliminate all sense of insecurity regarding fear of his or her identity being released and the reluctance to give information to the authorities who are continuing to ask the community for help and support to recapture “Cuchi”, the police department is providing the following information;

The police tip line and its purpose:

The Police Force of Sint Maarten constantly spreads their news through press releases, press conferences, social media etc. Whenever something happens on our island and the police are involved, the PR department writes and sends information to the different media sources in Sint Maarten.

If information is about serious crime such as: murders or attempted murders, cases regarding fire-arms, robberies, human trafficking/smuggling and drug related crime, the police always places a contact telephone number in the press release. One of these numbers is the 9300 tip line number.

For persons who have never called this number, and for others who want to know more about the procedures of the Sint Maarten Police Force when someone wants to use it, we would like to explain what the use of that number is.

The 9300 tip line number is the “anonymous phone line” for the police force. Daily with the exceptions of Saturday and Sunday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. this telephone line will be answered by an employee of our CID-department who will precisely explain all steps you are required to take. You should follow these steps correctly.

CID is short for Criminal Intelligence Division. When you make a call after the hours mentioned or during the weekend an answering machine will record your information. If you choose to leave a message on the answering machine, you are requested to leave a clear and detailed message. If you want to make a personal appointment with one of the CID officers, this appointment will not take place in any of our police stations, but in a place and at a time both you and the CID officer agreed upon. If someone picks up the phone after office hours or during the weekend do not get alarmed and “DO NOT” hang up. Give the information to the officer on the line.

In this department professionals are working very hard to solve the more serious crime.  These men and women many times rely on the assistance of third parties to get the final “piece of the puzzle” to solve a major case.

This is where you the public comes in. If ever you have any information about any serious crime or other criminal activity, make use of the free 9300 anonymous tip line and share it with the police department. The Sint Maarten Police Force absolutely guarantees you that your call will always remain anonymous. Your identity and other personal information will not be shared with anyone. We will assure you that! Of course, if you get in contact with our CID department, we expect you absolutely “NOT” to speak to other persons about this. If you share the information with others you will compromise the guarantee of anonymity.

The Justice Department is encouraging the entire community help combat crime by doing your part as law abiding citizens by making use of this free anonymous police tip line to inform the police about any crime or criminal activity you may have information of. By doing your part you will undoubtedly helping restore safety, security and tranquility in our society.

“DO NOT” wait until you, a family member or anyone else in the community becomes a victim of crime.

“DO NOT” wait until crime comes knocking at your door.

Pick-up the phone and dial 9300 and share your information. (Police Force Sint Maarten)

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Cuba Tourism Air Traffic Forecast to Grow with Open Air Agreement

SINT MAARTEN/CUBA – Cuba has been described as the awakening tourism giant of the Caribbean.  Agreements have been reached in air transportation as well as cruises to the island.

 Fitch Credit Investment Ratings Group recently said that with the agreement reached between the United States of America and Cuba regarding air transportation, two nations in the Caribbean are being used as comparisons with respect to the type of air traffic growth Cuba will see, namely Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

The air agreement with Cuba at the moment allows for 20 daily flights to Havana (Jose Marti International Airport) and 90 daily flights to nine other Cuban cities.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported that in 2014 Puerto Rico’s international airport Luis Munoz Marin had over 4.1 million enplanements.

The Dominican Republic’s Punta Cana International Airport, according to the Central Bank of that country, the later saw 5.2 million enplanements in 2013.  

Modest growth in air travel to Cuba is expected in the coming years climbing to the same levels of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

Other destinations in the Caribbean will have to review their air development plans and push forward in opening new routes if they are to retain current numbers to their destinations.  The regional air traffic business according to some analysts will go where growth is, and Cuba will be the destination.

The aforementioned is once again an eye-opener for regional airports including Sint Maarten, that you cannot rest on your laurels, but will have to move forward in executing plans that secure new business for the long-term sustainability of an airport and the destination.

SOUALIGA NEWSDAY REPORT

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Increased Security Surveillance at the Airport. Passengers need to check-in three hours before

SINT MAARTEN/PUERTO RICO – Security has been increased at the airport, and passengers departing the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport will have to arrive at the airport three hours before scheduled departures.

Sint Maarten vacationers and shoppers will have to keep this in mind when catching their flight back to Princess Juliana International Airport.

The tighter security is due to the terrorists attacks carried out in Brussels, Belgium last week Tuesday.

Under normal circumstances, passengers could arrive and check-in at least two hours before departure time.

SOUALIGA NEWSDAY REPORT

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Popular North American general interest magazine Reader’s Digest Names St. Maarten Amongst Top Ten Bird-Watching Destinations in the Americas

COLE BAY - Popular North American General Interest Magazine has named St. Maarten as one of the Top Ten destinations in the Caribbean for Bird-Tourism. The magazine highlighted Sint Maarten as an “A hot spot for migrating sea birds with a burgeoning bird watching scene.

Visitors to the annual Migratory Seabird Festival can enjoy guided tours to the island’s 164 species in a variety of locations and learn more about the birds through local environmental organizations.

Specific mention was also given to the National Bird of St. Maarten, the Brown Pelican; “You won’t need your binoculars to spot St. Maarten’s national bird, the Brown Pelican—it can be found on nearly every beach!


Reader's Digest is an American general-interest family magazine, published monthly and reaches approximately 40 million people in more than 70 countries, with 49 editions in 21 languages, making it the largest paid circulation magazine in the world.

“The fact that St. Maarten has been featured as the number eight destination in the Americas for Bird Watching shows that both conservation efforts and efforts to increase eco-tourism are starting to pay off.

“Bird-tourism is a multi-million-dollar industry and together with other eco-tourism initiatives it would be in the best interest of the country to continue to invest in building out this market. This shows that not only does environmental protection work in safeguarding nature, but also has an impact on the economy of St. Maarten in a very positive way,” commented Tadzio Bervoets, Nature Foundation Manager.

Read more at http://www.readersdigest.ca/travel/world/10-best-tropical-destinations-bird-watchers

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World tourism agency advocates for safer, easier travel in 2016

SINT MAARTEN/INTERNATIONAL – The promotion of safe and seamless travel should be one of the key priorities for the tourism industry this year, says the head of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

“Safety and security are priorities for all and we need to ensure tourism is fully integrated into national and international security agendas,” Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary-General,told the opening ceremony of the major tourism trade fair known as ITB Berlin [Internationale Tourismus-Borse Berlin].

In his address on Tuesday, Mr. Rifai cautioned that security challenges should not prompt the building of new walls and stressed the need “to cooperate, not isolate.”

“Enhancing security and enabling more seamless travel should always go hand-in-hand,” he noted.

One of the ways to make travel safer and easier is through technology, Mr. Rifai said, which is rapidly changing consumers’ behaviour and business models.

He highlighted the need to better understand the impact of technology on the tourism sector, and to maximize new opportunities that improve the competitiveness of destinations and help manage natural resources more effectively.

The tourism industry can embrace sustainability and still reach its economic goals, was another key message for 2016, as the UN agency expects the industry to grow an estimated 4 per cent this year.

Mr. Rifai called on industry representatives to adhere to the 2030 Agenda, which contains the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a “matter of realizing benefits for all.”

The topic will be particularly relevant next year, given that the UN has declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

“Climate change mitigation, effective resource management, poverty reduction and inclusive growth need to be at the centre of tourism development,” said Mr. Rifai.

Addressing these priorities can only be achieved with tourism established as a national priority with the necessary financial and political support to advance the sector. At the same time, tourism can support the economic, social and environmental foundations of many countries, he noted.

“As we embrace a new sustainable development agenda let us ensure that while we build a more competitive sector we are also contributing to a better world,” Mr. Rifai urged the audience.

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Tourism Authority to support culinary, heritage tourism experiences for visitors

SINT MAARTEN/BERMUDA – In order to improve the tourism product for visitors, and to remain a competitive tourism destination, investments have to be continuously made in order to be ahead of the competition.

A tourism authority also has an investment wing that channels funds into visitor experiences, and for 2016, the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) will renew funding for Bermuda Fly-fishing Invitational, Bermuda Yoga Festival, and Bermuda Heroes’ Weekend.

38 tourism experiences will be receiving funding of more than half a million dollars, and this includes more than 12 new experiences. 

Some of the new tourism experiences include an intimate dinner theatre performance of Reminiscences and Other Lies, and a new water sport experience which came about after carrying out a survey among customers in order to improve the services that the business offers and introduce new products and services that keeps the visitor experience at the top.

In the summer, Kinezumi Water Sports will introduce the hydro-powered Jetovator, among other water-based products.

The “Carnival-chaser” is a new visitor market that is being tapped by tourism authorities.

The BTA contributions to home-grown ideas is to help revive the island’s collection of visitor experiences which is also based on consumer research, an essential ingredient that helps one develop and package products for visitors along with the advice of tourism industry entrepreneurs.

SOUALIGA NEWS DAY REPORT

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