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VLF’S LEADERSHIP SUMMIT: PROFOUNDLY INSPIRING

SINT MAARTEN (BELAIR) - “VLF’s Leadership Summit lived up to and surpassed expectations. It was profoundly inspiring,” said Ken Crossély, poet, and a recipient of VLF’s Leader Worth Following Awards, for his heroic and self-less efforts in saving & preserving lives after Hurricane Irma 2017.

VLF’s two-day Leadership Summit comprised Leadercast, the world’s largest one day leadership conference on May 4th, which allowed attendees to improve their own personal leadership journey with tips for self-evaluation and self-growth. Leadercast Live 2018 focused on self-leadership, being the highest form of leadership, and provided participants tools and inspiration to “Lead themselves.” Leadercast was facilitated locally by MCs Chet Euton and Rosa Richardson.

Top leadership experts including Andy Stanley - Leadership Author & Communicator; Mae Jemison - NASA Astronaut, Engineer & Physician; Jen Bricker - Acrobat, Aerialist, Author & Speaker; and Joe Torre, Hall of Fame Baseball Manager, inspired attendees from Statia, and St. Maarten.

Attendees were inspired and stimulated by head of the Department of Culture Ms Clara Reyes who led them in a brain dance warm up based on the eight developmental patterns healthy human beings naturally move through in the first year of life.

Developed by Anne Green Gilbert, the Brain Dance helped to awaken their senses and opened them up to receive and digest all the speakers had to share. Reyes ended her session with a powerful poem entitled, I Dare You to Dream by local poet, Deborah Drisana Jack which the participants also recited with her.

VLF’s Leadership Summit continued on May 5th with some challenging and interactive sessions with certified John Maxwell Coach, Nelson Els who shared on John Maxwell’s Invaluable Laws of Growth which enabled participants to do some deep internal reflection on where they are in their lives, and through guided questions helped them to discover where they desired to be with tools to get there.

Jasmine Payne, integrated marketing consultant from Barbados, assisted employees and employers to better marry their personal and corporate brands to create a dynamic service brand that leaves customers satisfied while increasing the businesses’ bottom line. 

The global visibility catalyst, Ann DeVere from Hollywood California helped leaders to understand how they could monetize their passion through creating videos that sell their expertise. Although time was limited in these presentations, follow up sessions are planned to further build on the introductory material offered.

Dr. Francis Cotton and Roy Cotton Jr. helped attendees to discover their core styles of relating to others and life through the DISC assessment, the world’s #1 behavioural profiling tool. Participants were amazed at how accurate their individual DISC assessments were and were thankful for receiving such a tool to better lead themselves. Businesses expressed interest in using the tool for their staff to create better working environments and more harmonious working relationships as well as for hiring staff.

VLF’s Leadership Summit ended with VLF’s Leader Worth Following Awards and Symposium. Participants were led by visionary of VLF, Dr. Erna Mae Francis Cotton in a visioning exercise which propelled them ten years into the future and created a buzz of excitement and anticipation for their and St. Maarten’s preferred future.

Apostle Napolina Richardson received VLF’s Visionary Leader Worth Following Awards, through popular vote. Ken Crossély received a heroic award; while 18 year old Genora Jankee received VLF’s Emerging Visionary Leader Worth Following Award.

The evening ended with a dynamic local panel of leaders comprising local author, Mr. Joseph Lake Jr. who focused on what an independent St. Maarten would look like; Dr. Alicia Liverpool who focused on the necessity for justice and righteousness in leadership so that the people prosper; Joel Ayuk, of CanI TV addressed the importance of media in inspiring and uplifting the community; Dwain Carbon of Carbon Acquisition Group focused on the importance of businesses giving back to the community so that the community thrives; while 18 year old Kamilah Gumbs focused on the necessity of including youth in the planning and development of St. Maarten so that their ideas and values are also respected since youth will inherit the visions cast today. Next year’s event is slated for May 10th-11th, 2019.

VLF thanks all their partners and attendees for making their Leadership Summit a phenomenal success. To partner with VLF visit www.victoriouslivingfoundation.com or www.victoriouslivingsxm.org    e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 1-721-524-8731. 

CUTLINE: Participants engaged in body-mind wake up from Clara Reyes.

Participants engaged in body mind wake up from Clara Reyes

VLF INSIDE 2

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Nature Foundation and Axum Art Café invite all St. Maarten Artists to…

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - The Sint Maarten Nature Foundation will be organizing the first Shark and Ocean themed Art Exhibition at the Axum Art Café on the 8th of June 2018 as part of St Maarten Shark Week. The Art Exhibition will be the kick off of this year’s Shark Week, which will be held from the 8th until the 16th of June 2018. 

Sharks are the most misunderstood species on the planet as they are repeatedly displayed as villains and being dangerous; however, they are actually the victims of humans poaching, finning and overfishing. Worldwide over 100 million sharks are killed per year resulting in half of all shark species being threatened or endangered. 

It is important that we work together to ensure the survival of our shark populations, therefore the Nature Foundation is trying to bring this awareness to the public by organizing Shark Week; “We are very pleased to partner with the Axum Art Café in Phillipsburg in order to stimulate art work on our island and educate people about sharks. Therefore, we invite all St Maarten artists to submit their work related to sharks and our ocean for this exceptional art exhibition” Stated nature Foundation’s Project Officer Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern. 

“The Axum Art Café offers local cultural activities such as live music, art exhibitions and performance arts, visitors can relax and appreciate art from St Maarten at our café. Partnering with the Nature Foundation gives us the opportunity to show art work related to a theme which have not been exposed before. We think it is a great opportunity to showcase the beautiful underwater world of St Maarten using local art work” stated Ménélik Arnell Manager of the Axum Art Café. 

All St Maarten artists are invited to submit their art, photo or video work related to the theme ‘Shark and Ocean’ for submission an email can be send to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with a picture of your art or photo work; name, size and short story of your work; vending price and your name and contact details. Submissions need to be send in before the 21st of May 2018.

Art Exhibition invite

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KPSM expresses Gratitude to the community

PHILIPSBURG – “KPSM (Sint Maarten Police Force), we would like to thank the general public for a safe conclusion of the 2018 Carnival season. Despite a few minor, expected, incidents throughout the season it was over all a dormant carnival season,” the KPSM expressed in a press statement on Friday.

“KPSM would also like to thank SCDF (St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation) for their cooperation during the 2018 carnival season as we too are now looking forward to 50years of carnival in 2019.

“We would also like to remind the public that although carnival is over crime is still evident and one should always be vigilant and remember the 3 A’s of Crime Prevention:

  1. Be Aware of your surroundings at all times.
    2. Be Alert to suspicious people and vehicles.
    3. Avoid dangerous situations.

“If you are leaving home and out for the evening:

- Turn on lights, radio or television so that it looks like some-one is at home.
- Lock all doors and windows well
- Don’t display items where they can be seen from the outside.
- Park your car in a well-lit area 
- Avoid carrying a large amount of cash. 
- Pay close attention to the people around 
- When returning to your vehicle or your home, have your keys in your hands ready to open the door.
- Ask your neighbor to keep a watchful eye out for you.
- Do not drink and drive.”

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Dept. of STAT commences with Economic Census Survey

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Department of Statistics (STAT) from the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic & Telecommunications, has embarked upon an Economic Census Survey (ECS).

The ECS is an internationally used exercise to collect and report on the number of business establishments according to their size, economic activity/industry, and location.

STAT will also be able to identify and report on the number of micro, small, medium and large entities operating on St. Maarten.

Acting Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Cornelius de Weever implores the business community to assists the Department of STAT by participating in the survey, because accurate and up-to-date data is needed for policy planning purposes of the post-Hurricane Irma economy.

Minister De Weever during a briefing on Wednesday, thanked the business community in advance for their cooperation as well as the different entities involved in the survey.

11 interviewers hit the pavement on Thursday and will cover business operations in eight zones namely, Low Lands, Simpson Bay, Cole Bay, Little Bay, Cul de Sac, Philipsburg, Upper Princess Quarter and Lower Princess Quarter.

Head of the Department of STAT Makini Persaud-Hickinson

during the briefing on Wednesday said the ECS would give a full account of all economic units partaking in the economy, and about the types of economic activity taking place on the Dutch side post-Irma.

Persaud-Hickinson added that STAT did conduct a pilot survey back in February when 350 businesses were contacted. 200 businesses were interviewed and the cooperation at that time was positive.

Persaud-Hickinson pointed out that it was critical to have benchmark statistics with respect to how many businesses are operational, closed, and/or how many new businesses have opened. The survey also breaks down the size and industry of the current business community.

Department of STAT Project Leader Jason Grant said the survey comprises of 32 questions seeking basic information from business owners such as name, address, legal form of the business, number of employees, post-hurricane status/insurance, and if it’s a hotel, the number of rooms/beds.

Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) Executive Director Anastacio Baker during the briefing appealed to the business community to take part in the 30-minute survey, as the information collected will contribute to proper planning in order to move the country forward.

The information would also be very relevant for the COCI database and the Chamber prefers a joint approach rather than having individual entities going out and collecting information from its membership.

The ECS will be carried out over a 10-week period. This survey is a main data source for: 1) Creating a comprehensive Statistical Business Register system; 2)   Calculating more accurately the Gross Domestic Product (GDP); 3) Obtaining data on the number and distribution of economic establishments by industrial category, region and number of employees.

INTERVIEW AUDIO LINK: Download Link

https://we.tl/2vjSK6Ks0I

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Minister De Weever commends INTERPOL Coordinated Operation on Human Trafficking

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – The International Police Organization (INTERPOL) recently carried out a successful law enforcement coordinated Operation Libertad project to combat human trafficking in the Caribbean.

More than 500 police officers in 13 countries including from Aruba and Curacao, took part in the operation that led to the apprehension of 22 individuals.

Minister of Justice Cornelius de Weever said on Thursday that he commends the INTERPOL coordinated operation for its success and pointed out to the importance of cooperation and collaboration.

INTERPOL reported that nearly 350 potential victims of sexual exploitation and forced labour were rescued in the Caribbean, Central and South America.

“Cooperation is essential among law enforcement partners within the Kingdom and within the Region.  Law enforcement entities are doing invaluable work to bring human trafficking crimes to justice, and at the same time, standing up for the rights and interests of the victims who have been taken advantage of.

“As countries we must continue to take steps to forge and to strengthen partnerships across the Kingdom, within the Region and across international borders.  Such partnership and cooperation can be seen in the success of Operation Libertad,” Minister of Justice Cornelius de Weever said on Thursday.

In addition to coordinated police raids, searches were carried out against INTERPOL’s criminal databases, generating 30 hits, including 25 for Stolen and Lost Travel Documents. Computer equipment, mobiles phones and cash were also seized.

Both men and women, including minors, were discovered working in night clubs, farms, mines, factories and open-air markets.

To ensure victims received the necessary care following their rescue, social services and NGOs were involved in conducting post-operation interviews and providing support services to victims.

The operation was the culmination of the two-and-a-half year project funded by the Government of Canada, which provided specialized training to investigators and immigration officers in order to enhance operational expertise and regional coordination to combat human trafficking.

Participating countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Curacao, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands and Venezuela.

The Joint Regional Communications Centre (JRCC) in Barbados hosted the operational coordination centre, with specialist officers from INTERPOL’s Trafficking in Human Beings unit deployed to the region.

Support was provided by the INTERPOL Command and Coordination Centre at the General Secretariat in Lyon, France and at the INTERPOL Regional Bureau in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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TPI’s Gittens to Judge Saba Comprehensive School Pageant

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - Dr. Natasha Gittens, President and CEO of Training Professionals International Firm (TPI) has been selected to be one of three judges at the Saba Comprehensive School (SCS) first annual Mr. and Miss Pageant show that is scheduled to take place on Saturday, June 23, at 6:30 p.m.

According to Mrs. Carol Irvine Skinner, a representative from SCS who has worked with Dr. Gittens in the past, “it was evident that she (Dr. Gittens) eluded and modeled confidence and poise; two of the main outcomes we will like to develop in our students, who will be taking part in the Mr. and Miss SCS Pageant. Her ability to be fair and unbiased was also another contributing factor for her selection as the head judge.”

The pageant competition was designed to critically assist the team at (SCS) institution in building the self confidence of their students, while working on their presentation skills to promote a respect for their culture and intelligence of Saba and its people.

“I am truly honored,” states Gittens, “to have been invited to be a part of such a prestigious event. I applaud the SCS and the contestants for their courage, as I will do my part to ensure the pageant’s overall success.”

The contestants will be judged on poise, personality, and confidence and will compete in cultural wear, talent, professional wear, evening gown and on-stage question segments.

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SCDF announces dates for 2019 Carnival 50th anniversary. Two month celebration being planned

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLND) - The St.  Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) on Wednesday announced April 22, 2019 to May 6, 2019 as the dates for the 50th anniversary of St. Maarten Carnival.

“We are going to go all out for Carnival’s golden anniversary. It will be a celebration to remember,” SCDF President Alston Lourens said, adding that the Saves The Dates campaign is underway via social media.  

The official part of Carnival 2019 (when Carnival Village opens and closes) spans two weeks, exactly 14 days. The pre-Carnival events, the SCDF explained, will start mid-March and run until the Village opens. “In other words, we will have almost two months of Carnival 50 activities and then some,” Lourens said.

In selecting the dates, and eventually constructing the schedule, the SCDF had to consider how Easter falls on the calendar. More specifically, how the holy week of Lent (the week of Good Friday) fell on the calendar.

By tradition, the Carnival foundation does not host any events during holy week and has always hosted Carnival after Easter. Easter 2019 is on April 21. Carnival 2019 will open on Easter Monday, April 22.

“With Easter falling late that also meant the school vacation would also run a little later into May. That gave us the space to give the public 14 days of Carnival,” Lourens said.

“We would like to see the involvement of all stakeholders, past and present, in their own ways or with the SCDF for Carnival 50. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event and we intend to involve as many people as possible to make it an epic anniversary celebration. The foundation will start planning immediately,” he said.

Lourens added that a special logo for Carnival 50 will be selected from a number of submissions and will be launched publicly soon. The foundation will also release the complete schedule of events by the end of June or before. 

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K1 Britannia foundation receives appreciation award

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) – His Excellency the Governor of Sint Maarten Drs. Eugene Holiday and his cabinet organized its annual King’s Day Celebration in honor of King Willem-Alexanders’ Birthday on April 26th, 2018 at Simpson Bay Resort & Marina. This year’s theme was "Resilience and Service" as a way to pay homage to how far St. Maarten has come since the passing of devastating Hurricane Irma last September.

During the celebration, the K1 Britannia Foundation was presented with an "Award of Appreciation" by His Excellency the Governor of Sint Maarten Drs. Eugene Holiday for its valued contributions towards the post-Hurricane Irma response on St. Maarten.

Since the day of Hurricane Irma on September 6th, 2017, K1 has been busy with immediate, mid and long term relief.

In the weeks immediately following Irma, K1 along with the Dutch Military and Coast Guard held a total of 19 mass and mini distributions through which over 20,000 persons were assisted with food, water and supplies. Once the mass distributions were finished, hundreds of food and water packages with the help of Prime Distributors were made to assist the elderly, soup kitchens and hard hit neighborhoods.

Volunteers also set up multiple shelters by cleaning and sanitizing them as well as managed 4 evacuation shelters for 48 hours prior, during and post Hurricane Maria.

Besides the mass distributions, K1 adopted over 20 local organizations and shelters who help vulnerable groups such as foster children, elderly, sick, mentally ill, at-risk youth, those made homeless through Irma, etc. K1 visited each of these places immediately after Irma to see what was needed as far as supplies, medical help, etc.

K1 then consistently supplied each of them with food, water, hygiene and baby supplies, etc. until they were able to get back on their feet — for some places this was from immediately after Irma until the end of January. This help enabled these organizations and institutions to stay functional throughout this difficult period where those they cared for needed their help more than ever.

From December to April K1 additionally focused on procuring the material help these institutions needed, as most had suffered damages and needed new equipment, furniture, and other materials. Additionally, six organizations catering to children received construction assistance from K1, done by local youth along with international volunteer contractors. Helping these community organizations was a way to reach some of the most vulnerable in the community.

Needy families also received material help from K1 such as couches, chairs, pillows, sheets, etc.

Targeting the children on the island, over 25 primary, high and afternoon school programs received water, food supplies, hygiene products, high energy biscuits, can liners, etc. for the needy students and the school.

Lack of electricity and food supplies hampered many persons from providing hot meals for themselves in the weeks immediately after Irma. So with the help of a volunteer chef, 400 hot meals were distributed to needy neighborhoods, the elderly, afternoon school programs, foster homes, etc.

K1’s volunteers also assisted in Dominica for several weeks after Hurricane Maria on various fronts of the disaster relief efforts there.

“We are extremely humbled, surprised and grateful for this honor. It's encouraging and gives us the energy to continue preparing for the upcoming hurricane season to be ready to serve the people of St. Maarten and the region” said Chiaira Bowers, Project Manager at the foundation.

K1 Britannia Foundation is soon to announce their long term plans for ongoing disaster relief and preparedness both for St Maarten and the Caribbean region, as after Irma it was decided this needs to remain one of the foundation’s strong focuses.

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.

CUTLINE: L-R, Yash Rajani, K1 Project Manager, His Excellency Governor of St. Maarten Eugene Holiday, and Chiaira Bowers, K1 Project Manager.

L R Yash Rajani K1 Project Manager Governor of St. Maarten Chiaira Bowers K1 Project Manager

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Condolence register for Joe Richardson opens on Thursday

POND ISLAND - On behalf of the Council of Ministers and the people of Sint Maarten, Prime Minister Leona Romeo Marlin expresses condolences to the family and friends on the passing of Joseph “Joe” Richardson on April 29th 2018.

Joseph Richardson served the community of Sint Maarten and Saba in many capacities, as a politician, board member on several Government related boards, Civil Servant, Island Council Member, Commissioner in the Executive Council and Administrator of Saba.  His contributions are immense, as he has touched the lives of many persons that had the opportunity to interact with him.

In remembrance of Mr. Richardson, the Government of Sint Maarten will place the condolence register in the lobby of the Government Administration Building on Soualiga Road #1 on May 3rd from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm allowing persons in the community to pay their respect. 

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Aruba and Curacao participate in INTERPOL Operation. Hundreds of human trafficking victims rescued

SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN – Nearly 350 potential victims of sexual exploitation and forced labour have been rescued in an INTERPOL-coordinated operation targeting human trafficking in the Caribbean, Central and South America.  Aruba and Curacao also took part in the operation.

Police authorities from Sint Maarten – the country is also a member of INTERPOL - did not participate in the operation. 

More than 500 police officers in 13 countries also arrested 22 individuals during Operation Libertad (3 – 9 April), held under the INTERPOL Project to Combat Human Trafficking in the Caribbean.

The Joint Regional Communications Centre (JRCC) in Barbados hosted the operational coordination centre, with specialist officers from INTERPOL’s Trafficking in Human Beings unit deployed to the region.

Support was provided by the INTERPOL Command and Coordination Centre at the General Secretariat in Lyon, France and at the INTERPOL Regional Bureau in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

In addition to coordinated police raids, searches were carried out against INTERPOL’s criminal databases, generating 30 hits, including 25 for Stolen and Lost Travel Documents. Computer equipment, mobiles phones and cash were also seized.

INTERPOL Executive Director of Police Services Tim Morris said: “Operations like this show the power of INTERPOL providing a platform for the 13 participating countries, but what sits behind these numbers is the human story.”

“Whether it is someone’s mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter, there is an intensely personal story that is usually – unfortunately – accompanied by a lot of suffering,” he concluded.

Targeting the most vulnerable

Both men and women, including minors, were discovered working in night clubs, farms, mines, factories and open-air markets.

With thousands looking to cross borders in search of work, traffickers are targeting the most desperate and vulnerable members of society with promises of a better life.

Cem Kolcu, Coordinator of INTERPOL’s Trafficking in Human Beings unit, said: “What traffickers don’t advertise are the working conditions their victims will be subject to once their final destination is reached. During this operation, we identified women being forced to work out of spaces no bigger than coffins, for example.”

In Guyana, young women were found working as prostitutes next to extremely remote gold mines, from which they could not escape. This is a common modus operandi as the geographical location of the mines also complicates investigations.

“Isolated locations make it difficult for officers to avoid detection when travelling to these camps. By the time intelligence is acted upon, perpetrators have had the opportunity to act and move the victims,” explained Diana O’Brien, Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Ministry of Public Security, Guyana.

A victim-centric approach

To ensure victims received the necessary care following their rescue, social services and NGOs were involved in conducting post-operation interviews and providing support services to victims.

Because they can earn more than they would in their home countries, some victims don’t identify as such, making it difficult to gather evidence and prosecute cases of suspected trafficking. Other victims are manipulated and intimidated into providing false information.

In Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Asian ‘employees’ at a factory had been stripped of their passports and made to be completely dependent. Having never received wages, they relied on their handlers for housing, transport, food and the most basic necessities.

With similar examples across the region, this highlights the need to raise awareness amongst vulnerable communities in both source and destination countries and to ensure appropriate support mechanisms are in place.

INTERPOL Global Task Force on Human Trafficking

The operation was the culmination of the two-and-a-half year project funded by the Government of Canada, which provided specialized training to investigators and immigration officers in order to enhance operational expertise and regional coordination to combat human trafficking.

The programme is one of several projects under the INTERPOL Global Task Force on Human Trafficking, which received the backing of G7 Security Ministers last week.

Participating countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Curacao, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands and Venezuela.

20 Operation Libertad pos sqligallerysliderImage

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