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TelEm Group, TelCell, devote Bird of Peace message to SXM

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND)TelEm Group is promoting a message of peace amongst youth in the St. Maarten community, with the installation of new signage to be placed around St. Maarten schools and other places that youths gather.

The new signage is designed in bright colors, utilizing a white dove as a symbol of peace to carry the message “No Place for Hate.”

The messages will be placed in 19 different locations with four of the island’s main schools being chosen to have a super large mural installed at a prominent location on one of the school walls, also carrying the “No Place for Hate” message.

TelEm Group says the posters and murals will replace a series of posters that have been used each year to feature TelCell Breakthrough Talent Search winners delivering their own personal messages to their peers in the St. Maarten community.

“The peace dove was selected because it is symbolic of peace and love within the school premises with a reminder that there is not place for hate in our schools,” said a member of TelEm Group team promoting the peace initiative.

“The team feels that there is so much negativism bombarding the youth from so many angles and from different media, that this a good place to start to remind our youth about peace and that there should be no place in their hearts for hate of any kind,” notes another member of the TelEm Group coordinating team. 

The team is especially excited about the installation of the murals at four main St. Maarten schools and say they will be encouraging the students there to stand in the center of the mural and take photos which they can then use as a profile picture if they wish, or just share with friends, family and associates on Social Media, to get the peace message out.

The team says they will begin putting up the new signage in the coming days and the murals soon after, stressing that the message of peace is not because of any particular problem associated with hate in any of the island’s schools, but a timely message of peace.


Health Tri-partite commence plans to optimize medical referrals abroad process

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Minister Emil Lee announced on Wednesday that the Health Tri-partite committee consisting of the Ministry of VSA (Public Health, Social Development and Labour), SZV (Social and Health Insurances) and the SMMC (St. Maarten Medical Center) are making steps to optimize the international medical referrals procedures. 

Patient care efficiency, cost control, technology, and quality regional care contracts are on the top of the list for the new plans. The committee has commissioned the consultancy firm Grant Thornton to provide support in two key areas: the restructuring of the international medical referral process and a tender to procure medical care from medical institutions abroad. 

Tri-partite members have been collaborating for several years on improvements; Lee is ready to push developments forward.

The entire medical referrals process is being revisited and analyzed to determine points for improvement, bottlenecks in efficiency, as well as costs. The new plans may include that committees be installed to review the submitting and approval process of referrals, the appeals process, post-referral process and optimizing patient care and rehabilitation locally.

A comprehensive look at the feedback system of local and international care delivered will also be included. The tender to procure medical care from institutions abroad will be for currently contracted parties as well as new health care service providers in the region. 

Quality of care, price and other criteria will be included, as the committees – together with Grant Thornton establish the terms of reference for the tender procedure. 

It is the intention that the restructuring of the medical referrals process will enable patients to get more care locally, for example, access to rotating international specialists, telemedicine and improved communication between local and international specialists. 

The result of the revamp will improve patient care, reduce medical costs, help SZV safeguard the funds and improve collaborations between local and international specialists.

Grant Thornton is a global consulting firm with an extensive international network. The consultants of Grant Thornton assigned to the project are Anco Ringeling and Roban van Herk. 

Roban van Herk is a consultant in Aruba with a focus on Healthcare. Anco Ringeling has extensive experience in the healthcare sector as a long-time director of AZV and was involved during the start of the national health insurance in Aruba. He has knowledge of the challenges that health insurances face, such as international medical referrals. 


Minister Johnson congratulates Princess Heights Hotel & Leisure Car Rental on Travel Awards

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Stuart Johnson congratulates the management and staff of Princess Heights Hotel and Leisure Car Rental with respect to the hospitality awards that they have received from international tourism organizations.

Princess Heights Hotel was awarded with St. Maarten's Leading Hotel 2019 by World Travel Award! The award was presented at the Caribbean & North America Gala Ceremony 2019 which was held in Jamaica at the end of January. 

This is the 4th time the hotel has been awarded as St. Maarten's Leading Hotel. World Travel Awards are awarded based on the opinions of travel and tourism professionals as well as consumers worldwide. 

Leisure Car Rental won two globally recognized awards from the World Travel Award organization related to its business operations on the island.  

The two awards were: St. Maarten’s Leading Independent Car Rental Company; and St. Martin’s Leading Car Rental Company.

“The recognition received by our hospitality sector service businesses, demonstrates the resilience of the staff in providing the best service they can provide with a ‘Friendly Island’ smile.  

“That personal touch provided by the staff of Princess Heights Hotel and Leisure Car Rental is what our guests remember and at the end of the day reward those for the memorable experiences that they received while vacationing on the island.  Keep up the good work,” Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Stuart Johnson said on Monday.

World Travel Awards™ was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all key sectors of the travel, tourism and hospitality industries. Today, the World Travel Awards™ brand is recognized globally as the ultimate hallmark of industry excellence.


Female robbed by knife wielding bandit while leaving restaurant

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Wednesday February 6that approximately 11:30 pm, police patrols were dispatched to a popular restaurant on Front Street where an armed robbery had just taken place. 

While on the scene the patrol received information form the victim that a male suspect, coming from the direction of the Boardwalk, with a knife in hand demanded that the female victim hand over her purse. 

Once the suspect received the purse from the victim, he took off running. The patrols searched the area however the suspect was not found. No one was hurt or in need of medical assistance. 

“The police force of Sint Maarten is doing its utmost to protect you and your family from all crime. Unfortunately, armed robberies do occur in our community. These criminal acts have serious impact on victims as well as the community. It is better to be safe than sorry and therefore the Sint Maarten Police Force has some safety precautions listed for you that may prevent you from becoming a victim of robbery,” Police said on Friday.

  1. Always bear in mind to observe your environment. You, of course, know best what’s ‘normal’ in your surroundings, so if you see any suspicious persons or vehicles, don’t hesitate to call the police (911). Give them a good description of the person(s) or vehicle(s) that seems suspicious to you. Good observation only can take place when your business and surrounding areas are well lit, so repair broken lights or install new ones.
  2. Make sure you have as little money as possible in your store. Take your money to safer places regularly, for instance a bank. In case your store does get robbed, the robbers don’t have a big gain.
  3. Make sure your shop closes at the hour that’s on your permit. Don’t let your last late coming customer be the one who takes all the money you’ve earned that entire day.
  4. If you have the opportunity; buy some camera’s that record whoever comes into your store. The images recorded on the camera’s can really help the police in their investigation.
  5. Do not offer or volunteer more than is demanded.
  6. Make no sudden movements that may anger the robber or cause them to panic.

Anyone who has information in regard to this case should immediately get in contact with the police department by calling 54-22222, the emergency number 9300 TIP line or you can send a private message to the KPSM face book page.


Caribbean Conf. Addresses Critical Healthcare Prep. for Hurricanes/Other Disasters

SINT MAARTEN (CUPECOY) - International and Caribbean experts on emergency preparedness and disaster healthcare will gather in Sint Maarten for an international conference aimed at helping to prepare the Caribbean region to better respond to hurricanes and other natural disasters. Leaders, first responders and healthcare professionals in the Caribbean and from around the globe are welcome and encouraged to attend to add their perspective to these important discussions.

The International Conference on Disaster Medicine and Hurricane Resiliency will be held March 8 – 11 in Sint Maarten, on the campus of American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC). As a part of the conference, notable speakers from the Caribbean, including hospital leaders, public health officials and climate/weather experts will lead crucial discussions on issues facing the region.  

AUC, in cooperation with Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts (HMFP), and in close coordination with Caribbean experts, has launched the Caribbean Center for Disaster Medicine (CCDM), a regional center of excellence to foster education, research and training on disaster preparedness and response. 

The CCDM was created in the wake of Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm that devastated the island of Sint Maarten during the 2017 hurricane season. Through collaborations with international experts, the Sint Maarten government, Caribbean emergency management agencies, academic institutions and others, the CCDM intends to develop partnerships that build capacity to prepare for and respond to major disasters, drawing on global expertise and experiences. 

For the conference, the CCDM has assembled a group of highly regarded experts in the field of disaster medicine, led by Dr. Gregory Ciottone, MD, FACEP, FFSEM who directs the Division of Disaster Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, where he holds an Associate Professor appointment. 

This conference is a Continuing Medical Education event approved by the American Academy of Family Physicians. This event is intended for physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals; professionals of emergency management agencies; first responders; public health professionals; veterinarians; animal emergency teams; and others interested in disaster medicine, natural disaster preparedness, and the safety and security of people during a disaster. Professionals in the conference’s host country of Sint Maarten and the Caribbean will be admitted at a discount. Please contact the conference at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to express interest in attending. For complete conference information, visit the conference website:

AUC is part of an alliance of Adtalem Global Education institutions in the Caribbean, which also includes Ross University School of Medicine on Barbados and Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine on St. Kitts. Adtalem Global Education institutions also include Chamberlain University School of Nursing in the United States.

 About American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine

American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC) is an institution of Adtalem Global Education (NYSE: ATGE), a global education provider headquartered in the United States. The organization's purpose is to empower students to achieve their goals, find success and make inspiring contributions to our global community. Founded in 1978, AUC has more than 6,500 graduates and is one of the oldest medical schools in the Caribbean. Dedicated to developing physicians with a lifelong commitment to patient-centered care, AUC embraces collaboration, inclusion and community service. With a campus in Sint Maarten, affiliated teaching hospitals in the United States and the United Kingdom, and internationally recognized faculty, AUC has a diverse medical education program for today’s globally minded physician. For more information visit, follow AUC on Twitter (@aucmed), Instagram (@aucmed_edu) and Facebook (@aucmed).

 About Adtalem Global Education

The purpose of Adtalem Global Education is to empower students to achieve their goals, find success, and make inspiring contributions to our global community. Adtalem Global Education Inc. (NYSE: ATGE; member S&P MidCap 400 Index) is a leading global education provider and the parent organization of Adtalem Educacional do Brasil (IBMEC, Damásio and Wyden institutions) American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists, Becker Professional Education, Chamberlain University, EduPristine, Ross University School of Medicine and Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. For more information, please visit


4th ANNUAL “G.I.F.T.E.D. ROYALTY AWARDS” – Celebration of Youth Excellence

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - G.I.F.T.E.D. Foundation is set to host the 4thAnnual“GIFTED Royalty Awards”on Sunday, February 24th, 2019 at the Belair Community CenterThere are six local high schools participating in this year’s event, according to a GIFTED Foundation press release. 

"In 2015, this initiative was launched with the “Young Kings Awards”, recognizing five dynamic young men from our local high schools in the areas of Athletics, Arts, Academics, Leadership and Community Service.

"In 2016, this was expanded to include the recognition of our remarkable young women in the same categories, renaming of the awards to “THE G.I.F.T.E.D. ROYALTY AWARDS”. A total of 161 students have been recognized and celebrated since we started in 2015.

"In this year’s celebration of youth excellence, over 40 students have been nominated by their high schools for this prestigious recognition of their hard work, dedication, and exemplary standard in their school and in the community.

"GIFTED Foundation is a not-for-profit organization focused on youth and community development on St. Maarten/St. Martin and the wider region. The organization’s aim is to continue highlighting the positively outstanding youth of Sint Maarten and subsequently inspire the next generation. 

"The initiatives seek to proactively tackle social ills such as youth delinquency, crime, violence, and child-abuse, among others issues by promoting social values such as education, justice, unity, volunteerism and youth dynamism.

"The profiles of all nominees have been posted on the GIFTED Foundation’s Facebook page. In the upcoming weeks, nominees of different categories will be featured in the media. The nominees in the categories of Academics and Athletics for Young Kings and Young Queens are featured below."

Aryan Sharma Methodist Agogic Centre Comprehensive Secondary

Aryan Sharma, Methodist Agogic Centre, Secondary Comprehensive

Roshania Benjamin St. Maarten Academy PSVE

Roshania Benjamin, St. Maarten Academy PSVE

Sarah Sheriff Charlotte Brookson Academy of the Performance Arts

Sarah Sheriff, Charlotte Brookson Academy of Performing Arts



Dutch Representation Office supports the Youth Brigade with new bicycles

SINT MAARTEN (ST. PETERS) On behalf of the Dutch Representation Office (VNP), head Chris Johnson, presented members of the Sint Maarten Youth Brigade with ten new bikes to support their recently launched bike team.“The bike team will play an essential role in ensuring order, safety and assistance during youth-related events, such as parades and sports-tournaments,” explains Rupshen Long, Sargent Major. Long will lead a team of selected youngsters through rigorous training in the next few months to instill the necessary skills to be a member of the bike team.

The Sint Maarten Youth Brigade has 60+ members between the ages of 12 and 21. The members commit to full-time training with the Youth Brigade, which includes mental, physical and social sessions four times a week for three years.

Doris Wilson, President of Sint Maarten Youth Brigade: “Some think that we only focus on physical trainings, while actually, teaching life-skills plays a much bigger role.” All members must live by the seven (7) core values of the St. Maarten Youth Brigade: good conduct, responsibility, team spirit, professionalism, reliability, and commitment and leadership skills. “I believe that it’s through these core values, in addition to creating a safe environment, that we manage to see big positive changes in our participating youngsters,” Wilson adds.

“I’m very impressed with all of the work that Sint Maarten Youth Brigade is doing for our community. Coordinating such an extensive after-school program, takes a lot of dedication. I am happy our office was able to support their work,” commented Johnson, as he presented the bikes to the Sint Maarten Youth Brigade bike team.


All hands-on deck: your chance to race a real 12 Metre America’s Cup Yacht

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - Sailors can make the most of visiting St. Maarten during the 39th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta and buy a spot onboard one of the legendary 12 Metre America’s Cup yachts. It’s another breathtaking way to participate in the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta as the 12 Metre Regatta returns.   

The 12 Metre Class race yachts were built between 1907, when the class was defined, and 1987 when the last America's Cup was sailed on this specification. Approximately 170, 12 Metre Class vessels were built, of which around 100 exist in the world today. 

Four of the beautiful 1987 "great 12's", including Stars and Stripes (US-55) - considered among the most famous sailing vessels in history of the America's Cup, are based in St Maarten.

St. Maarten Heineken Race Director Paul Miller comments “Racing on the 12 Metres as part of the 39th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is a thrilling chance to join the classic racing experience that these former America’s Cup yachts offer. 

“With a crew of up to 36 onboard, the fleet, a dedicated course and prizegiving, this year’s guests will be racing alongside the future generation of sailors as local children from St Maarten have the chance to get onboard too. It’s the perfect way to experience the thrill of racing and appreciate the classic design of these beautiful vessels.”

The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is as famous for its parties as it is for its racing. Over four nights, some of the world’s top artists take to the stage and ensure that each day of racing starts as well as it ends with the festivities continuing long into the night. So far Alison Hinds, The Jacksons, Shermanology and Fatman Scoop have been confirmed with more party announcements to follow.

To find out how you can race as part of the 12 Metre Regatta, or for more information, costs and to book a place

Find out more about the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, St. Maarten and island life


TelEm Group “Honored” to be part of Camera Surveillance Project

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - TelEm Group executive officers and technical staff have been personally praised for their part in delivering a telecommunication fiber infrastructure that will greatly assist in public safety and maintenance of public order on St. Maarten.

The infrastructure is the backbone of a brand-new Camera Surveillance System that officially went live Friday, February, 1st 2019 after many months of preparation, and interruption from Hurricane Irma in 2017, when some already installed equipment was damaged.

TelEm Group technicians and engineers laid the telecommunication infrastructure required, and provided network connections to the project.

Speaking about all the elements that came together to realize Friday’s historic launch, Police Chief Karl John said his own team could not have insisted on delivery of the best equipment and systems that meet international standards, without others involved, such as TelEm Group, the company C-3 and contractor, Leonardo Bromet, also delivering of their best.

TelEm Group Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Mrs. Helma Etnel, said something wonderful has been achieved for St. Maarten with the delivery of the Camera Surveillance Project.

“As a telephone company you usually think of a phone call, pleasure pictures and communication on Whatsapp, but we have shown that with fiber technology and with future technology we can now do much more for our communities,” said Mrs. Etnel. 

The CFO said the camera project means safety and security for the island, but it also means the start of a Smart City concept for St. Maarten.

“Government can continue to believe in their telecommunication company as TelEm continues to invest in the Smart City concept,” suggested the CFO.

According to Mrs. Etnel, the Camera Surveillance Project has been carried out in collaboration with the Police, the Minister of Justice and TelEm for the past two years.

“No stone was left unturned to get the best for the police, which caused some happy moments and also some tense moments, with a fight for only systems that are of the highest quality meeting the highest international standards,” Mrs. Etnel said.

She said, at certain moments, she was forced to personally question the passion of those behind the project, but many months later, she has a different perspective.

“Today I am happy that my safety and security as a citizen is enhanced because the police and the gentlemen involved have shown that they don’t take anything but the best and only go for the best, even if their budget is limited. Despite our difference of opinion, I admire that you have fought to get the best that was on the market. Thanks to the Police and TelEm Group for a job well done and I am extremely proud as a citizen to have my safety in your hands,” said the TelEm Group executive. 

Mrs. Etnel praised the police chief Mr. Carl John, and Mr. Benjamin Gout for their input. She also thanked project contractor of Security Concepts and Solutions, Mr. Leonardo Bromet, who installed the equipment.

The CFO thanked TelEm Group CEO Mr. Kendall Dupersoy for supporting this project which was started before he joined the company but which he nevertheless also played a part in by approving the project as a TelEm Group Board member at the time.

Others singled out for mention were the Minister of Justice Mr. De Weever, who was present at the opening ceremony and who also cut the ribbon to officially open the Camera Surveillance Center. Members of the TelEm Group team of technicians and engineers included:  especially Jed Carty and Ann Jeuken and others, Windell Hughes, Frank Carty, Elroy Hughes, Steve Simmons, Edsel Martina and Robert Webster.

 The Camera Surveillance Center is managed by the Emergency Dispatch Center under the responsibility of KPSM and police say it is being implemented on the island due to a growing economy and growing population. 

Police say the system of monitoring will be used to maintain public order and safety within the community. 

It is required by law that the community be informed when they are in an area which is monitored by the Camera Surveillance Center. 

Helma Camera project1

TelEm Group Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Mrs. Helma Etnel, addressing government officials, the police and other invited guests during Friday’s “Go Live” of St. Maarten’s first Camera Surveillance Center.


MP Wescot-Williams: Zoning law amendment necessary for better spatial management and control

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Thursday, January 31st, the scheduled meeting of Parliament could not take place, because there was not a quorum as required by law, President and Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot Williams said in a press statement on Sunday.

“This meeting would have been a public meeting and as such a quorum is absolutely necessary to open the meeting.  Even if you have a third-party present at the meeting, like it was in this case, (the minister of VROMI was present to explain his proposal for law), a public meeting requires 8 or more members to start,” MP Wescot explained. 

“This particular proposal of law goes back quite some time, in fact the Central Committee meetings on this draft law were held in 2016. “‘This makes it clear that this particular draft law was not submitted by the current minister, but by the previous minister of VROMI.”

“The proposal of the law is to make a change to the law on spatial development planning, also called the zoning law. In this law there used to be a clause that made it mandatory for persons to get a permit if they wanted to carry out certain types of work, that have to do with e.g. excavation, cutting, filling in, tearing down, demolishing etc. 

“Take for example the building of a pool in one's yard that would require excavating. 

In that case, if the person has permission to do the extra work (the pool, the driveway, the retention works etc.) as part of the building permit request, then the applicant would not have to request a separate permit to do such. 

“In the zoning law there was this provision that if that was not the case and there is no zoning plan in preparation or established or there is no preparatory resolution for a particular area, then persons need to request a permit for above mentioned works. 

“That particular clause in the law, requiring a permit, expired in 2012, for the simple reason that it was felt that by that time (2012), the island would have established zoning plans, or they would be in preparation, or there would be preparatory resolutions for zoning. So that clause, article 28a to be exact, was no longer applicable after 2012. However, the envisioned zoning plans and/or preparatory resolutions for the entire island did not come about and so there was this void because now all of this type of work could be carried out without a permit,” MP Wescot continued.

“The permit is not to prevent the work from being done, but the permission is to actually ensure that it is done in a proper way, not only for the applicant, his or herself, but especially for the environment, surrounding areas and residents.  Since 2016, and also before then, attempts have been made to re-insert this particular clause back into the law. 

“During the handling of the draft law in the Central committee meetings, several members of parliament were concerned about the application of the law in terms of knowing with certainty which work would require a permit or which work would not require a permit. 

“In discussions with the minister, he indicated that it would be possible to give a better description of which works would need a permit. Thursday’s meeting would have been the public meeting for this draft law.   

“I am sure one will hear the argument about the cancellation of the meeting, that the coalition should’ve ensured that they had sufficient members there to support their minister. This matter however is not about anyone's minister. This matter is about a proposal to amend a law, because there is a void that needed to be corrected.  So, the argument about not giving support to convene the meeting because it is the coalition’s minister is without merit, as in fact the law came to parliament before this current minister.

“The current minister agrees with the need for the amendment to the law, otherwise he could have retracted the law”. In essence it's about every member of Parliament carrying out his or her duty as a member of Parliament, representing the people of St. Maarten. Representing does not mean you have to come and support whatever a minister presents, but at least be part of the deliberations. 

“If one is against a law that comes to parliament then your vote against the law or you propose to amend it. But you take a position! Unfortunately, this is not the way it went and so the meeting could not take place and will have to be rescheduled. Hopefully in the not-too-distant future we can get sufficient members,  not only to have the meeting of Parliament but also to have a debate on the draft before us to amend the zoning ordinance to re-introduce the clause that would make it necessary for certain works that permission be requestedand only when approved, a permit is granted by the minister of VROMI,” the press statement concludes. 

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