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SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Leader of the People’s Progressive Alliance (PPA) Gracita Arrindell stated in a press release on Sunday, “Most people took a big sigh of relief when the first tropical storm threat took a turn away from Sint Maarten. It’s a fact of life, we live in the hurricane belt. It’s a fact of life, we cannot move our island up or down out of harms way, during the hurricane season.

“It is therefore incumbent upon all of us, including Parliament, Government, private sector and individual citizens to continue to do all possible to mitigate the effects of another hurricane hit.

“After a hopeful start, our ship of state regrettably is clearly off-course.

A state of affairs made worse by the effects of hurricane Irma. There is a clear lack of decisive leadership which must focus on the peoples business instead of political grandstanding. There simply is no place or time for personal agendas.”

Arrindell said: “If we fail to plan, we are planning to fail. After many months of waiting, a new government is finally appointed, supported by the slimmest of majority in Parliament. One would believe that given the state of affairs of our country, which is, a very slow and ad-hoc recovery and clean up process, would encourage our elected representatives to take a closer look at the peoples agenda, and subsequently outline its priorities right after taking their oath of office and act accordingly in solidarity with the citizens of our island.”

Arrindell adds, “Instead, our Parliament decides to go on its usual recess, with vacation pay. Parliament is elected for a four -year term. It just is not right! While many workers had to resort to take their employers to court for alleged un- law-full dismissals, pay cuts etc.

“To be clear, we are aware that Parliament can always be called back to deal with matters of emergency facing our Nation. But, isn’t that the present case less than one year following Hurricane Irma? Until matters normalize somewhat for hundreds of individual households, families, and small business, until we have a more efficient public sector and a more robust growing private sector, shouldn’t the law-abiding hard working families and tax paying businesses expect more active leadership from our Parliament”?

Gracita said: “Many of the issues Sint Maarten faced prior to 10-10-10 still make headlines today. Un-balanced budgets, lack of adequate financial and other critically needed personnel, lack of timely financial statements submitted to our own General Audit Chamber. Post hurricane Irma, more pressing issues are added to the list of unfinished business including; adequate social housing, introduction of universal healthcare system, establishing a functioning consumer’s protection agency, introduction of a unemployment benefit regulation.

“Once again the peoples agenda must include a plan to establish an island wide, district by district, street, road, alley, hill top clean up and building repainting program. Presenting a lasting solution to eliminate the garbage dump in the heart of Philipsburg remains at the center of this clean up process.

While the proverbial ‘shit hits the fan’, reportedly, some government departments have no funds to literally buy toilet paper for its staff, many other departments lack basic working materials, Parliament is out wandering, in stead of keeping government on its toes. This is no laughing matter.”

Arrindell concludes: “Regression or even a standstill in our slow reconstruction process is not the way forward. The release of the 55 million reconstruction funds from the Netherlands is welcome news. This requires pro-active thinking followed by effective implementation of policies and programs by both Parliament and Government.

“Sint Maarten has been good, very good to many people from all walks of life. Some have packed up and left disappointed, disillusioned. Many stayed yet hoping for a better tomorrow. Others remain taking Sint Maarten for granted, not paying or putting in their fair share in the clean up and rebuilding process. It just is not right. I am convinced Sint Maarten will be better, stronger, smarter, cleaner, if we all do our part,” the PPA Leader Gracita Arrindell said on Sunday.


SXM Airport attends Caribbean Aviation Day about Aviation Growth Intra-Connectivity

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) – Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ravi Daryanani of the Princess Juliana International Airport – SXM – was among panelists at the recently concluded Caribbean Aviation Day hosted by the International Air Transportation Association (IATA), the Caribbean Development Bank and ALTA, at the Hilton Barbados Resort.

The “Executive CEO Chat” addressed the theme: “Challenges facing the Caribbean Aviation Growth an Intra-Connectivity.” The other panelists included the CEO of LIAT, Julie Reifer -Jones, Managing Director of Bahamas-air, Tracy Cooper, Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, Hugh Riley and Media Consultant of Rogers Media House, Julian Rogers.

The chat is a traditional flagship panel at IATA Aviation Days, bringing senior executives of the aviation industry together to discuss some of the challenges that the industry has faced over the past year and is likely to face in coming years.

The overall goal of the panel was to get the panelists to shed light on how they have met or plan to meet those challenges. Reportedly, the air transport industry in Latin America and the Caribbean generates US$ 167 billion in GDP and supports 5.2 million jobs.

The report, according to IATA, goes on to state that every year, 2.6 million flights operate in Latin America and the Caribbean, connecting 385 cities in the region and 160 cities around the world. Daryanani took the opportunity to update the panelists and delegates on the current operations at the Princess Juliana International Airport following the 2017 hurricanes.

“Maybe Hurricane Irma did one thing for us, it allowed us to hit a reset button on how to reach out to our airlines, VIP services, partners and neighbors on the French side,” he said. He further revealed that a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the authorities of Dutch and French St. Martin, forging a bond for both sides to work together in efforts to market the island as one destination. 


Prime Minister Romeo Marlin addresses gathering at Justice Day Celebration

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - On Sunday, July15th Prime Minister Leona Romeo Marlin addressed the audience gathered at the Government Administration Building for the celebration of International Justice Day.

“International Justice Day is celebrated around the world annually on July 17th. On Sint Maarten the Ministry of Justice has chosen to join in the celebration of this day. I would like to wish the Minister of Justice and all the men and women that serves this important Ministry, Happy International Justice Day, today is your day and we are here to celebrate it with you. 

“Sint Maarten Stand Strong, Justice for all” is a fitting theme, as the Ministry of Justice is responsible for maintaining public order, safety, security and protecting both residents and visitors on Sint Maarten. As a highly sought after tourism destination your service to this country is immeasurable.

“Prison Guards, Police, Customs, Immigration and Border Protection, National Detectives, MOT, Coast Guard, Court of Guardianship, Public Prosecutor, Judicial Affairs and the Joint Court of Justice are all entities that form part of the Ministry of Justice. Each of you are important to the task of upholding Justice on Sint Maarten.

“Usually, when we think of Justice we think of the Police Department but the true Justice Ambassadors of Sint Maarten are our Immigration Officers who are the first point of contact at our Airport. If our guests are treated properly upon entry to our Country, that positive experience can set the tone for a wonderful vacation and thus lead to return visitors and the eventual growth of our economy. So, to the Immigration officers I want to encourage you to maintain a high level of customer service, as you are representing our country when you occupy that booth.

“During the recently held Disaster Conference in May, Chief Commissioner of Police Carl John shared a presentation that put in to context the amount of work that the Police department has done since the passing of the Hurricanes last year.

“We cannot take for granted the work and time spent away from family that each of you sacrifice as you commit to maintaining Public Order in the midst of large events such as the Heineken Regatta, Carnival Parades and J’ouvert morning. When everyone is running away from danger your job is to run towards it, for that you must be commended.

“At this juncture, I would like to recognize the support from the Netherlands Police men and women that continues to be visible since the Hurricanes. Your contributions are essential to maintaining safety and security on our island and your efforts have not gone unnoticed.

“Recently in Paris at the Q4 meetings, I had the pleasure of being a part of agreements that will continue to foster the cooperation between the French and Dutch sides of the island,   with respect to Border Protection, Immigration and Policing. As Prime Minister, I remain committed to the establishing of meaningful cooperation between both sides in all areas where possible.

“In conclusion, I want to encourage the brave men and women of the Ministry of Justice that put their lives on the line daily. I would like to remind you to uplift the principles of integrity and protect and serve your community, as this is also the place where you reside.

“At this time, I would like to call the Minister of Justice the honorable Cornelius DeWeever forward. As Minister of Justice, you hold a great responsibility to protect and keep our citizen safe and uphold the laws that govern this country I therefore would like to pin you with the Ministry of Justice pendant.

GOD BLESS - I thank you.”


World Youth Skills Day on July 15

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – On July 15th, 2018, young people worldwide will be celebrating the international World Youth Skills Day (WYSD. The United Nations General Assembly designated the international day in order to raise awareness on the importance of training and development in the labor market. 

The aim of World Youth Skills Day, is to raise awareness of the high unemployment amongst youth, and advocate the importance of training and development as key determinants for economic growth; hence, bridging the gap between education and the labor market.  

On World Youth Skills Day, policy-makers are encouraged to address legislation that focusses on innovative and emerging economies, and the necessary vocational skills needed to promote youth employment in a transforming labor market. Benjamin Disraeli said:  ‘The Youth of a Nation are the trustees of posterity’. By giving our youth the right education and skills, they can change the future of our societies to prosperous ones, with their good behavior, and that is exactly what we in Sint Maarten are striving for.

Youth unemployment is a real threat

Labour Organization (ILO) publication, has states that 73.4 million young people in the world were estimated to be unemployed in 2015, which equated to a 13.1% world youth unemployment rate.  On Sint Maarten, the Labor Force Survey of 2017 indicated that the unemployment rate is 23, 8% for youth between the 15 and 24 years of age.

The importance of vocational training and technical skill development amongst youth to combat unemployment

On November 20th, 2017, the International Labor Organization published the “Global Employment Trends for Youth 2017” report.

The report highlighted regional and demographical concerns of youth unemployment, and the rapid technology and sectorial shifts impacting the quantity and quality of jobs.  Emerging economies will experience four technologies that will shape the way we work in the future. These are 3D printing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of things and Robotics.

Subsequently, future jobs may depend on one’s ability to manufacture service and maintain automotive technologies. Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) will have to include these technologies into the curriculum to ensure the smooth transition of youths into the labor market. 

At present, the labor market of St. Maarten is being assessed by the Department of Statistics. The outcome of this research will illustrate the current direction of the labor market. However, with the growing demands for new technologies and automation in more developed western countries, islands within the Caribbean region will soon be confronted with the demands for more complex and non-routine expertise, impacting employment across all economic sectors.

This will pose a challenge for the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, as the largest percentage of students leaving primary education attends Technical and Vocational Education schools. 

Nonetheless, the Ministry recognizes these economic shifts and has taken initiatives to introduce courses such as; automotive technician and Electrical engineering at the National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA). In addition, partnerships between the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, The World Bank and UNESCO are underway to secure the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the educational sector. 

Training and 2030 SDG Agenda

By recognizing the international World Youth Skills Day, the United Nations hopes to strengthen global resources and build capacity to support legislation that will promote employment opportunities and shape technical and vocational education. 

To counter this global challenge, the United Nations has introduced the “Skills Development Package”, for motivation skills development. The resource kit includes: an Overview, a Campaign Flyer, and Information for Stakeholders; a Facilitator Guide and an Activity Checklist, to be find on the internet. The UN gives with SDG 4 for Quality Education several ideas on its website. 

Policy development, St. Maarten

The Integrated Youth Policy of St. Maarten main objective is to reduce the overall youth unemployment, and merge the skills and qualifications with the demands of the labor market.

The general principles guiding the Integrate​d Youth Policy are; youth development, civic engagement and social economic participation.

The Government of St. Maarten through the Department of Youth is celebrating 20 years of executing the Business Outreach and Placement Program (BOPP), the Digikidz and the iSTEP program. The BOPP is a summer work experience program for students ages 16 to 24 years, who are in pre-exam or exam classes of high school or attending other full time education programs. The program requires students to attend workshop trainings for which they receive certificates of attendance. They are then sent to governmental and private sector businesses on interviews with the possibility of being selected for a 4 week summer job.

Each year the Department strives to increase the number of available job placements and has seen a success rate over the pass years up to 105. Many students are retained beyond the 4 weeks and are sometimes employed by the businesses based on evaluations carried out by workplace supervisors and recommendations by the Department of Youth. The plan is to expand this program to include the component of entrepreneurship training for this target group as this will contribute to building capacity with an outlook on impacting the unemployment rates amongst the youth on St. Maarten.

The Department of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BAK), St. Maarten, is the designated focal point for UNESCOs Sustainable Development Goals.  

For more idea sharing you can visit the Youth Department or call the SDGs Program manager Morales at 5271223.


WIB Staff donate license plates to St. Maarten Animal Welfare Foundation

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The Staff of Windward Islands Bank donated their 2017 license plates to the St. Maarten Animal Welfare Foundation. 

The St. Maarten Animal Welfare Foundation is a non-profit organization with dedicated volunteers and support of local veterinarians working to make St. Maarten Animal friendly. 

The license plates donated will be sold to visitors on the island, and can be found, along with other souvenirs at the Animal Welfare booth located near the Chesterfields Restaurant parking and visitor walkway.

The funds collected from the plates and souvenir items are used to support the foundation’s spray- and neuter project.

WIB, Your Partners in Progress encourages our community to support the Animal Welfare Foundation. 


Business Professional Women of Concordia has Successful Candle Lighting Ceremony

ST. MARTIN (MARIGOT) - Business and Professional Women (BPW) Concordia St. Martin annual Candle lighting ceremony was held on July 7th 2018, at the CCISM in Marigot.

‘The Candle Lighting Committee chaired by Ms. Natasha Ortega would like to thank the President of BPW Concordia Ms. Kathia Magedeline and the entire BPW Concordia board, all invited guest, it’s members and everyone who made this event a success.

‘A Special thank you to our 2 keynote speakers ; Member of Parliament and Leader of the National Alliance Honourable Silveria Jacobs and President of the French Chamber of Commerce Madame Angèle Dormoy for accepting BPW Concordia’s invitation to speak on their 17 SDG’s (Sustainable Development Goals) during this candle lighting ceremony.

‘Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 10 years. In order for these goals to be attained, eveyone need to do their part : Goverments, the Private sector, Civil Society and people like you. Her Honarable Silveria Jacobs also added that association should present their projects to government and she is very open to asisst in making these projects become a reality.

‘Honorable Silveria Jacobs emphasized her passion to reduce the use of plastic. While Madame Angele Dermoy heads the campaign of using less paper and going completely digital at the Chamber of Commerce St. Martin.

‘BPW Concordia under leadership of Ms Magdeline has different projects in the planning for the upcoming 3 years that will contribute to a more sustainable future of St. Martin/ Sint Maarten.

As this is an annual event, we look forward to seeing you again next year. Please follow us on our Facebook page; BPW Concordia St. Martin or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,’ BPW said in a press statement on Wednesday.

CUTLINE: Two of the main speakers at the event.

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Minister Wuite and Deputy Minister Somersall sign declaration with Electoral Council

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On June 29, 2018, the Electoral Council invited Minister Plenipotentiary, drs. Jorien Wuite, and deputy Minister Plenipotentiary, Mr. Michael Somersall, to sign the declaration regarding article 53 of the National Ordinance on Registration and Finances of Political Parties.

By signing this declaration, the ministers declared that they are cognizant of the provisions laid down in the National Ordinance on Registration and Finances of Political Parties and have not acted in contravention of said provisions during the election campaign for the Parliamentary elections that were held on February 26th, 2018.

According to article 53 of the National Ordinance on Registration and Finances of Political Parties, a minister must submit a declaration signed by him/her to the Electoral Council that he/she did not act in contravention of the provisions of said national ordinance during the election campaign, within 30 days of accepting an appointment as minister.

Due to the imminent departure of the Minister Plenipotentiary and the deputy Minister Plenipotentiary to the Netherlands to assume their positions, the Electoral Council invited them ahead of the remaining Ministers who will sign the declaration at a later date. 


Inspectorate TEATT: Price Indication and Price Comparison

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Inspectorate of TEATT (Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunications) informs anyone, who is acting as a retailer i.e. offers goods for sale to the public; that they are obliged to provide these goods with a clear and legible pricing.

In the case of a stack or group of similar items being offered for sale, a price indication indicating the price of the item will suffice.

The price indication must be set in Netherlands Antillean Guilders to which the guilder sign must be used. Once the retailer has met the previously mentioned conditions the retailer is free to mention the price in a different currency e.g. United Stated Dollars, provided that the foreign currency is clearly stated.

This is in accordance with article 2 of Ministerial regulation published in 1979 no. 119 which is based on Article 2 of the Prices Ordinance of 1961.

More than 10-months after the passing of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the Inspectorate TEATT will be stepping up controls of businesses to make sure that they are in compliance with the laws of the land where the aforementioned is concerned.

Inspectorate TEATT within short will start publishing price comparison lists of certain goods that are sold by various grocers and supermarkets three times per month.

This price product comparison lists assists consumers by comparing the price of particular products amongst different retailers allowing the consumer to make a more informed choice about where they will purchase the particular product.   

Violation of articles 2 or 3 of the Pricing Ordinance shall be deemed to be a criminal offence, if it is intentional, and shall be punished by imprisonment of not more than four years or a fine of not more than ten thousand guilders.

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SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Tuesday July 10th, Social & Health Insurances SZV hosted a Facebook Live broadcast on the topic of the rights and duties of patients and companions when on medical referral abroad.

The speakers of the session were Mrs. Parveen Boertje - Unit Manager Customer Service and Communications at SZV and Mr. Reginald Willemsberg - Interim Unit Manager Operations at SZV. The service of medical referrals abroad by SZV is a very important one, where many misconceptions are discussed within the community.

SZV opted for a Facebook Live broadcast to ensure that the correct information is communicated, directly to its customers and to allow for easy replay of the recording and information sharing.

“It is very important to us that our customers take a leading role in their wellbeing before, during and after a medical referral abroad. By highlighting these rights and duties, we aim to empower our customers.” – Reginald Willemsberg, Interim Unit Manager Operations SZV

The Facebook Live session highlighted the rights and duties of SZV patients and companions when travelling abroad for a medical referral. These policies can be found on the website of SZV

The main rights of the SZV insured patient referred abroad are; to receive medical care and to participate in discussions regarding your care; to receive information about the care given to you in a way that you understand, to obtain a copy of your medical records and to report any concerns regarding your care and safety to the hospital or third-party logistics coordinator abroad.

Interim Unit Manager Operations, Reginald Willemsberg explained during the session that the medical referral process starts with the physician. “The treating physician initiates the medical referral process.”

The role of the physician starts here and includes; the responsibility for the continuity of care of the patient/insured, the responsibility to ensure that the patient’s illness, condition and level of urgency is accurately reported to SZV. The referral process is delayed when a submitted request report is not complete or required information not clearly communicated.

Willemsberg gave several examples of cases encountered by SZV and the consequences of inappropriate behavior of patients and companions. The policy of SZV states the consequences of non-adherence to the set obligations, common practice of medical insurance companies and health care providers.

Patients referred abroad are explained their rights and duties and are requested to acknowledge receipt of this during their intake meeting. The non-adherence clause in the policy reads: “Repeated (two or more) documented reports of inappropriate behavior will result in termination of your treatment abroad and that you then will lose all rights to receive compensation for further medical treatment for the condition for which I was sent abroad.”

The following obligations for both patients and companions were highlighted during the session: to have a valid passport and obtain the necessary visas (if applicable), patient must have a valid SZV insurance card, patient must travel with the medical file and at least 1 month of medication used, to behave appropriately and in accordance with the rules and regulations of the third party logistics coordinators, hospital, hotels, and with the laws of the designated country for treatment abroad, to not smoke in the hotels and hospitals, to not buy and use illegal drugs, and to not bring prostitutes and other guests to the apartment or hotel room, to treat the third party logistics coordinators, the hospital, medical staff (doctors, nurses) and hotel staff with respect.

Based on the medical indication, an SZV insured patient, which is referred abroad, may have the right to have a companion travel with them. The companion has obligations to adhere to when complying for this task. During the broadcast a list of these were outlined, with special attention to the following; to ensure that you have medical travel insurance, to request and receive approval for vacation days from your employer for the trip abroad.

SZV does not provide sick-leave compensation for companions.” Companions must accompany the insured to all doctors and treatment appointments where indicated, if the insured is hospitalized to stay with the insured or visit minimally once a day for 3 hours or twice a day. Another important role of the companion is to communicate with and update the family of the insured regarding the medical condition or concerns of the insured and to provide moral support for the insured.

Willemsberg also touched on the role and type of service provided by the SZV medical referrals division. “This team is responsible for Patient engagement and Customer service”. Once a medical referral abroad request is approved, patients and companions have their mandatory intake meeting at SZV. It is of utmost importance that this meeting is attended when invited. Locally, the team is mainly tasked with logistical and administrative activities such as; calling client to schedule appointments, appointment reminders calls, relaying of information to the client regarding their individual medical referral.

Boertje delivered her speech on the complaint procedure, contacting SZV and self-service options to customers. The complaint procedure for medical referrals abroad offers various options for our customers.

When abroad and with a complaint regarding the medical or services received, the first point of contact is the designated health care provider abroad or the international office. During your intake meeting at SZV you will receive the contact details of this person/team. This contact is the contact that will be able to address and process your complaint for you.”

Customers also have the option to file a complaint via the complaint form on the website Customers who are unable to file a complaint online, can contact SZV to make an appointment with the Complaint officer.

Boertje closed the session by expressing: “With the collaborative effort of our partner stakeholders and customers, we at SZV can serve our client optimally. This is a collective task. SZV has expanded its access points for customers by being available via different channels such as its website, Facebook page and e-mail. Customers are welcomed to call or visit the office but are encouraged to make use of the online tools for easy self-service access to SZV.” 

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EOC Deactivated and Shelters Closed as Beryl Disipates

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The Chairlady of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Prime Minister Leona Romeo Marlin met with the EOC on Monday morning to assess the weather situation based on the remnants of Beryl passing through the Leeward Islands.

The Prime Minister made the following statement to the nation as the EOC was deactivated since the remnants of Beryl no longer pose any threat to the country.

“As Chairlady of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), I convened an EOC meeting on Monday morning at 9 am to assess the weather situation based on the remnants of Beryl passing through the Leeward Islands.

“Even though the Tropical Storm Watch for Sint Maarten was discontinued for the country by the Meteorological Department (MDS) late Sunday afternoon after Tropical Storm Beryl became a remnant weather system, the EOC continued to take a cautious approach.

“As Prime Minister, I would like to remind the general public to continue to be proactive as this was an exercise in hurricane preparedness.

“At 5.00 pm on Monday afternoon, the EOC was officially deactivated since the remnants of Beryl no longer posed a direct threat to Sint Maarten.

“I would like to thank the public for their diligence in monitoring the storm and the 10 Emergency Support Functions who performed optimally during this exercise in preparing for Beryl.

“Three shelters were opened on Sunday afternoon, the Milton Peters College Gym, Dutch Quarter Community Center, and the Christian Fellowship Church in Cole Bay, and at 5.00pm on Monday, all shelters closed. 

“I would like to thank the Sint Maarten Voluntary Corps soldiers as well Shelter Management Staff from the St. Maarten Red Cross and K1 Britannia who manned the shelters during the passing of the storm.

“An assessment carried out at the shelters on Monday revealed that no persons made use of the shelters.

“As a precautionary measure, assistance of the Dutch Military was requested, as of Monday afternoon this is no longer necessary.

“As we are heading into the peak of the hurricane season the public is reminded, for official local weather and Government related information please visit (; the Government of Sint Maarten website ( or the Government of Sint Maarten social media Facebook Page (, or tune into Government Radio 107.9 FM.”

CUTLINE: L to R: Paul Martens (Disaster Management), National Disaster Coordinator/Fire Chief Clive Richardson and Prime Minister Chairlady of the EOC Leona Romeo Marlin.

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