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Soualiga Newsday Latest News (1905)

Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival Takes Aim at Plastic Pollution

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Every spring, groups on islands all over the Caribbean celebrate the birds that live only in the region. These events are all part of the Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival, organized by BirdsCaribbean. This year, the theme of the festival is Protect Birds: Be the Solution to Plastic Pollution.

“Plastic pollution is a global problem, and it hurts the Caribbean in many ways,” explained festival coordinator Sheylda Diaz Mendez. “Our islands are home to over 170 birds found nowhere else in the world. They depend on clean wild spaces to live.”

On St. Martin, the Les Fruits de Mer association hosts the Endemic Animal Festival on Sunday, April 28th from 9am to noon at Amuseum Naturalis. The free festival will feature the animals that live only on St. Martin. Other parts of local nature and heritage will also be explored using the theme Survivors.

“The animals and plants that live only on St. Martin are survivors,” explained Les Fruits de Mer president Jenn Yerkes. “The people that lived here throughout history and prehistory are survivors, too. And for us to survive in the future, we need to take care of our island and our planet. Plastic pollution is one of the big problems we need to solve.”

Endemic Animal Festival guests can decorate a bird feeder made out of a plastic water bottle. They can also see how 5,000 years of recycling traditions on St. Martin might hold the key to a more eco-friendly future. The free event also includes fun bird activities, a poetry exhibit and much more.

Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival events are held between Earth Day on April 22nd and International Biodiversity Day on May 22nd. The Endemic Animal Festival on St. Martin is Sunday, April 28th from 9am to noon at Amuseum Naturalis. To learn more about this free event, visit lesfruitsdemer.com or find Les Fruits de Mer on Facebook.

Solution THUR1804

Save birds by fighting plastic pollution in the Caribbean.

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Human Trafficking/ Smuggling Team of KPSM arrest two suspects

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Wednesday, April 17th, 2019, the Human Trafficking/Smuggling Team of KPSM (Sint Maarten Police Force), together with the assistance of the Uniform Division arrested two persons in connection with an ongoing case of human smuggling, the police announced on Thursday. 

After their arrests, the suspects R. H-R and Y.D.F were both brought to the Police Station in Philipsburg, where they were questioned by the detectives of the Human Trafficking/Smuggling Team and remain in custody for further investigation. 

The investigation against the suspect will be carried out by the Human Trafficking/Smuggling Team, which consists of members of the St. Maarten Police Force and the Royal Dutch Marechaussee.

Combating human-smuggling and human-trafficking is one of the priorities of the Police Force of Sint Maarten and the Prosecutor's Office. Human smuggling is defined as providing illegal entrance to and illegal residence on St. Maarten. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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April USM Seminar Dedicated to Visual and Performing Arts Kicks Off Tuesday Night

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - University of St. Martin (USM) continues with its 2018-2019 Seminar Series as this month’s edition will focus on the topic Arts and Academia on St. Martin.

Coinciding with the start of Carnival season, this Tuesday evening, the doors of USM Lecture Hall will be open to the public with presentations and dialogue on the topic Arts and Academia.

“It is during the month of April, our carnival season, when St. Martiners work collectively to showcase their music, performances and visual arts in public. And so our faculty and staff thought it would be appropriate to dedicate this seminar to the Arts. Our purpose is to stimulate thinking on what role the university can play in promoting the arts. This includes music, theatre, dance, literature and visual arts,” said USM President Dr. Antonio Carmona in written statements to the press. 

Three local experts within the fields of performing and visual arts will be presenting their knowledge, vision and opinion on how the community can benefit from the Arts and how we can cultivate, preserve and encourage cultural production. Scheduled to speak is Ms. Clara Reyes who is the current Head of Culture Department at the Ministry of Education, culture Youth and Sports.

Ms. Reyes has an extensive career and experiences in Performing Arts and Art productions. Ms. Reyes holds a MA in Fine Arts degree in Dance and Choreography; she worked as an Arts Instructor in several high schools and co-founded the National Institute of Arts and Imbali Center for Creative Movement. Ms. Reyes will be discussing among others things, the impact and value Arts has on the well-being of the community.

One of the major constituents of Arts is Literature, which brings USM to invite Mr. Alex “Shujah” Reiph. Shujah, as he is lovingly known in the community, is a leading St. Martin national activist, cultural organizer, and trade unionist. He is president of the Conscious Lyrics Foundation and producer/host of the long-running Conscious Lyrics radio magazine, on 95.9 FM. He is also a founding member of the St. Martin Educational and Cultural Organization (SMECO) in 1984. In 2003, he partnered with Lasana M. Sekou and started the St. Martin Book Fair, which celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2018.

When discussing Arts the conversation always leads to music, and in observance of the 50th Anniversary of Carnival on St. Maarten, the seminar will look at how local talent is developed. Scheduled presenter Edsel “Touché” Eusebius was born and raised on St. Martin, and he started his music carrier at a very young age.

Being raised in a musically oriented family he was exposed to sound and performance since birth. His grandfather was the founder of a very popular folkloric band “Tanny & The Boys” that play traditional St. Maarten music. His uncles also had a steel pan orchestra, and everyone would practice in the yard where Touché lived.

He would at times accompany his uncles to some of their performances and would even sing a song or two and this is where his musical journey began. Touché is a well-known bass player who played for many prominent and well known groups such as “Intwine” and “Ziggi Recado”. He also produces records and mixes albums. He has produced for numerous bands and artist such as Orange Grove, Patrick Grayham and Ziggi Recado to name a few. Touché has returned to his island of birth in 2017 to focus on helping the youth of St. Maarten achieve great things through music.

“We are hoping to attract a good crowd of those genuinely interested in arts production, and those who want to know more about how the development of the university can benefit the study and practice of performance. This line of speakers should lay the basis for an interesting and fruitful dialogue”, Carmona stated.  

The evening will begin with words from USM lecturer and UNESCO Sint Maarten secretary General Ms. Marcelia Henry. Doors open at 6.30.

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More than 100 daycare centres ban non-vaccinated children

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – More than 100 pre-school daycare centres spread all over the Netherlands say their policy is to refuse children who have not been vaccinated, according to broadcaster NOS.

Of those creches, some 25 say they have actually banned children who are not vaccinated, NOS said. The broadcaster says it is illegal to ban children who have not been vaccinated because of anti-discrimination laws.

However, daycare centres can refuse to admit children if there is a serious health issue, such as a measles outbreak. ‘As owner, I do not want to be held responsible by parents if I expose their young babies to infectious diseases,’ one creche owner in Amsterdam said.

The NOS report follows the news that four children under the age of four have developed measles at a crèche in The Hague, none of whom were vaccinated against the disease.

The children in The Hague bring the total measles cases in the Netherlands to 13 so far this year, compared with an average annual infection rate of 10 to 20.

Junior social affairs minister Tamara van Ark has set up a committee to look into the legal implications of banning non-vaccinated children from daycare, describing the issues as ‘complex’.

Safe levels

At the moment 90.2% of Dutch children are vaccinated against potentially serious illnesses such as measles, polio and whooping cough. This is below the level of 95% the World Health Organisation considers safe.

The last measles epidemic in the Netherlands hit the Dutch Bible belt in 2013. In total, 2,600 people were diagnosed with measles and the outbreak was concentrated in families with young children who had not been vaccinated for religious reasons.

One girl, who had not been vaccinated, died. The NOS contacted 3,600 daycare centres and 500 responded. Of them 105 said they banned non-vaccinated children.

School teacher

Meanwhile it was reported on Monday that a teacher at a secondary school in Zoetermeer had been diagnosed with a possible case of measles. The teacher, who was not named, works at the Oranje Nassau College.

The school told the Telegraaf most of its pupils have been vaccinated and school activities are continuing as normal.

The health board GGD Haaglanden later said the teacher may not have measles, but further tests were being done to eliminate the virus as a cause of his illness. (DutchNews)

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NRPB responsible for the implementation of Trust Fund Projects

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) -  Since March 2019 the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB) has moved into its own office space located in the former Labor Affairs building at Walter J. Nisbeth Road #57.

The NRPB carries the day-to-day responsibility for the implementation of all projects of the Government of Sint Maarten that are financed by the Government of the Netherlands through the Sint Maarten Trust Fund. The Trust Fund, set up by the Government of the Netherlands and the World Bank in April 2018, supports the recovery efforts of Sint Maarten for the next seven years.

The NRPB is responsible for making sure that the Trust Fund projects are implemented in an effective and accountable manner. This includes the preparation, coordination, execution and evaluation of projects. In addition, the NRPB can help the Government of Sint Maarten to identify and prepare projects that can be financed through other sources of funding, such as the national budget and European funding.  

When the Trust Fund was established, it was evident that the Government of Sint Maarten does not have the capacity or expertise to fulfill all the requirements of the Trust Fund projects. The NRPB was created by Parliament to add the necessary support for the implementation of the different projects. With input from the ministries, the NRPB handles all technical, administrative, legal, financial, procurement and safeguards responsibilities to ensure effective implementation of the Trust Fund projects.

The NRPB is headed by Director Claret Connor and reports through the Minister of General Affairs to the Council of Ministers. The NRPB also serves as the single point of coordination for all stakeholders of the Trust Fund projects.

All proposals for Trust Fund projects come from the Council of Ministers based on the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, which was approved by Parliament in September 2018. As the Council of Ministers decides to submit a new project to the Trust Fund, the NRPB helps the ministries with the preparation of a project proposal, which is then submitted to the Steering Committee of the Trust Fund.  The Steering Committee consists of one representative of the World Bank, one representative of the Government of the Netherlands and one representative of the Government of Sint Maarten, in the person of former Prime Minister Mr. Marcel Gumbs. The Steering Committee meets at least twice a year to discuss existing projects and proposals for new projects that could be financed by the Trust Fund.

Approved Trust Fund projects move through a number of stages that include identification, preparation, project appraisal, approval, implementation, completion and evaluation. The NRPB and the ministries are closely involved in all stages of the projects. From project conception to execution, Sint Maarten is always in the driver’s seat.

The World Bank’s role is to offer assistance in order to ensure that the implementation of projects takes place in an effective and accountable manner.

At present there are over fifty different Trust Fund activities, in various stages of implementation. This includes activities that serve to strengthen our emergency services, the repair of social and privately-owned homes, and the suppression of fires on the landfill.

NRPB Director Connor recognizes that the Government of Sint Maarten has faced challenges in the early implementation of the different Trust Fund projects. Ensuring that projects are strategically planned in ways that are sustainable and resilient to future disasters took more time than originally anticipated. Specific challenges remain due to the relative complexity of some of the projects, the lack of experience with the applicable social and environmental standards, as well the local market’s limited capacity to respond to tender opportunities and the capacity constraints within the Government and the NRPB to the manage the projects. 

How does the NRPB intend to address these challenges? Over the past months, a number of strategies have been developed to counteract the different implementation challenges. These strategies include an increased amount of support from the World Bank in the form of hands-on technical assistance, the accelerated recruitment of NRPB staff and training and information sessions for local businesses so that they are better prepared for tender opportunities.

The NRPB is also intensifying its efforts to increase public awareness about the recovery process and the different Trust Fund projects. Community outreach activities for schools, businesses and the general public are being prepared in order to explain the tasks of the NRPB and to speak with the people of Sint Maarten about the next phase of our recovery process.

For more information, please visit our website, www.nrpbsxm.org, or our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/sxmnationalrecovery.

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MARLIN GEORGE WINS 26th ANNUAL ST. MAARTEN OPEN GOLF TOURNAMENT

SINT MAARTEN (MULLET BAY) - In the first St. Maarten Open Golf Tournament held post-hurricane Irma, the spirit of positive continuity and perseverance was embodied by Mr. Marlin George. He turned out to be the best player in the two-day tournament held the past weekend with a cumulative score of 153. The visiting player from Antigua proved to be the sharpest and most consistent on both days. The Tournament Overall Low Net was won by David Ward from the USA with a total Low Net score of 123.

The Sxm Open Tournament started with an opening reception for players and sponsors on Friday evening at the Sunset Beach Bar The first round of the tournament got underway on Saturday morning with a total of 65 players representing St. Maarten and St. Martin, a large group of golfers from Anguilla, as well as France, Colombia, Antigua, USA, Nevis, Trinidad and the Netherlands The Championship flight with 10 players all with a handicap between 0-10, consisted of players that were determined to chase the first day leaders on the second day of the tournament. Still Champion Marlin George beat them by 3 strokes. 2nd Low Gross was won by Howard Hobgood from St. Maarten. The prize of 1st Low Net was won by Stanley Samuel from St. Martin with a score of 142, 2nd Low Net was won by Jesus Rivera from Colombia.

In the category Men’s 1st flight for players with a handicap between 11 and 18, Marc Grenouilleau from St. Martin came out on top with a score of 163 Low Gross, Andy Holmes took first Low Net with a score of 140. In the Men’s 2nd Flight for players with a handicap between 18 and 36, first Low Gross was won by Andy Wescott from St. Maarten with a score of 183, first Low Net went to Louis Assier de Pompignan from St. Martin with a score of 145.

In a strong field of female players, the prize for Low Gross in the Ladies category went to Marie Gibbons from the USA with a score of 173. Low Net was won by Oli Tinitali from St. Maarten with a score of 151.

Jean Paul Clerc from St. Martin shot 164 to win the Low Gross in the category Senior’s 1st Flight for players over 50 years old and with a handicap up to 18, while Tony Lake took 1st Low Net in this category with a score of 135. In the Senior’s 2nd Flight for players with a handicap between 19 and 36, first Low Gross was won by Lester Samuel from Anguilla with a score of 184, first Low Net went to Glenford Gumbs from Anguilla with a score of 144.

This year again a large number of players participated in the Super Seniors category (for golfers over 60). Therefore, this category was split up for players with a handicap up to 18 and a category with handicaps from 19 to 36. In the ‘Super Senior’s 1st Flight’, Keith Graham from St. Maarten won Low Gross with a score of 171 and Low Net was won by Tony Burn from St. Maarten with a score of 141.

The category ‘Super Seniors 2nd Flight’ was won by David Ward from St. Maarten with a score of 193 Low Gross, Hilroy Humphreys from Antigua won Low Net in this category with a score of 155.

After the second round on Sunday a recognition party was held at Tortuga Beach Bar and Lounge, where Awards were given to the numerous winners and auctions were held as well as raffles.

The St. Maarten Golf Association SMGA was able to organize this top ranked tournament due to the great partnership with Mullet Bay Resort & Golf Course, combined with the relentless efforts from its members, volunteers and the tremendous support it received from both the local and international business community. Proceeds from the event will benefit pre-selected community organizations supporting sports for the youth of St. Maarten.

A special thanks goes out to:

Mullet Bay Golf Course

Our PLATINUM sponsors:

Anderson Fabrics, Anton Assurances, Caribtrans, CC1, First Auto SXM, Générali Assurance

RBC Bank, SOL Antilles, SXM Timeshare Association, Nagico, Teledom

Our GOLD sponsors:

Arawak, Boogaard Insurances, BZSE Law Office,

The Daily Herald, Electec, First Caribbean International Bank,

Grant Thornton, Great Bay Beach Resort, Guardian Insurances,

Holland House Beach Hotel, La Soufrière/BWA Yachting, SBS Building Supplies,

S.H.T.A., St. Maarten Ports Authority, Starz City Casino,

St. Maarten Tourist Office, Sunset Beach Bar, Tortuga Bar & Restaurant,

Winair Airlines, Winward Island Bank, WYSO.

The SMGA is a non-profit organization of avid golfers formed to promote the practice of the game and to foster community spirit. The SMGA organizes golf matches and tournaments for its members

and non-members and donates most of its proceeds that achieved through membership fees and during events like the St. Maarten Open to multiple community organizations on the island.

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Information session for roadside vendors on Monday at 5.30 PM

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications (TEATT) in collaboration with the Sint Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) hereby invites all roadside vendors for Carnival 50th to an information session on Monday April 15, 2019 from 5.30 pm – 8.30 pm on the first floor of the Government Administration Building (Room 1).

The purpose of the session is to provide information on the expectations of the vendors during Carnival 50th, including set up and break down of their booths as well as explanation of the conditions in the permit.

The Police and the various inspection and control department representatives within Government will also be present to discuss amongst others hygienic practices and what can be expected in term of controls and inspections before, during and after the Carnival period.

A representative of NV GEBE will also be present to give information about obtaining light and running water for the duration of Carnival, which has been made possible in certain areas at a flat fee.

The Chamber will provide small business tips to ensure a successful venture.

Refreshments will also be provided.

All roadside vendors are encouraged to attend as it will be the perfect opportunity to ask questions and seek clarity from the relevant authorities.

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TelEm Group get busy with “Hooked on the Hit Makers” Phone Card Campaign

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - TelEm Group are making a limited edition of $10 TelCell Night of the Hit Makers phone cards available to the general public and card collectors in a new campaign launched Thursday.

The phone cards are available exclusively from TelEm Group’s main office on Pond Island and also at the TelEm Group branch office in Simpson Bay.

Each year, TelEm Group teams up with show promoters, Extratight Entertainment, to bring Carnival’s “flagship” show, TelCell Night of the Hit Makers to music and dance fans.

This year’s special 50th anniversary of St. Maarten Carnival also called for something special, and the Marketing and Sales Department came up with the sale of a special $10 Phone card to mark the sell-out show on April 26th.

Subscribers who purchase the card not only receive a colorful reminder as a 5oth anniversary keepsake, but they all get a chance to win an iPhone or a Carnival costume to fete with TelEm Group’s colorful and dynamic Carnival troupe in the Grand Parade.

According to TelEm Group Manager, Marketing & Sales Mr. Grisha Heyliger, the phone cards promotion is just one of the many campaigns being run by the company during this year’s Carnival 50.

Grisha says, as a main sponsor of the St. Maarten Carnival each year, management and staff are keen to promote their presence in all aspects of the island’s premier touristic and cultural event.

“We are having fun, our staff are having fun and we want our subscribers, visitors to the island, and the public generally to also have fun with us as we make this one Carnival that we will remember for a long time,” said the Manager, Marketing and Sales.

Cheryl says there will be other prizes during the $10 Hit Makers phone card promotion, including a Sim Card and $50 call credit.

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Breast Abnormalities Screening Exam set for April 13

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – Women are being called upon to register and sign-up as soon as possible for the next free breast abnormalities and health screening exam/survey which is set for this Saturday, April 13th.

In order to participate in the screenings, you need to register as it is based on appointment. You can call or email: 554-4532 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you are running late or unable to maintain the appointment, call the aforementioned number to let the organizers know.

The screening is carried out on scheduled Saturdays between 8.30am to 3.00pm.

The examination is a collaborative effort by the Collective Preventive Services (CPS), a department in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA), the Positive Foundation, and the American University of the Caribbean (AUC), the latter, is lead research agency.

An overall health assessment will be carried out that includes taking your height, weight to calculate Body Mass Index; blood pressure, heart rate; visual acuity, blood glucose and cholesterol.

Those in attendance will also receive a presentation about the risk factors for breast cancer, including information regarding modifiable risk factors that can help to reduce the overall breast cancer risk; assessment of individual breast cancer risk via Gail model, and the distribution of breast cancer awareness brochures to take home.

The screenings target population are women 18+ years of age.

The screenings take place at the Vineyard Office Park Building in Philipsburg at the CPS Offices.

Breast abnormalities represent a large spectrum of disorders including benign, congenital, hormonal and malignancies such as breast cancer.

Major risk factors for breast cancer in women are age, genetic predisposition and hormonal imbalance. Breast density is also a significant factor, especially in women 40 to 49 years of age.

The purpose of the study is to gain insight into the types of breast abnormalities and risk factors in women 18 and above with no age cap in Sint Maarten.

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TBO conducts searches in Sint Maarten at a Home and Accountants Office and Romania. 38-Year Old Arrested

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - In the ‘Draco’ investigation, two house searches were conducted in Sint Maarten by the Anti-corruption Taskforce (TBO) on Tuesday, April 9 and Wednesday, April 10, 2019 under supervision of the Examining Judge. The searches were conducted in a home in Cupecoy and at an accounting firm in Cole Bay, the Public Prosecution Service (OM)/TBO said on Wednesday.

In the same investigation, bank accounts, vehicles, expensive jewelry, real estate and firearms were seized simultaneously in Sint Maarten and in Romania. There were also two-house searches in Romania at the request of the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office and TBO have worked closely with the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Romania and the National Anti-Corruption Service (DNA) of that country. There is a suspicion that suspects in the ‘Draco’ investigation have diverted criminal assets from Sint Maarten to Romania, among other things, by investing in real estate there.

On 10 April 2019, L.J.J.  (38, born in Sint Maarten) was also arrested in Sint Maarten.  He is suspected of fraud, forgery and tax fraud. The arrested suspect has been detained and will be brought before the examining judge this week.

‘Draco’ is the result of the ‘Emerald’ investigation, which includes investigations into fraud at Port Sint Maarten by means of false invoices. This has caused the Port disadvantages of many millions of dollars, the OM/TBO media statement says.

The Anti-corruption Taskforce (TBO) of the Special Police Taskforce (RST) specializes in tackling corruption and undermining financial economic crime. Among other things, the team investigates fraud, forgery and money laundering.

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