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Another edition of “Boardwalk Market” during the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

SIMPSON BAY - Regatta Organizers are again having an open air market for the 37th edition of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta which takes place March 2 to 5, 2017.

The “Boardwalk Market” is intended for the Philipsburg Beach Promenade venue on Friday March 3rd, and will extend from the Cyrus Wathey Square up until the Walter Plantz Square. The Market will be open to the island’s talented artists and local non-profit organizations.

“The goal of this Boardwalk Market is to provide visitors and residents of the island with a creative experience during the regatta while at the same time providing a location for local artists to showcase their work.

“It’s also open to any local non-profit organization who want to use it as a platform to show the public what they represent. Whether you’re a sports organization that’s looking to recruit new members or an animal welfare organization, the Boardwalk Market is the right place for you,” said Regatta Director Michelle van der Werff.

Applications are being accepted and will be reviewed on a rolling basis until all available spots and/or categories are filled. There is a fee per 10x10 spot to cover cost of set up. Spaces are limited so it is advised to apply as soon as possible.

Those who have questions or who would like to apply can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call +1 721 586 0149.

The application form can also be found online on http://heinekenregatta.com/boardwalk-market/

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SMCP: PARLIAMENT AND THE SCREENING OF CANDIDATE MINISTERS

PHILIPSBURG – “Today, two months after the new Council of Ministers was sworn in, we still do not have a Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunication (TEATT),” the Leader of the Sint Maarten Christian Party (SMCP) Wycliffe Smith said in a press release on Wednesday.

“The blame for this has been placed on the vetting or screening process. However, in truth and in fact, the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of our parliament.

“Now, the USP will have to present another candidate minister and the screening process will start all over again. We trust that it does not take another two months. Who is to tell, though, if this candidate will pass the screening, which is shrouded in a cloak of mystery! With the exception of the Governor and the Prime Minister, no one else seems to know, for sure, what exactly the criteria are for the screening of candidate ministers.

“We expect the Prime Minister to be transparent about this issue and to enlighten the candidate ministers, the political parties and the general public about the screening criteria, the procedures and how the final decision is made to pass or fail a candidate minister. SMCP believes that the screening criteria should be clearly established up front and that political parties should be aware of these before submitting the name(s) of their candidate minister(s) to the Formateur.

“The obscurity as well as the insecurity surrounding the whole screening process could have been avoided, if parliament had taken the bull by the horns and dealt with the law pertaining to the screening some years ago. Take Curacao for example. Shortly after 10-10-10, the Parliament of Curacao annulled their original screening ordinance and passed a revised one, in 2012. Nearly seven years after 10-10-10, Sint Maarten is still using the original 10-10-10 screening ordinance which is apparently outdated and full of flaws.

“St. Maarten has a very short history, as far as vetting or screening of candidate ministers is concerned. It is unfortunate that the first three governments of Country Sint Maarten never underwent any serious screening. In its Integrity Report of 2014, the Bob Wit Committee clearly pointed out that the screening was a mess and even stated that the then Prime Minister as well as the Ministers were in violation of the law and could be sentenced to a maximum of three years imprisonment.

“Seeing that governments were forming and falling so frequently, the Kingdom Government felt that they should step in to ensure, the much needed integrity in the government of Sint Maarten. Consequently, prior to the formation of the fourth government in 2014, the Kingdom Government issued a directive, instructing the Governor, to ensure that the screening of candidate ministers be done in a thorough manner.

“I believe that, if the Sint Maarten Government and Parliament had taken the screening process seriously from the beginning, there would have been absolutely no reason for the Kingdom Government to step in.

“Almost seven years after 10-10-10, Sint Maarten’s parliamentarians are still complaining about the screening, when all the while it was up to them to do something about it. Finally, after five years, a draft of the screening law, entitled “Ordinance Regulating the Integrity of (candidate) Ministers”, was officially submitted to Parliament, on January 20th 2016, by then Member of Parliament, Dr. Van Hugh Cornelius de Weever.

“If parliamentarians were really concerned or dissatisfied with the screening, they would have been more zealous in seeing this law move from the Ad Hoc Committee of Integrity to the Central Committee and finally to the Public meeting where it would have been approved. It is good to note that when this ordinance was submitted, the members of the Ad Hoc Integrity Committee were: Sarah Wescott-Williams, George Pantophlet, Cornelius de Weever, Leona Marlin-Romeo, Frans Richardson, Maurice Lake, Franklyn Myers and Silvio Matser, who did not attend any of the three meetings that the Committee held.

“Regrettably, neither the Committee members nor the other parliamentarians did anything with the draft ordinance. They just sat on it and allowed it to accumulate dust. SMCP calls on parliament to handle this draft ordinance as soon as possible and ensure that it is transparent and fair to all concerned.

“The next ordinance that Parliament should deal with immediately is the Ordinance Regulating the Integrity of Parliamentarians. The Bob Wit Integrity Committee also seriously questioned the integrity of our parliamentarians and made very pointed recommendations such as: establishing a code of ethics, making public all paid and unpaid side jobs, setting up a public registry to record all gifts accepted by parliamentarians, determining whether side jobs are permissible and if so reducing the salaries accordingly.

“The report also calls for parliamentarians to declare their assets, before and after taking office, as well as for the establishment of an Integrity Committee.

If parliament had followed up on the recommendations in Bob Wit’s Integrity Report, the screening of candidate Ministers would not be a big issue today and the integrity level within parliament would have been higher. SMCP is expecting parliament to work on these two ordinances as soon as possible,” Wycliffe Smith, Leader of the Sint Maarten Christian Party said on Wednesday.

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Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle Awards Millicent De Weever and Brian Greene with Paul Harris Fellow Award

PHILIPSBURG - The Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle hosted a fellowship evening as ‘A World’s Greatest Meal to End Polio’ to celebrate Valentine’s Day. A collection was taken for Polio which will be tripled by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

At this event two Paul Harris Fellows were awarded to Rotarian Millicent De Weever and Rotarian Brian Greene for their contribution within our community, this was the second Paul Harris Fellow awarded to both of them.

Rotarian Millie is a founding member of Mid Isle and was the first female President of Mid Isle, as well as the first female President on St. Maarten. Rotarian Brian is currently on St. Maarten studying Medicine and is a Past President of his old club The Rotary Club of Carson City Sunset in Carson City, Nevada.

Mid Isle will be holding their Fundraising Motor Treasure Hunt on Sunday March 19th starting at the Kim Sha  Beach in Celebration of the Rotary Foundation turning 100 years old. That’s a century of Rotary members changing lives and improving communities all over the world.

See any member of Mid Isle for more information or call 520-1052 or 520-1899. The proceeds from this event will go towards a fetal monitor for the maternity wing at the SMMC and other needed items.

The Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle meets Tuesday at 7pm at Mary’s Boone in Simpson Bay. For more information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our Facebook page Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle

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“Fake” comedy Behind the Beyond exposes other side of Performance Arts. An opening night review - By Anonymous

PHILIPSBURG – Theatre-lovers flocking to the opening night of Albina Matuzko’s production of Behind the Beyond (now playing at the National Institute of Arts Black Box Theatre, John Larmonie Center, Longwall Road) hadn’t really counted on getting a “twofer” when they sat down, ready to see the show unfold.

For the uninitiated, a “twofer” is simply a term of phrase, not literary, nor grammatical, and certainly not of theatrical root. It merely stands for the rewarding act of giving or receiving - two for the price of one.

It turns out that our theatre-goers, unbeknownst to them were not only holding tickets for the premiere of the much heralded “fake” send-up of a Stephen Leacock classic, Behind the Beyond, but also to a Reggae party that, quite unfortunately, was also taking place next door – effectively and annoyingly disturbing the latter part of the show.

The director had promised “Something completely different” for the St. Maarten Theatre scene – and had the eager crowd of well-wishers, family and friends arrived just half an hour earlier to hear a borrowed backup generator purring noisily on a pre-premiere run, they would probably have been more on their guard.

It’s not as if they weren’t warned. NIA co-director, Clara Reyes, a doyen of St. Maarten Culture and dance, made it clear that the venue itself, aptly termed the “Black Box Theatre” exists only because of the dire need to have a performance space that is affordable and multi-functional to identify, capture and nurture the abundance of untapped talent with exists within the local community and has done for many, many years. Intimate in its setting, most charming with its clip-on lighting and curtained backdrop, the audience is assured that this work in progress is close to the heart of those who conceptualized it and continue to hope that one day they will be housed in their own purpose-built state-of-the-art facility.

And Director Matuzko said as much when she too addressed the audience on opening night to introduce her cast of players and the support teams (and families) behind them. She pointed to the tiered seating that had to be literally air-lifted in to provide suitable seating for our theatre-lovers. She also noted limitations of space and time on rehearsal schedules due to the great demand of use by all types of groups and organizations – oh and yes, she could not fail to mention the stream of reggae music coming from outside, threatening to drown out the performance, spoiling it for audience and cast alike. Needless to say, “twofer” was not the choice of words streaming through the Ukranian-born director’s mind, while delivering her introductory dialogue.

In what can be described as no less than brilliant, Ms. Matuzko has managed to incorporate all the shortcomings of local theatre into her first production on the island in subtle, but deeply profound ways. It is no accident that the rise and fall of curtains at the start, during and at the end of the show is symbolized by crudely constructed roller blinds that would be more befitting of your kitchen window than as a prop in a major production. But the audience got it, understood the sentiment and genuinely appreciated the gesture.

In fact, this play is all about the audience getting it and being involved. It begins with some of the lucky play-goers receiving their own hand-made opera glasses so that they could be part of the show. It also begins with the cast of players entering the stage as members of the visiting audience, even taking up places within the audience for the opening “Audition” scene.

The story begins to unfold with the appearance of two actors on stage, who we soon learn are girl and boy narrators (Meredith Boekhoudt and Ray-Angel Simon) who are going to manipulate, pour scorn on and generally upstage our enthusiastic, but amateur troupe who have passed the auditions and are now into playing their roles.

The narrators masterfully take the audience on a journey through three acts (one with intermission) against a backdrop of props that are authentic in appearance and professionally executed to mimic the 1910 period in which the play is set.

Act I introduces the characters to the audience, starting with the appearance of Parliamentarian, Sir. John Trevor, played by veteran journalist, Joe Dominique. The director promised something different, and so it was when this character entered the stage, laces and flies undone and belt unstrapped. The audience was not to know whether this was part of the act or not, however the actor delivered his lines relentlessly and unperturbed. If it was not part of the act, it’s something a wardrobe department or stage hand would have caught, but sadly such is a luxury in the Black Box Theatre – and so the show went on with this actor, literally caught with this pants still on – just.

Act I is driven by the two lovers in the play, Lady Cicely ( lovingly captured by Eveline Henriquez- Dijkhoffz) and Jack Harding (teasingly played by talented teenage actor, Sjeord Scott). The antics of the pair (look out for Lady Cicely’s death scene dive)  was well received by the audience well into the scene and continued into ACT II where the pace of the drama picks up and distraught mother, Mrs. Margaret Harding, (played by Carla van Dam) makes her entry stage left.

Adding to the pace, and providing a few of the silliest and funniest moments, is the introduction of the French Maid (played with effortless ease by another talented teenager, Zack Phipps). The audience warmed to this character, even with an obvious slur against French Maids which, in the political correctness of present society (read recent spat between French side and Dutch side over ownership of the Oyster Bay Marina area), may do well to exclude from future performances.

According to the narrators, by the time Mrs. Harding comes into the picture the play is just about “puffing itself out” with a “deep sense of Melancholy” with only the setting of “atmosphere” to consider, however ACT III is much more than that, since it reveals the true intent of the dynamics of the unfolding drama all along.

Behind the Beyond is not rip-roaringly funny. Neither do I believe it is meant to be. It has taken a slice of life in Victorian England as seen through the eyes of Canadian humorist, Stephen Leacock, and transposed the emotions and sentiments that are contained within us all, irrespective of time and place, into a modern day St. Maarten, bent on keeping in step with globalization – replete with video games, mobile phones and electronic devices.

The production plays tribute to workers, like the three stage hands, played mostly in the dark (remember the back-up generator at the start?) by the director’s husband Cor Sikkes, Nascha Kagie and Werner van de Zilver.  These are workers you’re sure to find in all walks of life right here on the island. They work very hard behind the scenes to ensure that those upon whom the spotlight shines are provided with all the support they need – even though sometimes their own yearning for attention and recognition can no longer be contained.

The nostalgia of the period was not missed by the audience, mostly adult in nature, but also quite unexpectedly by children in the audience who obviously would be puzzled by much of the ado on stage and yet were thoroughly amused and entertained.

It is however a shame that, at least on opening night, the theatre lovers attracted to see the “something different” that director Matuzko offered, consisted mainly of persons already familiar with this type of production and also of the time and era.  Here was and still is, a wonderful opportunity for more St. Maarten residents, unaccustomed to this type of theatre, to take a peek – see and experience for themselves the something different and completely magical thing that has been around for centuries. It’s called –Theatre.

What is there to lose? With a “Twofer” ticket, anyone who finds the show boring or not to their taste can always leave at the Intermission………..and follow the sound of the Reggae music next door.

Go see Behind the Beyond. I promise you will have a good time.

Behind the Beyond is playing at the (Black Box Theatre) John Larmonie Center, Longwall Road, Phillipsburg, St. Maarten on the following dates:

February 24th February 25th (Sold Out)

March 10th March 11th

All performances begin at 8:00 pm Sharp. For reservations: 543-0600

or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Double Celebration for the USM

POND ISLAND - Good governance and the tension between ethnic diversity and national identity, are the two hot topics within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Given the upcoming elections in the Netherlands and the recent tensions within the Kingdom, Intellectuals on both sides of the Atlantic have dedicated much of their effort in analyzing the two topics. 

The University of St. Martin (USM) has broken ground with two new academic publications that address respectively good governance and the relations between ethnic groups in a time that defining national identity is high on the agenda.

Mrs. Geneve Phillip-Durham, the Dean of Academics, has written the entry on “Governance in the Dutch Caribbean” for the “Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy and Governance”.

Encyclopedias of this caliber, published by the prestigious Springer in New York, is what policy makers, academics, and transnational organizations like Transparency International review in doing their work. The Dean of Academics had this to say about her publication:

“When governance is discussed in relation to developing countries, it often has the adjective ‘good’ appended to it to describe what should be strived for. What I seek to do in my work therefore, is to address governance in a non-normative way and in a way that departs from universalistic and utopian ideas.

Notwithstanding, it remains important for me to acknowledge the governance challenges that are common to us on a national and regional level, if we are to obtain an improved experience and eliminate the level of apathy toward governance that has become ubiquitous”.

The publication guarantees that Mrs. Phillip-Durham’s PhD thesis “DECONSTRUCTING THE GOOD GOVERNANCE AGENDA: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF SELECTED CARIBBEAN SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES AND SUB-NATIONAL ISLAND JURISDICTIONS, which she is submitting in June of this year,  will be well received internationally.   

The encyclopedia can be ordered thus:

http://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319209272

On his part, Dr. Francio Guadeloupe, The President of the USM published a polemical essay entitled “Tarzan komt uit de Tropen, Ik Niet”/Tarzan’s from the tropics, I am not”! In the Dutch literary journal “Het Gids” that has been in circulation since 1837. With its past in which accomplished Dutch intellectuals were part of its editorial board, think of the likes of Harry Mulisch and Eduard J. Dijksterhuis, in addition to featuring internationally acclaimed scientist’s such as Professor Mattijs van der Port in the current issue, Guadeloupe’s essay in “het Gids” is bound to reach a large audience.

Guadeloupe commented: “the mark of growth, in this case taking seriously of our current political arrangement, is that thinkers at the USM produce work that addresses wider issues within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Where this essay breaks new ground is that instead of focusing on the fundamentalist nationalists in the Netherlands who spew overt racism and wish to deport as much as possible newcomers, the Moroccan-, Turkish-, Surinamese, Polish-, and yes, Caribbean-Dutch, this piece analyses the fears and anxieties of those level headed men and women who claim to accept Dutch multiculturalism but who nevertheless seriously contemplate voting for conservative parties such as the PVV.

Like their xenophobic peers, they too have not fully embraced the current reality of the Netherlands. They have a sense that their way of life is changing and they are no longer claim to be the only authentic people of the Netherland as it is today.

Instead of pointing fingers, I do hope that some readers here on the island may recognize themselves or gain an understanding of the view of their  colleagues or acquaintances.”

Parts of the journal, including the article by Dr. Guadeloupe can be accessed via:

https://de-gids.nl/2017/no1

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INTERPOL ARREST MADE AFTER PASSENGER ATTEMPTS TO USE FALSE PASSPORT

SIMPSON BAY/AIRPORT - On Friday the 17th of February 2017 a departing passenger was scanned by the new PJIA E-gate system at SXM Airport. During the passport scanning-process, it became clear that the passenger tried to leave St. Maarten using a false passport.

He was arrested by personnel of the St. Maarten Police Force / Immigration and Border Protection Service, for further investigations. In cooperation with the office of Interpol St. Maarten it appeared that the suspect was in the possession of several passports and ID cards, using a total of three different nationalities and identities.

During the investigation on one of these identities, it became clear that he was a Cuban born American citizen. His arrest was warranted, via a so called Interpol ‘red notice’ (international arrest warrant) on request of the US authorities.

As a result of this cooperation and on order of the Attorney Generals office, the suspect was arrested with a view towards extradition. The suspect will be led to a judge of instruction on the 20th of February 2017.

The suspect is wanted by the US authorities in an investigation into large scale fraud in which millions of US dollars were gained between 2006 and 2012. (Police Force Sint Maarten)

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President of Joint Court of Justice Saleh pays courtesy call on Minister Boasman

POND ISLAND - On Wednesday, February 15th Minister of Justice, Rafael Boasman was paid a courtesy visit from the newly appointed President of the Joint Court of Justice of Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, Her Honor Justice Eunice Saleh, according to a press release from the Ministry of Justice.

Justice Eunice Saleh, the daughter of former Governor of the Netherlands Antilles and former President of the Joint Court of Justice, Jaime Saleh, took over the reins from former President Evert Jan van der Poel effective January 1st, 2017.

Justice Saleh is a graduate of the University of Leiden. In 1996 she began training as a judge at the Joint Court of Justice and in 1999 she became a member of the Court.

She served as Vice-President of the Court since 2009 charged with the management of the Courts of First Instance in Curacao and Bonaire.

From 2011 to 2015 Justice Saleh served as a judge for the joint Court of Justice in Curacao and Aruba, and from 2015 she served in the same capacity in St. Maarten and St. Eustatius.

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Minister Emmanuel Finalizes private/public agreement with Residents and Business reps of Mildrum Road

SOUTH REWARD - Honorable Minister C. Emmanuel has been working diligently to finalize the public/private agreement between the residents residing on Mildrum Road (also known as Waymouth Hill) and Government, which has been completed and signed.

Large sections of Mildrum Road have been severely damaged by erosion from rainwater runoff, to such an extent that in some places underground cables have been exposed, deep gullies traverse the road and existing pavement is severely cracked up.  This condition makes the road difficult to use and causes excessive wear and tear on the vehicles going in and out of that area.

With  the finalization of the agreement this situation will be improved within short. The project will consist of installation of a fiber – reinforced concrete road. Pavement sections which are severely damaged will be replaced with fiber – reinforced concrete.

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Golden launches first novel “Love’s Sweet Joy”

SINT MAARTEN/MONTSERRAT - Love's Sweet Joy, the first novel by author and media strategist Nerissa Golden has been released.

Set on Montserrat, the 240-page book is the first in the Return to Love series, which chronicles the journey of four female entrepreneurs, who find love as they make their contributions to redeveloping the island.

"I've wanted to explore this genre for a long time. My work has been mostly in self-help and business but my true love is fiction," shared Golden. "Novels help me to write the version of the world I want to see around me. Maybe a bit idealistic but very doable and certainly with a happy ending."

As one of the region's leading entrepreneur advocates, Love's Sweet Joy is another way for Golden to encourage those already on the journey and others who are still considering whether they should start their own business.

Book one focuses on Monique Sinclair who has inherited a small pastry business that she has dreams of making bigger. However, things don't go as planned. After Callen Saunder's professional basketball career comes to a crashing end he returns to Montserrat broken and bitter. Unsure of his next move, he is hesitant to rekindle a relationship with an old friend.

Socamom.com blogger and author Eva Wilson said "I was moved by the genuine affection that the characters have for each other and for the island of Montserrat with all of its beauty, challenges, and tragedy.  While the attraction between the two main characters is captivating, the island’s power to attract and heal its sons and daughters is equally as enchanting."

"Love's Sweet Joy is an engaging novel with all the ingredients I like in a good book. It blends romance, business and inspiration in a satisfying and delightful package. It makes me want to visit Montserrat and experience it for myself," fellow romance novelist Donna Every said.

Love's Sweet Joy is available on Kindle and in print on amazon.com and on nerissagolden.com.

Nerissa currently resides on Montserrat.

LSJ Cover HighRes 2

LSJ Back HighRes 2

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Keiser University representative holds Information Session at USM

POND ISLAND - Jeffrey Greenip, Director of Enrollment Management and Admissions of Keiser University in Florida is currently on the island and hosted an information session at the University of St. Martin (USM) on Wednesday February 15, 2017.

Greenip, a recruiter at Keiser University, attended the Study and Career Fair in 2016 and visited various high schools for recruitment on St. Maarten.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Keiser University, which in detail, establishes a tuition matching agreement to facilitate students wanting to attend Keiser University.

The agreement with Keiser University is for a duration of five years, which began on April 21, 2016.

Greenip provided information and answered questions of prospective students and parents at the open information session, held at USM, as well at various schools on the island.

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