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Weekend traffic controls lead to 80 vehicles controlled and five arrests

PHILIPSBURG - During the weekend police held various traffic controls at different locations on the island. A total of 80 vehicles were controlled, 29 of which tint had to be removed from the windows, three of these vehicles were confiscated in connection with criminal investigations, 11 fines were issued in connection with the traffic laws and five persons were taken into custody. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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ST. MAARTEN LIONS CLUB TURNS 47

SUCKER GARDEN - On Tuesday December 12th, 2017 the St. Maarten Lions Club will celebrate its’ 47th anniversary. The Club was founded on December 12th, 1970.

The 22 charter members of the club were Ben Vlaun, Frank Arnell, Fred Baptist, Will Barendsen, Leslie Cannegieter, Jack Cooper, Walt Dietl, Victor de Tulio, Samuel Hazel, Carl Heineman, Ronald Van Grieken, Rudy Dovale, Johannes Arrindell, Franck Jansen, Rudolf de Kort, Rush Little, Gunter Muller, Henk Nahar, Alphonse O ’Connor, and Don Pointer. The late Ben Vlaun was the club’s first president.

Over the years, the St. Maarten Lions Club has grown, and currently has more than 50 members. In the year 2000-2001 Lion Lisandra Havertong served as our first female President. The present President for 2017-2018 is Lion Alison Busby who will serve until June 30, 2018.

Our club is known by the community for its many projects and fundraising activities amongst others; The Annual Lion Wally Havertong Christmas Bingo Spectacular, Lion Nelson Van der Linde Senior Citizens’ Party, Lion Rudy Hoeve Health & Wellness Fair and the Student Excellence Program

This year due to the many challenges on the island after hurricanes Irma and Maria, President Alison Busby was forced to adapt the regular projects and activities. Rebuilding St. Maarten is the new theme proposed for this rest of the Lionistic year for 2017 – 2018.

In January the club will continue with activities and projects towards helping rebuild the community of St. Maarten.

The President, Board and Members of the St. Maarten Lions Club would like to thank the business community and also general public for their support of the club’s 47 years of existence.

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HYUNDAI SHELL AND MOTORWORLD WORK TOGETHER TO BRING COMMUNITY RELIEF THROUGH SOUP KITCHENS & CARE PACKAGES

COLE BAY - The community of St. Maarten/ St. Martin is undergoing various efforts to rebuild and recover from the recent hurricane damages. This has left many residents in dire straits as a result of cases of unemployment, wage decreases, homelessness and challenges with making ends meet to provide basic necessities for themselves and/or their families.

To alleviate some of these unfortunate circumstances, Hyundai and Shell working together with Motorworld Group of Companies (MWG) have reinvested $150,000 through a series of community outreach initiatives in order to bring relief to residents in need.

"As a local company, our commitment goes above and beyond the standard business operations, to caring about our residents' quality of life. We take our corporate responsibility very seriously, and it brings us a sense of relief to be able to give back to those most in need," says Tariq Amjad, Managing Director, MWG.

Through these relief initiatives the dedicated staff from the Motorworld Group of Companies (MWG) has come out into the communities to host a series Soup Kitchens, and thereby share a warm meal and smile with residents.

In addition, the MWG staff has gone above and beyond to volunteer their time after a busy day at work in order to assist with the assembly of thousands of care packages with essential items ranging from food, household and personal care goods, to items specifically for the elderly and childcare.

Throughout this past week the community outreach initiatives continued as team members from MWG returned back into several areas to distribute thousands of care packages in communities with the most severe damages, and needs. This included areas such as Cul-de Sac, Dutch Quarter, Cole Bay, Cay Bay, Simpson Bay, Belvedere, St. Peters, Philipsburg, Suckergarden, Middle Region, French Quarter and Marigot, including places with elderly residents such as the Senior Home and White & Yellow Cross, as well as displaced residents at the Festival Village, Little League Ball Park and the Nina Duverly school on the French side of the island.

In addition, Motorworld has partnered with several organizations including K1 Brittania, Rotary Club, Helping Hands and One Hand Washes The Other Foundations, as well as the Community Councils and the Government of St. Maarten to ensure that these orchestrated efforts effectively reach the residents in most need.

"This major undertaking has been extremely rewarding. We are making a difference in people's lives with every meal and care package shared," says Rena Amjad, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), MWG.

motorworld inside

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UPDATED: Gritting lorries out in force, air and train travel disrupted as snow hits NL

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Weather forecasters are warning of more disruption on the roads and railways on Monday afternoon as a fresh band of snow sweeps in from the south.

On Sunday KLM cancelled 282 flights from Schiphol and the motoring organisation ANWB reported dozens of accidents on snowbound motorways. One driver died in hospital after his car collided with a train near Velp.

A further 122 flights have been cancelled to European destinations on Monday afternoon as a precaution, a KLM spokesman told RTL. Monday morning was dry and clear, but roads were reported to be quieter than usual as commuters appeared to heed warnings to work from home or postpone appointments if possible.

NS is running a reduced rail timetable on Monday, with intercity services on the busiest lines cut from four trains an hour to two. ‘That means longer journeys, more frequent changes and busier trains,’ warned a spokesman.

Weather bureau KNMI has issued a Code Orange warning from midday, when heavy snow is expected to move in through the south of the country. Some areas could see as 15cm in the course of the afternoon.

The heaviest snowfalls are predicted to be in south-western and central regions. Temperatures in these areas could fall as low as minus 6C, with subzero conditions in most of the country on Monday evening.

The ANWB warned that ‘extreme delays’ were likely and advised drivers to delay their journeys if possible.

Flights from Schiphol were cancelled on Sunday because the airport was only able to keep one runway clear of snow. One passenger, Tanya Cunningham, told DutchNews she was stranded at the airport overnight after a delay to her inbound flight from Luxembourg meant she missed her connection to Minneapolis.

She said lack of communication and long queues at transfer desks had compounded the problem: ‘The terminal is full of hungry, tired, frustrated travellers like myself who have paid for service from airlines… to provide, at the very least, a cup of coffee, a snack, [and] some assurance of our safety and well-being.’

Schiphol said it expected to run a normal service on Monday morning after clearing the overnight snow, but warned that more delays were likely after 3.30pm as conditions deteriorate. (DutchNews)

ARCHIVE, SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Some 550 gritting lorries and snow ploughs were in action on the Dutch roads on Sunday as snow blanketed most of the country. By 11am, travel information service VID said it had reports of at least 50 accidents, as cars skidded on the slippery roads.

The ANWB said drivers should not go out unless their journeys are essential. Train travel was also disrupted and dozens of flights to and from Schiphol airport were cancelled because of the snow.

According to one report, KLM cancelled at least 94 flights on Sunday. Many sports events have been been scrapped although the Dutch football association KMVB said Sunday’s Eredivisie fixtures would go ahead as planned.

The KNMI weather bureau issued a code orange weather warning for all of the Netherlands but Zeeland and the Wadden Islands on Sunday. The KNMI is forecasting snow over most of the country, with the north and north east set to get up to 15 centimetres.

However, the snow will not last in most places as the temperature rises to around 7 degrees later in the day and the snow turns to rain. In the north it will be colder, and the snow is more likely to stick. (DutchNews)

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Demolition Works to Start Inside SXM Airport

SIMPSON BAY - Work is expected to start this week on the demolition of the interior walls of the Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) terminal building, said Michel Hyman, COO and Acting CEO of the Airport.

“On Tuesday, December 12, 2017, we will be selecting the contractor who will start on the demolition of the mold-infested interior sheet rock walls,” he said.

“We have been following the required procurement procedures, and the building was just recently inspected. The inspectors had to give their report on the mold in the building with recommendations on how to proceed, Hyman explained. In the meantime, he said, everyone who enters the building has to put on their personal protective gear to ensure their safety. This is standard practice and we don’t want to endanger the health of anyone,” he said.

SXM Airport suffered severe damages as a result of Hurricane Irma with recorded wind speeds of up to 240 mph at the facility. This was further worsened by Hurricane Maria that came shortly after Irma, bringing with it a lot of showers.

“Due to the water leaks, we are constantly fogging inside the building to avoid mosquito breeding places and to safeguard the health of our employees,” Hyman said, adding: “The intention is to rebuild the interior of the airport completely and restore it to the pride of place it had before the hurricanes.”

Management of SXM Airport meets regularly with the different stakeholders to inform them of developments at the facility, he revealed.

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Preventing Tree Fires this 2017 Holiday Season

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – A number of homes on the inside and outside have been decorated or are in the process of being decorated with Christmas lights, stockings, banners, wreaths and the most popular of these decorations is the Christmas tree.

As part of Ministry of Public Health’s Collective Prevention Services (CPS) Safe Holiday Season Observances, in collaboration with the Department of Communication, residents are advised to keep the season safe by following a few helpful tips.

Check Christmas tree lighting to make sure it is operating safely in order in order to avoid any hazards this holiday season.

These are some life-saving steps you can take to ensure a safe and happy holiday:

* Preventing holiday tree fire hazards

Special fire safety precautions need to be taken when keeping a live tree in the house. A burning tree can rapidly fill a room with fire and deadly gases.

* Selecting a Tree for the Holiday

Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needle should not break if the tree has been freshly cut.  The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground.  If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard.

* Caring for Your Tree

Do not place your tree close to a heat source.  The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks.  Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree.  Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.

* Disposing of Your Tree

When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly.  The best way to dispose of your tree is by having it hauled away by the waste disposal service.

Holiday Lights

* Maintain Your Holiday Lights

Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. 

* Do Not Overload Electrical Outlets

Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe.  Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet.  Make sure to periodically check the wires - they should not be warm to the touch.

* Do Not Leave Holiday Lights on Unattended

Holiday Decorations; Use Only Nonflammable Decorations; All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant.

* Never Put Wrapping Paper near an open flame

It can throw off dangerous sparks and produce a chemical buildup in the home that could cause an explosion.

* Artificial Holiday Trees

If you are using a metallic or artificial tree, make sure it is flame retardant.

Candle Care

* Avoid Using Lit Candles

If you do use them, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down. Never leave the house with candles burning.

* Never Put Lit Candles on a Tree

Do not go near a holiday tree with an open flame - candles, lighters or matches.

By following precautionary tips, families can greatly reduce their chances of becoming a holiday fire casualty.  Happy holidays.

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SMMC Donation Drive a Success

CAY HILL - Recently, the St. Maarten Medical Center hosted a donation drive for parents and guardians with small children. The event was a great success where over 300 persons received various items which included formula, diapers, clothing and shoes.

Dr. P. Mercelina-Roumans and management of the SMMC would like to express their gratitude to all persons involved in drive.

Special thanks go to Nancy Normans for collecting children’s clothing from throughout the Netherlands. We would also like to thank the nurses of the Ob/Gyn department of the Zuyderland Medisch Center in the Netherlands for the donation of diapers and formula.

A heartfelt thank you go to all volunteers of the Make St. Maarten Great Again foundation for their help in getting the donated items from the Netherland to St. Maarten and all of their help during the event.

A big thank you also go to the nurses of SMMC’s Ob/Gyn ward, Pediatric ward and the Outpatient department for their devoted help with the sorting, packing and distribution of items during the event. And we would like to thank the maintenance department for their help in setting up of the area and the custodial workers for the cleaning of the areas before and after the event.

We received generous donations from Domino’s pizza with them providing refreshments for the volunteers during the event and Le Grand Marche with shopping bags that we used to pack all items. Their contributions were greatly appreciated by all.

With the help of all persons we were able to make this event a success. Let’s continue to work together as we continue to rebuild St. Maarten.

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SXM Airport Appoints First CFO

SIMPSON BAY – The Princess Juliana International Airport Operating Company (PJIAE NV), has appointed Mr. Ravi Daryanani as its first Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Daryanani who was until then Head of Finance in the island government, took office on November 6, 2017.

Prior to his six-year term at the Ministry of Finance, he had also spent some 20 years in the private sector during which he served as Finance Director at DHL and Digicel among other important posts.

Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Directors, Mr. Gary Matser said PJIAE N.V. was very happy to welcome the new CFO on board. “As part of our efforts to further position the company to meet the challenges of the future, we are all excited to have Mr. Daryanani join the management team and look forward to his professional contribution in his capacity as CFO,” Matser said.

Also welcoming Daryanani to “Team SXM Airport” was Michel Hyman, COO and acting CEO who pointed to the wealth of experience the new CFO brings to the table. “This will only make us stronger as a team and put us in pole position to achieve our goals,” Hyman said. For his part, Daryanani said: “I wanted to come back to the private sector. I was quite interested in the airport as a whole, being that the airport is one of the economic pillars of this island.”

Daryanani, who holds an MBA from USF, California, said his new job is “more in line with my education and with my past experience.” He explained that he had already accepted the CFO position at the airport before Hurricane Irma struck. “Irma did not sway my decision in one way or the other. I knew what I wanted to do.”

Daryanani said one of the main challenges he faces in his new job is “to make sure we get revenues back to where they were before the hurricanes and trying to get the airport back on its feet to where you have an airport that is profitable as it was pre-Irma as quickly as possible.”

He further clarified that all of this would depend on how quickly the insurance claim could be settled. “It’s a long process, but we’re clear on what we expect and I think the ball is in the court of the insurance company right now,” he said. Regarding getting back to pre-Irma levels in terms of the airport’s revenues, the CFO explained that this is based on what the island is offering.

“It depends on who’s coming here, how many hotels are open, are the stores back open, is St. Maarten being marketed as a place to come back to… it’s all tied together. Our revenue is driven by the economy of the island, by everything.” As part of the management team, Daryanani praised Mr. Michel Hyman, COO and acting CEO whom he described as “very supportive.” “I think we work well together. He obviously has years of experience and he knows what he’s doing. We can only complement each other.”

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Nature Foundation’s Bervoets Attends United Nations Ecosystem Based Management Workshop

SINT MAARTEN/PANAMA - Managing Director of the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation Tadzio Bervoets this week attended the United Nations Environment Program/ Caribbean Environment Program’s meeting on Ecosystem Based Management in Panama City, Panama. 

The United Nations’ Caribbean Environment Program (CEP) and Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) to the Cartagena Convention, have been aiming to promote and integrate the principles of ecosystem-based management approach throughout the insular Caribbean. Ecosystem-based management (EBM) is an environmental management approach that recognizes the variety of interactions within an ecosystem, including humans, rather than considering sonly ingle issues, species, or ecosystem services.

An ecosystem-based management approach is key to maintaining viable healthy ecosystems and their associated goods and services to enhance livelihoods of vulnerable coastal populations across the Wider Caribbean Region.

With the information gained at the workshop the Nature Foundation will be better equipped to manage the island’s natural resources and to communicate the importance of environmental protection to decision-makers.

“Given our experience managing the environment and trying to communicate the importance of an effective management of our natural resources to our decision makers, we were especially grateful to be invited to attend this workshop. It is important to include all factors that contribute to the effective protection of our resources, including the importance the ecosystem has in protecting our infrastructure and supporting our economy.

“Especially since we have experienced a very difficult hurricane season and now realize that we must holistically protect our resources to recover from Hurricanes in the future,both in terms of the Environment and our Economy, it is important that we approach the protection of our resources in terms of their importance to the ecosystem and to the economy of our country” commented Bervoets.

The Project "Biodiversity for Sustainable Development in the Caribbean through Ecosystem Based Management (EBM-DSS)" currently being implemented by CEP is promoting the practice of EBM in the Caribbean with the support of the Government of Italy, Agenzia Italiana per la Cooperazione allo Sviluppo (AICS).

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SHTA Organizes Recovery Photo Contest

PHILIPSBURG - The Sint Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) will be holding a recovery photo contest within short, the business representative organization said on Tuesday in a press statement.

“By means of collecting pictures of the rebuilding of Sint Maarten, SHTA wants to break the vicious circle of international media still portraying pictures of the devastation directly after hurricane Irma. The continued use of those pictures spread the image of the island not being ready to receive visitors – even though many tours and restaurants are already open for business.  

“As the association sees progress being made on many fronts, SHTA wants to share images of the island getting ready for visitors in a recovery image collection. Its international partners will assist in distributing the images towards media outlets.

“Providing pictures of ongoing recovery and reopenings prevents international media reusing pictures of the devastation right after Irma. As many media visited the country to see the damage done by the hurricane, these pictures are often used for Sint Maarten stories as more recent ones regarding recovery are not at hand.

“SHTA calls on both professional as well as amateur photographers to assist in providing pictures that show recovery is in full swing. Be it showing the nature coming back to its full glory or reconstruction efforts going on, any picture is welcome.

“All pictures will be shared on the SHTA Facebook channels. The best picture will be rewarded by a day trip to Anguilla on one of Aquamania’s Awesome Catamaran Cruises for two passengers.

“The deadline is set for Monday December 11th. Photographers can send in their pictures to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. All pictures must be high resolution. SHTA will share the pictures with the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, Sint Maarten representative for the United States MMGY, and any media outlet wanting to do a story about Sint Maarten.

“The SHTA is dedicated to bringing quality to all aspects of life on St. Maarten by promoting sustainable economic development for its members in cooperation with the social partners and the creation of a fair marketplace. For more information please contact our offices via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or visit our website at www.shta.com.”

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