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The Sint Maarten Youth Parliament begins training for new cohorts

PHILIPSBURG - The Sint Maarten Youth Parliament will commence the training session for new members on Friday August 25, 2017. The session will commence at 4:30 pm at the Parliament Building.

The four-week training program will introduce the participants to Public Speaking, Parliamentary Procedures and an Introduction to Government.

Applications will still be accepted until Monday August 21, 2017. Interested persons may contact 550-8971 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information.

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SSSD hosts “How to Apply to Schools in the USA and Canada” workshop scheduled for August 31

PHILIPSBURG – Applying to schools can feel like an overwhelming process for students.

If required documents are not submitted to the schools in a timely manner, students may not be considered for acceptance and it can delay the student’s start time.

The Student Support Services Division will be hosting an interactive workshop entitled “How to Apply to Schools in the USA and Canada” on August 31, 2017 from 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. at the University of St. Martin. 

Students in their last two years of secondary school or recent graduates who are interested in studying in the United States of America (USA) or Canada are invited to attend this free interactive workshop.

The Student Support Services Division (SSSD) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport aims to put students and parents at ease by providing a step by step process of applying to schools and factors to consider when choosing schools to apply to. The required documents requested by the schools will also be discussed.

Students are encouraged to contact the Student Support Services Division at 5431235 to reserve a seat or to simply attend the session. Students are urged to be on time. 

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Golden Rock Toastmasters is Ready to Rock

ST. EUSTATIUS - St. Eustatius’s Golden Rock Toastmasters Club officers are ready to rock on to the dynamic 2017-2018 Toastmasters year after completing the first round of training at the Golden Era Hotel in St. Eustatius over the weekend. A total of five officers were trained alongside members and guests.

The vibrant club meets every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month at the Golden Era Hotel Conference Room.

Toastmasters is an international organization that focuses on personal development by teaching members communication, critical thinking and leadership skills in a fun and supportive learning environment.

Golden Rock Toastmasters Club is the only Toastmasters club in Statia and welcomes all to the exciting and enjoyable meetings.

For more information check out our Facebook page at “Goldenrock TM” or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.  

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Safety board investigates two Schiphol incidents, but says airport is safe

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The Dutch safety board has carried out two investigations into ‘serious incidents’ at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport in the previous three months, the Parool said on Tuesday.

In one incident on April 21, the tail of a plane hit the ground during take-off, prompting a return to the airport after first dumping tonnes of fuel above the North Sea. In the second incident, an aircraft was cleared for take-off even though a member of the ground crew was in his vehicle checking for birds on the runway.

The OVV is required by law to investigate all incidents involving aircraft on the ground or in Dutch airspace.  Despite the investigations, the board said there are no indications that safety standards are insufficient.

Nevertheless, in April, the board published a report stating that Schiphol airport cannot grow without taking drastic safety measures. The report warns that the ‘limits of safe air traffic control are in sight’ and that if the airport wants to grow, handling procedures must be far less complex.

That report was the result of several incidents at the Netherlands’ major airport, including near-collisions between planes, but the board then too found ‘no evidence that the airport is currently unsafe.’ (DutchNews)

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Two men arrested for stealing tires

SOUTH REWARD - In the early morning hours, on Tuesday August 15th, two men were caught in the act while stealing tires from a car parked on Lettuce Road in South Reward.

The patrol arrived on the scene and the two young men attempted to avoid being caught by running away and hiding in vehicle belonging to one of the suspects and which was parked close by.  

The police officers arrested both suspects and took them to the Philipsburg Police Headquarters where they remain in custody for further investigation.

The stolen tires and the vehicle of the suspect were confiscated for further investigation. (Sint Maarten Police Force) 

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Dutch Minister Plasterk praises Saba’s approach with working relationship

SABA – Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations, Mr. Ronald Plasterk, began his farewell tour of the islands of the Caribbean Netherlands on Saba on Monday August 14th.

In meetings with the Island Council and the Executive Council of the Public Entity of Saba, talks centered on the good working relationship between the two parties, the achievements of the past years and areas that still require further development and progress.

The Minister had high praise for the Saban approach to working with the Ministries of the Dutch Central Government. “I truly appreciate the professional and businesslike manner in which you conduct your business. Continue to maintain this level of optimism.”

Both parties acknowledged that while much has been achieved the ambition is there to achieve even more in the foreseeable future. The Minister stressed that while people may not always be able to feel a direct result in their own pockets, today it still can be proven that there is better healthcare, free education, wider roads, electricity underground and more. The Minister assured the Saban government that there are more investments and developments to follow.

The Island and Executive Councils queried when the findings of the Spies Report will be implemented. According to Minister Plasterk this has already started by way of the Multi-Annual Plans that are currently being implemented on each island. He further remarked that the way forward will reflect in differentiation in the approach to working with each Public Entity.

The bi-annual visits to the islands for working meetings between each Public Entity, the Director General of the Ministries at the CN Table and the directorate of Kingdom Relations will work towards this goal. The meeting also highlighted matters pertaining social welfare, the level of the free-allowance and the pension cuts.

Plasterk further asked the representatives not to accept the assumption that nothing has improved on Saba these past years. Driving around the island one can see many positive changes. “Saba is on the right track. Continue in that spirit”. The minister and delegation traveled to St. Eustatius on Monday afternoon for similar talks with the Island Council and the Executive Council. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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38 projects provide Opportunities for all children Caribbean Netherlands

SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS - All children should be able to participate in sports, culture, during their leisure time and at school, also when there is not much money at home for extras. Organisations such as child day care centres, schools, sports clubs and scouting groups have drawn up plans in order to provide this.

Thirty-eight (38) of them have been approved. Thus, this year's the entire subsidy amount of one million euros for “Opportunities for all children CN (Ed Caribbean Netherlands)” has been used up.

Ten (10) projects on Saba have been approved, among others to improve children's participation at school and to provide them after-school care and homework support. For example, 26 children from the target group can become Junior Sea Scouts because the monthly membership will be reimbursed.

Additionally, various activities will be organised in nature. Children on Saba with special needs can start using modern technology and specialised equipment so they can participate just like children with specials needs whose parents do make enough money.

A total of eight projects on St. Eustatius were approved. These projects are aimed at entitling children from the target group to sports equipment, school breakfast and an allowance for the mandatory own contribution to participate in a sports tournament abroad.

Another project will be providing tablets to these children so they can use modern technology when doing homework. Subsidy has also been granted for the provision of various after-school activities for children, focusing on nature, culture, environmental protection and the marine park.

Twenty (20) projects which have been approved on Bonaire, will give children from the target group the opportunity to participate in various activities, including: dance, physical activity, handicrafts, music, drama and presentations. Courses and workshops in the area of photography, documentaries, animated videos and music videos will also be provided. Giving extra impetus to the language development of children, child coaching and the provision of healthy meals are also part of the approved projects.

A total of 79 projects were submitted by various organisations, of which 38 projects have been approved. Fourteen (14) projects were rejected because the subsidy limit was reached. The other 27 projects were rejected on content-related grounds.

The entire budget of one million euros for the Caribbean Netherlands has been granted. State Secretary Jetta Klijnsma greatly admires the organisations which were able to draw up and submit very good and important plans in a short period of time.

“I am very confident that the extra money will help many children to participate because every child deserves to enjoy going to school with good supplies and to spend their leisure time in their own way. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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Art & Words – A Marriage in St. Martin – An Exhibition of 39 years of book covers

GREAT BAY – Art helps us to imagine, even create our possibilities. Literature, the word, gives us license to put pen to paper, to creatively express our thoughts. The wedding of both genres in books from House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP), was recently celebrated with an art exhibit in St. Martin at the intimate gallery of the elegant Sheer Restaurant.

The HNP exhibition, entitled “Art & Words – A Marriage,” showcased 27 prints and original art of mostly book covers linked to the indie press for the last 39 years. A number of the pieces were on loan from their owners.

Among the not well known and famous artists featured were Roland Richardson and Ruby Bute (St. Martin); Virgilio Mendez (Dominican Rep.) and Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné (Trinidad/Tobago); Keith Mallet (USA); Fay Helfer (St. Martin/USA); Angelo Rombley (St. Martin); Fernando Botero (Colombia); and Romare Bearden (USA).

The styles and media of the 18 artists in the exhibit ranged from traditional oils to bronze sculpture and digital art. The pieces were diverse as the artists and sometimes influenced by the “movement” of history and culture.

The marriage of art and the word “in” the book allows the reader to join in a relationship of imagination and expression. It also reflects a founding principle that continues to guide book design at HNP.

The courtship that led to the marriage between art and the word for HNP was first expressed in 1978 on the cover and pages of Moods for Isis – Picture poems of Love & Struggle. That self-published book was the first poetry collection by a teenager who had just taken the name Lasana Mwanza Sekou. He was then a student at the High School of Art & Design in New York City.

In 1982, Lasana founded House of Nehesi in his dorm room at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. From the very beginning, an emphasis on original art for the book cover and content pages became a creative building block of the publishing project.

Last May, I interviewed Lasana for the exhibition, which I curated with Marcus Kwame-Anderson. Lasana said that when his seminal manuscript was ready to layout for the printer, he had “some kind of an idea that art would help to bring people to the book and into the book; that original art would help to illustrate the poetry and the reading or interpretations of it; that art would help to convey meaning, that it could move the word.”

In 2017, as projects director of HNP, which has been based in his Caribbean homeland of St. Martin since 1984, Lasana admits to long being inspired by artists and their work. He still thinks that, “book cover art conveys ideas that inform or inspire how readers may enter and engage the published text. Art may be an implicit conspirator of the narratives published in St. Martin in book form, no matter where the authors published by HNP may hail from.”

At the foundation of this artistic collaboration were New York City artists who enthusiastically provided artwork for the first four books linked to HNP between 1978 and 1983. Among these co-conspirators of Lasana M. Sekou — themselves teenagers or in their early 20s — were Gary Jefferson, Isis Rochelle Curry, Margaret Matz, and Cozbi Sanchez.

The exhibit of “Art & Words – A Marriage,” between May 31 – June 4, 2017, was the highlight of the Authors Reception at the 15th annual St. Martin Book Fair. I hoped that as the guests “experienced” the non-textual collection, and viewed the center table display of selected HNP books, that they would consider books as hands-on media to continually bring both literature and fine art into our lives, into our homes.

As for the guests who owned one or more of the books that featured the art on exhibit, I also could not help but wonder what images were being conjured up as they viewed especially the original art for the first time. By Jacqueline A. Sample

Jacqueline A. Sample is a former president of Black Dimensions in Art, Inc., NY.

Caption4a Guests ArtExhibit 2017 HNPphoto inside one

PHOTO: Guests at center table display of selected HNP books at the “Art & Words” exhibition. (SWC photo)   

Caption4b Guests ArtExhibit 2017 HNPphoto inside two

PHOTO: Guests at the “Art & Words” art exhibition, highlight of the Authors Reception at the 15th annual St. Martin Book Fair 2017. (SWC photo)   

Caption6 BookCovers inside three

Book covers, from 1978, 2003, 2009, 2011, represented at the “Art & Words” exhibit, at the 15th annual St. Martin Book Fair 2017.    

Caption2 RRichardson at ArtExhibit HNPphoto inside 4

PHOTO: Impressionist master Roland Richardson at the “Art & Words” exhibit, viewing his original flamboyant oil alongside an original Madonna by Virgilio Mendez, master painter from the Dominican Rep. Both paintings appear on the cover of books published by HNP. (CDK/SWC photo)  

Caption1 JacquelineSample 2017 HNPphoto inside 5

PHOTO: Jacqueline A. Sample, co-curator of “Art & Words – A Marriage.” (B. Sample file photo)

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SMVTS has delay in school uniforms. Orientation week starts on Monday

PHILIPSBURG - The Management of the St. Maarten Vocational Training School (SMVTS) hereby would like to inform the parents and students that due to a delay in the arrival of THE SCHOOL UNIFORMS all students REGISTERING FOR THE FIRST TIME must wear the following:

  • New uniform Navy Blue Pants
  • Plain White Shirt
  • Black Shoes

All uniforms can be purchased at Penny's Department Store. Orientation Week for the upcoming School Year 20l7-2018 is as follows:

  • Monday August 14, 2017- First Formers ONLY
  • Tuesday August l5, 2017- First and Second Formers
  • Wednesday August 16, 2017- First and Third Formers
  • Thursday August 17, 2017 -First and Fourth Formers
  • Friday August 18, 2017- All Students
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Parliament reminder: The public invited to nominate persons for Annual President of Parliament Award 

PHILIPSBURG – Parliament invites the public to send in nominations for the Annual President of Parliament Award.  

The application documents are on the Parliament’s website.  Persons have until August 15, 2017 to submit their nominations. 

The website address is: www.sxmparliament.org and can be found under the documents section of the site.  Select the link and you will be able to download the application form. 

The purpose of the award is to honour young persons on Sint Maarten that are a great example to the youth and who have contributed positively to the community and the country. 

Nominations can be submitted by any citizen of Sint Maarten who believes that the individual that he/she is nominating meets the criteria. 

The eligibility criteria are: the candidate must have the Dutch nationality and/or has been legally residing in Sint Maarten for 10-years or more consecutively, and has been registered in the Civil Registry for that period of time; must be between the ages of 15-24 years; has made a worthwhile contribution to the development of the community and the country; these contributions/achievements must have taken place within the last three years; contributions/achievements must have been made while the individual was acting as a private citizen, not as an appointed or elected government official; and must have demonstrated capacity for leadership and ability to motivate. 

An award committee will be established each year consisting of three members of Parliament.  Members of the committee will review the nomination documents prior to the selection meeting and select three nominees. 

During the selection meeting, the President of Parliament selects the recipient of the award based on the recommendations of the award committee. 

The award will be presented yearly to the recipient during the reception ceremony at the Opening of the Parliamentary Year. 

Nominations for the Annual President of Parliament may be submitted to The Parliament of Sint Maarten, attention, Annual President of Parliament Award Committee, Wilhelminastraat 1, Philipsburg or via e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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