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Generous PJIA donation makes USM Hospitality Management Student trip possible

POND ISLAND - Just before University of St. Martin’s (USM) Hospitality Management students left for their international trip to the Netherlands, on Friday the 7th of April, the students received a generous donation from Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA).

The timing could not have been better, stated Erwin Wolthuis – Head of the Hospitality Division. Our students worked really hard to raise the necessary funds for this international trip, but all their efforts were not enough to fully cover all the costs.

However, with this generous sponsoring of PJIA we could make the trip affordable for all involved. During their educational trip to the Netherlands the students not only visited some of the touristic highlights of the Netherlands, but they also paid the St. Maarten House in The Hague a visit.

Next to that, both the Hotel school The Hague, as well as the Hospitality Management program of Stenden University, Leeuwarden were part of the program. For both programs, USM’s BTEC accredited Hospitality Management students qualify for enrolment via the international fast-track bachelor’s programs.

The international trip is an integral part of the accredited Hospitality Management program, and is scheduled at the end of three months internship that the students have just finalized.

In June the first cohort will graduate with their Associate of Arts and (British) HNC in Hospitality and Tourism Management. It was really great to visit these Dutch Hotel schools, said Erwin Wolthuis.

Especially, since now that our program is accredited and valued as a level 5 program, our graduates cannot only seamlessly transfer into the third year of American Universities like Monroe College NY and Johnson and Wales University; but as of now the same applies for the Dutch HBO hospitality programs.

For more information on studying Hospitality Management at USM, please contact Admissions at tel.: 5425171 or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Minister of VROMI to respond to questions regarding pipes and pumps in/at Great Salt Pond

PHILIPSBURG – “The matter of the water pumps in the great salt pond, which was brought to my attention several weeks ago was a matter of discussion in the governing coalition not long ago. Upon my inquiries, the minister invited persons of his ministry to provide clarity on this project,” Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot-Williams said on Wednesday.

“The questions posed by me, have been also posed to the minister in writing and I have requested the minister to present his answers in person in parliament. I chose this route, because this will allow the minister during a public meeting to present his answers without the sometimes long-windedness of a discussion in parliament.

“It is the prerogative of an MP, asking questions to a Minister to request that the answers be given during a meeting of parliament.

“My questions were the following and the minister is expected to respond specifically to these questions during a upcoming public meeting of parliament:

“It appears that there are 2 "water-related" projects for the Great Salt Pond (Pond) which have been halted, viz. one to pump water on the dump and another to regulate the water level in the Pond, when weather conditions make this necessary.

1.         Can the Minister confirm this?

2.         If confirmed, who commissioned these projects?

3.         What was the scope of the projects?

4.         What was the cost per project?

5.         What parts of the projects were completed?

6.         How much was paid for these projects?

7.         How much is still owed for these projects?

8.         Is it government's  intention to complete these projects? And if not, why not?

9.         What is the cost to complete these projects?

“In such a case, the rules of parliament stipulate that no debate takes place, but the MP who posed the questions can ask a brief follow up question,” MP Sarah Wescot-Williams concludes in her Wednesday press statement.


Miss Mature Donate Costumes to the Sister Basilia Center

ST. JOHN’S ESTATE - Miss Mature Carnival Queen 2017-2018; Ms. Michelline Hunte, presented 30 costumes to the clients at the Sister Basilia Center on Tuesday 25th April, 2017.

The center is scheduled to host a carnival parade for the clients this week around the St. Johns area and they will have the opportunity to showcase the costumes.

“I am happy that I was able to present the costumes to the clients because artistic activities is extremely important and is part of expressive therapy also known as expressive arts therapy or creative arts therapy.”

Hunte would like to thank lead designer Mr. Deangelo Butler of Creative Designs for designing the costumes and SDI Tours for providing the costumes.


Dutch Travel Agents and Tour Operators arrive for Carnival Fam Trip

SIMPSON BAY – On Tuesday afternoon, a group of Dutch travel agents and tour operators arrived on the island on their Carnival Fam Trip coordinated by Le Beau Reizen and 721 Hub Marketing.

Sponsors for the trip are Port St. Maarten, SXM Airport, West Dawn Beach Resort, Daytona Tours, Artemia, Maduro Travel, St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation, Layback Bar & Grill, KLM, Saba Tourist Office, and the St. Eustatius Tourism Development Organization.  The main sponsors are Port St. Maarten, SXM Airport and KLM.

The group will visit the Festival Village to get a sample experience of what Carnival is all about besides attending other events and the grand parade. 

On Wednesday the Dutch travel agents will take an island tour and have lunch at the Lolos in Grand Case.  Their visit will be filled with activities during the coming days including viewing J’Ouvert Jump Up and attending other Carnival events at the Festival Village during their stay on the Friendly Island.

The trip also entails a visit to the islands of Saba and St. Eustatius who are also part of the fam trip.

The travel agents will carry out site inspections at several hotel properties allowing the aforementioned to view and inspect the facilities and amenities offered that are visited by tourists on an annual basis.

The Carnival Fam Trip ends on May 3 when the travel agents and tour operators return to the Netherlands.

The idea for the fam trip came out of the Dutch Vakantie Beurs Utrecht in January.

Port St. Maarten in collaboration with SXM Airport and local stakeholders attended the 47th edition of the Dutch Vakantie Beurs Utrecht (Tourism and Leisure Fair), considered the trade show for the Dutch travel industry, back in January, as part of a campaign to promote the destination in Europe. 

The Vakantie Beurs takes place every January at the Convention Center in the Dutch city of Utrecht.

Port St. Maarten took the lead several years ago, and once again it did in January 2017 to make sure that the destination had representation at the trade show in the Netherlands in order to promote and drive business to the island from the Dutch and European market.

The objective of the port is to make sure that there is a niche in the Dutch travel market for the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta which takes place in March and Carnival in April.  Port St. Maarten feels that the Dutch travel sector should not be underestimated and the current fam trip is an investment paying off for the destination.  The port and SXM Airport supported each other at the 2017 fair.

Port St. Maarten has committed itself to attend five editions of the trade fair over the next few years.  The objective is to connect with luxury cruise lines in order to further expand the cruise sector with passengers who have a higher disposable income and spend more while visiting a destination.

Port St. Maarten is moving full speed ahead in establishing itself as a homeport destination in the north eastern Caribbean catering to small and medium size vessels as well as the high-end market of the luxury cruise sector.  The homeporting business will translate into a significant positive impact on the country’s economy with spinoffs to the majority of business sectors including attracting additional airlift which is also part and parcel in developing homeporting.

More Dutch travelers are becoming aware of cruises, and the St. Maarten cruise brand is the largest and most developed cruise port in the Dutch Kingdom.


Police Warning: Buying Stolen Cigarettes is a Criminal Offence

POINTE BLANCHE - Last week, Wednesday, April 19, a container filled with cigarettes was stolen from International Liquors and Tobacco (ILTT) at the Harbour in Pointe Blanche.

The Police Force of Sint Maarten is hereby warning the public, all supermarket owners and other stakeholders to only buy cartons of cigarettes from officially known distributors.

Buying stolen goods is a criminal offence by law (Article 2:397 of the Penal Code) and can result in imprisonment of up to a maximum of six years or a very hefty fine. The police advise you not to buy stolen goods, you don’t want to commit a criminal offence or reward criminal behavior.

The investigation is still ongoing. The Police Force of Sint Maarten urges anyone in the public who has information regarding the stolen container to come forward and help us

The Police Force can be contacted by calling the official anonymous tip-line 9300 (a free call) or send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

These tips are treated confidentially by the Criminal Intelligence Department (CID), with guarantee that all information presented will be handled strictly anonymously. Please help us combat crime. (Police Force Sint Maarten)



SIMPSON BAY - Training Professionals International Firm, (TPI) has launched a Campaign for Accredited Trainings throughout the Caribbean on, Monday, April 24, 2017.

The campaign has taken the Caribbean by storm and TPI’s marketing department has set the foundation to educate the Caribbean on the powerful, vitality of “Accredited” trainings.

The campaign is targeting diverse organizations throughout the Caribbean. The message is simple. “If the training is not accredited do not enroll your team members.”

TPI understands that throughout the Caribbean many organizations traditionally have viewed training as the right move, in the right direction to educate their managers, supervisors and frontline staff without making “accreditation” an important element of the equation.

Basically “The Old School” organizational approach was hire the training company, register employees to attend and the result was employees received a certificate of completion with no value, that was the process in a nutshell. The world has changed, the training industry has changed.

Most importantly employees are demanding more and leadership is listening. TPI feels obligated to education our Caribbean clients on the correct way to provide employees with effective training that will benefit them internationally, globally not just in the Caribbean.     

TPI’s President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr. Natasha Gittens stated in a recent press release. Our Firm has a commitment to the Caribbean to be the jet-setter of disseminating viable information and promoting continuous learning among the Caribbean masses, our clients and diverse work teams.

We must demand as a strong Caribbean that professional training be inclusive of the following for our people:  accredited, approved by a respected governing body, reviewed, approved for curriculum content, include modern day best practices, provide participants with current trends in diverse sectors, engage participants with role plays and scenarios that reflect what’s going on in the real world today. 

TPI offers only “accredited” trainings that are “approved” by the Certified Professional Development Center (CPD) in the United Kingdom, that are globally recognized all over the world.  We have one rule at TPI, if it is not accredited we don’t offer it.  

We encourage Caribbean organizations to ask training companies the right questions prior to establishing contracts to train.  The questions are valid and straight forward, “Are your trainings accredited by a governing body?”

“Are your trainers certified to train in the courses offered?” “Can you please provide me with a copy of your accreditation license?” “May I have a copy of your trainer’s credentials and certifications for our files?” If organization ask these questions, they have done their due diligence.

For more information on TPI’s accredited trainings contact TPI’s Training Department @ 5526.2050/2052 or email us @ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Visit us on the web @


Charlotte Brookson Academy of the Performance Arts Hosts Staff Retreat

PHILIPSBURG - The Charlotte Brookson Academy of the Performance Arts concluded its retreat on April 18th 2017. The 14 members of the board, management and staff gathered at the conference room of the Simpson Bay Resort.

The purpose of the retreat was to re-establish a common understanding of the CBA vision and the school development plan, strengthen a collective understanding of how the vision will be implemented, monitored and evaluated and to identify strategic personal and professional development plans for the staff.

The turbulent process of moving to the new location and in preparation for the upcoming school year and getting approval for the future focus of the school, the management and staff felt it opportune to get together in a conducive environment to reflect on the immediate past, the successes, challenges and opportunities for the future of CBA.

The sessions were facilitated by independent consultant Marjan de Visser and assisted by human resources and finance manager Mr. Hiro Shigemoto and Innovation Coordinator, Mrs. Okama Ekpe Brook.

Through the appreciative inquiry process, the sessions included a visioning exercise that addressed questions related to where we are right now in the school’s programs and processes, where we want to be in five years’ time, how we are planning to get there as a well-oiled machine, what each of us can do individually and collectively and how we can support each other and monitor our progress.

This dialogue process led to an agreement that the key implementation focus is to create a balance between a strong academic program with a creative art perspective. This will take into consideration recommendations of the Inspectorate of Education which recently concluded a positive evaluation of the school’s performance and approved for the school to operate henceforth as a regular high school.

Through this approval and although the written memo is yet to be received, CBA will have the freedom to operate according to it’s original vision. It will no longer be an experimental school that has suffered a lot from scrutiny and tedious regulatory procedures and even threat of closure.

As such, the staff was informed that the emphasis will now be placed on a balanced curriculum with the appropriate number of subjects required for CXC graduation and the performing arts. The school has also recently introduced a sports program with the creation of volleyball, soccer, track and field and swimming teams. Efforts are underway for baseball, cricket and basketball teams.

Accordingly, emphasis will be placed on short term-goals including having its own building, setting up a functional parents-teachers association, students council body, mobilizing financial and human resources, revitalizing the public image, recognizable brand and expanding on its strategic partnerships.  The Vision of the school is to foster and promote within our students, strong independent and critical thinking skills in a creative way. 

By developing a challenging, yet positive and self-empowerment learning environment that links all creative arts subjects and the core academic subjects, we aim to provide high quality standard educational programs for students. This will utilize a holistic approach in learning, assisting our students to develop academically and artistically, encouraging and teaching our students to work in a creative, innovative, collaborative and cooperative manner.

This will in turn prepare them socially, emotionally, and physically, so when they complete school they are responsible and creative adults. With the inclusion of technology we can unlock and develop the highest potential within the student. Our overall goal is for our students to have the option to pursue further education and self-development in either the academics or the arts at a four-year higher learning institution.

The way to achieve this vision is through a well-structured, strongly supported and innovative academic programs anchored in well-defined curriculum, increased/intensified performances, sports teams, parents-academy, quality teaching, management and student community.  Funding, communications and public relations will be critical aspects in this reignited CBA pathways. 

The staff was also reminded about the vision behind CBA’s formation where the pioneer strongly believed in a consciousness based approach to the holistic development of the student. In this, she promoted the concept of ‘Kindness Thursday’ which will be immediately reintroduced in the school.  

It was such a great learning and sharing environment that all the participants agreed to try and do it at least 2-3 times per year. This will also serve as opportunities for checking and monitoring the progress on the actions. A clear outcome of the retreat was therefore to put all hands-on deck to realize some of the goals in the short term.

Pour joy into their hearts and into the hearts of others through the love and through the expression of the arts……To shine the light that is within their hearts into the hearts of others and to explore into their wonderful spirits, their love of their beings and the reason for their existence.

On behalf of the CBA board, management and staff, director Mrs. Claudette Forsythe-Labega wishes to thank the management of the Simpson Bay Resort for sponsoring the use of the conferencing facilities and particularly the La Patrona restaurant for the sumptuous lunch provided in the beautiful ambience of their new location on the beach front. 

The staff was able to taste some of La Patrona’s specialties that combined Mexican and local culinary excellence to produce a fiesta of flavors, colors and tastes. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

The Charlotte Brookson Academy of the Performance Arts is a high school program established in 2012 on St. Maarten. We offer a full day program starting at 7:30am with Academic classes and Performance arts classes (Music, Theater Arts, Visual Arts, Physical Education and Dance) beginning at 2:30pm until 4:15pm from Monday to Friday.

We are located at the Former Government Administration Building, Clem Labega Square, Philipsburg, St. Maarten.  For more information on the school, visit us at or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Winair proud sponsor of Flag Fest

SIMPSON BAY – The 2017 edition of Flag Fest was bigger and better than ever and enjoyed by a huge crowd. Each year this annual fest has grown and Winair is pleased to have been a sponsor of 78 Inc. Entertainment Foundation’s event since its inception three years ago.

This truly regional Caribbean extravaganza caters to people from all surrounding islands to get together, proudly displaying their nations colors side by side and enjoy their favorite bands.

Connecting a diversity of people through entertainment, music and dance is a theme that coincides well with Winair’s mission to provide efficient connections & travel throughout the region.

The public may have noticed that Winair took the opportunity to proudly display a different but familiar logo at this event. Moving forward Winair will be introducing our iconic logo.

This logo was previously used in the airlines 55-year old history and is well known throughout the Caribbean. Winair will return to the logo bold red color in all destinations served in the following months.

“Every company needs a strong and recognizable logo, WINAIR was very fortunate to reach back in our history to utilize the logo which our customers have always been supportive of.

“Our goal is to be consistent in all our destinations, publications, social media etc. using our logo promoting the WINAIR brand in all our airports served by WINAIR,” stated Michael Cleaver President and Chief Executive Officer of Winair.

winair we take you there


NIPA receives donations from ROC Mondrian in Carpentry, Electrical Automotive and Tile Setting

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A donation was recently made of several programs and curriculums from ROC Mondrian in the Netherlands to the National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA). The programs which were donated are in the areas of Carpentry, Automotive, Electrical and Tile Setter. Both educational institutions will be working closely together. 

ROC Mondriaan actively contributes to the economic and social development of The Hague, the Netherlands and the surrounding regions. ROC Mondriaan teaches 18.000 vocational students and 4.000 adult students. It employs about 1900 teachers and staff.

The educational institute promotes the social participation of students by offering vocational training, general education and job-related courses.

ROC Mondriaan takes a central position in the triangle of the labour market – student – education. Good relationships with companies, public institutions and local and national authorities are crucial to this.

NIPA offers advanced vocational education for students who want to further their education after secondary schools and adults already in the workforce.

NIPAs programs are tailored to the needs and interests of the labour market and the wider St. Maarten community.

NIPA is the only government-recognized institute for advanced vocational and technical education in St. Maarten.


Draft law establishing a Timeshare Authority for Sint Maarten under review

PHILIPSBURG - It has not gone unnoticed that timeshare users of units on St. Maarten have been very vocal as of late regarding the draft law to establish  a timeshare authority, a press release from the Office of Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot-Williams said on Monday.

“There is quite a history behind the proposal to establish a Timeshare Authority, starting with a motion passed in Parliament on June 29, 2011 to establish a ‘timeshare regulatory body”, explained MP Wescot-Williams.

With the help and involvement of many, in and outside of government/parliament and in and outside of the timeshare industry, two draft initiatives were tabled by former MP, P. Leroy de Weever. One initiative regarded the timeshare ordinance and the second one a timeshare authority.

With several changes to both these initiatives, especially the language part and the part of not including the “timeshare ordinance” in the civil code, these ordinances were again picked up by the DP faction, leading to the approval by parliament of the timeshare ordinance.

The timeshare authority draft was also put into procedure. When the text of this draft became known, several stakeholders raised serious concerns.

“The St. Maarten Timeshare Association being one of those stakeholders formally requested me, as the faction in Parliament that tabled the draft to consider granting the association a period of 90 days for review of the draft. This request was granted, a gesture that was appreciated by the SMTA and the ROC (Resort Owners Coalition) by letters of March 28th and 24th 2017, respectively.“

Clearly the original intention to create the Timeshare Authority came at a time when the industry was in turmoil. Letters abound from timeshare users about the lack of protection and legislation of this vital industry.

“I can picture the initial discussion about these laws, being with a focus on including in the laws everything that could probably lead to an issue and giving the Timeshare Authority far reaching powers to address such. So as well-intentioned as these decisions were, they have led to a rather heavy-handed draft to institute the timeshare authority.”

Somewhere in the discussions, the timeshare authority draft, was amended to also include a change to the room tax ordinance, a change from Fl. 90, -- to Fl. 102,-- per week.

“I therefore await the reactions by the SMTA and possibly others, and with my own sentiments as described above, am willing to –after more than 5 years since the inception- have frank discussions about the need or not for a Timeshare Authority, and if so, how sweeping should the authority of this body be.”

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