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S’Maatin International Mother’s Language Day a success

POND ISLAND – On Tuesday February 21st, 2017 the Department of Culture in collaboration with the SG of UNESCO, Ms. Marcellia Henry, hosted the first annual S’Maatin International Mother’s Language Day competition.

The competition consisted of students from the St. Maarten Academy/PSVE, and the Charlotte Brookson Academy. The students were divided into two categories; Poetry and Skit/Storytelling.

The competition required the students, using the S’Maatin English, read either stories and poems or some form of narration. The Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Ms. Silveria Jacobs, attended the well put together event and commended the students for using the mother language of S’Maartin.

“The S’Maatin English is our heritage. There is a time and a place for formal and colloquial speech, however, tonight is the night to use the S’Maatin English,” Minister Jacobs added.

Knowing, writing and speaking in one’s mother language is an essential tool for the transmission and safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage (ICH).

Therefore, this year it was sought out to highlight our very own local and mother tongue language ‘S’Maatin English’ in order to increase awareness and inspire pride in our oral traditions, history and cultural expressions.

The general public was also given the opportunity to utilize the open mic session and recite poems and stories using the S’Maatin language.  

The finalists/winner from the Poetry category:

1st place: Aiyaunty Romney (Charlotte Brookson Academy)

2nd place: James Brooks (St. Maarten Academy)

3rd place: Ingemar Arndell (St. Maarten Academy PSVE)  

The finalists/winner from the Skit / Story Telling category:

1st place: Kiana Senol Arrindell (St. Maarten Academy)

2nd place: Group St. Maarten Academy PSVE: Ingemar Arndell, Malaika Clarke & Jodian McDonald

3rd place: Ronalie Smith (St. Maarten Academy)

The House of Nehesi Publishers also donated books to the participants of the competition as well as all the open-mic reciters. The event was judged by Brenda Maynard, Lucinda “La Rich” Audain, and Sjorensly Valies and hosted by Rene Violenus.

The S’Maatin English Poetry/Storytelling/Narration Competition will become an annual event to be organized by the Department of Culture and the UNESCO Office.

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ROTARY CLUB OF SINT MAARTEN HOLDS SUCCESSFUL PUBLIC CYBER-BULLYING SEMINAR

PHILIPSBURG – The Rotary Club of Sint Maarten recently completed a successful cyber-bullying seminar with more than 300 in attendance.  International expert on bullying, cyber-bullying, and appropriate social networking media safety protocols, Dr. Sameer Hindjua presented to those in attendance at L B Scott Auditorium on the Friday, February 10, 2017. 

Dr. Hinduja is widely accepted as one of the world's top experts on topics of safe social networking and cyber-bullying.   Dr. Hinduja is Co-Director of the Cyberbullying Research Center (cyberbullying.org) and Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida Atlantic University (FAU).  During his session with St. Maarten youth, Dr. Hindjua used real time technology to interact with the audience and to personalize his presentation to the youth of St. Maarten in a meaningful way.

John Caputo, the Secretary and President-elect of the Rotary Club Sint Maarten said, “We are very fortunate to have Dr. Hinduja with us on our island.   From the discussions that have already taken place with our young people and their parents, we are already better equipped to handle cyber-bullying and improper online behavior.  Just talking about it, often makes a world that seems scary, so much more manageable. Thank you Dr. Hinduja.  I would also be remiss if I didn’t thank the many friends of Rotary that made this event possible.”

For more information about the Rotary Club of St. Maarten, please contact the Rotary Club of St. Maarten Press Officer at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the website www.rotarysxm.org.

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YACHT CLUB AT ISLE DE SOL AND SIMPSON BAY MARINA TO SUPPORT THE NEW START FOR CHILDREN FOUNDATION

SIMPSON BAY – Yacht Club at Isle de Sol and Simpson Bay Marina plan to host their second annual philanthropic initiative, Inspire Giving through You, on February 25. The two St. Maarten marinas will once again call upon the hands of IGY Marinas’ corporate staff, marina associates, Anchor Club Strategic Partners, yacht owners, captains and crew members to take part in supporting the local charitable organization – New Start for Children Foundation.

“On behalf of the Yacht Club at Isle de Sol, Simpson Bay Marina and IGY Marinas teams, we are excited to once again come together with members in our network and beyond for a day of giving, inspiring, and having fun,” said Brian Deher, general manager of both St. Maarten marinas.

“The New Start for Children Foundation has been active in the community for more than 30 years, providing their home to children in need of a safe and homely refuge. We are thrilled to be working with this tremendous organization and look forward supporting them this year.”

The New Start for Children Foundation’s mission is to make a difference in the lives of foster children by providing food, shelter, education, mentorship and support. As part of this year’s community outreach event, the marina volunteers will team up to renovate and improve the home’s appearances and will continue to look for other ways to support the home in 2017.

For more information on how to participate or to make a donation, contact Angelique Dollison at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Minister of Labour Lee meets with reps from WICLU about a number of issues

POND ISLAND - Minister of VSA (Public Health, Social Development and Labour) Emil Lee met with representatives of the Windward Islands Civil Servants Labour Union (WICLU) to discuss a number of issues related to the field of Labor, including Labor day celebrations, representation on SZV (Social and Health Insurances), International Labor Conference, changes to the civil code, improved compliance and concerns with a couple of businesses that are encountering financial difficulties.

Based on the outcomes of the meeting, the Ministry of VSA and WICLU have agreed upon key areas within labor that will require collaboration or attention in 2017; beginning with the Labor Day celebrations.

In the past the Department of Labor has been the lead organization in coordination Labor Day, however last year Minister Lee empowered WICLU to take on the role of coordinating the Labor Day celebrations in order for the event/activities to resonate with the working population.

In 2016, due to budget constraints, it was decided not to attend the International Labor Conference, however WICLU has expressed interest in a delegation attending in 2017. It was agreed that while the Ministry would prefer to host an event locally with support from ILO Caribbean, the Ministry would see if budget was available to support a delegation in 2017.

In addition, one of the critical legislative changes that the Ministry is committed to finalizing is the changes to the civil code, addressing the abuse of the 6 months contracts. The amendments which have been fully supported by the labor tripartite has been submitted to Parliament. 

However, due to elections and changes in government, it has not yet returned on the agenda of Parliament.  Furthermore, two staff members from the Labor Department left to take up positions in different Minister’s Cabinets leaving the department short staffed. 

Minister expects to be in Parliament in March 2017 to renew discussions with Parliament regarding proposed changes to the Civil code and the consensus document on labor reform.

The union representatives also expressed interest in strengthening union representation on the board of SZV.  Minister Lee commented, “Based on the impact that SZV has on the health and wellbeing of the groups that they represent, I could certainly understand their desire and will incorporate their desires in the selection of replacement board members for SZV.”

Final discussion point, was the concerns about a couple of businesses that were experiencing financial difficulties and possible impact to the employees.  Minister Lee assured the representatives that based on their concerns, the Department of Labor would check on the mentioned concerns.

In an invited comment Minister Lee stated, “I am very pleased with the positive and constructive relationship and dialogue that we have with the Unions.  Over the past year, we have built a great relationship based on open communication, trust and respect.”

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Team recruited from South Reward for emergency work on the Arrowroot Road Sewage line connection project

SOUTH REWARD - Subcontractor for the Sewage line connection project on Arrowroot Road, D’MYRA General Maintenance and Construction, recruited a group of young men to carry out emergency work last weekend to ensure that the project stays on schedule.

In the week to come the sewage line connection project on the Arrowroot Road will be entering the next phase where homes are connected to the sewage mainline.

D’MYRA is in the process of recruiting young men from the area of South Reward for the continuation of the project. These young men will not only be helping with the construction, but also educated on the processes, intricacies of the work and materials used, which they can utilize in the future if looking for work in the construction field.

The connection of the homes is expected to take approximately three weeks.

The Honorable Minister of VROMI, Minister C. Emmanuel, was also present operating the excavator and giving a helping hand in the emergency work. Minister Emmanuel is pleased with how the work has been progressing and thanks the affected residents in the area for their patience during the construction process. 

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Thirty-three Birders, Including Celebrity Bird Expert and Author, Conduct Birding Tour of Sint Maarten

COLE BAY - Sint Maarten recently hosted some thirty-three birding enthusiast from Carefree Birding, a birding based cruising group that travel throughout the Caribbean to engage in the growing birding tourism sector.

Nature Foundation Board Member and Birding Guide Binkie Van Es showed the thirty-three birding enthusiast Sint Maarten’s unique bird habitat and species; “It is exciting to be able to bring increased birding tourism to Sint Maarten and put the island on the birding map.

“We often do not realize how unique and important birding tourism is for Sint Maarten and how much potential the island has in tapping into a significant market. During this trip I also had the honor to show Sint Maarten’s unique birding wildlife to Kevin Karlson and his Wife Dale, both celebrity birders and authors of multiple field guides, amongst which the famous book The Shorebird Guide.

“This goes to show that nature tourism and birding in particular can be a very valuable addition to Sint Maarten's package and that under management of the Nature Foundation and its expertise in this matter this can and should be further developed for the destination, “ commented Van Es.

Reader's Digest, an American general-interest family magazine which is published monthly and reaches approximately 40 million people in more than 70 countries, with 49 editions in 21 languages, recently named Sint Maarten one of the top ten birding sites in the Americas, siting the fact that conservation efforts and efforts to increase eco-tourism are starting to pay off.

Bird-tourism is a multi-million dollar industry and together with other eco-tourism initiatives it would be in the best interest of the country to continue to invest in building out this market. This shows that not only does environmental protection work in safeguarding nature, but also has an impact on the economy of St. Maarten in a very positive way.

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Two arrests in fatal shooting at Hope Estate

HOPE ESTATE - Members of the St. Maarten Police Force and the Kingdom Detectives Cooperation Team (RST) led by the Prosecutor’s Office and in the presence of the investigative judge held two house searches in Pointe Blanche and in Belvedere on Tuesday afternoon, February 21, 2017, according to a joint press release from the Public Prosecution Service and the Police.

Two suspects H.H.M. (22) and H.F.M. (25) were arrested. Also digital data carriers and documents were confiscated.

The searches and arrests are in light of the ongoing investigation code-named Broccoli. This is the investigation into the shooting that took place on Wednesday, January 24, 2017 in Hope Estate during which the victim, Franky Brunache, was fatally wounded.

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31 Year-Old Female Arrested in Disappearance of Two Young Men in ongoing MARS-investigation

PHILIPSBURG - In light of the ongoing investigation code-named “MARS” a house search took place on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 early in the morning in Dutch Quarter, according to a joint press release from the Public Prosecution Service and the St. Maarten Police Force.

“The investigation was led by the Prosecutor’s Office in collaboration with members of the St. Maarten Police Force (KPSM) and the Detectives Cooperation Team (RST) and in the presence of an investigative Judge.

“During the search the suspect K.K.K.S. (31) was arrested. She is suspected in the MARS investigation into the disappearance of the two men S. L. Sarante-Diaz and E. Rosario.

“Both men were last seen in the afternoon of Monday, December 5th 2016 in the vicinity of Simpson Bay Resort at "Pelican". Since then, nothing was heard from them. Digital data carriers and documents were also confiscated during the search. In connection with this investigation another suspect, T.F. (27), was arrested during a house search in the Belvedere area on February 16, 2017.

“This search was also led by the Prosecutor’s Office and in collaboration with members of KPSM and RST and in the presence of a judge of Instruction. Here also several goods were confiscated. T.F. is currently in detention pending further investigation. Both suspects are in restrictive custody.”

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TPI OFFERS ACCREDITED EXECUTIVE & ADMINSTRATIVE TRAINING IN PARTNERSHIP WITH ANGUILLA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

SIMPSON BAY - Training Professionals International Firm, TPI is excited to announce that they have partnered with the Anguilla Chamber of Commerce and Industry to host TPI’s ACCREDITED Administrative and Executive Assistant Training for professionals in the work place. This course will help to prepare your Assistants for performance excellence.

The training will take place on Wednesday, March 1st, 2016 at La Vue Boutique Inn’s Conference from 8:30am to 4:30pm.  The cost for the training is US$ 250.00 per person.  All participants who complete this course will receive an “accredited” globally recognized Certificate of Completion.

All interested persons/companies, are asked to send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  All of the other services provided by TPI are available to Anguilla and can be viewed at firmtpi.com. TPI will be offering a consortium of other accredited training opportunities in Anguilla and other Caribbean islands this year. This particular training will be offered in St. Maarten on Tuesday April 25th   to register contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

A spokesperson from the Anguilla Chamber of Commerce stated in a recent press release:  “The Anguilla Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ACOCI) is pleased to collaborate with TPI on providing an Administrative and Executive “accredited” Training for our members and the Business Community at large. TPI’s commitment in providing high-quality educational training programs and organizational services will definitely be a benefit to the ACOCI membership.  As Jack Welch, former General Electric Ceo once stated, ‘An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly is the ultimate competitive advantage.’”

Dr Gittens shared passionately, “Our mission is to promote and support employee development and organizational effectiveness by providing high-quality educational training programs and organizational services” that are accredited and globally recognized. We believe that if a training is not accredited it is not worth offering and we encourage persons to register for non-accredited trainings. 

Dr. Gittens said, “The first step in doing good business is helping organizations' reach their full potential. We are happy to be able to work with individuals and businesses in Anguilla to meet individual, group, departmental and institutional needs and objectives ." She continued, “We strive to enhance individual learning and development as the means for creating a better workplace environment.  Effective workers and workplaces will help to build a stronger Caribbean.”

What sets this firm apart? Dr. Gittens articulated, “Our team of TPI experts take pride in projecting trends of the new millennium. The modern day approach we take and innovative concepts like the "One Stop Service Option" support leaders with managing professionals. Our multitude of additional services fit the demands of organizations who simply want quality services "from one firm, under one roof, TPI."   

Dr. Gittens smiled graciously when asked about her top tip for inspiring entrepreneurs – she responded, “Tip one - don’t be afraid of your next open door.  Often entrepreneurs are intimidated by working for themselves and remain captive in organizations that are stagnated and directly infringe on their passion to excel and unlimited ambition.

The new business owner has to be empowered to achieve his/her goal(s) at any mean necessary. They must embrace the understanding that his/her life can be immeasurably successful and rewarding but one needs to make it happen for themselves and get pass comfortability of a monthly salary. This is the monetary societal prison of complacency maintenance.”    

Dr. Natasha Gittens encourages all individuals and businesses to take advantage of this opportunity to develop their staff. Contact the Anguilla Chamber of Commerce to register for the Administrative and Executive Assistant Accredited Training and visit firmtpi.com today to learn more about their services or call 526-2050/2052 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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NEW HOSPITAL'S PRELIMINARY DESIGN IS COMPLETED, BUT THE PROJECT IS STILL STUCK BY COURT JUDGEMENT

CAY HILL - Inso spa, the Company who signed on September 19th 2016 the contract for the construction of the new hospital after submission of the most competitive offer, announced that preliminary design has been completed and that it is ready to start detailed design and construction activities, aiming to provide a modern, efficient health infrastructure at the soonest, according to a press release from Inso spa.

The press release continues: “The execution of the contract is currently stuck by a court judgement rendered at the end of a lawsuit filed by the competitor Vamed and, while the judicial procedure goes on (SZV has appealed the decision), the implementation of the project has already suffered serious delays, depriving St. Maarten’s population of a hospital which is strongly needed to enhance the quality of health care on the island.

“We are dismayed by the motivations argued by our competitor, due to which the court has issued its verdict” stated Mr. Alessandro Cambri, Inso Caribbean Area Manager “It’s very hard for us to understand the reason of such a situation. Our offer has obtained a very high quality score during the technical evaluation carried out by five different teams of independent international advisors with proven experience in hospital projects worldwide and specifically in the Caribbean. What’s surprising the most is that the advisors have evaluated all the aspects of Inso’s offer in a transparent and in-depth process that has no precedent in the history of public procurements in Sint Maarten, but nonetheless groundless allegations by Vamed have managed to hinder the development of the project”.

“We also offered the best price” Mr. Cambri continued, “and it is time to debunk the theory that the price was abnormally low. We have carried out hospital projects for over 30 years and we can easily demonstrate that our price is definitely in line with parameters expected for buildings of this type in the Caribbean. Based on the data we have collected in years of experience worldwide and specifically in the Caribbean area, where we have participated in hospital projects and tenders such as the New National Hospital of St. Lucia, the technical platform of the Fort de France hospital in Martinique and many others, not only we are extremely comfortable with the price we offered for the St. Maarten hospital, but we consider the economic offers made by our competitors extremely high and considerably less favorable for the government and people of St. Maarten”.

Inso announced that it is acting to enforce its position by legal ways, in order to defend the good name of the company and its expertise in the specific field of hospital projects, but above all to resume as soon as possible the development of the hospital, a project of huge importance for all parties involved and especially for the citizens of St. Marteen.

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