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Intelligence Center Sint Maarten formalized

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The cooperation agreement for the formalization of the Intelligence Center Sint Maarten (ICSM) was officially signed on Friday, June 14th, 2019.

The collaborating partners are namely: Police Force Sint Maarten (KPSM); Interpol Sint Maarten (NCB Philipsburg); Financial Intelligence Unit (MOT); Public Prosecutor's Office (OM); Customs Sint Maarten; National Detectives Sint Maarten (LR); Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard (KWCARIB); and Detective Cooperation Team (RST).

Formalizing this cooperation agreement which has already been operational over the last few years in a pilot phase, ensures the long-term continuation of existing collaboration with the common objective of protecting, maintaining and strengthening the rule of law and national security in St. Maarten.

The agreement gives the partners more incentive to exchange information and expertise. The tasks of each partner can now be carried out in a more focused manner and products and services can be developed jointly.

Moreover, ICSM serves the international and cross-border interest. It will assist with international requirements imposed on the various law enforcement organizations on Sint Maarten. (Sint Maarten Police Force)


DCOMM airs TV Special on RIVM, Air Quality Testing

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Department of Communication (DCOMM) will air a TV Special on the research group from the Netherlands, the Dutch Scientific Institute (RIVM), who has studied the air quality surrounding the Great Salt Pond and the Sanitary landfill.

After Sept. 6, 2017, Hurricane Irma destroyed St. Maarten, the destruction that was left created a large amount of garbage and debris, adding to the garbage landfill.

In the process of finding a solution to the landfill, the Government of St. Maarten commissioned a study by the Dutch Scientific Institute (RIVM) to study the air quality around this landfill. This study had to be conducted in order to find a solution or create a basis of the argument for the establishment towards a solution, a waste management system.

DCOMM, who will air and upload a TV/video Special about what exactly is the purpose and consequences of the RIVM study, spoke to Head of Infrastructure Management at the Ministry of VROMI Claudius Buncamper about the basis and reason for the scientific air quality study.

Buncamper shared that throughout the years, the sanitary landfill has grown year after year without the proper attention, in addition to the intermittent fires throughout the years. Government today has made a conscious decision to try to solve the issue once and for all.

Besides, taking acute measures to quell the incendiary activities and prepared the recovery operation, a study had to be carried out to measure the air quality around the landfill. That study has been commissioned by the Ministries of VROMI and the Ministry Public Health, Social Affairs, and Welfare, Buncamper said.

DCOMM spoke to the RIVM’s public relations officer, Jolanda Roelofs, who explained about the institute and the work they were carrying out to determine with certainty of the toxicity at the landfill and to provide a basis and a scientific argument for a solution.

Arien Stolk of RIVM also provides a more detailed explanation about the technical aspects about the research being conducted by the National Institute.

The research group will conclude their work shortly and the Institute will produce a report stipulating exactly what they found. This information will be shared with the public of St. Maarten. Thereafter, it is up to the St. Maarten Government to explain to the people of St. Maarten, what’s next—a road map to waste management.

On June 17, 2019, the TV Special will air at 7pm on channel 115 Cable TV. Viewers can view the special on St. Maarten Government’s website, Facebook, and YouTube channel at 9am on the same day.


MHF looks back at a successful Mental Health Awareness Campaign

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - On May 14th the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) launched its anti-stigma campaign aimed to inform the public on mental health and the related services of MHF, and most importantly, to reduce the stigma on Mental Health on Sint Maarten.

Every Tuesday for the past four weeks, a new video was launched and promoted on the MHF Facebook page, each video covering a different section of the care products that the Mental Health Foundation provides. The videos show one or more MHF healthcare professionals sharing their knowledge and experience, but also stories of ex-clients. Additionally, MHF was on the radio on Wednesdays and Fridays at the Suppa Duppa Morning show & My AM Shine, where MHF staff provided further information on each topic.

MHF Psychologist Stephanie Haseth insightfully compares physical health with mental health in the Clinic Care video. ‘’if we have a little ache, in our foot we know to rest it. We know that I might have walked too much, so I need to rest it.  However, that can be just an ache in my foot, but I can also break my leg, and for that, I will have to go to the doctor. That goes the same for mental health illnesses’’ Haseth explains.

‘’So, you can come in for something little as you know, I’m really stressed out lately, what would you need? A little bit of rest! But someone can also come in with way more difficulties, and just a doctor can treat  that broken leg, we can treat mental issues.’’ Besides providing information, the videos show what it means to be a healthcare professional on Sint Maarten, its challenges and rewards. “The appreciation that I get from clients and family is the most rewarding aspect for me’’, as concluded by Ambulant Nurse Dione Trustful.

The videos were received very well all over Sint Maarten. So many people shared the videos, and we’ve gotten so many positive and encouraging messages according to Bart van de Meijden, Information & Prevention Coordinator at MHF. ‘’Although the videos are short and can never provide all the information, they do offer a different way of thinking.

“They show that mental health and the mental health foundation is not what you might think it is! We all go through rough times at some point in our life, that’s inevitable and a normal part of living. So, just like it is normal to deal with a broken leg, it is also completely normal to deal with your mental health issue, and MHF can help you with that’’.

At the end of this campaign, MHF would like to publicly thank the sponsors of this campaign: Samenwerkende Fondsen Cariben, Philipsburg Pharmacy, The Dutch Representation Office, Claude CHACHO Peterson - SMCP Member of Parliament, FWG, Rotary Club of Sint Maarten-Mid Isle & The Windward Island Bank. But also the producer of the videos Peter Sagnia (Peter Sagnia Productions) and all the actors and MHF staff volunteers that made this project happen. 

We believe that this campaign was a big step into the right direction, but we are not there yet, so MHF will continue its efforts to provide the highest quality of mental health care to the people of Sint Maarten. Persons can keep up to date with events, future projects and activities through our Facebook page: @Mental Health Foundation Sint Maarten and our website:

Post My AM Shine





Children in care were subjected to widespread abuse, report says

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Children looked after in care homes or who lived with foster families have been subject to widespread abuse from the end of World War II to the present day, according to a new report which has been two years in the making.

A large number of children were ‘insufficiently protected’ against physical, mental and sexual abuse, the report said. Prior to the 1970s, the perpetrators were usually care home staff, members of religious orders and foster parents.

Later physical abuse between children became more prevalent, the report said. The researchers found one in 10 of the estimated 200,000 children who spend time in institutional care had to deal with a serious form of abuse.

Research commission chairman Mischa de Winter said that the report has revealed an ‘uneasy truth which is part of our history’. ‘If you read it all, you will be shocked,’ he said.

‘Who knew that deep into the 1970s blind and deaf children were dealt with severely to make sure they did not learn bad habits.’ ‘Who knew that children who would not eat were tied down and then had the food forced into their mouths, and were made to eat their own vomit,’ he said at the presentation of the research findings.


The violence, says De Winter, must be partly seen in the context of the times. In the post war years, children who were taken away from their parents because they could not look after them properly were seen as potential criminals who needed to be re-educated.

Nevertheless, this does not explain the systematic cruelty meted out to some children, he said. ‘Nowhere did it say you could abuse a child, or beat him with a belt, for years and years.’


The commission was set up by the cabinet to look into abuse within the care system in the wake of the inquiry into abuse within the Catholic church. The research is based on archive material and interviews.

In addition, 942 people registered their experiences via a special hotline. Welfare minister Hugo de Jonge said that ‘excuses, recognition and help’ are due for the people affected.

‘We cannot change what happened in the past,’ De Jonge and fellow minister Sander Dekker said in a statement. ‘It is important to do right by the victims of yesterday and to make sure that children in care today do not become the victims of tomorrow.’



BIP SXM kicks off Unreal Campaign at the Milton Peters College

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - “The Unreal Campaign is INTA’s public awareness initiative designed to educate teenagers (ages 14-18) about the importance of trademarks, intellectual property, and dangers of counterfeit products. The Campaign has successfully reached nearly 40,000 students directly since its launch in 2012.”

The Bureau for Intellectual Property (BIP SXM) has proudly partnered with the International Trademark Associations’ (INTA’s) Unreal Campaign to help create more Intellectual property (IP) awareness to the students on Sint Maarten.

The Director, Mrs. Vincentia Rosen-Sandiford gave the Unreal presentation to the MPC PKL-2 and TKL-3 students. The presentation touches on counterfeit products and their social-economic influence in a country.

In addition, BIP SXM provided information on intellectual property rights such as copyright. BIP SXM intends to give presentations to all the secondary schools n Sint Maarten. The goal is to educate as many students as possible.

With the help of 90+ INTA members, the Unreal Campaign Committee focuses on educating students through online and direct engagement initiatives in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe.

BIP SXM has been a member of INTA since 2017. Initiatives such as the Unreal Campaign allows BIP SXM the opportunity to play a more significant role in the Associations’ mission. During INTA’s Annual meeting held in Boston from May 18th to 22nd, 2019, INTA’s President David Lossignol announced that the age limit of the campaign will be expanded from age 14- to 23, says the Director who was in attendance.

On May 16th, INTA released a Multi-Country study on Generation Z’s purchase behavior and moral compass with regards to counterfeit goods. The findings of this study, the target group’s relationship with brands and attitudes towards counterfeit goods, has been a contributing factor in the decision to increase the age limit.


10 hours a week in the senate, so what else do senators do?

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The 75 new members of the senate have 319 other jobs between them, some paid, some voluntary, the NRC said on Tuesday. The paper bases its claims on an analysis of senators’ online profiles, trade registers and the senate website but notes that the list is not complete because not all other roles are registered.

The job of senator is not considered to be full time and on paper is said to take 10 hours a week. New senators have far fewer other jobs than those who have been in the upper house of parliament for several years – three compared with and average of six for old-timers, the NRC said.

The CDA’s nine senators top the list, with 71 ‘other’ jobs between them. This year’s senators will have to comply with a new integrity code in which they will have to detail the work they actually do for third parties.

In addition, their interests in a particular subject will have to be recorded when draft legislation is being debated. Conflicts of interest have led to several senators leaving the upper house – most recently VVD senator Anne-Wil Duthler who was removed from the party after voting in favour of legislation advised on by a company she owned.

In 2015, VVD senator Loek Hermans resigned after a home nursing company he was president of went bust and the court partly blamed Hermans for being too busy to do his job properly.

Three of the new senators – two from the anti-immigration PVV and one from the nationalist Forum voor Democratie – have two other jobs. They both serve on city and provincial councils as well as the senate, the NRC said.



CaribAvia also featuring local aviation professionals on aviation matters & U.S. Preclearance

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – The 4th edition of the Annual Caribbean Aviation (CaribAvia) Meetup Conference which will take place from June 11-13 at the Simpson Bay Resort & Marina, will bring together a mixture of local, regional and international speakers.

Former conference speaker William Bohlke, President and Chief Pilot at Bohlke International Airways, St. Croix USVI, has described the upcoming CaribAvia as: “The great thing about the Meetup in my opinion is it is content driven, whether on the policy side or the operators side of aviation, everyone learns from each other. The end result is a valuable transfer of knowledge to help create safer skies and stimulate air travel.”

Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Stuart Johnson said on Monday that the CaribAvia Meetup will bring professionals together from different aviation disciplines to discuss aviation matters that are also very important to the aviation sector and the tourism industry of the country.

The conference will have representatives from 24 countries and territories of North and Central America, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean in attendance.

Some of the local speakers are Joao Gabriel Amado, President of the United Tour Operators Foundation and the Chief Executive Officer/Founder of ‘Island-Sightseeing’ brand in South Florida and the Caribbean as well as the ‘Iberian-Tours’ brand in Lisbon, Portugal. In 2012, he expanded his tourism operations to the Caribbean; after having surveyed most islands, he chose Sint Maarten as hub.

Besides his business activities, Gabriel is lecturing Entrepreneurship and Business Management at the University of St. Martin.

Amado will be speaking about ‘Destination Tourism Product Development.’

Another local speaker is Ir. Damien Richardson on the topic: ‘Futuristic Regional Airport Design For A Profit Making Concept.’

Richardson is an architect and Chairman of the Social Economic Council of Sint Maarten. He lectures 'Future of Technology in the Caribbean' at the University of St. Martin, combining Caribbean Technology, Earth Studies and Space Studies.

Richardson is a graduate of TU Delft School of Architecture in the Netherlands with a Master's of Science degree with honors in Architectural Design.

Another local speaker is Duncan van Heyningen, Manager of ATS (Air Traffic Services) Training & Development at Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM-Airport) on Sint Maarten.

Duncan will be the guide of the Air Traffic Control Tower tours at the airport.

Duncan's 26 years' experience in the aviation field has spanned from Manager of ATS Training & Development, Surveillance (Radar) Air Traffic Controller, Aerodrome (Tower) & Approach Air Traffic Controller, ICAO Classroom Instructor, OJT (On-the-job) Instructor, Air Traffic Control Supervisor, Flight Information Officer (FIO).

One of the most interesting subjects at CaribAvia Meetup will be U.S. Preclearance. Rebekah S. Bacon, an Assistant Director of Border Security for the Office of Field Operations, Preclearance Field Office and is in charge of 16 Customs and Border Protection (CBP) port locations worldwide, will be delving into this topic as SXM Airport is in the process of establishing a U.S. Preclearance Facility.

CBP Preclearance inspected over 21.6 million travelers in Fiscal year 2018 representing over 15 percent of all travelers destined to the United States via commercial air, rail, and sea travel. The Preclearance Field Office deploys over 600 CBP officers and Agriculture Specialists to 15 international airport locations and one passenger-ferry location located in six countries, Aruba, Bermuda, The Bahamas, Canada, Ireland, and The United Arab Emirates.

“The Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications along with its operating arm, the St. Maarten Tourism Bureau, have left no stone unturned with respect to the redevelopment of the country’s tourism product post-Irma.

“We have been actively engaging stakeholders from all sectors to positively reboot our economy and much has been accomplished over the past 20-months, and there is still much to do.

“Engaging aviation stakeholders from across the world at CaribAvia is another important avenue of developing aviation resilience as air transportation is key to the economy of our country.

“I look forward to the productive sessions by local, regional and international aviation professionals at the Meetup,” Hon. Minister Stuart Johnson said on Monday.

Minister Stuart Johnson 2019 MAY

Minister Stuart Johnson



Nature Foundation Calls on Government Owned Companies and Major Developments to Have EIAs Conducted

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - Last week, the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation again responded to two incidents of waste water entering into the marine and wetland environment, prompting the organization to request that Government mandate that Government Owned Companies and large developments such as hotels execute Environmental Impact Assessments and hire Environmental Health and Safety Officers. The Nature Foundation measured the presence of sewage at the area of Simpson Bay Beach known as Kim Sha at the western section of the beach. The Foundation also responded to a major sewage leak originating from a pipe next to the Anguilla Ferry Terminal opposite the Princess Juliana International Airport. 

“Unfortunately, we had a busy few days last week investigating and taking water quality samples from two incidents. The first incident was a complaint we received from a visitor of the water quality at the section of Simpson Bay Beach popularly referred to as Kim Sha. We tested the water quality and received a presence test for an indicator for sewage. Similarly, we received a very disturbing video that shows raw sewage entering into the Simpson Bay Lagoon from a pipe next to the Anguilla Ferry Terminal. Upon investigating the location bits of toilet paper and raw sewage were found to be entering the lagoon from a pipe opposite the airport. A water sample was taken and, not surprisingly, the sample came back positive for sewage indictors,” commented Tadzio Bervoets, Nature Foundation Manager. 

“Based on these and previous issues we are suggesting that Government mandate mandatory environmental impact assessments conducted by a third party specialized in such matters for new projects and projects centred around rebuilding after Irma. We are also suggesting that large developments such as resorts and government owned companies have environmental health and safety officers on staff to be better able to manage the environmental impacts. This is common practice globally save for Sint Maarten,’ concluded Bervoets. 

The Foundation has drafted a report on both incidents and has forwarded them to the VROMI Ministry.






K1 DIRECT now trained in Emergency Medical Response

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Six K1 DIRECT members of the St. Maarten branch have completed their Emergency Medical Response Training facilitated by Windward Island Emergency Medical Services (WIEMS), certifying them for the next 2 years.

The dual theoretical and practical trainings were conducted over a course of 4 months consisting of two evening sessions per week of theory, and several weekend sessions of practical training and assessments.  The group first covered an introduction to EMS systems, ethical principles of emergency care, caring for numerous emergencies and processes of the biological system.

A year after Hurricane Irma, K1 Britannia Foundation launched its Disaster Relief and Crisis Team called K1 DIRECT which was formed to fill the needs the foundation identified in disaster response on the island and in the region - in its experience with relief work after Irma & Maria. K1 DIRECT now consists of 40 volunteers on St. Maarten and Curacao whom have completed their basic level of First Aid/CPR/AED, fire safety, psychological first aid and disaster response while preparing for trainings in Basic Search & Rescue, Shelter Management, Crisis Management, Emergency Logistics and more.

Emergency medical response is an integral part of effectively & holistically being able to assist persons in crisis situations. This training explored roles, responsibilities, and limitations of an Emergency Medical Responder, which included topics such as standard of care, medical directory, expressed and informed consent.

It then dived into topics related to caring for muscle/bone injuries, resuscitation, respiratory emergencies, soft tissue injuries, bleeding, pregnancy, and infant care to name a few. The course concluded with both a theory exam and practical assessment to test the volunteers’ ability to apply the knowledge shared.

Iris Hakkens, Program Manager of K1 DIRECT mentioned, “We touched on a broad number of topics including not only common trauma situations, such as broken bones and active bleeding, but also emergencies involving patients with pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, or cardiac problems.

The training was really comprehensive as we covered basic medical jargon, which is important for instance in relaying information on the location of injury in relation to the patient’s body, interview skills and questions, and interpreting basic vitals signs. This training has given us the skills to treat life-threatening injuries to the best of our abilities until the professionals can tend to our patients, giving them the best chance of survival and avoiding further complications. I’ve already had to use some of the skills learned on a few occasions, and I’ve unfortunately also been through the devastating experience of not being able to save a life, but it has showed me that I am capable of jumping in to assist when there is a need and to give someone the best chance at survival, and that’s what we’re trained to do.”

K1 DIRECT Volunteer Laura Bijnsdorp summed her experience with the training saying, “The emergency responder training held by K1 DIRECT and WIEMS was extensive and fruitful. It delved into many situations one might encounter during emergency/disaster situations. I am very grateful to have the opportunity to learn about first-aid skills and hopefully I can be of better assistance during an emergency situation!”

The EMR training was made possible by K1 DIRECT’s founding sponsor Carnival Cruise Line. Carnival Cruise Line has committed to become long-term partners in disaster relief and found it imperative to play a meaningful part in not only the recovery but also preparation.

For persons interested in joining K1 DIRECT please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or +1 (721) 580-3923.




Speakers of 8th Annual Governor’s Symposium on Economic Recovery announced

SINT MAARTEN (HARBOUR VIEW) - The Governor of Sint Maarten, His Excellency drs. E.B. Holiday announced the speakers for the 8th Annual Governor’s symposium taking place on Friday June 21, 2019 held at the auditorium of the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, Cupecoy. The theme of the Symposium is Shaping Sustainable Economic Recovery in the Caribbean - Challenges and Opportunities’.

The keynote speaker for this year’s symposium is Dr. Marla Dukharan, Caribbean Economist. She is recognized as a leading economist and advisor on the Caribbean, known for her insightful and frequent analysis on the regional implications of international events.

Dr. Dukharan has taken a leading role in driving discussion, public policy formation and action that foster gender equality, reduce income inequality, and promote new models of fiscal and economic resilience to lead the region toward a more prosperous and sustainable future.

The other speakers featured on the program for the 2019 Governor’s Symposium includes international, regional and national speakers and distinguished professionals in their respective fields:

  • Tahseen Sayed, Country Director for Caribbean countries at the World Bank;
  • Justin Ram, Director of Economics at the Caribbean Development Bank; and
  • Claret Connor, Director of the National Recovery Program Bureau.

The distinguished panel of speakers will give insight into economic trends and characteristics, policy constraints and opportunities and strategic actions in the area of, among others, the environment, infrastructure, and economic sustainability in relation to current and future national development. In particular issues of policy implementation and financing sustainable recovery will be explored. The presentations will culminate in an interactive panel discussion between the speakers and the audience which will be moderated by Mr. Antonio Carmona Baez, President of the University of St. Martin.

The Governor’s Symposium is strictly by invite only due to limited seating. The Governor has made seats available to persons 15 years and older who are interested in attending the symposium. If you want to be part of the 8th annual Governor’s Symposium you are requested to submit your personal information via the attendance application form on the website of the Governor of Sint Maarten Based on the information submitted a selection will be made and the selected persons will receive an invitation to attend the event. The deadline to submit your personal information is Friday, June 14, 2019. The symposium is scheduled to take place on Friday, June 21, 2019, at the auditorium of the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine in Cupecoy. Registration starts at 8:00 a.m. All are requested to be on time.  

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