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One-Design Diam 24 Cry Baby and Offshore Trifecta Champ Fujin Top Winners of CMC V.

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - In a spectacular conclusion to what had been a sensational fifth edition of the Caribbean Multihull Challenge Race and Rally, the racing classes and rally fleet converged along the southwestern shores of St. Maarten today to wrap up three remarkable days of sailing. Together, under colorful, billowing spinnakers and with spray flying in easterly trade-wind gusts of well over 20 knots, the combined fields of racing and performance-cruising catamarans and trimarans powered to the finish line in company through the roiled waters of Simpson Bay.

Though it was a happy coincidence that all the sailors came together at the finish, it was also fitting for an event conducted in and blessed with near-perfect Caribbean sailing conditions. In every way imaginable, CMC V was a keeper.


Race Rally Participant: Panda Rosso - Outer Passage. Photo Credit Laurens Morel / Salty Colours.

There were winners, of course, in all four of the racing divisions, with two boats headlining the action and taking home Swiss watches from longtime CMC sponsor Oris Holstein: Pierre Altier’s Diam 24, Cry Baby, which won the Diam 24 division and was named the regatta’s Most Worthy Performer for registering the most convincing victory in the event’s most competitive class. And Greg Slyngstad’s Fujin, which won today’s CMC 27 Mile Around Island Circle Race sponsored by Amstel Bright with a time of 2h, 10m, 22s, earned their timepiece for capturing the CMC Trifecta with first places in all three of the event’s offshore contests. The 53-foot cat also won Friday’s Around Saba Dash sponsored by the Sint Maarten Tourism Bureau and Saturday’s Caribbean 60 Mile Multihull Sprint around St. Barth’s, sponsored by FKG Rigging.

In the other racing classes, Arthur Banting’s Tryst won CSA 2 and Georges Coutu’s La Novia was the winner of CSA 3. In the rally fleet, at this evening’s prizegiving ceremonies at the St. Maarten Yacht Club, Ron Boehm’s beautiful blue Bob Perry-designed Antrim 52, Little Wing, received the award for the Estimated Time Challenge and the Bingo Card Challenge, with Darren Seltzer’ colorful Neel 45 trimaran, Panda Rosso, a close second.


Race Competitor CMC V: Team Fope. Photo Credit Laurens Morel / Salty Colours.

In today’s finale, with the Diam 24 class of one-design trimarans deciding to forgo racing, and the CSA 2 trimarans Honey Badger and Tryst also sitting Sunday out on what was easily the windiest day of the regatta, principal race officer Rein Korteknie sent the CSA 1 fleet on the aforementioned round-the-island race, leaving St. Maarten to port on a counterclockwise spin around the isle. Meanwhile, Korteknie sent the CSA 3 fleet in the opposite direction, on a course to a mark off Marigot and back.

In CSA 1, the Gunboat 60 Cui Bono actually got the better of Fujin on the starting line and essentially won the start, but it took little time for Slyngstad’s ridiculously quick cat to power past the larger boat to leeward. Once again, Fujin was launched, providing the other five boats in the class with yet another familiar view of its twin transoms.

The early stages of the CSA 3 race was both much closer and far more dramatic. Coutu’s La Novia and Petro Jonker’s perennial contender Seaduction, a classic Leopard 47, were basically overlapped at the top mark with Jonker just able to squeeze out the larger, newer Leopard 50. It was match racing at its best. As squalls raked the seaway, both cats hoisted spinnakers and commenced a back and forth duel as they sailed westward, with Seaduction slowly, steadily pulling away.


Rally Competitor CMC V: Little Wing. Photo Credit Laurens Morel / Salty Colours.

A busted halyard on the leg up to Marigot sunk Seaduction’s chances, however, but it also opened the door for the all-women crew on the Lagoon 380, Team Fope, to move into second on corrected time today, which gave the squad a second place for the regatta in CSA 3. It was a fine and gritty result for the ladies, whose effort was sponsored by another longtime CMC backer, Fope Jewelry. Last year’s Most Worthy Performer, Anthony McVeigh aboard the Schionning 51C cat 2 2 Tango, took second this year in CSA 1, again putting together a strong series.

Though Korteknie surely didn’t plan on the race and rally participants rendezvousing off the southwest corner of St. Maarten, as the CSA 1 fleet entered the final stage of their battle around the island, and the CSA 3 boats returning from Marigot, when they were joined by the entire rally fleet returning from their overnight anchorage on Anguilla, that’s exactly what happened.

It was totally cool. Ron Boehm’s Little Wing, led the rally contingent, followed closely by Pauline Lamb’s powerful Lagoon 570, Joline, and Darren Seltzer’s Panda Rosso. That trio was soon joined by another tri, the CSA 1 racing machine Oceans Tribute, which Aussie sailor Guy Chester cruised all the way from New Zealand, much of the trip solo. Everything and everyone mixed seamlessly.


Race Competitor CMC V: Fujin. Photo Credit Laurens Morel / Salty Colours.

When it was over and the prizes had been passed out at Sunday’s night raucous final party and award’s ceremony, one of the best sailors in the entire CMC fleet, Fujin’s Jonathan McKee, an Olympic medalist and recent inductee into the National Sailing Hall of Fame, had this to say. When asked about Fujin’s prowess at the CMC, he said:

“We’ve been sailing the boat for five years and this is the third time we’ve done the CMC. We keep finding ways to get a little faster. It’s been an evolution. So, I say to the guys here for the first time: ‘Keep plugging. It’s not an accident.’ And we love this event, it’s such a great vibe, the locals and the sailors are so cool but there’s great competition. We know St. Maarten is one of the first places where multihulls were raced hard. We’re here to pay homage to that.”

Fitting words to wrap up a great event. The sixth Caribbean Multihull Challenge Race and Rally will take place February 2-4, 2024. Come pay homage to the sport and its sailors. You will not be disappointed.




Minister Lambriex and SHTA discuss collaboration on projects pertaining to destination beautification

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - In a two-hour introduction session, new Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunication (TEATT) Minister Leo Lambriex and his cabinet met with eight board representatives of the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA). The Minister laid out his immediate plans for improving the look and feel of the visitor experience and action points for his tenure and took note of the priorities of the private sector.

Minister Lambriex shared his goal, to focus on existing qualities of the tourism dependent destination and fixing what is easy to improve without major capital investments. The Minister made clear that in the competitive tourism market, it is of great importance that attention is paid to upkeep and beauty of the tourism product.

“St. Maarten needs to make sure eye for detail is maintained to offer a great holiday experience to its many visitors. An attractive product is what makes people come back; an unattractive product makes people choose another destination for their next holiday”. The Minister, having operated tour companies himself, cited from his own experience how central the level of cleanliness and order is to visitors. Recently, the Minister launched improvement ideas for the Philipsburg area.  

The association agreeing wholeheartedly with his convictions pertaining to beautification, the Minister discussed how the Ministry and SHTA could collaborate on projects pertaining to destination beautification. The SHTA added that the currently often congested traffic situation, with only 84% of the 2016 room count having returned to the market, is an additional variable influencing the image of the destination.

Within the same context of choosing improvement over expansion of the tourism product, SHTA shared various economic indicators with the Minister, showing effort is still needed to bring the destination back to the 2016 situation.

Occupancy for December 2022 was 2% under that of December 2021. Though January yielded better results, the association has concerns about the traditionally low summer occupancy given the unexpectedly low December occupancy. The private sector sees more government investment in destination marketing as an essential for economic growth. Though SHTA supports diversification, reality has it that the economy is over 80% dependent on tourism. At the same time, available funds to promote the destination per hotel room are not even 40% that of French side St. Martin, Aruba or Curacao. SHTA estimates that every dollar invested in marketing returns fivefold to government coffers via, amongst others, room tax, timeshare tax and turnover tax, making destination marketing a priority for all.

SHTA repeated its well-known plea for swift implementation of a St. Maarten Tourism Authority (STA), modeled after the very successful institute on Aruba and a project of which various of Minister Lambriex’s predecessors were in support of. The Aruban Tourism Authority does not just contribute year-round to high occupancy rates and hence income for private sector and government, but also to beautification projects. Knowing the island well due to visits to relatives on Aruba, Minister Lambriex also cited other best practices of this island that could be applied on St. Maarten.

Other topics discussed were increased government income via collection of AirBnB fees and the need for a dedicated team to implement this action, Expedia Campaigns, the worrisome state of the (real) Gross Domestic Product or GDP, private sector representation in the Socio-Economic Council (SER), implementation of the ED Card program, private sector taxation, geographical information about St. Maarten visitors and upcoming SHTA plans.

The Minister, the cabinet and the SHTA jointly stated their intent to explore increasing cooperation over the upcoming months.



SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - With its interim board in place and this board’s first meeting held on February 3rd, the Democratic Party (DP) over the weekend outlined the activities for the coming months, the party said in a press release on Sunday.

DP leader Sarah Wescot stated that the 11-member board has divided the tasks among themselves, electing Mr. A. Roberto Richardson as its president.

The first meeting was an introductory meeting, the party leader further explained, but the board also discussed the outline of the party’s upcoming events.

The first event is on Saturday, February 25th, when the Party will be having its first Family Fun Day in a very long time, at the traditional location of Kimsha beach.

DP leader, MP Wescot-Williams explained that while this beach is quite crowded nowadays, the party has teamed up with one of the local restauranteurs, where food and drinks will be on sale.

“The exciting part of this event are the games and the prizes that can be won, such as weekend getaways, electronics, and cash prizes for young and old.

The prize announcements will take place at specific times during the day, so the public is encouraged to follow the party online for more information and times.”

“Following the February family fun day, our sight is set on March, during which month in our view, the focus needs to be on Women; celebrating our achievements, acknowledging our challenges, and issuing a call to action. Our women’s day event is scheduled for March 19th and with a dynamic visiting speaker, women have an exciting event to look forward to.”

“Furthermore, it is the party’s intention to launch its sustainable economic plan during the month of June in a very innovative and interactive manner. This is an important milestone in the party’s program of events as we believe that prosperity for all only comes when we work together and acknowledge how all sectors play a role in securing a sustainable future.”

Some of these events will be to raise funds, but especially with the roll-out of the sustainable economic plan, we want to make it clear that no economic plan or vision, if not collectively endorsed has a chance of success. Endorsed not only by a party or selected individuals, but rather by the community at large. “People need to see themselves in this plan.”

This plan will also serve as a beacon of hope for the business community and regenerate an entrepreneurial spirit from the smallest entrepreneurs to the larger corporations. Currently, the business sector feels lost and the disconnect is evident, commented the DP leader.

“So, while we bring back that spirit of family and community, we cannot lose from sight the larger economic picture that will spur jobs and new economic opportunities.

In concluding, let me again remind the public of the February 25th family fun day at Kimsha beach, starting at 10 am, which   will be one to remember, so I encourage the entire population to join us “under the lighthouse” banner, DP leader Wescot-Williams concluded.


Minister Ottley: Cay Bay Basketball court is “lit” again

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – On Thursday February 2nd, the Honorable Minister of Public Health Social Development and Labor, Omar Ottley accompanied by Community Development Family and Humanitarian Affairs Department (CDFHA) gathered at the Cay Bay Basketball court to celebrate the lighting of the court.

“The court has been without lights since the passing of hurricane Irma, we waited five and a half years to shine bright again, and we are thankful,” said Cay Bay community members.

Minister Ottley stated, “It was such a pleasure to witness the youths immediately playing basketball when the lights came on.”

After the St. Peters basketball court received lights; members of the Cay Bay community reached out to CDFHA to request the same assistance for lighting the Cay Bay basketball court.

With no hesitation Minister Ottley met with the head of CDFHA, Mrs. Chantale George - Groeneveldt and planned how they can assist with the lighting of the Cay Bay basketball court also.

MIN VSA field fri feb03



ONE SXM: Open Letter to King Willem Alexander

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Your Majesty: We, members of the One St. Martin Association (aka One SXM), feel duty bound to address you, respectfully, on the matter of your pending visit to our homeland, part of which is still colonized by your kingdom.

We write you as St. Martiners, as Caribbean people, who do not see themselves as subjects of any other humans.

We note with deep regret that from your position of power and privilege, you have chosen to parade these islands during the month of Black History celebrations, showing off the people to your daughter and heiress to your throne and patronizing their culture. More dehumanizing is the expectation that our people should bow to you and your family, as a way to give legitimacy to an anachronistic and fading political system.

As the head of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, you hide behind political unaccountability, refusing to apologize for your family’s involvement in Slavery and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Furthermore, the kingdom you head has refused at every opportunity to denounce racism and xenophobia at several United Nations fora.

The people of St. Martin did not choose to be a part of the kingdom, and we do not embrace you as the king of our people. We expect that you can relate to this position since your country fought an 80-year war to gain its independence from Spain as your people refused to be subjugated by the Spanish.

We believe that the only way for St. Martin to become a true “equal partner” with your kingdom is for our island to become an independent, sovereign state. We reiterate that we are not subjects of any monarch, and we definitely do not want our children to bow before anyone’s children.

As a first step in repairing the relationship between the Kingdom of the Netherlands as the colonizer and St. Martin people as the colonized, we demand that you issue a sincere apology for the Dutch Kingdom’s involvement in Slavery, the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, and continuing colonialism. This month of Black History Celebrations and your presence on our island present the opportune time to do this.

May we avail ourselves of this opportunity to reiterate to Your Majesty the assurances of our highest consideration.




Willemstad World Heritage Commemorative Coin

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - The Centrale Bank van Curaçao en Sint Maarten is issuing a 5-guilder silver commemorative coin honoring the city of Willemstad and marking its 25th anniversary as a World Heritage site.

The historic area of Willemstad has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1997, reason enough to honor Curaçao's capital with a commemorative coin in 2023. Willemstad is one of a select few World Heritage Cities that have been awarded this special status because of their universal cultural and historical value.

Willemstad is characterized by its historic neighborhoods, cultural diversity, unique urban architecture and over 700 multicolored monuments. The city is also unique as a historic Caribbean seaport. The commemorative coin will be produced by the Royal Dutch Mint. Its design parallels that of the Dutch commemorative coin for which His Majesty King Willem-Alexander made the first strike here in Curaçao today.

As the coin will celebrate Curaçao's important UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a public call was made to designers/artists in Curaçao to design both the euro and NAf. coins. The winning design is by Curaçaoan artist Cleo Maxime de Brabander.

The obverse shows King Willem-Alexander with the Queen Juliana Bridge in Willemstad in the background. Four stars at the top of the obverse side symbolize the four countries that comprise the Kingdom of the Netherlands: Curaçao, Aruba, Sint Maarten and the Netherlands.

The reverse features a cityscape showing the four neighborhoods that make up the UNESCO World Heritage Site: Punda, Otrobanda, Scharloo, and Pietermaai. The design features key monuments, including the Handelskade, the Mikvé Israel-Emanuel synagogue in Punda, Fort Amsterdam, and the Emanu-él temple, which marks the border of the Pietermaai neighborhood.

The coin is minted in the highest quality Silver Proof and comes in a presentation case, with a Certificate of Authenticity. The mintage is limited to 500 pieces. The Willemstad coin will also be legal tender in Curaçao and Sint Maarten, with a nominal value of 5 guilders.

This will be one of the last commemorative coins to be issued in our current currency, the Netherlands Antilles guilder. Sales will begin later this year.

Announcements will be made on CBCS social media channels and on our website:

CBCS 5 gulden Willemstad 6 silver




RESEMBID Programme and Projects Lauded as Impressive by EU

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - High level officials from the Resilience, Sustainable Energy and Marine Biodiversity (RESEMBID) Programme’s lead donor agency, the European Union (EU), visited St. Maarten on the 18th and 19th of January to meet the RESEMBID team, visit ongoing projects and gain a keen sense of the work being implemented specifically in Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, St. Barthelemy, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten.

Primary visiting delegate, Ambassador Rene Van Nes, Head of Delegation, EUD was accompanied by Layla El Khadraoui, EU Commission Programme and Policy Manager who both benefitted from detailed and informative presentations delivered by RESEMBID’s Fabian McKinnon, Programme Director; Edward Turvill, Programme Manager for Resilience and Nyssa Pierre, Manager, Communications and Visibility.

The immensely interactive and intensive sessions provided deep insight into RESEMBID’s operations; project portfolio; and deep dives into the areas of resilience, communications and visibility. McKinnon further explained how RESEMBID is translating €26M into 48 projects for 500,000 people in 12 Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs).

Additionally, he spoke in detail on the implementation support strategy which focuses on six key elements of assistance to the OCTs; the RESEMBID Portfolio by focus area; the value created by each of the projects being implemented and regional collaboration in each of the OCTs.

Delving into the Resilience portfolio, Turvill spoke to emerging regional themes across the portfolio and OCTs. He focused specifically on Comprehensive Disaster Management, Early Warning Systems, Resilience in Education and Nature-Based Solutions which are cross-cutting in the Marine Biodiversity and Sustainable Energy areas of focus as well.

To the enthusiastic interest from Ambassador Van Nes, Turvill further expounded on the main outcomes and milestones to be achieved by each focus area, how these outcomes are in line with the National Development Strategy of the OCTs and the effect these results will have on the people of the OCTs.

Moreover, RESEMBID’s Communications and Visibility Manager further elaborated on the numerous outreach efforts being executed to ensure maximum visibility for the projects across the OCTs. She highlighted past milestones which have been very successful and announced the RESEMBID Roar which will kick off 2023 and see focused and intentional collaboration with the EU plus a sharp increase in media engagement, storytelling, speaking opportunities for the team at key regional and global events, social media and web site updates.

Ambassador Van Nes applauded the team for their efforts thus far and said he is looking forward to all that is planned for this year and beyond. He asked many probing questions and made valuable and salient suggestions which will certainly redound to the benefit of the programme.

Meanwhile, The RESEMBID team will warmly welcome Jeremie Pellet, Director-General of Expertise France in February to provide an overview of the programme, its projects and their impact on the OCTs.




Royal Family to visit SMMC and NIPA on Monday

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Preparations are in full swing for the visit of the Royal Family His Majesty King Willem Alexander, Her Majesty Queen Maxima and Her Royal Highness Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange, next week Monday and Tuesday, February 6 & 7.

Sint Maarten’s heritage and hospitality during the two-day visit will be on full display where they will get a taste of culture, nature, and resiliency. Residents are invited to come out and welcome the Royal Family as they are on their way to visit various venues.

This will be Her Royal Highness Princess Amalia’s first visit to Sint Maarten, during which time she will be introduced to the country and its residents.

Upon arrival at the Princess Juliana International Airport on Monday morning February 6, the Royal Family will be received by His Excellency Governor of Sint Maarten Ajamu Baly and the Honorable Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, followed by a tour at both the operational and reconstruction areas of the Airport.

The delegation will then visit the following institutions in Cay Hill, the Fire & Ambulance Department, where there will be an exhibition and re-enactment of the first responders during a disaster.

This will then be followed by a tour at the Sint Maarten Medical Center (SMMC).

The Royal Family will be given a presentation about sustainability within health care and will learn more about the key role in the region that SMMC plays and about the health care relationship that it provides to patients from St. Eustatius and Saba.

The King, Queen and Princess will speak to dialysis patients and will be updated on the ongoing expansion of the hospital.

After completing the visit at SMMC, the Royal Family and other dignitaries will walk over to the National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA) where they will receive a brief introduction about NIPA.

Subsequently the Royal Family will have a conversation with the Governor and members of the Council of Ministers while having a lunch prepared and served by the students of NIPA.

These activities will conclude the morning of day one of the visit to Sint Maarten. While on Sint Maarten, the Royal Family and the State Secretary for Kingdom Relations and Digitalisation, Alexandra van Huffelen will be accompanied by His Excellency, the Governor of Sint Maarten, Ajamu Baly, who is host of the visit.

2020 prinses van oranje 02 1

Her Royal Highness Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange




Chantale Groeneveldt and Anton Hoogenboezem presented with Vocational Service Award

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - January is recognized as Vocational Service Month according to Rotary International. Last week the Rotary Club of Sint Maarten-Mid Isle presented two community minded persons with a Vocational Service Award, Chantale Groeneveldt and Anton Hoogenboezem.

Chantale recognized at a young age her passion for assisting others. She spent sixteen years as a healthcare professional both on St. Maarten and in the Netherlands, and from her interactions with patients, she realized that their difficulties stemmed from social challenges. During her time in the Netherlands, Chantale had the opportunity to assist in homeless shelters, where she gained a deeper understanding of how a single wrong decision could result in the loss of everything and becoming displaced.

She returned to St. Maarten, and worked in the private sector, before joining the government in 2010, working in numerous cabinets, where she had a bird's-eye view of the community. After the hurricanes of 2017, Chantale worked for six months as the recovery shelter's manager.

She is currently the department head of Community Development, Family & Humanitarian Affairs and Women's Desk. Chantale is now engaging in a crisis and disaster management trainers' training.

Anton is a member of RISC Takers and coaches the Under 11 football players in the organization. He is very instrumental when it comes to organizing activities, preparing the youth for tournaments on both the French and Dutch sides of the island, and is an important contact person between the kids’ parents and coaches.

The Mid Isle Rotary Club witnessed firsthand the passion both recipients have in what they are doing. Mrs. Groeneveldt helped the Rotary Club with a list of persons in need, to receive Food Hampers during the Christmas Season, and she was personally there to help distribute these. Mr. Hoogenboezem wanted to share his award with all the coaches and children, as he recognizes that all of them are deserving of this award.

Congratulations go out to Mrs. Chantale Groeneveldt and Mr. Anton Hoogenboezem for this well-deserved award.

Picture5 Chantale

Chantale Groeneveldt (L)

Picture6 Hoogenboezem

Anton Hoogenboezem (L)


No sign of criminal act or wrongdoing detected in passing of Laville

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Friday, January 27, 2023, the Immigration and Border Protection Services (IBP) announced to the public that a gentleman in holding that was experiencing medical challenges was being examined by medical professionals.

Mr. Josea Ossie Laville’s engagement with Law Enforcement began when police officers were notified about a man wielding a machete in the Philipsburg area. They were then dispatched to the scene at 2:40 PM on Thursday, January 26. The officers observed that Mr. Laville appeared to be intoxicated and was in the possession of a machete. He was then arrested for illegal weapon possession.

After being taken to the Philipsburg police station, Mr. Laville was processed by the Police and the Prosecutor’s Office and handed over to IBP as it was established that he was residing on Sint Maarten illegally and without proper residence.

Subsequently, the formal procedural preparations were started by IBP which would have finally led to his deportation to his birth country Dominica. While detained, Mr. Laville indicated that he was feeling “a bit dizzy” to the immigration officer. The officer asked him if he would like to see a doctor to which Mr. Laville replied “No.” The officer went on to ask Mr. Laville if he had any medical problems or needed to take any medication to which he replied, “No, I just need to eat, I am very hungry.” He was given food and water, after which he asked for more, a request that was granted. Sometime after, a guard passed by his cell and observed him lying in a strange position on the bed in his holding cell. At that point, medical professionals were called in to assess the situation.  

After an investigation of the scene and establishing that the proper procedures were followed, Chief Prosecutor Hieke Buist informed the Honorable Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson on Saturday, January 28, that the investigation concluded with no signs of criminal act or wrongdoings as the cause of death. The body of Mr. Laville has since been released to his next of kin as the case has now been closed.

IBP assures the public that all persons they encounter are treated with respect, dignity, and proper care, which includes being fed three times daily. This is a very unexpected and unfortunate turn of events.

Minister Richardson, IBP, KPSM, and the Prosecutor’s Office all express their deepest condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Laville and wish them peace and strength during this difficult time.

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