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SCDF introduces contestants Junior Carnival queen Pageant

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) on Friday introduced the contestants for the Junior Carnival Queen Pageant. The pageant, slated to be held on Saturday April 4, will feature five contestants competing in four segments of the competition.

The Junior pageant is one of many pre-Carnival events to be held before the official opening of Carnival 2020 on April 16.

The five contestants are Rochenique Giterson, Chrisincia Mathew, Xiomara Richardson, Richellina Beauperthuy and Destinie Cozier. They will compete in speech, talent, Carnival costume and princess wear segments. There will also be an opening dance appearance for all contestants.

“Right now the contestants are busy with their preparations and obtaining sponsorship for their big night,” SCDF Vice President and Pageant Coordinator Paula Gordon said. “We are calling on the business sector to support the contestants in their preparations as they will be positively active over the next few weeks and would be great ambassadors for any business that shows support,” Gordon said.

She added that the SCDF will feature the contestants at different public outings, interviews and more. “It’s about these five young ladies. We want the public to get to know them and to support them. The girls and their parents/chaperones will put their all into this pageant. Expect a great show,” Gordon said.

The venue for the event will be released at a later date.

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Whitbread sailor in the lead for 40th edition of the St Maarten Heineken Regatta

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - The Sint Maarten Yacht Club Regatta Foundation has appointed a new Race Director for the 40th edition of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

Organizers have turned their attention to the complete sailing experience for the 40th edition and after collecting feedback from past and current competitors changes were made in Race Management. A new Race Director has been appointed. He came highly recommended by several well-known sailors and he will be supported by a team of experienced volunteers who have been involved with the event for decades.

“Every so often we change up the Race Management Team, this helps with the Event’s dynamic and allows us to stay innovative. We have had some excellent racing in the past, but for the 40th event we truly wanted to ensure all participants an unforgettable experience, while bringing back some features from the past. Our goal is to get everyone to fall in love with this event and put it on their race calendar as their annual event.” stated Yacht Club Manager Michele Korteweg.

Marc van Dongen (60) raced the 1985 Whitbred Round the World race onboard the Philips Innovator under the leadership of skipper Dirk Nauta. The accompanying crew included Bouwe Bekking, Gideon Messink, and Frans Hinfelaar and together they made they’re Around the World debut.

For van Dongen, sailing is in his blood. He has spent the last few decades racing competitively on a variety of boats. He has also joined several racing organizations at various levels ranging from club races to world championships.

Notably, the 40th edition will be a special one for many sailors, but certainly for Marc, in particular, is that's some of his former colleges of the Philips Innovator will be racing. Most notably is that Bouwe Bekking will be crossing the start line as skipper of the V65 Childhood1.

Van Dongen said “I was honored when asked to be Race Director for this world-famous event. It's a fantastic team to work with and they bring a wealth of local knowledge with them. Cary Byerley, Rien Korteknie and Joris van den Eynde have all been involved in this event in one way or another for many years. We are currently knee-deep in courses that we hope will challenge each and every racer. We will publish the courses as soon as they are ready that way the participants can then use them as a guide when practicing. I bring with me, my experience on the larger boats and have been listening to the past participants and of course my team members within the event.”

Van Dongen elaborated “When I knew I would be involved with the event I emailed Bouwe for some advice as he has raced the event several times. He let me know that he too would be taking part, and felt it was almost like a reunion of sorts.”

The 2020 event will take place March 5-8, 2020 and will welcome a host of participants that come from ports across the globe. Seasoned regatta veterans will take to the waters with enthusiast newcomers which will allow for great competition that the event has called “Serious Fun” for four decades! The official courses for the event will be available in the coming weeks.

HEIN INNOVATOR

 

 

 

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Altercation over rental deposit leads to fistfight and arrest

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The police patrol arrested the man with initials B.B on the afternoon of Thursday January 16th, 2020, for his involvement in an altercation over the return of a rental fee deposit, police announced on Friday.

The altercation took place at the end of 2019 after the B.B returned the rented vehicle to the owner with initials R.A.B.

After inspecting the vehicle R.A.B determined that B.B was not entitled to the return of his deposit which lead to an argument which became heated and quickly escalated into a fist fight between the two. During the altercation some damaged was caused to the vehicle belongings to R.A.B.

R.A.B came to the police station in Philipsburg following the altercation and filed an official complaint. The personnel of detective department later investigated the matter and requested, a warrant by the prosecutor for B. B’s arrest.

The suspect who was at home was at the time, was explained the reason for his arrest and brought to the police station in Philipsburg. He has been incarcerated pending further investigation. (KPSM)

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Governor Holiday concludes consultations and appoints Jacobs as Formateur

SINT MAARTEN (HARBOUR VIEW) - The Governor of Sint Maarten, His Excellency drs. E.B. Holiday, following the outcome of the January 9, 2020 elections held consultations from January 10 through 14, 2020 to gather information to decide on the process for the formation of a new government.

The Governor, considering the ongoing discussion regarding compliance with the standards set forth by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), also convened a meeting with the political leaders and the bankers association to underscore the importance and urgency of handling this matter for Sint Maarten irrespective of which parties form the new government.

The Governor also received the governing accord signed by the National Alliance (NA) and the United People’s Party (UP) representing a majority in Parliament from the leader of the NA during the consultations.  A common tread in the consultations is that political stability is a necessary condition for the further development of Sint Maarten.  

Considering the results of the January 9, 2020 elections, the information received during the consultations, the Governor requested the leader of the NA, Ms. Silveria Jacobs, to accept an assignment as formateur.  

In that capacity the Governor requested Ms. Jacobs to form a new government which has the support of a broad majority in Parliament to foster political stability, that consists of ministers who are committed to the development and execution of a  governing program aimed at the promotion of the wellbeing of Sint Maarten, its people, its economy, its infrastructure and its security.

Considering the challenges facing the country, the Governor requested the formateur to form a new government which will give priority to:

  1. concluding the legislation regarding the combating of money laundering and financing of terrorism, including the penal procedure code;
  2. the development of initiatives aimed at the sustainable social economic recovery of Sint Maarten including the execution of the agreements made with The Netherlands and the World Bank regarding amongst others the rehabilitation of the airport and the construction of the new hospital;  
  3. realizing sustainable government finances, including the completion of the 2020 budget;
  4. the safety and security of Sint Maarten by investing in the strengthening of the law and order services, amongst which the police force and the prison;
  5. the improvement of our environment with an emphasis on realizing sustainable waste management solutions; and
  6. the amending of the electoral laws by bringing the Ordinance Registration and Finances of Political Parties and the Election Ordinance in accordance with the Constitution.

The Governor further emphasized the importance of the strict observance of the regulatory requirements including the screening criteria, applicable to the appointment for candidate-ministers.

The formateur took the commission into consideration and will inform the Governor regularly during the formation process. The Governor requested Ms. Jacobs to present him the final report of the formation process by February 23, 2020.

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Legends of Reggae, Inner Circle, to perform at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - The line-up for the 2020 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta just got hotter! International Reggae Musicians, Inner Circle, will take the stage Saturday, March 7th, for what will most certainly be a memorable performance.

Best known for their “Bad Boys” and “Sweat (A la La La La La Long)” hit, Inner Circle has been pleasing the crowds for decades and this coming March will be no exception. Entrance to the Saturday evening show is free of charge up until 7:00 pm after which there is an entrance fee of $20 per person.

Sailors racing in the regatta will be able to gain complimentary access after 7:00 pm by showing their participants wristband at the entrance.

Back in the 1970’s Inner Circle had the good fortune of being signed by Island Records. Massive commercial success of their first hit “Everything is Great” took them to the top of the charts in both the UK and France. This was the beginning of a career that continues to this day and shows no signs of slowing down. The band tours the world playing some of the world’s largest music festivals and has headlined alongside artists like Elton John, Carlos Santana, Robert Plant, and many others.

Inner Circle has toured across the globe and will finally touch down on St. Maarten for the event’s 40th edition and they plan to bring their Jamaican vibes and upbeat lyrics to the main stage. The crowd can look forward to popular hits like “Sweat (la la la la la long)” and “Games People Play” as well as many other famous hits. Smooth songs that embrace the island feel promise to keep your body swaying as the beats flow across the trade winds.

For Event Production Director, John Leone, adding Inner Circle to the line-up was an easy choice. “We've been trying to land “The Bad Boys of Reggae” for quite some time, and now they are coming to our festival! We are thrilled to be able to showcase their talents on our beautiful island. It’s going to be an amazing event!”

The 40th edition of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta takes place this coming March 5-8, 2020 and promises to deliver a combination of competitive racing and legendary performances. The venue is located at Princess Port de Plaisance and will offer up a variety of food options, bars and lounge space for sailors to relax once the long days of racing are over. The venue, which is centrally located, offers up plenty of parking for those attending by car.

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Drowning at Great Bay

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - On Thursday afternoon January 9th, 2020 about 04.00 pm, the Central dispatch directed the Police patrols and paramedics to Great Bay Beach in Philipsburg after getting reports that a person had drowned in the waters of Great Bay.

The male victim was seen floating a few hundred meters offshore by some jet-ski riders, who pulled the victim out of the water and brought him to shore. The bystanders began immediately applying first aid to the man who was not breathing at the time.

Shortly after the paramedics appeared on the scene and continued giving the victim Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) but could not revive the victim. The doctor who appeared some time later stated that the victim had died supposedly of drowning.

The victim had no signs of injury to his body. According to onlookers, the victim went into the water, and at one point was not seen anymore.

He was later brought over to the funeral home. Respecting the victim’s privacy and the family, no further information is provided concerning the identification of the deceased.

The Sint Maarten Police Force is expressing its sympathy to the family of the deceased. (KPSM)

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Prime Minister and NRPB strongly caution against misleading and defamatory statements on social media

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Over the weekend, the Honorable Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs and the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB) have taken note of the personal and slanderous nature of some of the statements made on social media regarding an alleged decision of the Council of Ministers to demolish the library building for an amount of 1.2 million Guilders.

According to the statements, this amount would be paid for by the NRPB from the Sint Maarten Trust Fund. The Prime Minister and the NRPB emphasize that these statements are incorrect and that no such decision has been taken.

Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs stated that the general public should be aware that the decision to start the demolition process of the library, former post office and old government building was initiated by the former Minister of VROMI Mr. Miklos Giterson, who enacted a bidding procedure by invitation as it was deemed urgent at the time.

“The demolition project would have been financed from the proceeds received by Government from the insurance settlement. The advice for said demolition has not yet been finalized nor handled by the current Minister of VROMI nor the Council of Ministers. When that is the case, if the correct procedure hasn’t been followed, it will be rectified.” said Prime Minister Jacobs.

Considering the potential negative effects these statements can have for all residences, the Prime Minister and the NRPB deem it appropriate to caution the general public against making misleading and defamatory statements on social media.

The relevant authorities will be approached if further defamatory statements are made and legal actions will be taken in accordance with the Civil and Criminal Code of Sint Maarten prohibiting personal insults and defamation.

The general public is encouraged to visit the NRPB’s website and social media platforms to stay informed about the Sint Maarten Trust Fund. They are also encouraged to follow the Council of Minister’s weekly press briefings, tune into SXMGOV radio 107.9 FM and visit the St. Maarten government’s website and social media platforms as updates are also given via these mediums.

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MP Christopher Emmanuel in favor of selling Belvedere homes to occupants

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) – National Alliance Member of Parliament (MP) Christopher Emmanuel, former Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (VROMI) continues to voice his concerns with the ongoing Belvedere saga, according to a press release from the MP.

Residents of Belvedere who have been occupying the 167 duplex homes and the approximately 330 row homes should be given the first opportunity to own these homes which they have been occupying for more than 20 years by paying rent to the St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation (SMHDF).

Various attempts and promises have been made by the SMHDF and regretfully not been fulfilled despite several reports confirming that the duplex homes are better equipped to be owned by the occupants rather than renting.

According to MP Emmanuel, promises made by the SMHDF by means of lease purchase agreements presented to the tenants in 2004 and again in 2006 have been withdrawn by the SMHDF, whereas the occupants were willing and eager to purchase the homes.

The vision of MP Emmanuel stems from the approach that the tenants have been occupying the homes for more than 20 years which were also damaged with the passing of Hurricane Irma in 2017 and moreover, never repaired by the SMHDF.

As a result, MP Emmanuel is of the opinion that the homes should be sold for an average of    Naf. 35.000,- to max. Naf. 50.000,- to the occupant’s based on the amount of years that they have been occupying the homes.

MP Emmanuel further stated that residents who have been occupying the homes for over 20 years should pay less when compared to residents who have been occupying the homes for a period of five to ten years. With the income of the sales of the homes, SMHDF will be in a better position to pay off their loan at the bank and the residents will gather collateral and economical benefit to upgrade and repair their home, which will also improve their overall personal financial status in general.

MP Emmanuel is also of the opinion that the present occupants of the Belvedere duplex and rows homes will easily qualify at the local banks considering this working class mainly consist of hard-working locals. The MP further stated that too much people are renting homes on the island and the only way possible to curb this ongoing situation is by allowing residents to own their home which in the end will decrease the overall rental price of homes on the island.

MP Emmanuel assures the resident of Belvedere that all legislations will be in place to enable SMHDF to sell the homes to the residents who has been occupying these homes for years. In addition, he is of the opinion that the present Supervisory Board and the Managing Director of the SMHDF should be dismissed as the residents of Belvedere have not been treated fairly over the years, which is evident based on the last court ruling in favor of the residents of Belvedere against the SMHDF.

MP Emmanuel strongly recommends that a new team should be put in place that would work along with the residents of Belvedere by showing empathy, love, care and understanding to the residents and the homeowners of Belvedere in general.

In closing, MP Emmanuel’s message to the residents of Belvedere is that there will be no more renting and you will own your home!

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NPOwer welcomes Cassandra Richardson as its new Non-Profit Coordinator

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - As of January 6th Ms., Cassandra Richardson will follow up Melanie Choisy to become the NPOwer Project Coordinator. NPOwer was launched by Foresee Foundation at the end of 2018 with the financial support of the Dutch Disaster Fund.

NPOwer’s aim is to strengthen capacity of local NGOs and forge more collaboration and communication through its online database network of active organizations. Through workshops, webinars, trainings, and lectures, NPOwer intends to empower St. Maarten’s organizations in their communal missions. Furthermore, with the NPOwer website databank and Community Service Facebook page, which shows all things NGOs and NPOs passionately do on St. Maarten, NPOwer also encourages more relationships with residents, tourists, and charitable organizations alike.

Cassandra Richardson is a native of the island of St. Maarten/St. Martin and received her academic degrees in the US and Canada, respectively. After completing her second master’s degree in Canada, she worked in the Canadian NGO sector and as a community arts advocate for 11 years before deciding to bring back her expertise and love for community building to St. Maarten, her home of origin.

Her background and skills in Social Work, community arts and communication skills are the right ingredients for a new career opportunity.  The experiences in the NGO sector in St. Maarten and Canada inspire her to continually find innovative ways to support multisectoral initiatives and community led efforts to motivate and sustain positive change. One of Cassandra’s passions are to build relationships between partners at all levels – from individuals to local partners and global organizations – and coordinate their efforts towards a common goal. She has played a foundational role in her previous roles as Executive Director of the Safe Haven Foundation, in Canada as a Program Manager for several social programs, and as a student active in the student body in the United States, towards these efforts and looks forward to continue strengthening relationships in the NGO sector on St. Maarten through NPOwer.

In this new capacity she will start taking up the task to organize a one day conference for the NGO sector on February 22nd 2020, expand the online NGO website and database and organize capacity strengthening workshops and trainings for all those in the community who are affiliated with non-profit organizations.

Jose Sommers, President of the The Foresee Foundation expressed 4C board’s excitement to have Ms. Richardson on board and is looking forward to her support in the further building of our NGO sector. More information on NPOwer and the St. Maarten NGO sector can be found on the website http://www.npowersxm.com/ and the Facebook page ‘SXM community Service Organizations’, link https://www.facebook.com/groups/sxmcsos/.

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King Rumer donates to MHF Ambulant team

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - To mark the beginning of the New Year, Rumari Rogers better known as Entertainer/Radio Co-host “King Rumer” recently made a donation to the Mental Health Foundation’s ambulant nurses, the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) said in a statement on Friday.

MHF currently has four ambulant nurses providing effective interventions and positive outcomes for clients facing mental health/ crisis or substance abuse disorders, outside of a hospital setting on St. Maarten.

This donation was made possible thanks to the annual Rumino tournament hosted by the entertainer which was held November 30th, 2019 at Soggy Dollar. MHF thanks King Rumer for his donation to the MHF ambulant nurses’ team and for the recognition of the work they do within the community.

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