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K1 DIRECT Fundraising Raffle begins

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – K1 DIRECT, K1 Britannia Foundation’s official disaster relief and crisis team, is holding a fundraising raffle to raise funds for the team’s disaster relief operational budget.

The budget will be used to cover the costs for medical supplies, fuel, vehicles, materials, and other necessities during activation of the volunteer team during a disaster locally or in the region.

The raffle will be on-going until September 30th 2019, where persons have an opportunity to win various prizes including 4 round-trip tickets for two to destinations flown by Winair, 3-night all-inclusive stay for two at Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa, 2 tickets to "The Big Three" at Rainforest Adventures St Maarten, artwork by Roland Richardson Gallery Museum, Hair styling vouchers by The 5, prizes by Boolchand's St. Maarten, gift voucher by Alina restaurant - Sushi & Sake Bar and Caribbean Liquors and Tobacco.

Since the passing of Hurricane Irma, K1 has conceptualized and materialized an official disaster relief & crisis team to assist St. Maarten and the region during disaster situations.

Since then, K1 DIRECT has set up two completely voluntary teams on St. Maarten and in Curacao of approximately 40 volunteers.

To date, K1 DIRECT is continuously working on various trainings to be effectively equipped with necessary preparations to carry out their tasks during a disaster including completion of their CPR/AED and EMR training as well as a Disaster Management Training facilitated by the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) and End-to-End Supply Chain Management Training facilitated by World Food Programme and CDEMA.

K1 DIRECT is encouraging persons to support the team by purchasing a raffle ticket. Companies are also encouraged to purchase raffle tickets for their staff or to be sold to their clients.

Each raffle ticket will be sold for $10 USD or 20 FLS, and will be sold outside Carrefour Market in Cole bay on August 24th, September 7th, and September 21st from 10am to 1pm. Tickets can also be bought at the K1 Britannia office, or 20 other locations such as Winair, Adolphus Richardson, Arena Base Café, Simpson Bay Pharmacy, Obersi Group, Island Real Estate Team, Bluepoint, Colosseum, Carrefour, Dominos, EBS, NAPA, Pete’s Photo, Cay Hill Pharmacy and Kam’s Food World.

For more information please visit the K1 office located on Falcon Drive #7, Suite A3 in the Brooks Tower, Suite A3 in Philipsburg, or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or +1 (721) 580-3923.

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Nature Fd.: Balloons are Wreaking Havoc on our Marine and Wildlife

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - The Nature Foundation St Maarten would like to raise awareness about the harmful impacts of balloons on our environment, marine and wildlife and is asking the community to disregard the usage of balloons. Balloons have been the primary accessory of celebrations since the 1800s.

They serve as a fun and pretty decoration for birthdays, weddings, graduations, festivals, and many other events. However, after the party ends, balloons can remain in our environment for many years. During this time, they threaten the health and survival of countless animals via ingestion and entanglement.

In general, there are two types of balloons: latex and mylar. Latex balloons are the more common type made out of stretchy rubber material. Mylar balloons are the usually bigger, fancy balloons made out of shiny, non-stretch plastic foil.

Although latex balloons are regarded as biodegradable, this is a misrepresentation, as latex balloons can still take months to years to completely break down and can cause a lot of damage in that timeframe. Mylar balloons are not considered bio-degradable and can remain in the environment indefinitely.

Balloons are easily mistaken as food by birds, sea turtles, fish, dolphins, and other animals. Because balloons do not break down, they can easily get stuck in the animal’s throat, causing the animal to choke; or they can pile up and create a blockage in the animal’s stomach causing the animal to starve to death. Sea turtles are especially susceptible to these risks.

Brightly coloured balloons floating in the ocean can look a lot like jellyfish and sponges, a primary food source for many sea turtle species.  One study by the University of Queensland found that 1 in 3 sea turtles have eaten marine plastic, including balloons. In addition, many animals, especially birds, can become entangled in balloon strings, causing suffocation and restriction of movement and feeding. Most often balloon strings are made out of plastic, meaning they do not biodegrade and can go on to harm multiple animals.

Even if balloons are not release during parades and celebrations, balloons can easily be blown away due to wind, rain and accidental release, for example numerous balloons were lost during the recent carnival balloon parades. What goes up must come down and ends up in our environment, several balloons were found to be in our waters and nature after before mentioned carnival parades.

If balloons are let go of, many of them burst in the atmosphere and the small pieces end up back in the environment. These small pieces are ingested by smaller organisms and remain in their system. When the smaller organisms are eaten by larger organisms, the pieces accumulate in the larger organism at a higher concentration. This continues up the food chain and causes large animals like dolphins and even whales to have plastics in their tissues and puts humans at risk as well.

Nature Foundation is committed to the reduction of all plastic pollution, including balloons. Therefore, we are providing the following tips on how you can save the environment by reducing and eliminating balloons from your life: 

  1. Under no circumstance let go of balloons outdoors, there are many alternatives to releasing balloons including lighting candles, planting flowers or trees, blowing bubbles, these options are just as good-if not better- for celebrating achievements of honouring a loved one without harming the environment. 
  2. Use reusable decoration instead of balloons, try using flags, banners, kites, garden spinners, and dancing inflatables. These options are reusable, saving you money in the long term and improving the environment.
  3. Or use biodegradable decorations, such aspaper streamers or tissue paper pom-poms. 
  4. If you have to have balloons, go for the latex variety over mylar. While neither of these options is good for the environment, latex is better. Also, try using natural cotton string rather than plastic ribbons to tie your balloons. When you are done with the balloon, make sure to pop it and dispose of it properly. 

5. Lastly, pick up any balloons and ribbons you see on the ground! Even though you didn’t litter the balloon, it is up to all of us to work together and make sure our environment is safe and healthy for our marine and wildlife.

Picture 2 nature fd bird balloon ins1

Animals often get tangled in the plastic ribbons attached to balloons (Credit: Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Program)

 

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SER establishes working relationship with CCSU

SINT MAARTEN (HARBOR VIEW) - In its efforts to strengthen the working relationship with other government entities, on Tuesday, August 13th, an introductory meeting was held between the Secretary Generals (SG) of the Social Economic Council (SER) and the Committee of Civil Servant Unions (CCSU).

The purpose of this introductory meeting with CCSU was to explore possible future collaborations, on important Social Economic matters. The CCSU expressed its willingness to collaborate with the SER on legislation that has effect on government employees, such as the pending Pension Reform Legislation for Civil Servants.

After the meeting, the SG of the SER expressed his understanding of the challenges that an organization such as the CCSU faces in the process to properly establish itself as a professional and respectable organization within Government and the Public Sector.

The SER stated that “the institution can relate to the current challenges CCSU is facing with reference to the process of acquiring office supplies to be able to execute its tasks in a more efficient manner. It is for this reason that the SER donated several items to the CCSU such as a desktop computer, laptop, printer, and other important office supplies.

Many of these items were purchased by the SER, during its startup phase in 2011, which was carried out through the former Dutch funding agency, Uitvoeringsorganisatie Stichting Ontwikkeling Nederlandse Antillen (USONA).

The CCSU thanks the SER for this much needed assistance, which donation will help the CCSU to continue to play its critical role in safeguarding the rights of civil servants and serve as a competent stakeholder to both the Ministers of General Affairs, Justice, and other ministries.

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TelEm Group aiming to stabilize Cable TV power issues

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) TelEm Group technicians and engineers will be installing new power-related equipment at Cable TV’s headend facility at Madame Estate this weekend with the possibility of interruptions to Cable TV, TelTV and CableNet services.

The TelEm Group staffers are being joined by a team of technicians from equipment vendor HITESS N.V. in the installation and testing process.

According to TelEm Group Manager, Core Networks, Mr. Percival Cocks, the pending works will take place Sunday. Once completed, the installed equipment will bring stability to the Cable TV Headend facility which has been on backup power since power equipment located at the site was damaged three weeks ago.

 “This will take the facility from the current power condition, which is backup to production,” said Mr. Cocks.

He said the local and overseas teams will be working during hours that cause the least impact on CableNet, IPTV and Cable TV services.

“We anticipate interruptions will occur; however, we are asking customers and subscribers to be patient as we make all effort to reconnect their service(s) as soon as possible once the new equipment is installed and tested,” continued the Manager, Core Networks.

Mr. Cocks assures subscribers that the installation works will be carried out diligently. He has meantime apologized to customers of Cable TV, TeLTV and CableNet for any interruptions they may experience in these services over the weekend.

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Man abducts one-year old child on Friday morning

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Friday August 16 at approximately 2.15 a.m. the man identified with initials R.P. who is the father of a one-year old child went to the home of his child mother located on Back Street and took the child without the mother’s consent, police said on Friday.

The mother identified with initials L.T. immediately notified the police department who immediately went to the scene to investigate what was taking place. After the mother informed the police of the situation, she drove along with the police officers to Dutch Quarter in the “911 Project” where the suspect and child were found sitting in a car.

The police officers made many attempts to communicate with the suspect in order for him to unlock the doors of the car so that they could retrieve the child but be refused.

The situation escalated to a point that there was no other choice for the officers, for the safety and well being of the child, than to break one on the windows of the car to gain access to the vehicle.

The child was taken from the suspect and he was arrested on the spot. The suspect was then taken to the Philipsburg Police station where he remains in custody for questioning and further investigation. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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Three Young Professionals to represent SXM A.C.T.I.O.N at Leadership and Development Academy

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - JCI St. Maarten now re-branded to SXM A.C.T.I.O.N (Aspiring Change to Impact Our Nation) is a well-known Non-Profit Non-Governmental Organization on St Maarten which have developed many leaders and politicians within our community, SXM A.C.T.I.O.N said in a statement on Thursday. 

“Our mission is to provide development opportunities that empower young people to create positive change. This year, our organization have chosen 3 young professionals to represent St. Maarten in Curacao at the JCI Dutch Caribbean Leadership & Development Academy, which is scheduled for August 16th- 18th, 2019. The theme of this year's LDA is Influential Leadership.

“The Leadership and Development Academy is a once in a lifetime experience organized annually by the JCI Dutch Caribbean. It provides personal development opportunities, hands-on tools and knowledge to take on leadership positions. Much success to our team and looking forward to hearing their experiences when they return,” SXM A.C.T.I.O.N concluded in their media statement.

For more information on how to join SXM A.C.T.I.O.N call +17215262291 or email us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Arrindell

Oneida Arrindell

Mathew

Denair Sumter

 

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Arbitration Panel rules in favor of PJIAE, upholds close to USD$ 72 Million hurricane Irma claims against Nagico

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY-AIRPORT) - An arbitration panel consisting of arbitrators appointed by PJIAE, Nagico and the Court of First Instance of Sint Maarten has ruled in favor of the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) in settlement of a USD 71 Million insurance claim against the company’s principal insurer, NAGICO. Under the terms of the arbitration ruling, PJIAE is awarded a principal claim (excluding interest) of USD 71, 864, 341 including the US$ 58 million that Nagico has already paid out to PJIAE in an advanced settlement. 

The ruling was handed down on Wednesday, August 14th, 2019, and the total awarded is more than double the amount of USD 32,5 million that Nagico was willing to pay to PJIAE. 

On Thursday, PJIAE Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mr. Brian Mingo, said while the settlement will greatly assist in the airport’s recovery and rebuilding plans, a good part of the funds (50%) has already been paid yet restricted. The insurance proceeds will be mostly used to re-build the airport’s main terminal in its upcoming reconstruction project. 

Mr. Mingo said the claim has been awarded in PJIAE’s favor in the order of Material damage (USD 51, 269, 728), Business interruption damage (USD 17,963,013) and Cost of advisors (USD 2, 631,600). There still remains a matter of PJIAE’s claim for damage to furniture, for which management have been asked to provide additional information. 

In the case of material damage to the airport, the arbitration panel has determined that the airport was not underinsured as Nagico had previously claimed and therefore could not apply the average clause which would have yielded a lesser amount in settlement for PJIAE. The panel however ruled that a 2% deductible amount of the insured sum could be applied by Nagico trimming the final amount for material damage only to USD 51,269,728. 

Mr. Mingo said when an impasse was reached between the Airport management and Nagico insurance assessors last year, the natural step was to have an independent arbitration panel settle the differences between both parties. 

“We have stated all along that we have a solid claim based on our policy with Nagico and I am very pleased that the management team held on to their resolve with the support of our legal representatives and were able to secure the balance of our claim against Nagico,” said Mr. Mingo. 

Mr. Mingo concedes that some line items on the airport’s claims have been denied, however these denials did not form a substantial part of the total claim. He will however continue to pursue the claim for loss and damage to Airport furniture in keeping with another concession of the arbitration committee, so long as additional damage assessment reports and information can be provided. 

The Managing Board of the SXM Airport would also like to thank all the teams who have assisted and participated with the process. PJIAE was assisted by its damage experts Mr. John Trupiano of Corgan and Mr. Mark Gallagher of Willis Towers Watson, its arbitration - legal team Mr. Eric R. de Vries and Mr. Michiel van den Brink of HBN Law & Tax and the excellent team of in-house professionals and employees of PJIAE, with full support of its supervisory board and shareholder, to whom we extend our gratitude. 

PJIAE believes the outcome of the procedure is bittersweet, not the total amount that was claimed but the 51% awarded adds up and enables us to carefully plan and execute the reconstruction of the airport. We need to be careful how we spend the funds, on the real needs and improvements of the airport and the economy of St. Maarten.  

The CEO, PJIAE, expects Nagico to settle payment on the balance of the claim with interest within the next few weeks, also with a proposal for compensation for the pending interior line item. 

If we can get everyone on board and create a cooperation among all stakeholders our airport will be fixed quicker and easier. Our economy can then again thrive back to its glory days, anything else defeats our efforts. 

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NAGICO Insurances provides Employment for students and donates back to school starter packages

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - Education is key to success and survival. It is for this core reason that NAGICO Insurances continues to give this area attention through several of its corporate social initiatives.

One of NAGICO Insurances’ main Education initiatives is the provision of opportunities to students to dip their toes into and get a feel for the working world and learn in a different environment. This summer we are pleased to have been able to create that learning opportunity and experience for 10 high school students.

“My experience working at NAGICO was outstanding and I am grateful for being given the opening to experience working with the amazing staff. It was definitely one for the books” said Giovanni Clerk one of the students on an Internship programs from the Tallahassee Community College.

 As part of NAGICO Insurances’ Project 1000 Smiles, annually it engages in a Back to School drive where students are provided with a back to school starter pack: a trendy draw string bag with copy book, pencil case and stationery. Our objective in this case being to ease the financial burden and absorb some of the costs associated with back to school preparations that parents and guardians face.

“Usually our team distributes these tokens directly but since we were approached by a few organizations for sponsorships geared toward the same purpose, we felt it better to partner and collaborate with them.” Ms. Kyria Ali Chief Strategy Development Officer said. “We are better together and through partnership, we will be able to reach and help a wider group of people; many hands make light work.”

Some of the organizations that NAGICO Insurances is partnering with for its Back to School drive are:

Your Voice, Your Choice which was represented by Founding President Silveria Jacobs.

“Our foundation has been operating for over 3 years and we have grown to the point where we assist approximately 400 students,” she explained. “With this donation and financial contribution from NAGICO, we will be able to reach more children who we assist with uniforms, books, tuition and much more. We also partner with Kimani Olivacce who does his back to school project annually, the UJIMA Foundation, Ms. Lali Foundation and the I Can Foundation.”

The Lions Club was represented by their new President; Ms. Oralie Boirard, and her 2nd Vice President Linette Gibbs and Secretary Jennifer Johnson who all two other representatives thanked NAGICO Insurances for their contribution.

“This is a true example of networking,” Boirard said. “We are all in this together and working together for the future of the kids. And as our Lions motto goes, We Serve. Where there is a Need, We Are.”

The Lions Club say this year they will be welcoming back the students of the MAC School and the Milton Pieters College with their objective being to encourage students to stay in school.

The Police Department also mentioned that their Back to School Campaign is being spearheaded by the Community Police Officers (CPOs) who have been doing this project annually. “Every year we put together bundles for the children, in our various communities,”’ Mrs. Helen Cristina Romeo said. “We want to thank NAGICO for their continued support and it shows that if everyone does a little bit, then the youths will benefit.”

Representatives from the St. Maarten Housing Development (SMDF) also received donations for the Belvedere area.

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Police, Ministry VROMI and NV GEBE partner to install Community Safety & Surveillance Streetlights

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Police Force of Sint Maarten (KPSM) in partnership with VROMI and N.V. G.E.B.E. has come to an agreement to install Community Safety Streetlights, KPSM announced in a statement on Wednesday.

These streetlights which will be equipped with digital surveillance cameras will allow the Camera Surveillance Center which is operated and managed by KPSM to monitor and operate these cameras in real time and it will assist KPSM to quickly identify and resolve any unlawful activities.

KPSM applauds this collaboration with N.V. G.E.B.E. which will serve as part of the first stage in the expansion of the present Camera Observation Project. This initiative will definitely serve as a great addition to the camera project which has proven to be very successful, the police force points out.

Taking the Privacy Laws into account all images captured and gathered by these cameras for legal purposes will be managed and stored solely by KPSM at the Camera Surveillance Center and will fall totally under the responsibility of the Chief of Police.

KPSM is proud and happy with the progress and completion of this pilot project in the district of Belvedere. The goal of N.V. G.E.B.E. is to provide clearer, more reliable and energy efficient streetlights for the entire community of Sint Maarten while KPSM will be able to monitor any illegal activities in those areas.

As this project continues KPSM, VROMI and N.V. G.E.B.E. will work in close contact with each other to determine the next areas for streetlight placement.

The placement of Community Safety Streetlights will definitely improve the safety and security in all communities as Sint Maarten moves forward after the passing of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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Chamber request government-owned companies and institutions to include local businesses in rebuilding opportunities

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) President Benjamin Ortega on behalf of the Chamber, has written a letter to a number of government-owned companies and institutions that will be entering the reconstruction phase post-Irma/Maria within the next six to 12 months.

The Chamber feels that local businesses could be contracted or sub-contracted to do work on these projects.  “Many of these projects whether or not funded by the Reconstruction Fund made available by the Dutch Government, are seen as a stimulation of the regrowth of our countries economic situation. Some of these projects have already been awarded or are in the final stages of awarding to international companies.

“It is important that a local company’s contact information is current which would allow international contractors who would like to vet local companies the opportunity to contact them and continue discussions about their involvement in a project of a government-owned company or institution,” the Chamber said in a press statement.

COCI is calling on businesses that are interested in taking part in the recovery of St. Maarten as opportunities unfold during the second half of 2019 and throughout 2020 and 2021, in the public sector, to make sure that their registration information about their business is up to date at the Chamber.   

COCI is also inviting government-owned companies and institutions to contact the Chamber for a list of companies that could fulfill the reconstruction works that they plan to embark upon.

“Local companies are capable with know-how, experience and contacts to carry out certain works, and should be given the opportunity to do so.  The economic recovery followed by sustainable development of the country’s economy must include the local business sector as part of the inclusive building back better process. The Chamber is here to assist all parties seeking information by gathering and disseminating such information,” the Chamber further added.

COCI President Ortega has also expressed the will and encouragement to the other Chambers in the Dutch Caribbean to also take the same stance regarding the concept of ‘inclusion,’ by including as much as possible local based companies more in order to better the participation in the local markets and monitor closely projects that are being developed on their islands to see where home-based businesses can play an inclusive role.

The Chamber of Commerce & Industry are here to accelerate sustainable and inclusive economic growth within the country.  It is essential that the local business community is part of the process in building working relationships or partnerships with government owned companies and institutions thereby creating the synergy for new opportunities for the private sector which improves the lives of workers and increases the quality of life of all.

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