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SMBBFF congratulates athletes. Browne and Chumney claims 2nd and 3rd place

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The St. Maarten Bodybuilding and Fitness Association (SMBBFF) was well represented at the "Inter-Island Bodybuilding Fitness & Physique Championship, organized by the Bodybuilding & Fitness Association of Saint Martin (BFASM), held over the weekend, the SMBBFF said in a media statement on Wednesday.

The Federation would like to congratulate all nine athletes on their expressions of poise and potential in the various divisions. We are incredibly proud of the accomplishments of Mr. Burnargis Browne, who placed 2nd, and Mr. Elton Chumney, who placed 3rd in the Male Physique Tall Class divisions, respectively.

The hard work displayed by the athletes during the last couple of months has been truly commendable, especially during these times when the pandemic and its uncertainties continue to be a greater concern. The Federation would also like to thank our coaches and sports professionals for their invaluable guidance to the athletes.

A special thank you to various sponsors who assisted and made it possible for the athletes to compete during these financially trying times. Finally, the Federation would like to express sincere appreciation to Mr. Francois Carty, President of the BFASM, and his team for the opportunity to be part of what was considered a well-organized competition. 

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Ministry VROMI Recommences with Road Maintenance Program

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Ministry of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning, and Infrastructure (Ministry of VROMI), announces the recommencement of its road maintenance program which started on August 1st on Union Road in Cole Bay.

This is the first round which is primarily focused on main access roads and will be followed up with the repair of secondary roads in the near future.

Re-paving and re-patching activities will be carried out on:

Week 31

  • Sunday/Monday night: Union Road – Cole Bay
  • Tuesday night: Airport Road in Simpson Bay and Maho and Cupecoy
  • Wednesday night: Brouwers Road and LB Scott Road
  • Thursday night: Bishop Hill Road

Week 32

  • Sunday/ Monday night: Sucker Garden Road

The road works will be carried out by contractor Windward Roads BV starting from 8:30 pm until 3:00am.

Residents that live in the vicinity of where the works are being carried out will still has access including emergency responders despite the interference due to the road maintenance.

Motorist are advised to be vigilant of the road repair crew at work along with the heavy equipment, and observant of the traffic diversion directional signs.

The Ministry of VROMI looks forward to your cooperation.

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SMMC sees vast majority of COVID hospitalizations being unvaccinated

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - With the current increase in COVID-19 infections in the community and the consequent hospitalizations (12 as of today), St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) is seeing that the vast majority of persons admitted to the hospital needing COVID care are unvaccinated.

“It’s clear as night and day: the unvaccinated are leading the current wave of hospital COVID admissions, not only on St. Maarten but in the entire Dutch Kingdom and beyond”, stated Dr. Felix Holiday, SMMC’s Medical Director and chairman of the Outbreak Management Team.

“For St. Maarten, the rise in COVID admissions means that we again have arrived at a critical stage whereby our care capacity is pushed to its limits; our medical staff and nurses are again pressured immensely and we are doing all that we can to safeguard our overall healthcare system. Unfortunately, this could have been avoided if everyone would have gotten vaccinated. COVID vaccinations are clearly working as demonstrated by the current wave of hospitalizations. The very few that are vaccinated and hospitalized have underlying medical conditions (comorbidities) which affects their immune system and thus they will always be in a high-risk group of contracting COVID. Literate shows that the COVID vaccine protects you from severe illness, lowers the chance considerably of you infecting others and is 88% effective against the now prevalent delta variant. The vaccines are safe and effective: please get vaccinated”, concluded Dr. Holiday.

In response to the increase in active cases and the prevalence of the highly contagious delta variant, SMMC has postponed all non-urgent and elective admissions to the Medical/Surgical Department. Patient visiting hours continue to be suspended and SMMC’s mandatory masking policy for both staff and patients also remains in effect indefinitely.

When visiting the Outpatient Department for appointments, patients (both vaccinated and unvaccinated) are asked to ensure that they fill out the COVID-19 screening questions truthfully, that their masks are worn correctly and that the social distancing rules and guidelines are adhered to. Only persons with appointments may be allowed to enter the building with the exception of minors and medically indicated companions. Persons who refuse to comply or cooperate may be kindly asked to leave.

Persons with friends or family admitted to SMMC are asked to make use of text messages and phone and video calls where possible to keep in touch with their loved ones. Persons wishing to receive an update on a patient must contact the patient’s emergency contact (which is typically a spouse or immediate family member) as SMMC does not provide patient information to third parties in an effort to protect and uphold patient confidentiality and their patients’ right to privacy.

SMMC strongly urges the public to adhere to social distancing guidelines, wear masks in public, practice hand hygiene and get vaccinated. Patients experiencing flu-like symptoms are also asked to kindly refrain from visiting the hospital for Outpatient appointments and call their House Doctor or CPS as it poses a potential threat to staff and other patients, some of whom may be at a higher risk of contracting severe COVID-19.

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Chris Wever secures school supplies for 19 more children

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Former Minister Chris Wever has diligently continued with his efforts to assist children who are in need of some help in their preparations for the new school year which begins next week. This time around, St. Maarten Concrete stepped up and made a financial contribution to go towards purchasing of school supplies and backpacks (school bags) for 19 children.

Arts From the Heart (Office 1) also committed to the cause once again to ensure that the supplies are made available at reduced prices. St. Maarten Concrete Franklin Davis made his company's contribution to Wever on Tuesday. The donation from St. Maarten Concrete has made it possible for Wever to assist 19 more children, bringing the total of students he has assisted to 31.

"As parents we get excited when we are getting our children ready for a new school year, but not everyone is as fortunate. I believe when you have the ability and means to help those less fortunate than you are, you should. We are part of a community and I just wanted to do what I could to assist these children. Thank God there are some great corporate citizens out there such as St. Maarten Concrete who wanted to assist with this cause. School begins next week and it does the soul good to know that 31 children so far will have vital school supplies to help them succeed in school," Wever said.

Last week Wever donated school backpacks filled with essential school supplies to the New Start for Children Foundation foster home in collaboration with Sentinel Accountants & Consultants and Arts From the Heart.

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“Love & Inspiration with Roy Cotton Jr.” Returns to Airwaves This Sunday August 1st

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Devoted listeners and the general public who have been anticipating the return of the sensational and inspiring live Sunday afternoon show, Love & Inspiration with Roy Cotton Jr. may tune in this Sunday August 1st from 3:00pm-5:00pm on The Voice of Sint Maarten PJD3 102.7FM.

Roy Cotton Jr. the host of Love & Inspiration, states, "I would like to thank all my listeners and well-wishers for all their support and commitment towards my radio show, Love & Inspiration since its premiere in August 2011 on Youth Radio 92.5FM on Sint Maarten.  

Love and Inspiration aired on Youth Radio 92.5FM between 2011 and 2014, and on 102.7FM since March 2015.

Love and Inspiration premiered on February 11, 2007, on University of Hertfordshire’s former student radio station Crush Radio 1278AM, broadcasting to a student population of 23,000 students and to online listeners around the world. Cotton was nominated at the annual Student Radio Awards, supported by BBC Radio 1 and British media company Global in July 2008 in the categories of Best Male Presenter, Best Interview and Best Entertainment. 

From the start, Love and Inspiration was a force to be reckoned with. Approximately 1.3 million people listened to the programme in April 2019, its first month on Bshani Radio in New York. This ranked fourth among the station’s programmes. Its fan base steadily grew, netting 1.6 million in June up to its current apex position of nearly two million.

Bshani Radio’s founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Bennie Randall Jr., also listens to Love and Inspiration and described it as “a hot show.”

Cotton states to his fans, ''It has been my pleasure in presenting to you a top quality Sunday afternoon radio show during the past ten years on St. Martin.”

Love & Inspiration radio show has been receiving great reviews and extensive exposure; with local, regional and international listenership. The radio show has a listenership as far as Dubai. The demographics of my Love & Inspiration’s Global community comprise persons aged 19 to over 65 who range from bargain hunters to serious investors; the adventurous to the tranquility seekers.

Love and Inspiration focuses on building stronger relationships and inspiring lives through various interviews on topics which “enable listeners to experience more meaningful relationships in their lives.”

The show is known for its musical selection of contemporary gospel, easy-listening and love songs.

Love and Inspiration is aired on Sunday afternoons LIVE on 102.7FM or online at pjd2radiosxm.com/ from 3:00 p.m.-5:00p.m. AST. Additionally, Love and Inspiration is rebroadcast on Sundays from 8:00-10:00p.m. and on Mondays from 10:00a.m.-12:00p.m. on www.voiceofthecaribbean.net and streamed on Bshani Radio from New York City on Mondays at 3:00pm AST on various podcast platforms such as Spotify, iTunes, iHeart Radio and Radio Public. 

Roy Cotton Jr. is ready to take Love & Inspiration to another dimension. Therefore, committed listeners and first time listeners are sure to be in for an awesome treat with his re-launch.

Love & Inspiration will continue with the segment Health Inspiration, a segment on the show that brings you the best in health education. Health Inspiration is brought to you in collaboration with victoriouslivingsxm.youngevity.com, the health arm of Victorious Living Foundation. Other new segments such as Travel Inspiration with Roy Cotton Jr will bring you the best in retreats, hotels, resorts, destinations and vacations for couples and families. In addition, the Fine Dining segment will highlight the best restaurants; their special offers; delicious cuisines and special amenities especially for those couples who are seeking the ideal restaurant to have a romantic dinner.    

Furthermore, the Love & Inspiration Birthday segment will highlight the best restaurants, SPAs and businesses where the birthday celebrants can celebrate their birthdays in style and receive the best in birthday treats at significant discounts.

Roy Cotton Jr. encourages his committed listeners and lovers of smoothe love grooves and inspirational hits, to tune into Love and Inspiration this Sunday from 3-5 p.m. on The Voice of Sint Maarten PJD3 1027.FM or online on pjd2radiosxm.com/ 

For more information or to be featured in an exclusive interview, contact Roy Cotton, Jr. at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., on Facebook: Roy Cotton Jr; Love & Inspiration with Roy Cotton Jr. Tel/Whatsapp: +1721-522-20-84.

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The population frustration has its limits says three civic organizations

SAINT-MARTIN (MARIGOT) - The deteriorating social climate at the Collectivité is evident said the Soualiga United Collectif, Soualiga Grassroots Movement, and CGTG in a press statement on Thursday.

The three organizations said in their statement that this is evident in the:

  • “The absolute personalization of presidential power,
  • “The establishment of a new class of arrogant and disrespectful technocrats at the top ranks of the local administration from metropolitan France.
  • “The unhealthy divide between “the class at the top and the class of inferior local employees at the bottom”,
  • “The squandering of public money,
  • “Failure to respect the fundamental rights of workers …

“Faced with this unprecedented situation, we are entitled to ask ourselves some fundamental questions:

  • What is the purpose of the French education system in St Martin?
  • Is this system incapable of producing local public service executives?
  • Or is it a political will to keep us and our children out of top executive jobs?

“Our conclusion is clear: “When injustice becomes the law, resistance is a duty.”

“In addition, we would like to point out that the most prestigious positions in the “Collectivité” of St Martin can no longer be reserved solely for the French people from metropolitan France. The executives of the “Collectivité” of Saint Martin must be a reflection of the people of St. Martin. President Gibbs is out of touch and has mistaken the period we are living today. We are no longer in colonial time.

“As a result, we are giving the President Gibbs and his team five days to resolve most of these problems in the interest and respect of the population. After this time, we will keep the public informed of the actions to be taken to be respected,” the Soualiga United Collectif, Soualiga Grassroots Movement, and CGTG statement concludes.     

signs french side 2

 

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Chris Wever donates school bags with school supplies to Benjamin foster home

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Former Minister Chris Wever continued his passion of giving back to the community on Tuesday by donating school backpacks filled with essential school supplies to the New Start for Children Foundation foster home. Wever, in collaboration with Sentinel Accountants & Consultants and Arts From the Heart (Office 1), made the presentation to Sally Benjamin who runs the foster home.

Wever said for him it is simply about being a good citizen and giving back to those who might need some assistance. As the start of the school year is approaching, he chose to give back to children who might not have as much as others but who deserve nice things and vital school supplies nonetheless.

“Every child would like to begin the school year with something nice and supplies to make use of in school and to stay ahead, not fall behind. Ms. Sally and the foundation has been doing such important work with these children and trying to provide a good upbringing and as much as a normal way of life as possible. It is beyond commendable. I am happy that together with Sentinel and Arts from the Heart we were able to make it possible. My thanks goes out to those to companies who stepped up as good corporate citizens,” Wever said.

Benjamin thanked Wever for his kind donation to the children and used the opportunity to tell him about the home and her almost 50 years of work with children. “We do as much as possible to make these children feel like any other child. Circumstances is what brought them here, it wasn’t their choice. So we treat them as our on,” she said.

The home currently caters to 17 children between the age of 5 and 15. Of the 17, 15 will be attending school at the start of the new school year.  

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MP Emmanuel seeks Opinion of Integrity Chamber on Ballast Nedam vis-à-vis PJIA

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Christophe Emmanuel, has sent a letter dated July 22 to Rafael Boasman of the Integrity Chamber of Sint Maarten in connection construction company Ballast Nedam that was recently awarded a contract with Sint Maarten Airport PJIA.

The letter reads as follows: “On July 21, 2021, The Daily Herald newspaper on St. Maarten published on its front page a story regarding the selection of the company Ballast Nedam to execute the reconstruction of the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA). Ballast Nedam apparently won the public bid for this project over three other companies. This was further confirmed by the Prime Minister of St. Maarten on the same day (July 21).

“The Integrity Chamber was established by the St. Maarten Government amidst a broad discussion about integrity and the integral roles it plays within administrative bodies (i.e. government and its entities, including government-owned companies), and the overall image of the country at home and abroad.

“As per your public descriptive statement; The Integrity Chamber is an independent body with the core tasks of rendering advices and giving proposals, investigating suspected misconducts within administrative bodies, and to continuously provide information to strengthen awareness about the importance of integrity in the community.

“In the context of this broad role of the Integrity Chamber, I hereby elucidate and request the following;

“The aforementioned Dutch construction company Ballast Nedam between 1996 and 2003, was investigated by the Dutch Tax Authorities' Investigative Department FIOD for paying bribes to the Saudi kings Fahd and Abdullah and government officials in Suriname for rights to execute projects in those countries. According to public reports by FIOD, in exchange for construction contracts, Ballast Nedam paid bribes to legal entities in Liechtenstein, the British Virgin Islands, Cyprus and Jersey, among other places. These legal entities funneled the money to the Saudi kings.

“However, the company and the Public Prosecutor reached a 17.5 million euros settlement on this bribery case in 2012. Additionally in 2003 Ballast Nedam was also fined in the construction fraud case, for which cartel watchdog NMa fined the company. Ballast Nedam has apparently also been in the center of corruption cases involving the firm KPMG and others going back some decades.

“In the broad scope of responsibility of the Integrity Chamber and considering the positions of the Government of St. Maarten as well as the Dutch Government regarding the upholding of integrity and good corporate governance in government entities and the society in general, I hereby request that the Integrity Chamber provide its opinion on whether the awarding of the reconstruction of the airport project by the Supervisory Board of the Princess Juliana Airport operating company (PJIAE) constitutes an act or a failure by an administrative body or government entity to adhere to values and norms, legal requirements, or other obligations through which the interest of society, or the proper functioning of an administrative body or government entity could be harmed.

“Additionally, the Integrity Chamber is also requested to provide its opinion on whether the decision by PJIAE, supported by the Shareholder of PJIA (the Government of St. Maarten) to award Ballast Nedam the reconstruction contract for the airport despite its history, is in conflict with the World Bank’s procurement policies, its values and norms in working with other entities as well as its anti-corruption guidelines and sanctions framework. Looking forward to a reply soonest, Respectfully, Member of Parliament - MP Christophe Emmanuel.”

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Kidz at Sea launches the SXM Coastal CleanUp Project with R4CR

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - Kidz at Sea has received a grant from the second round of the R4CR Quick Win Grant Schemes in order to execute the SXM Coastal CleanUp Project: ‘Making our Coastline Safe and Clean Again—One Bay at a Time’.  

The SXM Coastal CleanUp project will focus on surveying and mapping the bay areas of St. Maarten where debris from Hurricane Irma can still be found. With the assistance of the Nature Foundation St. Maarten one bay will be chosen to execute a clean-up and removal of hurricane debris.  

To ensure that the project provides as much benefit to the residents as possible 12 young adults will be trained in the skills necessary to properly execute the mapping and clean-up including beginner and more advanced diving certifications and basic first-aid. In addition to the training and clean-up events the project will provide educational outreach about the effects of pollution on our ocean and host Discover Scuba Diving events for students who wish to try out diving for the first time 

“This project is an amazing opportunity to not only, improve the health of our ecosystem by removing old hurricane debris, but will also provide a large group of young St. Maarteners with skills and life-time diving certifications that they could use in future careers,” said Project Coordinator Leslie Hickerson, “Our outreach events will help educate our youth about the importance of safeguarding our natural resources and instill a sense of responsibility to protect our ecosystem.” 

This project, which launched on July 1st, 2021, will be completed by December 2021 and is a first step towards ensuring that the coastline of St. Maarten is once again free of the signs of the damage from Irma. Due to the extended period the materials have been underwater they must first be analyzed to ensure that there are no negative impacts to the environment during removal.  

Since 2012 the Kidz at Sea organization has worked to introduce and train St. Maarten young adults in the maritime sector, giving them the skills and certifications necessary to succeed in the industry. 

“We are excited to start this project! We see the Scuba training as a continuation of our Zero To Hero program, allowing interested participants to expand their knowledge in the underwater world.  We are thankful to RC4R for this opportunity,” said Kidz at Sea Board Member Lorraine Talmi. 

Kidz at Sea is now accepting applications from St. Maarten residents ages 18-35 that would like to join the SXM Coastal CleanUp team. Participants must be medically fit to dive, able to swim, hold valid medical insurance, and have an interest in contributing to the health of our island. Those interested can send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or WhatsApp +1-721-526-7463 for more information. To learn about the outreach events and activities follow SXM Coastal Clean Up on Facebook and Instagram. 

SXM Diver

Reef SXM

 

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Six More Cruise Ship Calls for July at Port St. Maarten

PORT ST. MAARTEN – Port St. Maarten is expecting a staggered approach to the resumption of cruising in the Caribbean. For the remaining two weeks of July, there will be six cruise ship calls at Port St. Maarten.

The Celebrity Edge will be in port on Wednesday, July 21 (06:15 – 17:00); Celebrity Summit Saturday, July 24 (06:00 – 22:00), and Star Breeze (06:00 – 19:00).

Seabourn Odyssey will be in port on Wednesday, July 28 (08:00 – 18:00); Celebrity Summit on Saturday, July 31 (06:00 – 22:00) and Star Breeze (06:00 – 19:00).

Besides making its first call to the destination, Seabourn Odyssey, will be resuming homeporting operations out of St. Maarten later this season. This will be a plus economically for the destination.

If there are any changes, these will be communicated as cruise industry resumption planning remains fluid.

The destination remains a favorable port of call for the cruise industry in connection with regular scheduled destination port of calls throughout the week. Port Management continues to maintain dialogue with the cruise industry and based on tentative developments, there is great potential for thousands of passengers to arrive at the destination between August and December.

“Vessel capacities is something that will be determined based on cruise bookings and the ongoing U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guideline modifications based on industry test cruises.

“Most cruise lines have already announced full vessel deployments by the end of year. We continue to be very confident based on current trends that the upcoming five months and going into 2022 will be very promising for the destination as together we navigate through the pandemic,” Port St. Maarten Management said on Tuesday.

Port St. Maarten reiterates that it is looking to local stakeholders such as the taxis, retailers, and tour operators to continue to maintain high service level standards along with local COVID-19 public health and safety protocols.

Scheduled port calls are important to the destination as it will allow passengers to explore the Island in a safe manner for a couple of hours as was done pre-COVID-19 pandemic.

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