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Eight New Positive COVID-19 Cases. 89 Active Cases. 174 Persons in Quarantine

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - As of November 24th, there were eight (8) persons who tested positive for COVID-19; however, there was a recovery rate of six (6) persons; bringing the total active cases to eighty- nine (89).  The total number of confirmed cases is now one thousand and twenty (1020).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring eighty- seven (87) people in home isolation. Two (2) patients remain hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center. The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at twenty- five (25). 

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten has increased to nine hundred and six (906). One hundred and seventy- four (174) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS of persons who may have been in contact with any of the active cases.

The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (VSA) Airport Health Team in collaboration with Health Care Laboratory Sint Maarten (HCLS) has tested 1390 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) and CPS has tested 7200 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures.

Minister Panneflek would hereby like to inform the public that the “numbers tested outside of the airport” will be updated on a weekly basis, due to the laboratory’s reporting now once a week to CPS. 

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Wednesday is International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women 2020

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - November 25 marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the department of Community Development, Family and Humanitarian Affairs from the Ministry of VSA said on Tuesday.

It also marks the launch of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence which concludes on 10 December, International Human Rights Day. This year it has developed an even greater significance as the Covid-19 pandemic has sparked an escalation in gender-based violence. Violence against women and girls is amongst the most widespread and devastating human rights violation in the world. One in three women and girls have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime, according to figures of the United Nations (UN).

Violence against women and girls reveals itself in physical, sexual and psychological forms including intimate partner violence, sexual violence and harassment, human trafficking, female genital mutilation and child marriage. Too often, this violence goes unreported and unpunished due to the misconceptions and shame surrounding it.

As a community, we have to work together in creating an environment where all women and girls are equal and empowered women of society, free of all forms of discrimination and violence. By educating citizens and raising awareness, we continue to fight against all forms of violence.

Women’s Desk is one of the support services geared towards the empowerment and advancement of women on St. Maarten. Women’s Desk continues to strive for enhancing the well-being of women in the community and by extension their families by offering counseling, referrals, case management, information and enriching programs.

As we commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, please remember abusive behavior is never acceptable. Every woman and girl deserves a life free from violence. If you or someone you know requires assistance, please contact the Women’s Desk at (721) 520-6291 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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UTS undertakes Beach Clean-up & Food & Clothing Drive

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - With the local tourism sector reeling from the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic, leading telecom operator UTS recently supported those hardest hit as part of activities to mark the company’s annual Mission Week in St. Maarten.

Over a two week period, UTS staffers brought in their own surplus items or bought extra items to donate. This effort was then supplemented with a further contribution of foodstuff by the company.

The team of employee volunteers then got to work compiling care packages with basic household staples to assist families impacted by loss of income and a total of 50 packages were put together to assist households registered for support with the Freegan Foundation

Additional bulk donations were also made to other local NGOs such as the Senior Citizens Recreational Center and the New Start Foster home.

Michael Coakley, VP Communications, Liberty Latin America, said, “Our communities are so much more than locations for our business. It’s where we live, where our families grow, where we celebrate and connect. With our company-wide volunteering initiative, Mission Week, over 1,000 employees are coming together to make a positive impact in the areas of learning, environment, access, and disaster relief. When our communities thrive, we all win.”

UTS’s Country Manager for the Eastern Caribbean, Charlesworth Sydney: “This initiative is an excellent way to get our UTS colleagues involved in lending support to the most vulnerable in our community. We all know a family or a person impacted by loss of income, so we are acutely aware that our community needs our help. I am proud of the volunteers from our local team and commend them for the difference their efforts make in the lives of others.”

Aside from the clothing & food drive, the company’s volunteers also came together for an early-morning beach clean-up at Mullet Bay beach. The team collectively gathered over 10 oversized bags of garbage, ensuring that the beach remains safe and clean for families, friends and visitors to enjoy.

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Five New Positive COVID-19 Cases. 10 Recoveries. 87 Active Cases

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - As of November 23rd, there were five (5) persons who tested positive for COVID-19; however, there was a recovery rate of ten (10) persons; bringing the total active cases to eighty- seven (87).  The total number of confirmed cases is now one thousand and twelve (1012).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring eighty- five (85) people in home isolation. Two (2) patients remain hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center. The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at twenty- five (25). 

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten has increased to nine hundred (900). One hundred and ninety (190) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS of persons who may have been in contact with any of the active cases.

The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (VSA) Airport Health Team in collaboration with Health Care Laboratory Sint Maarten (HCLS) has tested 1381 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) and CPS has tested 7200 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures.

In efforts to control the spread of the virus, Minister Panneflek reminds all to continuously wear your mask, maintain a social distance of 2-meters, practice good hand hygiene, and be mindful of large gatherings. 

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St. Maarten Concrete hosts largest ever open house at Valley Estate

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - More than a thousand people from French and Dutch St. Maarten toured the first phase Valley View Condos development by St. Maarten Concrete NV, which according to the Company's CEO Franklin David "solidifies the need for good quality homes for the people of this country."

The tours of the facility conducted in groups of two and three continued throughout the weekend with Saturday being the busiest period.

The full complement of Mortgage lenders from the Republic Bank and its top brass including Senior Team Lead Corporate and Commercial Banking Whitfield Vlaun and Country Manager and General Managing Director for the Republic Bank Sterl Lyons and were on hand to answer questions and provide financing information for prospective buyers throughout the evening. The developer required all visitors to wear facemasks and sanitize before entering the facility.

According to a release issued Sunday by St. Maarten Concrete, "Since St. Maarten was devastated by Hurricane Irma in 2017; St. Maarten Concrete Company has tried to find ways to contribute to the redevelopment of the country. Besides our high quality and low-cost concrete supplied to its customers on both sides of the island, we wanted to do our part to contribute to the growing need for have a diverse housing market that caters to everyone."

David said it is essential to ensure that while the housing market offered diversity, "we should not reserve good quality homes only for specific demographics. “People work hard in this country, and everyone deserves to come home to a beautiful and safe home that they can be proud of, and not have to worry about substandard material that may not be able to withstand strong winds," said David.

He said, "It was amazing to see the high turnout for this project, and it gives me great joy to see their reaction." David, whose video of the facility went viral when the Company released it just days before the open house, said he was happy to give something that was high quality to people that they would be able to enjoy for the rest of their life.

A significant consideration for the developer in offering homes to residents was the comfort of residents after a storm. "I saw many people going to wells to fetch water in buckets and homes were without electricity for months. This is why it was important to me that I build something self-sufficient and hurricane safe.

Valley View Condos comes with a large cistern that can sustain the complex for more than three weeks and an automatic transfer system designed to switch from NV GEBE water lines to filtered and treated cistern water once it senses a loss of water pressure.

The two and three-bedroom homes has become a site for residents in St. Peters/South Reward area who can see the well-lit facility on display snuggled into the hillside at Valley Estate.

Prospective homeowners got explanation of some of the complex features including the state of the art bio-rock wastewater treatment system, fibre to the homes with 50MB speed provided by local Internet provider TelEm, and a large Diesel Standby Generator to power the entire facility when completed.

The broad open space design concept of the living area and bedrooms were a hit amongst the visitors, who marvelled at the use of space and the privacy that the facility provides. The selection of top quality Whirlpool appliances for the kitchen were also unique touches that were not expected by many. The second phase of the project will commence in 2021.

sxm concrete Open house 3

Some of the many people who visited Valley View Condos for Saturday’s open house waiting to view the Condos, while others receive refreshments.

sxm concrete Open House 1

Shows a drone shot of the first phase of Valley View Condos curtesy of CANI TV.

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CBCS to carry out stakeholder survey starting next week

CURACAO/SINT MAARTEN - The Centrale Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten (CBCS) will conduct a survey among its stakeholders next week, CBCS announced on Friday. The purpose of this survey, which will be carried out by REquest, is to optimize the efficiency of the CBCS.

Among those invited to participate are several local (Curaçao and Sint Maarten) and international stakeholders, such as supervised institutions, other supervisors/regulators, interest groups, governments institutions, universities, and media representatives.

RE-quest will report to the CBCS on group level, which implies that the information is general and cannot be traced to a specific organization or person. In doing so, CBCS ensures anonymity of the participating stakeholders.

CBCS will communicate the findings of the stakeholder survey after its conclusion and analysis.

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UPDATED - Hindus seek public holiday on Diwali in Sint Maarten

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - UPDATE - Rajan Zeb, besides floating the idea of Sint Maarten having Diwali as a public holiday in a recent press release and calling on Government officials to entertain such an idea – scroll down to read the full press release submitted by Zed for publication -, has also made similar recommendations to other territories such as Fort Worth City Council, Texas, U.S., South Africa’s province of KwaZulu-Natal and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

Rajan Zed describes himself on his website in his short bio as a distinguished religious statesman who has taken up Hindu, interfaith, religion, environment, Roma and other causes all over the world.

Zed’s bio continues to read as follows: “He was invited by President of European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pottering, in December 2008 in Brussels (Belgium) for a meeting to promote interfaith dialogue and discuss Hindu issues. He read the groundbreaking first Hindu opening prayer in United States Senate in Washington DC.

“Zed is one of the panelists for “On Faith”, a prestigious interactive conversation on religion produced jointly by Newsweek and WashingtonPost.com. He has been bestowed with “World Interfaith Leader Award”, “Nevada Religious Unity Award”, “Positive Pluralism & Unity Prize”, and other awards for interfaith dialogue.
“He is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, Interfaith Ambassador of Nevada Clergy Association, Spiritual Advisor to National Assoc. of Interchurch & Interfaith Families, etc.

“Rajan Zed is on the Governing Board of Directors of Northern Nevada International Center, on the Board of Directors of Nevada World Trade Council, elected to office of General Improvement District Trustee of Verdi TV District, member Citizens Advisory Committee of Regional Transportation Commission, member Reno Police Chief Advisory Board.

“He is listed in “Who’s Who in America” 2006. He has also delivered Hindu prayers in Nevada Senate, Nevada Assembly, California Senate, New Mexico Senate, Arizona Senate, Arizona House of Representatives, Indianapolis Senate, Indianapolis House of Representatives, Colorado Senate, Colorado House of Representatives, Washington State Senate, Oregon Senate, Oregon House of Representatives, Utah Senate, Alaska Senate, Alaska House of Representatives, Carson City Board of Supervisors and Sparks City Council and Henderson City Council in Nevada, and City Councils of Lincoln-Bakersfield-Modesto-Fresno in California. Most were the first Hindu prayers of these legislative bodies.
Zed has been on Editorial Board of Reno Gazette-Journal, a Gannett newspaper, Board of Directors of Washoe Library Foundation, Academic Senator in the Academic Senate of San Jose State University in California, on Board of Directors of a large credit union.

“He possesses Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from University of Nevada-Reno, Master of Science in Mass Communications from San Jose State University, California; and Bachelor of Journalism from Panjab University, India.”

ARCHIVED - Hindus are seeking public holiday in Sint Maarten (SXM) on Diwali, the most popular of their festivals, starting 2022.  

“Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA), said that it was not fair with SXM Hindu community as they had to be at work/school on their most popular festival while there were public holidays on other religious days.  

“Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, suggested that SXM Government needed to revisit its public holiday policies as the SXM is a multicultural society. He urged SXM ​Prime Minister Silveria E. Jacobs and Governor​ Eugene Bernard Holiday to seriously examine this issue of fairness.  

“Public holidays in SXM in 2020 included Good Friday, Easter, Ascension Day, Whit Sunday, Christmas, Boxing Day, etc.  

“Rajan Zed stated that it was important for Hindu families to celebrate Diwali day together at home/temple. Public holiday on Diwali would ensure that and it would be “a step in the positive direction”.  

“Zed noted that awareness about other religions thus created by such holidays like Diwali would strengthen cohesion and unity in the overall SXM citizenry and make them well-nurtured and enlightened citizens.   

“As an interfaith gesture, Rajan Zed urged leaders of other religions/denominations active in SXM to come out in the support of Hindu brothers and sisters for Diwali holiday.  

“Zed further says that Hinduism is rich in festivals and religious festivals are very dear and sacred to Hindus. Diwali, the festival of lights, aims at dispelling the darkness and lighting up the lives and symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Diwali falls on Monday, October 24, in 2022.  

“Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about 1.2 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal,” according to a statement released by Zed. 

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11 New Positive COVID-19 Cases. 92 Active Cases. 181 Persons in Quarantine

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - As of November 22nd, there were eleven (11) persons who tested positive for COVID-19, increasing the total active cases to ninety- two (92). The total number of confirmed cases is now one thousand and seven (1007).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring ninety (90) people in home isolation. Two (2) patients are hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center. The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at twenty- five (25).

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten remains at eight hundred and ninety (890). One hundred and eighty- one (181) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS of persons who may have been in contact with any of the active cases.

CPS has tested 1373 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport, (PJIA) and 7200 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures.

ARCHIVED - SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - As of November 21st, there were thirteen (13) persons who tested positive for COVID-19; however, there was a recovery rate of seven (7) persons; bringing the total active cases to eighty- one (81). The total number of confirmed cases is now nine hundred and ninety- six (996).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring seventy- nine (79) people in home isolation. Two (2) patients are hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center. The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at twenty- five (25).

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten has increased to eight hundred and ninety (890). One hundred and sixty- seven (167) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS of persons who may have been in contact with any of the active cases.

CPS has tested 1359 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport, (PJIA) and 7200 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures.

Remain vigilant when in public places and protect yourself at all times by wearing your mask, maintaining a social distance of 2-meters, practice good hand hygiene, and be mindful of large gatherings.

ARCHIVED - SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The Honorable Minister of Public Health Social Development and Labour (VSA) Richard Panneflek extends his heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Sint Maarten’s 25th Covid-19 victim, who passed away. He wishes the family peace and strength during their time of grief.

As of November 20th, CPS reported ten (10) persons who tested positive for COVID-19; a recovery rate of five (5) persons and one (1) additional death; bringing the total active cases to seventy- five (75). The total number of confirmed cases is now nine hundred and eighty- three (983).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring seventy- two (72) people in home isolation. Three (3) patients remain hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center. The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 has increased to twenty- four (25).

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten has increased to eight hundred and eighty- three (883). One hundred and sixty- five (165) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS of persons who may have been in contact with any of the active cases.

CPS has tested 1347 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport, (PJIA) and 7165 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures.

ARCHIVED - SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - As of November 19th, there were nine (9) persons who tested positive for COVID-19; however, there was a recovery rate of four (4) persons; bringing the total active cases to seventy- one (71). The total number of confirmed cases is now nine hundred and seventy- three (973).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring sixty- eight (68) people in home isolation. Three (3) patients are hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center. The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at twenty- four (24).

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten has increased to eight hundred and seventy- eight (878). One hundred and fifty (150) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS of persons who may have been in contact with any of the active cases.

CPS has tested 1339 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport, (PJIA) and 7143 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures.

Please remain vigilant when in public places; it is your responsibility to protect yourself, your loved ones and our community. The only way for us to overcome this pandemic is to practice proper hand hygiene, social distance of 2-meters, wear a mask in public places and be mindful of large gatherings.

ARCHIVED - SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - As of November 18th, there were ten (10) persons who tested positive for COVID-19; however, there was a recovery rate of seven (7) persons; bringing the total active cases to sixty- six (66). The total number of confirmed cases is now nine hundred and sixty- four (964).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring sixty (60) people in home isolation. Six (6) patients remain hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center. The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at twenty- four (24).

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten has increased to eight hundred and seventy- four (874). One hundred and fifty- seven (157) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS of persons who may have been in contact with any of the active cases.

CPS has tested 1334 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport, (PJIA) and 7123 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures.

Minister Panneflek reminds the public to continue wearing your mask, maintain a social distance of 2-meters, practice good hand hygiene, and be mindful of large gatherings.

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Tailored payment conditions loans allowed says CBCS. Generic moratoriums no longer desirable

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO – With the aim of mitigating the direct financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis on businesses and individuals, in March of this year, the Centrale Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten (CBCS) gave its approval for commercial banks to offer 3 to 6-month moratoriums to their customers.

Banks were thus allowed to exempt their customers from making both principal and interest payments on their loans for a specific period, without this affecting the banks’ financial position. Additionally, banks were allowed to temporarily increase the maximum amount of credit to be extended to customers in proportion to their income – the debt-service ratio.

However, this concession made to customers is not without its consequences and risks for the commercial banks themselves, for their future financial position and therefore also for financial stability.

For these reasons, the CBCS is no longer allowing banks to generically grant moratoriums to their customers without this affecting the provisions to be made by the bank. Nevertheless, on a caseby-case basis and subject to the applicable supervisory regulations, banks are still allowed to support any of their customers facing financial challenges, without this necessarily affecting the provisions to be made by the bank.

Furthermore, the CBCS has determined that, when granting loans, the total debt-service ratio of 37 percent may no longer be exceeded. In doing so, the CBCS aims to prevent excessive lending to consumers and to ensure prudent credit extension practices in Curaçao and Sint Maarten.

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15 New Positive COVID-19 Cases. 63 Active Cases. 149 Persons in Quarantine

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - As of November 17th, there were fifteen (15) persons who tested positive for COVID-19; however, there was a recovery rate of ten (10) persons; bringing the total active cases to sixty- three (63). The total number of confirmed cases is now nine hundred and fifty- four (954).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring fifty- seven (57) people in home isolation. Six (6) patients are currently hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center. The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at twenty- four (24).

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten has increased to eight hundred and sixty- seven (867). One hundred and forty- nine (149) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS of persons who may have been in contact with any of the active cases.

CPS has tested 1331 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport, (PJIA) and 7102 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures.

“ I would like to reiterate to the public that, if you are sick, have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or have been in close contact with someone who has the virus, please stay at home and call your family doctor.” said Minister Panneflek. We can only slow down the spread of the virus if we work together and follow the mandatory regulations implemented.

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