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39.3 grams marijuana intercepted at airport. Four arrested

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY-AIRPORT) - The Alpha Team has intercepted three suitcases containing some 39.335 grams of marijuana on Sunday. The smuggled contraband came into Sint Maarten Princess Juliana International Airport. Four people have been arrested in this ongoing investigation.

Three men with initials D.A.S.B. (42), I.G.R. (54), and S.L.M.R. (35) respectively were arrested for their involvement in a drug trafficking operation. The fourth man with initials R.M.R. (64), was arrested after attempting to hinder the investigation by attacking an officer.

R.M.R. was released after questioning. The other three suspects remain in custody. (KPSM)

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Brug concerned about the use of illegal substances amongst our children not being effectively addressed

SINT MAARTEN (COMMENTARY – By Richinel Brug) - Parents, educators, and concerned citizens have been pleading for help for years, but it appears that their pleas have gone unheard. This scenario has now spiraled out of control, with a large proportion of our children being exposed to drugs and becoming drug addicts from primary school through high school. Drug use by children and teenagers is after school, during school hours, and even before school. These acts are clearly visible in public areas.

To address and fix any problem, one must first determine the root cause. There are a variety of reasons why our children use illegal substances. This includes our decision makers failure to keep the cost-of-living down, parents are now forced to work two, sometimes even 3 jobs just to meet their basic needs. Consequently, parental time is reduced putting the child(ren) more at risk to be subjected to negative elements such as drug use and joining gangs.

This is even a more difficult challenge for single parents. Other reasons include recreation purposes, to feel good, to suppress feelings/thoughts, due to peer pressure, due to stress, lack of proper parenting, students’ immediate circle are users themselves, and even the media plays an influential role. Regardless to whatever reason(s) a significant number of our children have become users and even addicts in some cases. This must be addressed!

There are short-term and long-term effects on the brain and body, especially for children under the age of 21. Due to their brain not being fully developed to cope with the illegal substances, this can lead to various health issues e.g., lung & heart disease, stroke, cancer, infections like HIV, Hepatitis, AIDS. Also, mental illnesses, such as, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, difficulty thinking, learning, and solving problems, difficulty maintaining attention, and violent behavior. Our children and teenagers may also start to commit crime, like, stealing, extortion by their peers, adults and even their own parents to get the funds they need to maintain their addiction, just to mention a few. (https://www.gatewayfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Effects-of-Drug-Abuse_v1-01.png)

Unfortunately, a significant number of our children have already shown numerous of these effects, some parents are holding their heads expressing mixed negative emotions. While some parents see the signs, but are in denial, to these parents I advise you have a serious conversation on the topic with your child(ren) and to get your child(ren) occasionally tested unexpectedly.

Most institutions really do not want to expel children that are drug users and addicts from their institution, because they know that the child(ren) need help, that, unfortunately, they are unable to provide due to lack of resources, funding, and co-operation from the competent authorities (decision makers) and parents. On the other hand, if they keep the child(ren) that are drug users at their institution, they run the risk of those children influencing the others, creating a bigger problem.

These issues cannot continue to go unaddressed, as our future generation and our economy are endangered. It is time the decision makers of this country collaborate with entities such as Turning Point and The Mental Health Foundation develop drug awareness and prevention campaigns, specially tailored rehabilitation programs for children. In addition, also establish, implement, and reinforce stiffer penalty for dealers and users that provide our children with illegal substances. Another approach that will help is access to free variety of Sports and Arts programs for all children ages 5 to 18, that also champions for drug free participants offering incentives in their respective programs.

To really solve this issue, there must be a joint effort from stakeholders and decision makes in the fields of social services, education, justice, as well as businesses, services, and social clubs.

Help save our children.

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GAC: The allocation of Road tax

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The General Audit Chamber (GAC) submitted its report entitled “Audit into the allocation of Motor vehicle tax” to Parliament today. Motor vehicle tax, or road tax, is a yearly levy paid to use motorized vehicles on public roads.

By law, the money collected from road tax is supposed to be placed in a Road Fund. However, in practice, the money flows to the government’s general coffers and is used for general government expenditures.

In 2021, Government collected 10.3 million guilders in road tax. One third of this money was spent for different infrastructure elements.

In its report, the General Audit Chamber highlights the importance of having a structural multi-annual plan with defined infrastructural improvements and which includes new investments.

Wherever possible, the report contains links that references the source document. Readers are welcome to explore the subject matter further or to consult the public source document.

The report is published in both English and Dutch and is available on the website of the General Audit Chamber (www.arsxm.org).

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KIDZ AT SEA COASTAL CLEAN UP LAUNCHES APPLICATION PERIOD

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - Kidz at Sea’s SXM Coastal CleanUp Project kickstarts its application process for the 2022 underwater cleanup funded by R4CR's 3rd Round Grants.

The project reaches out to Sint Maarten residents between the ages of 18 and 34, who are interested in helping clean up our underwater coastlines, in return for scuba dive training, giving them internationally recognized dive certifications that last a lifetime, enhancing future maritime work opportunities as well as continued underwater cleanup participation.

The application process runs till the end of May, after which 12 eligible applicants will be selected to participate in this R4CR funded scuba dive training starting in June. The participants will learn how to scuba dive, how to remove remaining debris from Hurricane Irma, as well as other underwater skills such as mapping; an assessment process which helps evaluate the underwater conditions of Sint Maarten’s coastlines. Once the training is done, students will be able to help with more cleanups hosted by local dive shops, to continue collecting the ongoing single use plastic litter and Hurricane debris.

The cleanups will be under the guidance of and monitored by the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation who are the islands’ environmental authority in preserving and enhancing the natural environment of St. Maarten.

Contact us now to find out how to apply. WhatsApp: +1 721 526 7463 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

“This project is/has been funded by the Government of the Netherlands under the Sint Maarten Trust Fund, implemented by Resources for Community Resilience (R4CR), administered by VNGI, and overseen by The World Bank.”

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Gordon-Carty: Happy to see the coalition joining the band wagon against COHO

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The leader of the United St. Maarten Party (USP) was pleased to see everyone finally voicing their opinion against COHO. Mrs. Pamela Gordon-Carty and her party has been making their sentiments sufficiently clear from the inception. In an article on May 24th, 2020 with the heading “No to unconditional proposals”, almost 2 years ago the former Minister of VSA outlined many reasons why the proposed trajectory of COHO was the incorrect way to proceed, while encouraging the coalition to stand up for the rights of the people. “My advice fell on deaf ears because they assumed that it was a gimmick or that I was seeking public attention.”

In an article titled “NA/UP coalition failed to defend the peoples referendum of 10/10/10” released on February 21st, 2022  the board outlined what it quantified as the short comings of the coalition that led to the birth of COHO.
On March 31st” 2022 in an article titled “COHO as is, is not the solution” the US Party leader Mrs. Pamela Gordon Carty again outlined the many legal
breaches that the COHO proposal would cause and advised the government to use these as reasons not to proceed.

On April 7th, 2022 on the radio program The Review Mrs. Gordon-Carty detailed “Why COHO was a bad idea and how the country and its people would lose their rights and patrimony in the blink of an eye.” A document craft fully put together to strip the remaining self-governing rights of a country and its people, is what COHO is. If you want to see the country moving forward then let’s discuss the plans that the US Party has that directly address the ailments within the country.

Yes, some unpopular decisions will have to be made for the betterment of the country, but overall everyone will be able to breathe a sigh of relief, it’s about all not some, continued Gordon- Carty. 

“COHO has always been a NO-NO as far as this party is concerned, that is why I continuously called on government to go back to the table and renegotiate a more feasible plan of approach. There are ways to take the country out of this situation, and we will soon unveil a detailed plan inclusive of realistic figures. Not random ones like the 12.5% cut agreed to by the NA/UP Coalition, because St. Maarten people are capable, self-sufficient and proven resilient. Together we are more than able to achieve any goal, once given the right blue print to do so,” said Gordon-Carty.

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Information Session Governor’s Youth Award for Excellence

SINT MAARTEN (HARBOUR VIEW) - The Governor’s Youth Award for Excellence (GYAE), presented by His Excellency Governor Eugene B. Holiday, is now in its 3rd year.

This award is designed to recognize youths between the ages of 13 through 19, who have performed above and beyond and excelled in one of the areas of academics, sports, arts, environmental protection or community service. 

To be considered and selected to win an award, candidates will have to be nominated by one or more nominators by completing and submitting the digital Governor’s Youth Award for Excellence nomination form.

As we look forward to receiving your various submissions of potential nominees, we hereby invite you to attend an information session conducted by the members of the Governor’s Youth Award for Excellence Committee. During this session, the nomination form will be elucidated upon in more detail and you will be provided with the opportunity to ask questions.

Topic   : Information Session GYAE 2022

Date    : May 16, 2022 

Time    : 3:00PM – 4:00PM

Zoom   : http://tinyurl.com/GYAE2022

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INVESTIGATION MITTE: Three more arrests, searches

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On the night of Wednesday, 11 May 2022, and Thursday, May 12, 2022, the Recherche Samenwerkingsteam (RST) arrested three people and conducted searches at three houses and at the addresses of two businesses on Sint Maarten under the supervision of the investigating magistrate.

The arrests of J.A.D., S.B.F. and N.M.B.H. and the searches are related to an extensive investigation codenamed “Mitte” and is focused on fraud related to cleanup and repair works carried out at Princess Juliana International Airport after Hurricane Irma. In November 2021, two other suspects were arrested in the Mitte-investigation.

J.A.D. was arrested for bribery and money laundering; S.B.F. for bribery, forgery, money laundering, and N.M.B.H. for money laundering.

The “Mitte” investigation is executed by the RST under the leadership of the Anti-Corruption Taskforce TBO of the Attorney-General’s Office of Curacao, Sint Maarten, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba.

TBO focuses on a specialized approach to combat corruption and subversive crime. The team conducts criminal investigations with a financial-economic component and involving Politically Exposed Persons (PEP), civil servants, state owned companies, facilitators or organizations in the collective sector. In addition to corruption, this cross-border crime often consists of serious forms of tax fraud and money laundering.

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Minister of Justice Richardson RCG-Government of St. Maarten Partnership Signing Ceremony Speech

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Minister of Justice Hon. Ana Richardson attending the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Royal Caribbean Group (RCG) and the Government of Sint Maarten related to labor opportunities.

Her speech at this event is as follows:

“People like to be asked, and people like to be thanked.” These were a few words echoed by our former Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunication and current Member of Parliament, the Honorable Ludmila de Weever right here at Port St. Maarten, just 11 months ago as St. Maarten and the Royal Caribbean Group launched our joint Homeporting Venture with Celebrity Millennium. These 11 words continue to resonate with me as we celebrate such a historical occasion on this 11th day of May 2022, just past 11 AM, 11 plus years after becoming a country within the Dutch Kingdom.

A pleasant welcome and good morning Honorable Prime Minister, Colleague Ministers, Honorable Member of Parliament Ludmila de Weever, Regional Vice President of Royal Caribbean Group, Ms. Wendy McDonald, Management of Port St. Maarten, Division Head of Labor Affairs and Social Services Mrs. Peggy-Ann Dros-Richardson, the National Employment Service Center Team, the Department of Communication and invited guests.

We are gathered here today at the Dr. A.C Wathey cruise facility to witness the cementing of an even deeper partnership in the interest of the people of St. Maarten. Today, a dream is coming to fruition. Today, with the signing of an MOU Partnership agreement between the Government of St. Maarten and Royal Caribbean Group, up to 1000 job opportunities are made available to the people of St. Maarten and can extend within the Dutch Caribbean.

Today, history is made as for the first time ever, the people of St. Maarten are welcomed into cruising careers onboard the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. This marks another significant economic milestone that will not only rejuvenate St. Maarten’s economy but will also afford opportunities for our people, from Line entry to Executive level positions.

So where did we start?

In the early part of 2021, I approached the then Minister of TEATT Ms. Ludmila de Weever, inquisitive of the possibility for St. Maarten to be a part of the many nationalities that work onboard cruise vessels. With the Minister being busy with the preparations and negotiation of home porting, I wondered if the Royal Caribbean Group would be open for this venture.

Without skipping a beat, Minister De Weever quickly made arrangements and introduced me to RGC Vice President, Mr. Joshua Carroll at the Government Administration Building. In discussion with Mr. Carroll, I quickly learned that the timing of the inquiry was impeccable as RCG has great interest in adapting a work force with more persons from the Caribbean considering their brand name proudly bears the name “Caribbean.”

This was of course music to my ears and soul because this is a dream of mine dating back some years.

With great excitement, I approached my colleague Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour the Honorable Omar Ottley, and the Division Head of Labor Affairs and Social Services Mrs. Peggy-Ann Dros-Richardson for their support with this project. Their response was nothing but full endorsement, support and commitment to see it through, and here we are today.

I cannot leave here today without letting you know that this project has been a dream of mine for this country. Have you ever been on a cruise, met people from all over the world and wondered what it would be like for the people of your country to have access to such jobs? For persons from St. Maarten to be able to sail, see the world, and develop their hospitality skills in the cruising industry. This is exactly what it is for me.

As such, I say Congratulations to the people of St. Maarten! My hope is that this achievement will be embraced as a great opportunity of expansion in our job market and that same will be seen as an opening for St. Maarten to do great things, not just here in our hospitality realm, but also as part of a global experience.

In closing, I would like to thank Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor, my Honorable colleague Omar Ottley, my colleague Ministers for their immediate support and great enthusiasm with this initiative, and the Ministries of Justice, VSA and General Affairs.

I want to express my profound gratitude to the Division Head of Labor Affairs and Social Services Mrs. Peggy-Ann Dros-Richardson and the team at National Employment Service Center for their professionalism, enthusiasm, attention to detail, thought process, support, and overall genuine approach to bringing this all together. When we sign today, it marks the beginning of a huge undertaking by Mrs. Dros-Richardson and the NESC team for this I am grateful.

I also take this time to thank MP Ludmila de Weever for your positive energy of wanting to see progress made for our beloved St. Maarten, Thank you for your continued support. Much thanks and appreciation to RCG Vice Presidents Mr. Joshua Caroll and Mr. Russell Benford, our legal advisor Ms. Peggy Ann Brandon and Port St. Maarten.

Today, we can proudly say that the people of St. Maarten have embarked on a new horizon.

Happy Career Cruising Day St. Maarten!

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Prime Minister Jacobs pays Tribute to Lino Hughes

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The Prime Minister of Sint Maarten Hon. Silveria Jacobs along with a number of dignitaries from the south side of the island attended the home-going ceremony of the late Lino Hughes on Saturday, May 7 at the Gallis Bay Parking Lot before the procession proceeded to the Marigot cemetary for internment lead by the Bottle Neck Band.

The delegation from the south side also included Minister of Culture Hon. Rodolphe Samuel and Member of Parliament Hyacinth Richardson.

The following tribute was given by Prime Minister Jacobs:

September 23, 1948 - April 30, 2022: A Dash of almost three quarters of a century on this Earth.

Would that we would all be as impactful in the time allotted to us.

Family members, friends, colleagues, well wishers, Ladies & Gentlemen, good morning. BonJour.

With protocol being established - let me say that it is an honor for me to be asked to say a few words on behalf of the Government and people of St. Martin Southside to honor the life, a dash well lived, the legacy of Lin Raymond bka Lino Hughes.

For me Lino was, and will always be, a man of music, a proud St. Martin man, a creative in every sense of the word, a fearless pioneer willing to innovate with rhythms and beats impacting the sounds we all know, love and take for granted today, such as Zouk, Cadance, Soca and many other mélanges of mainstream music that have been Caribbeanized/Africanized.

In rereading the interview with Lino published in our St. Martin day (11-11-11) booklet of 2011 with fresh eyes, I was once again amazed - Amazed at the fortitude of one man, who found kindred creative spirits throughout the Caribbean to create and innovate music.

With his bands, the Creole Stars, Lino and the Hardway, Bottle Neck Band - Lino collaborated with musicians on both North and South, learning from stalwarts like the late Mr. John Larmonie and Mr. Bobby Vlaun. He also followed up by teaching, mentoring and passing on to the next generation. Lino’s life, his dash, made an impact.

Music is a unifier and Lino created, out of his pride and love for St. Martin, a wonderful piece of history in song which will live on forever - St. Martin is my home.

Lino lived his life out loud, unapologetically, a bright star who’s light can never be dimmed.

He was honored in life and knew his value and contribution - His legacy will indeed live on forever.

His life is an inspiration to me and anyone who knew him, heard his music, heard him speak, or read his interviews or heard about his life.

His life is a clear example that one man can make a difference, one man can cause a ripple that keeps growing.

One man, with a dream, with determination, and faith in himself and God, can realize whatever he sets his mind too, regardless of age, race or station in life, regardless of size of your country.

In his words filled with pride, love and joy to be an island boy, he wrote and he sang:

St. Martin is my home and I’ll do bout anything to make it bloom - we must all work to make it shine and prosper…

I’ll think of it, dream of it in the morning, night and noon - what we think of, focus on, and work at, we can realize.

St. Martin is sweet home and to it I’ll give my life to keep on shining, like the sunshine that comes up in the morning - as the sun comes up each day, we can without fail commit to always serve her every day.

One island - One people - One Destiny!!!

Let’s make his words a reality in everything we do.

Let’s COME TOGETHER- WORK TOGETHER as ONE!

Long live the Legacy of Lino Hughes - He was a bright one! May we all strive to shine as bright."

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“St. Martin Caribbean Social Studies Competition,” a youth project

SAINT-MARTIN (MARIGOT) - The May 11 deadline is fast approaching. And high schools are signing up for the “St. Martin Caribbean Social Studies Competition,” said Shujah Reiph, coordinator of the annual St. Martin Book Fair.

High schools from both parts of the island, and 2nd and 3rd form students individually if their school is not participating in the quiz contest, can register for the competition at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or tel. +590 (690) 30.73.66, said Reiph, who is also president of Conscious Lyrics Foundation (CLF).           

The competition booklet of 11 categories of information, is already in the hands of students and the public, “and it is available free for schools and students that register for this youth project of the St. Martin Book Fair,” said Reiph.

The booklet of snippets about Caribbean history, creative arts, political and sports personalities, liberation struggles, animals, trees, and fruits of the region, and “our cities and flags and other exciting information,” prepares students, ages 14 to 17, for the social studies competition on May 28, 2022, said Reiph.

The competition and winning prizes will broadcast live online from the high school Cité Scolaire Robert Weinum in Savanna, Grand Case. This is the second year that the competition is being organized by the island’s lit fest as a pre-book fair activity.

The St. Martin Book Fair takes place on June 2 – 4, 2022, said Reiph. The theme of the literary festival’s 20th anniversary is “The Rebirth.”

school competition BF22

Poster of the “St. Martin Caribbean Social Studies Competition,” a youth project of the St. Martin Book Fair, June 2 – 4, 2022.

booklet cover StMartinCaribbeanSocialStudiesCompetition

High school study booklet for the “St. Martin Caribbean Social Studies Competition,” a project of the St. Martin Book Fair, June 2 – 4, 2022.

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