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Inspectorate Ministry VSA recommends all open buffets and self-service condiments be terminated during COVID-19 crisis

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Food Safety Division of the Inspectorate of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA) has observed and continues to do so, violations concerning food safety requirements in establishments that are permitted to open to the public during this outbreak.

It is strongly recommended that all open buffets and self- serve condiments offered to the public be terminated without discretion immediately. These include, but are not limited to self-serve bread service, self-serve juice, coffee stations and ice cream. Allowing the public to access food at such a close proximity and under heightened threat is not recommended and should not continue.

The inspectorate would like the public to use due diligence when shopping and request that food offered under the above mentioned conditions pose a high risk of transfer of pathogens and micro biological matter to and from humans and should under no circumstances should be consumed.

The food safety division is imposing zero tolerance stances on any practice that can endanger the public in the above-mentioned area with emphasis being placed on;

  • Personal hygiene.
  • Handwashing
  • Time & temperature management.
  • Cross-contamination.

What is described as zero tolerance is the immediate stoppage/closure of operations found in violation of any of these mentioned violations, as they are potentially life threatening under our current pandemic situation. Violators also risk a hefty fine.

As a reminder, all food handlers are required to:

  • Follow proper glove, masks and hair restraint procedures when in use.
  • All employees in contact are urged to wash hands after contact with either a customer or colleague or minimum every 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Social distancing in the preparation area must be adhered to as much as possible.
  • All contact surfaces are required to be sanitized at least every (hour) 60 minutes for non-food contact surfaces and every 30 minutes or after every use for food contact surfaces.
  • Any employee that displays flu like symptoms must not be allowed to work in any establishment offering any food or food related products to the public.

All establishments offering these services and requiring clarification of what is permitted please contact the inspector at Ph. 721 520 8809 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

for further information.

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Joint French and Dutch side border controls start, One person arrested

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - On Friday morning March 27th, 2020 around 08.00 am the Sint Maarten Police Force together with Gendarmerie Nationale carried out joint controls on the French/Dutch borders of the island, police said on Friday afternoon in a statement.

The main reason for these joint controls is to enforce the restrict movement of persons that has been implemented as a preventative measure to avoid the further spread of the coronavirus COVID-19, the police statement said.

The Dutch and French counterparts conducted their first control in the area of the roundabout leading to Bellevue French Saint-Martin. During this control over 50 vehicles were stopped and one person arrested driving with a false driver’s license.

The Sint Maarten Police Force and Gendarmerie Nationale will be carrying out more of these joint controls in the future. (KPSM)   

police border control ins1

 

 

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UPDATE: Murder suspect remains in custody on the French side. Gendarmes arrest Simpson Bay parking lot murder suspect

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The suspect in the shooting at the that took place on Sunday March 22nd, 2020 at approximately 02.00 pm in the parking lot of Market Garden was arrested by French police on early Friday March 27th 2020, police said on Friday afternoon in an official statement. The suspect who was staying on the French side of the island Saint-Martin was arrested by Gendarmes.    

The suspect identified with initials W.J.A. remains in custody on the French side of the island. This investigation is still ongoing. 

ARCHIVE - SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) – The police announced early Friday morning that the suspect involved in the murder of a scooter owner on Sunday, March 22, has been arrested by the Gendarmes on the French side of the island. Additional information will be released later today.

The St. Maarten Police Force further stated that they would like to thank the public for the information that they have provided to the Special Unit Robbery of the force who worked around the clock to solve this crime.

ARCHIVE - SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - On Sunday March 22nd, 2020, a man was shot dead in broad daylight by an unknown suspect during a robbery of the victim’s scooter at the parking lot of Market Garden grocer on Welfare road.

The detectives of the Special Robbery Unit are hard at work investigating this cruel and coldblooded act, police said on Wednesday. The police have received information from various sources, of who the suspect is and where he could be hanging out.

“The leads received from the community over the last days have not materialized in getting the personal details of the suspect or the location where he should be residing. We are again requesting the public, to assist us with any info possible that can lead to the whereabouts and arrest of the suspect,” the police said in its statement on Wednesday afternoon.

The police is requesting anyone who may have information about the suspect and who may have information concerning his whereabouts to please contact the Sint Maarten Police Force at +1 721- 542 22 22 ext. 204 or 205 or the anonymous tip line at the number 9300. You can

also visit the police website at www.policesxm.sx or leave a message via the police Facebook page (Police Force of Sint Maarten - Korps Politie Sint Maarten.

!!!!! This victim could have been your family member!!!!!

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Prime Minister discontinues Vessel Bunkering and Provisioning in the Simpson Bay Lagoon due to Infringements

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The Prime Minister Hon. Silveria Jacobs chair of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on Tuesday, March 24 took the decision to no longer allow vessels in the Simpson Bay Lagoon to continue to conduct fuel bunkering and provisioning activities as of midnight Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

The aforementioned can only take place where the vessel is already docked at a facility that provides such at a marina or docking location.

“It was brought to the attention of the EOC on Tuesday that procedures were not being followed in accordance to the directives that were stated before in order to protect the external borders of the country.

“Due to the non-compliance, vessels who require fuel bunkering and food provisioning will have to do this at Port St. Maarten which has a sterile port protocol in place.

“The current COVID-19 situation dictates that vessels and or third parties have to follow the rules that have been set in these extraordinary times. Government has a responsibility to protect the safety and health of the people of Sint Maarten.

“The country is in a partial lockdown and therefore measures have been taken as part of our preparedness, response and mitigation measures towards COVID-19, and to ensure this the rules will have to be complied with and I am sure that those concerned will also agree with me,” Prime Minister Hon. Silveria Jacobs said on Tuesday.

The travel restrictions for shippers and mariners went into effect as of March 24th 11:59pm American Standard Time. After this date NO Foreign Vessels (exemptions applied) will be allowed in the territorial waters of Sint Maarten until further notice.

This includes but is not limited to; Pleasure vessels, Fishing vessels, Passenger Vessels, Huckster boats, Mega Yachts, Sailing Yachts, Catamarans, etc.

Applicable Exemptions are as follows:

  1. Locally registered leisure vessels are permitted to operate in the waters of Sint Maarten providing that there are four (4) or less persons (including captain) on board.
  2. Fishing vessels from Saba and St. Eustatius are allowed entry into the territorial waters of Sint Maarten BUT should contact the Immigration Department prior to arrival.
  3. Other trade between Sint Maarten, SABA and St. Eustatius that takes place via water transport will be evaluated on a case by case basis.
  4. Large Cargo vessels, Bulk carriers, Bunker Barges/-vessels will be allowed only if the relevant procedures are followed and approval is given by the pertinent authorities who will closely monitor these activities to ensure their adherence.
  5. Bunkering and or provisioning may ONLY be permitted for vessels of 500GT and larger that are passing through Sint Maarten on-route to another destination. This service will only be made available at Port St. Maarten where each request will be evaluated on a case by case basis. At no time are crew or captain allowed to leave the vessel. Bunkering and or provisioning will NOT be allowed to take place at the other marinas or docking locations on island unless the vessel is already docked at a facility that provides such. ‘Social Distancing’ should always be adhered to.  
  6. Locally registered passenger vessels including ferries may be used by the company and or owners for personal use only and cease all commercial activities until further notice.

Conditions attached to the abovementioned exemptions are:

  • The local (maritime) authorities of Sint Maarten reserve the rights to deny a vessel entry that they may deem a threat to the island.
  • Vessel Operators are reminded to contact the office of the Collective Prevention Service (CPS) via the emergency number 914 or VHF Channel 16 if any crew members or persons on board their vessel are experiencing flu-like symptoms.
  • Vessels are required to submit a copy of their Maritime Heath Declaration 48 hours prior to their arrival to the department of Collective and Prevention Services. Late submittal of the declarations can result in delays or entry denials. Note that entry will only be granted after approval of the Maritime Health Declaration by CPS officials and other relevant authorities such as the Immigration Department.
  • Vessel Agents and Marina’s will remain responsible for providing shore support to these vessels while ensuring that crew and or staff adhere to the current restrictions.
  • All crew members and captains that are allowed entry, as a result of the exemptions, will be required to remain on their vessels as much as possible and practice ‘social distancing’ when and where necessary. ‘Shore-Leave’ is prohibited.
  • Effective immediately, the CREW of all vessels that are currently anchored in our bays or docked at any of the local marinas on island, are requested to remain onboard of their vessels for the duration of the travel restrictions that are currently in place for both air and sea travel. ‘Shore Leave’ is prohibited.
  • Local vessel agents and other support services will remain responsible for providing ‘shore-support’ to vessels that choose to remain anchored or docked in the waters of Sint Maarten. They are asked to ensure that their clients and the relevant crew comply with to the above listed conditions.

Compliance with the above-mentioned list is mandatory and violators will be processed to the full extent of the laws of Sint Maarten.

The transmission of the COVID-19 virus is a serious threat to the island of Sint Maarten and anyone who refuses to comply with before mentioned measures can be deemed to be a prohibited alien (non-resident that is not allowed to be on the island).

The Government of Sint Maarten looks forward to the understanding and full cooperation of the maritime community as everybody has a role to play during these extraordinary times.

Listen to the Government Radio station – 107.9FM - for official information, and news updates or visit the Government website: www.sintmaartengov.org/coronavirus or and Facebook Page: Facebook.com/SXMGOV

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Prime Minister Jacobs gathers Communication Entities to Help Combat COVID-19

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – The Cabinet of Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs and the Department of Communication held a meeting on March 18, with TelEm Group, PJIA, Port St. Maarten, AUC School of Medicine, Government’s Public Service Center (PSC), and the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) ESF 7 Coordinator for Social development. The public relations and communication officers from several Minister’s cabinets and that of the Secretariat also participated in the meeting to pool resources and to increase communication via different mediums with the public to help combat COVID-19, through the dissemination of information.

Though continuously working together in one way or the other, these organizations and Prime Minister Jacobs thought it was important to bring all the stakeholders together, share COVID-19 communication plans, provide suggestions for communication activities and work together to bring information to the public to combat COVID-19. Together with pooled human and financial resources, more can be done for the public.

Prime Minster Jacobs said, “By joining public relations and communication efforts, collectively we are powerful and effective in strengthening our resources to combat COVID-19 and make our community as safe as is possible. We do not want this virus to spread. Therefore, as we communicate more with the public, we ask the public to pay keen attention and heed the advice accordingly.

This meeting facilitated opportunities for all stakeholders to provide suggestions and plans of actions that can be used jointly. In this manner, we can continue educating the general population on practicing safe hygiene and informing on what is being done to ensure that the COVID-19 is being contained in the community.

With this cooperation, one of the projects discussed is the TelEm ‘CORONA_INFO’ text messaging which was launched on March 19, 2020. This project enables TelEm to broadcast messages to all their subscribers. These messages encourage users to click on the link in the text message, which provides health tips and crucial information. In addition to the text message information, TelEm Group will continue their social responsibility by launching the CORONA VIRUS telephone line and other planned initiatives such as info-pamphlets (leaflets) and increased broadband for the American University of the Caribbean and that of the University of St. Martin to facilitate online learning.

Listen to Government Radio station – 107.9FM - for official information and updates or visit the Government website: www.sintmaartengov.org/coronavirus or its Facebook Page: Facebook.com/SXMGOV.

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St. Maarten Parliament first to pass a law via remote meeting

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Parliament of St. Maarten on Monday became the first Parliament body in the history of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to digitally vote on a law. President of Parliament MP Rolando Brison (UP) chaired the historic meeting on Monday which focused on an amendment to the UTS shares sales initiative law which he initiated last year.

With all MP’s adhering to social distancing directives in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, Parliament meetings will now be held via video/remote conferencing until further notice. Each MP, complete with personalized backdrops, participated in the meeting from his or her location from home or a private office.    

The law amendment, voted on unanimously by Parliament, allows the adjustment of the maximum price of the shares sale which in turn allows Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion to collect the second half of the payment from the sales. The first half was already received by St. Maarten late last year. Irion was also present on the remote conference from his location in the Government Administration Building.

MP Brison said with the law passing, government will be able to collect millions of guilders from the remainder of the sale of UTS shares. “The timing of this could not be better, as government needs every guilder it can get to drive us through the tough times that are undoubtedly ahead. Minister Irion indicated the payment would go directly into the liquidity which is already being used for (Covid 19) recovery.”

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COCI March 26 Grow Your Business Workshop Postponed

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) would like to inform the business community that the next “Grow Your Business with COCI Workshops scheduled for March 26 has been postponed for a future date.

This is the last workshop in the series which will be about Financial Planning, by Ahmed Bell. A new date will be announced at a later point in time as the interests in the workshop series since its inception has been very high from entrepreneurs seeking information.

COCI says that a number of restrictions has been put in place by the Government of St. Maarten with respect to protecting public health due to the global COVID-19 outbreak.

The Chamber requests all businesses to follow local public health advice and World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations such as making sure workplaces are clean and hygienic, for those business operations that continue to provide service to the community and are considered essential services.

Maintain social distancing of at least one-meter (3-feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. When someone coughs or sneezes, they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain a virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

WHO recommendations are: Surfaces (e.g. desks and tables) and objects (e.g. telephones, keyboards) need to be wiped with disinfectant regularly; Why? Because contamination on surfaces touched by employees and customers is one of the main ways that COVID-19 spreads.

Promote regular and thorough handwashing by employees, contractors and customers: Put sanitizing hand rub dispensers in prominent places around the workplace. Make sure these dispensers are regularly refilled; Display posters promoting hand-washing – ask your local public health authority for these or look on www.WHO.int; Combine this with other communication measures such as offering guidance from occupational health and safety officers, briefings at meetings and information on the intranet to promote hand-washing; Make sure that staff, contractors and customers have access to places where they can wash their hands with soap and water; Why? Because washing kills the virus on your hands and prevents the spread of COVID19.

Promote good respiratory hygiene in the workplace: Display posters promoting respiratory hygiene. Combine this with other communication measures such as offering guidance from occupational health and safety officers, briefing at meetings and information on the intranet etc.; Ensure that face masks and / or paper tissues are available at your workplaces, for those who develop a runny nose or cough at work, along with closed bins for hygienically disposing of them; Why? Because good respiratory hygiene prevents the spread of COVID-19.

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Chamber of Commerce & Industry Closed to the General Public

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is widely spreading to other countries around the world and has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Due to the above, the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) is closed to the general public.

All request for services to be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Lead time is maximum 24 hours for completion or response of request. COCI to You will be utilized for drop off of documents.

NO cash payments will be accepted, check and card transactions only. Services will be based on appointment only.

This will be implemented as of Wednesday, March 18 and will continue as long as country Sint Maarten is restricted as indicated by the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Adjustment can be expected and if needed will be communicated to general public.

COCI requests all businesses to follow local public health advice and World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations such as making sure workplaces are clean and hygienic: Surfaces (e.g. desks and tables) and objects (e.g. telephones, keyboards) need to be wiped with disinfectant regularly; Why? Because contamination on surfaces touched by employees and customers is one of the main ways that COVID-19 spreads.

Promote regular and thorough handwashing by employees, contractors and customers: Put sanitizing hand rub dispensers in prominent places around the workplace. Make sure these dispensers are regularly refilled; Display posters promoting hand-washing – ask your local public health authority for these or look on www.WHO.int; Combine this with other communication measures such as offering guidance from occupational health and safety officers, briefings at meetings and information on the intranet to promote hand-washing; Make sure that staff, contractors and customers have access to places where they can wash their hands with soap and water; Why? Because washing kills the virus on your hands and prevents the spread of COVID19.

Promote good respiratory hygiene in the workplace: Display posters promoting respiratory hygiene. Combine this with other communication measures such as offering guidance from occupational health and safety officers, briefing at meetings and information on the intranet etc.; Ensure that face masks and / or paper tissues are available at your workplaces, for those who develop a runny nose or cough at work, along with closed bins for hygienically disposing of them; Why? Because good respiratory hygiene prevents the spread of COVID-19.

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UPDATED: Winair’s revised travel advisory/schedule

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY-AIRPORT) - Due to newly imposed travel restrictions by our destinations, WINAIR has adjusted our flight schedule as follows effective March 19, 2020;

 

Flight #

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

Sun

St. Maarten – Saba

2405

09:00-09:15

Saba - St. Eustatius

2405

09:25-09:40

St. Eustatius – St. Maarten

2405

09:50-10:10

St. Maarten - St. Eustatius

2541

16:00-16:20

St. Eustatius - Saba

2541

16:30-16:45

Saba – St. Maarten

2541

16:55-17:10

St. Maarten - St. Eustatius

2505

09:00-09:15

St. Eustatius - Saba

2505

09:25-09:40

Saba – St. Maarten

2505

09:50-10:10

St. Eustatius – St. Maarten

2441

16:00-16:20

St. Maarten – Saba

2441

16:30-16:45

Saba - St. Eustatius

2441

16:55-17:10

St. Maarten – Saba

2405

09:00-09:15

Saba - St. Eustatius

2405

09:25-09:40

St. Eustatius – St. Maarten

2405

09:50-10:10

St. Maarten - St. Eustatius

2541

16:00-16:20

St. Eustatius - Saba

2541

16:30-16:45

Saba – St. Maarten

2541

16:55-17:10

All other flights are deferred and this reduced flight schedule will operate until further notice. Due to rapid changing restrictions this schedule is subject to change as WINAIR is required to follow these rules and restrictions.

To assist our customers with bookings and changes, our reservation/sales office and call center at WINAIR’s Main Office, Airport Road #69 Simpson Bay will be open 7 days a week from 8am until 5pm, beginning Monday March 23, 2020 (if conditions remain unchanged). You can contact us by phone: +1 721 545 4237 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit our Sales Office on the Airport Road.

Bookings and changes can also be done online. We are also making every effort to keep you informed with daily updates of our destinations travel restrictions on our website fly-winair.sx.

ARCHIVE - SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY-AIRPORT) - WINAIR continues to coordinate our efforts with our destinations and stakeholders during this constant evolving situation of the shared global effort to control the spread of the COVID-19 Corona virus.

Due to the travel restrictions put in place by our destinations, WINAIR has adjusted our flight schedule as follows,

Today March 17, 2020 WINAIR flights to Aruba and Haiti are discontinued until further notice.

Thursday March 19, 2020 our flights to the following destinations will be discontinued until further notice:

  • Bonaire
  • Curacao
  • Dominica
  • San Juan

Friday March 20, 2020 WINAIR flights to Santo Domingo are discontinued until further notice.

Flight scheduled to the following destinations remain unchanged until Sunday March 22, 2020:

Antigua, Saba, St. Barth, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts, St. Maarten and Tortola.

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A message from Algemeen Pensioenfonds Sint Maarten (APS) on COVID-19

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - The Algemeen Pensioenfonds Sint Maarten (APS) has been following the guidelines set by the Sint Maarten government to ensure the safety of residents and visitors as it pertains to the developing COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result, APS would like to give our stakeholders and participants an update on its taken health & safety measures assisting combatting the coranavirus. At APS, our business is to think ahead, and with the ongoing crisis, we would like you to know that your pension benefits are secured, now and in the future.

Pension payments: on time is our promise

  • March payments are prepared and can be expected on time by March 20th.
  • Pension payments is one of the critical processes; several contingencies are in place to ensure that we will not fail on our promise to deliver timely pension payments.

APS office closed for public until Monday April 6: keeping you and our employees safe

  • Increased hygiene measures have been enforced at our offices to secure a safe environment for our employees; read about our hygiene measures here.
  • Our services will be available to you via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. orFacebook.

Investments:

  • The corona virus (COVID-19) is a temporary phenomenon, as all the other “pandemics” that proceeded it. It would be irresponsible for any pension fund to adjust their long-term asset allocations based on a temporary event.
  • The local APS portfolio constitutes of 90% fixed income and 10% real estate/development projects. The local investments are not marked to the market and have not experienced negative effects of the international market volatility.
  • The APS has taken a long-term view on the pension fund investment portfolio that looks forward 20-30 years from today. Ensuring that the portfolio remains within the margins of its strategic asset allocations is the best measure to safeguard long-term stability of the fund. As such, the APS is able to assume prudent risks to enhance the growth of the international investment portfolio on the long term.  

The COVID-19 pandemic urges us all to work together to limit the impact in our community. We must all be responsible and adhere to the prevention measures and guidelines identified by our local government to keep us safe.

Practice social distancing as much as possible. Be mindful of the vulnerable groups that are at risk and may need additional care and monitoring. Remain consistent with hygiene practices such as washing your hands with soap and water for at least 30 seconds. When soap and water is not available, use a hands sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. If you feel sick, stay at home and call your family doctor for medical advice. Last, but not least, stay informed about the developments surrounding COVID-19 via credible news sources and our local government. Only together, we will weather this storm. 

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