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Ortega and Baker says Sports Tourism a niche for the country. Welcomes Kickboxing Pre-St. Maarten Day Event

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) commends the initiative of the Better Opportunity for Talent (BOFT) President Milton “Bobby” Ottley in organizing the pre-St. Maarten Day World Kickboxing Competition. 

The competition has been sanctioned by the World Muay Thai Association (WMTA) according to BOFT. Muay Thai or Thai Boxing is the fastest growing combative sport in the world.

COCI President of the Board Benjamin Ortega and COCI Executive Director Anastacio Baker says that sports tourism is a niche for the country and should be promoted more as there are opportunities to diversify the tourism-oriented economy by developing other niches that would attract more visitors to the destination.

Ortega and Baker commends the organizers of the event for taking the initiative and appeals to the business sector and community overall to support the pre-St. Maarten Day event.

Ottley said that fighters from around the region will be participating in the WMTA sanctioned competition. WMTA is one of the oldest amateur and professional sanctioning organizations of Muay Thai in the world for the sport.  Created in the Netherlands in 1984, the organization became one of the major sanctioning bodies for professional Muay Thai.

The competition will feature St. Maarten’s very own Light Heavyweight Kickboxing Champion of the World, Omarie Marsham.  Shanice Josefina and Lennart Blijd, both professional fighters from Amsterdam the capital of the Netherlands, will be participating in the competition.

Shanice Josefina has roots from Curacao and Suriname and is a three-year lightweight professional. Lennart Blijd is a professional two-year welterweight fighter in Kickboxing and Muay Thai. He hails from Suriname but has lived his entire life in Amsterdam.

The competition will take place on November 10 at the L.B. Scott Sports Auditorium on the Pondfill.

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Spelling Bee Set to Start this Sunday

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - The 8th Annual Rotary/Rotaract Spelling Bee 2019 will kick off on Sunday October 20th, at the Belair Community Center, organized and hosted by The Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle and The Rotaract Club of St. Maarten Sunrise.

Thirty-five participants from thirteen schools have registered to participate, nine from St. Maarten and four from Anguilla. The participating schools from St. Maarten are the Asha Stevens Hillside Christian School, the Leonald Conner School, the Oranje School, the Marie Genevieve De Weever School, the St. Dominic Primary School, the St. Joseph School, the Mac Rev. John A. Gumbs Campus, the Mac Browlia F. Maillard Campus and The Seventh Day Adventist School. The four participating schools from Anguilla are the Alwyn Allison Primary, The Valley Primary, The Morrison Vanterpool Primary and the Vivian Vanterpool Primary.

The Spelling Bee will be held over three consecutive weeks. The preliminary will be held on Sunday October 20th, the top ten highest scorers of the preliminary round will advance to the semi-final round which is being held on Sunday October 27th. The five top highest scorers from the semi-final round will advance to the final round being held on Sunday November 3rd.

All participants are expected at the Belair Community Center by 12.30pm to register and to be ready for a prompt start at 1pm.

Due to the success of the tutorials in 2016 and 2018 the participants again this year had the opportunity to attend two, three-hour tutorial sessions, held at the University of St. Martin.

The Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle and the Rotaract Club of St. Maarten Sunrise encourage and welcome everyone to come out and give support to all the participants of the 8th Annual Rotary/Rotaract Spelling Bee 2019 on all three Sundays. The school with the best supporting team will win a prize.

The Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle meets Tuesday at 7pm at Pineapple Pete in Simpson Bay. For more information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit their Facebook page Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle.

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MHF Happiness Event a Success

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Last week, on international World Mental Health Day, October 10th, the Mental Health Foundation of Sint Maarten (MHF) organized the first edition of the Happiness Event at the Cultural Center in Philipsburg and can proudly say that the event was a big success! 

The goal of this evening was to inform the general public about how to acquire, maintain and share Happiness daily! That is a part of mental health we sometimes take for granted, because we have a tendency to focus on the things that can go wrong with our mental health. 

While being happy is most important and should be dealt with even when complications arise; it is also very important to focus on the positive side of matters. To learn more about what you can do yourself to increase your own Happiness! 

Multiple organizations were part of the event with very creative and interactive information booths to share their own Happiness views, tools and tricks! As Happiness is a well-known concept, the term is also a very broad one, and so four subcategories were created. The MHF, together with APAP/Inspired, focused on the mental side of Happiness by letting the audience stop and think for a second about their own happiness level, and what they currently do to maintain or increase that! 

Dietitian Berit & Fire Fit Gym highlighted physical Happiness, and what you can do through exercise and the right diet to give yourself a Happiness boost! Happiness is contagious and feels even better shared, so AUC Medical School & K1 Britannia focused on the social factor of Happiness. Lastly, Happiness is a state, and (unfortunately) not everlasting. SZV, The Positive Foundation and WIB explored all the ways in which you can arrange your lifestyle in such a way, that you can be happy now, but also later on!  

The turn-up wildly exceeded the expectations with around 250 guests, whom all walked out at the end of the evening with big smiles on their faces. However, doing anything else but smiling was of course almost impossible at this evening filled with Happy Health Jeopardy, Happiness Tree's, Happiness Cookies & Boosters, Physical Challenges, Happiness Scavenger hunts, Happiness Journals, Happiness Video's, Happiness Monopoly games, Silent disco and a happiness journey!!! 

If that wasn't enough, the stage was booming with various acts and performances like dance contests, hourly raffles, team games, tennis-ball-massage-therapy'', dancing statues and most of all, the ENERGY pumped into the audience by the amazing hosts of the evening: Elektra, the FUNTOPIA game host, and music of Mix Master Pauly! 

The MHF would like to officially thank all the organizations and people who worked so hard to create interactive, fun & creative ways to inform about and spread Happiness! Organizing partners: Lab sports academyAPAP: Association for Psychologists and Allied Professionals Sint MaartenInspired - Psychology Practice and ConsultancyAUC School Of MedicineK1 BritanniaBerit BusFire Fit Gym, The Positive Foundation, WIB Windward Islands BankSZV Social & Health Insurances, Picture this Photobooth, Funtopia, Face Painting by Martine Loubser and the Classic Blends Dance Group! 

And of course all our generous Sponsors: International Liquor & TabacoBobby's Marina St. MaartenPort St. MaartenNagico Insurances, CostUless, Shop4Less, Kooyman St. MaartenPrint & Sign Express St.Maarten, Sherrif Security, Laser 101, Philipsburg BroadcastingThe Daily HeraldPJD2 RadioPrime DistributorsHolland House Beach HotelSports GalleryTri-SportBelair Fitness Center, Belair Beach Hotel, St. Maarten Optical N.V.Maleona'sCalm Unique Spa SXM, Balls and Wine restaurant, Buffalo Wings SXMMark's Place, Phillipsburg, St. MaartenChesterfield's, St MaartenAmsterdam Cheese & Liquor StorePollos Hermanos SXM, Rena for the beautiful arch, Melissa, Darren from Printexpress and all the MHF volunteers! And lastly a special thanks to the organizing committee comprising: Christine PeiserKimberly Naomi Maria, Suzanne Beeldsnijder, Cyrille Brooks & Abigail David!!! 

If you missed it, make sure to mark October 10th, 2020 in your agenda for the second edition of the Happiness Event!

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John A.M. Sandiford to be Master of Ceremonies at SMILE 2019

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Digital & Creative Entrepreneur, John A.M. Sandiford will be the Master of Ceremonies of this year’s SMILE event on October 25th and 26th. In addition to his opening speech and moderation, he will inform the public on an application devised by his company Antonio Media for the island of Statia and the Sint Eustatius Foundation (SEF) with support of the European Union.

Sandiford was the moderator of SMILE’s first edition in 2018. The organizers of the 2nd edition is elated to have him on board once again as face and advocate of the event. Since its inception, Sandiford has supported SMILE’s three main themes of innovation, sustainability and networking to enhance the Sint Maarten and regional economy: "Out of adversity often times comes opportunity, and as an innovative mind I hope SMILE is here to stay as a business card of the vibrant Sint Maarten and Caribbean people!”. 

Sandiford, a well-known Sint Maarten music artist in the early 2000’s, founded the design & technology company Antonio Media B.V. after his studies in 2010. Under his current clients is one of the most important Dutch IT multinationals, ASML, amongst many others.

Regardless of his multinational clients, his heart remains with his Caribbean roots. John began sharing his knowledge, experience and vision gained in Europe to help develop the Caribbean Entrepreneurial eco-system. Primarily through the EU funded programme COSME, where he has trained & guided over 100+ entrepreneurs, civil servants, non-profits and more from 10 OCTA islands on the principles of developing Co-working & Business Incubation environments and Online Presence Strategies. He aims to continue investing in this community by developing a digital platform which connects, informs and educates the Caribbean entrepreneur in an ever-changing global market.

In addition to his professional career, in the wake of hurricane Irma, Sandiford and other Sint Maarteners in the Netherlands founded the NGO; RebuildSXM, bringing close to $100,000 USD worth of needed supplies to the island. Notably the donation of over 5000 school & sporting materials & equipments to18 schools and 8 sporting organisations.

The group also donated over 2000+ school uniforms to over 400 kids most in need.

Sandiford successfully won a EU tender to design and develop the Sint Eustatius Foundation’s mobile fishing app; “StaBlu”. This app allows for precise coordination of offer and demand of the fishing industries. In addition to securing fresh fish for the consumer instantly, the app aims to reduce overfishing and hence assist in a more sustainable fish supply for the region. 

At SMILE, Sandiford will elaborate on his development of StaBlu during a workshop.
After his contribution, Hasani Ellis of the Sint Maarten Ministry of General Affairs will explore with the audience how the StaBlu framework could be of use for country Sint Maarten's economy.

The full schedule of SMILE can be found at shta.com/SMILE. Display and promotional tables have been sold out, but walkaround tickets are still available for the event starting upcoming Friday. Tickets can be purchased by visiting the SHTA offices at WJ Nisbeth Road 33A, or by taking up contact with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For visitors, an App can be downloaded with speaker, schedule and participant information. 

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TelEm Group fixed, Mobile data services interrupted Tuesday

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - TelEm Group customers and the general public are informed that at approximately 3:00 pm today, Tuesday, the company’s fixed internet and mobile internet services were interrupted by a loss in bandwidth capacity between St. Maarten and the connecting Service Provider in Miami.

According to TelEm Group, Chief Technical Officer, Mr. Eldert Louisa, the exact cause of the problem at 5:30 pm Tuesday evening was unknown, but the company’s technicians and engineers worked closely with their counterparts in Miami and throughout the link path of the service, to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

At approximately 7:00 pm Tuesday evening the CTO informed that the problem was identified as a cable breakage between Jacksonville and Miami. He said the cable owner is already working on repairs to stabilize connections.

Mr. Louisa said the alarm was raised and personnel immediately mobilized to troubleshoot and come up with some answers once they had themselves been alerted.

He said banks and other businesses who use ATM’s and conduct their business with the use of online services, such as credit card clearance were amongst those affected by the interruption in service. Customers generally will also experience different issues including slow connections and interruptions when using fixed and mobile data.

“We are working very hard to have the systems stabilized with the assistance of our service providers and other carrier partners who have been affected,” said Mr. Louisa, who has meantime apologized to TelEm Group customers for the interruption in service beyond the company’s control.

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PFP Questions Timing, Motivation behind Peterson’s Dismissal

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The Party for Progress learned, with frustration, of the removal of party member and candidate, Raeyhon Peterson, from his position as Acting Head of the Department of Domain Affairs. The board took note of news reports that cited that Mr. Peterson was ‘highly political’ and questioned the timing of his demotion. This comes just two weeks after PFP’s launch, the only political moment in Peterson’s life to date.

Peterson, to date, has never received a warning nor was he ever approached regarding his performance. Furthermore, if there were issues related to his performance, he has not been granted his right to a fair hearing regarding this decision; it was simply communicated to him in an un-numbered memo. Under his management, Domain Affairs has thrived, despite being consistently understaffed. The memorandum itself is weakly worded and terribly inadequate and does not provide any motivation or reason for this sudden, potentially political, demotion at a critical point in government’s operation.

PFP is most concerned, however, about the clear lack of checks and balances that will now exist in the Department of Domain Affairs if Honorable Minister Wever’s decision stands. As many may not be aware, the process within Domain Affairs is that requests are submitted via General Affairs, where it receives a booking number and is then sent to the relevant department. Once it arrives at Domain Affairs, the request is reviewed and advised upon by the department. After the advice is drafted, it is signed by the Acting Department Head.

Thereafter, it is sent by the Department Head to the Secretary-General, whose role is to sign it and send it to the Cabinet of the Minister for final evaluation by policy and legal advisors. If the Minister agrees with the advice from the department, it is then signed by the Minister, constituting a final decision; the Department of Domain Affairs is not mandated to make any final decisions on the issuance of land, land swaps, sales or long lease. If Peterson’s removal stands, then Minister Wever has made a decision that removes the critical check by Department Head and places the responsibility of the entire process in the hands of the Secretary-General, which the board believes is against the law. PFP believes it is crucial that people are aware of the process and the actual responsibilities of all parties involved, as it’s clear that false information remains the order of the day.

The board questions as well whether other civil servants in the party’s membership should be concerned about their positions following this surprise demotion. Nevertheless, PFP fully stands behind Mr. Peterson and is pleased to inform the public that the Party for Progress is not allowing this to detract from its mission of community engagement and dialogue, and is still contesting the 2020 election.

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Fire Dept./ODM: Reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – “Reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services,” was the theme for International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction that was observed globally on Sunday, October 13, Fire Chief/National Disaster Coordinator of the Office of Disaster Management Clive Richardson said on Monday.

The International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction was started in 1989, after a call by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly for a day to promote a global culture of risk-awareness and disaster reduction.

Held every 13 October, the day celebrates how people and communities around the world are reducing their exposure to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of reining in the risks that they face.

“Sint Maarten has embarked upon a number of projects under the umbrella of the Trust Fund financed by the Government of the Netherlands, managed by the World Bank and coordinated by the Sint Maarten National Recovery Program Bureau.

“The funding provided is a result of the catastrophic national disaster caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017 where critical infrastructure was severely damaged.

“Much effort is underway to strengthen the country’s critical infrastructure and other public services making them disaster resilient. Let us reflect on what has been achieved to-date and what is in the planning to further strengthen the country’s disaster resilience,” Richardson said on Monday.

At the same time, Richardson is calling on the community to remain vigilant as the country and region goes through the final two months of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season – October and November.

On Monday the National Hurricane Center issued its final advisory as the 13th named storm system of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season, Subtropical Storm Melissa in the northern Atlantic Ocean became a post-tropical system losing its storm characteristics.

In the meantime, a new tropical depression has formed near the Cabo Verde Islands off the coast of Africa.

The remaining storm names for the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season are: Nestor, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van and Wendy.

The community and new residents are urged to learn more about hurricane hazards and how to prepare for a storm/hurricane strike by visiting the Government website: www.sintmaartengov.org/hurricane where you will be able to download your “Hurricane Season Readiness Guide’ and “Hurricane Tracking Chart.”

Listen to the Government Radio station – 107.9FM - for official information and news before, during and after a hurricane.

For official weather-related information, check out the website of the Meteorological Department of St. Maarten (MDS): www.meteosxm.com

Remember, it only takes one hurricane to make it a bad season. Are You Ready? The Atlantic hurricane season officially ends on November 30.

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BEYOND Kultura Kicks off on READING Program

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - With ten participants story reader, two teacher-facilitators, tree coachers and a project leader, Beyond Kultura Events Foundation (BKE) kicked off on Friday 11th October its ‘STORY-READING FOR CHILDREN’ program in Philipsburg. President of the BKE, Loekie Morales is very happy with the turn out and enthusiastic participants.

This story reading program is a valuable, educational and mind-fun program for children on Sint Maarten.

Morales: ‘Reading is FUNdamental and the training is about getting our youngsters to like reading and have FUN doing it. Next to this, Listening and Reading well are considered fundamental skills for understanding of the content.

Beyond Kultura has developed this Reading program a couple of years ago. The main beneficiaries are children from 3 to 13 years old. Ten entities like schools and community centers are participating to this STORY READING program. Project leader Ingrid Holaman will keep all the involved parties focused towards Beyond Kultura’s aim.

This Story READING training starts with a 10 hours weekend workshop for adults. Story Reader Participants will get into the fundamentals of ‘Listening and Reading skills’. Besides important technical tricks, much attention will be given to the pleasure that reading provides and the value of reading in the various areas of development of the child.

Aidan Chambers’ reading circle will be used for explaining the reading process.

Participants will be introduced to the techniques of reading aloud. Attention will also be given to the usage of voice, story outline, body language, props and sense of the listening audience. The book functions, the writer & illustrator behind the books, and how to deal with E-books, reading from tablets and computer are also covered.

BKE has recruited two local Teacher-facilitators Greta Marlin, who was a volunteer reader at the Sister Borgia Elementary school for 7 years, and Myrna Richardson, an educator who speaks daily to children about the importance of reading and writing correctly. Both teacher-facilitators love to engage children in active reading.

Practical part: As of 14th of October until half December, the participants will visit schools, afternoon activity programs and community centers. Each one will read stories in 8 reading sessions of 15 to 45 minutes to children, depending on the age groups. During this period, story readers will be coached and evaluated by one of the assigned coachers Vernon Illidge, Joyce Hanley and Fraenseen Fawler. At the end of the program, they will get a certificate ‘Introduction Story Reading’, if they successfully have finalized both, the theory and the practical part of the training.

Morales: ‘We are most grateful for the commitment and financial support of the Prince Bernhard Cultural Fund Caribbean, the Collaborative Funds Caribbean and the Nederlandse Taal Unie, a Dutch Literacy Funding Agency. Because of them, Beyond Kultura is able to train dedicated people in our society to become good story readers and give some 2000 children fun in reading, getting them to love books, get a passion for literature and build up their vocabulary, imagination and expression skills’.

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Two use shotgun in evening Robbery of supermarket

DUTCH QUARTER - The Special Unit Robbery is investigating a robbery that took place at the Win Da supermarket on Nazareth road, on Thursday evening approximately 08.30 pm.

According to the information, two young men entered the establishment armed with a shotgun, threatened the workers and took an undisclosed amount of cash from the register.

The suspects fled on foot in the direction of Dutch Quarter after robbing the supermarket. The detective department is investigating this case and asking anyone who has information to share to contact the police department or call the tip line on 9300. (Sint Maarten Police Force)  

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Rotary Sunset Joins the Fight to End Polio

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - World Polio Day is observed globally on October 24th by Rotary clubs worldwide in efforts to bring awareness on the eradication of polio as well as to commemorate the efforts of thousands of volunteers and organizations committed to eradicate polio worldwide. During the month of October, the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset will be selling “End Polio Now” wrist bands in efforts to raise funds in support of the worldwide polio eradication efforts.

Polio, or poliomyelitis is a paralyzing and highly infectious disease caused by the deadly ‘Poliovirus’. This deadly disease mainly affects children under the age of 5 and it can quickly spread from person to person through contaminated water. The virus mainly affects the nervous system and often leads to paralysis of a persons’ limbs.

The Poliovirus is responsible for the death of millions of persons worldwide since the early 1950’s; however, thanks to the efforts of the World Health Organization and Rotary International through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the globally recorded cases of polio has reduced from 350,000 cases in 125 countries reported in 1988 to just 22 cases in 2 countries (Pakistan & Afghanistan) reported in 2018. Although there is no cure, there is a safe and effective vaccine that has been made accessible worldwide, even in the most remote locations due to the efforts of the WHO and Rotary International.

Over 2.5 billion children worldwide have been immunized thanks to Rotary, the WHO, the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Rotary Foundation has committed to raise US$50 million each year in support of global polio eradication efforts and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged to match that amount 2-to1. Rotary International’s main objective in celebrating World Polio Day is to completely eradicate polio from all parts of the world, making the world ‘Polio Free’.

Despite the success of eradicating polio in 99.9% of the world, Rotary and its partners must sustain the progress and continue to reach every child with the polio vaccine. Without full funding and political commitment, this deadly disease could return to ‘Polio Free’ countries, thus putting children everywhere a risk.

In efforts to support the Rotary Foundation, the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset will be conducting a Polio awareness drive where ‘End Polio Now’ wrist bands will also be on sale. The drive will be held on October 12th at the Carrefour Supermarket at Bush Road from 10am to 2pm. The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset would like to encourage the general population to make a contribution towards the polio eradication efforts. We are ‘This Close’ to a Polio Free World and we need your help.

On World Polio Day, October 24th, 2019, Rotary International will be hosting a Global Online Update from 7pm-7:30pm. This year's program will highlight the heroes of Polio eradication, with stories from polio-endemic and recently impacted areas. Join us online!

For more information you can visit: Rotary.org or contact the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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