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Government extends emergency package for the Caribbean Netherlands until October

SABA/SINT EUSTATIUS - Due to the coronavirus crisis the government today decided to extend the emergency package for residents and businesses on Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba for four months until the 12th of October.

Residents and businesses on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba are part of the Netherlands and can therefore use comparable measures to those taken in the European Netherlands.

The coronavirus crisis is having a huge impact on society in the Caribbean Netherlands. Although the islands have largely escaped the coronavirus in terms of health up to now, in an economic sense Bonaire, Sint. Eustatius and Saba have been seriously affected. The tourist sector, which drives a large part of the economy, has ground to a halt.

The central government has added a number of new measures, in addition to the existing ones. For example, the temporary income support scheme has been introduced, the temporary reimbursement of fixed costs has been extended (up to a maximum of 50,000 euros for businesses) and the bridging loan for small businesses has been added for small businesses. The central government is also making 1.3 million euros available so that the public bodies entities can additionally meet the needs of citizens and businesses from an island policy perspective.

This second emergency package was today sent to the Dutch House of Representatives on behalf of the State Secretary for the Interior and Kingdom Relations, the Minister and State Secretary of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, the Minister and State Secretary of Finance, the Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management and the State Secretary of Social Affairs and Employment. State Secretary Raymond Knops announced, on behalf of the government:

"With this extension we are protecting jobs and incomes in the coming period by supporting affected companies and sole traders. There are troubled tough times ahead and huge demands are going to be made on society. At the same time the government is convinced that once again during this crisis the resilience of the islands will ensure that we, the government, and society together, will pull through." (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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GRACITA: IS EVERYONE COUNTED?

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Leader of the People’s Progressive Alliance (PPA) Gracita Arrindell on Thursday evening said in a statement: “A picture tells a thousand words, however it does not always provide the whole story or the real message behind what the lens captures. Many of our citizens continue to suffer significant hardship after hurricane Irma. Some quietly behind closed doors because they are too proud to show that they need help, albeit temporarily. Covid-19 lockdown no doubt contributed to this suffering as it seriously increased the unemployment rate of St. Maarten.

“This situation seriously affected the purchasing ‘power’ of our citizens. Increasingly, photos are shown on social media platforms of several private organizations, or groups of citizens, politicians, showing how many food packages they distributed to those who need it most. Tens of thousands of food -items none perishable and perishable goods alike have been provided to people in different neighborhoods.”

Arrindell states, “Regrettably, there are persons who need assistance, but who do not receive any. These citizens fall through the cracks of the support – supply chains. The question is why? How can we ensure that everyone who needs and deserves assistance is counted? Is it true that some neighborhoods have become a ‘platform for pity’? We must be wary of ‘wolves in sheep clothing’. On one hand, we are making all effort to encourage and welcome back tourists to our beautiful shores. On the other hand, concurrently, many of these tourists read what is happening on St. Maarten.

“Constant stream of news heralding the amount of aid provided compared to amount of people recorded in our government departments (unofficial estimates over 10.000 applicants) in charge of the aid distribution needs further stream-lining. The reported recent initiative taken by some organizations to assist 3200 households is a first step.

“Food boxes are delivered, but the real problem remains. It’s an increased poverty. Government must meet all organizations, not just a few, to assess the current situation by cross checking their lists with the information that exists and is updated by the government departments that are in charge of food and aid distribution. The policy distribution of relief packages must be fair and accurate, and not misleading.

“Perhaps it is worthwhile to look at what Curacao, apparently faced with a similar situation whereby many organizations provided relief while many citizens did not receive or received few supplies. This country’s government announced and ordered all nongovernmental organizations or individuals who wanted to provide aid to the most vulnerable to channel their relief support actions through a main distribution center, Red-cross or ‘food bank’.”

Arrindell continues, “Most people encounter a downturn at some point in their lives. Even citizens who worked hard, paid their taxes, saved for a ‘rainy day’ face hard times often of no fault of their own. Our citizens prefer to have a decent job to feed their families with dignity. Their unfortunate situation should never be used as a prop for self- fulfillment. 

“Job creation will lift people who can and those who want to work out of this cycle of ‘poverty- hand- outs. In the meantime, everyone in need deserves to be counted and assisted,” concludes Gracita.

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Domestic dispute leads to one arrest

SINT MAARTEN (DIAMOND GROVE ESTATE) - The Sint Maarten Police Dispatch Center received a call at approximately 6:30 pm, regarding an altercation in progress in the Diamond Grove Estate area on June 16th, 2020, police said in a statement on Wednesday evening.

When the police patrols arrived on the scene, they were met by a female who informed them that she got into a heated verbal altercation with her spouse which quickly escalated into a scuffle.

The spouse who was still on the scene spoke with the officers by giving his version of what took place. After gathering all information, officers concluded that the spouse physically assaulted his wife with a wooden object causing bodily harm to the victim. She was treated on the scene by the paramedics for bruises to her back and hip.

The male suspect with the initials V.T. was arrested and brought to the police station in Philipsburg where he is being held for further questioning.

The Sint Maarten Police Force is informing persons choosing to engage in abusive actions that they will be held accountable. You alone are responsible for your behavior, it is easier to just walk away from a heated situation then risk being arrested. There is no excuse for abuse, the police stated in their statement.

If you or any one you know maybe in need of police assistance in a domestic situation please call 911 for immediate assistance or if you wish to remain anonymous you can leave a message on the Tip line by dialing #9300.

Persons can also send a private message via our Facebook Page- Police Force of Sint Maarten - Korps Politie Sint Maarten or websitehttps://www.policesxm.sx/ 24/7. (KPSM)

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TelEm Supervisory Board of Directors Request Shareholders Meeting with COM

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Supervisory Board of Directors (SBOD) of the TelemGroup of Companies has recently requested a shareholders meeting with the Council of Ministers (COM); specifically, with the Shareholder Representative and Prime Minister, Ms. Silveria Jacobs. The purpose is to discuss pending matters from the previous sitting government, with specific attention to the current situations brewing at the Telem group of companies.

The Supervisory Board in its communication to the government provided a proposed agenda which includes among other topics, the appointment of a fifth board member, a spot that had to be filled since the removal of Mr. Arnell Brown, which came into effect some months ago. The financial position of the company and general state of affairs of its operations, are also included on the proposed agenda.

Member of the Supervisory Board of Directors and its Audit Committee Chairperson, Mr. Jimmy Challenger: “The Supervisory Board of Directors remains vigilant in its role and continues to advise the Management of the company on the importance of implementing best practices in the interest of the company – ensuring that ongoing projects, such as Fiber to the Home (FTTH), are executed in a timely and effective manner – guaranteeing a future for the company and the many internal and external stakeholders. This includes the employees of Telem and the (business) community at large, whom heavily rely on Telem’s services to conduct business. Telem’s proper functioning is a matter of National Importance in all aspects of the word.

Mr. Challenger continued: “Now more than ever, reliable telecommunication services in a post COVID19 era will remain paramount. The Management Team of TelemGroup, some of whom have been at the helm of the company for quite some years must make every effort to deliver quality services and understand that it is no longer business as usual – increased competition and costs of doing business will remain on the rise, against reduced income from operations, as the Telecommunications sector profits continue to decline partly due to technological advances with free applications (e.g. WhatsApp) being available.”

“The SBOD needs to now assure the Shareholder Representative and employees of the company that things are being done in a transparent manner when it pertains to the role of the Management Team of the company, and during these trying times, not entertain the notion of sending employees home prematurely. Management has to now understand that things should be done differently and better in the interest of the company’s (paying) customers and the entire community which it serves directly or indirectly.”

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Masks, Passes, and Privilege: Response to a Pandemic, by Rhoda Arrindell, PhD

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - “Slave passes, also called ‘certificates’ or ‘tickets,’ were written notes granting slaves permission to leave the plantations on which they lived. Almost all slave societies in the New World required slaves to have written permission from their owners to leave the plantation, and they could not leave without it. Slave passes contained the slave’s name, the destination, the trip’s duration, the expiration date of the pass, and the master’s signature. Passes were most commonly given to male slaves who ran errands and performed transportation work beyond the plantation. Depending on the master, slave men might also be given passes to visit their wives on weekends.”

Thus, reads an excerpt from the Historical Encyclopedia of World Slavery in reference to Slavery in late 1600s America.

Today, after almost 500 years since the start of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and just short of two centuries since the abolition of Slavery and Emancipation, followed by landmark “actions” such as the Civil Rights Movement (USA), Majority Rule (Bahamas), abolition of Apartheid (South Africa), and so many others around the world where people of African descent have fought and died to be recognized as humans, for their liberation and advancement in all areas of human engagement, it is instructive how in the middle of a pandemic, vestiges of Slavery have emerged as symbols of managing the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis in 2020.

The fact that governments around the globe have had to scramble to come up with policies and structures to manage a new coronavirus disease that left no corner of the world untouched is remarkable.

And while people loathed and were affected by measures that severely restricted their movement, it seemed that, for the most part, the restrictions were or are generally accepted as legitimate, and were or are complied with, albeit in different degrees.

From the confusion of distinguishing quarantine from self-isolation, to orders like “shelter-in-place,” to mandated wearing of gloves, masks, and face-coverings, to travel bans and passes, most people made adjustments. But there were those who vehemently protested some or all the restrictions; for still others there was something ominous about the two most salient symbols of the pandemic: masks and passes.

Though at the onset of the outbreak, not all countries required the wearing of masks, eventually some version of face-covering became a requirement everywhere.

In some countries and territories, masks were either issued freely or at least made easily accessible, and in some countries, like The Bahamas, people were encouraged by their governments to support local entrepreneurship by purchasing locally made masks.

In other countries, like the USA, masks were in short supply, and people were left to their own creativity to secure them. With different states having different levels of restrictions, and a US presidential election looming in the year of the pandemic, mask-wearing became politicized.

In the US state of Michigan, armed White men and women, most without masks, were among the protesters of the stay-at-home orders, and some, emboldened by the Republican president in the White House, stormed the state’s capital demanding the Democratic governor to reopen the state.

A few days later in the same state, a Black Democratic lawmaker had to be escorted to work by armed Black men because she feared for her safety.

During another demonstration outside the Humboldt County Courthouse in the state of California on May 16, protesters at an “anti-lockdown” rally could be seen carrying signs comparing the stay-at-home measures to modern-day slavery, and making references to individual freedoms and violation of constitutional rights.

One image quickly made international headlines. It was an image of two White women holding up placards, on which were the words: “Muzzles are for dogs and slaves. I’m a free human being.” Next to the words was a drawn image of Escrava Anastacia (a African woman who was enslaved by Whites in Brazil), wearing a muzzle and a metal collar forced on her by her enslavers.

Covering the incident, a Newsweek reporter later wrote, “The image of Anastacia wearing a muzzle and a metallic collar has made her both an iconic image of slavery’s dehumanizing cruelty and a venerated unofficial saint in Brazil, noted for her defiant beauty despite attempts to silence her. Worshippers see her as a saint who can heal the sick, strengthen the oppressed and forgive oppressors.”

Needless to say, the image drew the ire of people around the world, but it was especially painful to people of African descent and a stark reminder of the value of their humanity in some quarters.

Many people took to social media to vent their outrage, with one Twitter follower, @primetime32, tweeting, “We’ll wait for their apologies!! Because I know it’s coming.”

And, true to form, a few days later, one of the women in the photo, Gretha Stenger, issued an apology: “‘Holding that sign up at the lockdown protest was a grave mistake and I ask forgiveness from all those who I have caused pain,’ she said in a statement to The Times-Standard. ‘As I had no sign of my own, it was handed to me by another protester and a photographer took the picture before I considered the racist implications.’” (Newsweek)

See, this is the thing with privilege. Like the men in Michigan, Stenger and others (like her fellow protester who was captured holding the sign and later identified in social media as Larkin Small) see themselves as being entitled to do whatever they want to uphold their privileges, without much thought, regardless to who gets affected, because their privilege is supreme. And every time the public backlash comes, they either cite naiveté, ignorance, or belligerence, and they can expect to be let off the hook either way.

On the other hand, the apologies have become so common that when they do come, they’re almost always brushed aside as insincere. This is not to say that people do not genuinely make mistakes and feel regret afterwards. But there is a pervasive sense of entitlement and privilege that (some) White people take for granted, no matter where they are.

In 1850, a New York Tribune reporter covering a slave auction wrote, “All these humiliations were submitted to without a murmur and in some instances with good-natured cheerfulness—where the slave liked the appearance of the proposed buyer, and fancied that he might prove a kind ‘mas’r’.” Like Stenger, the reporter was purportedly trying to do good by exposing the barbarity of Slavery to the newspaper’s readers.

What the Stenger situation shows is that despite the strides that have been made in some places like the USA since the auctioning of enslaved Africans, the humanity of people of African descent is still not regarded as equal to the humanity of others, particularly White people.

Sadly, colonialism and Slavery have left the world with an anti-humanity hierarchy, with White at the top and Black at the bottom. However, it’s not just White people who have this sense of White supremacy; other racial groups, including Africans and people of African descent, recognize and embrace it as well.

The global discussion surrounding world population and mandatory vaccines to treat the pandemic reek of White supremacy and privilege. And 26 years after the collapse of the Apartheid regime (a system of legal segregation designed by descendants of the Dutch in South Africa), one of its prominent symbols, the passbook, emerges in my homeland of St. Martin during the pandemic.

The “local” governments of the Caribbean island, consisting of two territories controlled by France and the Netherlands, invoked the pass as part of the island’s response to the pandemic and another reminder of the ugliness of colonialism that prevails in parts of the world.

On the Dutch-controlled southern part, people were required to go to the government’s website, download, print, and have signed by the prime minister either a Professional Travel Proof Form A, B, or C, while authorities on the French-controlled northern part required people leaving their homes to have an “attestation” form.

In stepping up efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, authorities of both parts of St. Martin agreed to close the border between the two territories on March 29.

By April 6, iron trailer containers at two locations blocked the frontier, which has generally been unguarded for centuries, and the two main roadways were “jointly patrolled” by police authorities and soldiers, physically separating St. Martiners who, notwithstanding the realities of colonialism, had lived as one people for over 200 years.

The pass policy was later modified as follows: residents of the Dutch-controlled half had to request permission from the prefet, the French state representative in Marigot (capital of the French controlled part), while those living in the French part needed to obtain authorization from the prime minister or chief of police in Great Bay (traditional name for the capital of Dutch-controlled part) to move across the island.

Thus, the pass effectively became a form of travel “visa,” affecting the vast majority of people on land, while a minority of “residents” with access to boats did not experience the same restrictions.

The mobility issues escalated when the authorities in the Dutch territory removed the barriers, iron trailer containers, they had placed at two border points, and the authorities in the French territory did not.

An example of the escalation, before the four “border crossings” at the frontier would become free of any blockade on June 2, occurred when a beloved St. Martin doctor of French nationality, who had worked for over 30 years on the Dutch-controlled part, was questioned at the Union Road border crossing by the (maskless) French authorities about the authenticity of his “C-waiver.” A number of people immediately took to social media to express their outrage.

The argument that restrictions were necessary to prevent the spread of the virus and severely overwhelm ill prepared healthcare systems seemed reasonable enough to most.

For others, even when reasonable adjustments were made—including a number of the island’s poets, such as Lasana M. Sekou in the following poem posted on Facebook after an elderly person was stopped at the border when attempting to leave the French territory to go and buy familiar medicine in the Dutch territory—the pass requirements conjured up images of plantation Slavery and privileges:

and so the disease reason for blocking the border

that is owned by france and the netherlands,

on the occupied land of st. martin,

begins to pitter to its political raison d’etre,

all the pieces of reason that we’ve been bawling ’bout

&battling off some way or t’nudder since the divide

&

since when we come to know how to walk

through kosha hill&diamond estate run

&belvedere pass/ages since,

for petit marronage&lohkay-like looking freedom

from which ever way&side

&smugglin, demijohnrum&medicine&thing

&

so it be then, like each generation must come to not hear

till we butt up on the gun-toting line, it drawn

&buried open in the sand.

i wonder if the blow to we haadn forrid each time

is like we marching ’pon a long road to union

marching to feel up way pass their frontier

marching ... marching ... marching ...

till jericho wall come bruckin’ dong ... dong ... dong ...

?

The global response to the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the best and the worst of humanity. What has been particularly instructive is the level of insensitivity and racist implications of so many of the responses. Whether they are carried out in ignorance by individuals like Gretha Stenger or intentionally by governments, including those made up of descendants of formerly enslaved Africans, a number of these measures have caused anguish in a people who often do not have the voice to express their anguish.

Like the Africans forced to endure humiliation on the auction block and on the plantation during Slavery, today their offspring continue to suffer indignity in the middle of a pandemic.

The historic movements noted above, that issued in significant changes, are arguably instructional for the people of today, subject to the various forms of an oppressive knee on their individual and collective necks.

These movements and others like them are part of the complex of engagements to be explored and developed in organizing forward to realize greater victories in areas such as social justice, affordable and quality health care and education for all, labor rights, immigration laws, human rights, political independence, defense of sovereignty, and reparations.

Works Cited

Historical Encyclopedia of World Slavery, Volume 1; Volume 7.

Sekou, Lasana M. “when old people can’t get the medicine they know.” (May 14, 2020). https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=3197392066986010&id=100001457448741.

“Slave Auction, 1850.” New York Daily Tribune, March 9, 1859 reprinted in Hart, Albert B., American History Told by Contemporaries v. 4 (1928), cited on EyeWitnessHistory.com.

Villareal, Daniel. “California Woman Apologizes for Holding Sign at Lockdown Protest Comparing.” Newsday online. Retrieved May 24, 2020.

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Two men in custody for questioning after Sunday Drive-by shooting in Simpson Bay

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - The police received several calls on Sunday morning June 14th, 2020 concerning a drive-by shooting that took place on the Sister Modesta Road in Simpson Bay.

At the location the officers were informed by witnesses, that two men in a white Mazda with Dutch plates drove up to the car wash and proceeded to fire several shots at the location.

After firing several shots, the suspects fled the scene in the direction of Welfare Road. Witnesses assisted the officers with an accurate description of the vehicle that was on the scene and this information was quickly passed along to the central dispatch, who then immediately alerted all other patrols in the area.  

Patrols in the area were able to spot the vehicle matching the description, still in the Cole Bay area. The officers quickly stopped the white Mazda and apprehended the two suspected perpetuators.

The suspects with the initials I.J. and G.J. were immediately taken into custody and transported to the police station in Philipsburg where they are being held for questioning. The car was also confiscated pending further investigation. (KPSM)

shooting simp

Alleged vehicle involved in the drive-by shooting incident in Simpson Bay on Sunday. (Police photo)

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Public Prosecutor’s Office reopens to the public on June 29th

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Public Prosecutor’s Office will be open again for walk-ins as of Monday, June 29th, 2020. For the remaining two weeks, visitors will still be received by appointment only.

To make an appointment call the Public Prosecutor’s Office Sint Maarten at: +1721 542 2243/ +1721 543 0109 or email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The Public Prosecutor’s Office will continue to practice the COVID-19 preventive measures.

Therefore, visitors will be asked to wear a mask inside the building and entry will be limited to one visitor at a time. Moreover, persons issued fines between March and June will be allowed to defend themselves in court on Wednesday, July 15th, 2020 at 9:00am.

However, in order to have this opportunity persons must call or email the Public Prosecutor’s Office, to have their names added to the court hearing list. Fines can be paid in cash at the Receiver’s Office in the Government Building, Soualiga Road or by pin transaction at the Public Prosecutor’s Office, located at Emmaplein 1 in Philipsburg, on working days between 9:00am and 5:00pm.

Fines can also be paid by bank transfer to bank account number 10058592 (CIBC First Caribbean), named to ‘Openbaar Ministerie Sint Maarten-Parket Officier van Justitie’, Emmaplein 1, Sint Maarten, and with the reference number (parketnummer).

For international transfers, use the following SWIFT/BIC code: FCIBSXSM. Following June 29th, 2020 the regular opening hours of the Public Prosecutor’s Office will resume, which are Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 8:00am-12:00pm and Wednesday’s 1:00pm-4:00pm.

Appointments can be made for the consultation hours, 10:00am12:00pm, held on the last Thursday of the month.

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Dutch sign up to Oxford University’s Covid-19 vaccine

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The Netherlands, France, Germany and Italy have signed a deal to buy up to 400 million doses of a potential anti-coronavirus vaccine from drugs firm AstraZeneca, health minister Hugo de Jonge confirmed on Saturday.

The vaccine, which is still undergoing trials, is being developed at Oxford University in England. The researchers are currently working towards a large-scale clinical trial which involves testing the vaccine on 10,000 people.

AstraZeneca has bought the licence to produce the drug and the British government has already ordered 30 million doses. Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s initiative to develop a vaccine has also invested $1.2bn in the project.

De Jonge said that the risks attached to making such an investment, before the vaccine had been proved to work, were not outweighed by the social importance and that the four countries, united as the Inclusive Vaccines Alliance, are still in talks with other developers.

‘Today’s move is extremely important… until we have a vaccine, the virus can always flare up again,’ he said. ‘We are therefore betting on more than one horse, because you don’t know in advance which one will win.’

Alliance

The four countries said earlier this month they had agreed to jointly carry out negotiations with drug developers and manufacturers to explore promising potential vaccines, and that other countries were welcome to join the alliance.

‘This will allow everyone in Europe – and especially those who are most vulnerable – to benefit from a vaccine,’ the Dutch government statement said at the time. AstraZeneca said in a statement on Saturday that deliveries would start at the end of 2020.

‘The company is seeking to expand manufacturing capacity further and is open to collaborating with other companies in order to meet its commitment to support access to the vaccine at no profit during the pandemic,’ the drug’s manufacturer said.

(DutchNews)

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Coronavirus takes ‘shocking’ toll on health: patient survey

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – People who have been infected with coronavisrus but were not admitted to hospital are struggling with severe effects on their health months after first falling ill, a survey by the respiratory disease organisation Longfonds has shown.

Some 95% of the 1,600 respondents, of whom 91% were not admitted to hospital and 43% were never officially diagnosed, said they have trouble with normal day to day activities three months after being infected.

Persisting symptoms include tiredness, shortness of breath, headaches, muscle pain and heart palpitations. The average age of the respondents is 53. Most of the respondents, some 85%, said they had no health problems before the infection.

That number dropped to 6%, with almost half of the respondents unable to resume physical activities like sport. Longfonds spokesman Michael Rutgers said the results are shocking.

‘This is a large group of corona patients who are sitting at home and who really need help. They are in a terrible state. (..) Six in 10 people even have trouble walking. These are normal, healthy people who are now wondering if they will ever be well again.’

The Longfonds and Long Alliantie Nederland LAN have opened an online platform where patients and relatives can go for information and advice. So far almost 300,000 have consulted the site where they can also speak to fellow sufferers.

The organisations will also use the data to conduct research into how to develop a programme of aftercare for coronavirus patients.

(DutchNews)

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SMMC provides COVID-19 update

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - As per May 11th, St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) has gradually resumed non-emergency health care services to the public as all COVID-19 has been transferred outside the hospital to the ICU tent and the Medical Mobile Pavilion (MMP).

As of May 12th, 2020, there is one (1) patient admitted to the MMP. The patient, who previously tested positive and was previously admitted for COVID-19, is considered cured and non-infectious, however due to pre-existing health conditions remains at the MMP for non-COVID care. Arrangements are being made for this patient to be transferred to another facility for the continuation of this care.

Chairman of the OMT and SMMC’s Medical Director Dr. Felix Holiday said “As COVID-19 is a new disease, one that the world is learning how to manage it and the potential threat of another surge on the island still exists, SMMC’s OMT remains activated until further notice.

This is to ensure the continuation of our COVID care and capacity and to continue with the preparations to ensure the continuation of this care during hurricane season and we will keep the public updated via our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/stmaartenmedicalcenter) and via press releases to various media outlets”.

SMMC extends their gratitude to their entire staff and volunteers, the AMI team, the Government of St. Maarten, ESF6, civil servants especially their colleagues at the Ambulance Department, the HCLS/SLS labs, the Dutch Ministry of VWS, the Dutch Marines, SMMC suppliers, local General Practitioners, all organizations, companies and individuals who have made donations, and the people of St. Maarten for their support during the COVID-19 pandemic. SMMC encourages the public to remain vigilant, to continue practicing proper hand hygiene, wear a face mask and to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

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