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Ebenezer Community Council calls for Recognition of Front Liners Every Friday evening

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – Last week Friday at exactly 7.00pm the residents of Ebenezer took a few minutes to clap and cheer for every essential worker who have to work to help keep us safe.

This includes every grocery store packer, cleaners and security guards.

The residents of Ebenezer wanted to recognize them for their dedication during these uncertain times and thank them.

We are asking every resident whether you live on the Northern or Southern side of our sweet St. Maarten to clap, knock pots and pans and if you are in your cars honk.

However, you choose to show your appreciation, please join us in this salute to our essential workers, the Ebenezer Community Council said in a statement.

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Panneflek: April 30th is Not a Public Holiday

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The public is hereby informed that the designated public holiday customarily known as Carnival Day and celebrated on April 30th, has been amended, a press release from the cabinet of the Minister of Public Health Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA) on behalf of Minister Richard Panneflek said.

Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, this public holiday will be given back to the people at a later date, still to be determined, the press release concludes.  

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Statia prepares Hurricane COVID 19 strategy

SINT EUSTATIUS (ORANJESTAD) - On Friday April 24th, the Public Entity of St. Eustatius began talks with the Caribbean Netherlands Fire Brigade to discuss the preparation for a joint hurricane COVID 19 strategy.

“Early preparation is necessary because this is the first time St. Eustatius will potentially have to deal with the regular Atlantic hurricane season amidst a medical crisis as the COVID 19 pandemic”, states Government Commissioner Marnix van Rij.

The current COVID 19 Crisis Team comprises the same stakeholders that make up the Island Policy Team (Eilandelijk Beleidsteam EBT) established to deal with disasters. Planning and preparing for the 2020 hurricane season require a new and innovative approach.

The Caribbean Netherlands Fire Brigade has therefore been requested to present scenarios for dealing with the current COVID 19 crisis and the upcoming hurricane season. The EBT met on Tuesday April 28th, where scenarios for dealing with the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season and COVID 19 were addressed.

Stakeholders will continue to meet in more of these preparatory meetings. They will have the opportunity to give input to this plan that will be ready on time for the start of the 2020 hurricane season.

Participating in this first meeting with the Caribbean Netherlands Fire Brigade were Government Commissioner Marnix van Rij, Deputy Government Commissioner Alida Francis, General Commander of the Fire Department and Local Commander Fire Department on St. Eustatius Andre Bennett. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1st until November 30th. (Statia GIS)

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Warning for Pyramid and other COVID-19 related scams

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - The Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten (CBCS) hereby warns the public about fraudulent offerings, pyramid-like schemes, and other coronavirus (COVID-19) related scams, CBCS said in a statement on Tuesday.

These scams are promoted using the COVID-19 situation as a cover to victimize unsuspecting or vulnerable persons, considering that in times of economic stagnation and downturn, people may be more inclined to try to make "easy money”.

A Pyramid Scheme is a type of fraudulent investment scheme that profits almost solely by recruiting other participants into the program. The CBCS again warns the public to be cautious of the following pitfalls of a Pyramid Scheme: 1. Emphasis on recruiting; 2. Promise of high return in short term; 3. Complex commission structure; 4. No genuine product or service is offered; and 5. Easy Money. Please note that schemes like Coin1, may be violating laws by evading legal requirements such as obtaining a license from the CBCS to raise funds from the public for collective investment purposes.

Please note that raising funds from the public for collective investment purposes, without a license from the CBCS is a punishable offense. Furthermore, the CBCS is cognizant of the impact of the COVID-19 situation, and the vulnerability of persons who may have been directly impacted by the fall-out of COVID-19 measures.

The CBCS warns of the following scams, capitalizing on the unprecedented anxiety caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic: -Work-from-home scams: fraudsters are taking advantage of individuals looking for alternative sources of income due to COVID-19 related measures. -Personal Finance scams: fraudsters are using the fear of current economic conditions to target individuals, posing as a financial institution and requesting sensitive financial or personal information. -Fake Government Messages: fraudsters may target individuals purporting to be government officials arranging government assistance and aid, prompting victims to provide their personal or financial details.

The CBCS will continue to take preventive and repressive steps in its efforts to stop alleged Pyramid and other fraudulent schemes from violating the rules and regulations of the CBCS within the jurisdictions of Curaçao and Sint Maarten.

Therefore, if you suspect or are aware of a Pyramid or any other fraudulent scheme in Curaçao or Sint Maarten, we urge you to contact the CBCS on telephone number +5999 434 5500 or by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The CBCS also recommends the public to consult its website https://centralbank.cw/warningnotices1 for a complete overview of recently issued investors’ education information and warning notices.

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TelEm Group Opens Tuesday, but limited opening hours

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - After weeks of closure because of the Coronavirus lockdown, TelEm Group says it will be opening its stores once again on Tuesday and the for the rest of the week – but for limited opening hours from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.

The concession to re-open has been granted by government to facilitate customers who want to make payment for services that they could not pay for online.

On at least two occasions in the past week, TelEm Group has had to apologize for turning many of their paying customers away after they turned up at the main office location on Pond Island only to be told the office had to remain closed as per government instructions.

TelEm Group Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), Mr. Michiel Parent, is most grateful to customers for their diligence and promises everyone will receive a warm welcome Tuesday and for the rest of the week upon their return to make their payments, even though the number of opening hours are being kept short for now.

“We are also informing customers in advance that we will be putting some strict protocols in place to ensure their safety and the safety of our staff while the offices are open for payment,” said Mr. Parent.

Amongst the safety measure being taken will be a compulsory requirement for all visiting customers to wear a mask and/or face covering prior to entering TelEm Group locations. Customers will also be asked to obey strict social distancing rules inside the building while waiting to be served and outside the building while waiting to enter the building(s).

Mr. Parent says customers will be asked to sanitize their hands with sanitizing solutions provided for them and to allow cleaning assistants inside the buildings to disinfect and wipe down countertops after each customer has been served.

For now, a limited number of persons will be allowed into the public areas at any one time. All TelEm Group staff will also be required to wear masks, with the use of gloves being optional. Similar to customers, staff will also be making extensive use of hand sanitizers as an additional safety precaution.

The Commercial Director assures than customers who arrive before the official closing time of 12:00 noon to make payments will be served, however anyone arriving after that time will be asked to return the following day.

Mr. Parent reminds that TelEm Group will be opening on the days also set aside by government for members of the public to visit the supermarkets, which this week is Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday due to the public holiday on Monday and Friday also of this week. The opening times next week will revert back to Monday’s Wednesdays and Fridays also as previously instructed by government.

“From Tuesday we will be focusing primarily on customers who want to pay their bill. Other non-essential staff will continue to work from home. Customers who want to report a service outage or customers with other service questions can call our Helpdesk which is open daily from 8:00 am until 6:00 pm,” said Mr. Parent. Customers can contact the helpdesk via 611, 548-help (548 4357), 546-0100 via WhatsApp 528-0100 for outage reports email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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French side embarks on community testing from May 4-18

SAINT-MARTIN (MARIGOT) – According to a statement from the Communication Directorate of the Collectivite of Saint-Martin, the latter and the St. Martin Hospital Centre will collaborate in a community testing program.

The strategy is to expand testing within the districts of Sandy Ground, Saint James and Orleans Quarter.

The process will include: 1. Identifying people who are symptomatic of COVID-19/2. 2. Collect vital settings; 3. Take a nasopharyngeal PCR sample; 4. Take care of the patient if the PCR result is positive; 5. Search for contacts of the positive case; 6. And inform the public about symptomatology and possible remedies.

The Hospital Centre will provide two doctors trained in the collection of samples, a State-educated nurse and the necessary administrative support staff. The Collectivite of Saint-Martin will provide communication and make available the premises in the neighbourhoods where the testing will take place.

The operation, is supported by the ARS of Guadeloupe, whose director will be in Saint-Martin on Tuesday, and the testing will take place from 4 to 18 May and will be in collaboration with neighbourhood councils, neighbourhood associations, and the Red Cross.

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Saba extends Lock-down for an additional two weeks – May 11

SABA (THE BOTTOM) – The Saba Government Information Service (SGIS) via the Public Entity of Saba released the following statement on Friday, April 24 in connection with developments related to COVID-19.

Today we received 32 test results back from the tests that have been taken. We are happy to say that 30 of these results were negative, while the 2 persons who had previously tested positive for Covid-19, again had positive results.

A large group of people will be finishing quarantine. They were monitored closely throughout the duration of their quarantine and tested for COVID-19. It is important to support our fellow people at this challenging time and so I urge you again not to stigmatize anyone.

While we have taken today's test results into consideration, it has ultimately been decided to extend the current lock-down and curfew for an additional 2-week period, which will end on May 10th, 2020. This will be done because of several factors, which include:

  • The fact that we do not know how the virus was introduced on Saba and so there is still a risk that others may have been infected.
  • And that an infected person can sometimes only have very minor or even no complaints or symptoms, and therefore not realize that they have the virus.

This is why two consecutive incubation periods, which is 28 days in total, without any new community cases, are needed to ensure that the virus has been contained.

The past weeks, not only those of the lock-down, but also the weeks before when we began with social distancing, has been difficult for many.

Because there are currently only 2 confirmed positive cases, which are related to each other, it has been decided to make some adjustments to the imposed restrictions of the lock-down. This is in order to give our community some ease, while still limiting the risk of spreading COVID-19, as much as possible.

Some of these adjustments include the possibility of a delivery service for some businesses in addition to the grocery stores and pharmacy. These businesses include restaurants during lunch and dinner, bakeries, cargo businesses and hardware stores. Any of these businesses who wish to start a delivery service, can send their request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

In addition to this, people will now be able to take walks and do outdoor exercise activities but ONLY in their own villages, with their household members, during the hours of 6 am until 8 am and 4 pm until 6 pm.

However, it is important to stress that social distancing still needs to be adhered to at ALL times.

At this unprecedented time, we have all had to adapt to a new ‘normal’. Lock-down is not easy for anyone and for some it is particularly challenging. To those who may be struggling in any way at this time, I want to reassure you that help is available. Please contact our Community Development department or email your concerns to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The ministries in the Netherlands are implementing packages which will have further economical relief measures. More information about these packages will be communicated over the weekend.

There will also be a document distributed which further outlines all of the processes in place, as well as the exemptions which have been made. Also included in the document, will be information on how you can apply for a special exemption if an urgent need arises or you have a specific responsibility that must be met.

The quarantine protocol will continue for any residents who return to the island and also others who may come up during contact tracing. These persons will be monitored and also tested during the quarantine period.

It is very important that all measures are adhered to. The local police will continue to play a central role in enforcing this lock down. As previously mentioned, all instructions from the police must be followed immediately.

Again, if you are experiencing any respiratory problems, call the hospital to discuss your symptoms and you will then receive further instructions. Do not go to the hospital unless you are instructed to do so.

We have and will continue to take measures with the aim of protecting our community. But these measures are only effective with your co-operation. Therefore, we ask for your continued understanding, but also your help during this time. Let us work together to make this lock-down effective in order to ensure the safety of us all.

Take care of yourselves and at the end of this, and there will be an end, we will emerge together, stronger and more resilient than before.

saba april 24 results

 

 

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Statia steps up local production of meat, vegetables and fruit

SINT EUSTATIUS - The Public Entity of St. Eustatius is increasing efforts to make sure sufficient fresh meat and crops will remain available at all times. As a result of the Covid 19 pandemic, the logistics of imported food supply has become vulnerable.

In meetings with farmers, owners of poultry farms and fishermen, a number of necessary investments have been identified, to ensure food security through self-reliance.

To increase food security in any scenario in the future and to minimize dependency on importing meat, fruits, vegetables and fish, an inventory of the current supply was made.

“We call upon the people of Statia, to buy local. This is a way to empower our local food producers into taking their role in making sure our community has sufficient access to fresh products, when times are tough” says Government Commissioner, Marnix van Rij.

To match the demand for meat on Statia, the production of meat on the island must be increased by threefold. To foresee in feed needed for the animals, grass from the airfield can be utilized.

The Directorate of Economy Nature and Infrastructure (ENI) is also exploring stocking up on imported feed from the region. The increase of workload at the slaughterhouse will be tackled by recruiting additional butchers. Storing the increased volume of fresh meat is made possible by deploying an extra freezing container.

For the public to access locally produced meat, the market at the slaughterhouse, now held once every two weeks on Friday, will be expanded. Prepacked meat from will be sold daily from Monday to Friday from 7.30 AM till 3.30 PM. Besides the meet market, at High 5 supermarket local meat can be purchased as well.  

Access to water is one of the main bottlenecks for farmers to start growing more fruits and vegetables. All farmers who do not already have a drip irrigation system are receiving a drip irrigation system, provided by ENI. A water truck for farmers is being introduced.

In the long term, the use of public wells will be reassessed, Concordia well specifically, to make more water available.

Regular access to farm machinery is another obstacle in the upscaling of yield. Statia’s local government continues working with farmers to regulate the availability of farm machinery and attachments available. Farmers will be given priority in booking tractors and other farm equipment, to allow them to plan ahead and grow more.

After a round of talks with the fishermen of Statia, it was concluded that currently they have taken their own initiative to increase the catch and sale of marine products. At this moment in time, no additional measures are needed to increase the availability of marine products. (Statia GIS)

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THIRD Installment of Soualichi Stories, “Bro Monkey,” told by Storyteller Clara Reyes

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Foresee Foundation announces the third folk tale in its Soualichi Stories series: “Bro Monkey,” as told by well-known local Sint Maarten Storyteller Clara Reyes.

“Bro Monkey” will be released this coming Monday April 27, 2020, on dozens of radio stations across the country (schedule included below), and all prior stories are now available online a week subsequent to their radio release through the Foresee Foundation website.

In the story of little Bro Monkey, we are treated to a light-hearted legend about the sneaky, wiley Bro Monkey and his clever antics. He uses his smarts to gain food and water, and even to protect himself from Bro Lion. Bro Monkey is a rascal who solves problems in his own unique ways.

Clara Reyes, Soualichi’s storyteller for this week’s tale, is Head of the Department of Culture and Co-Founder of the National Institute of Arts, and she shares a legend earlier recounted by Gerald Hodge for the compilation, "Beyond the Tourist Trap: A Study of St. Maarten Culture." (See photos, below.)

As highlighted by Ms. Marcellia Henry, Secretary General of UNESCO, Sint Maarten, “[t]he project is documenting and recording our rich St. Martin oral tradition. This project assists with the preservation of our St. Martin intangible cultural heritage. . . This project helps to educate and entertain our elders, present and future generation ensuring that this aspect of our cultural heritage lives on.”

For inquiries and to suggest additional St. Maarten folk stories and story tellers, please contact Soualichi Project Coordinator, Laura Hartman, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or contact the Foresee Foundation on Facebook.

Programming Schedule (as of press time) for STORY #3:

Monday

SOS 95.5

8:30 AM

Mix 94.7

9:00 AM

MY 88.3

9:30 AM

Tunes Carib

3:00 PM

Radio St. Martin 101.5

5:30 PM

Tuesday

MY 88.3

9:30 AM

Island 92 (91.9)

10:00 AM

SXM GOV

8:00 PM

Wednesday

SOS 95.5

8:30 AM

MY 88.3

9:30 AM

Island 92 (91.9)

10:00 AM

Tunes Carib

3:00 PM

Radio St. Martin 101.5

5:30 PM

SXM GOV

8:00 PM

Thursday

Mix 94.7

9:00 AM

MY 88.3

9:30 AM

Voice of SXM (PJD2)

5:30 PM

SXM GOV

8:00 PM

Friday

SOS 95.5

8:30 AM

MY 88.3

9:30 AM

Island 92 (91.9)

10:00 AM

Tunes Carib

3:00 PM

Radio St. Martin 101.5

5:30 PM

SXM GOV

8:00 PM

Saturday

Mix 94.7

9:00 AM

Voice of SXM (PJD2)

3:00 PM

SXM GOV

8:00 PM

Sunday

SXM GOV

8:00 PM

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Students of the Coast Guard training are helping the ones in need during the COVID-19 crisis

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - The students of the Coast Guard training ‘Basis Opleiding Kustwachter’ (BOK) are helping the ones in need in the corona crisis, the Coast Guard said in a statement on Thursday.

All the students were repatriated to their homeland when the governments announced their border shutdowns because of the threat of the corona virus. Once at home, the youngsters volunteered to help their fellow citizens in need due to the crisis.

A great number of volunteers are organizing good initiatives in Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten, to help the citizens and animals that have been affected. The Coast Guard students are helping with among others: food packaging, distribution of the packages and rescuing animals.

In Curaçao the students helped at Boka Ascension by spotting turtles that have become trapped in the washed-up sargassum in the bay. Sea Turtle Conservation Curaçao requested the help of volunteers to assists them with the rescue of the sea turtles.

The CITRO volunteers also assisted in this action by looking for the turtles in the sargassum weed with their drones.

In Aruba, the students gave a helping hand during the preparation of the food packages and washing the food trays at ‘Fundacion pa nos Comunidad’.

In St. Maarten they supported the K1 Britannia by delivering food trays to the citizens in need. The Coast Guard students are excited and are doing their utmost to reach the people and animals that need help.

Dutch Coast Guard 14 sxm

dutch carib cg turtle rescue

dutch carib cg seaweed

dutch carib cg packing

dutch carib cg

 

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