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Soualiga Newsday Top Stories (3308)

SXM Airport Holds Constructive Meeting with Simpson Bay Community Council

SIMPSON BAYSXM Airport made a surprise donation of over 60 chairs and 25 tables for use at the Allen Halley Recreational Center. The donation was made at the last of its quarterly meetings with the Simpson Bay Community Council (SBCC) for 2014.

SXM Managing Director, Regina LaBega noted that SBCC had previously identified a need for these items, and the airport was really happy to be able to assist the center in this manner. SBCC members welcomed the gesture and said the chairs and tables would come in very handy for the upcoming Christmas season, with the different events that they are planning.

According to LaBega, the overall mood of the meeting was very positive, with both parties engaging in a healthy exchange of ideas. SXM Airport renewed its commitment to continue to work with SBCC in 2015 in pursuit of a sustainable and environmentally balanced development of the airport and its surroundings. 

SXM Airport updated members of the Simpson Bay Community Council about its ongoing Capital Improvement Program, which includes projects such as the relocation of the fuel farm and the construction of a new one with increased capacity and the new Fixed Base Operations (FBO) and Rescue and Fire Fighting (RFF) buildings. The latter will include a facility to house the island’s ambulance service that will serve Simpson Bay and surrounding areas.

The renovation of the cargo building; the airport’s new commercial strategy and the impending construction of a bypass to enhance safety and increase aircraft parking were among other projects discussed.

Although SBCC was receptive to all the information it received, it expressed some concerns in certain areas. SXM Airport promised to take their concerns into consideration.

SXM’s ongoing and planned environmental projects were also discussed including its revamped irrigation system, its planned solar panel field, and the LED lighting projects. SXM is one of the first airports in the Caribbean region to have all of its runway and taxiway lighting in LED.

Other important environmental projects dear to SBCC that were discussed were the drainage along the Airport Boulevard and the drainage along Sr. Patientia Road. The relevant study for the latter has been conducted and preparatory work has already commenced.

“The meeting was very constructive,” said LaBega. “We consider the Simpson Bay Community Council and all of the people of the neighborhood our partners as together we take SXM Airport to the next level.” (SXM Airport)    

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St. Maarten Harbour Holding Company to file appeal against building permit of Dock Maarten

POINT BLANCHE –On December 5, 2014, the Court in First Instance rendered its judgment in the injunction case filed by St. Maarten Harbour Holding Company against Dock Maarten.

St. Maarten Harbour Holding Company requested the Court to order Dock Maarten NV to cease its construction activities in the concession area of Great Bay and to remove the stone jetty constructed there in the past few weeks.

The Court in First Instance ruled that it could not grant the order because a building permit was issued to Dock Maarten NV on July 21, 2014 to construct the stone jetty. Since St. Maarten Harbour Holding Company has not yet filed an objection against the building permit, the building permit is assumed to have formal legal effect.

St. Maarten Harbour Holding Company was not previously informed of the building permit issued to Dock Maarten NV and was only informed thereof in connection with the court case.  

Attorney of St. Maarten Harbour Holding Company, Chris van Amersfoort of HBN Law, stated on Friday: “In Sint Maarten no rules exist that building permits need to be published, and in this case the building permit for Dock Maarten was not made known to the general public, let alone to St. Maarten Harbour Holding Company.”

According to the attorney, St. Maarten Harbour Holding Company can therefore still file an appeal against the building permit.

“After having received the judgment, an appeal has been immediately filed against the building permit with the court.  In light thereof, also the ruling of the court in the injunction case seems premature, and an appeal against that ruling is also considered,” Chris van Amersfoort said on Friday.

Mr. Van Amersfoort added: “St. Maarten Harbour Holding Company obtained its concession rights in 2007, which gives it the exclusive right to operate and manage all harbour activities in Great Bay.

“My client does not oppose to private developments in the concession area, as long as it is aware of those developments and can perform mandatory checks to determine whether the plans are in accordance with local regulations, international requirements and the development of Port St. Maarten in general.

“For reasons unknown to my client, Dock Maarten NV refuses to give any insight into its plans, which forces my client to continue defending its concession rights in court”, Chris van Amersfoort concluded.

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NV GEBE Assists Arrest Team with Travel to Florida to Participate in SWOT Event

PHILIPSBURG - Inspector Ricardo Henson presented President of the Managing Board of NV GEBE Mr. Romelio Maduro with a token of appreciation from the members of the arrest team.  

Inspector Henson thanked the management and staff of NV GEBE, by expressing his heartfelt gratitude to the company for its generous charitable donation towards the arrest team.  The donation allowed the team to travel to Orlando to participate in SWOT challenges against other SWOT teams. 

Inspector Henson stated that the trip would not have been possible without the unwavering support of NV GEBE. (NV GEBE)

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Ms. Modest Top Model Search set for Friday

MARIGOT/PHILIPSBURG - This Friday night all roads will lead to the Carl & Sons Conference Room, Colebay for the  first ever Ms. Modest Top Model Search. The event gets underway at 7: 30 pm and will feature eight  beautiful young ladies who would have successfully completed a four week mentorship course at the Ms. Modest Academy and are now getting ready to graduate.

Foundation Youth Development Center (YDC) is the organizer and they have billed the event as a free one, inviting the general public to come out and support their favorite contestant.

Ms. Modest Academy for Boys and Girls is headed by Emalie Questel and Bernesha Albert-Tavanier. It provides for the wholistic development of youth in the areas of counseling, after school activities, Biblical principles, culinary skills, cosmetology, fashion design and other entrepreneurial areas so that they can become productive members of society.

On Friday night, contestants Domonique Fleming, Shaun-Taigh Lewis, Shekinah Gumbs, Naima Eugene, Azana Dunkley, Sephora Ellis, Fredrica Webster and Floriane Javois will have to display all that they have learnt over the past four weeks in talent, speech, attire and modeling skills. The winner will receive a prize while all other participants will receive certificates.

Additionally, online voting for favorite contestant can be done daily by visiting http://vote.pollcode.com/39726483. The winner of the poll will be awarded Ms. Popularity.

YDC is especially thankful for the support of sponsors such as  Sonesta Maho Resort, Classic Electronics, Cheri’s Café, Goodlife Spa, Emalie Questel, Torana Granston and Step Out Promotions who have positively contributed towards the success of youth development on St. Maarten. For more information on the programs and services offered by YDC, persons are free to email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call +590 690 26.93.66 or 721-580-6796.

The Top Model Search will become an annual activity and all attendees are asked to arrive early to take advantage of the limited seating at the free event. Refreshments will be on sale. (YDC)

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Sundial Interact Club Inducts 20 New Members

PHILIPSBURG - The Interact Club at Sundial School has added 20 new enthusiastic members. The induction ceremony took place on November 18 at the Sundial School.  The Interact Club is one of the youth arms of Rotary International with children ages 12-18 as members. Sundial’s Interact Club is sponsored by The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunrise. Through Interact students can engage in hands on service projects, make international connections and develop leadership skills.

The students were addressed by Rotary Sunrise President Virginia Asin and Sundial School Principal Mireille Peterson-Regales before being inducted. They were congratulated on joining, discussed the advantages of being part of Interact Club, and the importance of giving back to the community.

Present at the ceremony to look on and support the club were Director of Milton Peters College and Sundial School Wim de Visser, Rotary Sunrise members IPP Angela Gordon, New Generation Director Paula Gordon, Rotarian Damali Bryson and Rotary School Advisor Marcellia Henry. Also on hand were school advisors Teacher France and Teacher Tadimoeljo-Stein.

The new members Adante Pitter, Benjamin Merone, Shawnte Xavier, Angelina Percy, Rolando Richardson, Oseaan Chandler, Arelis Illidge, Moesha Gumbs, Daphnee Lormond, Jonisia Illidge, Sianta, Maria, Kesiah Hodge, Roseline Doralus, Joemayra Woods, Danio Mauvis, Heydi Granja, Georgina Rivera & Ignacio Brooks. The New Executive Board for the 2014-2015 year are President Nadricia Liburd, Vice President Dayanara Abad, Secretary Shawnte Xavier,  Assistant Treasurer Sianta Maria, Treasurer Jahrmeal White, Assistant Treasurer Angelina Percy, Public Relations Officer Jonisia Illidge, Assistant Public Relations Officer Adante Pitter, International Service Director Francia Cocina, Club Service Director Akiya Rogers & Fundraising Director Daphnee Lormond.

The students meet every 1st & 3rd Tuesday of the month at 12:30 pm at the Sundial School. 

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Victorious Living Foundation preparing for third Leadercast Event in 2015

PHILIPSBURG - St. Maarten- What is the one thing that every leader needs in order to take his/her team, Government, organization, business, or family to the next level? Courage!! Bravery!! Tenacity!

To help leaders from every walk of life to be courageous and daring enough to step out of their comfort zones so that their organization, business or team could go to the next dimension, Victorious Living Foundation, is teaming up with Giant Impact for the third consecutive year, to host Leadercast. Leadercast 2015 is a timely response to the needs of many leaders grappling with the challenges and the rigours of leadership.

Leadercast exists to positively change the way the world thinks about leadership. This year’s theme challenges leaders to focus on the courage necessary to lead, thus the conference is entitled, The Brave Ones.  To live up to its name, more than nine powerful world renowned leaders will inspire over 100,000 participants world-wide, including St. Maarten, with what it takes to lead courageously.

Among the power-packed speakers for Leadercast 2015 are: 17 year old Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Laureate and founder of The Malala Fund who was shot by the Taliban in 2012 while travelling home from school on the bus with her friends. Since the attack, she has become internationally known for her courage in refusing to be silenced and continuing her fight for the right of everyone to receive an education.

Malala’s bravery and unwavering dedication to her cause has seen her honored throughout the world, including being named as one of ‘The 100 Most Influential People in the World’ in 2013 by Time Magazine. She is the winner of Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize and the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

Ed Catmull, President of Pixar & Disney Animation Studios is co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and president of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation. For nearly twenty years, Pixar has dominated the world of animation, producing fourteen consecutive #1 box office hits, which have amassed $7 billion in combined worldwide ticket sales and garnered thirty Academy Awards.

His book Creativity, Inc. is a distillation of the ideas and management principles Ed has used to develop a creative culture. It is a book for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights. This is a fantastic book about managing and empowering teams that Forbes magazine has said “Just might be the best business book ever written”.

Former Mayor of New York City (1993-2001), Rudolph W. Giuliani will also grace Leadercast’s stage. After the inauguration of Ronald Reagan in 1981, Giuliani was named Associate Attorney General, the third highest position in the U.S. Department of Justice. In 1983, President Reagan appointed Rudy Giuliani as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Giuliani spearheaded successful efforts against organized crime, white-collar criminals, drug dealers and corrupt elected officials.

Few U.S. Attorneys in history can match his record of 4,152 convictions with only 25 reversals. In 1993, Rudy Giuliani was elected Mayor of the City of New York. He focused on reducing crime, reforming welfare, and improving the quality of life and was re-elected in 1997.Under Mayor Giuliani’s leadership, crime was cut by 56%, murder was cut by 66%, and New York City—once considered the crime capital of the country—became the safest large city in America according to the FBI.

These are just three of the more than nine world renowned leaders known for their bravery, innovation and courage to address us via live simulcast here on St. Maarten. Super Early Bird Registration for Leadercast starts now until December 20th. Persons, organizations, and businesses interested in registering may call 1-721-524-8731/1-305-407-9260 or visit www.victoriouslivingsxm.org for more details. (Victorious Living St. Maarten)

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Harassment by barkers and traders results in cruise ships leaving

JAMAICA - The Ocho Rios cruise port that saw 800,000 cruise passengers annually 20-years ago will now have to settle for 400,000 or less after cruise lines decide to move their docking preference from Ocho Rios to Falmouth in Jamaica.

Harassment by beach traders and barkers of cruise passengers has been blamed as the reason for the shift from one port to the next by cruise lines.  This without a doubt sends a strong message throughout the Caribbean including Sint Maarten that we must be very cognisant to such situations or be prepared to suffer the consequences.

Cruise lines have guests fill out surveys at the end of their cruise which plays a key determining factor of how the cruise line will plan future itineraries.

Business owners in Ocho Rios are very upset and very concerned as business activity will shrink in 2015.  The Jamaica Port Authority reportedly stated that Falmouth will see up to 12,000 cruise passengers weekly while Ocho Rios will only welcome close to 3,000 three times per month or just approximately one fourth of the business.

In order to address the beach trader/barkers issues in Ocho Rios, the Jamaican authorities have established an Entertainment Anti-harassment Committee.

Sint Maarten has several nearby cruise destinations such as St. Kitts & Nevis, Antigua & Barbuda to the East and the U.S. Virgin Islands to the West, that all vie for the business, and also face the same potential challenges if the pulse of cruise development is not monitored closely to make sure those issues and incidents are addressed quickly and satisfactorily.

The Jamaica Ocho Rios experience is a clear example where somebody dropped the ball leading to the cruise lines taking a final decision to move their ships to another port. This serves notice to regional ports to be very cognizant of their visitor’s experience. (Roddy Heyliger-COMMENTARY)

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TelEm Group celebrates contributions of its long- serving employees

POND ISLAND – TelEm Group management and staff celebrated the contributions of its longest serving employees during a moving Jubilee anniversary event at Captain Oliver’s, Oyster Bay, last Thursday.

The veteran workers clocked in a massive 280 years of combined service having reached milestones of 25 years, 30 years, 35 years and 40 years in service.

Each Jubilee celebrant was presented with a gift on behalf of the company along with some encouraging words from TelEm Group Mangers and directors, including Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Mrs. Helma Etnel and Chief Technical Officer (CTO) Mr. Eldert Louisa.

Both congratulated the Jubilees individually and as a group, recognizing the part they have each played in the development of TelEm Group from its humble beginnings under the management of Landsradio to its present position as the incumbent telecommunication provider for Country St. Maarten.

One of the highlights of the celebration was an exchange between Mrs. Etnel and President of the St. Maarten Communication Union (SMCU) Ludson Evers, who was one of the Jubilees, celebrating 25 years of service in the company.

Each, warmly recognized their differences in the past, and expressed mutual respect for their sometime contrasting roles of running the company and representing union members.

Another highlight came when Technical Director, Mr. Louisa, congratulated Supervisor, Power & Utilities, Mr. Jose Arrindell, for his 25 years in service, saying that while the pair had professional differences in the past, he recognizes that one of the positive results is that he has grown as a manager and director over the years because of those differences.

Amongst the Jubilees celebrating 25 years in service were:  Henry Salomons, Franklin Rogers, Amalika Bute, Hilaria Clovi-Sutton, Jose Arrindell, Elroy Hughes, Yolanda Heemskeerk, Junior Lake, Sherman Serastis, Ludon Evers and Monique Hodge-Wilson.

Supervisor, Lucient Hodge and Heinrich Susanna celebrated 30 years in service, while Lead Customer Service Representative, Stanley David was recognized for 35 years in service.

The highest accolade was reserved for long-serving employee, Stella Aarndell who marked 40 years in service, being one of the first employees of TelEm to still be in service.

During the celebration, Thursday, recognition was also given to former Manager, General Affairs and Purchasing Department, Mr. Olav Reed who this year retired from TelEm Group after marking 25 years in service.

Mrs. Etnel thanked all the veteran workers for their commitment to the company over the years.

“The fact that you have chosen to remain with the company over these many years, even when other options were open to you shows the commitment and love that you have for the company that each of you have helped to build, and for that you are much appreciated,” said Mrs. Etnel.

Many of the celebrants took the opportunity to comment on their own personal developments in the company over the years, some with humour and some with deep reflection, but with all taking the opportunity to thank the Human Resources & Development Department and the TelEm Group management for making their Jubilee celebration a memorable one.

“I speak for many of my colleagues when I say how grateful I am to TelEm for employment over the years, because as companies on St. Maarten goes we have much to be thankful for,” said one of the celebrants, Mrs. Monique  Hodge-Wilson. (TelEm)

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AIDS Foundation tests 142 at World AIDS Day Testing

PHILIPSBURG - St. Maarten AIDS Foundation's free and confidential HIV Testing event Saturday to mark World AIDS Day welcomed 142 people at Scotiabank in Philipsburg. Aided by physicians-in-training at American University of the Caribbean and other volunteers from the community, the event saw a steady stream of people filling the Scotiabank building to take advantage of the free testing. 

Radio stations x104 and Island 92 broadcast live from the premises throughout the day, and the AIDS Foundation also welcomed the singing group ARIAS who performed classic and modern pop songs to the delight of those present. 

During the event, the AIDS Foundation was presented with $582 by Sahil and Aisha Khatnani, a brother-and-sister team who raised the money by making and selling rubber loom bracelets and keychains in the shape of a red ribbon. "This is the single largest donation made by an individual this calendar year. The Khatnani children's initiative is mind-blowing and I hope shows other children that they, too, can make a difference, no matter how small, and sometimes like in this case, quite big!", noted Rajesh Chintaman, volunteer Treasurer of the AIDS Foundation. 

The winner of the week-long Facebook contest to market World AIDS Day was announced at 1pm, and the prize of two Flyzone Zipline passes donated by Loterie Farm goes to Josien van Wijk.

Several tickets to the Teen Times' Talent Showdown event was given away as well during the event.

"Overall it was a successful day, with people coming out at a steady stream to get tested. One-third of those tested was doing so for the very first time, which is very encouraging. They now know that an HIV test is not a big deal and have their baseline status established. Those who get tested tend to take more precautions to stay healthy going forward, especially after an individualized counseling on risk-reduction strategies", noted Dr Gerard van Osch, AIDS Foundation President. 

World AIDS Day is December 1st and the AIDS Foundation asks the community to commemorate it by getting informed about the issue by visiting www.sxmaidsfoundation.org, or its Facebook page (Facebook.com/sxmaidsfoundation). 

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Milton Peters College dominates Interscholastic Talent Showdown

PHILIPSBURG—Before they won last year, all the talk was focused on how long the students of the Milton Peters College had gone without a performing arts victory. They proceeded this year to win their second straight title in exciting and dominating fashion and signaled that they don’t plan on relinquishing their title any time soon. 

MPC won four of the five group categories of competition at the sold-out Teen Times/Chippie Interscholastic Talent Showdown on Saturday night. Led and coordinator by their teacher Erica Vlaun, the students of the island’s largest secondary school won the Singing, Dancing, Rapping and Spoken Word categories.

In the process, they won US $5,000 for the school after winning 10 computers for the school last year. They also get to retain the Teen Times Championship Cup for another year. The students of MPC also won themselves individual prizes.

The 12th edition of Talent Showdown, under the umbrella of Teen Times, drew just over 800 people, mostly youth, to the Dawn Beach Westin Resort and Spa. The show was actually sold out from early the previous day, prompting Teen Times to abandon any plans it had of selling tickets at the door. Organizsers said that at least 200 more people were turned away at the door due to lack of space.

Despite MPC’s the impressive performance however, the other schools in the competition served notice that they intend to challenge MPC’s title next year with strong showings themselves. St. Dominic High School remains undefeated in the Drama category, winning its 12th consecutive title. The school also placed third in spoken word, second in rapping, third in dancing and missed out on winning the singing category by one point.

The St. Maarten Academy also had a good showing at Talent Showdown, placing second in the drama and spoken word categories, and third in rapping. It’s sister school, Academy PSVE is not a regular participant in Talent Showdown but entered this year strongly in the singing and dancing category. PSVE placed third in singing and second in dancing and assured that they will be back next year in more categories.

Teen Times also included the Individual Dance category for the first time this year. It was won by Lian Borsje who, with the other two competitors in the category Gili Avara and Marine Caillet, wowed the crowd with their technical dancing skills. Lian won US $1,000 and a trip for two to San Juan, Puerto Rico courtesy of Travel Planners.

Coordinator of Teen Times Mike Granger made special mention of the teachers who take their time out to work with the performing arts students. “We are still fighting an uphill battle to get the importance of performing arts recognized within our schools and for the schools to fully appreciate how important it is for their students. But we are definitely getting their and we are grateful to those teachers that take time out to work with our talented students,” he said.

He continued: “We are always in awe of the amount of talent we have on St. Maarten, no matter long we’ve been doing this. They work so hard for so long and always do a great job. We are more than happy with the production this year and its all thanks to our performers. What we need now is a performing arts center. We love our home at Westin and they treat us great, but our young artists deserve a world class facility sooner rather than later. We congratulate all of the performers, the schools and the parents of these talented young people for a job well done.”

Granger also thanked long time sponsors UTS/Chippie, Travel Planners, Westin and The Daily Herald for staying true to Teen Times and its activities. “Lastly I have to recognize the hardest working group of young people I have the privilege to guide, the staff of Teen Times. You guys are awesome, thank you!” 

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