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Voters asked to update their information at civil registry

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) —The Civil Registry Department would hereby like to invite all eligible voters in connection with the upcoming parliamentary elections to update their voter information.

Citizens are invited to visit the office between Tuesday October 15th, 2019 up until Monday October 21st, 2019 at the New Government Building during the hours of 16:00 and 18:00 to update their respected profile.

Citizens can:

- Update their address  

- Update their name or marital status:

   persons can bring in their breeder document (Birth certificate

   or Marriage/ divorce certificates)

- Inquire about their voting status

- If a family member passed away abroad please provide us

with the death certificate (this to avoid receiving voting card)

All citizens must present an identification document, if applicable a GEBE bill for the address or a lease agreement to update the address.

To update the profile with breeder (Birth certificate or Marriage/ divorce certificates) documents, please provide these documents along with the legalization and translation if applicable.

The management of the department hopes that this opportunity will be used by concerned voters.

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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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Surviving Victim of shooting incident on Pond Island arrested

POND ISLAND - The detective department arrested the man with the initials, L.A.L.H on Sunday October 6th, 2019, who was one of the victims of the shooting that took place on Pond Island on Thursday October 3rd.

According to the information gathered by the detectives and forensics, L.A.L.H. and the deceased victim F.T.C.R supposedly had ill-treated the shooter A.R with a baseball bat shortly before the shooting took place on Pond Island.  

He is being held at the police station in Philipsburg pending further investigation. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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Armed robberies at two restaurants under investigation

COLE BAY/SUCKER GARDEN - The police force KPSM was kept busy over the weekend with two armed robberies that took place in Cole Bay and Sucker Garden, police said in a statement on Monday evening.

The first robbery took place on Friday October 4th, 2019 approximately 08.10 pm on a Chinese restaurant on the Union road. According to the information gathered from the victims, two young men dressed all in black with hoodies, came into the restaurant brandishing a firearm and robbed the cashier. After the robbery the suspects disappeared in the dark behind restaurant.

About 20 minutes later the police was called to another armed robbery that took place at a restaurant at the Sucker Garden road close to the crossing with Arch road. According to the information gathered, a young man dressed in complete black came into the establishment armed with a handgun and robbed the cashier of the cash.

The robber ran away in the direction of the Key’s. The Special Unit Robbery is busy with the investigation of these two cases. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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Alumnus Sunny Khatnani funds solar powered air-conditioning at MPC

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Owner of Divico Group of Companies Sunny Khatnani gives back to his educational roots at Milton Peters College (MPC) by funding air-conditioning for one classroom. Khatnani is the first MPC alumnus and entrepreneur to ‘adopt’ a classroom at the largest public school of Sint Maarten.

MPC school board SVOBE, a teachers’ and students’ delegation of MPC and auditing firm Baker Tilly kicked off project ‘Keep a cool head’ on September 27th, aiming to obtain funding for solar powered air-conditioning in 22 classrooms at MPC that still lack climate control.

On behalf of Divico Group of Companies, Sunny Khatnani donated project ‘Keep a cool head’ USD 5.000, the amount required to adopt a classroom. The ‘Divico classroom’ will be provided with air-conditioning and Khatnani’s resume will be hung on the classroom wall to inspire students. By sponsoring project Keep a cool head, Khatnani hopes to contribute to a better learning environment and stimulate young Sint-Maarteners’ ambitions. ‘They are the future of our Island and education is key in building back better’, said Khatnani.

Khatnani decided to return to his birth soil in 1995 after attending Boston University and went on to become a leading entrepreneur in St. Maarten. After working in sales at Mirage Juwelers and BBG Communications, Khatnani founded his wholesale business Divico in 2006. Khatnani states that studying abroad has been beneficial to him, but he also recognizes that in many cases it leads to ‘brain drain’; young potentials that leave the island for their studies, often do not return after obtaining a degree.

The Keep a cool head project team hopes that Khatnani will be an example to today’s MPC students. ‘Khatnani shows that the island’s potential can go a long way. MPC is a school that raised Governors, entrepreneurs and teachers. Examples like these are vital to keep students motivated’, said Femke Neunzig, teacher and member of the Keep a cool head project team.

The MPC/SVOBE/Baker Tilly Keep a cool head project team is still looking for more MPC alumni to adopt MPC classrooms that still lack climate control. In September, a Facebook video by MPC teacher Femke Neunzig went viral, stating that the temperature in MPC classrooms was hindering education. Since then, a number of MPC alumni and other sympathizers have stepped up to contribute to a cooler learning environment at MPC. 

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Generation New Status STM holds Band Intensive Workshop for Band members

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Dion Wright-Nelson and Jeffery Tribble Jr. arrived on Sint Maarten Sunday October 6th to conduct a weeklong Band intensive exclusively for members of Generation New Status STM Drum band.

Both gentlemen worked with the band during Generation New Status STM’s cultural exchange trip to Washington D.C in 2015 in partnership with The Musicianship®, a non-profit organization based in Washington that facilitates music lessons, experiences, and opportunities for nearly 1600 youth.

The band members are looking forward to the workshop and Coach Youmay Dormoy, Generation New Status STM Band leader is pleased to offer this training to his band members. “We continue to elevate our band and we look forward to holding more workshops and band camps in the future”. The Musicianship® has expressed a desire to work with us and we are very excited to partner with them on future projects, Coach Youmay stated.

The band camp will be conducted for during the midterm school break and will be held from Monday October 7th and end with a performance at MAHO on Friday October 11th. Generation New Status STM will like to thank the sponsors of this Band Intensive for their support: Holland House Beach Hotel, Shep Sheppard and MAHO group of Companies, Coaches Debbie Milton and Marisol Wilson, Ari Sutton of Art Saves Lives Foundation, Parents and Band members. Persons wanting to assist the band with this, and other workshops should contact Coach Youmay. Your support and financial assistance is always appreciated.

Dion Wright Nelson

Mr. Dion Wright-Nelson of The Musicianship-Washington D.C.  (Photo Credit: Generation New Status STM Archives)

 

 

 

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