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Extended pre-trial detention for Ginger Island shooting suspect

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The suspect in the Ginger Island Drive shooting has had his pre-trial detention extended by sixty (60) days by the instructing judge on Monday, January 24, 2022.

E.M. is suspected of shooting his victim in the shoulder on 15 October 2021 in a parking lot on Ginger Island Drive after an argument concerning a parking spot. He is also charged with possession of a firearm.  

Police arrested E.M. on 30 December 2021 in the vicinity of Oyster Pond. He has been in custody since his arrest for the non-fatal shooting and other related charges.

The suspect is expected to appear in the Court of First Instance on 21 April.

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St. Maarten Babe Ruth Leagues Hosts Its First Open House Event at Motorworld Show Room

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - On Saturday, January 22nd, 2022, The St. Maarten/ St. Martin Babe Ruth League (SXM Babe Ruth League) hosted its first Open House at Motor World in Cole Bay.  The aim of the Open House was to introduce the Board Members, players, coaches, and volunteers of the SXM Babe Ruth League to the general public, dignitaries, media, and prospective sponsors, SXM Babe Ruth League said in a press statement on Monday. 

“Information was provided regarding the aims, goals, and vision of the league which include the commencement of the SXM Babe League on February 5th, as well as, participation in the Babe Ruth League Caribbean tournament which is scheduled to be held in the Bahamas in July of this year.  

“The SXM Babe Ruth League would like to thank Motor World, Monster Factory, Babe Ruth Inc, Babe Ruth Caribbean, St.Martin Baseball/Softball Association Core Media and VID Media Solutions for contributing towards the SXM Babe Ruth League Open House. 

“We encourage parents, players, coaches, and volunteers to get involved with the SXM Babe Ruth League as we prepare to develop and enhance St. Maarten’s baseball product,” SXM Babe Ruth League said on Monday.

For further information regarding general enquiries or player registration, kindly visit our website at https://www.sxmbaberuthleague.com or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Sint Maarten Tourism Bureau shares insight into ongoing Expedia marketing campaign

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The Sint Maarten Tourism Bureau (STB) together with the French Tourist Office partnered to launch two marketing campaigns with Expedia during 2021, the first one was successfully executed in Spring 2021. The second campaign launched in November 2021 is currently on going throughout Spring 2022.

The current ongoing Expedia marketing campaign continues to perform good resulting in high return on ad spend with a gross booking revenue of close to USD$ 1.0 million thus far.

The cooperative marketing campaign also generated over 2000 room nights since the launch of the campaign in November 2021.

In December 2021, there was a total of 33.879 stayover arrivals, which is an increase of 151% in comparison to December 2020 stayover arrivals.

Majority of travelers turn to OTAs (Online Travel Agent) throughout their purchasing journey for trip inspiration, planning or booking.

The objective of the campaign is to promote the Dutch and French side of the island to the United States market with the aim to inspire, engage and covert travel consumers to book a trip to the destination by leveraging on Expedia’s extensive product portfolio.

The marketing campaign is conducted online and consist of search result banners, homepage native ads and display banner ads on Expedia’s platform.

This is used to maximize traffic to the dedicated destination-landing page, providing travel consumers with the opportunity to book their trip, as well as view inspiring content about places to stay and things to do while on island.

“Expedia continues to be one of the leading OTAs in the United States, and therefore carrying out a marketing campaign with Expedia will allow the destination to reach a broad range of active vacation seekers,” said STB Marketing Director Gianira Arrindell.

“Interest in the destination continues to grow, of which is evident in the high search and booking volume for the destination conducted on Expedia.

“Therefore, it is important that we continue to be at the forefront increasing destination consideration and stimulating last minute and future bookings,” Gianira Arrindell further added.

STB will continue to collaborate with OTAs, tour operators, and airlines in addition to carrying out other marketing activities to further increase destination awareness and stimulate bookings that will result in positive economic value for the destination.

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MP Emmanuel: ‘Gang of liars’ continue to damage integrity of Parliament

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - “Just when you think it could not get any lower in Parliament, the gang of liars running this country somehow managed to set a new low,” said Independent MP Christophe Emmanuel on Friday in a press statement, adding that blatant, cold-hearted lies is the order of the day for the UP/National Alliance coalition, from the Chairperson of Parliament right down.

Emmanuel was reacting to the excuses and back-peddling that was on full-display in Parliament after the Chairlady of Parliament Grisha Marten-Heyliger, admitted that indeed a dossier filled with allegations and complaints from airport COO Michel Hyman about issues at the airport, was delivered to Parliament in June 2020. It was also delivered to the Council of Ministers on the same day.

On Wednesday, the Chairlady stated to Parliament and the public that the dossier was not booked in to Parliament and is therefore not at Parliament. This was followed on Thursday by the Minister of TEATT Roger Lawrence confirming that it was delivered to the Council of Ministers.

On Friday, after Lawrence’s confirmation, the Chairlady of Parliament admitted that the dossier was received by the personal secretary of the former Chairman of Parliament Rolando Brison, “something I know for a fact she already knew from the day before,” MP Emmanuel said. MP Brison in the meantime, has maintained that he did not receive anything. “And we all know based on his track record, that if he says go left, you better go right,” MP Emmanuel said.

According to Emmanuel, this is where the further shaming of Parliament began. The Chairlady then explained to Parliament that the secretary said that she has two ways of handling documents delivered to her office. She either hands it to MP Brison directly or places it on his desk.

“And this is where the Chairlady stopped with the explanation. No indication of whether the secretary actually gave it to the former Chairman Brison or placed it on his desk. So which is it? If he is saying he didn’t get it, then it caught wings or legs from his office desk and walked out? So then by that explanation we can conclude that since June 2020 when his secretary put it on his desk, he obviously never went to work,” Emmanuel said.

“This is unacceptable. Everyone knows this secretary in question is efficient and a consummate professional. Her former boss is now throwing her under the bus, and her current boss (Heyliger-Marten) is not being totally truthful. It is as plain as day to see that there was collusion between the former Chairperson of Parliament and the Prime Minister to hide this dossier.

“And today, the Chairlady of Parliament needed to concoct another lie to protect the leader of her party who has once again managed to embarrass this country with scandal, damage the integrity of Parliament and shame his deserving coalition MP’s,” Emmanuel said. He said he finally understands why the Prime Minister thought that Brison’s “caught on tape” moment was forgivable, because by then they had already colluded on much worse.  

The MP stressed that there is a much bigger picture at play and that the purposeful hiding of the dossier handicapped Parliament when it came to discussions about the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA). He said a local professional, in the person of Michel Hyman, took it upon himself to report what he felt were shady and unlawful practices at PJIA.

“He took these concerns to his bosses which ultimately is the Government of St. Maarten. And what does the government turn and do? They bury it. They hide it. We had two years of debating the airport and we are still debating the airport and its terrible CEO. This dossier could have added context and could have triggered inquiries. All the talk about integrity and corporate governance and Schiphol, all of this took place while the former President of Parliament sat on the dossier, the government hid it, then turn and blatantly lied about it. A gang of liars and enablers are running the government,” Emmanuel said.

He went on to commend Minister Lawrence to take it upon himself and find the dossier after the Prime Minister declined to answer the question in Parliament. “All of a sudden the Prime Minister wasn’t the Shareholder Rep. anymore. It suddenly became Minister Lawrence who wasn’t even there when the dossier was delivered to her government. That should have been a warning to Minister Lawrence, watch your back with these people who have perfected deceit and the habit of burning their own,” the MP said.

He said he is looking forward to findings from Minister Lawrence’s urgent meeting with the airport holding board this weekend, and to see how the media will handle the information in the dossier. “You have to counter lies with the truth, the Chairlady had the opportunity to truthfully inform the people of St. Maarten and Parliament. Instead, they took time to concoct their latest grand lie. So once again, I guess it is left up to me divulge the truth in the coming days,” the MP concluded.  
  

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MP Arrindell seeks clarity regarding visitors to the Island and COVID-19

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Despite several guidelines and protocols put in place to maintain the number of cases at a low rate and conducting economic controls in businesses and buses, the current rate of COVID-19 infections has spiraled and the current rise in the number of hospitalization has spiked throughout the community, mainly due to non-compliance or a blatant disregard to the protocols by businesses and citizens alike, that is very worrisome and has reached a level of concern, Member of Parliament (MP) Akeem Arrindell said on Thursday in a press statement.

“As a consequence, thereof, I have sought clarity on some areas of concern, in specific regarding visitors to our island – by way of air and sea – from the Ministers of VSA and TEATT.

“One of my interests of concern and that of the public are, as to whether or not vaccinated visitors arriving by air to our island are still allowed to enter without proof of testing negative for COVID-19, and if not the type of test that is required for fully vaccinated travelers, also taking returning local residents into consideration. I also brought forward the Travel Insurance Policy and its effectiveness.

“Where the arriving cruise passengers are concerned, the question was to whether or not all cruise passengers and crew are fully vaccinated or are ships cruising with passengers and crew that are not vaccinated.

“Weighing the visitors arriving on our shores via cruise vessel calls and those visitors arriving by air at PJIAE, my curiosity was aroused as to whether there is a difference in rules for both genres of travelers and if there are different requirements for Home Porting Ships vs ships calling to Port for the day.

“In view of the fact that some visitors can arrive by air or seaport without having the valid required documents, such as a negative test or have not submitted the necessary information on the EHAS, although much propaganda has been published worldwide by the government, many are asking the question, especially on social media, as to what happens when such a visitor arrives on the island. Are these folks returned to their country where their flight originated, or is there a fine system in place for on the spot payment and testing?

“There is also much talk about the manner in which positive tested visitors are quarantined in hotels. In such peculiar situations whereby visitors who test positive while on island and unable to return home, are there dedicated quarantine facilities for these persons and if not, if plans are in place to arrange such a facility at our ports of entry for immediate quarantine. As you can see, there are many questions at hand requesting clarity by the general public at large,” MP Akeem. E. Arrindell, independent member of the House concluded on Thursday in his media statement.

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Learn How to Take Care of Your Financial Health & Build Wealth

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - January is generally the month in which many people find themselves with “more month at the end of the money” than any other month. Many have overspent for the Christmas holidays and are left wondering where their next dollar will come from and sometimes find themselves in desperate situations.

Cognizant of this fact, Victorious Living Foundation (VLF), which officially celebrates 20 years this June of empowering, enlightening, reconciling and transforming lives, has resumed its monthly Health & Wellness Education Series which was launched in March 2021. Usually, VLF’s wellness series focuses on nutrition, physical wellness or mental health; however VLF’s visionary, Dr. Erna Mae Francis Cotton indicated that in resuming the series she felt it important to help position all of us to win in 2022, by helping us to focus on our financial health.

This complimentary Master class will be held on January 22nd from 7-8:45 p.m. via Zoom. Participants locally and around the world may register for this complimentary event at https://bit.ly/VLFFinancialHealth to learn from Dawne Williams, MBA, Founder and CEO - DEW Consultancy. Williams, M.B.A., a Financial Services and Service Excellence Professional, is an Independent Consultant in Banking, Financial Services, Management and Service Excellence.

She obtained her professional education from the United Kingdom Chartered Institute of Bankers, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania and University of Wales. Her career in the Financial Services Industry spans 44 years, 25 of which were spent practicing throughout the English-speaking Caribbean.

Dawne Williams is recognized for outstanding and valuable contribution in Economics and Finance in St. Kitts & Nevis; she is the former CEO of the St. Kitts Nevis Anguilla National Bank & CIBC First Caribbean Executive. Williams is the Past President of the Business and Professional Women’s Club of St Kitts and the current Regional Coordinator for the Business and Professional Women’s Clubs of North America and The Caribbean. A friend and an advisor to Victorious Living, she’ll help us to be able to define Financial Management; understand our role in managing our finances; provide tips to successfully manage our finances and create wealth.

Sabina Asadova, CEO of Global Health 2 Wealth Solutions, is a regular contributor and partner of Victorious Living Health & Wellness Education series. Sabina was elected as Head of Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV) and President of “Shalom Club” Mashav in Azerbaijan. She will share how to be healthy, support those who need to improve their health while creating wealth through multiple streams of income.

Join Victorious Living’s Master class hosts, Roy Cotton, Jr. and Dr. Erna Mae Francis Cotton and guests on Saturday January 22nd. Register for this complimentary Master class at https://bit.ly/VLFFinancialHealth or call 1-721-524-8731.

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Gordon-Carty: Civil servant exodus due to victimization, hopelessness

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Leader of the United St. Maarten Party (USP) Pamela Gordon-Carty on Wednesday decried the number of civil servants that are leaving government service and placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of the National Alliance/UP coalition government. She said the government has created an atmosphere of hopelessness and victimization which is directly contributing to the exodus of public servants.

“While I want to wish the entire population of country St. Maarten a prosperous and health filled new year beginnings, I would also want to express my dissatisfaction with what has been going on in plain sight right here. Lately there's a trend of putting down our own people publicly to the point of humiliating them, ruining their career whether it be political or not,” Gordon-Carty said, adding that public servants are being made a mockery to suit whatever narrative or hidden agendas.

“We are also aware of more planning to follow suit. Who will be the new ones? What's the selection procedure? Are our locals going to have a fair chance? Government is portraying to be for the people but their actions speak to the contrary. The constant selective dismissals, the resignations and victimization of our local people have to stop,” she said.

Gordon-Carty said even in those instances where the court was involved with terminating of civil servants, there could easily have been other individuals that could and maybe should have been held accountable because of improper behavior and undermining of senior civil servants.

“I do not know of any other country that treats its own people with such mockery. It is a disgrace. Individuals that have been in contact with the law and were also convicted are also quick to condemn others as if they never made a mistake in their life time. People we as a nation need to unite. I am not saying we need to condone wrong doings, but we can't be enjoy stepping on our own and let others that have done worse to walk away ‘scotch’ free,” she said.

She continued: “What is the message we are giving out to our younger generation. No one on this earth is perfect so let's stop the facade. Give the nation a chance to prove to the outer world that we stand together as a nation by our actions. This selective choice of making our own people into public spectacles is not acceptable. For me it doesn't matter what political color the individual represents.

“Stop undermining our own. Why are we constantly stepping over our own? To prove a point to who is my question? Who do we want to please? So what are we saying that educated young individuals can't come back home and occupy a decent post in his or her country? Are we saying that if this individual doesn't role with what a selective group wants, then we will slander him/her, beat the individual to a pulp, ridicule him publicly and stand on the side and be part of how they’re bringing down our own? St. Maarten remember together we are stronger divided it's not going to work out,” she concluded.

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Successful implementation first stage Instant Payments

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - The Centrale Bank van Curaçao en Sint Maarten (CBCS) can look back on a successful implementation of the first stage of the Instant Payments Clearing and Settlement Mechanism (IP-CSM).

All interbank payments in and between Curaçao and Sint Maarten as well as interbank payments between banks in Bonaire will now be processed within a few seconds, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

As per January 15, 2022, the following financial institutions participate in the system: Orco Bank NV (Curaçao, Sint Maarten & Bonaire) PSB Bank NV (Curaçao) Maduro & Curiel’s Bank NV (Curaçao & Bonaire) Windward Island Bank NV (Sint Maarten) Banco di Caribe N.V. (Curaçao, Sint Maarten & Bonaire) RBC Royal Bank N.V. (Curaçao, Sint Maarten & Bonaire)

CBCS now aims to get the other commercial banks connected to the IP-CSM as soon as possible during this year.

Furthermore, the CBCS, in collaboration with the local banks, will further develop the IP-CSM as to process transactions between Bonaire and Curaçao/Sint Maarten within seconds per June 2022, and will expand the payment options on all islands to more efficient mobile and online P2P (person-to-person), P2B (person-to-business), P2G (person-to-government) and in-store payments as of 2023.

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Extended pre-trial detention for Basseterre Drive shooting suspect

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The suspect in the Boxing Day shooting has had his pre-trial detention extended by sixty days on today, Monday, January 17, by the instructing judge. E. C-C. is suspected of shooting his partner in Basseterre Drive, Middle Region, on the afternoon of December 26, 2021. He fled the scene of the shooting but was apprehended by police in the vicinity of the Bell’s Lookout Point (commonly called “Harold Jack”) on Cole Bay Hill on the evening of December 27.

The suspect is expected to appear in the Court of First Instance for his pro forma hearing on February 23. A pro forma hearing deals with, among other things, the necessity of continuing the pre-trial detention based on the status of the investigation.

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Several Traffic Accidents involving Scooters

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Over the past week, KPSM’s Traffic Department has yet again handled a number of accidents resulting in injuries, the police said in a media statement on Sunday.

KPSM will be continue to carry out the controls on scooter riders and motorcyclists, especially due to some road users not respecting or obeying traffic regulations. Their behavior is a nuisance to the community and endangers the lives of others.

According to an international study, several factors influence the cause of scooters and motorcycles involvement in accidents. These include:

  • Speed-related errors
  • Stunts
  • None or inappropriate protective equipment
  • Traffic violations

Anyone with information about any dangerous rider or others plaguing the community, contact the Police Force: 54-22222 or emergency number 911. (KPSM)

police red scooter

police yellow bike

police blue scooter

Images below of the various scooters that were involved in several accidents that took place over the past week.

traffic tips for scooter riders

 

 

 

 

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