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Minister Wever briefed about Dutch Quarter project progress

SINT MAARTEN (DUTCH QUARTER) - Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spacial Development and Infrastructure (VROMI) Christopher Wever on Friday assured sub-contractors of the ongoing Dutch Quarter sewage project that the project itself as well as their concerns about various issues has his fullest attention and is looking forward to the project being completed by its stipulated date.

Minister Wever held two meetings on Friday at the project site, the first with main contractor Van Boekel, Contract Supervisor IIACO and representatives of government. The second meeting was with concerned citizens of Dutch Quarter who spoke on behalf of several sub-contractors and workers.

The Minister wanted to get first-hand information about the project, its delays and bottlenecks and to ensure that the project is still on schedule be to be completed in June 2020. Main contractor Van Boekel explained that despite underestimating the project at the start, work has been progressing. The main contractor also detailed issues with burglaries at the work site but this is being looked into by the police department.

The sub-contractors had the opportunity to brief the Minister about funds they are owed by contractor Van Boekel and how this on more than once occasion disrupted their lives. Minister Wever and government representatives present stressed and clarified that any backlog of payments does not rest with government, rather with Van Boekel, which the representative of Van Boekel who was present confirmed was due to a lengthy process.

Van Boekel's Chief Financial Officer (CFO) will be on St. Maarten soon and will be asked to explain this to the sub-contractors to avoid any additional delays with payments and unwelcomed situations which only serve to delay the ongoing work.

Minister Wever said he also wanted to stress to the contractor, sub-contractors and VROMI department to maintain on open line of communication so that all parties are on the same page.

"Bottom line is this project is important for Dutch Quarter and the people of Dutch Quarter. Some issues have been addressed and solutions found. Now we all have to make sure the project is completed by the stipulated time so that the residents of Dutch Quarter can go back to a normal daily commute with improved facilities. My cabinet and I are also open to all parties involved in the project," the Minister said.    

The Dutch Quarter sewage project comprises the expansion of the sewer network including home connections and connection to the main sewer line, upgrading of the side roads and improvement of the overall drainage system in Dutch Quarter, improvement of public street lighting and related works for the entire district and the construction of pedestrian sidewalks.

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UPDATE: Banco del Orinoco N.V. Emergency Measure: Consequences for customers and creditors

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - UPDATE - Following the press release of September 6, 2019, regarding the pronunciation of the Emergency Measure of Banco del Orinoco N.V. (press release 2019-036), the Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten (CBCS) wants to clarify the following: Several media outlets reported a decision by the shareholders to dissolve Banco del Orinoco. However, such a decision does not affect in any way the emergency measure and the implementation thereof as described in the press release of September 6, 2019. UPDATE

ARCHIVE - On September 5, 2019, at the request of the Centrale Bank van Curaçao en Sint Maarten (CBCS), the Court of First Instance of Curaçao pronounced an emergency measure with respect to Banco del Orinoco N.V.

The CBCS held a press conference on that same day, at 3:30 PM. During this press conference, the CBCS explained that the Banco del Orinoco N.V.’s regular services were suspended as of September 5. The Banco del Orinoco N.V. will no longer offer any new services nor accept any new customers.

As a result of the emergency measure, the Banco del Orinoco N.V. cannot be forced to satisfy its debts. For the time being, the Banco del Orinoco N.V.’s assets will remain frozen. Consequently, as of this time, customers are no longer able to make withdrawals nor make transfers from a Banco del Orinoco N.V. account to other bank accounts.

For other creditors, the emergency measure means that the Banco del Orinoco N.V. will not be able to meet its payment obligations at this time. Any legal proceedings against Banco del Orinoco N.V. will be suspended. Any execution of court judgments and any current payment schemes are likewise suspended, and any attachments of the Banco del Orinoco N.V.’s assets are lifted.

For the time being, customers and other creditors will therefore not be able to exercise any rights in relation with the Banco del Orinoco N.V. Nevertheless, any claims they have against the Banco del Orinoco N.V. remain unaffected.

It is currently unclear whether the Banco del Orinoco N.V. will be able to fully repay all its customers and creditors. With the adoption of the emergency measure, an administrator was appointed. The administrator will inventory the Banco del Orinoco N.V.’s existing assets and liabilities. It may take time before the administrator is able to make a proper assessment.

Further information about the findings and about the road ahead will be released as that process moves forward. The CBCS is unable to foresee at this time how long it will take to implement the Banco del Orinoco N.V. emergency measure.

For questions, please refer to the contact information that will be made available on the websites of both the Banco del Orinoco N.V. and the CBCS.

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K1 DIRECT marks one year since launch

PHILIPSBURG – K1 Britannia Foundation commemorates the one-year anniversary of K1 DIRECT, Disaster Relief & Crisis Team, since its launch back on September 6th, 2018. Since then, K1 DIRECT has been partnering with local, regional and international disaster relief initiatives and organizations, and has grown to a team of over 40 volunteer members, based on St. Maarten and in Curacao.

K1 DIRECT has been diligently training in various fields of disaster management to assist the disaster relief structure of St. Maarten and other islands through their main tasks of shelter management, first response, and distribution management in the region, amongst others.

Following the destruction brought about by Hurricane Irma in 2017, K1 Britannia Foundation played an active role in disaster relief assisting the local community with mass distributions and shelter management, while working closely with military and law workforces on St. Maarten, and then again assisted in humanitarian response on Dominica after Hurricane Maria.

K1 identified a need for trained and equipped responders immediately before, during and after a disaster, and acknowledged a way that they could play a long-term role within the disaster relief structure. In 2018, a year since the passing of Irma, K1 DIRECT – Disaster Relief and Crisis team – was launched to assist with that need.

K1 DIRECT has pre-determined roles with these three tasks, of shelter management, first response, and distribution management and is working closely with St. Maarten Government Emergency Support Function 7 (ESF7) to make the necessary preparations to continue to effectively fill this role. The necessary preparations include a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to specify clear roles and key areas in which K1 DIRECT will assist.

Carnival Cruise Line has also partnered with K1 DIRECT, as the founding sponsor, to support the team as a partner for disaster relief, because their affiliation to Caribbean region, and empathy to those who were affected by the 2017 hurricane season. The team is currently comprised of two teams, one on St. Maarten and one on Curacao.

Each team holds approximately 20 insured volunteers that have been vetted, and selected based on their interest, expertise and commitment to disaster relief. The decision to develop a branch in Curacao stemmed from reasons including the strategic location of Curacao outside of the hurricane belt and its social connection to St. Maarten.

K1 DIRECT has the necessary supplies, and equipment that would ensure the team has the capacity & resources to be mobilized after a disaster. Albert Pardo, Curacao K1 DIRECT volunteer member, mentioned, “The value K1 DIRECT brings to the disaster relief field ensures rapid and effective response to emergencies and crises through temporary and honest assistance immediately after a disaster strikes.”

Within this year, Jacob “Sjaak” Seen, Multidisciplinary Operational Team Leader of the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team, facilitated a concentrated Disaster Response Course for K1 DIRECT, where more than 40 participants including the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard, the Fire Department, and Emergency Support Function 7 (ESF7) were invited to participate, as K1 believes “knowledge is one of the most valuable resources to share” as put by DIRECT Program Manager, Iris Hakkens. Mr. Seen is a key partner and mentor of K1 DIRECT. K1 DIRECT also partnered with the Government of St. Maarten to facilitate a four-day End-2- End Supply Chain Management Training which was hosted and organized by World Food Programme (WFP) and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).

The training brought together valuable partners in disaster and supply chain management, where organizations had the opportunity to present their disaster response capabilities, participate in supply chain, logistics and inventory management activities, and discuss collaboration and long-term agreements.

Throughout the year, K1 DIRECT has also facilitated several trainings for their team including fire safety and psychosocial support in disasters as well as medical trainings. The St. Maarten & Curacao members are certified with American Heart Association’s Heartsaver First Aid/CPR/AED qualification and a select number are also certified as Emergency Medical Responders.

Volunteers are also being vaccinated with relevant immunizations to prevent illness while traveling to catastrophic and vulnerable areas. K1 DIRECT, under the management of Program Managers Priya Thirumur, Iris Hakkens, and Alan Schet, has been working diligently to strengthen connections and partnerships with key humanitarian organizations within the region.

Hakkens elaborated, “Over the last year, the knowledge and practices gained through managing groups of people, managing partnerships and expectations, and participating in trainings have been pivotal in strengthening my confidence in our team.” Schet added, “Since K1 DIRECT’s inception, I also have noticed the trust and credibility we’ve gained. The fact that we are seen as a dependable organization and team, is a positive step we’ve realized.”

K1 DIRECT also attended the UR Caribbean Conference in Barbados, which brought together over 500 representatives in disaster risk reduction, where Thirumur participated in a panel on disaster communications. The conference served as a point to connect with governments of different countries and international organizations such as World Food Programme (WFP) and Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

Thirumur also attended the 2019 Caribbean Disaster Response Planning Conference hosted by Global Support & Development and IGY Marinas while continuously striving to connect to international organizations to fill needs in the region. Over the last few months, the management team has determinedly made contact and aims to maintain good communication with local and regional partners such as St. Maarten Tourism Bureau, Fire Department, Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard, Tropical Shipping, Windward Roads, SJIS, UNICEF, EOC, Dutch Marines, Royal Marechaussee, and various ESFs, amongst others, to discuss avenues of collaboration and partnership.

Important dialogues between government officials of over ten countries in the region have also taken place to develop relationships to effectively assist during times of a disaster. “K1 DIRECT’s current role and the role it will play for many years to come, is one of the beautiful things out of the difficult experience that Irma was.

K1 Britannia Foundation has always endeavoured to foster out of the box solutions to meet evolving needs, and this is what led to the creation of K1 DIRECT. Another principal that this program is built on, is collaboration and strengthening communities through meaningful partnerships. Looking back at this year, we are very grateful for all those who have played a part in its creation and we look forward to be able to continue to serve the region for many years to come,” heartfully concluded K1 Co-founder Thirumur.

K1 would like to extend their gratitude and appreciation to partners that helped with the growth and expansion of the team. K1 would also like to acknowledge Carnival Cruise Line and the Nationaal Rampenfonds (NRF) for their sponsorship that led to the establishment of K1 DIRECT.

For more information about K1 Britannia Foundation and K1 DIRECT, visit their website www.k1britanniafoundation.org, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit their Facebook www.facebook.com/k1sxm.

K1 Photo 2 Volunteers listening attentively to Jacob Sjaak Seen during day 1 of K1 Direct Disaster Response Course

Volunteers listening attentively to Jacob Sjaak Seen during day 1 of K1 Direct Disaster Response Course.

K1 Photo 1 Group photo at the Fire Department at PJIA after the site visit during a prior training

Group photo at the Fire Department at PJIA after the site visit during a prior training.

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Emergency measure for Banco del Orinoco N.V. imposed at the request of the CBCS

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - The Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten (CBCS) was forced, in view of deficiencies at Banco del Orinoco N.V., to petition the Court of First Instance of Curaçao to adopt an emergency measure with respect to Banco Del Orinoco, CBCS said in a statement to the media on Thursday.

The petition was made in the interest of depositors and other creditors of Banco Del Orinoco. The emergency measure for Banco Del Orinoco was pronounced by the Court of First Instance of Curaçao on September 5, 2019.

As a result of the emergency measure, Banco Del Orinoco cannot be forced to satisfy its debts. Any pending enforcement measures are suspended, and attachments are lifted. On Thursday, September 5, 2019, at 3.30 PM in the afternoon, the CBCS will hold a press conference to inform the public, depositors and other creditors.

The CBCS is responsible for supervising the financial sector in Curaçao and Sint Maarten. In doing so, it focuses on the interests of the present and future creditors of the institutions under its supervision.

The CBCS sees to it that the supervised institutions deal responsibly with the resources entrusted to them and that they comply with applicable laws and regulations.

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Two arrested as money and drugs discovered during house search

SUCKER GARDEN - On Tuesday September 3rd, 2019 a joint control was held with the detectives of KPSM (Sint Maarten Police Force) and the Asset Recovery Team based on incoming intelligence information, police said in a statement.

This joint control team conducted a house search in Sucker Garden whereby two individuals with the initials O.F.R and A.O.R both were arrested.

During the house search, money and drugs was found in the residence of the two suspects, and were confiscated, and the suspects were brought over to the Philipsburg Police Station for further questioning.

The Asset Recovery Team and the detective department of KPSM are still busy with the investigation. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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Prime Minister Romeo Marlin meets with EC Director of Development Cooperation for LatAm/Caribbean

SINT MAARTEN/BELGUIM – On Tuesday September 3rd, the Honorable Prime Minister & Regional Authorizing Officer for Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT’s), Leona Romeo-Marlin, continued her working visit to Brussels where she met with the European Commission Director of Development Cooperation for Latin America and the Caribbean, Mrs. Jolita Butkeviciene and her staff.

The Prime Minister started the meeting by reiterating her commitment to the construction of a wastewater treatment plant in cooperation with French Saint Martin. During the meeting, a number of matters that still needed to be addressed were discussed and the Prime Minister ensured that any outstanding concerns would be followed up immediately in order to speed up the process.

Moreover, Director Butkeviciene was elated to inform the Prime Minister that 7 million euros allocated for the building of two multi-purpose shelters was approved and the European Commission looks forward to implementing the project after the hurricane season 2019 has ended.

Director Butkeviciene ended the meeting by sharing her concerns for Anguilla given the upcoming Brexit outcome. Prime Minister Romeo-Marlin indicated that given the economic, historical and cultural ties between our islands, Sint Maarten would do what it can to support Anguilla post Brexit. She further informed the Director that Sint Maarten has been an advocate within the Overseas Countries and Territories Association (OCTA) to guarantee the continued cooperation with the British OCTs after Brexit.

The Prime Minister also met with VVD Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Malik Azmani and D66 MEP Samira Rafaela, both of whom are newly elected members following the European Parliamentary elections held last May. Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin made use of the opportunity to inform the MEPs of the status of the reconstruction on Sint Maarten, as both MEPs were very interested to hear more about the progress made thus far and the cooperation with the World Bank.

MEP Rafaela stated that she has a keen interest in the concerns of the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) being that she has roots in Curacao. As such, she promised to champion any OCT or Kingdom related issues on behalf of Sint Maarten and the rest of the Dutch Caribbean. Furthermore, she informed the Prime Minister of her intended visit to Sint Maarten, Saba and Sint Eustatius in the near future, in order to get a better perspective on the islands, the people and their specific concerns. The Prime Minister encouraged such and offered to assist the MEP with the preparations for her visit.

The Prime Minister and MEP Rafaela also discussed their shared interests, such as, safety, social equality and climate change mitigation. Additionally Prime Minister Romeo-Marlin stressed the importance of the latter from the perspective of the wider Caribbean and urged the MEP to advocate for continued support to the region, as even though the Caribbean’s percentage of emissions remains rather low globally. On the contrary, the negative impact on the Caribbean is high as the region continues to face the annual threat of being struck by severe natural disasters such as Hurricane Dorian.

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Applying to Schools in the Netherlands workshop set for September 5

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – There are several students in secondary school or recent secondary school graduates who are interested in continuing their studies in the Netherlands. For this reason, the Student Support Services Division (SSSD) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Affairs will be hosting a workshop on September 5, 2019 entitled “Applying to Schools in the Netherlands” will be held at The University of St. Martin from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM. 

Students are encouraged to be on time and to register for the workshop since space is limited. If parents or students have any questions on these workshops, they can contact the Student Support Services Division at telephone 543-1235 for more information. They can also visit the SSSD office which is located in the Amigo Building across from the Police Station and next to WIB. 

According to SSSD officials, for some secondary school graduates, applying to schools in the Netherlands to further their education can be as simple as going to one portal, imputing the required information, sending off the required supporting documents, and waiting for a response. However, for others the application process can be a tedious task, and some may not even know where to begin, they added.

Students from all sections of the diverse education system on Sint Maarten are invited to attend. “Whether you come from a vocational or academic tract, or Dutch or English language of instruction, there is valuable information for you,” SSSD officials said.  They added that the system and requirements in the Netherlands change so often that it is important for students to be aware. Parents are urged to encourage their children and their children’s friends to attend this workshop if these individuals are interested in continuing their education in the Netherlands.

“Some schools or programmes may have as basic application requirements a secondary school diploma and decent grades but there are those schools that have additional requirements such as interviews, language tests and activities. It is important that our students are aware and know what is expected of them,” SSSD officials added.

SSSD provides many services to students. Some services include psychological services, counselling services, social work services, educational diagnostic services, career services, and parent education.

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UPDATED: CARIBBEAN AIRLINES FLIGHTS AFFECTED BY TROPICAL STORM DORIAN PORT-OF-SPAIN TO ORLANDO

SINT MAARTEN/TRINIDAD - Caribbean Airlines on August 31 advises that due to Hurricane Dorian, the following services were cancelled: SECTOR ROUTING SEPTEMBER 01 and 03rd BW 414 BW 415 Kingston to Nassau (sector) Nassau to Kingston (sector) FLIGHT ROUTING SEPTEMBER 02 and 03rd , 2019 BW 484 BW 483 Port-of-Spain to Miami Miami to Port-of-Spain BW 480 BW 481 Port-of-Spain to Fort Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale to Port-of-Spain BW033 BW036 Kingston to Fort Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale to Kingston SECTOR ROUTING SEPTEMBER 02 BW 482 BW485 Port-of-Spain to Orlando (sector) Orlando to Port-of- Spain (sector)

Passengers are advised to contact our reservation offices for rebooking on the next available service. Customers are advised to visit www.caribbean-airlines.com and check their FLIGHT STATUS before going to the airport or call the Caribbean Airlines Call Centres for further details: USA, Canada + 1 800 920 4225 Caribbean & Guyana + 1 800 744 2225 Trinidad & Tobago and Suriname + 1 868 625 7200 Jamaica (Local calls) + 1 888 359 2475 All other locations + 1 800 523 5585.

The airline remains in contact with customers, keeping them updated and is committed to transporting all affected persons to their respective destinations, in the shortest possible time.

To minimise inconvenience to customers holding confirmed tickets for travel during the period August 30 –08th September, Caribbean Airlines is allowing persons whose travel plans are impacted by Hurricane Dorian to rebook without change fees, subject to the following conditions: 1. Waiver of all fees for tickets rebooked in the same cabin, for travel up to September 13, 2019. 2. It is mandatory that customers contact Caribbean Airlines BEFORE the scheduled date of travel. 3. Full refund of fare paid, for travel up to September 08, 2019. The refund must be requested by September 05, 2019. 4. ALL changes MUST be made through Caribbean Airlines Call Centres or at Caribbean Airlines Ticket Offices 5. Caribbean Airlines WILL NOT be responsible for arrangements or transportation to/from an alternate airport or hotel/overnight expenses incurred by affected passengers.

ARCHIVE - SINT MAARTEN/TRINIDAD - Caribbean Airlines advises that due to Tropical Storm Dorian, the following flights for Monday September 02, 2019 were cancelled: FLIGHT ROUTING SEPTEMBER 02, 2019 BW 482 BW 485 Port-of-Spain to Orlando Orlando to Port of Spain

Passengers are advised to contact our reservation offices for rebooking on the next available service.

To minimise inconvenience to customers holding confirmed tickets for travel on September 02 2019, Caribbean Airlines is allowing persons whose travel plans are impacted by the tropical storm to rebook without change fees, subject to the following conditions: 1. Waiver of all fees for tickets rebooked in the same cabin, for travel up to September 13, 2019. 2. It is mandatory that customers contact Caribbean Airlines BEFORE the scheduled date of travel. 3. Full refund of fare paid, for travel on September 02, 2019. The refund must be requested by September 05, 2019. 4. ALL changes MUST be made through Caribbean Airlines Call Centres or at Caribbean Airlines Ticket Offices 5. Caribbean Airlines WILL NOT be responsible for arrangements or transportation to/from an alternate airport or hotel/overnight expenses incurred by affected passengers.

These waivers include travel to OR from the following Airports ONLY: · Piarco International Airport, Trinidad · Orlando International Airport

Customers are advised to visit www.caribbean-airlines.com and check their FLIGHT STATUS before going to the airport or call the Caribbean Airlines Call Centres for further details: USA, Canada + 1 800 920 4225 Trinidad & Tobago + 1 868 625 -7200 All other locations + 1 800 523 5585

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EPIC: Expanding Hiking Opportunities in Sint Maarten

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - This month the foundation Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) completed a year-long project to clear and map ten hiking sites in Sint Maarten, place informational signs at trailheads, and provide free guided hikes along the trails. 

The project has been very successful and gained support from the community. The work was made possible with funding from Tourism Cares and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association as part of their efforts to support post-hurricane rebuilding as many of the trails had been covered with debris.

EPIC selected a mix of urban, coastal, grassland and secondary forest trails.  The trails give hikers the opportunity to enjoy the biodiversity and natural beauty of Sint Maarten.  For example, in a dry, shaded area, hikers might find a Bearded Anole, found only on Sint Maarten.

The hikes are also of differing difficulties and rated by a three-tiered scale as easy, moderate, or challenging.  Some trails are flat while others are undulating or steep ascents to high points on the island, giving spectacular panoramic views of Sint Maarten and neighboring islands.  The diverse landscapes include walking on beaches or by the Natural Pool of Guana Bay, allowing hikers to take a dip in the sea to cool off.

The ten trails are: Billy Folly, Cay Bay to Little Bay, Fleming Property, Guana Bay, Fort Willem, Naked Boy Hill, Point Blanche, Sentry Hill, West Coast (Kim Sha), and Vineyard.

All the trails can be found and downloaded free from avenzamaps.com by searching for Sint Maarten or within the free Avenza app. There hikers can find out the difficulty and approximate amount of time needed to complete the trail. Maps of each trail can be downloaded onto a mobile device, allowing the hiker to follow the trail in real time.

The project was led by Project Coordinator Cadula Jones.  Ms. Jones, whose motto is “Hike more, worry less,” says the hikes have been joyful events.  “We’ve had children and older people, the Pathfinders church group and professionals, residents and tourists, and we have always smiled, enjoyed the beauty of Sint Maarten and taken lots of photos along the way!  We are very easy going.”

Hundreds of participants have taken part in the bi-weekly hikes, evidence of the demand for outdoor and nature-based experiences.  In addition, EPIC partnered with TriSport to lead a “Hero Hike” during which volunteers collected 66 kilograms of rubbish, mainly plastic from Geneve Bay, and then hiked the litter out to properly dispose of it.  In March, as part of the DOET community event, volunteers, including a Montessori class, helped to clean the Sentry Hill trail and in August the Dutch Marines helped clean up trails and install the trailhead signs. In May the Dutch Representative’s Office made a donation to EPIC to fund trail maintenance after the initial project funding ends.

The two most popular hikes are Guana Bay, with its sweeping vistas, and Sentry Hill, which is one of the most difficult with its rocky climb to the highest point on Sint Maarten; however, some might say the Naked Boy Hill hike gives it a run for its money as the final ascent is very steep.  Some participants enjoy easier routes, so the volunteer hike leaders alternate between difficult and easier hikes. 

And everyone has their favorite.  “I like the Fleming Property trail the best, especially during the rainy season when Sint Maarten is watered and green,” said one of the volunteer hike leaders.  “I love that there is a section of forest canopy you get to walk through.  There I always feel I’ve left the world behind.” Many participants expressed similar sentiments, remarking on the mental health benefits of being out in nature.

The project will continue on a smaller scale as a core group of volunteers, including Ms. Jones, has agreed to continue leading the EPIC hikes once a month.  These will be held on the first Sunday of each month so they will be easy to remember.  The EPIC Facebook page, facebook.com/epicislands, will provide details on each event.  And of course, hikers can always download the maps and go anytime.

epic hike back bay natural pool 3

Participants on the Natural Pool hike walk through grassland with panoramic coastal views.

 

 

 

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Nature Foundation Expresses Appreciation to Businesses that Have Reduced Use of Single-use Plastics

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - The Nature Foundation Sint Maarten expresses their sincere appreciation to Lagoonies Bar and Bistro, Buccaneer Beach Bar, Dinghy Dock, Toppers Restaurant and Bar, Palapa Village, Pinche Gringo, Freedom Fighter's Ital Shack, Buffalo Wings, Lazy Lizard, Melange Grill, Isola Authentic Italian Restaurant, Mary’s Boon, D-boat, Blue Bitch Bar, Taloula Flights, Joga SXM, Karakter beach Bar, Dive Sint Maarten, Sea Trek, Coconut Reef Tours and any other business who switched to environmental friendly products instead of single-use plastics.

The Foundation commends the businesses on their efforts of reducing single-use plastics on our island. Due to their choice to use only reusable and biodegradable products instead of single-use plastics at their business, the harmful impacts of these plastics on our environment, marine life and nature is reduced and it provides us with a cleaner Sint Maarten. 

Their leadership in being an environmentally friendly business inspires other businesses and their customers to care more about our environment and creates a chain reaction of additional businesses and people who will refuse the use of single-use plastics.

The Nature Foundation is sincerely thanking above mentioned businesses for taking part in their Reduce and Reuse project and for their efforts to reduce the amount of single-use plastics on Sint Maarten! 

The Reduce and Reuse project is designed to teach and encourage residents, children and businesses to reduce their waste output and clean-up the environment. The Nature Foundation started the project after Hurricane Irma hit the island and an increase of the already large amounts of single-use plastic waste was found in the environment, nature and waters surrounding Sint Maarten. 

Unfortunately, most businesses on Sint Maarten still hand out an abundance of single-use plastic cups, cutlery, straws, bags and styrofoam without discouragement or fee. These products are made from polyethylene, a substance that never biodegrades and only breaks down in small plastic pieces which remain in our environment indefinitely.

A large part of these single-use plastics is ending up on our beaches and in our ocean, resulting in detrimental effects on marine life, coral reefs, fishes, birds, and the health of our residents and our economy. 

“However, the leadership of these businesses in reducing single-use plastics is inspiring more businesses to reduce single-use plastics as well, assisting us with bringing the message across to other businesses and educate our island to be more environmental friendly,” stated Nature Foundation’s Projects Officer Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern. 

“Also, our landfill reached its maximum capacity already in 2008 and garbage bins along beaches are overflowing daily, there is simply no more room for unnecessary waste. Therefore, their commitment of reducing single-use plastics will improve our waste situation, providing a cleaner island and protect our environment and marine life; the Foundation is honored to have these businesses on board with the single-use plastic-free movement. The help of businesses is going a long way in ensuring the preservation of the beauty we are all so proud of and together we can put St Maarten on the map of the world’s eco-friendly destinations,” continued Meijer zu Schlochtern. 

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