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Cupecoy Sunset Toastmasters Club to host Table Topics-a-Thon with Political Candidates on Thursday

SINT MAARTEN (CUPECOY) - On Thursday 12th December 2019, Cupecoy Sunset Toastmasters Club will host an extraordinary Table Topics-a-Thon meeting entitled, “Christmas with the Candidates” for political candidates contesting the elections for the first time, the social club announced on Monday.

Table topics is a fun part of the Toastmasters club meetings and it helps to train participants to quickly organize and express their thought in an impromptu type of setting. In return, individuals display their quick thinking and speaking skills on a myriad of topics in a supportive and encouraging environment.

Questions posed at the event are not intended to be political in nature but are rather designed to get to know the individual. During this event, candidates will be given several two-minute time slots to answer each randomly selected question.

Toastmasters International is an educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. The general public and all toastmasters are encouraged to attend the “Christmas with the Candidates” Table Topics meeting which will be held at the American University of the Caribbean (AUC) School of Medicine at 6:00 p.m on Thursday 12th December 2019.

The Cupecoy Sunset Toastmasters Club meets on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month at 5:30 p.m. at the AUC School of Medicine. For more information contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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BEYOND Kultura closes off STORY READING FOR CHILDREN Program with a Certificates Ceremony

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Beyond Kultura Events Foundation (BKE) has closed off its STORY READING part of the Storytelling & Reading-EXPRESSIONS Program, with a Certificates Ceremony last Sunday at Café Axum in Philipsburg.

We started with the Story reading training of 9 participants, mainly mothers, aunts, to get the basics about Reading for Children. Aim was to bring fun in reading, since reading is FUNdamental for children.

This serves to enhance the listening skills, which is fundamental to comprehend and understand stories. 10 Entities have participated, and 8 participants have accomplished this Beyond Kultura Story Reading program. After a weekend training, the readers went to schools, community centers, afternoon activity programs to read for children. Readers have been reading stories mainly in English, but 1 of them read stories in Dutch, to reach as much as possible children throughout our community with this story reading program. Beyond Kultura has reached more or less 2,000 children with this story reading program for the last 2 months.

Story reading for children certificates

The 8 certificated Story readers are equipped with the Basic techniques of Story reading for Children after a weekend training ‘Story reading for children’ and the visiting of entities like Community Centers or Afternoon School Programs, schools and a Children home, where each of them have been reading their own created stories to children in more or less 10 sessions.

The story readers were evaluated and coached during their assignments. Those coaches were Fraenseen Fowler, Vernon Illidge, Joycelynn Hanley. Ingrid Holaman served as the project leader and Loekie Morales as an overseer. Teacher-Instructors were Greta Marlin and Myrna Richardson.

‘We are most happy to present to Sint Maarten our first certificated story readers, who can serve our community with reading stories on events. They can also serve our Library and the schools during for example a Children book week or Story telling week,’ Loekie Morales stated.

Claudia Connor has handed over the certificates to the story readers on behalf of the Minister of Education Culture Youth and Sports.

Marjan de Visser (representative of Nederlandse Taal Unie) was present at the Certificate ceremony, where the readers have shared their experiences they had during their assignments.

The teachers-instructors, the representatives of our Sponsors and the chairlady of Beyond Kultura Events Foundation, Loekie Morales have been saying words of encouragement to the story readers for their future performances.

Loekie Morales says ‘I am very happy with the success of this ‘Story Reading for Children’ project. 100% of the participated candidates got their certificates. They have reached so many children with happy faces and adults,’ that all gives lots of satisfaction.

Rita Aikman, the treasurer of BKE says ‘We congratulate all our story readers for their dedication. We thank the primary schools, the afternoon activity school programs, the Community center of Sint Peters, sponsors, for getting on board and facilitate our process’.

‘We could not get so far without the financial support of the funding agencies like the Cooperative Funds Caribbean (Samenwerkende Fondsen Cariben), The Prins Bernhard Cultural Fund Caribbean and the Dutch Literacy Funding Agency (De Nederlandse Taal Unie). We thank them wholeheartedly for believing in the aim of this project and for putting moneys, guidance and efforts in such an important project for Sint Maarten,’ Morales says.

‘Finally, If you need storytellers or story readers, you can reach out to Beyond Kultura Events Foundation and we can provide you of dedicated storytellers and readers,’ Morales concluded.

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TelEm Group Prepay Nation Partner to allow customers to TopUp Anytime and Anywhere

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND/BERWYN, PA)/USA TelEm Group, the sole full-service Telecom provider for St. Maarten, in the Dutch Caribbean, with mobile services to neighboring islands of Saba and St. Eustatius, has partnered with Prepay Nation to distribute its brand new TelCell prepaid mobile airtime product. TelEm Group currently operates its mobile service under the TelCell brand.

The new partnership makes it possible for TelCell customers to recharge or top-up their mobile phone accounts digitally via either the web or mobile app and provides access to TelCell airtime worldwide.

“We are thrilled to be involved in this historic initiative” said Colin Benjamin, Director of Digital Channels at Prepay Nation. “TelCell customers who are travelling abroad can now add credit to their phones from virtually any retailer that currently sells mobile top-up in any part of the globe. In addition, customers have the option of directly recharging online via the www.telcelltopup.com website or the TelCell Top-Up App, which is available for both iOS and Android devices.

“This partnership with Prepay Nation demonstrates our commitment to increase accessibility and ease of use and improve the overall customer experience” said Estalita Gumbs, Business Development Officer at TelEm Group. “We are particularly pleased that the St Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius Diaspora communities in Holland, the USA and elsewhere, can also easily top-up the phone of a friend or relative back home. We are

delighted to be the first operator in these islands to launch such a service. Our customers can continue to look forward to similar convenient services in 2020,” said Ms. Gumbs.

The Caribbean Association of National Telecommunication Organizations, (CANTO), played an instrumental role in bringing Prepay Nation and TelEm together. “We are extremely delighted that this service has been launched. We look forward to other members of CANTO, seizing the opportunity to introduce digital topup in their markets, without capital outlay.” remarked Teresa Wankin Secretary General of CANTO.

Worldwide, mobile operators have seen the need to utilize digital channels to expand their market base and in so doing realize true incremental revenues. Prepay Nation has been the partner of choice for a large number of carriers in The Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa.

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Short Film on Domestic Violence Premiers on International Human Rights Day

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Department of Culture within the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (MECYS) enthusiastically supports art initiatives that not only serve to entertain, but also aid to educate and bring about awareness.

On Tuesday, December 10th, 2019 at the National Institute of Arts (NIA) at the John Larmonie Centre, in Studio 1, the Department of Culture cordially invites the St. Maarten general public to the premier of “The Challenge”, a short film about domestic violence.

The film is directed by Mr. Joel Ayuk of CaniTV, a service he executed upon the request of the Safe Haven Foundation to mark November, Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The film stars only local actors such as Ms. Rita Gumbs and Mr. Earl Duzong. According to Department Head, Ms. Clara Reyes, “the film is a testament and confirmation that there are impeccably talented artists among us on the island and this should be celebrated.”

Mr Ayuk also directed two separate music videos for the occasion that also features local talent; 2017 Calypso Queen Empress Z with her single “Enough is Enough” and R&B singer Kevin Lyrics with his song “Revealing”, both addressing the issue of domestic violence. These two videos will be premiered as well on December 10th.

After the film, there will be a short discussion about art and social impact facilitated by anti-violence activist, and former Executive Director of Safe Haven, Cassandra Richardson, which will include feedback from artists involved in working together to address a social cause.

Every year on December 10th Human Rights Day is observed by the international community. It commemorates the day in 1948 when the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Ms. Reyes stated, “Domestic Violence and violence against women is a widespread international human rights violation that many communities around the world experience and many communities also combat.

“The Department of Culture wishes to show its support of equity, equality and social justice through inviting the St. Maarten public for an art experience where we can learn together as a community.” The event is free. It is requested that you please arrive on time as seating is limited.

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National Institute of Arts presents Free Concerts this weekend

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The National Institute of Arts (NIA) is presenting 2 FREE Concerts featuring the NIA's National Youth Orchestra, a part of "Music Brings People Together" music program partially sponsored by the Dutch Disaster Fund and the Albena Lake-Hodge Comprehensive School Concert Band from Anguilla.

These musicians are all dedicated youngsters with a passion for classical music and jazz.

“NIA's Youth Orchestra is proud of their accomplishments at the tender age of 9 months and are happy to be rolling with the pro's in existence for 19 years from our neighboring island Anguilla” said NIA Director Arlene Halley Newhouse.

“Anguilla’s Concert Band is a great role model for our budding musicians, and we are excited for this collaboration” Halley continued.

They will also be exhibiting the Jazz components of both entities, so you will also get a taste of some Jazz Music.

The 2 free concerts will be on Friday December 6, 2019 at the Festival Village from10:30 am - 1:00 pm.

This is a special performance for all the schools on the island. Saturday December 7, 2019 at the Cyrus Wathey Square 4:00 pm - 6:30 pm. Come out and support our motto “Music Brings People Together”.

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Victorious Living Thanks Community for Support in 2019 with a FREE Webinar Featuring: Business Plan Consultant & Pitch Strategy Coach Ashley Cheeks

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - St. Martin and many of our surrounding islands are facing tough economic times. Hundreds are unemployed, others can hardly make ends meet and many businesses are folding.

Therefore, solutions and possibilities for growth are critical if we are to survive and thrive in our communities. Consequently, hearing the cries of entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs, Victorious Living Foundation, based on St. Martin has teamed up with Ashley Cheeks to help steer entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs in the right direction.

On Saturday December 7th from 1:45-2:45 p.m. AST, anyone desiring to get funds to start their business, develop their business or want to be able to pitch their ideas to investors may register at http://bit.ly/RegisterVLF.

Ashley Cheeks, who recently spoke at VLF’s Leadership Summit, is the Founder and CEO at Written Success, Author of How to Write an Exceptional Business Plan, Speaker, Business Plan Consultant, Pitch & Strategy Coach, and Start-up Mentor. Entrepreneurs hire Ashley when they are ready to take their company or business idea to the next level.           

Asked why a busy business owner as herself would team up with Victorious Living to share an hour of her time for FREE, Ashley Cheeks stated: “Supporting the Victorious Living Foundation is something that I am honoured to do.

After meeting the amazing VLF team during their 2019 Leadership Summit, I was stunned at how dedicated they were to the success of their members and larger community. Everything they do supports entrepreneurs, dreamers, and everyday people to reach their greatest potential.            

“I've seen many organizations that focus on the wrong things, but VLF is different. They continually focus on giving value, delivering quality support, and really meeting the needs of their members. Their integrity is amazing, and anything I can do to contribute, I am eager and willing.”          

Ashley helps entrepreneurs "wow" investors with a great business plan so they can get funded therefore Victorious Living visionary Dr. Erna Mae Francis Cotton encourages as many persons to register at http://bit.ly/RegisterVLF. To learn more about Victorious Living call 1-721-524-8731.

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Ashley Cheeks, MBA, Founder of Written Success

 

 

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EU Ambassador Canto discusses current and future EU-financed projects

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The Ambassador for the European Union (EU), mr. Ponz Canto visited Sint Maarten in relation to the 11th Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management.

The recent appointed Ambassador, situated in Guyana for Suriname has the responsibility for Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, St. Barthelemy, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten.

During his first official visit, he took the opportunity to also meet with government officials from the Ministry of General Affairs, in particular the Department of Interior and Kingdom Relations (BAK), to discuss ongoing EU projects and future funding possibilities.

With regards to ongoing EU programs and projects, a close relationship between Sint Maarten and the EU is of paramount importance. The EU continues to support St. Maarten in its developmental efforts by providing not only technical assistance but also financial resources for projects and programs. 

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Prices up from last quarter (0.35%) and slightly up from last year (0.09%)

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Sint Maarten in the 3 rd Quarter of 2019 is 100.59. This represents an increase of 0.35 percent, when compared to that of 2 nd Quarter 2019. When comparing the consumer prices from the same period 12 months previously (3 rd Quarter 2018 to 3 rd Quarter 2019), an increase of 0.09 percent was recorded.

Quarter-to-Quarter Percentage Change: 2019 Q2 to 2019 Q3

For the 3 rd Quarter 2019, prices in seven of the twelve expenditure categories recorded increases while five decreased in price compared to 2 nd Quarter 2019. The increases were in the categories: ‘Food and non-alcoholic beverages’ (+0.27%), ‘Alcoholic beverages, tobacco and narcotics’ (+0.77%), ‘Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels’ (+0.49%), ‘Furnishings, household equipment and maintenance’ (+1.51%), ‘Recreation and culture’ (+0.66%), ‘Education’ (+0.51%) and ‘Miscellaneous goods and services’ (+1.10%). Decreases were seen in the following categories: ‘Clothing and footwear’ (-0.35%), ‘Health’ (-0.42%), ‘Transport’ (-0.61%), ‘Communication’ (-0.37%) and ‘Restaurants and hotels’ (-0.03%).

Based on the latest Household Budget Survey, the following four categories have the largest percentage weight (influence) of the total CPI: Food and non-alcoholic beverages (7.2%), Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (36.1%), Transport (14.6%) and Miscellaneous goods and services (13.4%).

For Food and non-alcoholic beverages, the cost of the subcategory ‘Food’ went up by 0.48 percent. This was mainly due to the rise in the price of meat (+0.99%), vegetables (+1.15%) and food products n.e.c1 (+2.59%). Prices in the subcategory ‘Non-alcoholic beverages’ decreased by 0.9 percent. This was driven by a decrease (-1.12%) in the prices of coffee, tea and cocoa.  

The change in the price of Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels was influenced by increases in the price levels of the subgroups: ‘Actual rentals for housing’ (+2.82%) and ‘Maintenance and repair of the dwelling’ (+0.31%). Note, in this category, rent has the largest weight of 27.9 percent and so these increases counteracted the decrease in prices of ‘Electricity, gas and other fuels’ (-4.17%).

For this quarter, the price for Transport was largely impacted by the ‘Operation of personal transport equipment’ (-2.54%) such as fuels, lubricants, spare parts and accessories. While, prices in the category Miscellaneous goods and services increased largely because of the increase in the subcategory ‘Financial services n.e.c1 ’ (+7.58%).

Year-on-Year Percentage Change (Inflation): Comparing 2019 Q3 with 2018 Q3

The prices of 3 rd Quarter 2019 has increased slightly when compared to those of 3 rd Quarter 2018. The inflation rate recorded is 0.09 percent. This rise in prices for the 12-month period was largely due to increases in the household expenditure categories: ‘Alcoholic beverages, tobacco and narcotics’ (+2.08%), ‘Clothing and footwear’ (+3.53%), ‘Health’ (+1.33%) and ‘Recreation and culture’ (+1.07%).

For all four expenditure categories with the highest weight on the Total CPI, the prices went down, when compared to the same period last year. Food and non-alcoholic beverages decreased 0.84 percent; the category Housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels as well as the category Transport, went down 0.18 percent and 0.37 percent respectively; and ‘Miscellaneous goods and services decreased by 0.21 percent. Despite the drop-in prices in these four major categories, the rise in the other categories caused the slight overall increase in the inflation rate.

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Tzu Chi continues to spread love to seniors, invites public to join

SINT MAARTEN (CUL DE SAC) - Tzu Chi volunteers continued the foundation’s tradition of providing tender loving care to senior citizens at the St. Martin’s Home with its regular once-per-month visit to the home recently and the foundation is urging the public to join in this benevolent activity. 

A total of six volunteers, including three Commissioners and one trainee, visited the home to care and pamper the elderly clients of the Home. The elderly residents were pampered with fruitful conversations, gentle hugs and were fed by volunteers, amongst other things. 

Tzu Chi has been making it its duty to visit the elderly at the home once per month to provide tender loving care as part of its community for the past 15 years. 

“It is a place for Tzu Chi volunteers to nurture their compassion, love and persistence to share with those who are in needed,” Tzu Chi said in a press release. 

“It is also an opportunity to allow Tzu Chi volunteers invite their friends to experience the action of great love. Tzu Chi Founder Master Cheng Yen teaches us that, "instead of worrying about the condition of our society, we should turn worry into confidence and give our love to the society. Only when we let go of the afflictions that we have; can we experience the joy of kindness and compassion. Over time, we can build great characters, achieve great success, and cultivate great virtue. With more people sharing love and compassion, more love will grow in our society.” 

Tzu Chi urges persons in the community, who have goodwill, to join them on their once monthly visits to the St. Martin’s Home to pamper the elderly and add more meaning to their lives. The visits are done the last Sunday in each month starting at 12:00pm. The meeting place is outside the Home at 12:00pm.

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New board Oualichi Soccer Association. Angelo Brill is the new President of Oualichi

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Oualichi Soccer Association has elected a new President, Mr Angelo Brill, last Friday, 29 November 2019. Bril replaces the outgoing President, Ms Dagmar Daal, who has been a board member of Oualichi for the last 6 years. She will stay on as an advisor of the new board.

The new board consists of Mr Angelo Brill (President), Mr Joel Wilson (Secretary/Vice-President), Mr Richard Hazel (Treasurer) and Ms Whitney Walsh (General board member).

Daal: “The last 6 years have been amazing, and much work has been done for the benefit of the development of football, in particular women’s football. There is no doubt in our minds that the new board will continue to successfully invest in the development of football, in particular youth football. President Brill is not only qualified to lead the club but has a massive passion for football as well. The outgoing board wishes the new board members all the best in the pursuit of their goals.

Lastly, a big thanks goes out to all the former board members who were at the helm of the club during the last 6 years. The former board members were: Ms Danaë Daal, Ms Nancy Joubert, Ms Julissa Frans, Ms Sandra den Ouden, Mr Andy Huang, Mr Jean Pierre Tapia, Mr Christian Grannum, Mr Yohishi Romney and Ms Ludmila Duncan. Their dedication to the club was paramount for the club to succeed in achieving its past goals.”

For more information about Oualichi, please visit its Facebook page: Oualichi Soccer Association and its Instagram page: oualichisoccer.

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