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Options discussed to further progress Saba recycling process

SABA - Officials of the Public Entity Saba on Friday, November 15 met with representatives of the United States, Boca Raton firm Cadwell Inc., to discuss the options of the Saba recycling program and way how to further improve the process. Cadwell Inc., has been removing recyclables that have been stored at the landfill, transporting them off island since last month.

With the objective set by Commissioner Bruce Zagers in mind to only burn a minimum amount of waste, representatives of government and Cadwell Inc., discussed ways to make the recycling system more efficient and to further promote and increase the recycling of products.

Besides separating items such as glass, carton, plastics, aluminum, steel, small household appliances and tires for recycling, Cadwell Inc., and government are looking at setting up recycling centers for contaminated household items such as batteries, light bulbs, paint and liquid household goods.

Recycling a wider range of items in combination with an increased effort of residents and companies to recycle, will further reduce the amount that has to be burned, and that is a positive thing, said Commissioner Zagers.

CEO Andrew Cadwell, who attended Friday’s meeting together with President Joan Cadwell, said that Cadwell Inc., will draft a plan for a further collaboration with the Public Entity Saba which will include a campaign to improve and broaden recycling at homes, restaurants and businesses, to increase awareness, and to educate citizens on how to properly recycle.

Andrew Cadwell said that during the meeting he presented some of the ideas that his company has for Saba. “We are ready. We have our team, the logistics thanks to Crowley Shipping Lines and resources in place to facilitate with the progression of recycling on Saba. We would love to continue working with the Public Entity Saba,” he said.

Eight 44-foot containers with a maximum capacity of about 55,000 pounds have already left Saba in October this year with recyclables like plastics, cardboard, aluminum, glass and tires. These containers, with the most generous logistical assistance of Crowley Shipping Lines, were transported to the Cadwell Inc. recycling facility in Boca Raton, FL.

“Crowley Shipping Lines and its Director of Caribbean Logistics Jeffrey de la Combe, when approached with the recycling initiative in Saba, was very thrilled with the opportunity to assist Cadwell Inc. with the support they needed. Without hesitation, De la Combe instructed his team to arrange empty containers into Saba and to collect them after transporting to the Cadwell facilitates,” said Joan Cadwell.

Also, in October a barge with 310 tons of scrap metal left Saba for further processing in Puerto Rico.  

In the coming weeks more containers with the next load of recyclables will be shipped off Saba. The recyclables have been prepared and packed, and with the assistance of the staff at the landfill and local contractors, they will be placed in the containers that Crowley Shipping will import into the island.

At the end of Friday’s meeting, Andrew and Joan Cadwell presented the company’s Green Diamond Award to Commissioner Zagers for his relentless efforts of an island wide recycling initiative and in the process improve recycling on Saba. “He has been spearheading recycling, always working on the best way to move forward,” said Andrew Cadwell.

Head of Public Works Russell Thielman received the company’s Recognition Award for what Andrew Cadwell said was “going above and beyond, commitment to excellence” in the island-wide recycling initiative with the Public Entity Saba.

CEO Cadwell was very positive about the cooperation with the Public Entity Saba. “Everybody works together as a team, spearheaded by Commissioner Zagers and with the input of Russell Thielman. We had a great cooperation with the local contractors and the people working at the landfill. Everybody is so friendly on this island. We can’t wait to see how Saba will evolve with their new carbon footprint in the near future,” he said.

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Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease Management Update for the Dutch Caribbean

SINT MAARTEN/BONAIRE - Since 2014, a new coral disease has been spreading through the reefs of the Caribbean. Known as Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD), this disease appears to be fast spreading and extremely lethal to the corals that are susceptible to it. In August a meeting was organized by MPA Connect where experts met to discuss lessons learned from Florida’s management of this disease and discuss best practices for identifying and treating infected corals for the future.

These results have been summarized in DCNA’s Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease Management Letter for the Dutch Caribbean. The capacity building efforts done throughout the Caribbean was presented at the yearly Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI) meeting this month in the Dominican Republic by Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA)’s director Tadzio Bervoets.

The Disease

A new coral disease was first identified off the coast of Florida in 2014. Since then, it has spread throughout much of the Caribbean, including Mexico, Jamaica, Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius, the Dominican Republic, and the U.S. Virgin Islands (AGGRA, 2019). This disease is known as SCTLD, nicknamed “skittle-D”.

To date STCLD has only been seen in stony corals and causes significant tissue loss within affected hosts. This disease spreads fast and can have devasting effects on the reef if not treated immediately (Florida DEP, 2019). Dr. Andy Bruckner, Research Coordinator at Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary stated, “Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease affects some of the slowest-growing and longest-lived reef-building corals, including the iconic brain corals, star corals and pillar corals.”

Symptoms

When a coral contracts SCTLD it begins with visible lesions which spread out from around the host’s edge. Here the coral tissue can become detached or completely removed, which leaves the coral structure as a bare skeleton typically covered in algae within a week (Florida DEP, 2018). This disease has been document in over 20 different species of coral, including five species listed under the Endangered Species Act (Florida DEP, 2019).

Onset appears to infect highly susceptible species first. The disease spreads rapidly with total mortality of infected specimens ranging between 1 week to 2 months (AGGRA, 2019). Typically, a month after the disease has been reported in highly susceptible species, it begins to infect intermediately susceptible species. Within these species, smaller colonies have been seen to die off over the course of months and larger colonies have been seen to host the disease for years without suffering complete mortality.

Transmission

It is now believed the SCTLD is transmitted through direct contact and water circulation (Reef Resilience, 2019). To minimize its spread, officials are now recommending extreme caution for divers around infected corals and urge divers to fully decontaminate their gear between dive sites to avoid spreading the disease (Florida DEP, 2019).

In addition, it is strongly encouraged that if a coral is suspected of being infected, it should be reported to the appropriate authority immediately for immediate action (Florida DEP 2019).

Knowledge Sharing

On August 1st of this year, a group of 22 experts from 17 countries met in Key West, Florida to share information and discuss how to best manage SCTLD outbreaks (GCFI, 2019). Participants were able to work directly with leading SCTLD experts from Florida and learn how to properly identify the disease and manage infected corals effectively.

Florida has had positive results treating infected corals with a variety of antibiotic regimes; however, this is still being tested and regulatory frameworks concerning the use of such treatments varies between countries (Reef Resilience, 2019).

During the 2019 Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI) meeting last week DCNA director Tadzio Bervoets presented the various capacity building efforts done in the region through the MPA Connect/ GCFI network, giving marine resource managers the means necessary to respond to the disease.

Bervoets also presented the Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease Management Letter for the Dutch Caribbean which provides Marine Resource Managers in the Dutch Caribbean the information necessary to preparade for, monitor and respond to the disease.

Protecting the Future

With harsher environmental conditions stressing corals, these species will continue to become more susceptible to disease in the future. SCTLD is of particular concern as it appears to be long lasting, wide ranging, highly contagious for a large number of slow growing, reef building species and has been seen to result in total colony mortality once infected (Martinelli, 2019).

Increasing public awareness and proper diving practices will be crucial for managing this disease. Researchers are continuing to test intervention methods to minimize mortality rates and prevent further infection.

Until this disease is better understood, it is crucial for divers and researchers to carefully track its progression. If you believe you’ve spotted an infected coral, please report the date, GPS location, and if possible, a photograph, to your local marine park authority.

DCNA’s Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease Management Letter for the Dutch Caribbean can be downloaded at: https://www.dcnanature.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/SCTLDReport-Online.pdf

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Two new KPSM officers sworn-in at the detectives and border control

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Friday afternoon November the 15th 2019, Acting Minister of Justice the Hon. Perry Geelings, sworn in two new members of the Sint Maarten Police Force (KPSM), police said on Sunday.

Melissa Harriganen and Jenny Kirindogo, who are no strangers to the Sint Maarten Police will be taking up positions within the Detective Department and Immigration and Border Control respectively.

The Management Team of the police wish both women all the best in their new endeavors at KPSM. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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21 police cadets commence with basic training

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Acting Minister of Justice, Hon. Perry Geelings opened the Basic Police Training “BPO” class of new police recruits on Friday morning November 15th, 2019, the police announced in a statement on Sunday. The new class of 21 cadets will be having their training at the Vineyard Building in Philipsburg.  

This training program is again being handled by Chief Inspector Rob Appelhof from the Police Academy in the Netherlands, who managed the last BPO class that graduated a few months ago. Appelhof is in charge of police training for the Dutch Caribbean.

Through the great collaboration between the Acting Minister of Justice, the Hon. Perry Geelings, the police force of Sint Maarten and the Police Academy of the Netherlands, it was possible to recruit and hire a new group of cadets in a very short time for this new class.

One important aspect that is taken up during this academic training is that teachers from the police academy will be working with teachers from Sint Maarten to implement the education program.

During the training the cadets will alternate, with a period of time at school, then immediately apply what they have learned in practice. The practical part of the training will then conclude with a period of different exams.

Among other things, the cadet will learn during the training, how to supervise, enforce the various laws and work investigations. After this intensive training, the rookies will be ready to fulfill the police tasks on Sint Maarten.

The police force would like to thank all those who made it possible for the class of new cadets to start on such short notice, the police statement concludes. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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Sint Maarten’s best and brightest set to compete in country’s first ever Brain Bee Competition this weekend

SINT MAARTEN (CUPECOY) - American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC) is hosting an international event where Sint Maarten high school students will test their knowledge of the human brain. 

About 30 students from Sint Maarten high schools are participating. The students will compete in a quiz format similar to a spelling bee. 

The Brain Bee Competition will be held this Saturday, November 16 in the AUC auditorium, starting at 9:30 am and concluding at 1:30 pm. 

Representatives of the Sint Maarten Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth, and Sport, including the Honorable Wycliffe Smith are set to join the event. 

The event was spearheaded by Dr. Gautam Ullal, AUC associate professor of neuroscience. Brain Bee competitions are held all over the world, with the purpose of motivating students to learn about the brain and inspire them to pursue careers in neuroscience. 

Brain Bee is a competition for 9th and 10th grade students originally modeled after Spelling Bee and first took shape in 1998 in the University of Maryland with 12 chapters across North America. It has now become an international event with over 53 countries across the world and 50,000 students participating. In July 2018, St. Maarten was accepted as one of the chapters with Dr. Ullal serving as the national coordinator.

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PPA WELCOMES NEW PARTY PRESIDENT. HEALTHY POLITICAL AMBITION MUST BE NURTURED

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) – Leader of the People’s Progressive Alliance (PPA) Gracita Arrindell said on Thursday in a statement: “We are pleased to announce the appointment of Mrs. Leandra Cijntje- Leslie as our new Party President. In a recent board meeting the members, which included past President and Founder of P.P.A Party Mr. Don Hughes, approved the appointment of Leandra to this critically important function.

“Also welcomed to the party ranks as a new board member is Mr. Tones de Weever. Both new additions to the board comes at a critical time of the current electoral process. It is Time to pass the gavel to the next generation of political leaders who have Sint Maarten’s best interest at heart. As party leader I am truly grateful for this opportunity to introduce Leandra to the public of Sint Maarten.”

Arrindell said: “Politics of all levels and policies are two major interests of Leandra. For these reasons, she has committed to two goals, informing and emancipating people. She devotes herself to projects that are aimed at improving and making our society more sustainable, and that offers everyone an equal opportunity to develop. 

“She completed a Bachelor in International Public Management in The Hague. This has created a good foundation in international relations, political science, policymaking, economics, and organizational science. After which she completed an MSC in Public Administration. She minored in development cooperation/ and political communication. She furthered specialized in economics and governance, evaluating and creating public policy.    

“In addition to her schooling, she has always worked for a better society and people's position. Post-Hurricane Irma, She worked as an Operation Officer at the UNDP. The UNDP short project repair 76 roofs in the local community post-Hurricane Irma.  

“Aside from her passion for policy, she is also a proud entrepreneur with five years of leadership and management experience in her own cleaning company, IS Cleaning, in the Netherlands. ISCleaning opened in 2014 and relaunch as a VOF in 2016. Alongside her brilliant partners, she has brought new heights innovation to the cleaning industry.”   

Gracita continues: “Leandra’s future endeavors include the completion of her second Masters in Business Administration and to the creation of a foundation for St. Maarten that focuses on innovative policy solutions (Think Tank) in her fight to pursuit development and sustainability for the island of St. Maarten.”  

PPA leader concludes: “The board will have a very active role in the future of the P.P.A party going forward, with one of its goals to reconnect and maintain a structural and community based relationship with the citizens in the districts. We support Leandra as she plans on using the platform of PPA to further her political ambition. Her plans with the PPA is continuous it's growth and service to the community even after elections.

“It is time to refocus our efforts towards improving the living and working conditions of our districts, by extension, improving the lives of our people. P.P.A is here to stay and will steadily progress under the leadership of a new generation based on values such as hard- honest work. That is a legacy worth fighting for. Nothing good comes easy. We wish Leandra, Tones de Weever, their families and friends only the best going forward. Congratulations. God Bless you.”

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CBCS Opens Financial Education Month

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - This month, the Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten’s (CBCS) organized its first Financial Education Month. For this project, the CBCS collaborates with Fundashon Negoshi Pikiña (FNP), a foundation with proven know-how, experience and success in the field of financial education and entrepreneurship.

The goal for this month is to discuss money matters as broadly as possible with a special focus on building financial resilience within the community. The role and importance of the CBCS to the financial system and the community at large will also be explored.

The Financial Education Month, from the 1st to the 30th of November, will feature events for primary, secondary and tertiary-school students, entrepreneurs and the general public. The first week will feature interactive lectures at several primary schools, delivered by CBCS personnel.

Topics that will be addressed are: 1) the history of money (bartering and the importance of money) 2) the different functions of money: medium of exchange, store of value, and unit of account 3) the role of the CBCS (e.g. the difference between a central bank and a commercial bank) and 4) does money make you happy?

These lectures are part of the bigger “Nos Komunidat” project by FNP, that includes lectures from entrepreneurs, employees and parents. In the third week of this month, the CBCS will support several activities within the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), since entrepreneurship education is a part of financial education.

During this week, primary school students who participated in the “Nos Komunidat” project, will receive a certificate of participation. Furthermore, there will be a motivational speech, delivered by Mrs. Swati Mandela, the granddaughter of Nelson Mandela.

The fourth week of the Financial Education Month will feature a debate night for secondary and tertiary-school students, who will be debating about 1) the economy 2) entrepreneurship, and 3) financial education.

In addition, CBCS in collaboration with the University of Curaçao (UoC), will organize a webinar on financial literacy and entrepreneurship. During this webinar, three UoC-students will present their research results.

They will have the opportunity to discuss these results with other students from the Caribbean region, Latin America and Europe. The CBCS’s aim with this project is to make a positive contribution to financial self-sufficiency and financially responsible behavior in the communities of Curaçao and Sint Maarten.

For more information on the Financial Education Month and other financial-education presentations organized by the CBCS, please contact the CBCS by e-mail at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Please visit the CBCS website at https://www.centralbank.cw/education as well as the official CBCS Facebook page to stay informed of all events being organized.

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‘Mystery shoppers’ to tackle discrimination in housing sector

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Mystery guests posing as house buyers or prospective tenants are to be recruited in an attempt to stamp out discrimination in the housing market.

Various studies have shown that discrimination is rife in the sector, but no records are kept of how many complaints are received. A recent study in Utrecht found that 90% of letting agents were prepared to allow landlords to discriminate against tenants because of their sexuality or ethnic background.

Junior infrastructure minister Stientje van Veldhoven set out plans for the mystery guest scheme in a letter to parliament on Monday. She said there was a ‘serious problem that needs to be tackled forcefully’.

Landlords, estate agents or agencies that are found to be illegally screening out people looking for accommodation will be reported to their professional body. The government parties D66 and VVD, as well as opposition groups Labour (PvdA) and GroenLinks, have backed the plan.

However, researchers at Radboud University in Nijmegen have cast doubt on the effectiveness of the scheme. Mystery guests will only be able to show ‘intention to discriminate’ and not collect evidence of actual breaches, since they are playing out fictional scenarios, the researchers said.

Van Veldhoven acknowledged that the scheme had its limitations, but insisted it had a role to play in ‘raising awareness’ of the problem.

(DutchNews)

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Pre-St. Maarten Day Kickboxing Championship Postponed. Organizer criticizes lack of support for local champ

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The planned pre-St. Maarten Day kickboxing championship scheduled for this weekend has been postponed, the organizer announced yesterday.

The event, titled ‘No Mercy Kickboxing’ and sanctioned by the World Full Contact Association (WFCA), a kickboxing association based in The Netherlands, was aimed at showcasing a number of local fighters, especially St. Maarten-born reigning Light-Heavyweight kickboxing champion of the world, Omarie Marsham.

The organizing body, Better Opportunity for Talent Foundation (B.O.F.T.), represented by promoter Mr. Milton ‘Bobby’ Ottley, made the decision to pull the event due to low ticket sales, which he attributed to another event being given priority to use the Festival Village on Saturday although he had booked the venue early.

“The Village was not booked before we made a request for November 9. Afterwards I was told that they are using it for an international show. This makes me feel that the powers that be are ignoring our youngsters. Marsham is a world champion and at all costs, he should have had priority. They pulled the plug without calling me to say, ‘Let’s see how we can compromise’,” Ottley stated.

As a result, he was forced to find another location and date for the event, but by then the damage was already done. The attraction of an internationally-acclaimed performer and other free events billed for this weekend shifted the focus from the championship fight, which, according to Ottley, had the potential of not only showcasing local talent, but opening up the market of sports tourism for St. Maarten.

“This event was a great opportunity to promote sports tourism on St. Maarten as it could have attracted visitors from the surrounding islands in support of their fighters. The line-up included not only Marsham from the south of the island, who has a professional record of five fights – three wins, two by knockout, with two loses – but there was also Nicolas Parlanti and female Featherweight category, Elsa Savitri Benichou, who would have been representing the north of the island.”

Marsham holds an amateur background record of 11 fights - 10 wins, seven by knockout, one draw and one loss, and would have been defending his W.M.T.A. World Title belt which he recently won in June in a faceoff against the hard-hitting Ritchie Siebring Aka “The Hitman” from The Hague, The Netherlands.

Other fighters billed for the event included Lennart Blijd from Suriname, Shanice Josephina of Curacao, as well as other amateur kickboxers from around the Caribbean.

Over the months, Ottley said he requested several meetings with government officials to resolve the issue, but to no avail. As such, he had no choice but to postpone the event to March next year. He had, however, applied for subsidy from the government to cover some of the incidental costs, and received confirmation that it will be given to the kickboxing federation, which he said he had no objections to. Up until Friday evening, the funds had not yet been released.

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Rotary Sunset Inducts Two Members Bulbaai and James

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) – Franjesca Bulbaai and Jason James were the two newest members inducted into the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset on October 21. Francesja Bulbaai, sponsored by Rotarian Micheline Warner, and is employed at health insurance company SZV.

Jason James, sponsored by Rotarian Amanda James, and is also employed at the local health insurance company SZV. Governor Delma Maduro had the honor of inducting two of the club’s newest Rotarians.

The induction took place right after an impactful speech by Governor Delma Maduro on the importance of increasing Rotary knowledge to become a well-rounded Rotarian as well as the importance of engaging club members in efforts to improve membership retention.

Both Rotarians Franjesca and Jason have been identified as assets to the club and embody the motto of Rotary International, “Service Above Self”. From the onset, both Rotarians have made themselves readily available to assist in all projects, attend events and fellowships. They will continue to serve as great members of the organization.

The club would like to once again congratulate Rotarians Franjesca and Jason and look forward to their continued lifelong commitment to the club and their community.

The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset meets every second and fourth Monday of the month at Carl N Sons Unique Inn and Conference Facilities in Colebay at 7:30pm. The club can be contacted via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via the official Facebook page at facebook.com/rotarysxmsunset.

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