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UD says government seems to know only one mode: reactionary!

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The United Democratic (UD) party continues to observe with much concern the ongoing developments and the Government reactionary management of the affairs of the country, the UD said in a press statement on Monday evening.

“UD Leader Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot Williams was chided by the coalition members for not voting along with them on the motion in support of the government’s acceptance of the Corona liquidity assistance and the conditions attached to this assistance by the Netherlands. 

“Coalition members beat their chest, boasting that these conditions could never be honored if unlawful. 

“Government nevertheless proceeded to act and react, oblivious to the questions by the UD as to the legality of their actions to secure the assistance from the Netherlands.

“It is shameful that our own General Audit Chamber had to publicly chastise the government on a matter that is so obvious, namely tinkering with the vacation allowance of the civil servants with total disregard for relevant laws and regulations.

“And this is only the tip of the iceberg. More actions by this government are against prevailing laws and regulations,” the statement read.

“We are still in a democratic state of law. Government too has to abide by the laws of the land. If a country’s government succumbs to this kind of pressure, our democracy is under threat. Today it’s for liquidity assistance. Tomorrow it could be for anything, if government is left unchecked”, commented UD leader, MP Sarah Wescot Williams. 

“The Government cannot ignore the country’s laws, especially not where they also act as employer. We call on the government to rethink its handling of the Corona assistance and conditions imposed by the Netherlands.

“We call on the government to take heed of the General Audit Chamber’s call and pay the vacation allowance to civil servants according to law.

“We call on the government to inform the Dutch government of the real threat of government acting contra legem (against the law) by carrying out the conditions laid out by the Dutch government without requisite due diligence,” the UD statement concludes.

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MID ISLE INSTALLS NEW BOARD FOR ROTARY YEAR 2020-2021

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On June 27,2020, The Rotary Club of Sint Maarten Mid Isle had its annual Change of Board (COB) ceremony. Considering the economic state that our island is in and the fact that we are still not fully COVID free, the club decided to do this year's COB in a smaller setting for Mid Isle members (plus spouse/partner or immediate family member) only and not as a fundraiser.

The COB ceremony was held on the gallery of the Belair Fitness Center, where besides only members of Mid Isle, Assistant District Governor Marcellia Henry was present.

Incoming President 2020- 2021 Grace Linger has taken over the reins of The Rotary Club of Sint. Maarten-Mid isle from outgoing President Aernout Kraaijeveld.

In his speech, member of Mid Isle District Governor Nominee Louis Wever, took the opportunity to thank outgoing President Aernout and his board for their dedicated service to their community, in the district and worldwide.  He also extended appreciation to all Mid Isle members for everything they had done to make Rotary work even in these difficult times, and that they had lived up to the ‘Ideals of Service above Self’ and to District Governor Delma Maduro’s theme of ‘Service Humanity, secure our Future’. He informed us of The Rotary International Theme for the year 2020-2021 “Rotary Opens Opportunities”, in the words of Rotary International, President Holger Knaack; “We believe that our acts of service, big and small, create opportunities for people who need our help”. Everything we do, opens another opportunity for someone, somewhere.

Outgoing President Aernout presented tokens of appreciation to his outgoing board, Vice President/Immediate Past President/Public Image Chair Denise Antrobus, Secretary Grace Linger, Treasurer Tony Da Cunha, Foundation Chair David Antrobus, Membership Chair Wayne Wilkie, Disaster Relief Chair Sonia Meade- Swantson, New Generations Chair/Spelling Bee Chair Jon Hart and Sergeant- at- Arms DGN Louis Wever.

Incoming President Grace Linger said the night was to honor the outgoing board and support the incoming board.   Even though the past year had its own challenges with Covid-19 and even more economic challenges, President Aernout and his team were able to collect some awards and recognitions from our District and Zone. She also added that going forward we will do our best to follow in the footsteps of our past leaders, but her main goal is to continue to put a lasting smile on the faces of those we help. To her that is its own reward. A great team has been assembled and she is confident that the Rotary Year 2020-2021 will be successful.

The incoming board consists of: President Grace Linger, Vice President/Foundation Chair Aernout Kraaijeveld, Secretary/New Generation Chair Jon Hart, Sergeant at Arms/Fundraising Chair Wayne Wilkie, Treasurer Tony Da Cunha, Membership Chair Quincy Lont, Public Image Chair Anjali Manek and Disaster Relief Chair Sonia Meade-Swanston.

The anticipated Rotarian of the Year Award was presented to New Generations Chair/Spelling Bee Chair 2019-2020 Jon Hart, for his work with the Annual Rotary/Rotaract Spelling Bee.

Past President David Antrobus was presented with his Paul Harris plus eight, while Past President Denise Antrobus was awarded her Paul Harris plus four for her contribution to Mid Isle as President and her Paul Harris plus Five. Both David and Denise were also presented with their major donor pins and crystal for their contribution to the Rotary Foundation.

We would also like to extend a special thank you to the Belair Community Center for everything they have done to accommodate us during our Change of Board. We greatly appreciate it!

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2019 annual report of APS submitted before November 1 deadline

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - The General Pension Fund of Sint Maarten (APS) submitted its 2019 annual report on June 29, 2020, four months ahead of the legally declared annual deadline of November 1. The 2019 annual report was submitted to the Minister of Finance of Sint Maarten, the Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten and the General Audit Chamber.

With this early submission, APS can ensure a more accurate and efficient current year reporting and further planning and budgeting. This also allows APS to further accelerate the cycle of internal control improvements and streamlining of its processes. APS has been working the past years on early submittal by streamlining the internal processes. This is the second year of early submittal of the annual report by APS.

“APS is very proud of this accomplishment as we pride ourselves on being a professional entity that adheres to the legal regulations imposed on us, which includes, meeting our deadlines. APS will continue to make strides to improve on a consistent basis, having identified these areas in our Strategic Agenda, ensuring that the pension scheme will be financially sustainable, now and in the future.” stated APS Director Nadya Croes-van Putten

The 2019 annual report highlights several key aspects that show the performance of the Fund over the fiscal year. Most importantly being the funding ratio. Annually, APS aims to achieve a minimum coverage ratio of 100% and a target of 105%. For the year-end 2019, APS achieved a coverage ratio of 103.81%. This was achieved by gaining significant positive return on APS investments of 9.54% in 2019. Other contributing factors were an increase in collections, resolution of overdue receivables and improvement in the accuracy of the pension administration.

According to APS Director Croes-van Putten, “This favorable coverage ratio shows an increase by 6.24% in comparison to 2018. This is the highest year-end funding ratio since the Fund’s inception and it means that APS can cover all its financial obligations. Despite the strain the COVID19 crisis has put on our fund we continue to weather the storm. The preliminary May 2020 funding ratio was already at 101.10%. And further growth is expected in June 2020.”

The completed 2019 annual report can be found on the APS website www.apsxm.org, under Annual Reports in the Downloads section.

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Racism and bigotry in St. Maarten are unacceptable. MP Heyliger-Marten requests formal position of Bar Association

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - "The fact that Mr. Hatzmann sees the people of Sint Maarten as “little village people” proves that he is part of the bigger problem" said United People's Party Faction Leader in Parliament, the honourable Grisha Heyliger-Marten Wednesday evening. She urgently calls on the St. Maarten Bar Association to state its formal position on Mr. Hatzmann’s press release.  

Her statement was a sharp reaction to an article published recently by an online blog site. The headline of the online article was "Dean Bar Association welcomes Dutch intervention at Pointe Blanche prison”. In response, Heyliger-Marten pointed out that only once the article mentioned of the support of the motion of Dutch MP Chris van Dam, which called for the Kingdom Council of Ministers to take full control of the Pointe Blanche Prison for five years at the expense of the local government.

In the article, attorney Geert Hatzmann dismissed calls from MP Heyliger-Marten and Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs for equal treatment for St. Maarten from the Dutch Government and urgent completion of decolonization as “nothing but demagogic nonsense.”

Heyliger-Marten considers it a direct insult to St. Maarten, it’s people, and those who the people elected that an attorney working and living on the island calls St. Maarten a “little village that plays little country” who were not equal to the 17 million people in Holland. "If you live on our island and have the audacity to call us hungry criminals who would have killed each other if the Dutch didn't send food baskets and soldiers with guns to stop us from killing each other over it, then you are part of the problem."

“It is very unfortunate that people like Mr. Hatzmann tarnish the reputation of the Dutch population in general, including those in the Netherlands who have publicly spoken out and demonstrated against racism lately”, the MP added.

The attorney had also said that St. Maarten was only a financial burden to The Netherlands who provided financial, material and personnel support out of moral obligation, which prevented locals from “butchering each other for food.” He also labelled St. Maarten’s past as being “a jet-black period of structural serious human rights violations” and said it was hilarious that residents spoke about colonialism because St. Maarten is “absolutely not the equal of the Dutch Government.”

“Mr. Hatzmann’s mindless and ignorant comments are a perfect example of the saying: It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt. As a European Dutch national, Mr. Hatzmann should know it is his mother country the Netherlands who has a “jet-black history” of pillage, genocide, suppression, slave trade, the betrayal of Jews, and other crimes too numerous to mention, stated MP Heyliger-Marten.

MP Heyliger-Marten stated that it is mind-boggling that as an attorney, Mr. Hatzmann would make these populist, unsubstantiated, and emotional statements on legal or other issues without having done his research and studied the facts. “Mr. Hatzmann could have easily accessed the extensive academic research by legal scholars who actually know what they are talking about on the unfinished decolonization of the Caribbean, islands before making his reckless statements.

If he prepares as poorly as this prior to representing his same “small village” clients in the courts, they have a very small chance of winning their cases. In that respect, I strongly advise Mr. Hatzmann, to focus on educating himself and representing the best interests of his clients, until he is elected to represent the best interests of the people of Sint Maarten in general”, Heyliger-Marten stated.

“On one hand, he ridicules and dismisses invoking the international legal order by the Parliament of Sint Maarten against the Government of The Netherlands. But on the other hand, he welcomes intervention by the Government of the Netherlands to correct alleged human rights violations of that same international legal order by the Government of Sint Maarten”. “This simply makes no sense”, according to MP Heyliger-Marten, “and Mr. Hatzmann should realize that without the international legal order, he would be without a job”.

Mr. Hatzmann seems to put his biased trust in the ability of failed civil servants of a colonial, self-confessed institutionally racist narco-state that has admittedly lost the war against organized crime, an EU-designated tax-haven, and a country where several ministers were forced to resign due to incompetence and immoral and lawless behaviour to fix problems in Sint Maarten.

“Because of this unfinished decolonization Sint Maarten has been prevented from taking full advantage of its development potential and the options to directly access financial and other resources, from sources other than the Netherlands”, according to the MP.

Earlier, Heyliger-Marten had praised State Secretary Raymond Knops for pointing out to the Second Chamber in The Netherlands that intervening in the internal and budgetary affairs of St. Maarten would be unlawful. She did point out though that she found his stance one of convenience, since on numerous previous occasion the Dutch Government had instituted policies as conditions for financial support during some of the most devastating periods of the islands' history.

The MP said that the Dutch Government had the opportunity in 2017 to rebuild the Point Blanche Prison when they took some 70 million ANG that never went through the World Bank Trust Fund, to "improve" the justice system on St. Maarten. "Some of that money could have been used from then to build the prison and improve conditions, and Holland has the obligation to do so do based on resolution 1514 of the United Nations.

“In any case, I will not sit back while certain Dutch colonial elements on the island or elsewhere try to ridicule Sint Maarten and its people with racist and colonial remarks, and certainly not when they enjoy all that we have offered them over the years”, Heyliger-Marten concluded.

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Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs Emancipation Day Address

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs delivered the following address on the occasion of Emancipation Day on July 1st:


Good Morning,


In 1863, when the institution that was slavery, was officially abolished on the southern side of St. Martin, our ancestors on whose shoulders we stand today had already liberated themselves by making it economically unfeasible for it to be maintained, while family members to the North were already freed some 15 years before in 1848. History has shown us, even after most countries in Europe abolished the slave trade itself since the early 1800s, the Dutch were the last to abolish slavery,

Denmark in 1803

Britain in 1834

France in 1848

Dutch in 1863

While Suriname and the rest of the then called Dutch Antilles officially abolished slavery in 1863, here on St. Martin, our ancestors Ran for freedom across the borders, the Diamond 26s and many more. So the Plantation owners finally gave in and both sides maintained the same status, and as can be seen on our monument, 1848 is a pivotal year for St. Maarten and her people.

Though the massa been a hide’m ....our ancestors freed themselves. It saw an end to the most brutal, horrendous, inhumane time in our history. We often conceal the level of pain and hurt that surrounds this time. What it was... was self-enrichment on the hard work of our people. Though the physical restraints were removed, we have yet to remove the institutionalized inequalities we continue to face even today as member states in the Dutch Kingdom.

While slavery was one of the most horrific events in our recent history, today, we honor our ancestors' strength, who had to toil through this hardship for so many years. We take time to remember the journey and celebrate Freedom, assess our Freedom, and enhance our Freedom. Emancipation is the commemoration of Freedom, the god-given right of every living being. For this Freedom, our ancestors ran, fought, and struggled.

Today, we celebrate St. Martiners, their perseverance, and their determination. We are now building a nation on their blood, sweat, and tears. They did not accept the status quo, and did not conform. We have what we have today, and what many take for granted today Because of their resilience, their strength of mind and their purpose.

Today marks the victory of the strong will of our people. This was not without its struggles; we all know the story of One-tete Lohkay; a young woman who fled the plantation of her captor. Lohkay was caught, and brought back to the plantation, and punished by removing one of her breasts, giving her the name-- one-tete Lokay. What gives me great admiration for this young woman and her story; is that despite this harsh punishment, she became even more courageous and strong-will for her Freedom. She escaped again and lived alone in the hills coming down to visit persons and gather additional supplies.

With her new found freedom, she led many more to flee to their Freedom. Fellow Sint Maarteners, I implore you to adapt the spirit of emancipation as a descendant of the enslaved, which we have achieved, progressed, survived and made possible, together. And with us, our food, music, dance, culture, and values have passed down from generation to generation.

Today, we are not without our challenges, as black people worldwide fight for equality, the right to determine one's destiny, and the right to live free from judgment; a fight against bigotry that still exists today. We must recognize that we are now truly also in a fight for our right as small island-states for our right to self-govern, for our right of self-determination.

We fight this first and foremost by standing up against any oppression and any form of inequality. We fight this by addressing all forms of institutionalized colonialism still remaining in our systems of government, education, Immigration, etc. But most importantly, we fight this through education, knowing our history, and ensuring that our children know theirs. In the words of Marcus Garvey. "A people without knowledge of their history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots."

We must also remember that our story did not start in slavery, but as emperors and empresses on the mighty continent of Africa, where we traveled, built, explored and ruled.... this story we must also learn to value ourselves and love ourselves and lift ourselves up to where we envision us to be again.

Freedom is a state of mind. Our ancestors imagined a world in which they were free, and they fought towards it. Our brother Bob Marley's "Redemption Song," that highlights the words of Garvey, chanting "Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds!" Therefore, we must begin to imagine ourselves as a financially self-sufficient country and take necessary actions to that end. We must think it, believe it, plan and work to achieve it.

This Emancipation Day has been themed “Sacred Legacies, standing on the shoulders of giants." which is ever so fitting for us.  Our foundation in this land is based on indescribable strength. A strength that has guided us for years, and will guide us again through the challenges faced with COVID-19 and beyond, and through our collective efforts.

Remember Lohkay, remember the many nameless, I remember! Quamina, I remember Jose Lake sr., I remember Sir Camille Baly, I remember Neville York, I remember Joe Richardson, I remember Nadia and I honor those who toil today, including our current leaders, movers, and shakers.

I conclude today, to impress this final thought upon you--as many of us go through challenges right here on St. Martin, remember our foundation and find that strength within. If there is something that you can conceive; a dream, idea, an opportunity, an avenue of untapped potential, go for it. Our Ancestors did it with far less, and we can surely do it too.

Thank you, God Bless you and May God Bless Sint Maarten and protect her people wherever they may be.

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Elisia Lake takes Presidency at Rotary Sunset’s First Virtual Installation Ceremony

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - June 29th, 2020, marked a superb day for members of the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset as they celebrated their first ever virtual Board Installation Ceremony.

Distinguished guests, such as Ms. Alicia Liverpool, District Governor Delma Maduro, District Governor Elect Charles Sealy II, Past District Governor Haresh Ramchandani, Rotary International’s Regional Membership Officer Audley Knight, Member of Parliament Sidharth Bijlani, St. Maarten’s very own District Governor Nominee Louis Wever, Presidents, Secretaries and Rotarians and well-wishers of various clubs worldwide from the Caribbean, Europe, United States of America, Africa and Australia were in attendance.

More than 200 participants gathered on the Zoom platform to witness this jubilant event. The event commenced with a tasteful selection of Steelpan music played by the sounds of Sweet Pan Entertainment, renowned Kenyo Baly sang the St. Martin’s Song, Road March and Groovy king, King James, entertained the crowd with some of his hit singles and the party rocker, Dj Siw’roo, concluded the event, whilst dominating the virtual crowd. Masters of Ceremony, Luciana Raspail and Charles Rollan, kept the crowd enthused throughout the event.

The keynote speaker was none other than the dynamic, courageous, phenomenal first female club president in Rotary’s history, Dr. Sylvia Whitlock. Dr. Whitlock inspired the virtual crowd with her speech based on the journey women took to become Rotarians and how she managed to attain the title of presidency. She went in-depth to explain the importance of wearing the Rotary pin. She even encouraged members to wear their pin on their pajamas. She concluded by encouraging members to focus on inviting new generations to join Rotary.

Immediate Past President Jaida Nisbett proudly gave notice and recognition to the hard work and dedication of all members. Following this acknowledgment, she particularly gave a distinction in recognizing members who displayed an outstanding amount of effort and commitment with the President’s Awards in areas that included fellowship, service above self, board member of the year and Rotarian of the year. The recipients respectively were Rotarians Lionel Lawrence, Franjesca Bulbaai, Ahisha Nunes and Michelette Boasman. Rotarian Michelette also received the Paul Harris recognition for her selfless service to the club, the community and ensuring the club surpassed its goal in giving to the Rotary Foundation.

Past District Governor Haresh Ramchandani installed President-Elect Elisia Lake, whilst Immediate Past President Jaida Nisbett pinned her. President-Elect Elisia Lake delivered a sound address encouraging members to remain focused and committed to serving humanity. The incoming board members proudly pinned themselves in the comfort of their homes while participants cheered them on. The 2020-2021 board members of the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset include:

President – Elisia Lake, Immediate Past President – Jaida Nisbett, Secretary & President Elect – Norrisa Anatol, Vice President – Jennifer Rombley, Treasurer – Michelette Boasman, Sergeant at Arms – Kathy Africa, Rotary Foundation Chair – Adelena Chandler, Public Image Chair – Jade Maccow, Club Administration Chair – Ahisha Nunes, Service Projects Chair – Georginette Lake, Fundraising Chair- Tamara Wilson-Leito, Youth Service Chair – Kimberley Duzong, Membership Chair- Sabrine Sinclair and Disaster Relief Chair - Antoine Flanders.

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The Questionable Tantrum of MP Gumbs

SINT MAARTEN (COMMENTARY – By Lionel R. Joseph) - I'm not sure what "revisionist history" has to do with anything when a man speaks of present-day issues. I'm not sure what it means at all. Something is either true or it is not. But it was an odd thing to say. Maybe there is something deeper at play within the mind of MP Gumbs. Resentment perhaps? Who knows. 

What we do know is that Sint Maarten faces many problems today. Some of them are home grown and some are not. One of the greatest obstacles to both progress and simple, everyday governing is the broken Charter and Kingdom structure. 

Regardless of how we got here, no one can deny that the current Kingdom arrangement is dysfunctional.  And the consequences of this are clear.  Since 10-10-10, progress and basic decision making is either studied to death by overpaid consultants or suffocated by more and more entities we never asked for nor ever needed.  We don't need to look much further than the recovery after Irma to see this. Something Theo and others try to point out.  Is it a "bold faced lie" that Dominica benefited from international aid while after almost 3 years only a drop of what was promised to Sint Maarten has actually been spent? Even a child can see the obvious.

Is MP Gumbs saying that the roofless homes we see around us is also a bold-faced lie? Are the stars people see at night where once they had a roof a bold-faced lie made up by Theo? Believe the excuses around the trust fund, not your own eyes, is what MP Gumbs is telling people. Don't trust yourself, but trust the experts. It has been 3 long years of waiting and trusting these experts. She wants us to wait some more apparently.  

The MP cites the Citizenship by Investment Program, where islands sell a passport for a hefty price to foreign investors, as the only fund Dominica benefits from to rebuild homes. Now that is a bold-faced lie. MP Gumbs conveniently forgot to mention that the same World Bank successfully provided funds to Dominica's recovery after Hurricane Maria. Speaking about the World Bank funds, Prime Minister Skerrit publicly stated that US$40 million from that international fund will go to housing in Dominica. This fact was published by the World Bank itself back in April 2018. Is this another "bold faced lie"? Why did it work over there and not here? Did she bother to ask herself that? Perhaps MP Gumbs should spend more time researching these facts than she does on a retired politician. It was a transparent attempt to distract from local reality.

The truth is that something is clearly wrong when our Caribbean peers can rebuild while we wait on more requirements, more new entities, more bureaucracy, and more expensive consultants before one nail can be hammered. That is just madness.   

Some may be puzzled why MP Gumbs would throw a tantrum over a casual radio interview about the simple issue of fixing roofs. I certainly was.  What could get her so hot and bothered? Her response was to shoot down any further talk about fixing roofs, like some uptight kindergarten teacher lecturing small children for asking too many questions.  I mean, how dare you point out that almost 3 years later and countless committees, reports, and entities there is actually little to show. But then, who exactly does MP Gumbs serve, if not the St. Maarten people?

Perhaps the truth is that it is a personal matter too close to home for the MP.  The NRPB, the local guardian of the US$500 million promised to St. Maarten, is coming under closer scrutiny by a skeptical population.  Sint Maarten's representative on the NRPB is MP Gumbs' father, a career politician and former Prime Minister, who has enjoyed more government positions over the past 40 odd years than anyone else.  So, the tantrum was nothing more but the same protecting of personal interest over the national interest.  MP Gumbs is not really concerned with fixing roofs, and certainly not the truth, but protecting the bureaucrats who tell you that what you see with your eyes is not real.  In other words, ordinary folks must not criticize what is close to home of those with power and privilege, like an MP. Her message was to sit tight and shut up for another 3 years, and count your lucky stars above instead. 

It's an easy and a cost-free exercise to stab Theo when it suits the moment. It doesn't make MP Gumbs brave. It makes her common. We've seen it before. It's pathological, especially among those who have accomplished little or nothing in their lives. 

The really difficult job is to take on the greatest challenge we face: the broken Kingdom and the very real consequences of it on people's lives.  For a change, let's hold ourselves and the entire Kingdom accountable for the broken promises. Hold the invisible bureaucrats accountable, because they are the only few who quietly benefit while St. Maarten falls apart.  But that would require taking on real risk and facing the brunt of our mighty European partners.  That is a cost MP Gumbs is unwilling to bear.

If that challenge is too difficult for some politicians, like MP Gumbs, then we'll offer her a simpler challenge: start by creating one real job first.  Just one.  The clock is ticking.

Lionel R. Joseph

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Businesses Allowed to Open on Emancipation Day

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The Ministry of TEATT hereby informs that businesses are allowed to remain open on Emancipation Day at their discretion. Emancipation is indeed a public holiday celebrated on July 1st.

There are several activities that will be held on Emancipation Day in recognition of that day. The public is encouraged to participate as much as possible, and enjoy the festivities.

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Minister Samuel reminds public to celebrate Emancipation Day 2020, “Sacred legacies; standing on the shoulders of giants”

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - With only a few more days left before July 1st, Minister of Education Culture Youth & Sport the Honorable drs. Rodolphe E. Samuel is reminding everyone in the community to come out and celebrate the 157th Anniversary of Emancipation from slavery.

Emancipation Day, a public holiday, will be celebrated on July 1st at 9:00 am to 10:30 am at the Freedom Fighter Roundabout located in Philipsburg across from the Sundial School.

This year’s celebration centered around the theme “Sacred legacies; standing on the shoulders of giants” will feature a dynamic repertoire of performances from dance, poetry to drumming.

The production is inspired by the era from 1848 to 1863 when our ancestors fought for their freedom. The performances set out to evoke attendees and viewers to reflect on the situation from then until now. While many may dwell on the many differences we might have as individuals, collectively we are one people, united in the fight for our human rights with the common goal to be free from all forms of oppression.

Minister Samuel has envisioned a presentation that celebrates diverse cultural elements and has involved a small but inspired cast of performers. The Sint Maarten Song will be played on steel – pan by the Mighty Dow. Local calypsonian Marvin “King Stunky” Dollison who will be accompanied by the Community Choir will perform his Emancipation Day song, while the Rudolph Davis Dance Company dancers will be performing contemporary pieces including the “Ponum” Emancipation dance.

Additional features of the program include a musical rendition of the Freedom song by Thierry from Nuff Respek Band. Mention must be made of the revival of drumming, which has always been a part of St. Maarten’s culture.

The program will incorporate the sounds of the West African Drum by Drum-ology lead by Souleyman Camara. Active drummers from Helir Coquillas from the northern side of the island have been an integral part of the revival of the “Ponum” dance since 1989. 

Furthermore, with respect to the health protocols surrounding COVID-19, persons are once again reminded to ensure their safety by wearing masks and maintaining social distancing as they gather during this public event.

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Urgent Plenary session of Parliament about the Ministry of VSA Guidelines for reopening the destination to international travelers

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - The House of Parliament will sit in an urgent Plenary Public Session on Monday, June 29, 2020. The Public meeting is scheduled for 10.00 hrs. and will be held in a virtual setting.

The Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour will be in attendance.

The agenda point is: Discussion on the ministry of VSA Guidelines for reopening the destination to international traveler.

Due to measures taken to mitigate the coronavirus (COVID-19), the House of Parliament is only allowing persons with an appointment to enter the Parliament building.

The parliamentary session will be held virtually and will be carried out live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 115, via SXM GOV radio FM 107.9, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1 www.pearlfmradio.sx, via the internet www.sxmparliament.org, and Parliament’s Facebook page: Parliament of Sint Maarten

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