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New PAHO/WHO network will monitor the health of women and new-borns in Latin America and the Caribbean

AMERICAS — On average, approximately 16 women die every day in Latin America and the Caribbean from complications of pregnancy or childbirth, while 250 babies die each day before having reached 28 days of age.

To gather information on the causes of these deaths and contribute to policies for their prevention, the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) has launched the new CLAP Network of Latin American and Caribbean Centers for Maternal Surveillance and Research on Women's and Neonatal Health.

"Maternal mortality has been reduced considerably in the last 20 years, but it continues to be unacceptably high, and the majority of its causes can be prevented or treated," said Suzanne Serruya, Director of the Latin American Center for Perinatology, Women and Reproductive Health (CLAP/WRH) of PAHO/WHO, during the launch of the new network in Brasilia.

The new CLAP Network will play an important role in helping to further reduce maternal and neonatal mortality in the region by collecting data on the causes of maternal and neonatal death as well as on the causes of complications that leave women seriously affected following childbirth.

Maternal and new-born health are closely intertwined. Approximately two out of three neonatal deaths occur during the first week of life, and the main causes include prematurity, congenital anomalies, asphyxia, sepsis and other infections.

Pablo Duran, regional advisor on perinatal health at CLAP/WHR, noted that since 1990 the number of new-borns who die in the first month of life has declined 55% in the region. "But we should make more efforts to prevent these deaths and conditions such as prematurity, retinopathy and asphyxia that can impact negatively on health and quality of life."

"The CLAP Network will help assess the use and impact of cost-effective interventions and will monitor conditions that help reduce preventable deaths and that affect the quality of life of new-borns," said Duran.

The CLAP Network builds on a collaborative effort in which 22 institutions in 12 Latin American countries began in 2012 to use a new component of the Perinatal Clinical History (HCP), which contains data on pregnant women and their children from the first prenatal visit until after delivery. The new component, introduced into the Perinatal Information System (IAPA), makes it possible to monitor severe maternal health events. The CLAP Network will now try to expand that collaboration to more institutions and countries.

More than 50 hospitals, health institutes, universities and WHO Collaborating Centers in over 25 countries of the Americas have been invited to become part of the new network.


Sint Maarten Skillz Academies Atlanta Founder and President Signs MOU with Messenger College for Student Athletes

SINT MAARTEN/ATLANTA, Georgia USA - President Daniel Davis of Messenger College and Reggie Plaisir Founder & President of Skillz Academies Atlanta recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in regards to student’s enrolment into their college online classes platform.

Skillz Academies Atlanta currently enrolling student athletes for Fall Semester to begin classes early August 10th 2015.  Skillz Academies Atlanta has outsourced its academics to an accredited college institution in order for its students to access U.S. Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA). 

The U.S. Federal Financial Aid, Pell Grants, Student Loans & Parents Plus Loans, are in order to attend Skillz Academies Atlanta and Messenger College for academics online college classes lectured by their professors.

The aforementioned are monitored by Skillz Academies academic instructors and coaching staff.

The semester classes are scheduled to begin August 10th to December 10th with graduation on December 15th 2015.

Skillz Academies Atlanta is a post graduate program college prep sports & academic program similar to 13th grade. Post graduates prepare student athletes for collegiate athletic scholarships opportunities with college institutions who offer athletic scholarships. 

Plaisir says typical student athletes attend post graduate programs for several reasons such as the following: 1. Opportunity to earn Collegiate Scholarship after graduating from a Post grad program; 2. Student Athletes needs higher SAT/ACT score in order to accept College Scholarship offer;

3. High School Student Athletes who needs at least 1 more season to develop more athletic skills; 4. Student Athletes who are competitive athletes who were not recruited out of high school or was recruited however did not get quality college athletic scholarship offer; 5. International Student Athletes who would like to use their athletic and academic abilities to enter USA and play collegiate sports. A post graduate program is one of the perfect opportunities to earn a collegiate athletic scholarship.

Reggie Plaisir is a former Sports Tourism Consultant and Executive Board Member of the Sint Maarten Sports Tourism Council Foundation. 

Skillz Academies Atlanta was launched in January 2015 after Plaisir resigned from Georgia Prep Sports Academy as Head Baseball Coach.  Skillz was created to assist student athletes in baseball and other sports, to have an opportunity to earn an athletic collegiate scholarship.


Wicked Boyz, Karaoke for $2 Village Village Night

POND ISLAND - It should be a fun, “almost free” night in Carnival Village on Wednesday night for the “$2 Village Night” hosted by the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF).

The night, formerly known as a booth holder night, is meant to offer the public an opportunity to just enjoy the Village mid-week, support booth holders and simply revel in the ambiance in Carnival Village.

The Wicked Boyz band will be on stage for a good portion of the night to entertain folks in the Village. In addition, the SCDF will host a karaoke competition to keep the crowd engaged and in high spirits.

“Carnival is off to a fast and frantic start. We had two jam sessions back to back with Fyah Under Yuh Foot and Flag Fest, followed by four pageants on three consecutive days. Our $2 night is a mellow, easy going night before we get right into the thick of the Carnival schedule. We hope everyone will come out and just have a good time,” the SCDF said.



MULLET BAY - Scott DeLong continued the Anguillan supremacy for a second year in a row by taking over the reign from Ryan Bowey. By doing so DeLong won his 1st St. Maarten Open title during the 23rd annual St. Maarten Open Golf Tournament.

Scott DeLong, who is the Head Golf Professional at CuisinArt Resort in Anguilla, made it clear from the start that he was determined to take home the Championship trophy. After shooting an even round par 70, DeLong had a share of the lead together with Raymond Percival from St. Kitts. Not far behind were Theron Loizes from Anguilla with a score of 73 and 14 year old Pierre Garcia from St. Martin who shot a first round score of 74. Garcia is one of the most talented golfers who started his golf career in the Junior Golf Program of the St. Maarten Golf Association.

The Championship flight that had a record amount of 20 players all with a handicap between 0-10, consisted of a lot of players that were determined to chase the first day leaders on the second day of the tournament. Besides early runs from Jonathan Jean-Noel from Guadeloupe, another 14 year old player and previous Open champion Howard Hobgood, conditions were not in favor for low scoring.  

Although they all tried hard, at the end Percival, Loizes and Garcia made too many mistakes to put any pressure on DeLong. DeLong on the other hand kept his composure and closed the deal on the back 9 to win the 23rd annual St. Maarten Open Golf Tournament by 7 strokes and to end up with a total score of 145 Low Gross. Raymond Percival came in second with a total score of 152 Low Gross.

The prize for Tournament Overall Low Net was won by Steven Johnson from St. Maarten with a total Low Net score of 132.

During the 2 day 36 holes tournament that took place over the weekend at the Mullet Bay Golf Course, a total amount of 97 players from both St. Maarten and St. Martin, joined by a large group of golfers from Anguilla, Curacao, St. Kitts, Nevis, Guadeloupe as well as from Canada, USA, and Holland, got started with an opening reception for players and sponsors on Friday evening at Mélange International Grill in Port the Plaisance.

The tournament got underway on Saturday morning for the first round. After the second round on Sunday a recognition party was held at the Sky Beach Bar and Lounge where the honorable Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs was present to officially open the awards ceremony.

In the  Champions category, the prize of 1st Low net was won after a match of cards by Jesus Rivera from St. Maarten with a score of 141 Low Net, Pierre Garcia won 2nd Low Net with the same score.

In the category Men’s 1st flight for players with a handicap between 11 and 18, Kit Lee from St. Maarten came out on top with a score of 164 Low Gross, Jonathan Haillant took first Low Net with a score of 138. In the Men’s 2nd Flight for players with a handicap between 18 and 36, first Low Gross was won by Steven Johnson from St. Maarten with a score of 170, first Low Net went to Loic Springer from St. Martin with a score of 137.

In a strong field with a total amount of 13 female players, the prize for Low Gross in the Ladies category went to Marie Gibbons from the USA with a score of 181. Low Net was won by Odile Mezière from St. Martin with a score of 146.

Philippe Thevenet from St. Martin shot 159 to win once again the Low Gross in the category Senior’s 1st Flight for players over 50 years old and with a handicap between 11 and 17, while Peter Parisi took 1st Low Net in this category with a score of 135. In the Senior’s 2nd Flight for players with a handicap between 18 and 36, first Low Gross was won by Glenford Gumbs from Anguilla with a score of 199, first Low Net went to Rourke Henderson from St. Maarten with a score of 147.

This year again there was a large amount of players participating in the category Super Seniors for golfers over 60 years old. Therefor this category was split up for players with a handicap up to 18 and a category with handicaps from 19 to 36. In the ‘Super Senior’s 1st Flight’, Richard St. Peter from the USA won Low Gross with a score of 161 and Low Net was won by David Ward with a score of 135. The category ‘Super Seniors 2nd Flight’ was won by Steven de Windt from St. Maarten with a score of 195 Low Gross, Bill Oliver won Low Net in this category with a 139.

The St. Maarten Golf Association SMGA was able to organize this top ranked tournament due to the great partnership with Mullet Bay Resort & Golf Course, B&C Beverages and the St. Maarten Tourist Office, combined with the relentless efforts from its members, volunteers and the tremendous support it received from both the local and international business community. Proceeds from the event will benefit pre-selected community organizations like the ‘No Kidding with our Kids Foundation’, the ‘LAB Sports Academy’ from Les Brown and the Junior Golf Foundation of St. Maarten.

The SMGA is a non-profit organization of avid golfers that promotes the practice of the game of golf and to foster community sense. The SMGA organizes golf matches and tournaments for its members and non-members and donates most of its proceeds that are made through membership fees and during these events like the St. Maarten Open to multiple community organizations on the island.


Benches for De Weever School from Island Gems

HOPE ESTATE--M. Genevieve de Weever Primary School is now the proud owner of twenty-four locally made, brightly coloured benches thanks to a donation from Island Gems Charity Foundation. 

The school approached the all-woman foundation with a request for benches to place outside each classroom for pupils to utilize prior to classes or at recess. The school sourced a local woodworker to build the benches and paint them in fun bright colours. 

Island Gems, which focuses on education and projects with long term impact in the community, was happy to fund the project. The group made a twist to the benches with the addition of name plates. Each bench has the name of a tree, plant of flower that can be found on the island. 

“The benches are not only useful, but educational. Pupils are curious to learn more about the bench names and they also have a sense of ownership with their ‘bench.’ This was evident when some gems members attended a school assembly. When asked which bench was by their classroom, pupils eagerly exclaimed: ‘lily,’ ‘coralita,’ ‘orange saga,’” said Island Gems President Alita Singh.   

Singh was accompanied to the school by fellow Gems Anu Amarnaney, Asha Stevens, Kerisha James, Jody Rosen, and Hanisha Alwani. They were taken on a tour to see the placement of the benches by School Acting School Manager Anna Grantham-Halley and Acting Adjunct School Manager Beryl Lake. 

This is not the first time Island Gems has assisted the public school. In the past, the foundation donated 100 recorders (training flutes) for pupils to learn music in theory and practice. 

Island Gems commends Hays Hanson of Mont Blanc Woodworks in Cripple’s Gate, St. Martin, for his craftsmanship and attention to detail. 

“Island Gems strived as much as possible to support local craftsmen and suppliers. This project met a lot of our expectation. It was combined both sides of the island – French side craftsmanship to benefit a Dutch side school. Island Gems is a charity supports causes on both side of the island so this was really a landmark project,” said Singh. 

Island Gems raises money to support projects on both sides of the island via its one and only fundraiser – an annual costume gala dinner. That dinner was held recently and the foundation has already embarked on seeking out new project to support. 

The foundation does not give any cash and only support projects and programmes of legally registered foundations and organizations. Funding requests can be submitted to Island Gems members. Requests must have a motivation letter and pro forma invoice for products or services. Island Gems funds projects on a merit and long term community impact. 


Hurricane Emergency Pass Application Process Starts April 21. Simpson Bay Public Service Center included in application process

GREAT BAY (DCOMM) – The application process for the annual Hurricane Emergency Passes for the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season which starts from June 1 to November 30, commences as of April 21 and is only applicable for the business sector and vital organizations.

The Simpson Bay Public Service Center (PSC) near the Simpson Bay Bridge is also an additional customer service point where the application form can be submitted.  The PSC will also be a pick-up location for the approved pass.   

The pass allows the aforementioned to assess their property in the event that a hurricane has caused damage to parts of the country.

Potential applicants have until May 22 to present all relevant information related to the process of requesting an Emergency Pass.

For the 2015 season, the application form as well as information sheet can be downloaded from the Fire Department’s website

Passes are issued to the following categories: government personnel, personnel of essential companies or organizations, (sub) contractors for the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI), transportation passes for hotel staff, business owners and members of vital organizations to assess possible damage to their property. 

The Hurricane Emergency Pass application procedure is only intended for businesses and vital organizations with respect to their key personnel receiving an exemption to a curfew.

The Office of Disaster Management that falls under the Ministry of General Affairs is handling the application process for the passes on behalf of the Prime Minister.

The Hurricane Emergency Pass system is a mechanism to maintain public order during emergency situations.  The Prime Minister assesses the damage in conjunction with Emergency Disaster Management entities of the Government after a disaster has occurred and can impose a curfew if the extent of the damage poses a threat to the safety and security of the community.

After a disaster has struck, and a curfew has been imposed, the public roads can only be accessed by emergency crews.  The Prime Minister will ensure that the curfew is limited to the essential time that is needed to execute emergency and disaster relief and recovery efforts.

The application form has to be completed and submitted to the offices of the Fire Department & Disaster Management, to the attention of the secretary located at Jackal Road 5 (Office hours Monday-Friday 9.00AM to 4.00PM), Cay Hill or at the Simpson Bay Public Service Center, (Monday-Friday 8.30AM to 12.00PM and 1.00PM to 3.30PM) Airport Road 6, before May 22, 2015, with all necessary documents attached.

Applicants will be informed by email or telephone when to pick up the pass at the aforementioned addresses.


Visiting Rotarians on island for donation of fundus camera to White & Yellow Cross Foundation

PHILIPSBURG - Rotarians from Rotary District 7030 arrived on Sint Maarten to partake in a ceremony for the launch of a screening for the prevention of Retinopathy due to Diabetes Mellitus and the donation of a fundus camera to the White and Yellow Cross Foundation.

The group comprises of the District Secretary from District 7030, Mr Waddy Sowma; the President of Rotary Club Paramaribo Central Mr Rino Tjin Wong Joe; Eye Specialist and Representative of the Rotary Club Paramaribo Residence Dr Jerrel Pawiroredjo and other fellows from the clubs. A technical eye care assistant also traveled with the team for the training of staff at the White and Yellow Cross Foundation. 

The project is a joint venture between the Rotary Clubs of Dutch Sint Maarten, Rotary Clubs of Suriname and the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman of Cayman Islands and was initiated by President Virginia Asin, President of the Rotary Club of St Martin Sunrise. 

In August 2014 in a Rotary Presidents meeting with President Wayne Wilkie of Rotary Club of Sint Maarten Mid Isle and President Danny Ramchandani of Rotary Club Sint Maarten under the leadership of Assistant District Governor Rebecca Low, President Virginia presented the proposal which was immediately accepted. 

The project was then presented to the Minister of Public Health Social Development and Labour, who endorsed and contributed to the project. 

Through email correspondence, the Rotary Clubs of Suriname were approached for their participation because of their prior experience in a similar project and the potential to get support of an Eye Specialist to assist in guiding the project. 

During a meeting with the Rotary clubs in Suriname in December 2014, in the presence of the District 7030 Secretary, President Virginia formally presented the project, which was received with unanimous approval. 

By embracing the project as their International Project, the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman also became a partner in the project.

Important and very dedicated partners in this project are also the American University of the Caribbean and the White and Yellow Cross Foundation. 

The project entails the purchase and the donation of a fundus camera to the WYCF for the screening of the retina in persons that are diagnosed with or suffer from Diabetes Mellitus. Through this screening blindness due to DM can be prevented if diagnosed at an early stage. With this donation the Rotary Clubs and Partners also launch the program for eye screening on Sint Maarten for the prevention of Retinopathy. 

During their stay the visitors will bring a courtesy visit to the Prime Minister, the Hon. Marcel Gumbs and the Minister of Public Health Social Development and Labour, Hon. Ms Rita Bourne-Gumbs On Thursday 16 and Friday 17 April 2015 the training for personnel of the WYCF in the handling and maintenance of the camera will take place and on Friday 17 April, Health Care Providers will be trained in the analysis of the retina image. 

This project would not have been possible without the generous support of numerous donors. "We are forever grateful for their generosity" said President Virginia and we thank them on behalf of the people of Sint Maarten. 

The partners anxiously look forward to the launch that will take place at White and Yellow Cross Foundation on Saturday 18 April 2015 from 11 AM to 2 PM.

           Rotary Sunrise meets at Philipsburg Jubilee Library Conference Room every Tuesday mornings at 7:00am for                fellowship and breakfast.  For more information on the club visit us at or email                                    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., we are also on Facebook: Rotary Club of Saint Martin Sunrise


Minister of Culture Bourne-Gumbs visits SIMARC and Impressed with Work

PHILIPSBURG - On Thursday, April 9, 2015, Minister Bourne-Gumbs made an official visit to SIMARC, which is the official archaeological collections depository and research facility for government St. Maarten since 2011.

Students of SIMARC created a short film about the Slave Route Heritage on St. Maarten, which was recently launched to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the UNESCO Slave Route Project.  

Minister Bourne-Gumbs wanted to meet the present and past SIMARC students to congratulate them on this great accomplishment.

This project which was the initiative of the Sint Maarten National Commission for UNESCO will now have these films distributed both international to various UNESCO venues, and locally to schools and community groups.

The Public can also view the short film on the Sint Maarten National Commission for UNESCO's Facebook page, located at


TelEm Group networks affected by network failure on Wednesday: landlines, internet and mobile service fail

POND ISLAND - TelEm Group Wednesday apologized to customers for an interruption in service in landline, internet and mobile service following a network failure earlier in the afternoon.

 Technicians were alerted to the failure shortly after 1:00 pm Wednesday and quickly identified issues with the company’s 3G mobile network and telecommunication equipment that provides landline and internet connectivity.

According to TelEm Group, Manager, Network Operations, Julian Lake, the problem with the 3G mobile network was quickly identified with service restored within an hour.

He said however, a second problem, involving loss of connection with another part of the company’s telecommunication network took longer to restore because different components had to be restored separately from various locations.

“We quickly isolated the major problem affecting the voice and internet service, however the process of restoring service was much more complicated than the problem experienced with the mobile network,” said Mr. Lake. He said landline and internet service was fully restored at 5:00 pm Wednesday.

He also said the mobile, landline and internet interruption was not connected to a another report earlier this afternoon concerning an interruption in service in the Mary’s Fancy area.

In that case, a cutover is under way and residents in that area have been told to expect outages during the course of this week.

According to Manager, Outside Plant, Mr. Marco London, the interruption in service in Mary’s Fancy is part of a scheduled upgrade that is being carried out this week on the underground network, aimed at improving service in the vicinity and also in several other areas.

He said due to the cutover, there will be interruptions at different times in the day all week, from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm.

The areas affected by the underground cable works are: Coralita Rd.; Carnation Rd.; Gladiola Rd. Match Me Rd. and Blue Jay Rd.

Both Mr. Lake and Mr. London have apologized to TelEm Group customers for any inconvenience caused by this afternoon’s series of outages. (TelEm)


23rd ANNUAL ST. MAARTEN OPEN GOLF TOURNAMENT Mullet Bay Golf Course April 18 and 19

MULLET BAY - The St Maarten Golf Association SMGA will host its 23rd annual St. Maarten Open Golf Tournament on Saturday and Sunday April 18 and 19, 2015 at the Mullet Bay Golf Course. Net proceeds from the event will benefit multiple pre-selected local community organizations like the:

No Kidding with Our Kids Foundation

  • LAB Sports Academy
  • Junior Golf Foundation of St. Maarten

The festivities will begin with registration on Friday April 17th at the Golf Course followed by an opening reception for all participants, sponsors, media and invited guests from 7:00PM – 10:00PM at MÉLANGE International Grill in Princess Port de Plaisance Resort. At this venue the tournament will be officially opened by a representative of the Ministry of Tourism. Guests will have a chance to mix and mingle and greet many long-time friends from other islands as well as meeting new ones.

So far the SMGA received a total amount of 81 registered golfers and they expect to get to 90 players when the tournament starts. Including a large contingent of local players from St. Maarten and St. Martin, there will be some very talented and highly competitive golfers from our neighboring islands like Anguilla, St. Kitts, Nevis, Curacao and Guadeloupe as well as players from Canada, United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

This 36 holes stroke play tournament will kick off with the first round of 18 holes on Saturday morning April 18th at 7:00AM. The second round will be played on Sunday April 19th. Following the tournament, an awards and recognition party will be held at SKY BEACH Rooftop Beach & Lounge in Maho for participants, sponsors, media and invited guests between 6:00PM – 9:00PM.

This two day tournament is made possible due to our year round major contributors Mullet Bay Resort and Golf Course and B&C Beverages, combined with the tremendous annual support and sponsorships the SMGA received from the St. Maarten Tourist Office as well as a huge amount of local and international businesses. 

A special thanks goes out to:

Mullet Bay Golf Course       St. Maarten Tourist Office            Coca-Cola 

Our PLATINUM sponsors:

Anderson Fabrics              Bank of Nova Scotia                    Cariburo / Dauphin Telecom

Caribtrans                        PJIA                                          Sol Antilles

SXM Timeshare Association

Our GOLD sponsors:

Boogaard Insurances         BZSE Law                                  Electec        

Générali Assurance            Global Purchasing                       Holland House Beach Hotel

Intergraph Corporation     Mélange International Grill          Oyster Bay Beach Resort

Pineapple Pete                  Port of St. Maarten                     Prime Distributors

Rendezvous Tour Company SBS Building Supplies                  Sky Beach Rooftop Lounge S.H.T.A.                                      Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort   Starz City Casino

The Daily Herald               Tropics Frozen Mixes                            Winair Airlines

Windward Islands Bank

And a large amount of other sponsors and contributors:

too numerous to mention that contributed in different ways through cash donations, hotel stays, dinner vouchers, gift vouchers, certificates, tickets etc.

During all tournament days great prizes will be raffled and auctioned off with all net proceeds going to the selected community organizations. Next to that all amateur competitors are eligible for the hole in one prize where for the first player that hits an ace on hole number 11can win a Hyundai i30.

The SMGA is a non-profit organization of avid golfers that promotes the practice of the game of golf and to foster community sense. The SMGA organizes golf matches and tournaments for its members and non-members and donates most of its proceeds that are made through membership fees and during these events like the St. Maarten Open to multiple community organizations on the island.

If you like more information about this event or schedule an interview with either the SMGA President Mr. Keith Graham or the SMGA Tournament Director Mr. Rodney Tackling, please call Marc van Iersel at +1721-5202901.

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