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President Daniel Gibbs brings the voice of Saint-Martin to the President of the Republic Macron

SAINT-MARTIN (MARIGOT) - The President of the Collectivite of Saint-Martin participated, this Thursday, April 30, 2020, in a video conference organized by the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron, with the Prefects and Presidents of Overseas Regions and Collectivites (Atlantic Zone), with the aim of taking stock of the situation with respect to the COVID-19 crisis in each territory and to examine together the stakes of the planned exit strategy from the confinement measures as of May 11, 2020.

Each territory was able to present the current situation of the epidemic and express its needs in terms of health, social and economic response, expected from the State.

On the reopening of schools

The issue of schools has been the subject of a discussion argued by territorial elected officials who do not wish to take any risks for students, teachers and their families and call on the government to deploy the necessary means for this recovery. President Gibbs was cautious in asking the President of the Republic to clarify the terms of the recovery and the means granted to the Collectivites. He confirmed that consultation meetings had taken place locally and would continue until a concerted decision was reached by 11 May.

On economic recovery

During his speech, President Gibbs stressed the major actions to be implemented in Saint- Martin to protect businesses and save jobs. The President of Saint-Martin recalled the statistics of his territory: 950 companies have used partial activity since the beginning of the Covid19 crisis, bringing to 4478 the number of employees affected by partial unemployment; 829 companies have applied for assistance under the National Solidarity Fund, with an average of 1390 euros per company in Saint-Martin. He also presented to the President of the Republic the main measures taken locally by the Collectivite , including the participation of our institution in the part 1 of the National Solidarity Fund to the tune of 123,000 euros, the establishment of an emergency fund of 5 million euros through a three-tiered scheme aimed at providing assistance to all businesses in the territory, regardless of their size. This assistance takes the form of two honorary loans of up to 15,000 euros and the use of the BPI's rebound loan,as well as the implementation, from 14 April, of deferrals of payments until next year, for the TGCA, corporation tax and commercial patent.

The Community is financially abounding in Part 2 of the Solidarity Fund, which will be launched from 1 May 2020 and which can reach 5000 euros.

President Gibbs also made it clear that investment assistance and the acquisition of protective measures will soon be put in place by the Collectivite for Shops and Restaurants.

Daniel Gibbs also spoke of his plan to revive the Economy of Saint-Martin and to start on a solid footing, the president asked the State for three levers: à l’Etat :

  • The revision of the State/COM convergence contract, to which the Minister of Overseas Affairs Annick Girardin, present alongside the President of the Republic, responded
  • The use of the remaining funds of the European funds under the 2014-2020 programmes (26 million euros) in actions to exit the COVID-19 crisis and the redeployment of part of the funds allocated for cooperation on COVID-19 shares (4 million euros out of 10 million euros of INTERREG-CTE credits initially allocated to STEP).
  • A revenue safeguard plan: revision of the endorsement to the State-COM protocol of 6 November 2017 with the request to extend it by 3 years and the guarantee of tax revenue actually collected in 2019 (100.2 million euros). Not to mention the implementation of tax reform of Saint-Martin that has been pending for a long time. The Minister of Overseas Affairs recognized the need to move forward on this issue.

On the reopening of bars, restaurants and shops

The President expressed to the President of the Republic the vital urgency for Saint-Martin to be able to reopen bars, restaurants and shops as soon as possible, as of 11 May, at the risk of many businesses finding themselves in serious difficulty and unable to overcome this unprecedented crisis.

A point on which the President of the Republic responded favourably under certain conditions. The President of Saint-Martin has also called for an extension of the partial unemployment scheme until the end of December 2020 in order to save jobs and support businesses that will have to wait until the next tourist season to be able to restart their activity satisfactorily.

The President of the Republic took this issue into consideration for the overseas territories and announced that a specific mechanism should be created quickly in the continuity of partial unemployment, for companies in this sector and help them to prepare themselves for the future.

The support of the banks was also discussed by President Gibbs, who wants much more support for the companies of Saint-Martin. The Minister of Overseas Affairs has pledged to intervene, as after Irma, for banks to strengthen their financial support to the overseas territories.

On regional cooperation

Another major topic for President Gibbs is the geopolitical context of Saint-Martin and its proximity to Sint Maarten, Anguilla and Saint Barths. As Saint-Martin is an air hub for these islands, the recovery must take place in consultation and in harmonizing tourism decisions: establishing joint modalities for the reopening of tourism services and infrastructure.

On COVID-19 screening

President Gibbs highlighted the involvement of the Collectivite of Saint-Martin about the community outreach COVID-19 testing initiative planned for May 4 to May 18.

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Only two active COVID-19 Cases. One hospitalized

SAINT-MARTIN (MARIGOT) – Out of the 38 positive COVID-19 cases, French Saint-Martin only has two remaining active cases. One person remains in hospital in Martinique.

The President of the Collectivite of Saint-Martin, Daniel Gibbs, met on Tuesday 28 April, Valérie Denux, Director of the Regional Health Agency of Guadeloupe, as well as Professor Roger, an infectious disease specialist at the University Hospital of Pointe-à-Pitre/Abymes, to discuss joint measures to combat the spread of COVID19, on the territory of Saint-Martin.

This meeting was first and foremost an opportunity to provide a comprehensive update on the health situation of the territory, as the Director of the L.A. confirmed to the President a significant decrease in acute respiratory infections observed by doctors and a stabilization of COVID-19 cases in recent days, indicating that containment is working.

However, further action should be taken by expanding screening tests to all people with flu-like symptoms, even mild ones, and by continuing joint efforts to drastically reduce the circulation of the virus in Saint-Martin and to contain each case that would prove to be in the future.

In partnership with the Collectivite and under the aegis of the LRS, L.C. Fleming Hospital is currently forming a team of mobile physicians who will travel to Sandy Ground, St. James, and French Quarter to conduct voluntary testing. The Collectivite and the Neighbourhood Councils are mobilized for this operation which takes place from 4 to 18 May and will be accessible to all residents who are identified as symptomatic of COVID 19 and wishing to be screened, regardless of their neighbourhood of residence.

The Collectivite is also committed to the acquisition and donation of a PCR screening machine and two ventilators (anesthesia and resuscitation) for the L. C. Fleming Hospital, as well as to make available under agreement, two screening machines for the two laboratories of Saint-Martin as well as 3000 PCR tests. This contribution from the Collectivite amounts to a total amount of 190,000 Euros, from European funds.

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Victorious Living Visionary: Positive Disruption is key to Transforming our Community Registration for Leadercast Live 2020 Closes May 1st

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Globally, regionally and locally, many persons are challenged by the current crisis that has impacted the world due to the effects of “Covid-19.”

This crisis has disrupted all of our lives in one form or the next. In light of our local and global challenges which range from economic depression, job losses and loss of loved ones, Victorious Living’s visionary, Dr. Erna Mae Francis Cotton states, “If an alleged virus has been able to disrupt the entire world in such a tremendous way, imagine what positive disruption could do.”

Francis-Cotton noted in a press release that Covid-19 is teaching all of us that one person can make a difference. She states, “It is teaching us that if positive changes are to take place in our political, economic, educational, business, media and family systems, we’ll have to positively disrupt the status quo. We have to be bold and courageous enough to examine the systems that currently are not serving us and make the changes that are necessary to chart a more effective course that will benefit all of us regardless of age, race, creed or background.”

Fortuitously, Leadercast, the world’s largest annual one day leadership conference based in Georgia, USA, which Victorious Living hosts locally, chose “Positive Disruption” as its theme for Leadercast Live 2020, almost one year ago. “Positive Disruption,” calls upon leaders of all levels to shake up the status quo and drive opportunities for innovation and change.

This year, Leadercast and Victorious Living have adapted to the current need for physical distancing due to “Covid-19” and are offering Leadercast Live to registrants in the comfort of their home or office.

Nine influential change-makers will grace the Leadercast stage including:

Earvin “Magic” Johnson—Hall-of-Fame Basketball Player, Executive and Philanthropist

Five-time NBA champion and three-time NBA MVP now finding success off the court as a team executive, businessman and philanthropist.

Amy Jo Martin—Digital Media Pioneer and Best-Selling Author

Named one of the most powerful women on Twitter by Forbes, Amy Jo helps people and businesses revolutionize their brand.

Andy Stanley—Best-Selling Author and Leadership Communicator

Founder and senior pastor of the renowned North Point Ministries and author of more than 20 books.

Dr. Henry Cloud—Psychologist, Best-Selling Author and Leadership Expert

An unmatched knowledge of business leadership and psychology and author of more than 45 books that have sold more than 13 million copies.

Bozoma Saint John—Chief Marketing Officer, Endeavor

Known as a trailblazing executive from leading marketing efforts for Uber, Apple and Pepsi-Cola North America, and now Endeavor’s global network.

The registration deadline is May 1st and persons from any geographic location are able to register. Victorious Living is assigning 50% of the proceeds from Leadercast to reach vulnerable persons unable to afford mental health support. In addition, persons who register for Leadercast will receive a complimentary online course entitled “Self-Leadership,” from Victorious Living’s E-Learning Academy of over 180 enlightening and empowering courses.

For more information, or to register, persons may call 1-721-524-8731 or visit https://www.victoriouslivingfoundation.com/441333998.

VLF drhenrycloud 1

Dr. Henry Cloud

VLF Leadercast 2020 Final 1

 

 

 

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Nature Foundation Evaluates the Environmental Impact of Middle Region’s Bushfire

SINT MAARTEN (MIDDLE REGION) - Last week the Nature Foundation St. Maarten assessed the areas of Middle Region, Madame Estate, Arc Road and Sucker Garden to evaluate the environmental impact of the bushfire that spread throughout those regions in the late hours of Monday, April 20th.

“The bushfire significantly damaged the native vegetation and wildlife of St. Maarten, decreasing our biodiversity, whereby a loss off at least 177,372 square meters of vegetation was recorded. Several wildlife species were found to be affected or even deceased due to the fire. St. Maarten’s native vegetation and wildlife were already greatly reduced and are under significant threats due to development and construction, we urge all residents to be very careful with burning any items, especially during dry periods” stated the Nature Foundation St. Maarten. 

In the days after the fire Nature Foundation’s Chief Ranger Etienne Lake and D. Bardfield of the VKS (Voluntary Corps St. Maarten) were able to visit the affected areas to determine the significant environmental impact of this incident. The team was able to assess that at least 177,372 square meters of land were burned or scorched during the fire through the use of a drone, most of this land was covered with native grasses, native cacti and wild growing Tamarind Trees. 

The fire has severe negative consequences for the biodiversity of the area and the following species have been recorded as being found dead from either fire or smoke inhalation: mongoose, lizards, iguanas, various bird species, snails, spiders and other insects. In addition to the loss of life from the event animals that could normally be found in the area often flee after a bushfire and cannot return for some time due to the lack of food in the region. 

While the negative impacts of such a fire on biodiversity can be obvious and devastating there were also signs of some life still surviving in the region including a mongoose, two doves, one lizard, and several ants. Bush fires are not only negative, as bushfires can trigger new germination of places in the area and encourage new growth that would not have been possible with the dense vegetation already in place. 

Thanks to the great efforts by the Fire Department, Police Department and residents of the area there were no human fatalities due to the fire which, if not contained could have spread to several densely populated areas nearby. The Nature Foundation will continue to monitor the area in the coming weeks and hope to see regeneration in a short time period.

nature hillside aerial top

nature hillside bush level

nature hillside impact on animals

nature hillside impact on bush

 

nature hillside impact on shell animals

nature hillside impact on trees

 

 

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Port St. Maarten Recognizes and says Thank you to the Frontline Maritime Workforce & Seafarers

PORT ST. MAARTEN – Port St. Maarten Management would like to say thank you to the maritime workforce that comprises of and not limited to, pilots, stevedores, crane operators, truck drivers, forklift operators, port operators, security staff, marine engineers, pilot boat captains, dockmasters, shipping lines, shipping agents, port administrative staff and seafarers, who are on the frontline daily ensuring that the global supply chain related to the movement of cargo, food, medical supplies, essential goods critical to our community and other consumer goods, continues to move throughout the world and to St. Maarten and the surrounding islands.

“We have a full understanding of what you face during this global pandemic which has reached our shores, and we recognize the dedication, sacrifice and professionalism, and appreciate and give gratitude for what you do on a daily basis with respect to the COVID-19 response and recovery, as well as ensuring a steady flow of the supply chain continuity that our communities and the surrounding islands are so dependent on.

“Port St. Maarten continues to provide essential services to the community with top priority being the health, safety and well-being of the port workforce, and its users.

“A number of measures have been taken to ensure the aforementioned via our ‘Sterile Port Protocol’ that includes enhanced sanitization measures since mid-March at the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facility.

“We urge all personnel to remain vigilant and take the necessary personal preventive measures as promoted by the Collective Prevention Service (CPS) to minimize the risk of infection from COVID-19.

“Once again, we say thank you to all our port workforce heroes and the seafaring community who are the reasons why commerce continues to move through Port St. Maarten and to the neighbouring islands,” Port Management said on Wednesday.

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Several arrests made in illegal street parties kept in Dutch Quarter and Fort Willem

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The local Dispatch received several calls early Monday morning April 27th reporting groups of people in Dutch Quarter and Fort Willem areas gathered for a Street Party on the public road which had been previously organized.

Upon arrival of the patrols at the first locations, the officers encountered a group of about 50 people dancing behind a vehicle that was playing loud music. In an effort to avoid possibly exposing the Police officers on the scene to the COVID 19 virus, the decision was made not to arrest the revelers on the spot but instead order all the participants to immediately disperse and return home.

Since then, the Police launched a full investigation into the matter and later that same evening, six (6) persons who were responsible for organizing and participating in these so-called Jumps Up's in Dutch Quarter and Fort Willem were arrested.

The first two persons with the initials G.R. and G.R. were arrested in the area of Philipsburg. The father and son duo were involved with the Jump Up that took place in the area of Fort Willem.

They are being held pending further investigation. Meanwhile, the vehicles and sound systems used at both locations were also confiscated and hefty fines were issued.

“We would like to make it absolutely clear to the community, that we are taking a zero tolerance approach to persons, who insist on blatantly disregarding the curfew laws imposed and continue to put our front line workers and the community in danger,” Chief of Police Carl M. John stated.

“So far we have issued more than Naf. 4000 in fines and we anticipate much more as the investigation continues,” the police statement said.

The other four (4) individuals with initials D.A.M., D.M.M.H. R.K.E and I.R.B. were arrested in the Dutch Quarter area and one of the vehicles and sound systems was also seized. All six suspects were held and questioned and later released after paying their fines.

The KPSM would like to advise the public to adhere to the curfew set by the Prime Minister as head of the E.O.C and to refrain from illicit behavior that continues to put the lives of others in the community at risk. Anyone found to be in breach of these safety measures will be arrested and prosecuted. This investigation is still ongoing. (KPSM)  

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Two vehicles that were confiscated by Police are after they were involved in the illegal so-called J' ouvert morning event on April 27 during the national state of emergency. (Police photo)

 

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Crown and Island Princess Cruise Ships in Port for Fuel Bunkering

PORT ST. MAARTEN – On Tuesday morning, two cruise ships came in for fuel bunkering, namely Crown Princess and Island Princess of Princess Cruises.  Port St. Maarten continues to cater to the cruise industry during the global COVID-19 pandemic by providing essential services such as fuel and food provisioning. 

Also, in port on Tuesday are Star Pride, Wind Star and Wind Surf of Windstar Cruise Line, which came into port over the weekend.  The aforementioned are in port to shift crew members as well as food and consumer product supplies between the three vessels.

Port St. Maarten Management continues to maintain a constructive working relationship with cruise partners and stakeholders during this unprecedented time and continues to assist the cruise industry with essential services when requested. 

All cruise vessels have to adhere to stringent public health measures as well as to the rules and regulations related to the national State of Emergency.  Port St. Maarten has a “Sterile Port Protocol” in place since mid-March with respect to COVID-19 ensuring safety and security. No crew disembarkation or embarkation is allowed.

Crown Princess and Island Princess vessels belong to Princess Cruises.  The line is a global cruise and tour company taking more than one million passengers each year to more than 300 worldwide destinations on six continents. The company was founded in 1965 and is headquartered in California, USA.  Its parent company is Carnival Corporation & plc.

Princess Cruises has extended a temporary pause of global operations through June 30 due to the global COVID-19 outbreak.  The cruise line initially announced a voluntary pause for 60-days impacting voyages that departed from March 12.

Princess Cruises operates a fleet of 17 modern ships, with one on order that travels to destinations around the globe including Alaska, Caribbean, Panama Canal, Mexican Riviera, Europe, South America, Australia/New Zealand, South Pacific, Hawaii, Tahiti/French Polynesia, Asia, Africa, India, Canada/New England and world cruises.

The Crown Princess made its inaugural cruise in June 2006 and was christened by Martha Stewart.  The vessel was refurbished in April 2018. Island Princess made its inaugural cruise in July 2003 and was christened by Jamie Sale and David Pelletier (Olympic Gold Medalists) and was refurbished in December 2017. 

Windstar Cruise Line Vessels in Port

Windstar Cruise Line three vessels docked at the cruise pier (right). (Port St. Maarten Photo)

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TelEm Group launching 9111 Emergency credit plan for prepaid customers

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - TelEm Group is launching a new 9111 Emergency Bundle plan to assist prepaid subscribers in times of emergency.

From 6:00 pm, today (Friday, April 24, 2020) all TelCell pre-paid subscribers will be able to tap into a reserved Bundle of Minutes and Data to make an SOS or other Emergency call to any TelCell mobile or TelEm landline number.

The Emergency Bundle is ONLY available for a one-time use and once activated, The Emergency Bundle will remain available to the user for 15 days after which the bundle will expire.

TelEm Group says activation of the Emergency Bundle is automatically available when a subscriber’s balance reaches $1 or less, at which point the subscriber will have the option to send a text message “Emergency” to 9111 to activate the Emergency Bundle that TelCell has reserved for them.

TelEm Group CEO, Mr. Kendall Dupersoy, says the new Emergency Bundle plan is another measure taken by the company to assist customers and the general public as St. Maarten battles against the spread of the deadly Coronavirus.

“I would strongly urge our pre-paid subscribers to use this Emergency Bundle credit for what it is meant for, an emergency call, and not use it just because it’s there,” said Mr. Dupersoy.

He said TelEm Group is doing all it can, under very challenging circumstances, for the community, noting that containment of the spread of the Coronavirus on the island will only be successful with the combined effort of everyone.

During the lockdown the CEO has been voicing public awareness messages from TelEm Group urging people to Stay Home, and Keep Safe, for which he has been receiving some very positive comments from the online and social media community.

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NPOWER REQUESTS NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS TO FILL OUT COVID-19 ASSESSMENT SURVEY

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - St. Maarten Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs) are asked to fill out a survey administered by NPOwer, a program under Foresee Foundation. The survey, although initiated by NPOwer, received input from various stakeholders of the community, leading to a questionnaire that is extensive and comprehensive.

Director of Foresee Foundation, Jose Sommers expressed, “We need to assess the current state-of-affairs of our non-profit organizations and attain insight and understanding about the effects that COVID-19 may have on the functioning of operations. With the data survey we can ascertain how prospective changes in civic society may influence St. Maarten society, and we can share the results with the St. Maarten Non-Profit Sector, Government, funders and other national and international stakeholders.”

Cassandra Richardson, NPOwer Project Coordinator further explains that several NPOs and volunteers usually “step-up and take care of the community in times of crisis”. Ms. Richardson expressed further, “we experienced this during hurricane Irma and many hurricanes before and it will be no different with this crisis.”

The survey is not to only capture the reality of how NPO’s are operating in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, we also hope to show trends of how the St. Maarten society on a whole is reacting as a result of this crisis.

As mentioned above, NPOs will be able to already access the survey as they received an email concerning this initiative. The survey can also be accessed through the NPOwer website at https://www.npowersxm.com/ or by opening the link https://bit.ly/NPOwer-survey.

All non-profit organizations are asked to fill out the survey this week. For more information organizations can contact NPOwer by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling

581 5050.

For those organizations who have not yet joined the NPOwer online database with already over 85 organizations, they are invited to do so and make themselves visible to St. Maarten and abroad.

“Helping NPOwer to build its data base helps with administering research, provide vital information to NPO’s and helps to get your own organization’s information to other NPO’s as well”, according to Ms. Richardson

NPOwer is a project of the Foresee (4C) Foundation and mandated to support in capacity building and connect the St. Maarten NPO community, the statement from the NPOwer Team, Cassandra Richardson and Jose Sommers said on Sunday.

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VNP Head at Port to Welcome the Karel Doorman

SINT MAARTEN (POINT BLANCHE) - Head of the Office of Dutch Representation in Sint Maarten (VNP), Chris Johnson, on Friday was at Port St. Maarten to welcome the ZM Karel Doorman.

Royal Netherlands Navy Ship Karel Doorman arrived on St Maarten as part of the military assistance to the Dutch Caribbean, the VNP said in a press statement on Friday.

On hand to welcome the ship were representatives of locally stationed marines, the Marechaussee, as well as the Dutch Representation Office VNP.

The VNP statement further says: The ship and crew can support the islands in border surveillance, food security, and help maintain public order if necessary. There are also medical facilities and personnel on the ship, amongst other services to aid in the corona-crisis.

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