Features (2)

Soualiga Newsday Features (4301)

Cabana: A Great Pool Bar & Restaurant. A Place to Hang Out & Talk this Weekend

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) – Cabana Bar & Restaurant located at Hilton Vacation Club Royal Palm Resort near the Simpson Bay Bridge is a place to visit while you enjoy your stay on the ‘Friendly Island.’

Bill H from Saint Louis, Missouri, told Tripadvisor that Cabana is a great pool bar and restaurant. “The food is very good. The service is great! Kenny at the pool bar took very good care of us…attentive, courteous and knows his cocktail.”

James W.R. from Altamonte Springs, Florida, in his Tripadvisor review stated the following about Cabana: “Ate there twice, lunch and dinner. Good afternoon happy hour, 4-7. Fun place to hang out and talk with other guests.”

Make sure to check out Cabana Bar & Restaurant which offers American, Caribbean and Barbeque dishes.

They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.


NAPA: Your one stop shop for all your auto, truck, and marine needs

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY/PHILIPSBURG) – Help bring your engine back to its former glory with a bottle of SeaFoam. It quickly dissolves varnish residues in your engine to help your engine function normally.

With over 600,000-part numbers available, NAPA St. Maarten services more than just the needs of auto and truck owners.

NAPA St. Maarten excels in 'special-order' service. A leader in the auto, truck and marine parts business, NAPA understands the need for quality parts and excellent service.

NAPA St. Maarten’s Mission: "Be the Premier one stop stores for all your Automotive, Truck & Marine Parts.”

Napa SXM = your one stop shop for all your auto, truck and marine needs!

NAPA Open on Sundays Philipsburg Store



Coalition talks are at a “sticky” phase, with one month to go

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Talks on forming a new right-wing coalition government in the Netherlands are at a “sticky stage” but the negotiations have not yet broken down, sources have told the Volkskrant

And even if the four parties do reach a deal, the new cabinet will be a “marriage of convenience, at best,” NSC leader Pieter Omtzigt told reporters after Wednesday’s talks. 

Geert Wilders, leader of the far-right PVV, is also expressing caution, telling reporters that being asked if he is of a positive mindset is “a complicated question”. No big issues have yet been solved, he said on Wednesday evening. 

Behind the scenes, the paper says, the four party leaders are unable to come to any compromises, even though they have been talking for months. This, the paper said, is why the four had individual meetings with the negotiators last week. 

During those meetings, they were asked to say which issues they were willing to compromise on, out of the hearing of the others. One source said it is proving hard to agree on the main themes. And negotiator Richard van Zwol told reporters this week that “putting together the financial puzzle” is proving tricky. 

The two negotiators have been given until mid-May to come up with a more concrete agreement which should then lead to the formation of an “extra-parliamentary” cabinet, which includes ministers who are experts rather than party members. 

So far, candidate ministers and a possible prime minister have not been the subject of discussions, another source told the paper.

Meanwhile, divisions between the four parties continue to emerge during regular parliamentary business. Earlier this week, the pro-farming BBB found itself abandoned by the NSC and VVD over plans to cut the Dutch manure mountain

They are also divided on the future of the public broadcasting system. The PVV wants to abolish it altogether while the NSC wants to get rid of one of the three channels and use the cash to bolster the others. The other two potential partners both want to cut the NPO’s budget.



Commissioner Heyliger elated with distribution of new healthcare card

SABA (THE BOTTOM) - On Wednesday, March 13th, 2024, Commissioner of Health, Eviton Heyliger met with representatives from Zorg & Jeugd Caribisch Nederland (ZJCN) - at the Government Administration Building for the official presentation of the new healthcare card for residents of the Caribbean Netherlands.

Also present at the occasion were representatives of the ZJCN, Mewael Fitiwi, Carolyn Johnson, and Milva Linzey. Saba will be the first island in the Caribbean Netherlands to introduce this type of medical insurance card.

The healthcare card, specifically for individual use, was developed with the aim of improving referrals abroad where it pertains to emergency medical assistance for insured residents of the Caribbean Netherlands. Specifically targeted towards urgent medical interventions that cannot be delayed, the initiative marks a significant stride towards enhancing healthcare accessibility and responsiveness.

Commissioner Heyliger expressed his satisfaction with the realization of this, remarking, "Throughout my previous medical travels, I consistently contemplated the vital need for such a system. Witnessing its actualization today is immensely gratifying. While there remains substantial groundwork ahead, I firmly believe that this marks a pivotal advancement for the welfare of the Saban community."


Encouraging statistics

SINT MAARTEN (COMMENTARY - by Cdr. Bud Slabbaert) - Looking at encouraging stabilizing statistics is like looking through the glass window of the oven when baking a soufflé. It may be holding, but with a little breeze it will still go puffffff and fall apart.

Be careful about using or interpreting encouraging statistics for the purpose of forecasting. If times are tough, statistics don’t help, a savior might. The 2024 Atlantic Hurricane Season is predicted to be one of the most active on record. “C’est la vie, say the old folks, it goes to show one never can tell”, according to an old popular song.

Some get in the jubilee mood when reading about progress and growth elsewhere. Those may be statistics of a different part of the industry or of the region. It simply doesn’t mean that the number of clients or visitors will increase automatically. And if one hopes to inevitably get ‘old’ clients back it only means that one is hoping for old levels to return.

With statistics one can tell a real truth with one half, while silencing the other half. This is mainly used for shielding the messenger from being negative, if not as bad as disastrous. Nevertheless, when this communication strategy is applied in business, it works like using a silencer on a gun; one won’t hear the shot, but it may be more lethal than just shooting oneself in the foot. Just be honest and reveal the complete picture even if it is tough.

It is like the general telling his troops who were totally surrounded, “we now have the opportunity to attack the enemy in any direction” or like another once said: “we’re not holding on to our positions, we’re not going to hold on to anything, we’re going to move ahead”. Leaders don’t use misleading statistics; they make things actually move.

The economic slowdown over the past couple of years has accomplished a curious thing: some businesses and their management have learned to climb their way back up without a net. However, if things are still moving slowly after all those so-called ‘encouraging signs’, and they still don’t result in significant gains, it may be due to a W-shape recovery; It goes up and down. Predicting a W-shaped recovery is one step better than intelligent guessing.

First of all, don’t call things ‘encouraging’ unless growth is steady and more than 5% higher than a previous top year. And an investment is not an investment unless it yields more than 15% net. Anything else is pure hogwash. Everything above those numbers is good, anything less is not worth considering seriously unless one is doing it as a charity or looking for just something to keep one busy and spend some time.

Being a hardliner? No, just being realistic without distractions. One shouldn’t take on a project assignment unless those percentages were ballpark minima and preferably with higher expectations or else it may be like taking away resources off helplessly hoping victims. One hears about drug addicts saying that they want to be high, but realistic athletes and their coaches know exactly how high to set the bar that has to be jumped.

W-shaped recovery. In case you don’t know, the ‘W’ stands for Wiggly-WaggIy-Woo; some say Wicky-Wacky. It may be best explained by comparing these kinds of statistical movements with the traditional dancing lessons. Think of the slow-quick-quick-slow Quick-Step. Two steps forward one step back is a better explanation of the W-recovery. It means one is still dancing and having fun yet moving slowly forward.

The reverse is one- step- forward and two- steps- back which means that one is also dancing and think you are having fun, but since one is going slowly but continuously backwards, one is likely either to lose the lead or to stumble backwards and end up lying on one’s back between the spectators and everyone but oneself is laughing. In dancing terms, it may be called a flip; in business terms it is definitely a flop. The two-steps-backwards, one-step-forward needs to be reversed by a full swing turn around, in dancing as well as in business.

Movers make things move. When one starts a new business, what counts is what is in the cash register at the end of the day. One works hard and gives it an all-out effort. Call it groundbreaking pioneership. As the business grows and it has to be handed over to professional management, that is where statistics are needed to prove results and progress. It is essential information for improving the business regardless of statistics either way; up or down. It is not about comparison with colleagues or competition; it is about outdoing them, working to get new business and also finding new ways to increase revenues.

The world is littered with statistics. So are most presentations that one sees at various conferences. Statistics do have a sort of magical appeal and are a bit like mathematical magic tricks, aren’t they? A sort of aphrodisiac for creating an appetite or for finding admiration. Statistics can be great conversation starters at conferences and are fun to baffle colleagues. Some people love to mention the half-empty-glass and the half-full-glass example and still think it is funny. Edgy a while ago, but an old joke now. Six of something can sound either better or worse than half of dozen of something depending on where it’s applied.

This half-half stuff may be well mockingly explained by George Carlin, a five times Grammy Award winning stand-up comedian and social critic, who said about average persons: "Think about how stupid the average person is; now realize half of them are dumber than that."





Dutch cities top expensive housing list for young adults

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Four Dutch cities are among the top five most expensive in Europe to rent a home, according to research by rental property website HousingAnywhere, which focuses on student accommodation and housing for young professionals.

In total, 65,000 plus properties in 28 European cities were analysed for the report. Of them 98% were furnished and 62% included bills.

Amsterdam topped the list, with an average rent of €2,275 for a flat, €963 for a room in a shared flat and €1740 for a studio. Rome and Paris came next in terms of the cost of an apartment, followed by Rotterdam and The Hague.

Utrecht, however, was the second most expensive place in Europe to rent a single room, followed by The Hague, Munich and Cologne.

Across Europe as a whole, HousingAnywhere’s rent index rose 3.8% in the first three months of this year.

In February, room rental platform Kamernet, which is part of the HousingAnywhere group, said the cost of renting a room in a shared house in Amsterdam soared to an average of €948 last year, a 39% increase on 2021.

In The Hague, room rents soared nearly 32% and in Breda almost 30%, Kamernet said. The Hague and Rotterdam remain the most expensive cities to share a home after the capital.

Student rooms are supposed to be subject to the point system for setting rents but few landlords currently take this into account. But legislation which requires landlords to give new tenants an official calculation of the rent, based on size and shared facilities, is currently pending in parliament.

Students and young professionals will then know the maximum rent which landlords can charge, and will be able to go to a rent tribunal to force a reduction.



Buy now, pay later loans illegally offered to children: AFM

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – “Buy now, pay later” loans are unlawfully being offered to children shopping online, according to Dutch financial authority AFM.

In its latest annual report, it warned that last year almost 600,000 loans were issued to bank accounts belonging to children aged between 13 and 17.

It is only legal to offer credit to adults in the Netherlands and registered providers of “buy now, pay later” loans have signed up to a code of conduct saying they will only lend to over-18s.

“New risks for debts are piling up,” said Laura van Geest, chairwoman of the AFM, in a statement. “Particularly young persons are being exposed to the temptations of [buy now, pay later] quick and easy credit, excessive trading in cryptos and finfluencers. While legislation is on the horizon, it remains imperative to anticipate this in time to avoid any major problems.”

Buy now, pay later loans allow people to make purchases online on credit that must be repaid 14 or 30 days after delivery, or in instalments. They are free or have a small fee if payments are made on time – however “reminder” costs are an average of €15 if a payment is missed. “This makes it an expensive form of credit,” the AFM says on its website.

Its market update research, also presented on Tuesday, suggested that these loan providers processed 45 million transactions worth €4.8 billion in 2022. The fastest-growing group of users is those between 18 and 24, while consumers under 35 are most likely to incur late payment fees and be passed to debt collection agencies. “The costs associated with late payment can be substantial,” warned the AFM.

In a separate publication, the AFM also raised an alert about the ease of online trading in crypto currencies via apps which in its view do not give proper warning that you can also lose money. “This entails the risk that consumers make decisions contrary to their own interests,” it said.

Advice commissioned by the government last year warned that the way in which debts are recovered in the Netherlands should be drastically changed because more than 600,000 households have problematic levels of debt.

An IMF paper last year on the risks of mortgage loans during a cost-of-living crisis found the Netherlands had Europe’s highest average household debt, at almost three times gross income. (By Senay Boztas)



A Rave Review for Cabana Bar & Restaurant. A delicious breakfast, jerk chicken and a bread pudding to die for

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) – Blaze 711 from Arizona U.S.A. described Cabana Bar & Restaurant located at Hilton Vacation Club Royal Palm Resort near the Simpson Bay Bridge in his Tripadvisor review as a place that offers a delicious breakfast, a delicious jerk chicken for dinner followed by a bread pudding to die for.

Blaze 711 told Tripadvisor: “On my last night in Sint Maarten, I found myself solo for dinner. I decided to try the restaurant at our resort, The Royal Palm. The restaurant is called Cabana Beach Bar and Restaurant, and I had breakfast there one morning and it was delicious, so I went back for dinner.

“One of the specials that night was Jerk Chicken, so I ordered that which came with fries and a salad. The chicken was extremely juicy and flavorful, and I ate every bit of it. I followed up with the bread pudding which was to die for.

“Everything tasted so good fresh and delicious, and the service was friendly, pleasant, and thorough. Chef Eddie, you did a wonderful job on both the chicken AND the pudding! I definitely will be back!”

Make sure to check out Cabana Bar & Restaurant which offers American, Caribbean and Barbeque dishes. They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.


NAPA: Your one stop shop for all your auto, truck, and marine needs. Open on Sundays

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY/PHILIPSBURG) – When you're looking for that extra shine, a little wheel polish goes a long way. #ConquertheJob

With over 600,000-part numbers available, NAPA St. Maarten services more than just the needs of auto and truck owners.

NAPA St. Maarten excels in 'special-order' service. A leader in the auto, truck and marine parts business, NAPA understands the need for quality parts and excellent service.

NAPA St. Maarten’s Mission: "Be the Premier one stop stores for all your Automotive, Truck & Marine Parts.”

Napa SXM = your one stop shop for all your auto, truck, and marine needs!

NAPA Open on Sundays Philipsburg Store





Rainforest Adventures in full preparation for Grand Opening Ceremony SMART 2024

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - With ongoing site visits of parties involved in the event, decor preparations and logistics meetings, Rainforest Adventures Park has commenced preparations for the binational Grand Opening Ceremony of the St. Maarten / St. Martin Annual Regional Tradeshow (SMART), to be held on April 8th 2024.

The spectacular SMART 2024 Rainforest Adventures opening event will at this point welcome delegates from 110 companies deriving from 19 destinations. SMART is elated about the cooperation with Rainforest Adventures as the park provides visitors foreign and domestic a taste of St. Maarten / St. Martin experience, culture, hospitality and nature all at the same time.

Rainforest Adventures in turn will build on its successful "Elev8" and "Sunset at Rainforest Adventures" event formulas to make the business card event a unique experience to present the island and its culture. Amongst others, the event will involve the Emilio Wilson Museum and the parks landmark platform on the top of Sentry Hill, allowing a view to many islands in the Caribbean followed by a one of a kind sunset moment.  

"Though the exact formula is kept a secret by all involved, Rainforest Adventures is convinced this event and its cultural, natural and musical additions make April 8th a unique, never to forget experience for SMART visitors" says Rainforest Adventures General Manager Raul Gonzalez. 

For the event, Rainforest Adventures closely cooperates with renowned "Emilio's Restaurant"  for great food provision as well as with SMART organizers the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA), the St. Maarten Tourism Bureau (STB),  l`Office de Tourisme de St. Martin and the Club du Tourisme de St. Martin. Gonzalez: "It is amazing to see what many partners coming together from the public and private can achieve. This event will be a new and unique moment for guests, but for ourselves as Rainforest Adventures too".

At this point, event visitors come from Anguilla, Antigua, Austria, the British Virgin Islands, Canada, Colombia, Curacao, Dominica, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, Saba, St. Barths, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Martin, Spain and the United States of America.

With the event floorplan filling up rapidly, organizers especially invite "vendors" or local companies supplying or wanting to supply to the tourism industry to subscribe. Booths of this type are still available and the event provides a unique opportunity for companies interested to meet the industry.

Within the buyers and suppliers category, the process of matchmaking has started last week via a digital application, with well over 500 15 minute business appointments having been made.

The 16th edition of SMART brings together tourism professionals from the region and beyond to discuss business opportunities with Northeastern Caribbean tourism companies, highlighting island experiences in the process via a renewed joint formula exploring both sides of the island.

Next to its partnership with Rainforest Adventures, SMART 2024 is grateful for support by Travel in Style Journeys, Flip.to, SST, Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Princess Juliana International Airport, ShowMe Caribbean, CC1, Port St. Maarten, Winair and Flow.

Venue for this year’s edition of SMART is the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Convention Centre. All information and forms about the tradeshow can be found at SHTA.com/ SMART. For questions, do not hesitate to call the SHTA offices at +1-721-542-0108 or write This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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