Soualiga Newsday Features

Soualiga Newsday Features (2236)


BARBADOS - Two students of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill campus will receive special farewell gifts from outgoing Chief Executive Officer of CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank, Rik Parkhill.

The two students pursing studies at Cave Hill will be the beneficiaries of two one-off Rik Parkhill Scholarships worth BDS$10 000 each which the bank has awarded in honour of Mr. Parkhill, whose tenure officially ends on December 31st, this year.

Mr. Parkhill, who assumed leadership of the bank in 2011 in the midst of the global economic recession, is credited with leading a team which turned around the fortunes of the 13-year old bank, a merger of the former Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Barclays and which recorded net income of USD$97 million at end of the last fiscal.

During his tenure and specifically as Chairman of bank’s Comtrust Foundation, the charitable arm of the financial institution, he championed many community based social, environmental and educational causes and strengthened the bank’s longstanding Memorandum of Understanding with the UWI.

At a recent dinner for members of the bank’s board of directors where the scholarships were announced, board member Christina Kramer hailed the departing CEO, who formerly worked at the Toronto Stock Exchange before joining CIBC in 2008, as “an incredibly intelligent, hard-working, collaborative and respectful leader”.

“As Rik leaves at the end of this year, our business is much stronger, our financial results have improved, losses are down, and we are well positioned to begin the next phase of our journey to help drive growth,” Kramer, Executive Vice President, Retail Distribution and Channel Strategy at CIBC, said.

She added that what Mr. Parkhill also “provided visible leadership to our team across the region and represented CIBC FirstCaribbean very effectively with key stakeholders including government, media, and our clients”.  

In addition to this latest initiative, CIBC FirstCaribbean awards 15 scholarships annually to undergraduate and post-graduate students of the UWI as part of a longstanding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). It also offered a one-off Student Empowerment Scholarship earlier this year as part of the bank’s Adopt-a-Cause programme.

The bank also offers research grants for post graduate students and supports a number of lectures as part of the MOU. It entered its first MOU with the university in 2003, shortly after its formation in October of 2002.


LBC All Star Weekend Deemed a Success

SUCKER GARDEN - The 2nd All Star Weekend began on Friday with the all-stars and other players unwinding at Cactus Bar & Grill in Sucker Garden. Saturday began with the U13 All Star Game between Learning Unlimited and Lightning. Learning Unlimited won 12-0 and was led by Riya Baharani with 10 points. The U16 All Star Game consisted of St. Martin with Thunderz players and St. Maarten with Lightning and Learning Unlimited players.

This game was intense and competitive throughout. St. Martin led 19-16 at the half and won the game 36-34. St. Martin was led by Aisha Carty with 15 points and St. Maarten was led by Kayla Robinson with 16 points. The night ended with a 3x3 double elimination tournament on the outdoor court. Lightning and Thunderz had 3 teams each consisting of 2 females and 1 male from their respective team clubs.  The Thunderz team consisting of Claudia Fleming, Chantel Hodge and Patrick Griffith won all 4 games to win the tournament. Second place was Thunderz Team Joyette Lloyd, Nicairi Ortiz – David and Jordy Nunez and third was Lightning team consisting of Tsjaquilla Jeffrey, Sudienne Gumbs and Joshua Bowers.

The weekend continued on Sunday with various activities. It started off with the skills competition with 6 competitors namely Quillesha Duggins, Chantel Hodge, Joanne Laurence of Thunderz, Keri Hyman of Bush T Remedy and Tsjaquilla Jeffrey and Jamaiah Newton-Herbert of Lightning. Chantel Hodge won against Jamaiah Newton-Herbert in the final round with a time of 39.70 seconds vs 50.30.

In the 3 point shootout there were 12 competitors and in the final it was the defending champ Claudia Fleming of Thunderz vs Selah Fleming of Lightning. No one was backing down and there was two ties of 6 and 7 before the third go around in the final round where Selah scored 8 points vs Claudia’s 3 points. Selah Fleming was then named the 2015 LBC 3 Point Shootout Champion. (Continued in next Feature Column Block)


LBC All Star Weekend Deemed a Success (Continued)

SUCKER GARDEN – (Continued) The LBC Celebrity Game was full of fun consisting of actors, singers, Dj's and various other professional functions in the community. LBC Celebrity Team 1 named Woodslaves with celebrities such as Da Brat, DT the Artist, Dj Outkast and Sigma Defense defended their crown and are 3 time defending champs in the LBC Celebrity Game. They beat celebrity team 2 named Kings by a score of 38-36 with celebrities Duncan van Heyningen, King Vers, Junior Lion, SoloKween and Rene Violenus. All The celebrities had a great time and are looking forward to playing again very soon to defend their win and to take down the champs.  

The much anticipated game between the LBC North All Stars against LBC South All Stars was a very good one. The South All Stars lead 25-19 at the half and won the game 45-37. The South All Stars was determined to win this year after having lost a close game last year. The South All Stars was led by All Star Game MVP Jakisha Brooks with 13 points and supported by Jamaiah Newton – Herbert with 12 points. The North team was led by Joyette Lloyd with 16 points. 

The Walichi Basketball Association would like to thank everyone who participated, assisted and attended the All Star Weekend activities.

The Ladies Basketball Championship is on a break and will resume on Sunday January 10th at 2pm with the U16 division and at 3pm with the senior division.

Game highlights, pictures, game scores and schedule can be viewed on the Facebook page 'Ladies Basketball Championship'. Highlights and full games can be seen at


WANTED: Poems for the New Virgin Islands Book of Poetry, “Where I See the Sun”

GREAT BAY - Calling “All poets and spoken word artists from the Virgin Islands (Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, Jost Van Dyke), including those studying or living abroad, to submit up to five poems” for a new poetry book to be published here by House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP).

“Where I See The Sun – Contemporary Poetry in the Virgin Islands” is the working title for the planned book. Various subjects and writings styles are encouraged, said HNP president Jacqueline Sample. The submission deadline is February 19, 2016.

The publishing guidelines for the new anthology are found at HNP’s Facebook:, or can be requested atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

“HNP is working with Dr. Patricia Turnbull, author and senior lecturer at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College in Tortola, to widen the outreach about the planned book throughout Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke,” said Sample.

Dr. Turnbull’s expertise is key to the book project’s coordination in the Virgin Islands and how the best poems will be selected, said Sample. According to the “Call for Poetry” guidelines, “Judging is anonymous, all poems submitted will be forwarded to the editorial board or committee without names for critical review and selection.”  

“The idea is to realize a literary volume of critical import, hopefully to add useful content alongside works that are representative of the Virgin Islands people,” said Lasana M. Sekou, projects director at HNP.

“We’re confident that the collected poems will be representative of the nation’s literary activities that are alive and have long been determined to grow original pathways – whether institutionally acknowledged as such or widely known or not,” said Sekou.

“The Virgin Islands literary landscape includes the late great poet Alphaeus Osario Norman (1885-1942), senior educator and short story author Jennie Wheatley, and bibliographer and author Verna Penn Moll. The poet April Glasgow and literary critic Dr. Richard Georges are among important modern voices. The new generation public recitals such as Microphone Messenjahs and BVI Poetry Slam are definitely stirring up the poetry field in unique and sometimes challenging ways,” said Sekou.

HNP is hoping that young and senior poets, spoken word artists, including rappers, those published and unpublished, will see the new book project as an exciting opportunity for publication. Among the well-known poets published by HNP are Kamau Brathwaite (Barbados), Amiri Baraka (USA), Marion Bethel (The Bahamas), Nidaa Khoury (Israel/Palestine), Charles Matz (USA), Drisana Deborah Jack (St. Martin), Chiqui Vicioso (Dominican Rep.), and Tishani Doshi (India).

Sekou is the editor of Where I See The Sun – Contemporary Poetry in St. Martin (2013) and Where I See The Sun – Contemporary Poetry in Anguilla (2015). 


Preventing Tree Fires this 2015 Holiday Season

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Many homes on the inside and outside have been decorated with Christmas lights, stockings, banners, wreaths and the most popular of these decorations is the Christmas tree.

As part of Ministry of Public Health’s Collective Prevention Services (CPS) Safe Holiday Season Observances, in collaboration with the Department of Communication, residents are advised to keep the season safe by following a few helpful tips.

Check Christmas tree lighting to make sure it is operating safely in order in order to avoid any hazards this holiday season.

These are some life-saving steps you can take to ensure a safe and happy holiday:

Preventing Holiday Tree Fires

* Holiday tree fire hazards

Special fire safety precautions need to be taken when keeping a live tree in the house. A burning tree can rapidly fill a room with fire and deadly gases.

* Selecting a Tree for the Holiday

Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needle should not break if the tree has been freshly cut.  The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground.  If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard.

* Caring for Your Tree

Do not place your tree close to a heat source.  The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks.  Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree.  Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.

* Disposing of Your Tree

When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly.  The best way to dispose of your tree is by having it hauled away by the waste disposal service.

Holiday Lights

* Maintain Your Holiday Lights

Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. 

* Do Not Overload Electrical Outlets

Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe.  Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet.  Make sure to periodically check the wires - they should not be warm to the touch.

* Do Not Leave Holiday Lights on Unattended

Holiday Decorations

* Use Only Nonflammable Decorations

All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant.

* Never Put Wrapping Paper near an open flame

It can throw off dangerous sparks and produce a chemical buildup in the home that could cause an explosion.

* Artificial Holiday Trees

If you are using a metallic or artificial tree, make sure it is flame retardant.

Candle Care

* Avoid Using Lit Candles

If you do use them, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down. Never leave the house with candles burning.

* Never Put Lit Candles on a Tree

Do not go near a holiday tree with an open flame - candles, lighters or matches.

By following precautionary tips, families can greatly reduce their chances of becoming a holiday fire casualty.  Happy holidays.


Minister Lee Hosts Tripartite Seminar on Singapore Model

PHILIPSBURG - On Tuesday the 8th of December, Minister of Public Health, Social Development (Ministry VSA), Mr. Emil Lee hosted his first seminar since taking office. 

Over 30 representatives comprising of representatives from the various labor unions, private sector, and Government apparatus based on the Tripartite Committee were in attendance.

Minister Lee has always been fascinated Singapore and took the opportunity to invite consultant, Mr. Christopher Khoo who was on a business trip in Anguilla to give a presentation on the Singapore Model. Mr. Khoo provided a wealth of information on Singapore’s Tourism sector, Labor Market, Health Care, Pension Plan, Economy, Education System, Tax Structure, Political System, and Waste Management model. 

Attendees found the seminar to be highly inspirational and it created momentum for a follow up meeting to discuss the way forward as it pertains to labor related matters on Sint Maarten.

Many ideas were shared that will be revised during the follow up meeting and adapted to Sint Maarten. Minister Lee stated in an invited press statement on Tuesday, that he hopes this seminar will be a stimulus for everyone in the room to come together and begin our discussion.

He emphasized the importance of working towards building a win-win-win consensus for all those present which will ultimately benefit the community of Sint Maarten at large, ensuring Sint Maarten lives up to its fullest potential. Minister Lee concluded by stating we need to be bold, creative, willing to learn from other countries and not re-invent the wheel, and join forces. (Cabinet of the Ministry VSA)


SHTA: Fact of the matter is that SHTA does not meddle with politics

COMMENTARY/SINT MAARTEN - A newsletter issued by SHTA to its members reflecting on the political situation (some say crisis) has drawn reactions from numerous persons in the community. The reactions published in the opinion pages advise SHTA not to meddle with politics, while it is not our custom to publicly react to remarks made about or to SHTA, we feel in this case a reaction is in order.

The fact of the matter is that SHTA does not meddle with politics. SHTA's call for organizing the election, as decided by the Gumbs Cabinet, was based on a legal analysis and not a political one. The argument was that, according to a number of constitutional experts, the Decree had to be signed by our Governor unless the Decree was not in the interest of St. Maarten or not in accordance with higher laws and treaties of St. Maarten and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. After seeking advice from other legal minds, and an adjustment of the Decree it was signed into law.

The newsletter describes the political situation and describes the root causes of the situation we find ourselves in. The causes concern all parties, we have seen ship jumpers from DP, UP, NA and USP. The ship jumpers have caused the creation of 3 new coalitions and we are presently under our fifth coalition since 10-10-10, not counting the NA/DP/USP coalition that did not even make it into office.  Each time the former Government's plans are shelved and we start all over again. That is called stagnation and we have experienced it since 10-10-10. Case in point, the shelving by our new Minister TEATT of the National Tourism Authority.

The call for an election is good for one very important reason; it takes away the certainty that one can form a new coalition Government by luring away one or more Parliamentarians from the ruling coalition. It will make Parliamentarians think (twice) before they decide that the grass is greener on the other side of the isle.

The call for not postponing the announced election is again a legal, not a political, one. Three (or more) constitutional experts have opined such and the issue was addressed in the advice sought by our Governor before he signed the Decree. Postponing the election, against the opinion of the legal experts, would put the axe to the roots of our constitution and our democracy. SHTA understands that this is disappointing for some, even those that come from within our association, but it is for the greater good. It is as simple as that.

Further, one of the SHTA’s main concerns is the Sint Maarten economy. Everything that affects this economy is of concern to the SHTA. Taxation, Destination Marketing, Labor, Quality of life, etc.  The STHA represents the private sector--the taxpayers.  SHTA volunteers regularly provide input and expertise to government. EVERY government, FREE of charge, any and every time they ask. Sometimes when they don’t ask. It is our duty to be advocates for the private sector.

The SHTA is worried about the state of our economy. There is no plan and all policy is reactionary. Currently we have our Third Minister of TEATT for 2015! Projects that would have benefited everybody on St Maarten have once again stalled. We are continuously outperformed regionally and we are tired of waiting.

The SHTA is not the entity charged with marketing the country. This the responsibility of the Tourism Bureau--which continues to function without a permanent head since Ms. Labega moved to the airport, many years ago.

 If you think being critical of Parliament and Government is being political, you are wrong. The SHTA ISN’T going to be muzzled. It is time for our politicians to start upholding the constitution, instead of trying to change it to better suit their needs and telling taxpayers to be quiet.

We are well within our rights to associate and freely express our opinion.  We aim to do so by presenting factual information in a fair manner.


COMMENTARY: The contents expressed here are the sole responsibility of the author.


Police Department offers robbery awareness program/training to businesses

PHILIPSBURG - As of 2014 with the increase of violence used during robberies, the St. Maarten Police Department has created and executed a project which is aimed at creating more awareness amongst our business community, as it relates to safety and robbery awareness. The presentation of the robbery awareness program was given onTuesday December 08th 2015 to the staff of the Receivers Office at the Government Administration Building.

This project entails:

  • A security review of your business operation; this includes an assessment on your procedures regarding the handling of cash, an evaluation on your natural and mechanical surveillance system and also a review of your lighting
  • A theoretical presentation on robbery preventative measures, what to do/ how to act during a robbery and what should be done after a robbery.
  • A practical session will also be given. This part will entail a “reenactment of a robbery” and with “real time” training.
  • A collective psychological evaluation will be held immediately after the practical training, to debrief the participants and to ensure that they are not traumatized by the experience.
  • An overall evaluation and discussion on the reaction and the
  • A presentation to management (based on evaluation of your company's operation) with specific tips and ways to improve your procedures.

This training is extended to banks, supermarkets, jewelry stores and any other business that requests this training. The Police Department offers this program/training at NO cost.

Any business interested in this program/training should take this opportunity to get in contact with the Community Police Officer in charge of their district for any information.

The Police Department is also looking forward to creating alliances with business or individuals who are interested in coming on board. (Police Force Sint Maarten)


Mobile health clinic visits Cole Bay Wednesday in collaboration with AIDS Foundation for HIV Free Testing

COLE BAY, (DCOMM) – The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA), Department of Collective Prevention Services (CPS), would like to inform the community that the Mobile Health Clinic Bus, will be in Cole Bay at the Welfare Road #55, Unit 12 from 1.45pm to 4.00pm on Wednesday, December 9th to carry out screening of persons who are interested.

This is a collaborative effort with the St. Maarten AIDS Foundation.  HIV testing will be carried out.

Residents of Cole Bay and surrounding environs are invited to come out.

If any Non-Governmental Organization’s would like to collaborate activities with CPS, please feel free to contact Collective Prevention Services 542-2078 / 3003, Coordinators; Nirmala Vlaun, Public Health Nurse This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   and Swinda Richardson, Public Health Dietician/Nutritionist This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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