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COVID-19 Drive Through Testing Remains Open in Point Blanche

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA), would like to inform that the CPS COVID-19 Drive Through testing remains open.

All persons are encouraged to come to the testing location in Pointe Blanche (before the entrance to the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facility) Monday-Friday from 8:30 AM to 11:00 AM.

Testing is free; however, this is not for travel purposes. Weekend testing remains by appointment only.

914 Information Line is still operational. The hours of 914 are: Monday-Friday 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Please note that due to low call volumes the time was adjusted from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Saturday and Sunday 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

CPS vaccination clinic operating hours are from: Monday to Friday 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM.

For any questions about COVID-19 vaccinations, please call 914 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Minister Ottley meets with local entertainers for Island wide vaccination campaign

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - On Monday May 3rd, 2021, the Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (VSA), Omar Ottley in the presence of his Legal Advisor Lyndon Lewis and Department Head Collective Prevention Services, Eva Lista-de Weever met with local entertainers and video producers in preparation to launch an Island wide vaccination awareness campaign.

The official launch date of the campaign is scheduled for tomorrow Wednesday May 5th, 2021. The Government is requesting assistance from all stakeholders and the community to join the road to ‘normalcy’.

The campaign will focus on the many issues that we face day to day due to COVID-19 and will highlight what we must do to achieve some sense of normalcy; which is to create herd-immunity by vaccinating 85% of our population.

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Nature Foundation and R4CR provides Update on Monkey Management Project

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - Nature Foundation’s Monkey Management Project funded via the Resources for Community Resilience has recently undergone changes to the outline of the project. This change is due to time and resource constraints as well as an interest from the World Bank to continue the initial research. Due to this change, the project’s final initiatives have adapted to a social survey. The Monkey Management Project was fully supported by the Resources for Community Resilience (R4CR) within the first ‘Quick-Win’ round for Non-Profit organization on St. Maarten. 

The newly added survey is designed to ask St. Maarten residents what they would like to see as a future management plan for the invasive vervet monkey population. The residents are given background information and details on pros and cons of each possible solution. The Nature Foundation Staff and Volunteers have been around local ‘hotspots’ such as supermarkets at various times of the day to ask a range of St. Maarteners to participate. 

The R4CR program is a grant scheme that focuses exclusively on financing and strengthening of local Civil Society Organization (CSOs). The program is financed by the Government of the Netherlands via the St. Maarten Trust Fund. The latter is administered by the World Bank, implemented by the NRPB (National Recovery Program Bureau) and executed by VNGI (the Vereniging van Nederlandse Gemeenten International) in close cooperation with Foresee Foundation-NPOwer and other local partners. 

As the project is nearing the end, the Nature Foundation and Resources for Community Resilience have updated the project to ensure that there is enough preliminary research for the Monkey Management Plan. This alteration resulted in an extension of phase 1 to give optimal results. The project will now include interviews conducted with St. Maarten residents, giving them the opportunity to weigh-in on the options for management of the monkeys. These changes will provide valuable data for future in-depth projects, and will support and benefit research on invasive species on St. Maarten. 

“It is very important that St. Maarten residents understand that this change is for the good of the project as well as for the island. This survey will now allow the Nature Foundation and everyone else to hear your opinions about what you believe is best for St. Maarten’s youth, agriculturists, native flora and fauna as well as the future of our island,” explains Alice Manley, Project Coordinator. “A part of this project is ensuring that the species is managed humanely by professionals. We understand that there are several different opinions about what should be done to manage the vervet monkey population, and both the Nature Foundation and R4CR want to ensure that the public’s views are included in our final project report.” 

Vervet monkeys are invasive to the island of St. Maarten. While their history on St. Maarten is mostly undocumented, it is highly believed they originated at pets being traded to the island from St. Kitts and South American countries. Vervet monkeys are wild animals and require a permit to have in your possession, they can be dangerous towards humans and other animals when they feel threatened. They do not have any natural predators on the island and their population can double in size within a year. Vervet monkeys also disrupt our native species as they not only eat multiple different fruits, vegetables and leaves, but can also eat insects, birds and bird eggs. If this monkey population continues to rise, St. Maarten’s native flora and fauna are at risk of dramatically decreasing overtime. 

The Nature Foundation is a non-profit organization that aims to preserve and enhance the natural environment of St. Maarten for generations to come. 

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Amendment for regulating overtime pay to officers made a point of action by Minister of Justice Anna Richardson

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - On Thursday, April 29, 2021, the Minister of Justice, Ms. Anna E. Richardson held a meeting with the Chief of Police Force, Mr. Carl John, and Attorney at Law, Ms. Peggy-Ann Brandon, to discuss the topic of regulating overtime compensation for both the Police and Immigration Officers.

The objective of the meeting was to identify the obstacles being faced with the current protocol and to explore the steps needed to be taken to ensure that the officers of the KPSM and the Immigration and Border Protection Services (IBPS) are fairly compensated for overtime hours.

The meeting held last week was requested by Minister Richardson as a follow-up to the phase one approach aimed at tackling the matter of overtime compensation.

Upon taking office, Minister Richardson immediately focused on taking steps and measures to regulate all aspects of concern within the Ministry of Justice. Amongst the Minister’s top priorities was the establishment of the legal body to complete the Function Book (FB) for the Ministry of Justice and reviewing the overtime which has been a major concern for years.

The overtime regulation used to compensate Police and Immigration officers differs from the other personnel within Government. This is due to the fact that for these officers the overtime regulation is set in Article 39 of the “rechtspositieregeling” while the other departments within the Ministry are compensated based on Article 26 of the National Ordinance Substantive Civil Servants law (LMA).

The actual circumstances however required the regulation in effect to be revisited and updated. As such, Minister Richardson ensured that the necessary steps were undertaken to implement not only the required control- & management procedures for overtime but to enact an updated regulation addressing the manner in which the overtime is calculated and paid. This can be considered the implementation of Phase One.

Now that the Function Book is continuing on the legislative course to completion, Minister Richardson is redirecting her attention to the overtime matter and focusing on the roll out of Phase Two which is having a new overtime regulation drafted in order to ensure officers are fairly compensated.

Minister Richardson initiated the process of the review and rectification of the overtime matter earlier on, through communications to department heads within the Ministry. The Minister hopes to bring this process to a close very soon, with a clear and fair regulation.

“It is important that this matter is rectified according to the law, therefore, all steps necessary in making the right amendments are being taken to ensure that the structure to be adopted is fair one regulated. We must acknowledge the hard work and selfless service by our agencies and must reward this service appropriately and with priority”, Minister Richardson stated.

The input provided by the Unions, as may be distilled from the notes from the discussions on the matter, as well as the internal advises received will be used for the formulation of a National Decree containing general measures (LBHAM). This National Decree will address the definition of the wage basis, the method of overtime calculation and will contain the pertinent internal process to approve and record overtime hours.

Further discussions and reviews are expected to be held in the coming days with draft proposals already being prepared. Moving forward, consultations will also involve the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Finance, Judicial Affairs, and Department of Personnel & Organization (P&O).

When so far, final reviews of the draft law will then include both the Committee of Civil Servant Unions (CCSU) and the Council of Advice before moving on to the approval and implementation phase of the overtime regulation.

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Traffic Dept. investigating road accident between a motorcyclist and car

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - The personnel of the traffic Department are investigation a serious accident that took place on Late Sunday evening May 2nd, 2021 around 10.30 pm.

Upon investigating into what transpired, it was discovered that the rider of a Yamaha motorcycle with no license plate was heading in the direction of Billy Folly road and decided to overtake the vehicle in front of him.

Concurrently, a Nissan Almera with the registration plate M-4295 was coming from the opposite direction. The driver of the Motorcycle who was unable to regulate his own speed collided with the front of the car.

The motorcycle rider was riding at such a high rate of speed, lost control at one point and collided head-on with the Nissan Almera coming from opposite direction.

The rider who suffered minor injuries was treated at the scene by the personnel of the ambulance and later transported to the medical center for further observation.

Driving above the speed limit is a common practice for many motorist. This behavior vastly increases the risk of losing control of a vehicle and causing an accident.

Even a small increase in speed can result in a much higher risk of being involved in a collision or other type of accident. As such, it is essential for motorists to be aware of the speed at which they are traveling and stay within the legal limits. (KPSM)

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SCDF wants to be consulted before decision to relocate vendors to Village

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - As the largest lessee of the St. Maarten Festival Village, both in terms of the event of Carnival and financial commitments to the venue, the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) on Monday said it hopes to get the opportunity to meet with government prior to any decision to relocate permanent vendors inside the Village.

The foundation said it has come to its attention that the Village is a probable, not definite, venue for the relocation of vendors from along Pondfill. “If that is true, then we hope the foundation would be consulted before such a move is made considering the major operational, traditional and financial implications that would be at stake,” the foundation said.

The foundation explained that many realities have to be considered, including most importantly, Carnival’s right to an empty Village as the lessee of the Venue. This is why there is a standing practice that booth holders that operate in the Festival Village outside of the Carnival season, must vacate the Village by March 31 every year to allow Carnival’s booth holders to move as the SCDF takes control of the Village from April 1 until mid-May, annually.

Additionally, all of its booth locations have been allotted for Carnival 2022 and, in some contractual cases, beyond 2022. “So the financial implications for individual booth holders, sponsors and the foundation are evident. Moreover, the foundation has for years employed a random rotation policy of giving as many people as it can the opportunity to operate a booth in the Carnival season.

“It’s a people festival. It’s a tradition to bring new developments and new ideas into the Village to maintain its unique characteristics for resident and visitors alike. Nobody is permanent in the Village for Carnival on an annual basis,” the foundation explained.

The foundation said that it already has to deal with several government-imposed restrictions in the Village that makes it challenging to generate income to ensure self-sustainability. Many of which were never discussed with the foundation, the largest users of the venue. “Coming off of two years without the festival and the financial hole that has set us and some of our stakeholders in, we hope that doesn’t repeat itself this time around,” the foundation concluded.

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PWR Agency hosts Islandpreneur Live on June 3-4

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - On June 3-4, 2021, the Produce Wealth Revolution (PWR) Agency will be hosting its signature annual virtual summit: Islandpreneur Live 2021. This event launched in 2020 with over 650 registrants from more than 35 countries around the world in response to the global pandemic to connect island-based entrepreneurs, stakeholders, and allies. Designed to inspire greatness in island-based entrepreneurs and equip them with tools for global entrepreneurial success, Islandpreneur Live is the largest event to support ‘islandpreneurship’ hosted on St. Maarten.

This year Islandpreneur Live focuses on equipping island-based entrepreneurs to build smart, digital, and global businesses as a means to build economic resilience. Entrepreneurs and experts will provide actionable insights on topics such as design thinking, export, innovation, global strategy, tourism, and digital transformation.

In addition, Islandpreneur Live serves to help raise funds for two (2) important causes: a) disaster relief efforts for the people of St.Vincent and the Grenadines due to effects of the volcanic eruptions and b) launch of a regional virtual accelerator focused on e-commerce.

“As someone who has been displaced twice due to the effects of natural disasters, most recently that of hurricane Irma, and having key relationships with persons from St. Vincent & Grenadines, we have an opportunity and a duty to better support our brothers and sisters in the region. Our company is impact focused and that includes helping those in need in a tangible way, especially when they are affected by natural disasters. Also, as we continue to advocate for digital entrepreneurship as a means of building resilient island economies, launching an accelerator that takes the ‘islandpreneur’ from idea to revenue generating online business in 15 weeks is critical to our survival in these uncertain times.” Ife Badejo, founder of the PWR Agency and executive producer of Islandpreneur Live.

This year more than 15 experts from the island and around the world are featured. Some of these speakers at include Megan Conyers (USA), an international business growth and strategy executive focused on growing international trade through education and advocacy; Daniella Genas (JA/UK), an Award winning entrepreneur originally from Jamaica who works with entrepreneurs to build profitable businesses by streamlining business processes, and business partners Raymond Hannes and Paul Kunnemans (NL/CUR) entrepreneurial leaders with experience in entrepreneurial education, content creation, and venture capitalism.

Two unique elements that have been included this year is a live recording of the Islandpreneur Podcast with a surprise international guest, who is one of the world’s leading youtuber and the Islandpreneur Awards & Roundtable which recognizes five (5) persons for their work and commitment to growing and supporting island-based entrepreneurship.

Hosted at TelEm N.V., the official telecommunications provider, Islandpreneur Live 2021 promises to be a memorable experience with virtual networking, celebratory toast, and live masterclasses with Q&A. To get the full experience, the public is encouraged to get their access passes which are now available. In commemoration of Small Business Week (May 2-8), attendees can benefit from 21% savings on either pass all this week with coupon code: SBW21.

To find out more about Islandpreneur Live 2021 visit https://islandpreneur-live-21.heysummit.com/. For more information about PWR Agency and inquiries, visit www.experiencepwr.com, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or whatsapp +1-721-524- 8484.

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Sewage system to be updated via Windward Roads US $2m fine

SINT MAARTEN (FOGA) - The construction of a new sewerage pumping station at Foga with a pressure line to the A. Th. Illidge Road wastewater treatment plant is one of three major projects to directly benefit the people of St. Maarten via a US $2 million fine levied against construction company Windward Roads Infrastructure N.V. by the Prosecutor’s Office OM SXM.

Construction of the new sewerage pumping station, behind Melford Hazel Sports Complex, starts Monday, May 3, 2021. The new pumping station will move sewerage from Sucker Garden neighborhood to the wastewater treatment plant.

The US $2 million fine is a form of restitution to compensate St. Maarten for the company’s role, via its former director and chief financial officer (CFO), in the “Larimar” case conducted by the Anti-corruption Taskforce TBO of the Attorney-General’s Office of Curacao, St. Maarten, Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. This case uncovered a major bribery, money laundering and forgery scheme that saw the sentencing of a prominent politician, the WWR former director and CFO, and three others.

WWR has accepted responsibility for its part in the scheme, via the actions of its former director, and has agreed to revamp its work procedures and compliance to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

In addition, the company has agreed to conduct projects totaling a net worth of US $2 million that will directly impact the daily lives of the people of St. Maarten. This means for the Foga project, and the two others to come, WWR will provide all labor, materials and other project-related items at no financial cost to the Government of St. Maarten. The project(s) were selected in consultation with the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI. The Ministry will also oversee the execution of the project(s).

OM SXM was instrumental in getting the US $2 million fine from WWR for the country. Instead of pursuing court proceedings against WWR that would take time and expend more taxpayers’ dollars, OM SXM tagged an amount considered suitable as a fine for the criminal behavior of WWR and the repayment of the losses faced by the country. That amount is now deliverable in the three projects.

It is not possible to put a company behind bars. Therefore, punishing a company where it has the most severe and lasting impact – its financial bottom line – was deemed the best course of action in these circumstances. WWR will not make any profit on these projects.

The first of the restitution projects - the construction of the Foga pumping station - was originally to start in October 2020. However, logistical issues did not allow this timeline. This first project now starts May 3 and should be completed by Wednesday, June 9.

The Foga project will cost WWR at total of US $677,256.

OM SXM will monitor this project and the two other pending ones (once they have come online) to ensure the US $2 million is exactly what is spent by WWR. The revamping of WWR’s work procedures to prevent punishable acts of this nature in the now and future will also be monitored by OM SXM.

Foga logistics

The Foga works will primarily focus on the construction of a new pumping station and pressure line that will lead to the wastewater treatment plant on A. Th. Illidge Road. The scope also entails the excavation and placement of sewer lines under Soualuiga Road.

There will be no road closure as the works will be in the area designated for the pumping station and the sewer lines will be placed on the far side of the road not to obstruct oncoming traffic.

The project will be executed in three phases: the construction of the pumping station, the installation of the pressure line, and the operation phase.

Motorists are urged by VROMI to drive with caution during the execution of works.

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Driver dies after vehicle capsizes in lagoon on May 1. Passenger has minor injuries

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - Police are investigating an accident that left one person dead. The accident occurred on Airport Road around 1:00am Saturday, May 1, the police said in a statement on Sunday. 

From the preliminary investigation, it appears that the driver of a dark blue Volkswagen Jetta with license plate 9291AAC was driving towards the Causeway roundabout and for some unknown reason lost control of his vehicle. He hit into guardrail on the opposite side of the road and landed upside down in Simpson Bay lagoon.

With the assistance of the several members of the public, the driver and passenger were freed from the vehicle. 

The passenger suffered only minor injuries and was treated at the scene by ambulance personnel and later transported to the Sint Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) for observation.

The driver with initials I.R. suffered severe chest injuries and was rushed to the SMMC in critical condition. Police later learnt the driver had passed away from his injuries. This investigation is still ongoing.

The Sint Maarten Police Force express condolences to the family and friends of the deceased. (KPSM)

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How You Can Contribute to A Safer Community, Together!

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - In April 2021, discussions were opened by the Minister of Justice, Ms. Anna E. Richardson with community council representatives regarding the safety and security of community residents, the cabinet of the minister said on Saturday in a media statement.

These discussions were held to identify issues that are being experienced in the neighborhoods and to find ways in which they can be addressed.

Minister Richardson has expressed the commitment and service of the Ministry of Justice in supporting the communities in combatting issues being faced.

Based on the reports of the community council representatives of the various districts, Minister Richardson was able to gain a better understanding of the different issues, frustrations, and grievances that were expressed.

The discussions made it clear that it will require the efforts of all agencies which falls under the Ministry of Justice to tackle the diverse issues. As structured, the wide range of issues and crime related activities that occurs in and around neighborhoods are all classified by jurisdiction, which is what makes it essential for residents to know which authorities should be contacted for a specific responsibilities.

Minister Richardson proposed the implementation of an awareness campaign as a way to properly inform and educate residents on how to address any issues faced and how they too can contribute to a safer community.

“Community safety cannot be achieved by an independent effort by its residents nor by the authorities. We must begin to work together, not as separate communities but as one; including the support of the Ministry of Justice. Together we can accomplish our common goal: a safer and more secure community.”

We urge all residents of our communities to report any crime related activities to the respective authorities. And we ask your assistance in raising awareness throughout the communities by sharing this flyer. Listed are the 24/7 hotlines for the various agencies along with their responsibilities. A SAFER COMMUNITY, TOGETHER!

Steps to a safer community:

-              Keep close contact with your community council

-              Report crimes to the right authorities

-              Raise community awareness

-              Familiarize yourself with your neighbors

-              Join neighborhood watch

-              Notify neighbors of any suspicious activities

-              Know and contact your Community Police Officer (CPO).

 

 

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