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Airport CEO Mingo understands staff sentiments. Reopening of PJIAE can’t be compromised

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY-AIRPORT) - Airport CEO, Mr. Brian Mingo, is responding to Wednesday’s actions at the Airport Terminal during which he stressed the way forward for management, employees and Country St. Maarten.

The impact of the damages caused by Hurricane Irma to the airport terminal building and the economy of St. Maarten had already caused financial restrain for PJIAE. The resulted limited financial possibilities mean that the COVID-19 pandemic hits PJIAE even harder than other airports in the world. The Airport closed on March 23, 2020 and from that moment onward, faced no revenues due to the impact of COVID-19 and a monthly operating loss of 6-7 Million guilders. But PJIAE stays committed to St. Maarten and its staff and tries to do what is possible to get through this period.

“We understand what impact a reduction in staff benefits, with no bonus and partial vacation allowance promised, can have on families who are already going through difficult times. I personally understand the financial and other challenges.  Besides the general meetings with the Union representatives, I have had dialogues with individual staff members to understand their circumstances and frustrations to see how we can help within our current limited boundaries,” assured Mr. Mingo in a release Thursday.

“Unfortunately, I also see that a minority of PJIAE staff members and people who don’t work for the airport, are demonstrating in front of the terminal with unrelated messages. I want them to be aware that this is affecting the people, businesses and the country of Sint Maarten. We can partially understand that staff raise their voices, but this small group also have the obligation to keep the airport open, towards the airlines and entire tourist industry of Sint Maarten,’’ Said Mr. Mingo.

“Going forward, we will pursue every effort to ensure that the airport will serve its tourists, Sint Maarten, the overall economy and the people of Sint Maarten. We will continue our dialogue and consultation with Unions and Staff to come with an amicable way forward.

I want to thank our staff for their continuous support to the company and all the good works from the last months with implementing all the necessary COVID19 prevention and safety mitigation measures to keep our staff, tourists, stakeholders and community safe,” said Mr. Mingo.

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NIA Summer Camp starts July 7. Sign-up today

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The National Institute of Arts (NIA) would like to inform the general public that it is featuring a music summer camp program, NIA announced on Thursday. The program will be offered on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 8.45 a.m. until 12.00 p.m. The program starts on Tuesday July 7, 2020 and will end on Saturday August 8, 2020 with a grand finale.

The objective of the program is to facilitate music classes for the students of the Youth Orchestra during the summer vacation. The program also offers new students a jump-start to get acquainted with the Youth Orchestra and to become a member. Except for music theory and practice skills, there will also be special attention to ‘capita selecta’: music history, the music industry, team work, styles of music, etc.

All classes are prepared and presented by professional music instructors. NIA will facilitate the students with a music instrument. Classes will be held at the John Larmonie Center. Members of the Youth Orchestra pay the usual parental fee; new students pay USD 100 for the whole summer camp: 45 classes.

During the whole summer camp, Covid 19 measures apply. All students will come with a mask, sanitize their hands, keep social distance, and follow the instructions of the staff.

This program is financially supported by the Dutch Cooperation Fund in cooperation with the National Institute of Arts. Please come, learn, experience, express, and enjoy. Don’t forget: ‘Music brings people together’.

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Author Morales commends Minister Samuel on Exceptional Emancipation Day Speech

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Children’s book author Loekie Morales attended the Emancipation Day July 1st celebrations ceremony and has written a letter to the Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports (MECYS) Rodolphe Samuel regarding the program of activities for the day.

Morales described the program as nicely put together and beautifully executed.

In her letter to the minister, she says, “I have listened to several speeches, but your speech stuck with me completely. It gave me real goosebumps and evoked emotions that I have never experienced in "slavery and emancipation speeches".

“In my opinion, your speech has brought us (the public) to an unprecedented level of "experiencing" the events that had to take place to lead to our freedom now.

“It led us to realize that sometimes - at first it seems - "insignificant sacrifices" and COLLABORATION are badly needed to ultimately achieve the highest goal. For the slaves, this highest goal was their FREEDOM. You have illustrated it beautifully in a cause and effect chain that took place in careful togetherness.

“I immediately drew a parallel with the necessary cooperation that we need NOW to achieve higher goals for Sint Maarten.

“The great thing is that this togetherness philosophy is incorporated in the Global Goals (the Sustainable Development Goals) nr. 17 "Partnership for the Goals". That important SDG 17 strings all other goals together. It states that only through COOPERATION, at all levels (national, regional and international - between various groups like government, academia, NGOs, Private Sector, media, etc.) we can achieve our goal of moving our country forward.

“I believe that your speech should end up in history books, so that not only the teachers and students but also, ultimately the entire population get this great message.

“As a former history teacher, I applaud your MECYS ministry to work on getting your message out, not only on that 1st of July stage, but on moving it forward to a next level stage.

“My compliments for this groundbreaking speech. A special thanks to you for giving us this "3-dimensional bottom up" perspective, which lifts history to the present,” Drs. Lucrecia (Loekie) Morales concludes in her letter to the minister.

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Final Inspection of School Busses Underway until July 10

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The Inspectorate of the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications (Ministry TEATT), informs all school bus operators who have not yet submitted their school buses for inspection, that a final inspection period which commenced on June 29 will continue up to and including July 10, 2020.

This inspection will cover all routine electrical and mechanical aspects of the school bus that contribute to the safe operation of the motor vehicle and the safety of its occupants.

The inspection covers more than 25 points on the school bus (inside, outside and hygiene/COVID-19 guidelines). Available seating capacity on the school bus has been increased to 50% (driver included) however, a mask, face covering, or face shield is still required to be worn on the bus by passengers and driver alike.

Seats where passengers are permitted to sit must be visibly marked. The bus must also have hand sanitizers installed and available at all times during operations.

School bus drivers are required to sanitize their school bus after every trip. It is not permitted to transport non-student passengers on the school bus.

Lastly, all bus operators/drivers must have valid documents for their bus(es) and business. This includes a valid driver’s license, current Chamber of Commerce registration, business license, proof of valid motor vehicle inspection (if it is a business your license must also be presented).

The department would like to make it known that no exceptions will be made for school bus operators who are found not to be in compliance.

Those operators who fail to report for inspection within the aforementioned period or do not rectify any non-compliances before the beginning of classes will not be eligible to operate.

In order to schedule your inspection please contact the department at 542-5641/520-4064 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to make an appointment. Walk-ins are not accepted.

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Carrying the torch of the Sacred Legacies of Emancipation

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - His Excellency drs. Eugene B. Holiday, Governor of Sint Maarten delivered on the occasion of the observance of the 157th anniversary of Emancipation Day July 1, 2020, at the Freedom Fighters Roundabout in Philipsburg, Sint Maarten the following address:

My Brothers and Sisters,

Good morning,

We stand here thanks to the indomitable will of our forefathers to emancipate themselves; and to free us to be the best that we can be!

Marie- Louise and I are therefore honored and pleased to be here to observe the one hundred and fifty-seventh anniversary of Emancipation Day. I am truly honored by the privilege to stand here and reaffirm the emancipation ideals of liberty, equality, and justice for all people. It is in that spirit and given the theme for today that I have named my reflections for today: “Carrying the torch of the Sacred Legacies of Emancipation”

My brothers and sisters,

On July 1st, 1863, one hundred and fifty-seven years ago, the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect abolishing slavery and declaring the affranchised population of Sint Maarten free persons. The Emancipation Proclamation marked the triumph of the indomitable will of the enslaved men and women of Sint Maarten to be free. A triumph which forever redefined our collective destiny as one Sint Maarten people.

My brothers and sisters,

The 1863 emancipation proclamation which we celebrate today is therefore a critical moment in the history of our island. It brought an official end to the unethical enslavement of Sint Maarten’s black population and laid the foundation for the civil liberties which we all enjoy today as one Sint Maarten people. By opening the path to civil liberties, emancipation created the opportunity for a better life for all Sint Maarteners regardless of race, color, gender, or creed.

That my brothers and sisters is the sacred legacy of emancipation handed down to all Sint Maarteners. Handed down by giants of emancipation like One-Tété Lohkay and other freedom fighters like her. Giants who lived by the adage that there is no success without sacrifice.

As we celebrate emancipation at the foot of this freedom fighter monument, we are reminded that our freedom is not free, it was earned by the struggles, sacrifices and blood of our forefathers. We - like the generations before us - therefore owe it to them and to future generation of Sint Maarteners to carry the torch of emancipation. We must in that regard build on the positive contributions of our early nation builders, such as Lionel Bernard Scot, Melford Hazel, Claude Wathey and Jose Lake Sr., to name a few.

As we celebrate emancipation, we are also reminded that freedom is also not guaranteed. History, from biblical to modern times, has thought us through recurrent wars, slavery, racism, genocide, natural disasters, and economic inequities, that our freedom is never secure.

Today’s commemoration is therefore at the same time a moment of reflection. A moment to reflect on the challenges we face as a people. It is a moment to reflect on national and global threats to our emancipation ideals. Threats such as:

  • increasing poverty;
  • racial biases;
  • drug and human trafficking;
  • the effects of climate change; and
  • most recently COVID-19

These issues all have the potential to undermine our gains since emancipation. This is evident from the social and economic consequences of hurricane IRMA. And as I speak, we are confronted with the hard realities of the impact of the invisible threat of the corona virus.

In the past 3-plus months we joined the global community practicing key protective measure such as, social distancing from family, friends and colleagues, washing our hands, wearing masks, and restricting international travel. Some of these measures have drastically changed and affected the way we interact and our ability to make a living as country. As we celebrate this year’s emancipation, we are reminded by COVID-19 of the value of our freedom and the opportunities it provides. By impacting our social and economic liberties and opportunities, Covid-19 reminded us of the value of the sacred legacies of emancipation.

My brothers and sisters,

Freedom and the opportunities it provides, are neither free, nor guaranteed. It is therefore our obligation to carry the torch of emancipation to protect and preserve the sacred legacy of emancipation. We ought, against the backdrop of COVID-19, to be proud of the commitment and courage of our men and women who risk their own health to save, protect and sustain our lives. I am therefore grateful for their sacrifices and applaud our health care professionals, our law enforcement officers, first responders, military forces, grocery workers and other frontline employees for carrying the torch in the fight against COVID-19. In doing so they remind us that we all have an obligation and the potential to protect and preserve the wellbeing of our country.

On this Emancipation Day let us therefore draw inspiration from the courage and sacrifice of our frontline workers and unite as a Sint Maarten people to revitalize, reshape and expand the socio-economic capacity and opportunities of our island. At difficult times like these each of us must ask ourselves the question: What can I do to carry the torch of the legacy of emancipation? That is what can I do to create opportunities to further the progress of our Sint Maarten Community.

Whatever your individual answer we are reminded by the legacy of emancipation, that we owe it to our forefathers, to ourselves, and to future generation of Sint Maarteners to join forces to place Sint Maarten on a sustainable social, economic, environmental and financial path of progress. As torch bearers of emancipation, we collectively owe it to our community to contribute to the strengthening of our human capital development, to the development of a green economy, and to further the digital transformation of our economy. These actions are necessary to address the challenges and seize the opportunities of the twenty first century.

My fellow Sint Maarteners, brothers and sisters,

Emancipation through its legacies for all people of Sint Maarten is as such a day to celebrate, reflect, and remember with appreciation and gratitude. It is thus my hope that this and all future observances of Emancipation Day, will serve as a source of greater consciousness and unity of purpose. As a source to remind us that our sacred emancipation legacies of liberty, equality and justice requires continuous care and protection to reap the benefits of opportunity and progress.

My Fellow Sint Maarteners, it is with that ideal for our Emancipation Day that I congratulate all of you on and wish you a most Happy Emancipation Day Celebration.

Thank you, God Bless you and May God Bless Sint Maarten and protect its coast.

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Yannick Cazemajou, Yvon Springer, Anne Marie Bouillé and Laurent Mesguich group wins Four-Person Scramble

SINT MAARTEN (MULLET BAY) - Yannick Cazemajou, Yvon Springer, Anne Marie Bouillé and Laurent Mesguich took top honors during the St. Maarten Golf Association (SMGA) Summer Scramble at the Mullet Bay Golf Course, SMGA said in a press statement on Tuesday.

This event organized by the St. Maarten Golf Association SMGA drew 15 teams of 4 golfers to the course on Saturday June 29th. On a golf course that’s benefiting from some recent rain events with a post Covid-19 revived St. Maarten Golf Association proud to host the event, the 15 teams fought a very close and competitive battle.

Between the winners and the team that came in last, was only a 9-stroke difference. Eventually the Winners shot a stunning 61 stroke net score. Runner’s up were team Keith Graham, Gitte Poulsen, Frank Jespersen and Oliver Hobgood with a score of 62 net.

This time it was the team of Snowy Struthers, Geoff Heilmann, Jean de la Salle and Ian Gurr who won 3rd place with a score of 62 net as well, but with a lower handicap. The great turn out resembles the eagerness felt across St. Maarten and St. Martin to normalize sports events and meet up with old and new friends.

For more information about the SMGA, please contact the Pro Shop at the Mullet Bay Golf Course or check our Facebook page for the latest updates: https://www.facebook.com/St.MaartenGolfAssociation

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Toastmasters Celebrates Distinguished Toastmaster Sanjana Manek-Chuganey

SINT MAARTEN (CUPECOY) - Toastmasters International is an educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs Achieving the distinction of Distinguished Toastmaster, is a one that many Toastmasters strive towards, the local Cupecoy Sunset Toastmasters Club said in a statement on Tuesday.

After completing her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in School Counseling, she felt that she needed more self-development opportunities. She realized that her fear of public speaking and taking on leadership roles were holding her back from her passion of positively impacting and contributing to her community.  

In September 2012, she joined the organization and she is now a dual member of the Cupecoy Sunset Toastmasters club and the CFBC Excellence Toastmasters Club in St. Kitts. Her Toastmasters experience over the years include: Vice President of Membership, Vice President of Education, Humorous Speech Contestant, Area Director and Club Sponsor. She attended a total of 3 district conferences which added to her Toastmasters experience! Attending her first district conference in St. Lucia in 2014 was life changing because she saw proof that the Toastmasters program really worked in developing people personally and professionally.  

By challenging herself to be uncomfortable in a Toastmasters setting, she expanded her comfort zone. With her new found confidence she was able to actively contribute to her community through her work as a youth counselor, as well as, through volunteering in various organizations geared towards the youth and the community, such as, helping girls build their self-esteem and educating them about sexual health, promoting peace within schools, improving parent-child relationships and educating students about financial literacy. 

“The quality of my life would have been different if I did not join Toastmasters which is why I encourage everyone to join the Toastmasters family!”  

The Cupecoy Sunset Toastmasters Club meets on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month at 5:30 p.m. on Zoom ID: 4876688479, Password: 062015. Join us for the next meeting on July 9th, 2020.  For more information contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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SHTA to hold Tourism Survey Result Workshop

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Sint Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA) will be presenting the findings of its tourism survey which resulted in the gathering of valuable data to be used in upcoming targeted marketing efforts.

SHTA and its partners executed the survey amongst prior visitors to St. Maarten. During the first 9 days, close to 10,000 respondents filled in the enquiry; a much higher response rate than expected and considered successful. 89% of respondents were from North America, 5% came from the Caribbean, and 5% were European.

Amongst the data points, a very positive result showed that 81% are looking forward to come back to St Maarten.   The survey results also tells us what percentage intend to at return over the upcoming months from now up to 2021.   

The survey evaluated the sentiments of the respondents in relevant areas like e.g. completing a health declaration, being subjected to COVID testing and temperature checks among other questions regarding situations most likely future travelers will be experiencing. Other questions directly targeted what travelers are looking forward to when visiting the island and what triggers their travel decision among various other important questions.

SHTA thanks all respondents and groups taking part in the survey. The following organizations assisted in disseminating the survey to their client data base: Port St Maarten, Domino’s Pizza and Sonesta Maho Beach resort Casino & Spa among others via social media outlets.

Given the 100.000 data points collected, more analysis can be drawn from the database. Under the guidance of experienced data experts, SHTA will organize an interactive masterclass regarding topics of choice for participants.

The workshop will be held July 9. Interested participants can email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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MVG Technology donates Eight refurbished laptops from AUC to students of MPC and Sundial School

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Since Covid 19 has plunged all students on Sint Maarten head over heels into online learning at home, we have experienced a steep learning curve in digitizing education, according to a press statement on Monday from the SVOBE.

“Challenges with the internet reception and lack of having a proper device has, however, hampered us from providing equitable education: not all students were able to follow the online classes. Since social distancing rules may warrant a form of distance learning also in academic year 2020-2021, SVOBE schools have been searching for solutions for their students without well-functioning devices at home.

“Fortunately, several companies on Sint Maarten have jumped on the band wagon: one of them is well-known technology firm MVG Technology. They launched a student laptop recycle program a few months ago, whereby they requested companies and individuals to donate their used laptops. MVG Technology then fixes the laptops and donates them to students.

“On June the 29th, 8 students from Milton Peters College and Sundial School received a laptop, which had been made available by the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine in Cupecoy and were refurbished by MVG Technology.

“The students and the schools are very appreciative of this wonderful and helpful gesture and hope that

-despite the economic hardship due to the pandemic- a lot more students will be able to receive and take good care of a device for their schoolwork.”

Right now, MVG is looking for donated laptop batteries, to be able to fix more donated laptops and provide them to students. The company can be reached by calling MVG: (+1721) 5444177).

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Van Dam's plan to take over Prison is unlawful. Knops gets it right for once- MP Heyliger-Marten

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) — Faction Leader for the United People's UP Party in Parliament on St. Maarten Grisha Heyliger-Marten says Dutch MP Chris van Dam's motion to intervene and run the St. Maarten prison at the island’s expense is precisely the type of unlawful interference with budgetary processes by the Committee for Financial Supervision (Cft), that has prevented the local Government from structurally addressing urgent local matters.

On June 22, Van Dam submitted a motion to the Dutch Second Chamber requesting that the Dutch Government, at the expense of the Government and people of St. Maarten, take over the Prison System of St. Maarten for five years. His motion was tabled was delivered during a session of the Kingdom Relations Committee on Law Enforcement, and will be voted on this week.

MP Heyliger-Marten issued a letter to MP van Dam on June 23 in which she laments the Dutch Government's continued meddling in the face of St. Maarten's wish to finalize the decolonization process. "Your motion co-signed by MP Bosman is not in compliance with international law, partially because it refers to elements in the Kingdom Charter (het "Statuut") which conflict with said international law."

In a press release issued Sunday Heyliger-Marten said, "My response sent to the honourable Member of Parliament in The Hague regarding his motion to take over our prison is simple. In the case of the prison in particular, but the management of our affairs in general, it is exactly due to this type of unlawful interference with the budgetary process of the Parliament of St. Maarten by the Government of the Netherlands, via the Cft, that has the Government of St. Maarten limited and restricted from adequately addressing the matter of the prison, and other important issues, in the best interest of the people over the past years."

She said the conditions imposed for support every time our country faces a crisis shows how little consideration has been given to our challenges. How can you ask us to cut, cut, cut, when we are trying to avoid the financial hardship that our people will face without assistance? "With the economy being the worst we have ever seen, you cannot tell private sector companies to throw their workers out on the street just to make cuts in their businesses if they want assistance. We all know any cuts in a business will include its employees."

She said, "This goes against what we are trying to avoid in the first place. We have to take care of all of our people in the private sector and government, and it shouldn't be that we are being dictated to every time and being told to do things that go against our people's wishes. We represent the people the same way the Dutch MPs represent their people, and we must be allowed to work in the interest of our people and not have illegal and unfair conditions forced down our throats."

Her contention is supported by statements made by State Secretary Raymond Knops who advised against MP van Dam’s draft motion for legal/constitutional reasons. He expressly indicated that having the Government of St Maarten paying for the intervention would interfere with the budget right and authority of the Parliament of St Maarten.

MP Heyliger-Marten said the Caribbean Netherlands islands had significant challenges none of which are limited to St. Maarten alone. She said her push to complete the decolonization for the Dutch Caribbean Islands is based on the need to avoid this type of unlawful meddling by The Netherlands, which has handicapped the islands for many years.

"Solving this problem can only be achieved if the decolonization of the Caribbean islands is completed in accordance with the UN Charter and relevant resolutions. This, in turn, would require the Government of the Netherlands to comply with article 73 of the UN Charter fully, so that the executive and legislative branches of St. Maarten and the other five Caribbean islands within the Kingdom can truly exercise their right to a full measure of self-government based on absolute equality as mandated by said UN Charter and relevant resolutions, and without unlawful external interference."

MP Heyliger-Marten said that during the last Inter-parliamentary Kingdom Consultation IPKO, she promised to provide the participants with information regarding the unfinished process of decolonization of the Caribbean islands based on the UN Charter and relevant resolutions.

“I have since sent a letter with questions to the Hon. Prime Minister of St. Maarten, via our Chairman of Parliament and I genuinely hope that MP van Dam has received said information and has had the opportunity to peruse it." MP Heyliger-Marten is convinced that if van Dam and MP Bosman read the information sent to the IPKO participants, they would recognize that their motion is an unlawful proposition.

Van Dam had reached out to the Members of Parliament via e-mail informing them of his motion and said he was updating them in keeping with his promise to be more open during this year’s IPKO meeting.

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