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Tax Form Assistance Available for Seniors. Submit 2023 Income Tax Return Forms by May 31

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - The Sint Maarten Tax Administration, in collaboration with the Community Development, Family, and Humanitarian Affairs (CDFHA) department within the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development, and Labour, informs seniors/pensioners that assistance is available for filling their 2023 Income Tax Return Form until the end of April through scheduled appointments at Community Helpdesks.

After this period, seniors/pensioners can still receive assistance throughout the month of May, but exclusively at the Tax Office through scheduled appointments. Seniors/pensioners seeking assistance must earn a maximum of Naf 15,000.00 per year and should bring all required documents, such as a wage tax card, interest letter, etc., to their appointment.

Appointments for the month of April can be arranged by visiting their nearest Community Helpdesk Monday – Friday between 8.30 AM – 12.30 PM or by calling to schedule an appointment: 520-3418 (St. Peters), 520-4315 (Cole Bay), 520-7651 (Dutch Quarter), and 559- 0819 (Hope Estate).

Community Helpdesks are conveniently located across various neighborhoods, including Cole Bay (Union Road across from the ACE Mega Center), St. Peters (St. Peters Community Center), and Dutch Quarter (same complex as the former Dr. Bryson).

Throughout May, seniors/pensioners can continue to receive assistance exclusively at the Tax Office located in the Vineyard Building by appointment only.

To schedule an appointment for the month of May, kindly reach out to the Tax Administration via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 542-2143 / 542-5301 / 542-5304 / 542-3839.

1 Tax Admin Senior Tax Program

 

 

 

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Start of international scientific research program regarding slavery past

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - The colonial slavery past of the Netherlands and its impact have had a profound effect on various countries worldwide. 

Nevertheless, the knowledge available about this joint slavery past has been written primarily from a colonial perspective. In order to enhance this perspective, Dutch Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf (Education, Culture and Science) is launching a global scientific cooperation program on this theme in Aruba today. He announced this today during a knowledge mission in the Caribbean.

Dijkgraaf: “More scientific knowledge of our shared past is of vital importance. In this context, it is essential that research can be carried out from new angles, at the locations where slavery took place. The knowledge this produces will be of great value in gaining a better understanding of our shared history. I am delighted that I can launch this research program during the Slavery Past Memorial Year.”

Kick-off in the Caribbean

Dijkgraaf wants to promote knowledge cooperation about the slavery past among universities worldwide, starting within our own Kingdom. He has set aside €375,000 for research in Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten up to and including 2027. This will enable local scientists to research the slavery past in these countries.

Research into this theme will also be facilitated in the Caribbean Netherlands (Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius). There is a separate budget for this.

Common thread worldwide

The Netherlands also has deep ties with Suriname, Indonesia and South Africa because of a shared slavery past. In these countries, many enslaved people were traded or shipped elsewhere by the Dutch.

The historical and present-day context differs from one country to another. Bringing the various perspectives together will create great added value for a better understanding of our joint history. 

This is why Dijkgraaf, together with Suriname, Indonesia and South Africa, wants to stimulate scientific research into the slavery past in these countries as well. The idea for this arose during knowledge missions to these countries, where Dijkgraaf spoke with several scientists who research the slavery past. 

The plan is to structure the scientific cooperation along similar lines as in the Caribbean part of our Kingdom.

The first talks with these countries have been positive. There is profound consensus about the importance of scientific cooperation.

Knowledge sharing

Sharing knowledge is a key premise of the global research program. The form this will take is currently being worked out. 

Initial ideas include the creation of a research network, travelling exhibitions, a book, or opening and closing conferences. Dutch scientists will also have a role in this process. This will be given further shape later this year.

Greater scope for multiple perspectives in education and research

Last year, State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen announced during the Tula commemoration in Curaçao that the government would establish a chair on the slavery past for Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten. 

Dijkgraaf is now giving substance to this as part of the scientific cooperation program, in the form of an international chair on the impact of the slavery past. In addition, the government has already announced the Tula scholarship, named after the leader of the large-scale uprising of enslaved people in Curaçao of 1795. 

Each year, this scholarship enables one student from Curaçao to follow a full-time bachelor’s program in history teaching at a university of applied sciences of their choice. This will create greater scope for multiple perspectives in education and research.

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NV GEBE Extends Community Apology for Recent Load Shedding Incidents

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - NV GEBE sincerely regrets the recent load shedding events experienced by customers and would like to, hereby, issue a formal apology to the community of St. Maarten. NV GEBE's load shedding is a critical strategy employed to help balance the electrical demand with available resources. 

These series of load shedding incidents were due to unforeseen technical issues at the Power Plant last week. This unfortunate situation included unexpected technical issues with Engine 19's turbocharger and Engine 15 undergoing a planned overhaul, which led to the need for load shedding. 

Though NV GEBE's load shedding persisted through April 5th and into the evening on Saturday, April 6th, fortunately, the turbocharger on Engine 19 was restored and operational on Saturday, providing some relief to the situation, with completion of the load shedding at 10:55 PM. 

NV GEBE recognizes the importance of maintaining a robust infrastructure and adhering to best practices to resolve these issues while also, making the necessary investments in the company's operational and technical infrastructures to prevent future incidents. It is imperative to note that NV GEBE's employees have been working diligently around-the-clock with the utmost dedication to maintaining a high level of reliability and stability in the company's power supply. 

NV GEBE acknowledges the importance of sustaining a robust infrastructure and ensuring uninterrupted sustainable power supply to the community. 

NV GEBE is committed to rectifying redundancy issues to ensure uninterrupted power supply and remains committed to exploring the most efficient systems for delivering high-quality, dependable, and sustainable electricity services. This remains a top priority among the company's Board, Management and Staff, who are also adversely impacted by these undesirable incidents. 

NV GEBE sincerely appreciates the patience and understanding of our customers during these challenging periods. 

For further information, please contact the N.V. GEBE Customer Care Department via our help desk at: (721) 546-1100/ 546-1160, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., WhatsApp: +1721-588-3117 or, at the Philipsburg/Simpson Bay branch offices. N.V. GEBE will continue to provide customers and the community with updates, as well as, additional details on relevant matters. Please stay informed via the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/nvgebe

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Police & Border Protection Carry Out Targeted Operations Netting 14 Undocumented Persons

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - The Police Force of Sint Maarten (KPSM), in collaboration with the Immigration and Border Protection Services, conducted a targeted operation on the morning of Tuesday, April 9th, 2024, at a guesthouse in Cole Bay, as part of an ongoing investigation into human smuggling.

During the operation, KPSM personnel, under the leadership of the prosecutor, apprehended 14 undocumented persons. Among those detained were 13 individuals of Haitian descent and one individual from the Dominican Republic. These individuals have been placed in immigration detention as the investigation continues.

In accordance with established procedures, officers from the Immigration and Border Protection Services will assist KPSM in processing the detained individuals to facilitate their eventual repatriation to their native countries.

The Police Force of Sint Maarten remains steadfast in its commitment to combat human smuggling and ensuring the safety and security of our community. This collaborative effort underscores our dedication to upholding the law and holding accountable those involved in such criminal activities.

The Sint Maarten Police Force (KPSM) urges anyone with additional information regarding this incident or related criminal activities to come forward and assist in the ongoing investigation.

Police can be reached at +1 721- 542 22 22 or the anonymous tip line. Sint Maarten Police Force Communication Department Tel. +1 721 – 542 91 28

Visit our website: www.policesxm.sx on 9300 (free of charge). You can also leave a Private Message via our Facebook page. (Police Force of Sint Maarten – Korps Politie Sint Maarten).

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Ministry of VROMI Request Removal of Abandoned Chevrolet on Roses Road

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - The Ministry of VROMI (Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment, and Infrastructure) hereby issues an urgent announcement regarding an abandoned “Blue Chevrolet” vehicle parked on Roses Road.

As part of the ongoing concrete hard surfacing project for side roads, the presence of this vehicle is obstructing the progress of road resurfacing activities.

We kindly request the owner of the Chevrolet to remove it from its current location on Roses Road within the next 48 hours. Failure to do so will necessitate the removal of the vehicle by the Ministry of VROMI.

For any inquiries or to report information regarding the vehicle, please contact the Ministry of VROMI at +1 721-542-4292 ext. 2403.

VROMI blue car front

 

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Grand Raffle to Support YouthsofSoualiganCulture

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - YouthsofSoualiganCulture, under the auspices of the St. Maarten Youth Council Association, is hosting a Fundraising Raffle with proceeds going to the funding of their trip to the UNESCO 5th Annual World Heritage Youth Symposium in Olympia, Greece, from April 17-20! 2024.

The Symposium is a contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals promoting “Education 2030” focused on SDG 4.7 as well as SDG17. It is also supported by the United Nations Regional Information Centre (UNRIC) and the UNESCO Chair in Intercultural Policy for an Active Citizenship and Solidarity – University of Macedonia, Greece.  

We are calling for the support of the general public. 

Prizes for the raffle are: Breakfast for 4 at the Divi Little Bay Resort, Brunch for 4 at Infinity Restaurant at Oyster Bay Beach Resort, a 2-night stay at Holland House (breakfast included) and many more! Tickets are only $5.00

Draw Date: April 13th, 2024.

To purchase tickets, you can reach out to any member of YouthsofSoualiganCulture, visit the Rupert I Maynard Community Center in St. Peters (next to the basketball court), or contact 550-8971. Thank you for supporting the youth of Soualiga!

Follow YouthsofSoualiganCulture on Instagram @youthsofsoualiganculture

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Jazz 'N' Rhythms Event on April 13 Cancelled. Ticket Reimbursements Available

SINT MAARTEN (MADAME ESTATE) – Just Smart Productions and Xtratight Entertainment regrets to announce the cancellation of the highly anticipated Jazz 'N' Rhythms event scheduled for Saturday, April 13, 2024, due to unforeseen circumstances.

Ticket holders are advised to contact the same ticket outlet where their tickets were purchased to process their refunds. Mr. Bertaux “Rude” Fleming, the Managing Director of Xtratight Entertainment, expressed deep regret for the cancellation, stating, "It is with sincere disappointment that we have to cancel the Jazz 'N' Rhythms event. This decision was not made lightly, but due to circumstances beyond our control, it has become necessary."

Just Smart Productions and Xtratight Entertainment extend its apologies to all supporters, fans, and attendees who were eagerly looking forward to the event. The team is committed to ensuring that future events maintain the high standards of entertainment that the community has come to expect.

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2nd Annual UNESCO St. Maarten Kite Flying Competition

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - The Sint Maarten National Commission for UNESCO organized a kite flying competition at Little League Baseball Field on March 26, 2024. Schools that participated in the event were MAC Browlia Maillard Campus, Oranje, St. Joseph, and Sr. Borgia School. At the event, students from these schools flew and showcased original kites. All these schools participate in the UNESCO Wire Bending Program.

The winner of the kite flying competition was Jeremiah Lambert of the MAC Browlia Maillard. Geovani Berry of Sr. Borgia school placed second, and Rhyleena Taylor of the MAC Browlia Maillard campus was third. Fourth place was Nikeila Walters of Oranje School.

The criteria the judges used to determine the winner was: the kite's ability to fly for more than one minute. The kite was neatly constructed according to the blueprint/kite example. The kite was sturdy and did not fall apart.

There was also a creative and attractive kite competition, where the kites had to be innovative, have more than one accessory, and be attractive. Nahla Watson of the MAC Browlia Maillard campus was the winner of this section. Rhyleena Taylor of the MAC Browlia Maillard campus was second, and Peher Aswali of St. Joseph School was third.

Secretary General of UNESCO Marcellia Henry stated, "We want to thank Mr. Lambert Holder and Mr. Kenrick La Touche who taught the students different kite-making techniques and helped to make this event a reality. She also wanted to thank the schools and students for participating in this event and making it successful. The judges, Mr. Noris Richards, and Mr. Emanuel LoBlack, who gave their time to judge the kite flying competition.

The annual UNESCO kite flying competition is a yearly event to ensure this aspect of St. Maarten’s intangible cultural heritage is revived in the schools and this form of craftsmanship is passed on to the next generation."

UNESCO KITE pix2

L to R front row: Marcellia Henry, SG-UNESCO, Nikeila Walters (4th Place), Geovani Berry(2nd place), Rhyleena Taylor (3rd place), back row: Lambert Holder (instructor), Emanuel LoBlack (judge) and Noris Richards (judge)

UNESCO KITE pix3

L to R Marcellia Henry, SG-UNESCO, Lambert Holder (instructor), Jeremiah Lambert (1st place kite flying winner), Emanuel LoBlack (judge) and Noris Richards (judge)

UNESCO KITE flying

 

 

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Saba attends IPDC conference to develop climate adaptation plan

SABA (THE BOTTOM) - At the end of March, representatives of the Public Entity Saba (PES) attended the 2024 conference for the International Panel for Deltas, Coastal Areas and Islands (IPDC) in the Netherlands as part of the process to develop a climate adaptation plan for Saba.

Over 100 representatives from 13 different countries, islands and financial institutions were in attendance. Jordan Every, Sarah van der Horn and Justin Simmons-de Jong represented Saba in their respective capacities of policy advisor economic development and sustainability, NEPP program manager and project manager nature.

The purpose of the conference was to share and exchange climate adaptation knowledge, including strategy, (access to) finance, policy, science and (best) practices. The conference facilitated dialogue between the various country and island representatives on the challenges they face with climate change, achievements made and solutions to these challenges.

Through these discussions, representatives were able to identify similar and contrasting experiences when it comes to water management, acquiring the funding needed to implement their climate adaptation projects and plans, and the impact of climate change on a societal level.

The representatives shared their personal experiences and the challenges their countries and islands face during speed-networking and country pitches. The implications of climate change for Saba include less rainfall, warmer temperatures, sea-level rise and more intense hurricanes.

In the pitch for Saba, Every highlighted the unique challenges Saba faces as a result of climate change, some of which include water resource management, food security, erosion and runoff, loss of biodiversity, climate-proof infrastructure, scarcity of resources and the development of the limited space available with climate change in mind. Saba also often times lacks the expertise, capacity and funding needed to carry out bigger projects and plans. These are all intricately linked and make Saba vulnerable.

“Our vulnerability is compounded by our geographical isolation,” Every pointed out. This is why improving Saba’s self-sufficiency will be a leading and key component in the island’s climate adaptation plan.

Saba also got the opportunity to present a use case at the conference. For this use case, Iris Keizer of KNMI presented the climate scenarios in relation to Saba, with a focus on rainfall, and Sarah van der Horn presented on the importance of the management of rainwater collection for Saba.

The residents of Saba depend heavily on rainfall for many of their basic, daily activities, such as washing dishes, laundry, showering, the flushing of toilets and the watering of farms and home gardens. A decrease in rainfall as a result of climate change will impact these activities and also result in more erosion on the island, which both affect the lives of the island residents.

With this in mind, the Public Entity has the ambition to develop and carry out a rainwater management plan that takes into consideration the extremes of droughts and heavy bouts of rainfall that come afterwards.

Earlier this year, a climate agenda was developed with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, the Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations together with the governments of the 6 Dutch Caribbean Islands.

From this agenda, Saba will develop a climate plan to prepare for the future by improving its self-sufficiency. Nature-based solutions will be used where possible. The information obtained at the IDPC conference and the relationships formed with other countries and islands will help in the development of this plan. A goal of this conference was to build the IPDC community by bringing together country and island representatives and knowledge partners to share their knowledge and experiences in a collective effort to tackle climate change.

“We are all in this together,” said Simmons-de Jong at the final table session, as he pointed out how climate change impacts every one of us and the importance of and strength there is in working together with the sister islands of the Dutch Caribbean, the (European part) of the Netherlands and neighboring Caribbean islands.

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The all-new Hyundai KONA Is Now Available at Motorworld

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - The all-new KONA features a futuristic design for its new generation KONA subcompact SUV. The KONA was initially introduced as a fully-electric (EV) model from Hyundai. Since then, it has developed into four variants, including internal combustion engine (ICE) and the sporty N-Line model which is now readily available on the island. KONA is brimming with the latest technologies, comfort and convenience features and brings that to all of its variants with a unique design which has now evolved to embrace a wide range of diversity.

“While KONA has been a big player for Hyundai’s electrification strategy, we’re also happy to have the ICE (gasoline) option available for our customers who love everything this model has to offer, but aren’t opting for a fully electric vehicle at this time”, shares Tariq Amjad, Managing Director, Motorworld.

The all-new KONA is roomy, providing a more versatile interior space for increased passenger comfort and easy cargo storage via its customizable power tailgate. This sporty SUV elevates the customer experience with advanced technology, including a dual 12.3” wide screen display, blind view monitor, ambient mood lighting, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and a wireless smartphone charging pad, among other features. 

Available in stunning colors like Ultimate Red, Denim Blue, Soultronic Orange Pearl, Mirage Green and Neoteric Yellow, or Atlas White, Cyber Gray, Ecotronic Gray and Abyss Black Pearl, the Hyundai KONA is a sporty SUV that is sure to turn heads. KONA is available in 3 different trims, namely, Advance, Prestige and N-Line with each boasting an impressive array of features, optional All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) and secured with 5 years warranty.

The KONA was designed for practically everyone and every lifestyle to give customers a wonderful experience that matches their individual needs. For more information and to set up a test drive and explore the new KONA, visit the showroom in Cole Bay or motorworldgroupsxm.com

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