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The Sint Maarten Lions Club launches its annual Peace Poster Contest

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Sint Maarten Lions Club recently launched its annual Peace Poster Contest at the Lions Civic Center in Sucker Garden under the theme “Lead with Compassion.”

For many years, Lions Clubs all over the world have been sponsoring the annual International Peace Poster Contest in schools and youth groups giving children the chance to express their visions of peace and inspire the world through art and creativity. 

Children know how powerful compassion can be. This year, young people are invited to explore and visually express the peaceful future that compassionate leadership brings. 

The competition is aimed at pupils in primary school Groups Seven and Eight and Form One students in secondary schools. Interested students should reach out to their art teacher for more details about joining the contest.

Students ages 11, 12, or 13 as of November 15, 2022, are eligible to participate in this year’s Contest. Interested participants  are also invited to attend a 

Training Session with well-known local artist, Ms. Tess Verheij, of the Art Craft Cafe.

The Deadline to submit Peace Poster entries locally is October 24th, 2022. A winner will be named after the judges have reviewed all submissions.

1st Prize: 3 Types of Paint:- Experiment with 24 acrylic, 24 gouaches, 12 watercolor paint tubes, and 12 metallic watercolor half-pans. In addition, 5 acrylic markers, 10 glitter gel pens, and the watercolor brush pen to create artistic masterpieces. Prize also includes Black DIY Sketch Pad, Watercolor Paper, Wood, and Canvases.

2nd Prize: Arteza Real Brush Pens, 48 Colors for Watercolor,  9x12” Mixed Media Sketch Pad, 2 Pack,  Inkonic Fineliners Fine Point Pens, Set of 72 Fine Tip Markers, Water Brush Pens.

3rd prize: An all-expenses paid one-month Art class with local artist, Ms. Tess Verheij of the Art Craft Café.

The Grand Prize-winning poster is also eligible to be selected for entry into the International Contest. 

A $150 gift certificate will be given to the Grand Prize winner's school to support their Art Department.

The Sint Maarten Lions Club understands the need for encouraging and instilling peace among our island's children and honoring their efforts in developing their artistic minds. Thanks to the teachers, parents, and guardians for motivating the eligible youth to participate in this year’s Contest. 

For more information, persons may contact Lion Shantall Zorrilla at 1(721)587-8962,  Lion La-Teen Clark at 1 (721) 526-8237 or any of the Lions Club members. Email contacts are: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Effective October 15th, COVID insurance becomes optional and Sint Maarten residents no longer required to test

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (VSA), Omar Ottley announced that as of October 15, COVID-19 insurance will no longer be mandatory for travelers into Sint Maarten. “We would like for this to be optional for our travelers,” said Ottley.

Also as of October 15th, residents of Sint Maarten will no longer be required to test upon entry, regardless of their vaccination status. However, they will still be required to fill out the Electronic Health Authorization System (EHAS) application for data purposes. We would also like for this to go into effect on October 15th, 2022.

The EHAS project is slated to end March 2023. The project was an initiative by the Ministry of VSA to reopen the economy during the pandemic. Not knowing the extent of COVID-19 and it’s impact on the nation, the project was requested to have a lifespan of two years and possible extension for an additional year.

Minister Ottley would like to publicly thank all those who were involved in the project, especially the admins and nurses that worked tirelessly to ensure a successful outcome. Sint Maarten is now in the endemic nature and after a thorough assessment, COVID screening will be removed from the airport.

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ODM: Remain Vigilant and Prepared as 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season Heats Up

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Fire Chief and National Disaster Coordinator of the Office of Disaster Management (ODM) Clive Richardson, is calling on residents and the business community to remain vigilant and prepared as the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season heats up.

The Atlantic currently has major category four Hurricane Fiona, Tropical Storm Gaston (located near the Azores in the north Atlantic Ocean), and three other systems are currently being monitored by the National Hurricane Center out of Miami, Florida.

None of the aforementioned systems pose a direct threat to Sint Maarten.

Fiona – which passed Sint Maarten last week as a Tropical Storm – is the season’s first major Category 4 hurricane which is forecasted to pass approximately 100 miles to the west of Bermuda early Friday morning.

In the meantime, the Cayman Islands are being warned of potential severe weather coming its way within the next five days. A strong tropical wave which entered the Caribbean Sea could develop into the next named storm.

The remaining names for the hurricane season are Hermine, Ian, Julia, Karl, Lisa, Martin, Nicole, Owen, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tobias, Virginie, and Walter.

Residents and the business community are advised to continue to pay keen attention to weather reports in the coming weeks in order to be able to take the appropriate action when called upon to do so by the ODM/Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

National Disaster Coordinator Richardson would like to thank the general public for adhering to the rules, regulations, and advice from the authorities that were put in place during the passing of Tropical Storm Fiona to safeguard life and property, and looks forward to their continued cooperation in the future.

The community is urged to learn more about hurricane hazards and how to prepare for a storm/hurricane strike by visiting the Government website: www.sintmaartengov.org/hurricane where you will be able to download your “Hurricane Season Readiness Guide’ and “Hurricane Tracking Chart.”

Listen to the Government Radio station – SXMGOV 107.9FM - for official information and news before, during and after a hurricane.

For official weather-related information, check out the website of the Meteorological Department of St. Maarten (MDS): www.meteosxm.com or visit their social media page Facebook.com/sxmweather/

Remember, it only takes one hurricane to make it a bad season. Remain vigilant and prepared!

The hurricane season runs through November 30.

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WYCCF is organizing the 5th Alzheimer's Support Group meeting this Saturday

SINT MAARTEN (ST. JOHN’S ESTATE) - On Saturday, September 24th, 2022, from 4-5 PM, the White & Yellow Cross Care Foundation (WYCCF) organizes its 5th Alzheimer's Support Group meeting at the St. Martin's Home in St. John's.

This meeting is specifically organized to support those who are currently providing care, have provided care, or are going to provide care to someone with Alzheimer's disease or dementia. The WYCCF invites everyone in this situation to come by and share, listen and learn through shared experiences.

Everyone will get the opportunity to share their experiences if they wish to do so or ask any questions, they might have to our specialized psychogeriatric care staff and special guest for this meeting: SMMC Neurologist Dr. C. Marques. The WYCCF will provide drinks and snacks, and the event is open to everyone.

The number of attendees has steadily increased over the last meetings. Attendees especially appreciated being around persons who understand what they are going through because they’re in the same situation. Get to know each other and ask questions to specialists regarding medication, treatments, prospects, and how to deal with specific situations. However, that’s only if they want to, of course. If they just want to sit and listen, that’s fine too. The WYCCF welcomes back everyone who attended the previous meetings and hopes that more people for whom this meeting is relevant will come out.

Alzheimer's disease is a challenging disease to cope with. One can slowly lose certain abilities, which may result in losing the independence one had their whole adult life. This gradually makes one more and more dependent on the care of others, which can be very difficult to accept. In most cases, the family members take on the care. However, what may begin with light help, can become a full-time job. This gradually increasing workload often proves very hard for family members to keep up with. The caregiver might still have a job, and other responsibilities and, on top of that, may not be trained to provide this type and amount of care. 

Besides the practical aspects, caring for a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer's can be difficult emotionally. Someone's personality can change; they can become angry or frustrated without apparent reason, or they no longer trust the persons that were always the closest to them. To see a loved one slowly but steadily changing like this, seemingly without anything you can do about it, can be a heavy burden to carry. 

Many persons in this situation greatly benefit from some form of support. This can be asking a question to an expert, learning from others going through the same situation, or simply getting some things off your chest. It's important to realize that you are not alone and don't have to go through this alone. For persons who have gone through this experience in the past, it can help to talk about it. On the other hand, it can be of great value for those at the start of this journey to hear what they can expect and how others cope with specific situations. There will also be an expert present, whom you can ask any question you might have.

For this reason, the WYCCF started with the Alzheimer support group meetings, of which the fifth one will be this weekend from 4 to 5 PM in the St. Martin's Home at St. John's Estate Road #6, Cul-de-Sac.

The WYCCF stands for quality care, and this meeting is an excellent example of what we mean by that. We're not only looking out for the immediate needs of the client. But we also look at how we can improve the client's environment and the people around them. Because the care for a person with Alzheimer's or dementia doesn't stop when they leave the WYCCF at the end of the day, it is essential to support the people around them. Taking on this type of care can be a heavy responsibility, and it can become hard to provide care if they're not doing well themselves. Therefore, supporting these persons is an essential part of delivering quality care.

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Top Luxury Brand Hilton Grand Vacation Club now on Sint Maarten

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - St. Maarten added a top luxury resort brand to the list of vacation properties travelers can choose from as the Hilton Grand Vacation Club, officially rebranded the Flamingo and Royal Palm Beach Resorts on Wednesday. 

Acting Minister of Tourism Economic Affairs Transport & Telecommunication (TEATT), the honorable Omar Ottley hailed the rebranding of the two-timeshare resorts as a signal of great things to come for St. Maarten. 

Minister Ottley said, "The Hilton brand would undoubtedly attract new visitors to St. Maarten and further strengthen the long-term vision of showcasing the tourism destination as the service innovation centre of the Caribbean."

Las Vegas-based Timeshare Company Diamond Resorts International operated both the Flamingo Beach Resort and Royal Palm in Simpson Bay, St. Maarten for many years.

The honorable Ardwell Irion, Minister of Finance and the honorable Egbert Doran, Minister of Public Housing, Physical Planning, Environment and Infrastructure, accompanied Minister Ottley to the unveiling ceremony which was held first at the Flamingo Beach Resort then at Royal Palm, now both Hilton Vacation Club properties. 

“Today is evidence that great things are happening, and I am elated to be part of the rebranding. Congratulations to the stakeholders and staff that played their part. I am pleased to see that there is an appetite to invest and the Hilton group made use of this opportunity because they saw potential in our island. Bringing a luxury resort brand such as Hilton will help boost our economy and is an indication that our tourism will continue to grow,” said Minister Doran.

"St. Maarteners must be proud of this achievement. Today, a Global Hospitality Company has chosen to make a significant investment in branding two properties with over 360 rooms, making it possible for the Hilton Vacation Club owners to have our 37 square mile island as a future vacation option," said Minister Ottley.  

Minister Ottley said that the addition of the Hilton Brand shows the diversity of St. Maarten and reconfirms that the island has significant economic potential and opportunities for growth. "We must continue to work towards ensuring investor confidence in our destination. I believe that the former Flamingo Beach Resort and Royal Palm employees will continue to exhibit St. Maarten's ‘Island flavour of hospitality’ to make our Hilton vacationers feel welcomed and at home."

The Hilton Grand Vacation Club (HGVC) is a timeshare-point-based reservation and exchange system allowing HGVC members leisure travel opportunities. There are currently more than 300,000 HGVC members worldwide. Club membership provides exclusive exchange, leisure travel, and reservation services.

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MP Emmanuel to launch NOW party on October 10

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Christophe Emmanuel will launch his political party on October 10, 2022. The Nation, Opportunity, Wealth (N.O.W) party will be grounded elevating the citizens of St. Maarten…and in the process rid the country of the worst government in its history. The venue and specifics of the launch will be announced soon.

The passionate MP said he cannot sit by and watch everything St. Maarten used to be proud of being disrespected, shunned, dismissed and victimized. “I've seen the courage of our police officers and firemen taken for granted, the spirit of our entrepreneurs crushed under tax burdens, the patience of our teachers tested by discriminatory practices, the compassion of our care workers diminished, the wisdom of our elderly sidelined and forgotten and the hopes of our children dashed by poor governing. It is enough and I’m thankful that there are so many like-minded people who know that what we are living through is not what we had envisioned for our country,” MP Emmanuel said.

He said the country and its people are drowning in scandals and broken promises. “There is willful disregard for accountability and our people are searching for new leaders. Leaders who won’t let you believe that you have to settle for an inferior quality of life and accept mediocre representation. My people deserve more than the mediocre representation and the lack of conviction to build a better St. Maarten. NOW is the time to break the cycle of fearful and vindictive governing devoid of any kind of vision,” MP Emmanuel said.

The MP explained that forming the NOW was in its infancy when he declared himself an independent Member of Parliament on December 4, 2020. With the “dangerous and sad” direction of the country, led by the actions of the current coalition, Emmanuel said formalizing the NOW in preparation for the next Parliamentary elections was a forgone conclusion. “If we were only considering it in 2020, by 2021 it became glaringly obvious that the current coalition would be the ruin of St. Maarten. The NOW will be realistic about what it can achieve in governing this country, and ambitious about what we can do together,” MP Emmanuel said.

“It cannot be that lofty pet-projects and self-interest is placed above the standard of living of your people. It cannot be that you abuse your people by taking money out of their pocket, then turn and say sorry. The people of St. Maarten deserve a government that believes in people, that trusts their people, representatives that knows their ultimate role is not to take from people but to give, to give everyone the chance to make the most of their own life and make better the lives of others. Nation, Opportunity, Wealth (NOW), is where it begins and that is what we will be outlining to our people in the weeks and months ahead,” MP Emmanuel said.

The MP explained that the launch, mission and various approaches of the NOW will be released in phases and always clear to the people of St. Maarten. He said the party will not be afraid to be straight with the people. “This notion that we always have to beat-around-the-bush with our people as if we don’t know them is foolish, it’s foreign to them. The current government has isolated themselves from the people with habitual lying and deceitful governing. Today they can’t look you in the face. There is a leadership void that serves only to create power-grabs in the country at the expense of our people. It cannot continue this way,” he said.

He said his direct message to the people is straightforward: “Considering the scandal-ridden country that you are living in, when you go to the ballot again, it should be clear to you what cannot continue in your country. There are some serious decisions that will have to be made moving forward; decisions that will affect you, your children and your grandchildren.
  
"The current government and the representatives that support it have shown you the path they want to take. The path of the NOW will be based on the fact that our country’s future cannot hold peace without disciplined nation building, creating growth opportunities for our people and to restore a respectable standard of living for our people NOW. Let us begin the journey NOW,” MP Emmanuel concluded.

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MP WESCOT-WILLIAMS: IPKO MUST REMAIN RELEVANT AND WHAT WE WANT TO GET OUT OF IT

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On the eve of the Inter-parliamentary Kingdom Consultations (IPKO) meeting in the Netherlands, Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot Williams is concerned about the local political rumbles and their effect on the image of the St. Maarten delegation and the seriousness of its participation, the MP said on Wednesday in a press statement.

The MP explains that faction leaders are the ones who attend IPKO meetings on behalf of the parliament of St. Maarten, along with the chair of parliament.

The way the agendas are made is an established process, where the proposals come from the host country and the presidiums of the other parliaments chime in until a mutually acceptable proposal is arrived at.

“I am on record for standing up for IPKO, because I believe in diplomacy above confrontation”, the MP clearly stated.

But, the MP continue, “the deliberations must be meaningful and with an objective in mind. Unfortunately, I get the distinct feeling that the IPKO drive is diminishing. A possible explanation is the experience with the dispute regulation, which now the Caribbean countries have the lead on and need to come with a proposal, as we are back to square one.”

This time around, I am disappointed in the overall agenda for this IPKO, because the UN sustainable development goals are not mentioned, like they have been for several years. In the context of the country packages, it is paramount that we are able to bring these measures back to sustainable reforms and development, and thus keeping the pressure on via the parliaments is one way to go.

It is ironic that as one part of the government of St. Maarten proudly joins the kingdom partners at the United Nations General Assembly, the parliaments of the kingdom’s agenda consist primarily of presentations on our colonial and slavery past, the MP opines.

“Earlier this year in IPKO we decided together to review -based on second and first chamber motions-, the charter of the kingdom, the division of responsibilities, the authorities of the countries. As a member of parliament, I asked the government about the execution of these recommendations, I asked about the agreements made in May of this year, to no avail.”

“It would seem that we keep going around in circles on all levels, rather than taking the time out and once and for all deciding about our future in the Dutch kingdom. Twice a year we agree to bettering this relationship, but upon our return home, it is business as usual until the next time around”, stated MP Wescot.

And the coup de grâce: we can’t get our stuff together right here on this beautiful island, yet we are at the United Nations with the Kingdom partners, but fighting one of the partners at the same United Nations. Our people deserve better than this, MP Wescot concluded.

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Wilco Landscaping donates USD 2000 to Keep a Cool Head at MPC

SINT MAARTEN (SOUTH REWARD) - Williams handed a check of USD 2000, - on behalf of their director Mr. Peterson of the West Indies Landscaping Company (Wilco) to the Keep a Cool Head Campaign going at the Milton Peters College (MPC).

Team Yourandell Provence, Saskia Kliphuis and three elated students were elated to receive the generous donation.

Mr. Peterson has a child attending MPC and wants to contribute to the improvement of the learning environment of all students by adding air-condition units in all classrooms, SVOBE Innovation Coordinator Saskia Kliphuis said in a media statement on Wednesday.

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WYCCF honors World Alzheimer’s Day with HOF 5th Anniversary Fundraiser

SINT MAARTEN (ST. JOHN’S ESTATE) - Today is World Alzheimer’s Day. This special day aims at raising awareness about Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, common symptoms, and risk factors attached to it. In honor of this special day, the White & Yellow Cross Care Foundation (WYCCF) will host the 5th-anniversary Fundraiser of the Henry Ostiana Foundation (HOF) on Friday, September 30th. The event is open to the general public.

This event starts at 8:00 PM at the White & Yellow Cross Care Foundation in St. Peters. It will be a night of entertainment and awareness around this particular topic. Tickets are only 5 USD, and all the proceeds will go towards Alzheimer’s awareness and relief in the Caribbean. Refreshments will be served.

The Henry Ostiana Foundation was founded in 2017 when the late Henry Ostiana was diagnosed with vascular dementia, which is a form of Alzheimer’s disease. Together with his wife, Mireya Ostiana, Henry was determined to talk about his disease rather than keep silent. Especially in the Caribbean, there is still a taboo on mental health issues, and Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are no exceptions.

With the help of the St. Maarten Alzheimer Foundation, Henry appeared at several radio stations and stages to talk about his battle against this inhuman disease. Together with his wife, they aimed to inform the public of Sint Maarten what it means to be diagnosed with this disease. What it means for the person, but also what it means for the direct family and loved ones. One can slowly lose specific abilities, which may result in losing the independence one had their whole adult life. Realizing these changes within yourself and the gradually increasing dependence on others can be very difficult to accept.

In most cases, the family members take on the care out of love, yet without a good understanding of the implications. What may begin with light help can slowly become a full-time job. This gradually increasing workload often proves very hard for family members to keep up with. The caregiver might still have a job, and other responsibilities and, on top of that, may not be trained to provide this type and amount of care. Most people who went through this indicated that they wished they had more information, understanding, and support from the start, which is precisely why awareness is so important.

Henry Ostiana, while fighting this disease and the stigma surrounding it, eventually passed away. However, his wife, Mireya Ostiana, while grieving, decided to continue the mission of her late husband: to spread awareness about the implications of Alzheimer’s disease, especially in the Caribbean.

One of the core values of the WYCCF is client-centered care. This means not only physically taking care of a client but also informing and supporting the people around the client so that the care continues outside our doors. This benefits the client but also the informal caregivers, on which it often takes a heavy toll. For this reason, the WYCCF organizes bi-monthly Alzheimer’s Support Group meetings, from which the next one is this Saturday, September 24th, at 4 PM at the St. Martin’s Home in St. John’s.

In honor of World Alzheimer’s Day, the WYCCF is happy to host the 5th-anniversary fundraising event on Friday, September 30th, at the Sint Martin’s Home. The tickets are only 5 USD and are sold at WYCCF. To purchase your ticket, please contact Irene Kemper-Brown on 5484424. All the proceeds will go to Alzheimer’s care, awareness, and prevention in the Caribbean.

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Minister Richardson receives courtesy call from CG of the Republic of Haiti

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Wednesday, September 14th, 2022, the Honorable Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson was paid a courtesy visit by the Consul General (CG) and Head of Mission of the Consulate General of the Republic of Haiti in Curaçao, Ms. Natalie Fourcand. During the courtesy visit, Minister Richardson was informed of the services provided by the Consulate General of the Republic of Haiti based in Curaçao. 

Representatives of the Consulate General travel to Sint Maarten every two to three months and provide various governmental services to Haitian nationals. These services include the processing of applications for new or renewed ID cards and passports, birth certificate or power of attorney requests, and letters to government departments when necessary. Minister Richardson was able to view a sample of Haiti’s new and improved identification card which also serves as an electoral card, and was also provided a document containing all the relevant information that is needed from the identification card holder.

Minister Richardson stated, “As Minister of Justice, I am very appreciative of the working relationship that has been forged with the Consulate General of the Republic of Haiti. There have been many instances where the Ministry required the cooperation of the Consulate and they ensured that what was agreed upon is what was executed in a professional manner. As such, I look forward to their continued cooperation.”

Consul General Fourcand stated, “I was honored to have had the opportunity to meet Sint Maarten’s Minister of Justice Ms. Anna E. Richardson, and be able to inform the Minister about different services provided by the Consulate General of the Republic of Haiti in Curaçao to the Haitian community. Throughout the year, Minister Richardson has been very supportive of the Haitian community and we are very thankful for her support. We look forward to her continued support.”

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