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SCDF Road to Carnival runs through Da BiG BaD XP's Backyard Jam

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The St. Maarten Carnival development Foundation (SCDF) on Thursday said it is excited an looking forward to being part of the second edition of Da BiG BaD XP's " Backyard Jam Session".

President of the SCDF Edwardo Radjouki said Da Backyard Jam Session is exactly the kind of event that the Carnival foundation should start to support in order to bring the festival back to its roots.

"You can't get more 'roots' than a cultural backyard jam session in the district of Middle Region. It is a unique Road to Carnival (RTC) event that is grass-roots and a gesture by the XP Band to give back," Radjouki explained.

Da Backyard Jam Session is the brainchild of the members of the band who simply wanted to give back to their village of Middle Region and whomever else wish to just have a good time and enjoy great music.

It is scheduled to be held on Saturday, April 1, in the backyard of the York family, childhood home of band members DwayneE and . The band approached SCDF late in 2022 with the idea of turning the session into one of its RTC's.

The event will also feature a raffle of a Carnival Season Pass courtesy of the SCDF and giveaways courtesy of the TelEM Group of Companies who are the sponsors of SCDF's RTC events.

Radjouki said the band is taking time out to give back to fans and supporters and that should be commended. “We should also recognize their family for opening their property so the community can enjoy culture in a cultural setting,” he said.

“We had about 500 + persons and close to a ton of barbecue coupled with energetic performances and cold beverages to wash it all down simply because we Love Our People.” exclaimed.

"What's more cultural than music, food and reminiscing in a back yard? Backyards are mini Carnival Villages as was evident in the 2022 edition. We are looking forward to a fun Backyard Jam," Radjouki said.

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Minister Ottley visits the recipients of the CDFHA home repair project

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Honorable Minister Omar Ottley conducted a follow up walkthrough of the residences of the home repair project recipients. The home repair project targeted seniors, the disabled, single parents, and unemployed individuals whose homes were damaged by the 2017 hurricanes and lacked the financial means to repair them.

In the first cohort of the home repair project, a total of twelve homes were fixed. The purpose of the walkthrough was to personally observe how the repairs were performed and to obtain feedback from the recipients.

“It was an honor to get this project off the ground and assist the most vulnerable. Seeing the satisfaction on the faces of the homeowners made this project worth it. We look forward to starting the second phase of the project during the first quarter of this year,” said Minister Ottley.

The beneficiaries were pleased and expressed their gratitude to Minister Ottley for repairs to their homes. This is one of the numerous ongoing projects that Ministry VSA has implemented to guarantee that the needs of the vulnerable groups in our community are met.

MIN VSA HOUSE 1

MIN VSA HOUSE 2

MIN VSA HOUSE 3

MIN VSA HOUSE 4

MIN VSA HOUSE 5

 

 

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FYI FOUNDATION HOSTS FIRST EVER BASKETBALL ON STILTS DISPLAY GAMES

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - This past weekend history was made in the sports arena on St. Martin with the introduction of a fusion game basketball on stilts at the L.B. Scott Sports Auditorium.

The game was created by the Funtopia youth initiative foundation as a part of the stilt walking training to help the students with their agility on stilts. The game distracts the children’s mind when learning to walk they no longer think about failing or balancing their focus shifts to maneuvering their body on the stilts to catch the ball and make a score with their teammates.

Without knowing the students are running, jumping, and squatting using full body motion on the stilts.

The game was initially developed in 2014 when training our first set of walkers when we started the stilt training program in 2021 with UNESCO, we saw the need to explore the game rules more in order to have 2 teams play full court.

The main rule of the game is to score points by tossing the ball to team mates using most of the rules of net ball. Because of the distance from the floor only cross bouncing is allowed and over and under hand tossing. Says foundation president Lucinda Audain.

Over the weekend we had several schools that have been a part of our stilt training program participate in the friendly display games as an opening for the basketball with characters and senior basketball tournament hosted by St. Martin First foundation and Dream chasers.

The kids played 2 quarters for 10 minutes on court to showcase their skills and introduce the sport to the audience with hopes to spark interest in more children to join the program.

On Thursday 27 January students from Martin Luther King School played Oranje school students. Score 1 – 5. Top scorer was Elianna Morris from Oranje School. On Friday 28 January students from MAC Primary Rev. John A. Gumbs Campus played students from Sister Marie Laurens and

Martin Luther King School. Score 4-4 top score Abigale Smith from Sister Marie Laurens school. On Saturday 28 students from Hillside Christian school Asha Stevens played students from Hillside Christian school Helmich Snijders. Score 14 – 12 top scorers Nessiah and Nahjah Munoz.

An additional highlight of the weekend was the colorful display of stilt walkers long the Walter Nisbeth Road for the mini cultural parade which was the longest walk for most of the junior walkers accompanied by Generation New Status drum band and DJ Vybz.

This was a delightful round off to the introduction to moko Jumbie culture project. This project was supported by the following institutions the Government of the Netherlands under the Sint Maarten Trust fund, implemented by Resources for Community Resilience (R4CR), administered by VNGI, and overseen by The World Bank.

The foundation would like to thank the community for coming out to support the initiative and the parents for allowing the students to participate. Persons interested in learning stilts walking can contact the foundation at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

FYI stilts thur1

FYI stilts thur 4

FYI stilts thur 3

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Foundations working together for the betterment of the St. Peters Basketball Court

SINT MAARTEN (ST. PETERS) - Funtopia Youth Initiative Foundation has been in collaboration with the St. Peters Community Center. As a contribution for supporting the foundation’s program, “Introducing Moko Jumbie Culture in St. Martin”, the foundation has donated garbage bins and cleaning material to the St. Peters Community Center.

The Basketball court was used as a central point for their afterschool program for students ages 7 to 12 during the new school.

Beautiful green garbage has been secured around the court and playground area with the message, “Do your part by keeping the basketball court clean and safe for the children of the community to play.”

This project is supported by the following institutions the Government of the Netherlands

under the Sint Maarten Trust Fund, implemented by Resources for Community Resilience (R4CR), administered by VNGI, and overseen by The World Bank.

FYI betterment 1

FYI betterment 2

 

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Sarah proposes a stronger and binding declaration by candidates in electoral reform

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot-Williams continues her push for electoral reform, proposes a stronger and binding declaration by candidates, agreeing to run on a particular party’s slate, the MP said in a press statement on Wednesday evening.

Last year as parliament announced its trajectory for electoral reform, primarily via adjustments to several laws, and had prepared to outsource the work of drafting these laws, the government announced its own electoral reform trajectory, that included a survey amongst the population.

I was not overly impressed by the route taken by the government of St. Maarten, as it appeared a tad bit late and overly propagandistic, commented MP Wescot.

“There are several issues that require no rocket science to establish that changes and or reforms are a necessary part of any electoral reform. These are, amongst others, the dissolution article in the Constitution of St. Maarten and the no-confidence article, suspension of MPs etc.”.

On the level of the political and electoral ordinances, there are also changes that could contribute to a more modern way of voting and better embedding of the party-political system, MP Wescot remarked.

“In the past weeks, the government has hinted at a snap parliamentary election, only to quickly nuance that position with “legal advice is needed”. In my view, it is quite clear, the only way a snap election can be called is on the basis on taking a decision to dissolve parliament.”

I have the distinct impression that the government has taken the onus away from the legality of the dissolution, which by the way should always come first, and is now looking at preferred election timing.

This thought pattern is inherently wrong, according to MP Wescot, as she queries, “No campaign during Christmas time, no campaign during summer, none during the hurricane season, none during carnival etc. etc., where will it stop?”

Based on this flawed reasoning by the government of St. Maarten, I have asked the Prime Minister to provide answers to the following questions:

  • Please provide an update with regard to Government’s electoral reform trajectory. In August last year you announced to Parliament the intention to hold a symposium and town hall meetings on this topic. Did these take place? If not, why not? What were the results?
  • What is Government’s position on dissolving Parliament and calling a Parliamentary Election in 2023? Has this been discussed by the Council of Ministers?
  • Are you aware of the evolution of this constitutional instrument (dissolution of the legislature) in the Netherlands, which served as the basis for the inclusion in the Constitution of St. Maarten?
  • What are your thoughts on consulting Parliament on any intention to apply Article 59 of the Constitution?
  • Can you provide me with Government’s view on the essentials of Article 59 of the Constitution, and specifically the historic legal rationale behind this article.
  • If it is Government’s intention to dissolve Parliament prematurely and call election, are there any electoral reform items Government intends to introduce before any election is called? If so, what are these items?

And recalling 2 distinct and in my opinion achievable proposals from MPs Heyliger-Marten and Gumbs, I asked:

  • Has Government taken a final position on the proposals from 2 Members of Parliament to limit potential electoral fraud?

In proposing some further election reform measures, I suggested that the council of ministers considers strengthening the party-political system by

  • i) every political party having to prove sufficient support for its candidates’ list (sort of a pre-election) and,
  • ii) giving more content to the individual candidate’s declaration of agreement with the list on which he/she appears (Article 25, Election Ordinance), e.g., by adding a covenant that the candidate is aware and in agreement with the main views, direction and principles of the party and thereto concurs to participate as a candidate for party X or Y.

And finally, I wanted to know.

  • What the Government has done concretely towards strengthening the stability of Government, that the Government committed itself to from the get-go.
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Minister Richardson meets with APS to begin pension inclusion update

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Tuesday, January 31, 2023, the Honorable Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson met with Sint Maarten Pension Fund (APS) Adjunct Director and Manager Pension Administration Mr. Oscar Williams, APS Senior Pension Administrator Eric Tjon Tam Pau, HR Senior Policy Advisor Florence Marlin, HR Consultant Grace Marlin-Blijden and support staff to discuss the next step of the calculations process for the finalization and approval of the draft Legal Position Regulation for the Police of Sint Maarten.

This step includes the incorporation of the 16.3% retroactive pension calculations for law enforcement personnel of the Ministry of Justice which will be updated in the ongoing placement process.

APS was established on October 10, 2010, after Sint Maarten became an autonomous country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. APS executes the pension plan for employees of the government, institutions affiliated with the government, and employees in a number of education(al) institutions.

“I am elated to arrive one step closer to our goal of having the calculations completed by engaging with APS. APS understands the urgency of having this meticulous process finalized, as such, they have committed to work diligently with the Ministry of Justice,” stated Minister Richardson.

Since October 2010, all law enforcement personnel, including police officers, administrative and technical personnel of the Sint Maarten Police Force (KPSM), the National Detectives, and Immigration and Border Protection Services (IBP) are being paid the salary and compensations that they received prior to October 10, 2010, in the Netherlands Antilles. In comparison to other civil servants working for the Government of Sint Maarten, the salaries of KPSM, the National Detectives, and IBP personnel were not adjusted to include 16.3% equal to the Windward Islands allowance they were paid in the days of the Netherlands Antilles. However, law enforcement personnel continued to get the 16.3% as an allowance, as such it was not included in the gross amount of their monthly salaries.

In the meeting, it was agreed that APS will review the pension calculations for all justice employees and make the necessary updates to their administration. This also includes the execution of the correct pension rectifications for the personnel of KPSM, the National Detectives, and IBP. This will ensure that the data related to their pension is calculated accurately.

To ensure that the Government of Sint Maarten is in compliance with Article 20 of the Kingdom Act financial supervision Curaçao and Sint Maarten (Rijkswet Financieel Toezicht Curaçao en Sint Maarten), the Ministry of Justice continues to diligently work on the finalization of the total debt amount that the government will have to pay the justice employees over a three-to-five-year period as agreed in the established Covenant agreement between the Minister of Justice and the union representatives.

Once APS has completed the pending calculations to include the 16.3%, the calculation process will end. Subsequently, to avoid any discrepancies in the amounts to be paid out to the respective justice employees, the data of the total calculations will be submitted to SOAB for auditing. Upon receipt of the audited report from SOAB, Minister Richardson will once again send the completed National Decree containing General Measures (Lbham) in connection with the new police law with the new salary scales and the approved Function Book back to His Excellency Governor Ajamu Baly for approval and signature.

“As the calculation and placement process continues to progress closer to the finish line, I take this time to thank all personnel of the Ministry of Justice for their patience. I promised to provide updates to ensure that you are aware of the status of this process. I assure you, and everyone involved in these undertakings is working diligently to have this all completed within short,” stated Minister Richardson.

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TelCell Night of the Hit Makers celebrates 10th year with energy from start to finish

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - ~ Amazing lineup of Control, Buleria, Vayb and Destra ~TelCell’s Night of the Hit Makers and its promoter Bertaux “Mr. Rude” Fleming of Xtratight Entertainment is celebrating 10 Years of Hit Makers for Carnival 2023 and has 10-year dancing session in store for the public that it won’t soon forget.

Established as the longest running concert series in the history of St. Maarten’s Carnival and dubbed Carnival’s flagship event, Night of the Hit Makers 2023 is being built as a concert that will quite literally, take your breath away. Complete with its exclusive dance floor, electric ambiance, on-point concert flow and entertainment that keep you in the moment, organizers said Hit Makers “will have you exhausted with a smile on your face.”

Celebrating 10 years is a proud achievement for Mr. Rude and his team of family and friends. He has also been able to count on dedicated corporate supporters over the years, none more so than the TelEm group, the title sponsor of the event. Night of the Hit Makers is, more often than not, the biggest show in terms of attendance in any given Carnival year.

The concert event was founded on the premise of giving Carnival lovers locally and throughout the region, an experience they will always want on an annual basis, in particular the “not so young” crowd. Mr. Rude is famous for saying that concerts can be held year-in and year-out, but concert experiences are what set Night of The Hit Makers apart from everyone else.

Now, ten years later, Mr. Rude intends to say thank you to concert goers with a lineup of artists the likes of which they have become accustomed to and with the goal of giving them a great time. The 10th anniversary show is all about tearing up the dance floor with St. Maarten’s top dance band Control Band, “ritmo kombina” specialists “Buleria” out of Aruba, Haitian/Compas international recording band “Vayb” formerly Carimi, and to really “send the people home in a good mood”, Soca Queen Destra will grace the Hit Makers stage.

It is a lineup built on energy from start to finish. “For our tenth year we wanted to go back a little and give people what they have come to expect from Hit Makers: pure energy and a good time makes for an unforgettable experience,” Mr. Rude said. “The name Hit Makers means that we could choose to put any musical hit maker on stage to fit the brand.”

“We have stuck with the grown Caribbean vibes because this kind of music will never get old and will always make memories. You will always remember when Kassav performed at Hit Makers for the last time on St. Maarten, you will remember Burning Flames, Claudius Philips and more. These are the experiences we strive for.

“What better way to celebrate 10 years with four acts that you won’t only remember, you will feel it in your legs and in your soul. This concert for Carnival 2023 will not be short on energy from beginning to end. We want to see people dancing from the road, coming into Carnival Village. The TelEm team will be present with give-aways for concert goers to wave and Xtratight will have that Village ready like never before. Ten year Night of the Hit Makers is not something you will want to hear about, you have to experience it for yourself,” Mr. Rude said enthusiastically.

He added that Xtratight is always humbled by the support it receives for Hit Makers and extended heartfelt thanks to the general public, sponsors and visitors whose support have allowed the concert and the entertainment company to sustain and grow. “This show and this lineup will be our way to say thank you in a major way,” he said.

Ticket locations and pricing, along with more information about the artists and the show itself will be announced soon as the promotion for the concert will kick into high gear from this week.

CONTROL BAND

Control Band

BULERIA

Buleria

VAYB

Vayb

 

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“Pioneers of Tourism”

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The St. Maarten Tourism Bureau in collaboration with the Department of Communication (DCOMM) will be launching a four-part mini-series “Pioneers of Tourism” on Friday, February 3rd, 2023.

Pioneers of Tourism will highlight individuals who have made a significant contribution to the growth and development of the tourism and hospitality industry on St. Maarten.

Tourism goes way beyond sea, sun and sand, it touches the very heart of our people and visitors.

Our pioneers, on whose shoulders we presently stand have not only created the blueprint of tourism for our island but have also laid a resilient foundation for our tourism and hospitality product.

These persons have been employed in our tourism industry for many years. “The history of tourism and hospitality of St. Maarten should be studied in order to understand how it has developed throughout the decades. Early tourism catered to the privileged, and now that it is accessible to everyone, the history of the tourism industry can teach students and the community how to better adapt to changing trends,” says May-Ling Chun Director of Tourism for St. Maarten.

In our first episode, Mrs. Zephany Fleming-Lejuez a former employee of Mullet Bay Resort, shares her experience starting as a receptionist and being promoted as a Front Office Manager at the resort.

The series will be aired every Friday in the month of February at 6:00 PM on the St. Maarten Tourism Bureau’s social media handles and the government of St. Maarten’s YouTube and Facebook page.

Be sure to follow these amazing pioneers’ stories on the social media handles listed below:

St. Maarten Tourism Bureau

  • Instagram: vacationstmaarten
    Facebook: vacationstmaarten
    Twitter: vacationstmaarten
    vacationstmaarten.com

Government of Sint Maarten

  • Facebook: the government of sint maarten
    Youtube channel: the government of sint maarten
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CPS closed on Friday. Reopens on February 6

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 the general public, that its offices at the Vineyard Building Office Complex will be closed for clients and customers on Friday, February 3.

The closure is related to a Ministry of VSA activity.

CPS will resume is regular services during office hours on Monday, February 6.

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Rotary Club of SXM Mid Isle Presents Baby Bag to 1st Baby of 2023

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On January 4th, 2023, Immediate Past District Governor Louis Wever, Past President Wayne Wilkie and Past President Anjali Manek presented a Baby Bag on behalf of the Rotary Club of Sint Maarten-Mid Isle to Kaila Woodley.

Special thanks to the Supervisor of the Maternity Ward Mrs. Sherryl Carty for coordinating with us to make this presentation possible!

Annually, the Club presents the mother/family of the first baby born in the year a goody bag to congratulate them on their little bundle of joy!

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