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St. Dominic High to Host Virtual Info Evening about IBDP Program on Thursday

SINT MAARTEN (REWARD) - The St. Dominic High School is hosting a virtual information evening on the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) on Thursday October 22 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Interested students in Form 4 and the examination classes along with their parents are invited to learn more about this internationally recognized and rigorous pre-university programme. Information will be available explaining the subject prerequisites and the application process for the full diploma and diploma courses.

Students who would like to benefit from a pre-university study in one, two or three subjects are invited to get information about becoming a diploma course candidate in the IB Programme at St. Dominic High School. The admissions process will include placement for diploma course candidates in the following subjects: Spanish B, Dutch B, History, Business Management, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science, Mathematics: analysis and approaches, Mathematics: applications and interpretation and Visual Arts

Attendees will be given insight into the research process of the 4,000-word Extended Essay, the importance of learning outside the classroom with Creativity, Activity, Service and how we know what we claim to know in Theory of Knowledge.

The recent IB Class of 2020 gave feedback regarding their experience over the two years:

“The most beneficial part of participating in the Diploma Programme was to be able to discover a new facet of myself. With the English DP Course extensively designed to make students an ace in their writing and analytical skills, it enhanced my love for books and forced me to dig deeper within myself to find the why to every question and element in book and adversely in the world we live in today.”

Join us to learn how the IB Programme provides students with opportunities to explore and develop their personal and cultural identities and to apply their learning by taking action within their community.

St. Dominic High is one of 3,421 schools offering the Diploma Programme, in 157 different countries worldwide. It is also the first government subsidized school in the Caribbean authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) to offer the Diploma Programme for students aged 16 to 19. The IBO collaborates with schools, governments and international organizations in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia to develop and offer challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment in order to achieve its mission of developing inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

Students who are interested in the journey associated with learning, want to create opportunities for themselves, are driven to be successful and desire a more challenging curriculum that encourages them to think critically, to become internationally-minded, to reflect on their learning, and to develop university ready research skills are welcome to attend this virtual information evening on Thursday, October 22 at 7 p.m.

If you are interested send an email to the Diploma Programme Coordinator Ms. M. Richardson (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) requesting a link to the event.



SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Cadwell, Inc., a leading recycling and distribution company serving the Caribbean and Europe, partnered with N.V. G.E.B.E. to process and export more than a million pounds of recyclables with plans to hopefully double that amount in the near future.  Phase one of the project filled 20 shipping containers, each weighing more than 45,000 pounds each.  Phase two will include an additional 10, weighing more than 60,000 pounds apiece. 

“This represents a major step for both G.E.B.E. and St. Maarten to accomplish its environmental and clean energy goals,” said Andrew Cadwell, CEO, and co-founder of Cadwell, Inc.  “We have been so fortunate to work with CEO Kenrick Chittick and his forward-thinking team of professionals.”Much of the materials consisted of debris left over from Hurricane Irma, including poles, transformers, streetlights, cables and other metals from the damaged substation and water tanks.  All materials had to be gathered, sorted, cleaned, transported, and loaded into shipping containers.  The entire project was accomplished with local citizen labor and trucking.   

“Hurricane Irma made its mark on our island causing significant damage and destruction to our substation and water tanks,” said G.E.B.E. CEO Kenrick Chittick.  “This project is good for St. Maarten, good for the environment and good for jobs.” This is just one aspect of G.E.B.E.’s ongoing plans to implement more efficient, cleaner power generation migrating to renewables and cleaner burning natural gas. 

The debris and recyclables were previously stored on four separate job sites, totaling five to six acres.  Now clear, G.E.B.E. is expanding its safety and training program. 

A great example of the teamwork required to tackle a project of this magnitude, is the cooperation and assistance received from Meadowlands Waste Company.    

“It’s great to see how we all got together for a common goal, as exemplified by GEBE donating 55-gallon drums to Meadowlands in order to increase recycling throughout the cities,” Mr. Chittick added. 

Critical assistance came from Mr. Yannick Hodge, G.E.B.E. Power Plant Material Manager, and other essential members of G.E.B.E., such as Mr. Patrick Drijvers, Mr. Romnet Rolando and Mr. Ramiro Hernandez. Throughout the project, they demonstrated a strong comradery and organization as a team.  

“We are looking forward to a long-term relationship with G.E.B.E. and other important institutions on St. Maarten,” said Mr. Cadwell.  “Our company shares Mr. Chittick’s commitment to the local community and to doing business with the greatest honesty and integrity, always putting the needs of St. Maarten’s citizens first.”

About:  Pompano Beach, Florida-based Cadwell, Inc. is a leading recycling distribution company focused on the Caribbean and Central America.  In addition to its robust distribution offerings, Cadwell works closely with governments, utilities and large institutions to reduce landfill waste by cleaning up landfills and implementing and managing recycling programs that benefit the health and wellbeing of local residents and the environment as a whole.  The company is also on a mission to give back to the communities it serves by funding renewable energy conversion projects for schools, churches and orphanages that offer inspiration, hope and a path for meaningful change. 

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EUTEL N.V, Statia Government and the Dutch Ministry of the Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations arrange faster/ cheaper internet

SINT EUSTATIUS (ORANJESTAD) - The Government of St. Eustatius and EUTEL N.V. have managed to conclude an attractive agreement with Saba Statia Cable System B.V. (SSCS B.V.) for internet capacity for the coming five years. SSCS BV is owned by the Ministry of the Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations.

This results in more Internet capacity, at a lower cost. In the coming months direct connections will be established between Statia and Miami, which is a major international Internet node, where Internet capacity is relatively cheaper. Statia will be connected via two routes to Miami so that if one connection is lost, the other route can take over, so-called ‘geographical redundancy’.

Once the direct connections to Miami are established, likely in early 2021, everyone on St. Eustatius will benefit. The financial benefits of this deal will be fully transferred to the customers and businesses of Statia. All consumer packages will receive a reduction of the monthly tariff and all connections will receive considerable higher speeds than currently is the case.

Later this year EUTEL N.V. will publish the new speeds and tariffs of the packages. Also, these higher speeds will make it possible for EUTEL N.V. to provide higher quality television. This price reduction will be additional to the recently announced increase of the monthly subsidy from the Dutch Government of $25 (2020) to $35 (2021) on all Internet connections on Statia.

The Government of St. Eustatius and EUTEL N.V. are pleased with these price reductions and considerably higher internet speeds in order for businesses and government to work more efficiently. Students will be able to learn from home, while general consumers will be able to keep in contact with their friends and family abroad.

State Secretary for the Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations, Raymond Knops is also responsible for Information society & government therefore he is glad with the increase of the possibilities by the agreement. Not only in European Netherlands is he committed to access to digitization but also in the Caribbean Netherlands. Saba has also been invited to take advantage of this offer.

The Government of St. Eustatius and Eutel N.V. reached this agreement with the help of Netherlands Telecom Consulting and Support (NTCS), an independent consulting firm, that supported EUTEL N.V. in elaborating various scenario’s to significantly lower the purchase price and increase the Internet capacity (also called ‘IP transit’). In the aforementioned project parties cooperated with SSCS B.V. This company operates the submarine cable that connects Statia and Saba with other submarine cable systems on the neighboring islands St. Maarten, St. Barts and St. Kitts. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)


SMMC presents Asha Stevens School with token of appreciation

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - SMMC’s Medical Director and Chairman of the Outbreak Management Team (OMT), Dr. Felix Holiday and SMMC’s Surgeon Dr. Luc Mercelina recently presented Mrs. Asha Stevens-Mohabier and staff of the Asha Stevens Hillside Christian School with a token of appreciation for their warm cooperation given during the construction of SMMC’s Auxiliary Care Facility (ACF).

During the previous 2 months, the school allowed SMMC to make use of their isolated gym hall as a storm resilient location in which the Dutch Government’s donated ICU tents could be set up for the administering of COVID care, while the construction of the ACF was ongoing nearby. Dr. Holiday presented the token of appreciation and stated: “SMMC is thankful for your excellent cooperation given while we are navigating the local effects of the COVID-19 pandemic compounded by a very active hurricane season. We think you are a great example of how solid partnerships can bring fruitful results”.

Since early October, SMMC has transferred all its regular COVID care to its ACF and had the gym hall sanitized professionally and brought it back to its original state in order for the Health Inspectorate to conduct an inspection so the facility may be given clearance for regular use again.

The off-premises ACF features sixteen (16) beds of which six (6) are ICU and ten (10) are medium-care. Of the ten (10) medium-care beds, four (4) are in complete isolation and segregation and are intended for suspected COVID patients who are awaiting PCR results. In the event of a surge in COVID related hospitalizations, SMMC has an additional isolation capacity of eleven (11) beds within the hospital.

In the event that a storm or hurricane poses a direct threat to St. Maarten, COVID patients will be transferred to SMMC. Non-COVID patients may be evacuated to an approved, nearby facility or airlifted to a hospital within the Dutch Kingdom, if needed.

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Schools to use Blended Approach of Distance Learning and Class Instruction

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - All schools are expected to begin the delivery of education using a blended approach or to maintain their Distance Learning approach beginning October 19, 2020 as hundreds of Primary and Secondary Examination and Special Education students return to the classroom for in person instruction, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports (MECYS) said in a statement on Sunday evening.

“This begins the phased resumption of in person instruction as the Education Sector works closely with the support of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (VSA) and the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications (TEATT) to bring students back to school in a safe manner .

“Education providers and Examination students of six primary schools and one secondary school return to their campuses today, with additional schools slated to begin during the course of the week, and yet others in a phased manner over the next weeks. In most cases not all Examination Students are returning at once. Rather, schools are using various approaches to ensure Social Distancing protocols are met. In cases where students are not returning to the classroom, schools continue to deliver education via their Online platforms.

“All schools that are resuming operations have developed, submitted and implemented Safety Plans that have been approved by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport. These schools have also undergone and passed facility inspections conducted by the Inspectorates of the Ministry of ECYS and VSA. During the inspections, all schools were required to demonstrate that all required safety and health protocols for educational institutions and the workplace have been implemented.

“As in person instruction resumes, all school boards and the authorities of the Division of Public Education are commended for diligently working to ensure that in person instruction is facilitated in a way that safeguards the health and wellbeing of students and education providers. Gratitude is expressed to school Bus operators who have developed Safety Plans that have been reviewed and approved by the Ministry of TEATT and have successfully passed their inspections. These operators that will be along the island’s roadways once again as per today, picking students up daily as per 6:30 a.m. within the various districts, and collecting students at the end of the school day from their various schools are encouraged to maintain the health protocols and to encourage all passengers to do the same.

“Students returning to in class instruction over the course of the next few weeks are encouraged to practice social distancing, frequently sanitize their hands, wear their masks and follow the new guidelines which are intended to keep them and their loved ones safe. Lastly, as a community we must remember that we are all in this together. We must all continue to practice all health protocols so that together we can continue to reduce the spread of COVID-19 within our community and by extension our schools, so that we can maintain the safest possible environment for our students as they return.

“The Ministry of ECYS would like to remind the general public that all precautionary measures are being taken prior to reopening school campuses, it is of utmost importance that all safety plans and facility inspections are approved. Where these have not yet been concluded, this is expected to be realized over the next few weeks. These precautionary measures are in place in an effort to safeguard the health and safety of students, teachers and staff. As we work together to keep our community safe, we appreciate your understanding and cooperation,” the cabinet of the Ministry MECYS statement concludes.


Healthy lifestyle actively promoted at school

SABA (THE BOTOM) - In an effort to foster a healthy lifestyle amongst the community, in particular the youth, the Public Entity Saba has approved a project created by the Public Health Department in conjunction with Kemaul Lee of Fit with Lee. The project, entitled Healthy Choices, Happy Kids, encourages school children and their parents to partake in various activities that promote healthy eating and physical exercise.

On Saba, childhood obesity is a significant public health concern, with 28 percent of primary school children falling within the overweight or obese category. We know that children who suffer from obesity are more likely to remain obese as an adult and are therefore at greater risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and respiratory problems. This project strives to encourage families to make small lifestyle changes which will benefit their immediate and long-term health.

The project will be piloted with Grade 2 and Grade 3 in Sacred Heart Primary School and activities will also occur in Laura Linzey Day Care. In class movement will be encouraged through exercise breaks, facilitated by teachers, in between lessons and when teachers notice student’s concentration fading. An exercise break will involve 3 to 5 minutes of movements. Classes will be visited weekly by project leaders to discuss nutrition and healthy eating in an interaction and fun manner, including fruit and vegetable tasting and a visit to Saba Reach’s garden.

As research shows that children are five times more likely to stay active if their parents are active this project also seeks to encourage parental involvement. Parents and children will be invited to Saturday morning Fit with Lee sessions to have fun and exercise together. Parents will also be encouraged to attend a Partners in Parenting information evening where they will experience for themselves the classroom activities conducted with their children. Commissioner of Health Care, Social Affairs and Youth Affairs Rolando Wilson said he was particularly content with this project as it will benefit the youngsters. “It is important to invest in the younger generation,” he said.

The programme is due to commence in the middle of October and run for six weeks after which it is hoped to be introduced to other classes. Follow the progress of Healthy Choices, Happy Kids, on the Public Health Department Facebook page. @sabapublichealth 

This initiative is funded through the Prevention Accord which the Public Entity Saba and the Dutch Government signed in 2019.


Exam and Special Education Students return to the Classroom as of Monday

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (MECYS) would hereby like to provide the general public with an update regarding schools’ readiness to resume operations on campus.

Exam and Special Education Students

On October 6th, 2020, the Ministry of ECYS provided advice to all Public, Subsidized and Private Schools regarding the manner in which students should return to school campuses. The letter highlighted the fact that due to the current number of Covid-19 cases in St. Maarten and due to the fact that St. Maarten is still experiencing community transmission, schools are advised to have Exam and Special Education students return as per October 19th, 2020.

School Safety Plans must be in place

All schools are preparing to bring back Exam and Special Education students and the Ministry of ECYS is working to support the process by reviewing the submitted school safety plans as well as conducting the facility inspections.

To date, based on the information received from the Division of Inspection ECYS regarding the schools readiness to receive students on campus some schools are in full compliance with the above-mentioned requirements and thus are ready to receive students on campus as per October 19th 2020. Other schools have minor adjustments to make to complete their readiness.

The Stichting Voortgezet Onderwijs Bovenwindse Eilanden (SVOBE) School Board informed the Ministry of ECYS that its schools are in the process of finalizing its preparations to receive students back on campus, however needed additional time to finalize. The school board indicated that once all preparations are finalized, the intention is to receive students back on school campuses as per October 26th, 2020.

All schools will be informing parents and students regarding the restart date via their various student tracking systems and online platforms during the course of the next few days.

The Ministry of ECYS would like to remind the general public that prior to the reopening of school campuses, it is of utmost importance that all safety plans and facility inspections are approved.

This requirement is in place in an effort to safeguard the health and safety of students, teachers and staff. As we work together to keep our community safe, we appreciate your understanding and cooperation. 


Two stories of Morales featured in BNK Children year book 2020

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - Here it is, published right on time before the start of the yearly children’s book week in Curaçao.

The Biblioteka Nashonal Kòrsou (BNK) recently published this 'Gift book' for the Children Book week 2020. This year around, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the authors will not be visiting the schools during the Children Book week, which will thankfully take place from 26th to the 30th of October. There is a different protocol this year.

Authors were asked to send in a video about their work as a writer, the books that they have published, and to read a paragraph out of their works. During the book week, children will be encouraged by the authors to read more.

The gift book is entitled 'Kòrsou, un pasado riku'/'Curacao een rijk verleden' and is in Papiamentu and Dutch and is illustrated by Ariadne Faries. The english title would be: ‘Curaçao a rich History'. The book is full color, hard covered and has in total 15 stories.

Author Loekie Morales has been granted two stories to be published in this unique edition with several historic events. These stories are written from the perspective of children, participating in these historical events.

Morales stated in a press release ‘I am super happy and grateful that the Biblioteka Nashonal Kòrsou has honored two of my stories to be part of this unique ‘Gift book' for the Children Bookweek 2020.

Definitely my 'Willemstad on Fire' about a revolt in Curaçao and 'The Collapsing of Queen Juliana bridge' are fitting the criteria.

While the books will not be for sale, Morales will encourage the BNK to at least send some copies of this valuable book to the libraries of the other Dutch Caribbean Islands, since they share for a great part the same history.


SZV preparing to open a tender for medical referrals abroad

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Social & Health Insurances SZV is preparing to open a public tender to source regional and international health care institutions that would provide medical care abroad to SZV insured.

Over the years, many more medical specialties have become available locally, however, there is still a significant need for access to medical care abroad. A side-by-side comparison of incoming proposals from the health care institutions will be made. Criteria such as qualifications, costs, patient communication, safety protocols and care procedures will be reviewed and evaluated.  

SZV has identified the urgency to finalize the optimization of the “medical referrals abroad” process. These efforts started several years ago with the introduction of new policies that take better consideration for the logistical challenges, language barriers, patient experience and foremost, the quality of care and local follow-up treatment.  

At present, the global impact of COVID-19, has posed even more restrictions for access to medical institutions abroad. The current impact and mitigation of this for future “crisis” situations, will also be considered in the tender process.  

Grant Thornton has been commissioned to provide support to SZV and applicable stakeholders, for both the optimization of the “medical referrals abroad” process as well as providing oversight over the tender procedure.  


King Willem-Alexander holds conversations about medical care during the COVID-19 Crisis

SINT MAARTEN (HARBOUR VIEW) - His majesty King Willem-Alexander has spoken to personnel of organizations that provide medical care during the corona outbreak in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom, via online video conversations on Wednesday October 14, 2020.

The King spoke to, among others, the chairman of the General practitioner’s association on Aruba (HAVA) about the current situation regarding the corona virus and the way in which family doctors are dealing with the crisis situation.

He also spoke to employees of the hospital, the laboratory services and the Ministry of Public Health, Social Affairs and Labor on Sint Maarten about the consequences of the corona outbreak there and the impact of the crisis on their work. On October 29, the King will hold similar video conversations with the medical sector on Curaçao.

Through telephone and online conversations and, where possible, working visits King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima inform themselves about the consequences of the corona outbreak and convey their support and appreciation for the efforts of so many in combating the pandemic.

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His Majesty King Willem-Alexander


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