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P.P.A. attracts full house in first Town Hall meeting

SINT MAARTEN (DUTCH QUARTER) - The People’s Progressive Alliance (P.P.A.) hosted a full house at its first Town Hall meeting at the Dutch Quarter Community Center, which put the issues of the Dutch Quarter Community at the center of the evening’s discussions, the party said in a Sunday evening press statement. The P.P.A intends to host several Town Hall meetings in the various districts. 

Candidates took to the stage to discuss several issues including the deplorable state of the Dutch Quarter Main Road, the maintenance of the Dutch Quarter Community Center and the lack of investment in the beautification of the Dutch Quarter area over the years. The candidates also took the time to raise the issues faced by all communities on the island including high rent prices, lack of homeownership opportunities and a stagnant minimum wage and pension.

Leader Gracita Arrindell thanked the candidates, their supporters, and the Dutch Quarter community for welcoming the P.P.A with open arms. She assures a plan to investigate the Dutch Quarter road/sewage project that has not been mentioned by either our sitting parliamentarians or government ministers to date.  

She said ‘The Dutch Quarter and surrounding areas have been neglected. The choices we are faced with are not an option between political parties but rather a choice of the future of St. Maarten for the next 10 – years. It is time we make sure that everyone pays their fair share into our system, and those most vulnerable in our society are being taken care of. It's time for P.P.A. to return to Parliament and provide much-needed stability. I and the P.P.A. slate has provided St. Maarten with an alternative, with a wealth of experience and diversity. On January 9th, 2019 let's vote the P.P.A., and Gracita Arrindell.’

Candidate #4 Adonis Cyntje, one of the younger candidates, spoke on the daily struggles that he sees within his community. He said, 'while growing up, in the 6th grade was the first time I realized that many children within my community went hungry and I went home and asked my Mom to assist my friend. Nothing has changed and because of this I have chosen to postulate myself'. He spoke on a plan he calls the Bellyful Plan. This plan includes job creation via entrepreneurship in agriculture and education. 

He said ‘Agriculture and Entrepreneurship are the pillars of a sustainable livelihood and any economy. Your support for me is a support for a long-overdue St. Maarten's Market that I call the Belly Full Plan’

Let's deal with poverty through micro-business and small business development.

  1. Small businesses need sustainability, even via shared operating spaces or small business schemes.
    2. The development of a St. Maarten Market as a place where we can sell our locally produced products, our locally grown goods, foods, and more.
  2. By putting more options on our market, we will regulate the prices of goods.

Candidate #2 Lisa Alexander, also known as The Constitution Lady, spoke about a 10-year Budget Plan under Article 100 of our Constitution to ensure Stability by Law.

She said “Lack of Planning, on the part of our sitting Government Ministers and Parliamentarians alike, is the reason why Sint Maarten is in this Economic State of Emergency. Our 10-year Plan is necessary not just for long-term macro-economic planning but also for stability of the financial budgetary system. It must therefore be passed by Parliament into law. This is especially needed right now due to government instability and the economic slump that we are faced with following the impact of Irma. At the heart of the 10-year Plan is a $15-dollar environmental tax to be paid by the 2,000,000 plus tourists visiting Sint Maarten annually. This will be amount to some $30,000,000. The funds will be used as follows:

  1. The first $10,000,000
    1. Infrastructure maintenance and rebuilding of Country Sint Maarten
  2. The second $10,000,000
    1. Establishing of a Disaster Relief Fund and addressing existing Government Budgetary shortfalls
  3. The third $10,000,000
    1. Social Welfare Programs and Beautification

This solution makes sure that visitors contributes their fair share while using our amenities and infrastructure. We will also direct our Government to ensure that the Dutch Quarter Emergency Homes Residents and the Belvedere Duplex Residents are given the option of owing their own home via Lease-Purchase Agreements under the PPA’s Own-Your-Own-Home Programs and that Existing and Startup Businesses benefit from our Tax Relief Incentive Programs.”

In sum, the President of the P.P.A Board, Leandra Cyntje, considered the evening a success. She urges the electorate to support the P.P.A. and allow them to bring families to the forefront of Parliament once again.  

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USP: Unity and Strength is what will move the country forward

SINT MAARTEN (ST. PETERS) - The United St. Maarten Party (US Party) held its second public meeting in St. Peters on Saturday night amongst a strong turnout of supporters. Each candidate (re)-introduced themselves to the people of St. Maarten, why they chose to run in this election, how they will help to move the country forward, and more importantly: why the US Party slate for the 2020 Parliamentary Elections.

All echoed the same tune of being grateful to Party Leader, Member of Parliament Frans G. Richardson, for granting them an opportunity to further serve the country and by extent its people.

MP Richardson reiterated that the party is a balance of experience, dedication, and hard-working people who have pledged to carry out the manifesto in bringing solutions that will benefit all. "Our people must come first, and we can no longer sit by and allow outside interference to dictate how we should run our beloved country," Richardson said. He further asserted: "I believe in giving people an opportunity; but when given opportunity, they must make us proud in their actions and decisions."

We must believe in ourselves and capabilities to be able to govern ourselves effectively. One of the candidates reminded the public that "we are voting for parliamentarians, people that will legislate laws for St. Maarten that will protect our heritage and future". Candidate #14, Mr. Arthur Leo Lambriex continued: "don't let your voice go unheard, we will legislate to benefit you -- not some, but all of you".

Adding to that, candidate #9 embraced the crowd as a re-incarnation of his father, Rupert Maynard, and stressed on the need to bring back pride and dignity to this great nation. "I walk proudly with this [St. Maarten--ed] flag on my back because this is the flag that has had my back, and I will not put it down for nobody!" Mr. Khalil Revan continued saying. He further added: "this is the nation that made many lives better, so why not us...we need to make St. Maarten the shining star of the Caribbean once again."

Paying homage to the area she grew up in, sole lady on the list and Candidate #5 spoke about how St. Peters was the typical village for raising a child. "No child could walk down the road speaking a certain way or dressed a certain way...but nowadays who checks on our children, who checks on our elderly".

This is the reason Mrs. Delphine Agnes Brooks-Mardenborough believes there is a need for more community councils -- to help liaison between government and people in setting the standard. Adding to previous candidates' experience in servitude was Candidate #2, Mr. Claudius A. Buncamper, who proudly boasts of being a "humble servant" with a 'proven track record' through service clubs, civil duties, and genuine love for country. "If you love mankind, you do it all the time, not just during election time," he was quoted as saying.

The leader wrapped up the evening by confirming the reason for not partaking in an alleged debate show that is aired on social media, citing the disrespect that show organizers ensue by degrading our governmental officials when addressing them with expletives. "We will not be associated with comedic banter and it is time to stop accepting this kind of behavior," the MP said.

He further stated, "it's about standing together...unity and strength is what will move the country forward". MP Richardson elucidated the unity already being carried out by the US Party in that the cabinet and staff of the TEATT and VSA ministries are co-shared between the National Alliance (NA). “We are a team player, it’s about all of us fixing this country together – we are often ‘the fixers’ – as there is so much to be done to get St. Maarten back on its feet,” concluded Richardson.

The next public meeting of the US Party is scheduled for this Saturday, 14 December in The Keys, Sucker Garden.

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Marva Sam-Arrindell. Serving others has been her life’s work

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Marva was born in Aruba to a diverse family with roots throughout the Dutch Caribbean including Sint Maarten. At age 7, her family chose to relocate to Sint Maarten, Upper Princess Quarter, and ever since she has made Sint Maarten her home, according to a press release from the Sint Maarten Christian Party (SMCP) on Sunday.

Marva has been an educator for over 36 years and as such has experienced a very broad spectrum of the educational system in Sint Maarten. She started her career in education as a kindergarten teacher and has had the opportunity to continue to develop herself throughout the years; being able to fulfill various functions from teaching children of all ages at the pre-elementary and elementary levels to adults at the university level.

She also provided instructional coaching and mentoring to fellow educators and functioned in various managerial positions such as school principal, coordinator of a college preparatory program at USM and as an administrator at the university level with UVI.

In Marva’s own words: “my journey began with a kindergarten teacher's diploma and has led to a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. This was not just a journey of hard work and dedication; it was also one of passion”. Along the way Marva also learned several valuable lessons; one of which is selflessness.

It was through the dedication of love, time, energy and passion that I discovered and pursued my purpose. A purpose that, on a professional level saw my function as an educator, but on a personal level as a servant.

Marva has also founded two children’s homes, namely Oasis of Love in Sint Maarten and Oasis of Hope in Suriname. In 2002, she joined her husband, Apostle Leyland Sam, in establishing Thy Kingdom Come Ministries International (T K.C.M.I).

In 2006 they also established the Believer’s Connection Convention: a place where believers in Christ could gather and unite so that we can be more effective in benefitting our society in its entirety.

To be able to cater to the social and spiritual needs of the wider community as a whole, Marva and her husband, Apostle Leyland Sam, established the Community Outreach Mentorship and Empowerment Center known as the C.O.M.E. Center.

According to Marva “our goal has always been to provide a community and a sense of belonging for anyone who may need it. Through this extension of the ministry, we were able to erect platforms to serve the community in various capacities such as feeding programs, technical skill programs like sewing, literacy programs aimed to educate functionally illiterate, English and non-English speaking adults, elderly support initiatives and other outreach activities”.

SMCP is definitely proud to present Marva as the #8 Candidate. Her whole life can be characterized as serving the people of Sint Maarten in her various spheres of work, whether it is with children, adolescents or with our senior citizens. “Serving others has been my life’s work so I know that we must serve if we want to change”. SMCP is asking you to give Marva Sam-Arrindell the opportunity to serve her country Sint Maarten.

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Crew member receives fine for undeclared money

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Friday the 06th of December 2019, during a routine check of the motor vessel Sea Hustler from St Kitts in the early morning hours, the border experts of the Customs Department encountered an undeclared amount of money totaling EC 21,255 and USD 10,838, the law enforcement body reported on Friday in a statement.

The money was found in several envelopes in the possession of a crewmember of the aforementioned vessel.

The money was initially confiscated, and the crewmember was interrogated. After the Customs officers determined that there was no ground to suspect the crewmember of money laundering, they contacted the Public Prosecutor.

The Public Prosecutor gave the crewmember a fine for not declaring the money to Customs upon his entry to Sint Maarten, the crewmember opted to pay the fine on the spot. The remainder of the money was returned to the crewmember after which he was allowed to go free.

The Customs department wishes to alert the public that any monetary instrument, jewelry and valuables with a value equivalent to or exceeding US$14,000 either entering or leaving Dutch Sint Maarten should be declared to Customs. Failure to do so may result in a monetary fine, confiscation of funds or prosecution. ​

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Prime Minister Jacobs visits Emergency Services Staff to Allay Relocating Concerns

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) – Hon. Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs momentarily diverted from delivering the keynote address at the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) conference on Friday morning in order to relieve the concerns of the fire and ambulance departments regarding the planned move from their building.

Prime Minister Jacobs met the workers and union representative Mr. Arrindell and led them into the building to further update them on the resolutions.

The union and its representatives had initiated this action as a result of not receiving written correspondence to confirm the Prime Minister's statements on this topic made during Wednesday’s press briefing.

While the Prime Minister awaits the documentation necessary to prompt the payments needed at the alternate location, all is being done to facilitate this move.

Prime Minister Jacobs was taken aback that this information had not been relayed by the Fire Chief as he was a key actor in cementing the agreed upon solution.

Jacobs expects to have the advice on her desk by mid-morning in order to finalize the financial commitment needed by government later today.

Prime Minister Jacobs stated, “Communication is essential to avoid further misunderstandings.” She further reiterated her commitment to do all that is possible to facilitate the promotion of health, safety and wellness of the emergency staff on St. Maarten.

PM at Fire Station

Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs (1st right) having a discussion with Fire Chief Clive Richardson (1st left) and other fire officials.

 

 

 

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St. Dominic High School Celebrates 25th Anniversary with Cocktail Soirée

SINT MAARTEN (SOUTH REWARD) - Throughout the 2019-2020 school year, St. Dominic High School is celebrating its twenty-fifth year of offering Catholic education on St. Maarten. On Saturday, December 14, 7:00 pm-12:00 am, to kick off the celebrations, St. Dominic High School presents its fundraising cocktail soirée at Emilio’s. Tickets are offered at $55 per person which includes a welcome drink, menu of lite fare and champagne toast.

The proceeds from this event will be applied towards creating a school improvement fund for the following innovations:

  • a daylight projector, microphones and surround sound system for the school auditorium which will be used for weekly assemblies, student performances, parent and community meetings
  • acquisition of 50 computers for the library and computer lab
  • an internationalization project for students and teachers which permits them to participate in exchange programs with other schools from the European Union

The school was a vision of the Foundation for Catholic Education and St. Dominic Primary School parents, to provide faith-based secondary education where the language of instruction was English. Under the name St. Dominic Secondary School, the first classes 7A and 7B began in August of 1994 with 32 students sharing space with the St. Dominic Primary School.

Eventually, with the dynamic efforts of parents and students and the “Buy a Block” campaign to assist in the construction of a separate building, four classrooms were built. The school’s first principal was Mrs. Judith Halley who was also the principal of the St. Dominic Primary School.

In 1996, the school transitioned to the CXC-CSEC curriculum under the guidance of Mrs. Jacintha “Jane” Buncamper who became the second principal. At this time, the school’s name became what it is recognized as today - St. Dominic High School.

Over the past 25 years the school has educated 1592 students and St Dominic High is also embarking on featuring profiles of past students and alumni to display in the classrooms. The aim is to share with our current and future student population the varied paths that past students have taken. The school is asking all past students to send a photo and a biography that highlights their field of study, profession any notable achievements or milestones. This can be sent to the following email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

St. Dominic High School has made considerable contributions to the community as well as innovations in the field of education and is committed to creating more opportunities for its students. According to the School Manager Mrs. Gianne Wilson-DeWeever, “This is a time to honor the groundbreaking efforts of the past and present stakeholders of St. Dominic High; without them we would not have arrived to this point. Imagine instituting the community-based service learning programme as a requirement for graduation, including music, drama and dance in the curriculum, being the first government subsidized IB Diploma Programme school in the Caribbean, creating the Emilio Wilson Teens group who cleaned and cultivated an area of the park, starting the Grow It, to Give It school farm in order to donate the sweet potatoes harvested to the White and Yellow Cross, implementing the Form 4 Annual Senior Citizen Christmas Lunch, having a 24-hour Lesson-thon, launching of the Student Government Organization.

We are called to be grateful that all of these programs and more have become the reality that makes St. Dominic High what it is today. I would also like to acknowledge the talents of Form 1 student Adio Williams who had the winning design for our twenty-fifth anniversary logo and one of our alumni, Kevin “Suppa” Kid with the assistance of Cardo Great Music Films who completed the concept. We proudly look forward to creating the next 25 years with our current and future partners in education.”

Tickets for the fundraising cocktail soirée are available at St Dominic High School and Lazy Lizard Restaurant on the Philipsburg Boardwalk. If needed, we can deliver too. For more information call +1 721-548-4277.

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Police embarks on Year-end Safety Traffic Controls. 107 vehicles controlled

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - In carrying out the end of the year safety plan, the police of Sint Maarten have started with traffic controls in connection with its end of the year activities, the police announced on Thursday.

The first of these controls was held on Wednesday December 4th, 2019. A combine control was done together with the personnel of the customs department at different locations.

The controls were based technical requirements for vehicles making use of the public road. Specific attention was given to drivers with tinted windows, for not having their road tax paid or number plates attached to their cars. The teams also checked for drugs and firearms.

A total of 107 vehicles was controlled, 40 drivers were requested to remove their tint, three fines were given, and one car was towed away. A small number of narcotics was confiscated by the control team.

These types of controls will be held more frequently in this period. The police force is asking the drivers to have all their documents for their vehicle with them when driving on the public roads and remember to adhere to the traffic rules. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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Parliament Goes Green with Christmas decorations

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - This holiday season the Parliament of Sint Maarten incorporated its recycling theme “Go Green” that was officially introduced at the House of Parliament on the occasion of the Opening of Parliamentary Year 2019-2020 back in September, to its Christmas decoration in order to spread the Christmas cheer.

Plastic bottles accumulated from Parliament’s recycling bins were used in some form to craft beautiful ornaments which were used to decorate the Parliament Christmas trees and lobby area.

There are tons of items around the home that can be recycled or reused this Christmas season to create ornaments, from bottles, plastic bottles, bottle caps, toilet roll tubes, and much more.  

Parliament is encouraging the community of Sint Maarten to consider the environment this Christmas by recycling and reusing to create festive items.

It is a great time to get the family involved and create a habit of recycling, or even make it your New Year’s resolution to recycle as much as you can.

Parliament urges the general public to help in protecting the environment this holiday season and wishes you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous 2020. 

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Firemen to Be Relocated Allowing Repairs of Fire station

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - Post Hurricanes Irma and Maria, one of the challenges faced at the Fire and Ambulance building is mold in their air-conditioning system, according to a press release from the Cabinet of the Minister of General Affairs.

“After having some delays with insurance payouts settled, Stichting Overheidsgebouwen SOG, the present owner of the building, is now ready to begin with repairs to the building.

“These repairs will require the temporarily relocation of the occupants. The planning was to start at the beginning of January 2020, but after meeting with the unions and visiting the building of the Fire Department, Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs requested that the works to start as soon as possible. The repairs are to be finalised by the ending of February 2020.

“I am happy to see developments as my concern is for the health and safety of our emergency services who are sworn to protect and save us in times of disaster,” stated Prime Minister Jacobs.

She reassured that government is doing everything in its power to finalize the related logistics and agreements during the course of this period.

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