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Prime Minister Jacobs meets with CCSU Membership. Discusses Austerity Measures

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Prime Minister and Minister of General Affairs Silveria Jacobs held a fruitful meeting together with the Committee of Civil Servants Union (CCSU) on Thursday, February 11, 2021. The membership included representatives of the Windward Island Civil Servants Union (WICSU/PSU), Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU), and Algemene Bond van Overheid en Overige Personeel (ABVO) union, and was chaired by CCSU Chair Mr. Rafael Boasman assisted by Secretary General of the CCSU Suenah Martis-Laville.

During the meeting, the COVID-19 Temporary National Ordinance regulating the austerity measures related to civil servants passed in Parliament on Wednesday, February 3, 2021, was discussed. A copy of the law was also sent to the CCSU. After Minister Jacobs presented the effects of the law on civil servants, the members were given the floor to state their concerns, ask questions and receive clarity on the way forward.

Moving forward, it was established that the CCSU membership will meet with Prime Minister Jacobs on a quarterly basis to discuss relevant topics. It was also established that more information was needed on topics such as the country package among other concerns of the unions that will affect civil servants and by extension the CCSU membership. As such, smaller information sessions will be held within work groups on a technical level, which would lead to decision making meetings (quarterly, unless otherwise requested) on the CCSU platform.  

All parties agreed that communication will continue via the CCSU platform and as such both government and the unions are happy to have reached this stage whereby dialogue has reopened, and the communication pathways are clear for future negotiations and collaborations in the interest of the civil servants. Both entities reiterated their goals of effective representation, good working relations, and service to the general public as well as the preservation of the rights of the workers.  

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Motorworld Supports St. Maarten Vocational Training School’s Automotive Program with Equipment & Student Internships

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - Students at the St. Maarten Vocational Training School are trained in various practical areas to ensure that they develop the necessary skills that will enable them to enter directly into the world of work after graduating. When it comes to furthering the professional careers of students, vocational education and training offer many benefits, as students acquire valuable, hands-on learning experiences. Hence, the school’s motto “the world of education meets the world of work.”

The Automotive Program at the St. Maarten Vocational Training School (SMVTS) is a vital initiative that caters to approximately 50 students. Motorworld Group of Companies has been a long-standing partner with the SMVTS Automotive Program through providing ongoing student internships and trainings for over 10 years, which involves actively taking on interns and trainee students throughout the years to provide real life educational experiences and trainings at the auto dealership.

This partnership has been further strengthened by the recent donation of various motor parts, comprised of complete engines, transmissions, short blocks, tools and miscellaneous equipment valued at approximately USD $5,000.

“We want to have these young men graduating and working within their chosen field, which is essential. Our students are hands-on and that’s the way they learn. In the Automotive Program students also work on real cars that drive in and go back on the road. I am very thankful for Motorworld’s donation which provides essential equipment needed to help build their education, experience and skills,” shares Rita Gumbs, Director, SMVTS  

Ms. Gumbs also commended Yanza Belle, SMVTS’ Automotive Teacher, for his efforts thus far to revamp and improve the Automotive Program and also, for going the extra mile to request Motorworld’s support to upgrade the necessary tools and equipment.

Mr. Ivamaral Carrilho, Motorworld’s Workshop Manager, encouraged students to focus on their passion and love for mechanical engineering in order to succeed in the automotive field. He further elaborated on the need for students to study continuously in order to remain abreast of advancements in the automotive field, particularly as it pertains to the development of more electrical auto components, as that will be the future of automotive mechanics. “You have to study hard and continue to keep up with the technology that keeps on changing,” shared Carrilho. “Do the best you can, and also, practice detailed review. Always double-check your work to ensure utmost safety and to avoid any unforeseen accidents.”

As a vested community partner, corporate responsibility and philanthropy remain at the heart of Motorworld Group of Companies’ operations.

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PJL ‘Power of Knowledge Series’ With its theme: “Passing on our legacy”

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Philipsburg Jubilee Library (PJL) commemorates Black History Observance by its ‘Power of Knowledge Series’. On February 17, 2021, from 7 pm - 8 pm, it will be presented for the first time as a virtual forum titled 'Passing On Our Legacy’. The purpose of the event is to highlight St. Maarten's cultural history and its local contributors across generations. The Jubilee Library hopes to inform and inspire the public with its content.

This year it will be about oral history and testimony, featuring: Mr. Elton Jones, moderator and host, Mr. Leonidas (Leo) Friday, Mr. Jonathan van Arneman, and Mr. Joseph (Jose) Lake Jr. It will be an interesting discussion between different generations. The event is scheduled for one hour on February 17, 2021, from 7 pm - 8 pm. This PJL’s first virtual panel discussion will be led by the moderator , Mr. Elton Jones, whose introduction words will set the stage for the guest speakers to share theme-related content and information op their current and past contribution to ourisland St.Maarten.

Some of the topics that will be discussed are What is St. Maarten's cultural heritage? What role do you see technology playing as it relates to: marketing our culture, safeguarding and/ or adding to our culture, and passing on our cultural legacy. The aforementioned are the main topics that will be discussed during the virtual forum. The guests are free to share any stories, historical accounts, and more to help showcase St. Maarten's culture. Please follow us on live stream Facebook: stmaarten.Pjlibrary.

It is the Board and management of PJL’s hope that this forum will be an enlightening experience and that the information shared with these men of our island wil inspire young men, young women and the elderly to never doubt that their contribution is not valuable to the development of this small island nation.

This Interactive panel discussion in which only men are the speakers it is hoped that our young men in particular will cherish these positive developmental experiences shared by our local entrepreneurs and use them at a platform to keep on persevering to become the best you can be.

As PJL’s Black History Month Activities continuous we encourage everyone to participate in the Trivia Quiz, which are posted on on Facebook on the following Fridays, February 12, 19, and 26, 2021, at 11 am sharp, It’s a trivia quiz with five questions about Black History Observance and the highlieght is that 3 of the participants who anwers all five questions correctly will win a prize.

Our contact information: Phone: + 1 721 542 2970, Web-site: stmaartenlibrary.org, Facebook: stmaarten.Pjlibrary, and Twitter: twitter@sxmlibrary.

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WB stresses Project Agreement key to the successful completion of multi-million-dollar Airport Project

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) – The World Bank (WB) issued a statement with respect to developments related to the Princess Juliana International Airport. The press release reads as follows: “As a global development institution, the World Bank works in partnership and through dialogue with all countries receiving financing under its administration. The Bank has a responsibility to provide recipients of such financing with information about any issue that may impact successful project implementation.

“In this context, the World Bank recently communicated with the Government of Sint Maarten concerning the Airport Terminal Reconstruction Project.  The Bank emphasized the requirement of adequate technical and managerial staffing and capacity at the Princess Juliana International Airport Operating Company (PJIAE), particularly as major activities are being launched under the project.

“In line with the Project Agreement, the Government is responsible to ensure the presence of needed capacity at PJIAE throughout the period of project implementation.

“The Bank respects that the governance and management of the airport are under the Government’s purview and welcomes the Government’s continued commitment to the successful implementation of the Airport Terminal Reconstruction Project in accordance with the Project Agreement with the World Bank.

“The Airport Terminal Reconstruction Project (US$72 million) is co-financed by the EIB (US$50 million) and implemented by the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB) and by PJIAE.  It aims to restore the capacity of Princess Juliana International Airport and to increase its resilience to natural disasters. The airport is a critical gateway for Sint Maarten’s economy and a vital connectivity hub for the region.” 

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Former PM Marcel Gumbs Questions Whether Netherlands Antilles Were Ever Decolonized

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Rutte in September of 2015, former Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs, along with former Prime Ministers Eman of Aruba and Whiteman of Curacao questioned whether the Netherlands Antilles were ever decolonized, the Pro Soualiga Foundation said in a press statement.

“In the letter, all three Prime Ministers reminded Mr. Rutte that the United Nations had serious doubts about the sincerity of the Dutch State to decolonize these islands and questioned whether the Kingdom Charter had decolonized the islands.

“The honorable Prime Ministers pointed out that the UN General Assembly had warned of the danger of abusing the position of governor to violate the autonomy of the islands. Additionally, the former Prime Ministers pointed out that the Antillian Prime Minister Jonkheer (circa 1955) managed to persuade a skeptical UN General Assembly that the Netherlands Antilles would not hesitate to call on the international community should their rights be violated.

“The UN General Assembly suspicion of the Dutch intentions (at the time The Netherlands had a bad reputation because of its conduct during the war in Indonesia) was reflected in the vote on Resolution 945X of December 15, 1955.

“The General Assembly adopted two amendments which their sponsors (India and Uruguay) stated were intended to declare that the Netherlands Antilles were not fully self-governing, as well as, restricting itself to only Article 73e of the UN Charter while allowing the rest of Article 73 to remain in force.

“Resolution 945X was adopted with a 28% vote of approval while 43% of the members abstained. It is the lowest score achieved by any nation during the decolonization process. Inge Klinkers, who wrote "De Weg Naar Het Statuut", states that the UN vote was "a bitter pill" for the Netherlands,” the Pro Soualiga Foundation statement concludes.

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Motorworld Supports St. Maarten National Heritage Foundation & Museum with Charitable Contribution

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - The St. Maarten National Heritage Foundation and Museum aims to promote, protect, and study every aspect of the history, culture and natural environment of the island of St. Maarten and its surroundings, Motorworld said in a press statement on Thursday.

“In pursuit of this daunting undertaking, the St. Maarten National Heritage Foundation & Museum is currently working on revamping their services and re-engaging the community through their various outreach efforts.

“In order to achieve these objectives, the St. Maarten National Heritage Foundation & Museum found themselves in need of assistance from local organizations and vendors. When approached with the initiative, Motorworld Group of Companies was inclined to contribute to this great cause,” the statement continues.

“Motorworld Group of Companies takes pride in supporting a viable organization such as the St. Maarten National Heritage Foundation and its vast range of community programs that further our long-term commitment to the preservation of the local culture and heritage of St. Maarten,” shares Tariq Amjad, Managing Director, Motorworld Group of Companies.  

The St. Maarten National Heritage Foundation & Museum would like to express appreciation to Motorworld for receipt of its recent donation:

“The charitable donation from Motorworld will allow the Museum to purchase office and printing supplies to achieve its operational goals. The Museum’s distinct initiatives require a dedicated team effort and we hope that more organizations will follow suit. The Board of the St. Maarten National Heritage Foundation would like to thank Board Member, Ms. Ketty Leblanc who spearheaded this initiative and the management of Motorworld Group of Companies and other sponsors, who graciously assisted in this effort,” shares the Foundation’s Treasurer, David Richardson.

The Board would like to encourage everyone to continue to support and safeguard your community and your culture.  For further information on the St. Maarten National Heritage Foundation and Museum’s programs, as well as, additional sponsorship and donation opportunities, please contact: (721) 542-4917.

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Teacher training in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom to be Strengthened

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - On February 8 and 9 2020, a delegation consisting of representatives from the Teachers Training Institute in Aruba IPA and OCW on Bonaire had meetings with the various stakeholders in Education on St. Maarten.

This visit was to appraise the Educational stakeholders on St. Maarten of the existence and the developments of Kibrahacha as well as to establish if there are any needs concerning teacher training and or further team development. It was also to indicate if there are any specific needs for St Maarten to be part of this partnership.

Kibrahacha, which was established out of a partnership protocol, signed in February 2019 by the Ministers of Curacao, Aruba and Sint Maarten and the Dutch Ministry of Education Culture and Science (OCW) to strengthen the teacher training in the Caribbean part of the kingdom. Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) started a first exploration on the ABC-islands: meetings with training institutions and school boards to discuss the possibilities and a Steering committee on ministerial level was formed. The Steering committee consist of representatives of these Islands and the Netherlands. Mr. Nolly Oleana, Mrs. Yvette Halley, Mr. Wladimir Kleinmoedig - Mrs. Anne Marie Proveyer.

In December 2019, a Central committee was formed and the Kibrahacha was established, a chief coordinator was appointed and coordinator duos per island was appointed. In January 2021, 9 Professional Development Schools on Curacao Aruba and Bonaire became part of the Kibrahacha Partnership in Training Together.

This delegation consisting of two Central Committee members travelled to Sint Maarten namely, Mrs. Marilyn Richardson ( Instituto Pedogagoco Arubano), Miss Marisol Croes , Chief Coordinator and Julsika van Russum .

This Delegation met with the Minister of ECYS Drs. Rodolphe Samuel, his cabinet, the Secretary General and the members of the management team. Additional meetings was convened with Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports drs Rodolphe Samuel, representatives of the schoolboard members for primary, secondary education and USM.

In the Meeting with representatives of the University of St. Martin (USM). In attendance was the President of USM, Dr Antonio Carmona-Baez, who is also the representative of St. Maarten in the Central Committee. Also in attendance was the Division Head of the General Arts and Education, Mrs. Juliana Hodge- Shipley, the UVI at USM Administrator, Mrs. Marva Sam- Arrindell, and the Dean of Academics, Dr. Rolinda Carter.

All stakeholders received detailed information on the Vision of the Partnership regarding Training Together and Caribbean Teacher. In addition, the different roles and responsibilities within Kibrahacha now and in the future were provided. The Workplace Learning was also addressed during the presentation.

Kibrahacha has several goals in relation to its Workplace curriculum and these are outlined as such: Over the next 4 years, Kibrahacha will develop the workplace curriculum, and connect it to critical professional situations. 50% learning in practice (at the workplace / Professional Development School); 50% learning at the institution.

Professional guidance at the workplace: every Professional Development School has a qualified and trained school trainer. To our own competence profile: the Caribbean teacher of the 21st century. Having external assessments at the end of the training.

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Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs responds concerning leaked letter from World Bank

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - In response to the article published in The Daily Herald on February 9th, regarding a leaked letter from the World Bank Country Director for St. Maarten Tahseen Sayed concerning the state of affairs of the SXM Airport, Prime Minister Jacobs expressed disappointment in the lack of integrity of those who chose to leak an internal document.

Prime Minister Jacobs further expressed that government, as the sole shareholder of the Princess Juliana International Airport Holding Company (PJIAH), which holds corporate governance in the highest regard, will ensure this matter is addressed in the Extra ordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers prior to sending a response to the author of the letter which was leaked to the press regarding their concerns.

From the onset, the government has pledged and has been committed to executing all the Trust Fund projects that are already under implementation, of which the reconstruction of the SXM Airport is one of government’s top priorities.

As such, government will continue to ensure good corporate governance practices and policies are followed and executed at not only the SXM Airport but also at all government owned companies. This includes the continuous presence of adequate and qualified management and staff at PJIAE, to enable the company to undertake all its assigned responsibilities as the Project Implementing Entity.

“The government of St. Maarten will continue to do all in its power to ensure that the World Bank and all third parties are aware of government’s intention to ensure that the Grant Agreements and the Project Agreement signed with the World Bank are upheld. However, if the intention is that there is limited political interference locally, all third parties must consequently ensure that political interference from governments and entities outside St. Maarten is also limited!” concluded Prime Minister Jacobs.

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NV GEBE Customer Care responds to Public Concerns about Interruption in Water Supply

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Management of NV GEBE has taken note of the feedback received regarding its notice to temporarily interrupt the water supply to the Soualiga Drive in Philipsburg on Thursday, February 11, 2021, and thanks the general public for its input.

Interim Manager, Dr. Sharine Daniel stated that the Customer Care of NV GEBE is far reaching and aims at all times to ensure that clients and the community at large are duly informed when the services of electricity or water are required to be interrupted for maintenance work. This is to always ensure the least bit of inconvenience to persons within the applicable areas.

Furthermore, Dr. Daniel, remains cognizant of the fact that the availability of water is of great necessity in warding off the COVID 19 disease causing virus and has therefore discussed the postponement of the maintenance work with her Distribution Manager, Mr. Patrick Drijvers.

Dr. Daniel explained that to remain abreast with the maintenance schedules of the electricity and water network, there will be times when interruptions cannot be avoided and that Thursday’s interruption is one such case. To lighten the affects this will have on the related areas, NV GEBE will now readjust its maintenance schedule to permit the work to be carried out during the hours of three and six instead of the morning hours.

Dr. Daniel will further like to inform all customers and the public that the electricity and water network of NV GEBE, although intricate, is designed to shut off small or large areas and to include or exclude others, despite their nearest vicinity, and that this is always taken into consideration prior to any execution of maintenance.

Interim Manager, Dr. Daniel informs that in her four months of managing the utility company, she has instituted an “open door policy” and urges the community to make use of her way of work. She asks all persons who require information, wish to provide ideas, or discuss or report company related matters to send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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First group of students will sit the CSEC Electrical and Electronic Technology exams

SINT MAARTEN (SOUTH REWARD) - When the SVOBE organization decided in 2016 to add an English educational program to its comprehensive school package, the well-known CXC programs were a logical choice, Saskia Kliphuis, Innovation Coordinator SVOBE Schools said in a media statement on Wednesday.

“Furthermore, there was no school on St. Maarten that offered Technical CXC, whereas MPC was well-equipped with the necessary materials, tools and classrooms to be able to do so.

“The first group of students that started in the CXC stream in 2016-2017 is now in their final exam year. Nine of them opted for the Technical Studies package, which –next to general subjects- consists of Physics and the electives IT, Technical Drawing and Industrial Technology/Electrical and Electronic Technology.

“While working on their school-based assessments on voltage students Dashaun, Nankumar and Joan explain that their technical stream prepares them well for their aspirations after high school: namely of becoming an architect, electrical engineer or an IT engineer.

“They like the fact that their education is not only theory-oriented, but that it is also very much hands-on. Teacher Malcolm James agrees with them: the students have to create a business plan, draw a house plan with circuits, do the actual wiring and build a cellphone charger.

“Technical colleges require completion of either Physics or Electrical and Electronic Technology and the MPC students do both subjects. In May/June the three students can show if their technical knowledge meets the required standards when they sit their final Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examinations. Despite the obvious Covid challenges, the three male students are optimistic and full of hope.”

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