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Suspect in baseball bat attack released by of Judge of Instruction

SINT MAARTEN (FORT WILLEM) - The suspect in the Fort Willem baseball attack case was released on Friday, June 18, a day after the attack and his arrest. His release was ordered by the judge of the Court in the First Instance after the suspect confessed and indicated he wants to pay for the damages he caused.

The Police Force Sint Maarten KPSM and the Prosecutor’s Office will continue to investigate this case to ensure the suspect will be held accountable for his actions. (KPSM)

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Alpha Team arrests suspected drug courier

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - The Alpha Team intercepted two kilograms of marijuana at Princess Juliana International Airport on Friday, June 18. One arrest was made in connection with this ongoing investigation, police said on Tuesday in a statement.

A driver for a courier company with initials E.E.D. was arrested for suspected connections with this drug transportation case. He remains in police custody pending further investigation.

The Alpha Team is a joint multidisciplinary team comprising the Police Force Sint Maarten KPSM, Customs, the Immigration Department, Koninklijke Marechaussee KMar and the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard. (KPSM)

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R4CR officially launches Quick Win Round 2. US$564,289 in grants approved for local projects

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Resources For Community Resilience (R4CR) program officially launched “Quick-Win round 2” on June 16 in a virtual signing ceremony with several dignitaries in attendance including the honorable Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs.

The R4CR program includes a grant scheme as funding mechanism for community and social rehabilitation initiatives on Sint Maarten and focuses on improving the capacity of local civil society organizations (CSO’s) in reconstruction and resilience activities post hurricane Irma.

The R4CR program is financed by the Government of the Netherlands via the Sint Maarten Trust Fund which is administered by the World Bank and monitored by the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB).

Project activities by registered CSO’s can cover subject categories such as neighborhood initiatives, sports/recreation, nature/environment, culture, poverty relief, day care centers/after school programs, youth employment, skills development, psycho-social support and gender-based violence.

The “Quick-Win rounds” have been designed for projects that can be completed within six months with a moderate budget. “Quick-Win round 1” started in September 2020. Twelve projects were selected with a total budget of $452,481. Those projects have now been completed and Quick Win round 2 will now commence.

The virtual signing ceremony was hosted by local radio personality and R4CR communications advisor Kevin “Suppa” Petrona who invited the Dutch representative in Philipsburg, Chris Johnson, to kick off the formal part of the ceremony. In his speech Chris Johnson congratulated the twelve grant recipients for their hard work in securing the grant and stated that the job CSO’s do in the community is second to none.

The honorable prime minister commended the role that civil society organizations play in areas where government does not have enough resources to act immediately or effectively “that is really where CSO’s make a large contribution to our society” the prime minister concluded.

Marcel Gumbs spoke on behalf of the Sint Maarten Trust Fund’s steering committee and was impressed by the impact that small scale projects like R4CR has on the local community. Gumbs encouraged other CSO’s to make use of the opportunities that the R4CR program provides.

Michelle Keane, representing the World Bank, congratulated R4CR and the grant recipients with the launch of the Quick-Win round 2. The World Bank executive also underscored the important role CSO’s play in the countries where the Bank is active.

Peter Knip, the Director of VNG International; the implementing entity behind R4CR joined in from the Netherlands and spoke proudly of the role VNG International (the international arm of the association of Dutch municipalities) is playing in this project and also of the importance of nurturing CSO’s to be successful in their projects because of the direct impact they have on local communities.

The final speech was reserved for Rolf Hunink, team leader of the local R4CR office, who gave a short synopsis of the twelve projects in Quick Win round 1 and looked forward to the new projects in Quick Win round 2.

After the official speeches, host “Suppa” and his R4CR side-kick Jose Sommers gave each of the twelve grant recipients exactly one minute to pitch their project to the online public or risk being drowned out by the newly introduced CSO song (“We are one”, written by local Soca artist King Vers) after the one-minute deadline.

The Sint Maarten Yacht Club kicked off the one-minute pitches with their sailing program for a second local primary school in addition to a Swim-to-Sail program where children will learn to swim as a precursor to the sailing program. Next up was Excellence Learning Academy who pitched their project for activities for special-needs-children as well as additional training for the staff.

This was followed by Kidz at Sea Foundation who will use their grant to train local young adults how to dive and map underwater debris left by hurricane Irma in the coastal areas. Beautification of urban areas thru murals is how Be The Change Foundation will use their grant while Freegan Food Foundation plans to set up a social food depot where 50 families living below the poverty line can shop for healthy alternatives.

Stichting Justitiele Instellingen one-minute pitch covered their project to prevent convicts from reoffending, start mediation sessions and train key personnel. The RISC Takers Football club only needed 30 seconds to pitch their projects as it involves buying a bus in a co-financing agreement with the French Football Federation.

With a musical pitch Dow Music Foundation announced plans to teach school kids, prisoners and youngsters in the juvenile detention center how to play steel pan. Tackling adult literacy is the goal of the project pitched by the University of St Martin. This hidden problem will finally get due attention.

The final two pitches were on opposite sides of the age scale; Senior Citizens Recreational Foundation will continue repairs to their building which started in Quick Win Round 1 and Sint Maarten Early Childhood Development Association (SECDA) will also continue their Quick Win round 1 project of supplying food to all daycares on the island.

Technical difficulties prevented Discovery Kidz daycare and afterschool from delivering their one-minute pitch, but the reconstruction project was explained by Jose Sommers of R4CR (who also managed to stay within the one minute allotted).

The launch ended with the symbolic signing of the grant agreements as all twelve CSO’s simultaneously lifted their pen, their grant agreement, signed and showed the signed document.

The signing of the grant agreement and the singing of the CSO song marked the official launch of the R4CR project in which 564,289 thousand US dollars will be invested in the Sint Maarten economy via local CSO’s.

The next step in the grant agreement process is the Pre-Disbursement Training (PDT) which the CSO’s must complete before the funds can be (partially) released to their projects. The PDT is scheduled for Saturday June 26 at the newly renovated Senior Citizen Recreational Foundation building in Hope Estate.

For more information about the R4CR program or a detailed review of all current projects please visit www.r4cr.org or the Facebook page (R4CRSXM).

R4CR signing 2

R4CR signing 3

 

 

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Leniency regulation if overstaying free period ends on first of July

SABA/SINT EUSTATIUS - Due to the travel restrictions that were introduced on the 14th of March 2020 in connection with the COVID-19 crisis, there are people who were, at the time, forced to overstay the free period.

Therefore, earlier the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (KMar), the Immigration and Naturalisation Service Unit CN (IND-CN) and the Public Prosecutions Office BES (OM BES) have jointly applied a leniency regulation for the group of people who, through no fault of their own, overstayed in the Caribbean Netherlands. Now that the travel restrictions have been lifted for quite some time, the leniency scheme will be abolished completely on the 1st of July 2021.

The free period applies to people who are not residents of the Caribbean Netherlands. They can stay in the Caribbean Netherlands for a certain period of time without a residence permit or a declaration of legal status. The length of this period depends on the nationality of the person and the country in which the person lives. If someone overstays the free period, then this person can be fined at the exit check.

Non-residents of the Caribbean Netherlands who, on the 14th of March 2020, were still within their free period of stay in the Caribbean Netherlands, but were unable to leave due to the introduced travel restrictions, were not fined under the leniency regulation upon departure if the free period had been overstayed during the period of the travel restrictions. For, among others, Dutch citizens and citizens of the United States, it has been possible to return to their country of origin for some time now. Now that it is also possible for other nationalities to return, the leniency regulation will be abolished completely.

The abolition of the leniency regulation means for all non-residents that as from the 1st of July 2021 overstaying of non-residents on Bonaire, Saba or St. Eustatius will no longer be condoned. The various services in the immigration chain will then resume operations in accordance with the generally applicable legislation and regulations. The amount of the fine for overstaying the free period increases as the duration of the overstay becomes longer. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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Motorworld Sponsors Six Months of Membership Fees for Members of the Youth Brigade

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - Voice of the Youth St. Maarten (VOTYS) is a non-profitable organization, founded to address the lack of educational and social activities for the youth.

The organization in itself focuses on assisting in the development of young people in the social, economic, cultural, and governmental areas by offering diverse educational programs.

One of such programs is the St. Maarten Youth Brigade, which targets a diverse range of youths from those who are “At Risk” to those who are “Over-Achievers”. The age range for youths that are eligible to join the organization is 12-21 years old. 

The St. Maarten Youth Brigade works together with their partners such as VKS, Police Force, Red Cross, Fire Department, Coast Guard and the Dutch Marines, and in this way, builds the self-confidence and discipline of the youth through physical, mental, as well as cognitive training.

“A child rejected by its community most times will end up in a devastating situation. That often only gets worse as the child grows to become an adult. In order for us to combat that child resorting to destructive behavior, we as members of the community are all responsible for the connection, love and guidance of that child. Not only this individual, but every other child growing up on Sint Maarten,” shares Nelly Blaise, Project Leader, St. Maarten Youth Brigade.

In order to support the SYB Program and allow the VOTYS to continue to positively develop the community of St. Maarten, Motorworld has pledged to sponsor the membership fees of all currently active members for a period of 6 months. This serves to directly relieve the burdens of the members and their parents who are now facing financial difficulties after Hurricane Irma and as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“As a company, it is important to us to give back to the community as much as possible. The SYB positively develops our future workforce and leaders here on the island, so that is definitely an initiative that we are more than happy to be behind and support,” shares Managing Director, Motorworld Group of Companies, Tariq Amjad.

In addition to the sponsorship of the membership fees of the Youth Brigaders, Management and Staff of Motorworld will also be working together with the VOTYS to become incorporated into the Mentorship program where staff can serve to encourage the youth and help to guide them into their respective career paths.  

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Malinda Hassell is Saba’s new Tourism Director

SABA (THE BOTTOM) - The Public Entity recently welcomed its new Director of the Saba Tourist Office Malinda Hassell. Hassell, who is of Saba descent, in August will officially succeed Glenn Holm who will go on pension.

Hassell has an extensive 12+ years background involving the intricacies of destination marketing, tourism board processes, developing distribution strategies, and generating market demand for different destinations. A collective history that has positioned her to become the attributed directive asset she is today.

Hassell brings a wealth of experience, having worked at the Tourism Corporation Bonaire (TCB), the Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association (AHATA) and the Discover Dominica Authority (DDA). At the TCB, she worked as the Marketing Manager, leading the marketing team, enhancing destination marketing strategies, and strengthening dynamic business relationships.

Her next lateral move consisted of becoming AHATAs Communications Manager, an experience that sharpened her marketing communication skills and understanding of a hotel association and private sector partner dynamics.

Hassell was also the Destination Marketing Manager at Dominica’s tourism authority DDA, overseeing aspects of headquarter marketing, and developing marketing campaign activations including a multifaceted global digital awareness campaign. Along with leading several PR firms within various countries, while adapting to post-covid industry recovery challenges.

“It’s an honor to be appointed Director of Tourism for Saba, the island of my roots. With my knowledge and expertise, I look forward to contributing towards the success of Saba’s sustainable tourism development during a post-covid economic and industry recovery, by developing and achieving the goals and future action plans needed in collaboration with the stakeholders, industry partners, and the Saba Government. The friendly community, the unspoiled queen feeling, gastronomy, and nature (above and below water) make Saba a strong and attractive tourism niche product and brand to be repositioned within the trade, consumer, and media platforms,” said Hassell.

The new tourism director speaks four different languages, English, Dutch, Spanish and Papiamento, and holds a degree in Tourism Marketing and Consultancy from the Breda University of Applied Sciences of the Netherlands.

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“Hiking on St. Eustatius” a Tropical Open-Air Museum by Author Marion Schroen

SINT EUSTATIUS (ORANJESTAD) - Sint Eustatius is a Dutch island in the Caribbean. This special municipality has an enormous variation in nature and is worth putting on your bucket list. Marion Schroen has explored the island extensively and shares her passion in the newly published book Hiking on St. Eustatius, English version. June 19, 2021, the book signing took place at the building, formerly known as Mazinga on the Bay, at Oranjebaai on St. Eustatius.

In less than six month the very much wanted translated version in English is a fact. This could not have been possible without the help of all the sponsors on St. Eustatius, private sponsors, and the government.

The book is for anyone who wants to walk or run on this small island and delve into the broader context of this tropical open-air museum, where the past reveals itself with every step.

Whether you are a hiker or an armchair adventurer, a lover of fortresses or nature, come for work or vacation, have an hour or a whole day, are a beginner or advanced; don't pass up the opportunity to experience this impressive beauty and diversity. Marion Schroen is a lover of hiking and running. She knows all the nooks and crannies of the island and makes you a personal participant in the hike-lights of Statia as the island is also called.

The book ‘Hiking on St. Eustatius. A tale of love and friendship’ contains background information about St. Eustatius, describes 22 walks in which the author shares personal stories and gives tips about hiking and trail running in the tropical climate. Free GPS tracks of the routes are also available.

Both the Dutch and English version can be ordered via www.anoda.nl in The Netherlands and via the author. Both versions are also for sale on St. Eustatius at the Museum, the tourist office, the Gem store, the dive shops Scubaqua and Golden Rock Dive Center and of course at Stenapa.

On Sint Maarten both versions will be for sale from the end of June 2021 at the shipwreckshops in the Departure Hall at the airport and in Philipsburg.

On Curaçao the book is for sale at the newspaper Amigoe and at the Bruna bookstore.

From the beginning of next month, the English version also will be available via amazon.com.

Of course, the book is also available via the author (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

SEU NEW BOOK AUTHOR AND NATL PARK REP

Author Marion Schroen and A. Mitchell (R) from the St. Eustatius Natural Parks.

SEU NEW BOOK FRPG

 

 

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Commemeration slavery past and emancipation

SABA/SINT EUSTATIUS - The national commermoration of the Dutch slavery past is a national event that takes place on the 1st of July. On July 1st 1863 the Dutch State started with the phased abolition of slavery in the West-Indian colonies.

In that time there were about 12.000 enslaved persons on the Antillean islands. The abolition of slavery and the emancipation of the former slaves is also of relevance for the history and community of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.

This year the public entity Bonaire is organizing an islandwide commemoration in cooperation with the ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW).

The activities include a historical hike on June 26th with Boi Antoin to landhuis Yato Baco and a film evening with the film Sombra di koló (from film maker Angela Roe) with live music by Grupo Ashé. Access to the activities will be free but due to the limited number of seats it is wise to register early.

The programme for the Public Entity Sint Eustatius includes vafious competitions for students (coloring, poetry and writing essays) and the programme on July 1st includes a ceremonial commemoration and various events, such as “old time lunch”.

For more information

More information about the planned activities can be found on the Facebook page of the Public Entity Bonaire and for St. Eustatius on de Facebook page Government of Sint Eustatius. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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Police makes several arrests for various offenses on June 17

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - A man with initials S.N.P.I. was arrested in the vicinity of Fort Willem around 12:45pm on June 17. It appeared that the suspect had entered his victim's residence and ill-treated the victim with a baseball bat.

During the attack, the victim suffered a fractured arm and several other injuries. The victim was then taken to the hospital where he was treated and send home.

Not long after returning home from St. Maarten Medical Center, the victim was attacked for a second time by the suspect who was still in the area. In the course of this second attack, the suspect also vandalized the windows of the neighbors. The suspect was arrested and is held in the Phillipsburg Police Station pending further investigation.

Police Central Dispatch received a call about 2:40 pm on Thursday afternoon regarding two young men who were in the process of stealing parts from a car parked in Cay Bay.

The patrol officers found the duo busy dismantling a car parked by the roadside. When questioned about what they were doing, the suspects with initials M.J. and M.S. acknowledged that the vehicle did not belong to them.

They were immediately arrested by the patrol. The suspects are held in the Phillipsburg Police Station pending further investigation.

The young man with initial V.A.P. for whom an arrest warrant was issued was arrested a week ago, was apprehended by Police on June 17 around 6:00pm in Union Farm Estate.

It appears that the suspect’s mother had filed a complaint a week earlier against her son after he assaulted her and destroyed several items in the house after an argument.

The suspect is held in the Phillipsburg Police Station pending further investigation. (KPSM)

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Traffic Alert: Disruption in Traffic Flow near Nazareth Road Dutch Quarter on Saturday

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Ministry of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning, and Infrastructure (Ministry of VROMI), announces there will be an interruption with the traffic flow on the A.T. Illidge road in Dutch Quarter in the proximity to Nazareth Road on Saturday, June 19 from 7:00 AM until 12:00 PM.

Motorists are advised to be vigilant and observant of the traffic diversion directional signs.

Motorists coming from French Quarter and Belvedere will use the Bishop Road, Sucker Garden Road and/or Middle Region Road to get to their desired locations.

Motorists coming from Madam Estate to Dutch Quarter will use the Middle Region Road and continue on to their intended venue.

The road closure is in connection with the maintenance of the sewage pump pit.

Ministry VROMI apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause.

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