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Soualiga News II (4960)

Fujin Crushes Inaugural Dash Around Saba; Rally Sets Sail for Anse Marcel in Sensational Start to Caribbean Multihull Challenge V.

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - On a classic St. Maarten day under crystal-clear skies and with pumping easterly tradewinds, the Caribbean Multihull Challenge V Race and Rally began today in classic, memorable fashion. For the first time ever, the CMC was a two-part affair, with a dedicated fleet of racing catamarans and trimarans competing in a series of competitive contests while a separate rally of cruising multihulls set sail to Anse Marcel, on the island’s French side, on the first of three legs of a mellow cruise in company. The one common denominator? Everyone enjoyed a perfect day of champagne Caribbean sailing conditions.

One boat, however, rose above the rest. In the inaugural running of the Around Saba Dash, a 52-mile power reach from Simpson Bay, around the nearby Dutch island of Saba and back, Greg Slyngstad’s 53-foot Fujin pulled a serious horizon job on the CSA 1 fleet, besting the half-dozen rivals in its class in merciless fashion with a time of 3h, 21m, 35s. Fujin’s closest competitor, the Gunboat 60 Cui Bono, was almost an hour in arrears on elapsed time. And Fujin also was CSA 1 overall winner on corrected time, with Anthony McVeigh’s well-sailed 53-foot 2 2 Tango placing second by a mere minute and Aussie Guy Chester’s Crowther-designed trimaran Oceans Tribute rounding out the podium with a third.


On the eve of the Around Saba Dash, Fujin crewman Jonathan McKee said, “There’s going to be a course record to Saba because nobody has ever done it before. And we intend to set it!” After the race, when informed his boat had established a time and mark that may be difficult to beat, Fujin’s owner Greg Slyngstad laughed. “Well, maybe until a Mod 70 sails it,” he said, referring to the 70-foot one-design trimarans considered to be ocean thoroughbreds. It speaks to Fujin’s power and performance, as also demonstrated in previous CMC’s, that a Mod 70 would be mentioned in the same breath.


There was initial confusion on the starting line, when both Fujin and Cui Bono mistakenly believed the 10-minute starting sequence was 5 minutes, and both took off before realizing their error and returning late for the actual start. (Cui Bono later lodged a protest that was dismissed.) Principal race officer Rein Korteknie also gave competitors the option to round Saba from either direction. “We went downwind, and left the island to starboard, with a couple of other boats,” said Slyngstad, who also said the top wind speed his crew experienced was about 22 knots, and Fujin’s boat speed topped off at around 25 knots.

Meanwhile, Korteknie sent the five boats that constituted the CSA 2 and CSA 3 classes on a 29-mile course upwind along the south shore of the island, then up St. Maarten’s eastern flank and around the island of Tintamarre before returning to the finish line in Simpson Bay. The winners of the respective divisions were another pair of veteran competitors, Arthur Banting in the Newick tri Tryst in CSA 2 and George Coutu’s Leopard 50, La Novia, in CSA 3.


In the Diam 24 class of one-design trimarans, the first of two races was abandoned under CMC rules when one of the competitors capsized early in the contest, and the boats then sailed the identical course as the CSA 2 and CSA 3 boats. In the staunch trades, the sailing and boat-handling of the trimarans, with their 3-person crews, was nothing less than spectacular. When the spray had settled, Pierre Altier’s Cry Baby was the clear winner.

Soon after the racing fleets were underway, the dozen cruising cats in the rally group, led by a contingent of a half-dozen of the slick Balance Catamarans built in South Africa, also gathered in Simpson Bay and set sail west towards Anse Marcel in stately company, with each boat crossing a makeshift departure line a minute apart. It was nothing less than a beautiful parade of sail which will take the participants to three separate destinations, with an overnight anchorage off the island of Anguilla on Saturday.

All in all, what was no less than a St. Maarten “Festival of Sail” enjoyed competition and camaraderie across the board, and CMC V, nicknamed “Five Years of Flight!” for this fifth anniversary edition, had spread its wings and taken off.


About the Caribbean Multihull Challenge:

The St Maarten Yacht Club will host the fifth annual Caribbean Multihull Challenge from February 3-5, 2023. The event is open to all multihull sailors on racing catamarans and trimarans as well as chartered cats and cruising multis.


Front & Back Street to be Closed to Vehicles on Monday afternoon for Royal Family Visit

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - In the coming days, Police will implement an overall plan regarding public order, general security and traffic, before, during and after the royal family visit.

In terms of traffic, there will be minimal road closures, with the exception of Front Street and Back street on Monday, February 6, between 3:00pm and 5:00pm. During the noted period, no vehicles will be allowed on those streets.      

Regarding public order, police and partners will take measures to ensure the overall safety of the delegation and the public.

As far as general safety is concerned, police have additional patrols in the streets of the different neighborhoods during the coming period and will handle the normal assistance and accidents.  

The public is asked to be patient in relation to traffic in the coming days in light of the multiple locations the royal family will be visiting.


WIB Staff and clients organized food drive

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Windward Islands Bank (WIB) staff and clients collectively contributed canned goods and non-perishable food items in support of the efforts of Nanny Nurssy Foundation.

During the Christmas Holidays, three boxes marked “Food Drive – Helping families” were placed at all three WIB branches (Simpson Bay, Bush road, and Philipsburg) for staff and clients to drop-off items.

Over 15 bags were filled with goods from items contributed to help less fortunate persons in our community. The WIB team also assisted Nanny Nurssy Foundation with the delivery of items as well.

Nanny Nurssy Foundation is no stranger to the community with her care for the homeless, less fortunate, seniors and young mothers.   WIB thanks those that contributed and the Nanny Nurssy team for partnering with WIB to help the needy in our community.                                                      

Your Partner in Progress.


Health Talk on the Rock, a new community outreach initiative

SABA (THE BOTTOM) - Health Talk on the Rock is the name of a new, unique health project by Community Development and Public Health Department Saba, combining health promotion and community outreach.

Community Outreach Coordinator Kemaul Lee and Public Heath Promoter Allan Carolina connect with members of the community once a month to talk about health, about how they feel and to hear their perspective on health-related topics.

“We will go where the people are: on the street, in their workplace, where they hang out. Have an open, spontaneous, unscripted and real interaction with people, wherever they are,” said Carolina. It can be in a formal or informal setting. For example, a street interview, an interview while having lunch at one of the local restaurants or interviews with health professionals.

The idea of Health Talk on the Rock is to bring the perspective of the community and healthcare professionals together towards one common goal: a healthier lifestyle. “We want to do this by creating a platform for real and authentic conversation where the voice of the community can be heard,” said Lee.

Lee and Carolina will, on a monthly basis, release video interviews covering different health topics relating to physical, mental and social wellbeing. The promotional video for Health Talk on the Rock has been launched on the Facebook page of the Public Health Department.


Daycare movement program restarted

SABA (THE BOTTOM) - With the restart of the daycare movement program, toddlers and preschoolers are getting more exercise and more developed motor skills. This will help them in their transition into the primary and secondary school later on.

Sports Coordinator Joelyn Robinson and Health Promoter Allan Carolina of the Public Health and Sport Department have been going to the Laura Linzey Daycare Center once a week since mid-January to do fun exercises with the children. “The children enjoy the exercises. It is a lot of fun,” said Carolina.

The goal is to get more movement and exercise into the program to help the children develop their physical motor skills like balance, coordination, speed and stability. Robinson and Carolina will be doing the exercises with the children for three months and then transfer this task to the daycare employees so they can continue the program.

The daycare movement program is a creative way to exercise and to get movement into the daily program. “The idea is to start with the children as young as possible so they can easily transition into the primary and secondary school with more developed motor skills,” said Sports Coordinator Robinson.

“At the daycare, we encourage movement, play and enjoying the outdoors in our curriculum. In addition to our ongoing weekly dance and locomotion activities, the Early movement program fits right into our ethos,” said Daycare Manager Tessa Alexander.

The Early movement program was first initiated at the daycare last year. There is already a movement program at the Sacred Heart School and at the Saba Comprehensive School since last year that includes the so-called BLOC test to measure students’ motor skills. The movement program fits in the efforts, led by the Department of Public Health and Sport, to promote a healthy lifestyle and create a healthier community.

SGIS Daycare movement program Joelyn

Joelyn Robinson assists a child during the movement program at the Laura Linzey Daycare Center.




Protester interrupts lecture for the royals by singing ‘Oh Freedom’

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A law lecture at the University of Aruba attended by the Dutch king, queen and princess Amalia was disrupted for a few moments on Tuesday as a demonstrator held up a flag and began singing the civil rights campaign song Oh Freedom.

Gisele Sint Jago, a master’s law student who is an activist for local party Pueblo Prome, was led out of the room while the Dutch royals looked on. The lecture was resumed shortly afterwards.

The king, queen and Amalia arrived on the Caribbean Island of Bonaire on Friday at the start of a 10-day visit which will take in all six of the former Dutch colonies. The islands’ slavery past is one of the visit’s key themes.

Sint Jago told broadcaster NOS later she had aimed to hand a statement to the king, calling on him to offer his excuses for the Dutch role in the slave trade. Pueblo Prome is also campaigning for restitution for the descendants of enslaved people and for slavery to be considered a crime against humanity, NOS said.

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte formally apologized for the Dutch state’s role in slavery on December 19 after weeks of criticism. Campaigners wanted the apology to be made on Keti Koti on July 1, when 150 years since the actual end of slavery on the islands and in Suriname will be celebrated.

The king will be at the Keti Koti commemorations this year but nothing has been said about an apology.



Change in SKOSaba school board

SABA (THE BOTTOM) - Jonathan Johnson has resigned as President of the board of the Foundation Catholic Education Saba SKOSaba per January 31, 2023. He is succeeded by Yamila Bulos per February 1, 2023. The SKOSaba functions as the foundation responsible for the Sacred Heart Primary School.

During his last board meeting earlier this week, Johnson said that he has seen progress in the quality of education at both the Sacred Heart School (SHS) and the Saba Comprehensive School (SCS). Incoming President Bulos thanked Johnson for taking up the responsibility when he was called upon. Johnson received a textile artwork created by Els Mommers as a thank you for his contributions to the school board.

Per February 1, 2023, the SKOSaba school board and the Saba Educational Foundation (SEF), the school board of the SCS, consists of Yamila Bulos, President SKOSaba; Trisha Gumbs-Yu, Secretary SKOSaba; Karen George-Hodge, Treasurer SKOSaba/SEF; Frankin Wilson, President SEF; Marva Donker-Hassell, Secretary SEF and Anton Hermans, Executive Director SKOSaba/SEF.

The boards of both schools in July last year announced a further intensification of their collaboration in the interest of education. Ultimately, this collaboration should result in one school board for the primary and secondary schools on Saba.


New name sign Major Osmar Simmons Museum unveiled

SABA (THE BOTTOM) - In the presence of family, friends and government officials, the new name board for the Major Osmar R. Simmons Museum in The Bottom was unveiled on Friday, January 27.

During the official ceremony preceding the unveiling of the new sign above the entrance, donated by the Saba Tourist Bureau, Commissioner for Cultural Affairs Rolando Wilson looked back at the life of the person whom the museum was named after, the now deceased Major Osmar Ralph Simmons.

Simmons was born on Saba in 1922 and at the age of 15, like so many other Sabans, left the island to further his education and to seek employment. During WWII, he returned to Saba to work as a police officer. In 1966, he became the local Chief of Police.

Respectful man

Wilson described Major Simmons as a quiet, calm, compassionate, peaceful, religious, observant and respectful man who loved his family and community. “He was a true leader, a man who got things done without having to raise his voice. And to his side stood his loving and caring wife Carmen. He cared deeply for the people, especially for the young people, giving them guidance and counselling, supporting and motivating them. He was a positive role model who made a big difference in the lives of all that he touched,” said Wilson.

The museum contains a large number of everyday objects from the past days displayed in multiple rooms, giving visitors an insight in how Sabans lived many years ago and what they used in their daily lives. The items in the museum were collected by Major Simmons, his wife and family, while there are also many donated objects.

Village tour

Director of Tourism Malinda Hassell said that the Major Osmar R. Simmons Museum was a special and beautiful place that many times visitors overlooked. Hassell said that during the village tour of The Bottom with students during Tourism Awareness Month in October last year, she noted that the museum didn’t have a sign. This being important to direct visitors to the museum, the Tourist Bureau decided to help out with a sign.

While hiking and diving remain Saba’s selling points, the picturesque villages and hospitality always capture the hearts of visitors, said Hassell. She said there was a lot to do in The Bottom. In that regard, the museum is a great asset to promote the largest village and to refer visitors to. She said product development was a priority for the Saba Tourist Bureau, seeking ways how to highlight the island and what it has to offer.

Future generations

Island Governor Jonathan Johnson, who did the unveiling of the sign together with Major Simmons’ daughter Lorna Simmons and great granddaughter Janella Matthew, called on future generations to continue the legacy created by Major Simmons and his wife and to carry the mantle.

Island Council Member Vito Charles reflected on his grandparents, their wisdom and integrity. “This museum is their legacy; it is part of Saba’s heritage. This museum is an opportunity to celebrate their memories,” said Charles.

The program of the unveiling of the sign including words by Father Zibi, folkloric dances by students of the Sacred Heart School and a word of thanks by Major Simmons’ daughter Olga Simmons. After the official part, guests were invited inside the museum to look at the collection.

SGIS MUSEUM Guests visiting Osman Simmons Museum 03

SGIS MUSEUM Maypole dance at unveiling sign Osman Simmons MuseumStudents of the Sacred Heart School performing the maypole dance at the event to unveil the sign of the Major Osmar Simmons Museum in The Bottom.

SGIS MUSEUM Unveiling new sign at Osmar Simmons MuseumThe unveiling of the sign of the Major Osmar Simmons Museum by Island Governor Jonathan Johnson, Simmons’ daughter Lorna Simmons and great granddaughter Janella Matthew.




Saba shipped 50 containers with recyclables last year

SABA (THE BOTTOM) - In 2022, Saba shipped a record number of 50 containers with recyclables to the USA for further processing. Saba has a well-functioning waste management system that includes the separation of recyclables.

The 50 containers that left the island contained the following recyclables: plastics (63%), cardboard (20%), plastic bottles (10%), shredded tires (3%), metal cans (2%) and electronics 2%. All recyclables are shipped to the Caldwell INC company in Florida for further processing.

In July 2022, a metal barge was arranged to take as much metal as possible off the island. In total, 179 tons of mixed metal were shipped, including 72 car wrecks.

Last year the garbage trucks collected a total of 1,027,215.60 kilos of waste from households and commercial enterprises on Saba. In addition, the Waste Facility collected a total of 164,827.20 kilos from private vehicles that came to the facility to bring their waste. The total amount of waste collected on the island was 1,192,042.80 kilos.

Since the Waste Facility only started to record the numbers in September last year when the weighing scale at the facility’s entrance was put into use, the total amount of kilos collected is actually higher than the 1,192,042.80 kilos.

Significant progress

Commissioner of Public Works, Infrastructure and Waste Management Bruce Zagers said that significant progress has been made in waste management. Sizeable investments were made by the Public Entity Saba and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (IenW).

“In the last years, we have completely revamped our processes which has resulted in more waste separation and more importantly, less burning. Before waste was being burned 5 times per week and this has been reduced to once per week, as the waste is now being further separated and exported. Our goal is to further minimize the burning cycle, and we will continue seeking opportunities in the longer term to completely stop burning all together,” said Zagers.


Waste Management and Recycling Manager Camilo Usuga is proud of the men that did all the work. “The road sweepers, the waste collectors, the open back truck team and the guys at the waste facility doing the separation, they all deserve a big compliment for their hard work,” he said.

In general, there is still room for further improvement in waste management on Saba for which the help and support of the community is needed. Usuga encouraged people to continue recycling and to also explain the importance of doing so to family and friends. “Let’s continue to keep Saba green: recycle, reduce and reuse,” he said.

SGIS WASTE Team at Waste Management Facility with Bruce and Camilo 02The team at the Waste Management Facility with Commissioner Bruce Zagers (second from left) and Waste Management and Recycling Manager Camilo Usuga (third from left).



Four candidate lists submitted on Nomination Day Saba

SABA (THE BOTTOM) - Four candidate lists for the March 15 Island Council elections were submitted during Nomination Day on Saba Monday, January 30.

Island Governor Jonathan Johnson, Chairman of the Central Voting Bureau, received the candidate lists of, subsequently, the Saba Caring People Party, the blank list of Dave Levenstone, the Party for Progress, Equality and Prosperity (PEP) and the Windward Islands People’s Movement (WIPM). Legal advisor of the Public Entity Saba Devi van Groningen was also present during the submitting of the lists to doublecheck that all documents were in order.

Enrico “Cuchie” Klaber, sole candidate for the Saba Caring People Party, was the first to come to the court room at the Government Administration Building at 1:00pm to hand in his candidate list, supporting signatures and other documents to participate in the elections.

Next, at 2:00pm, were Dave Levenstone, number 1 on the blank list, and Charles Hassell, number two on the blank list. Levenstone heads the United People’s Movement, which is not officially registered as a political party. He said that not officially registering as an association was a “conscious decision.” Therefore, he and Hassell will run with a blank list.

At 3:00pm, the court room filled with candidates and supporters of the PEP party, headed by Saskia Matthew, to submit the PEP list with 6 candidates and other necessary documents for their first participation in the elections. Matthew is number 1 on the PEP slate for the Island Council elections, number 2 Hemmie van Xanten, number 3 Roland Holm, number 4 Julio Every, number 5 Chesney Thielman and number 6 Justin Simmons.

The seven candidates for the Island Council elections of Saba’s ruling party WIPM, accompanied by sizable number of supporters, gathered in the court room just before 4:00pm to hand in the WIPM list with 7 candidates for the Island Council elections.

Party leader Commissioner Bruce Zagers will head the WIPM slate. Number two on the list is Commissioner Rolando Wilson, who is also WIPM Party President. Number three is current Island Council Member Eviton Heyliger. New on the slate, running as number 4, is Elsa Peterson. Vito Charles and Carl Buncamper, both a Member of the Island Council, are number 5 and 6 respectively. Shaun Johnson, another new candidate, runs as number 7 on the WIPM slate. The WIPM candidates also chose to be electable for the Electoral College, the body which together with the Provincial States elects the Members of the First Chamber of the Dutch Parliament.

Matthew of the PEP and Zagers of the WIPM both called for fair and honest elections, urging everyone to run a respectful, clean campaign. Jonathan Johnson in his role as Chairman of the Central Voting Bureau congratulated all candidates on taking the step to make themselves available to represent the population in the Island Council. “With that also comes the responsibility to conduct oneself in a respectful way as we still have to live together on our beautiful island after the elections,” said Johnson.

SGIS ELECT PEP party submits candidate listThe PEP party will take part in the March 15 Saba Island Council elections for the first time with 6 candidates.

SGIS ELECT Dave Levenstone submits candidates list United Peoples MovementDave Levenstone (left) and Charles Hassell (right) submitted their list consisting of two candidates.

SGIS ELECT Enrico Klaber submits candidate list Saba Caring People PartyEnrico “Cuchie” Klaber (left) presented his one-person candidate list the Chairman of the Main Voting Bureau Jonathan Johnson (right).

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