SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The new office building of SZV will be designed by Independent Consulting Engineers (ICE), in collaboration with Caribbean Engineering & Consulting Company and Arka - Architecture, Development and Design. ICE won the competitive bidding with five participants, which was issued by SZV for the architectural design of the office building and parking spaces that will be located on Government land in Cayhill, next to the Raoul Illidge Sports Complex.

SZV currently pays rent for its office spaces in Philipsburg and aims to see a significant cost saving by having its own building. The design of the office building will be centered around efficiency, sustainability and wellness; incorporating “green” design principles, state-of-the-art technology, a hurricane resistant structure and will be better accessible for all, especially clients and visitors with special needs. SZV employees can look forward to an office where they are able to serve clients with ease, be it virtually or by appointment. Flexible working spaces and “wellness” areas will be included, as a means to further stimulate balanced and healthy lifestyle options for employees and the community.

“We’re building a ‘smart’ place for us to work, develop our country’s health care systems and stimulate a healthier lifestyle for our community. I would really love to see that we create a space where not only the administrative work is carried out, but that we can offer our community members spaces where they can share and get better access to prevention and patient resources, network, and stimulate a mindset for wellness to support the care options that are already in place. At this moment, I would like to express my gratitude to Minister Irion for being involved at the beginning of this process, Minister Doran for his help and assistance throughout the process and Minister Ottley for supporting this important development, a good example of ongoing collaboration. ” – Mr. Glen A. Carty, Director SZV

The next steps for the architectural design process will commence with the selected bidder. These include; the functional requirements list, the design of the office building, the bidding process for construction and the construction itself. The current projection for when the new building will be move-in ready is the second quarter of 2024.

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Mon, 06 Dec 2021 14:24:51 -0400
MP Buncamper questions the operations of SOG

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - During Friday’s meeting regarding the management of government owned buildings under the management of SOG (Stichting Overheids Gebouwen) independent Member of Parliament MP Claudius “Toontje” Buncamper posed several questions to the minister of general affairs, Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, regarding the conditions and lack of repairs of several government owned building, the MP said in a press statement on Monday.

The press statement said: “MP Buncamper’s first focus was on the festival village, where between 8 to 12 booths that were damaged by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 are still not repaired. The MP questioned the loss in revenue due to these unusable booths.

“MP Buncamper also queried the outstanding amount of over 2 million US Dollars owed to a local security company for services rendered. The MP wanted to know how long these amounts have been outstanding and when the security company started rendering security services at the festival village.

“The MP said that we can not blame the lack of payment on the pandemic. MP Buncamper questioned who signed the contract with the security company on behalf of SOG, the financial limit to which the board members may commit the SOG to and to whom the SOG board is accountable. The accountants report was also questioned, seeing the critical financial position of the SOG.

“MP Buncamper asked how much funds were collected from the insurance, and by whom, after Hurricane Irma damaged the center in 2017 and how the funds were spent. If no insurance funds were collected, the MP questioned, why not? MP Buncamper then turned his focus to the Fire and Ambulance department building, where the current damages that date back to 2017 affect the inside doors, leakages, the fencing, the air conditioning units, the garage doors, the generator switch, the sinking driveways that can damage the fire trucks.

“The MP questioned why no repairs to these damages have been done and the costs to carry out these repairs. The MP enquired if the funds were to do the repairs were available. MP Buncamper inquired if the building was insured and if APS has applied late payment penalties for non-payment of the loan. Have the loans from APS and OPNA for the construction of the Fire and Ambulance department building been repaid, or is there still an outstanding amount. The MP noted that if the loan was a 15 years loan, it should be repaid in full by 2022, and queried if this is correct. The MP also queried if the loan that was taken in 2007 for school repairs has been repaid.

“In regards to the Simpson Bay fish market, MP Buncamper asked if any repairs to the building were needed and if all the spaces in the market were operational.

“MP Buncamper noted that the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) submitted a proposal to take over the management and operations of the Festival Village and questioned why is government not giving a listening ear to the SCDF.

“The MP questioned if any of the SOG board members have the knowledge to exploit and operate the Festival Village. MP Buncamper went on to question who the SOG board members are, how long have they been on the board and which of them are supervisory board members, and which are the executive members?

“In regards to the outstanding rent from tenants, the MP enquired how many tenants have outstanding rent and how much the outstandings amount to. The MP also enquired as to how much outstanding rent had to written off. The MP wanted to know how much rent is due to be collected monthly, broken down per building,” the MPs press statement on Monday concludes.

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Mon, 06 Dec 2021 13:10:14 -0400
Minister Ottley and Ballast Nedam Intl’ signs SOS agreement for first job fair on December 18

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Friday December 3rd, the Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor, Omar Ottley and Ballast Nedam International’s representative Jeroen Hanneveld signed the Scope of Service agreement (SOS) for the Princess Juliana International Airport reconstruction project. This SOS stems from Minister Ottley’s incidental work instruction.

On September 30th, 2021, Minister Ottley signed off on a work instruction that strengthens the relationship between large scale project owners/contractors and the Department of labour affairs.  The SOS ensures that investors and/or contractors utilizes the local resources to its capacity before sourcing foreign assistance. The SOS also aims to strengthen our skilled resources by identifying our country’s weak areas and offering training programs and financial investments that will turn those weaknesses into our strengths.  

In this SOS, Ballest Nedam has agreed full heartedly to support our local community. The contractor has already been communicating with the local government, NIPA and over 13 local sub-contractors.

Ballast Nedam International in collaboration with the Ministry of VSA and the Princess Juliana Airport, will also be hosting a job fair for skilled residents and local sub-contractors in the relevant fields, which is scheduled to be held on Saturday December 18th 2021.

"I am happy to see the fruition of my incidental work instruction. We just hosted a job fair for the General Hospital with over 100 participants and now we will have the honor of hosting another job fair for the airport reconstruction project,” said Ottley.

The goal is to not only put our people first but to strengthen our resources with the proper training and opportunities.

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Mon, 06 Dec 2021 06:34:02 -0400
SXM Airport forecasts increase in traffic. Three New Charters Start Service from Dec.5th

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY-AIRPORT) - Management of the Princess Juliana International Airport Operating Company (PJIAE N.V.) is undergoing the immediate execution of strategic and operational methods to facilitate an increased number of flights this upcoming high season. Generally, the high season is from the period of December through March.

While the schedules of the commercial and private air traffic continue to increase, Management of PJIAE N.V. is working diligently to implement measures to accommodate the additions of charter flights to contribute to the continuance of the homeporting at Port St. Maarten.

In addition to the scheduled traffic, ITA Airways, Condor, and Air Caraibes have confirmed charter flights into St. Maarten starting December 5, 2021, through March 2022.

PJIAE N.V. anticipates approximately 500,000 passenger movements on more than 3,400 flights, with an exclusion of the commuter airlines and private jets. PJIAE will close 2021 at about 56% travelers compared to 2019, and a high season of around 85% compared to the same period in 2018 – 2019.

The Airport’s Operations and Commercial teams have aligned with stakeholders, such as Customs, Immigration, and transportation to prepare for the added traffic to the already demanding commercial flight schedule.

“With the Terminal Building space constraints and the commencement of the Airport Terminal Reconstruction Project, we are facing capacity management challenges, and all possible measures have been implemented to mitigate the expected congestion. Additionally, PJIAE is also erecting a canopy at the Arrivals area, and adding more Check-In counters, notwithstanding the facilitating of other building adjustments, to ensure a seamless season,” clarified the Airport Chief, Brian Mingo.

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Sun, 05 Dec 2021 19:21:55 -0400
Sister Basilia Center spreads awareness on international day for persons with disabilities

SINT MAARTEN (ST. JOHN’S ESTATE) - Today is the international day for people with disabilities. Thus, this whole week, the Sister Basilia Center (SBC) has dedicated itself to spreading awareness about this topic to Sint Maarten by organizing several activities with and for their clients and stakeholders. 

People with disabilities (one billion people) are among the most excluded groups in our society and are among the hardest hit in this pandemic in terms of fatalities worldwide. This is perhaps even more relevant on St. Maarten, where the topic doesn't get enough attention, and the societal participation of people with disabilities is not yet where it should be. This is unfortunate because it doesn't show the many unique qualities people with disabilities have and their valuable role in our society.

As with most stigmatized issues, the root lies in a lack of knowledge about disabilities themselves, but also about how common they are. Did you know that an estimated 46% of persons aged 60 years and over have disabilities? And that one in every five women is likely to experience disability at some point in her life while one in every ten children has a disability?

On Monday, the Sister Basilia Center was visited by students from MPC, who were given a tour around the facility, and played several games where they experienced how it is to live and play when you have a disability. On Tuesday, a group of SBC clients took on the road with a motorcade through town and around the Pondfill. With flutes, drums, shakers, and a big banner, they let everybody know what we are celebrating this week. Wednesday, the clients had a water activity fun day at Kimsha Beach, with the help of Excellence Learning Academy students and Kayaks provided by TriSports. Today, on international day for persons with disabilities, they enjoy a fun day in the sun and a Zumba class with their parents or caregivers. 

Mimi Hodge, SBC Department Manager, says:" I'm pleased with how the week went. The clients loved it and had a great time, as it is something completely different from what they're used to. But besides doing something fun and different for our clients, I'm happy that we've been able to spread some awareness about disabilities on St. Maarten. This is really needed as we see that there isn't enough attention for persons with disabilities." 

The MPC and ELA students were, for example, really impressed with how people function every day if they can't see or don't have complete motor control. We can see that the awareness is slowly growing as more persons and organizations offer to help, support or assist our clients with several things. However, we are not there yet, and we won't stop until persons with disabilities on Sint Maarten have the same opportunities as anyone else!

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Thu, 02 Dec 2021 18:05:04 -0400
Sint Maarten hosts Trust Fund Steering Committee from Dec.01-03

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs and the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB) are hosting a visit of the Steering Committee of the Sint Maarten Recovery and Resilience Trust Fund, from Wednesday, December 1, to Friday, December 3, 2021.

Following the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria in 2017, the Netherlands allocated approximately 470 million Euros to help Sint Maarten rebuild and increase its resilience to future natural disasters. The Trust Fund is financed by the Government of the Netherlands, managed by the World Bank, and implemented by the NRPB on behalf of the Government of Sint Maarten.

The Steering Committee is the Trust Fund’s decision-making body. Comprising one representative each from Sint Maarten, the Netherlands, and the World Bank, the Steering Committee evaluates project proposals and decides on their goals, objectives, and allocated financing. The Steering Committee is made up of Lilia Burunciuc (World Bank, Director for the Caribbean), Marcel Gumbs (Sint Maarten), and Frans Weekers (The Netherlands).

During its visit to Sint Maarten, the Steering Committee will be informed by the NRPB about the status and progress of existing and forthcoming projects. This serves to prepare the Steering Committee for its next official decision-making meeting, which is scheduled for January 2022.

As of December 2021, there are eight projects under implementation for a total envelope of up to US $400 million. These projects are the Airport Terminal Reconstruction Project, the Emergency Recovery Project (ERP-1), the Emergency Debris Management Project (EDMP), the Emergency Income Support and Training Project (EISTP), the Enterprise Support Project (ESP), the Hospital Resiliency and Preparedness Project, the Resources for Community Resilience Project (R4CR), and the Child Resilience and Protection Project.

There are three projects in preparation for a total envelope of up to $50 million. These projects are the Fostering Resilient Learning Project (FRLP), the Digital Government Transformation Project (DGTP) and the Mental Health Project. On the request of the Steering Committee, the World bank and the NRPB are also preparing a proposal for a potential housing project of up to $20 million.

“As the project implementation unit of the Government of Sint Maarten, the NRPB is working diligently to help our country be better prepared for all future disasters. While work sometimes takes longer than we all hope, I am happy to see the significant results that we have achieved so far,” said NRPB Director Claret Connor.

“All of the projects implemented through the Trust Fund ultimately benefit the country and its people. There are still potential projects that need to be discussed and deliberated by the Steering Committee, and Government will do everything to facilitate the Trust Fund projects as we collectively continue to build a better Sint Maarten for all,” added Prime Minister Jacobs.

For more information about the NRPB and the Trust Fund projects, please visit the NRPB website at

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Wed, 01 Dec 2021 21:54:33 -0400
Cruise Lines hesitant with the situation on French Saint-Martin

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Due to a recent situation where barricades were once again erected and set on fire early Monday morning thereby blocking the main road in the residential district of Sandy Ground on French Saint Martin, cruise lines who will have ships in port on Wednesday, December 1, has decided to caution free roam passengers and restrict curated tours due to the uncertainty of the free and unhampered flow throughout the Northern part of the island.

Gendarmes on Monday morning cleared the erected barricades.

One of the key protocols of the cruise industry is safety and security of cruise passengers while visiting a destination. The measure taken by one cruise line should be seen from this perspective.

Ministry TEATT is hoping that these isolated events on the Northern side of the island can be resolved as soon as possible ensuring that the destination continues to offer a holistic product to cruise guests and things will return back to business as usual where guests are able to experience our destination freely as one island and can enjoy the Friendly Island.

The tourism offices of both sides of the island will continue to work together and keep stakeholders updated.

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Tue, 30 Nov 2021 21:40:45 -0400
Chris: Discussion of TOT increase, and VAT addition unconscionable. Says businesses would never survive,-and-vat-addition-unconscionable-says-businesses-would-never-survive&Itemid=450,-and-vat-addition-unconscionable-says-businesses-would-never-survive&Itemid=450

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - According to Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Christophe Emmanuel, any discussion about a raise in Turn-Over-Tax (Tot) combined with the implementation of a VAT (Value Added Tax) is unconscionable and does not realistically consider the private sector and consumers of St. Maarten. Implementation of either, he stressed, would also effect the public sector as the ripple effects will affect government’s bottom line negatively.

Emmanuel said government should instead finally tackle its waste and creatively develop ways to generate funds without further burdening the population. If the government is unable to think creatively, he said, the country is filled with educated creative thinkers, “host an economic forum and get your best together to find solutions,” he said.

The MP said he does not understand why looking at such things as gasoline excise taxes (which he has proposed) and/or increased tourism taxes are such taboo subjects. “Especially with new or increased tourism fees you get some people spreading gloom that the tourists will stop coming. Travellers the world over are very accustomed to tourism fees being increased and applied, especially now in the pandemic era. We boast of the high season yet we are afraid to actually do something to make the high season actually benefit the regular person. Instead, we talk about burdening them with destructive taxes,” Emmanuel said.

He said any discussion about increasing TOT shows disconnect with what is happening on the ground. Small businesses, he pointed out, have such small profit margins or are in such debt, many are staying in business out of pride or under less-than-ideal situations.

“Even if profit tax is reduced, what happens to the sole proprietor that doesn’t pay profit tax? An increase in TOT will bury them. A reduction in profit tax isn’t enough to balance what will be lost by an increase in TOT. The trouble with turnover tax is that you pay tax even if your company is losing money. It’s a terrible tax in a country where small and medium enterprises are the back bone and failure to go after the million-dollar tax dodgers seems to systematic and habitual,” the MP said.

Emmanuel said the talk of a VAT is again being whispered in the halls of government. As he has stated previously, the burden of the VAT falls disproportionately on the poor since the poor are likely to spend more of their income than the relatively well-to-do person.

“It has also been proven that revenue from value-added taxes are frequently lower than expected because they are difficult and costly to administer and collect. The fact that a VAT is also administered along every stage of the supply chain (it has to be calculated at every stage), means that again prices will raise beyond control,” Emmanuel said.

The disclosed that in due time he will present some revenue generating ideas once they are worked out but once again called for the staging of a serious economic summit/forum.

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Sun, 28 Nov 2021 15:11:40 -0400
Xtratight, SLS lab collaborate on testing for “Fyah Under Yuh Foot”. Testing on Thursday and Friday

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - St. Maartens top event organizers Xtratight Entertainment is preparing to host its first event after a two-year absence while the country was dealing with COVID-19 pandemic and have collaborated with St. Maarten Laboratory Services (SLS) to facilitate testing and establish a safe environment for its fans.

“Fyah Under Yuh Foot” will be held on December 4 at the Tropicana Ball Room. Known as a “big people party”, the event is one of Xtratight’s signature events, with the uber popular “Night of the Hit Makers” concert for Carnival also under its umbrella.

Director of Xtratight Bertaux “Mr. Rude” Fleming explained that “Keeping in line with the Covid-19 guidelines and our efforts to insure safety for all its patrons, Xtratight Entertainment has partnered with the national laboratory of St Maarten SLS for its Covid testing procedure. SLS is the only accredited lab on the island which means it’s the only lab that is recognized by international standards, this alone gives all reasons for us to collaborate with SLS besides being our own. We remain Pro Local,” he stressed.

The testing protocol for this event is straightforward and eliminates hassle: Tickets for Fyah Under Yuh Foot went on sale from Thursday November 18th, the price is $50,- and includes a free Antigen Test for all patrons. Limited tickets are available and NO tickets will be sold at the door. All visitors must present a negative antigen test to enter and only SLS antigen tests are accepted. Testing dates and times for persons attending Fyah Under Yuh Foot are Thursday December 2nd from 6pm - 9pm and Saturday December 4th from 12:30pm to 3pm, testing on both days will take place at SLS main office in Cayhill.

“We were never in a rush to come back online as most of our fans are part of the vulnerable group and safety always comes first with us. Based on the development and the decrease in numbers, not to mention the high demand for a big people party we have decided to host the event. As a fan-driven organization we always aim to please, so patrons can expect a night filled with fun and dancing straight through the night,” Fleming said.

With Heineken as a partner, the Djs for the night are Dj Blackboy, Mr. Rude and Dj Fabulous and doors open at 9:00PM. For more information contact: 543-9872, 522-9872 or email:

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Sun, 28 Nov 2021 15:10:15 -0400
Travel restrictions in effect for South Africa and new entry requirements for the Netherlands

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) The Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (VSA), Omar Ottley hereby informs the public that effective Monday November 29th, travel restrictions from South Africa will go into effect and new entry requirements for the Netherlands to follow.

Minister Ottley announced that he sent a request to restrict flights and passengers arriving or traveling from South Africa within a 14-day period. This decision was based on the new COVID-19 variant which could show immune evasion and enhanced transmissibility.

The new variant has been causing a surge in cases in many countries including the Netherlands. “In discussions with Dutch representatives, I was informed that the major hospitalization increase in the Netherlands was due to this new variant,” said Minister Ottley, adding, “This information motivated me to alter the entry requirements for travelers from the Netherlands.”

As of Monday December 6th, 2021, fully vaccinated travelers from the Netherlands will be required to upload proof of a negative 48 hr PCR test before traveling to St. Maarten or a 24-hour antigen nasal swab test will also be accepted from vaccinated travelers only.

Unvaccinated travelers are required to submit a negative 48 hr PCR test before traveling to St. Maarten. At the moment our active cases, hospitalization and deaths in St. Maarten has decreased significantly and it is our duty to remain proactive and do our best to mitigate the spread of the Mu variant.

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Sat, 27 Nov 2021 18:18:09 -0400
Parliament elects new President of Parliament and 2nd Vice President of Parliament

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On, Friday November 26, 2021, during Public Meeting no. 03, the Parliament of Sint Maarten voted on and elected Member of Parliament, Mrs. Grisha S. Heyliger-Marten as the new President of Parliament. Mrs. Heyliger-Marten previously served as the 2nd Vice President of Parliament.

The office of the President of Parliament became vacant on November 4th, 2021 when Member of Parliament Mr. Rolando Brison by letter dated November 4, 2021, informed Parliament of his resignation as President of Parliament effective said date (IS/212/2021-2022).

With the election of MP Heyliger-Marten as the new President of Parliament, the office of the 2nd Vice President therefore became vacant.

Subsequently in this same meeting Parliament also voted on and elected Member of Parliament Mr. Sidharth M. Bijlani as the 2nd Vice President of Parliament.

With today’s appointments, Parliament handled in accordance with article 57, paragraph 1, of the Constitution which states: Parliament shall appoint a Chairperson and Vice Chairperson from among its members. Article 6 of the Rules of Order of Parliament stipulates that Parliament appoints the Chairperson and the Vice Chairpersons in the first public meeting to be held after the periodic resignation or dissolution.

Effective November 26, 2021, the Presidium comprises:

President of Parliament: Mrs. Grisha S. Heyliger-Marten

1st Vice President of Parliament: Mr. William V. Marlin


2nd Vice President of Parliament: Mr. Sidharth M. Bijlani



]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Fri, 26 Nov 2021 16:56:25 -0400
MP Buncamper proposes increase of TOT, decrease Profit Tax and scrap Income Tax for Seniors,-decrease-profit-tax-and-scrap-income-tax-for-seniors&Itemid=450,-decrease-profit-tax-and-scrap-income-tax-for-seniors&Itemid=450

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - During Thursday’s central committee independent Member of Parliament (MP), Claudius Buncamper addressed the Minister of Finance, Ardwell Irion regarding the country packages related to the ministry of finance, the MP said in a press release on Thursday.

MP Buncamper noted that the tax reform has been on hold for quite some time and is still not ready and may take years before it is ready for implementation. The country packages’ goal is to enhance the investment climate, which means making the tax system more favorable for conducting business, and less red tape for starting a business.

MP Buncamper proposed a 1% increase on the now 5% turn over tax (TOT) which will generate approximately 25 million guilders per year in additional income for government.

In order to enhance the investment climate, the MP recommends a reduction on profit tax from 34.5% to 15% while complying with our country packages and the discussions of tax holidays can be taken off the table. The deduction constitutes an annual loss of approximately 11 million guilders for government.

MP Buncamper went on to suggest a policy rule, until embedded in law, that pensioners be exempt from paying taxes on their pension as at January 2022. This excludes other earnings from business etc. This amounts to an annual loss of approximately 2 -3 million guilders for government.

“All in all, with an increase of 25 million guilder from the increase in turn over tax, and the loss of revenue of 11 million guilders from the reduction on the profit tax, and a loss of revenue of 2 to 3 million guilders from the exemption of taxes on senior citizens income, government will have, in a worst-case scenario, an overall surplus of approximately 11 million guilders annually. With additional income from profit tax, this amount will increase.

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Thu, 25 Nov 2021 19:35:15 -0400
Parking fine to increase to NAf 150 for ‘hot spots’

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The fine for parking violations has been increased for several “hot spots” around the country as part of a joint effort by the Prosecutor’s Office and the Police Force of St. Maarten KPSM to aid the better flow of traffic and increase road safety for the busy holiday and tourist seasons.

The fine for illegally parked vehicles has increased from NAf 50 to NAf 150. This increase is in place until 31 January 2022.

The increased fine will be applied to parking violations in the following areas: Philipsburg (in its totality), Pointe Blanche (in and around the area of Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise and Cargo Facilities), A. Th. Illidge Road, Billy Folly Road, Simpson Bay (specifically the entertainment stretch along Welfare Road and Airport Road), Maho, and Beacon Hill Road.

KPSM will apply a zero-tolerance policy to parking restriction violators, whether they are visitors or residents.

The Prosecutor’s Office and KPSM advise all road users to be cognizant of traffic rules and to adhere to the rules and regulations. Traffic safety is paramount for everyone’s well-being in the community.

The unhindered flow of traffic is connected to a better quality of life with everyone able to execute their tasks and errands in an efficient manner.

The economy is also served when traffic rules are adhered to; visitors have a more pleasant experience and this bodes well for the destination’s image. Resorts, hotels, and other accommodations are urged to inform their guests about parking restrictions and fines to help them avoid additional costs.

Parking and other fines can be paid at the Prosecutor’s Office (by debit card only), at the Police Station, the Receiver’s Office, or via the bank. Proof of fine payment must be submitted to the Prosecutor’s Office.

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Tue, 23 Nov 2021 14:30:34 -0400
Emmanuel to Irion: Will Doran be accountable for Alegria penalties?

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Christophe Emmanuel on Monday asked Finance Minister Ardwell Irion if he will make an example of Minister of VROMI Egbert Doran and hold him accountable over his mishandling of the Alegria affair that will now cost the taxpayer approximately Naf 500,000.

Emmanuel used Irion’s own words to remind him of his statement earlier this year that Ministers should “be made examples of” and be held accountable for their actions. On May 5, 2021, Minister Irion said: “At some point we do need to make examples of Ministers for their actions. I have seen some actions within the last few years that were made and things and processes that should have been done better or done properly and the fact that you could just get away, I believe if you follow that path, it will just continue to happen. So, I believe just like our fellow citizens who are also accountable for their actions, at some point in time we should be holding ministers accountable for their former actions also.”

Minister Doran failed to comply with the judgment of the Court of First Instance on September 4, 2020. As a result, Country St. Maarten is forced to pay 480,000 Netherlands Antillean guilders (US $267,000) in penalties.

Country St. Maarten was ordered to execute the settlement agreement with Alegria Real Estate NV within 48 hours of service of the judgment for the granting of an area of 13,525 square metres of water rights in long lease. The bailiff handed over the verdict on Wednesday, September 9. The government then had two days to accommodate Alegria. Due to negligence on the minister’s part, the sanction came into force on September 12, 2020, imposing a penalty payment of NAf. 10,000 on the government for each subsequent day.

“So if the media reports are true, the question is will the Finance Minister and the Council of Ministers, hold the Minister of VROMI personally liable for his in-action that will apparently cost the government and tax-payer money? Why should the tax payer be the one to be burdened to pay-off the Minister’s mistake?” MP Emmanuel asked, adding that the country cannot afford to pay benefits to civil servants but the Minister is casually making financial errors.

“The Minister of Finance was very bold and assertive when the opportunity arose to point fingers at former Ministers. He has the opportunity now to act just as assertively and do something about this gross mismanagement of government finances if reports are factual. Even more damning is Minister Doran would have chosen not to pay after receiving reminders. He doesn’t even have to wait for the Minister to be “former”, do something now,” Emmanuel said.

He added that the matter is made worse, again, by the complete blackout of information from the government. He said the silence from government again “puts its arrogance on full display” as if they are not accountable to anyone. “This has become the norm for this scandal plagued government,” he said.

MP Emmanuel also reminded that the Prime Minister also echoed Minister Irion’s statement when she said: “As ministers you have taken an oath and you are basically responsible for decisions made. If you did not follow the proper process or the official process and it’s not properly substantiated, you can be personally held liable. If this is proven to be [that proper procedures were not followed] in such a case, then the Council of Ministers will decide whether to follow up on it.”

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Mon, 22 Nov 2021 17:00:53 -0400
MP Arrindell questions Prime Minister on concerns at PJIA

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On November 22, Member of Parliament (MP) Akeem Arrindell sent a letter to Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, requesting her attention to a number of concerns at PJIA, MP Arrindell said in a press statement on Monday.

“In his letter to the prime minister the MP sought clarity on PJIAE’s alleged intentions to seek addition financing, which contradicts the information the MP received last year, which prohibits PJIAE from seeking finance on the world market, an agreement that was signed off by the World Bank. MP Arrindell also wants to know for which purpose the alleged financing will be used and if the lending has to be guaranteed by Government.

“MP Arrindell asked for an outline of PJIAE’s priorities and questioned if government, as shareholder, plays any role or has any involvement in setting PJIAE’s priorities for the sake of transparency and good governance.

“MP Akeem Arrindell asked the prime minister if PJIAE has taken any of the points of the governing program into account, referring to the US pre-clearance and the new by-pass which allows more airlines to land during the peak hours. The MP mentioned that these are considered vital for the improvement of our economy and enquired if PJIAE has yet made any attempt to work on the plans for US pre-clearance and requested the details of such plans, if any.

“Government’s supervision of PJIAE came into question when the MP inquired into how many local firms, such the St. Maarten Investment Agency and APS, had been approached for financing. The MP wants to know which one(s) was/were chosen, why and who recommended it/them. The MP also questioned the costs of the financing, including brokerage fees, finder’s fees, processing and consulting fees. The MP concluded by emphasizing that “we must ensure that our local institutions, such as APS and others, get first preference when it comes to financing such projects,” the statement from MP Arrindell concludes.

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Mon, 22 Nov 2021 16:59:36 -0400
Family Fun Day at Emilio Wilson Park

SINT MAARTEN (EMILIO WILSON ESTATE) - The St. Maarten Heart and Stroke Foundation did it again. The foundation’s first “Family Fun Day for stroke survivors and caretakers” was well attended. The event was organized in collaboration with The American University (AUC) and the White and Yellow Cross care foundation (WYCCF).

The program was opened with a prayer from Pastor Elijah Singer who also suffered a stroke. He came to pray and stimulate other Stroke Survivors.

The Honorable Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs opened the event with a motivational speech reaching out to the participants and the community. Present was Rudolphe Samuel minister of Education Culture Youth and Sports.

The WYCCF out with their clients and rehabilitation staff and caregivers. The physiotherapy team took the opportunity to speak to the participants and gave essential information where needed. They also held a session on being active with some great Soca Music. Almost all of the patients and supporters participated in this session. Somewhere standing with the help of their crutches or with ap rollator and others were sitting in their wheelchairs and moving as instructed.

Patients played table games such as bingo where a patient also won a pedicure voucher.

Julian Rollocks, who was the motivational Speaker, came and gave his testimony about his experience as a Stroke survivor.

Dr. Marques, Neurologist of the St. Maarten Medical Center gave a presentation on “BE FAST” and explaining that having a stroke is a medical emergency and it is very important to recognize the signs and get to the ER fast. Dr. Marques also explained what treatment can be given when a patient arrives at the ER.

Nurse Vlaun of the St. Maarten Ambulance Department also gave a presentation on what takes place when the emergency calls come in and how to get the victim ready for the ambulance Crew.

We receive vouchers from Kreations Health Store in the Orange Grove, Dinner for 2 at Holland House, TJ's Coal Pot Restaraunt, a Private Donor for a pedicure at Georgina Nail Spa, and Addicted Hair Lounge.

Music was provided courtesy of DJ Shef.

Juices by Carl and Sons

Lovely Soup by Krestive Juices Catering.

This event was Sponsored by AUC American University of Caribbean, Laguna View Medical Practices, Telem N.V. , Nagico, Motorworld and the St. Maarten Medical Center.

A Stroke Patient won a prize for a weekend Stay at Oyster Bay Resorts Courtesy of Ms. Brown of the Oyster Bay Resorts, and a caregiver won a weekend stay at Divi Little Bay Resorts Courtesy of Divi Resorts.

A big thank you to the students of The AUC and St. Dominic Primary School.

Arthur Hunt of Sounds.

SMHSF would like to thank the general public for their support and for bringing their loved ones to this event.

SMHSF would like to encourage the public to be aware of the signs of a stroke and also take good care of their health because prevention is better than the cure.

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Sun, 21 Nov 2021 23:54:25 -0400
Ministry of Justice to install traffic signs in Philipsburg. Towing Policy to be established

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The illegal parking of motorist in the capital of the island has been a long-standing issue. On Wednesday, November 17th, 2021, the Honorable Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson signed a Ministerial Decree to have traffic signs erected throughout Philipsburg. The placement of these signs is the first phase of the Ministry of Justice’s trajectory to remind motorist of traffic laws and where it is forbidden to park in places such as sidewalks.

Minister Richardson stated, “In the development of the decree, the Ministry opted to include recommendations that came in a report from the Ombudsman on November 30, 2020, regarding an investigation into the towing policy of the St. Maarten Police Force (KPSM).” Recommendations also received in the report of the Ombudsman included a Philipsburg parking policy plan, a comprehensive towing policy with checks and balances, the establishment of a parking permit policy, and the amendment of the Road Traffic Ordinance.

The traffic signs to be erected will serve as instruments in combatting parking nuisance in the Frontstreet and the Boardwalk areas. The signs will provide more clarity on the parking rules to the public and will improve enforcement activities. Experts from KPSM and the Ministry of VROMI had an essential advisory role in identifying where additional traffic signs should be placed.

Placement of the signs is one of the steps taken by a joint working group that was put in place by the Ministry of Justice in order to address the long-lasting parking problems in Philipsburg. The working group consists of representatives of the Ministries of Justice, VROMI, and TEATT. Combined efforts such as improved enforcement modalities by the Ministry of Justice, infrastructure developments by the Ministry of VROMI, and the implementation of a parking permit policy by the Ministry of TEATT must lead to improved public road safety.

As the successful enforcement of parking violations requires more modalities than imposing fines, the Ministry of Justice will soon initiate a public tender to contract a reliable towing company. According to the law, vehicles can be towed if they are hindering traffic or when they are left on the public road for more than 48 hours in a non-drivable state. As demonstrated by negative experiences in the past, the outsourcing of towing activities should be done properly and carefully. The Honorable Minister of Justice will ensure transparency by pursuing a public tender procedure and by publishing a towing policy. Such a towing policy will provide the necessary clarity about procedures and fees to the public.    

“In addressing this issue, the Ministry of Justice will also establishment a phone number or online form where the public will be encouraged to alert KPSM of grave parking violations in a bid to improve enforcement. The Ministry of Justice also intends to amend the law to introduce the legal possibility of applying wheel clamps. As such, government will continue to implement measures that contribute to realizing a safe and attractive city center for residents, business owners as well as tourists,” concluded Minister Richardson.

The Ombudsman received a letter from the Honorable Minister of Justice in which an extensive update on the parking and towing policy were provided on Friday, November 19.

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Sun, 21 Nov 2021 23:47:50 -0400
Minister Doran encourages homeownership to the SBoD of SMHDF

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The honorable Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment, and Infrastructure Management (Ministry of VROMI), Egbert Doran, has inquired on the potential opportunity for homeownership on a case-by-case basis for Belvedere residents in recent discussions.

A letter was addressed to the chairman of the Supervisory Board of Directors (SBoD) of the Sint Maarten Housing Development Foundation (SMHDF), following his town hall meeting with residents held on November 2nd, 2021, at the Belvedere Community Center. 

The Minister noted that documents including sales information invitations, appraisals for duplex homes and draft purchasing contracts dating back as far as 2004 suggests there were previous considerations by SMHDF to enable homeownership.

However, these efforts were never materialized. The minister expressed his interest in exploring feasible measures, including the appropriate criteria and considerable factors that need to be taken into consideration to materialize homeownership and permit residents to execute the necessary repairs and improve their living conditions. 

The chairman of the board at SMHDF has since acknowledged the Minister’s request and a meeting has been scheduled for this coming Friday amongst the SBoD.

Minister Doran has always championed homeownership which empowers individuals in being able to improve their quality of life. There will be further discussions and the Minister looks forward to a positive collaboration with SMHDF.

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Thu, 18 Nov 2021 18:04:16 -0400
Tourism Leaders, Minister Lawrence and Vice President Damaseau work together to maintain excellence in tourism quality,-minister-lawrence-and-vice-president-damaseau-work-together-to-maintain-excellence-in-tourism-quality&Itemid=450,-minister-lawrence-and-vice-president-damaseau-work-together-to-maintain-excellence-in-tourism-quality&Itemid=450

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunications (Minister of TEATT) Hon. Roger Lawrence met with Vice President of Tourism of Saint-Martin Hon. Valerie Damaseau to discuss the isolated events on the northern side. The two parties are very pleased that progress has been made on the Northern side of the island with respect to ensuring a steady product offering and reaching a level of normalcy as it pertains to business especially within the tourism sector.

Communication is essential when there are concerns that need to be resolved. We are happy that dialogue continues at different levels and these discussions will in the end drive change and result in resolutions to the various challenges being faced.

“The projections for this tourism season are high, which is extremely positive for both sides of the island. The uniqueness of each side adds more to the overall destination experience and visitors will open a window and discover two different vibes that can only be found here. A positive and safe experience is important for the success of both the French and Dutch side, by continuing to work together we will ensure this upcoming season will be a success for all,” Minister Hon. Roger Lawrence said on Tuesday.

Vice President of Tourism of Saint-Martin Hon. Valerie Damaseau in a statement on Tuesday stated: “On behalf of the Government of St. Martin I am pleased to report that, following the demonstrations by a section of the public, all is well. The State has assured us that all public roads in Marigot where the demonstration occurred have been reopened and business as usual has resumed.

We acknowledge the concerns expressed by the demonstrators and we recognize that the right of the public to peacefully voice objection to any decision by the government, is a fundamental tenet of a good democracy.

“We wish to assure our residents and guests, stakeholders and anyone conducting business with or within St. Martin, that the demonstration has ended, and you should feel free to go about your normal activities. Let us always be mindful and keep the COVID precaution practices top of mind.”

Directors of the Tourists Offices from both sides of the island Aida Weinum (St. Martin) and May Ling Chun (Sint Maarten) said on Tuesday: “The best and most memorable experiences for the guests is when they are able to experience our destination freely as one island and so therefore, we are pleased that the situation has been resolved and tourist can enjoy our Friendly Island.”

Minister of TEATT Hon Roger Lawrence

Minister of TEATT Hon. Roger Lawrence (Sint Maarten)

Vice President of Tourism Valerie Damaseau

Vice President of Tourism Valerie Damaseau (Saint-Martin)

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Tue, 16 Nov 2021 21:43:14 -0400
Boyfriend bites Girlfriend on the Lip. Son Punches Mother. Police Arrest both domestic abusers

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Police made two arrests over the weekend in connection with domestic violence.

On Friday, October 16, 2021, around 5:00 p.m. officers arrested the man with the initials T.J.J. for seriously injuring his girlfriend after an altercation. This incident took place in the Dutch Quarter neighborhood.

During the altercation, the victim received a bite on her lower lip by the suspect. She was subsequently taken to the Sint Maarten Medical Center for further treatment.  

Following his arrest, the suspect was transported to the Philipsburg police station, where he is being held for questioning.

In the subsequent arrest, patrol officers were dispatched to the Arbutus Road in Saunders on Saturday, November 13, 2021, around 10:55 a.m. for a case of ill-treatment.

During the preliminary investigation it was determined that the young man with initials S.D. had punched his mother several times after she questioned him about the theft of cash from her purse. This suspect was arrested and brought to the police station where he was detained pending further investigation.

The continued number of reports of domestic and family violence is of great concern to the Sint Maarten Police Force.

Community awareness must be raised to drastically stop this abuse. This behavior should no longer be considered a "private" matter. It is recognized by all sectors that abuse towards a person in a relationship is considered "criminal" behavior and is punishable by law.

Individuals who choose to engage in abuse will be held accountable for their actions, it is only a matter of time. Instead of engaging in this illegal act, choose to walk away from the situation.

Do the right thing, put an end to domestic violence.


]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Mon, 15 Nov 2021 22:01:37 -0400
Minister Richardson applauds 17 Immigration Officers on training course completion

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Friday, November 12, 2021, a certificate ceremony was held as the department of Immigration Border and Protection Services (IBPS) attained another milestone whereby 11 officers successfully completed their course of PLM Praktijk Leermeester (Coaching, training, and mentorship) and 6 officers completed their course of PO Praktijk Opleider (Teach courses and prepare officers to do so as well). 

The PLM/PO courses began on November 8, and were possible with the assistance of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (KMAR). These are two of the many courses included in the ongoing education curriculum between the Ministry of Justice and KMAR. The courses are tailormade and designed to strengthen border control which stems from the mutual agreement on strengthening border control.  

During their training in the Netherlands, KMAR operates based on the ideology of "train the trainer," as such, this principle was adapted so that officers of the department of IBPS become skilled and equipped on how to train their colleagues.   

Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson stated, "One of the primary goals of the department of IBPS is to increase the overall knowledge of each officer so that they may carry out their task efficiently. As such, the community can take pride knowing that 17 of our immigration officers remain committed and dedicated to moving St. Maarten forward in the safest manner possible."

With the enforcement of immigration laws under high implementation the department of IBPS intends to continue to train its personnel to the highest possible level. These training ensure that immigration officers remain prepared to protect our borders at all times.

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Sun, 14 Nov 2021 21:40:12 -0400
Rotary Sunset Distributes 400 Hot Meals to Vulnerable Citizens

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Members and prospective members of the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset prepared and distributed 400 hot meals to underprivileged persons in various communities on the island through its fourth annual Reach 1 Feed 1 initiative.

Reach 1 Feed 1 (R1F1), carried out annually on the last Sunday in October, is a program organized by the club to assist underprivileged families that are faced with various economic challenges especially during these unprecedented times, by providing a warm meal and a cold beverage to those in need. The project targeted districts such as Dutch Quarter, Sucker Garden, Philipsburg, Pond Island, Cay Hill, Cay Bay, St. James, and Agrément.

“The month of October marks ‘Economic and Community Development’ month for Rotary clubs worldwide and I am happy that we are able to yet again carry out this project for 4 consecutive years. I am deeply touched by the dedication and commitment from the members towards the self-preparation and execution of so many meals in a matter of hours. It is always a pleasure to give back to our community in whatever way we can, and I hope that in doing so we can bring more awareness to the economic hardships that many of our fellow citizens and residents are faced with daily, especially during this ongoing worldwide pandemic,” Rotary Sunset Service Projects Chair Jaida Nisbett stated.

The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset would like to thank its partners; the members of the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset, for preparing the meals, the St. Dominic Primary School for allowing us to use their premises to prepare the meals for delivery and Mr. Russell Bell, Mr. Mario and Mr. Ricky of Elle Si Belle Tours for providing the transportation to all the districts visited. The club encourages the community at large to do their part in assisting where possible, which in turn will improve the island’s economy and community.

The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset meets every second and fourth Monday of the month at Carl N Sons Unique Inn and Conference Facilities in Colebay at 7:30pm. The club can be contacted via email at or via the official Facebook page at

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Sun, 14 Nov 2021 18:30:26 -0400
Sarah on the Vineyard Heights/Over the Bank land, “Let’s see if parliament’s motions have any teeth”

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - In the view of Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot, “The coalition might have breathed a sigh of relief, following the contentious meetings of parliament on the long lease land policies of government, but this saga seems far from over. In the case of the Vineyard Heights/Over the Bank land, concerns remain regarding the mounting claims by inheritors.”

It is on this matter, that the public meeting of parliament produced 3 motions directed to the ministry of VROMI.

Motion no. 1 dated October 20th, i.a. called for cessation of all handlings regarding Vine Yard Height/Over the Bank, until a policy is put in place and the infrastructure is done.

“It would be interesting to ascertain whether the minister of VROMI has even entertained this motion or has he thumbed his nose at the parliament? In addition to that question, are 2 related issues that surfaced following the meetings of parliament. If accurate, these issues would be completely opposite to what the minister told the members of parliament.”

The first issue is an overview that surfaced on social media that would suggest a meticulous registration of the first set of applicants for land at Over the Bank. If this is factual, it contradicts what the minister presented to parliament.

And then there is this claim that government is unlawfully owner of the land in question, presumably by heirs to the land.

The minister is sticking to a legal opinion, which according to his statement, dismisses this claim against the government.

The minister of VROMI has some explaining to do and I am therefore using my right as member of parliament to solicit clear and honest answers from the minister.


Has the motion to refrain from further action or any part thereof been executed? If so, which part(s) and how? If not, why not?

Recently again the Vineyard Heights/Over the Bank land has been challenged by claimants to the inheritance of the property. In the meeting of parliament, I requested the legal brief that advised the minister that these claims did not affect the government’s actions in connection with the property in question.

Are the Minister and advisor still of the same view? Please share the legal opinion with parliament soonest.

The minister stated in the meetings of parliament that official information regarding the initial recipients of land at Over the Bank was lacking/missing in government’s records. Yet, published documents tell another story. Has the Minister seen the document, circulating on social media? Is this document accurate? Has the Minister verified why this information was not (made) available?

MP Wescot concluded her statement by expressing the hope that the minister would promptly and truthfully respond to these questions.

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Tue, 09 Nov 2021 17:45:21 -0400
Prime Minister Jacobs meets with civil servants on Constitutional Court decision

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs met with the government organization on Friday, November 5, 2021, to render an update on the decision taken by the Constitutional Court concerning the three Temporary National Ordinances to reduce the employment benefits of the civil servants, (semi) public sector workers, and political authorities. The result of the verdict signifies that the legislation will go into effect three weeks after the day after the verdict was rendered.

Prime Minister Jacobs told the organization, “Although Government’s position was confirmed by the court, the only constant in all that has transpired is your dedication and commitment, and I appreciate that so very much. This is a tough time for all, and I sincerely empathize with the organization for the sacrifices they continue to make for the people of St. Maarten. This is not our permanent state as the laws are of a temporary nature, and will be retracted once we are able to handle our financial obligations independently. As strongly emphasized by the Court this government will continue to consider the human dimension when making decisions on the next steps forward.”

The Council of Ministers will be meeting with the Committee for Civil Servants Unions and the respective unions next week November 17, to finalize the steps in which the ordinances will be implemented. Thereafter, an update will be provided to all civil servants in a follow-up meeting with the organization.

During the meeting Prime Minister Jacobs also announced her intention to grant Friday, November 12, as a day off for all civil servants following St. Martin Day which will be celebrated on Thursday, November 11th.

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Mon, 08 Nov 2021 22:10:06 -0400
Police monitoring border situation as situation deteriorates

SINT MAARTEN (BELVEDERE) - The Police Force of Sint Maarten KPSM is monitoring and analyzing the situation at one of the border crossings with the French side (St. Martin).    

In the process of monitoring the Belvedere-French Quarter crossing, it became apparent that a group of masked individuals had barricaded the border with construction materials. The situation has now deteriorated to the point where those wishing to cross presumably have to pay a “border crossing” fee.

Due to the prevailing situation, KPSM urges drivers wishing to cross to the French side to use an alternative route.

The police will continue to monitor this situation. (KPSM)  

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Fri, 05 Nov 2021 16:48:38 -0400
Biennial Live Emergency Drill Exercise Staged at the Princess Juliana International Airport

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY-AIRPORT) - Despite the weather conditions, it was a momentous morning at the Princess Juliana International Airport for both the emergency responders and management alike, as the Princess Juliana International Airport in conjunction with the St. Maarten Government Emergency Support Functions Department (Disaster Management) hosted its biennial live Emergency Drill Exercise at the airside on Tuesday, November 2, 2021. At approximately 9:40 am a large-scale drill was executed in the proximity of the taxiway BRAVO on the airport’s runway. 

The testing of the aerodrome emergency plan is a standard requirement at airports by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and sanctioned by St. Maarten Civil Aviation Authority (SMCAA). 

Taking up his post at the Emergency Management Center of the control tower, the Airport Chief Brian Mingo acknowledged “The mandatory drill exercise serves to evaluate the various emergency agencies' response, procedure, and contingency plans should an aircraft accident occur, on or in the vicinity of the airport. Simultaneously, there was the testing of the quality and the abilities of the procedures as stipulated in the airport’s Emergency Management Manual.” 

The re-enactment of the large-scale scenario involved students of the American University of the Caribbean (AUC) and the National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA). Before the emergency exercise, residents were forewarned by the SXM Airport’s Corporate Communications not to become alarmed, as the mock drill response and rescue operation involved alarming roadway activity by the rescue and firefighting, ambulance, marines, and police units. 

In a requested statement on today’s drill, the PJIAE Deputy Fire Chief, Gerald Baptiste disclosed that the evaluation team will assess the various disciplines (Rescue and Firefighting, Airport Security, Air Traffic Service, Police, Airport Emergency Management Team, and Ambulance) activities and the handling of the mitigation of the entire staged incident, as laid down in the Airport’s Emergency Management Manual. The exercise was followed by a debriefing at the St. Maarten’s Red Cross on the Airport Road and was dubbed a success.

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Tue, 02 Nov 2021 23:31:22 -0400
US Board: Court ruling will stifle middle class, further Dutch plans,-further-dutch-plans&Itemid=450,-further-dutch-plans&Itemid=450

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The United St. Maarten (US) party expressed disappointment with the verdict of the Constitutional Court to uphold the three ordinances in connection with income and benefit cuts, despite the existence of laws that protect workers’ rights.

The party board is of the opinion that the court used convenient excuses and considerations to arrive at the underlying reason for its verdict: that it upheld the laws because St. Maarten needed liquidity support. Nothing should ever supersede the constitutional rights of the people. The verdict showed that the National Alliance led coalition government did not consider the far reaching consequences or research how the laws would affect the people. “But neither did the court. Nor did it address the trampling of workers’ rights which the three ordinances clearly do,” the US board said.

“This verdict further strengthens the Dutch agenda to financially weaken the country and stifle the little middle class that is left. It opens the door for the establishment of the COHO and the various entities, some financial in nature, that is scheduled to be setup on St. Maarten under the COHO. This is all being facilitated by the National Alliance led government,” the US board said.

“A burnt bridge that was not crossed” is how the board of the US party described the statement by the Constitutional Court that the St. Maarten and Dutch governments not lose sight of the “human dimensions” of enacting the three national ordinances in connection with income and benefit cuts. In other words, “the National Alliance government did not consider the far reaching consequences or research how the laws would affect the people. The National Alliance government now fully owns the setbacks and hardships many families and public servants are encountering,” the board said.

The board continued: “The acceptance without negotiation of the three laws that have not only stifled the growth of our middle class, but will ultimately set them back for a unspecified period of time, has yet to be complemented by an economic recovery plan to offset the cost of living that is shooting through the roof. At a time when countries around the world including the Netherlands were finding ways to maintain the livelihoods of their people and stimulate their economies the Jacobs cabinet was busy agreeing to counter-productive instructions and making decisions hoping to be rescued by the constitutional court.”

The US board stressed that the Jacobs norm, which represents a cap on the earning abilities of St. Maarten’s brightest and most talented people who manage to retain executive positions on at government owned companies, offers no incentives to graduating students, and those that have acquired experience in their fields of study.

According to State Secretary Raymond Knops, the board continues, St. Maarten lack the capacity to implement and or execute the country packages that Prime Minister Jacobs has signed on to. “It then begs the question, with limitations placed on the earning capacity of our people, how are we expected to address our capacity issues? Are we to assume that our capacity issues will be addressed and financed under the umbrella of COHO to circumvent the three laws accepted and imposed without negotiation and a defined time line?”

The US board also noted that the court somehow used the minimum wage to partly justify its ruling. With the court pointing out that at least the minimum wage wasn’t affected, it created a false impression that citizens are living a good life on the minimum wage. “The court’s considerations in arriving at its verdict were off-base and weren’t helped by the fact that there was a serious on lack of data to counter those considerations. Which means the government didn’t care enough to properly prepare its legal representatives,” the board said.

“We recall that the National Alliance from its origins of SPA/SPM days, had always championed itself as a fighter for the rights and livelihood of the middle class citizens of this country. How could this modern day NA stray so far from its history, its core beliefs and principles. The far reaching consequences of the decision by the National Alliance led coalition to accept and implement the so called 3 laws voted for by all the members of parliament except MP Christopher Emmanuel was never taken into consideration said the board,” the US board said.

The US board is of the opinion that all of the life changing agreements and or decisions made thus far by the Jacobs cabinet were void of the human dimension, because the only motivation given thus far by Honourable Prime Minister Jacobs is that “our backs were against the wall”. “Members of parliament who motivated their votes against the 3 laws presented, did so in an attempt to show solidarity with the people, only to turn around and vote in support of the motion that stripped civil servants and workers of government owned companies of their spending power, and benefits,” the US board said.

“The National Alliance who once championed themselves as the defenders of the middle class, have seemingly abandoned that position in the last year and a half and most recently passed it on to the constitutional court who in-turn passed it right back. How can our people ever place any level of confidence in the National Alliance again?” the US board concluded.

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Tue, 02 Nov 2021 20:24:06 -0400
Five Injured in A.J.C. Brouwers road accident on early Sunday morning

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Sunday, October 31, 2021, at approximately 1:30am, Police Central Dispatch received various reports of a car accident that had occurred on A.J.C. Brouwers Road in which one of the drivers was allegedly injured.  

Several police patrols and ambulance personnel were dispatched to the location. At the scene, it became apparent that there had been an accident between a blue Hyundai i10 and a green Chevrolet Spark. 

During the preliminary investigation, it was found that the driver of the Hyundai i10, which was driving on A.J.C. Brouwers Road, tried to turn left to enter Tiger Road. Simultaneously, the Chevrolet was approaching from the direction of Cole Bay. The result was in a serious collision.

The five people involved in the accident were injured. They were all were treated by the ambulance personnel at the scene and later transported to Sint Maarten Medical Center. After receiving medical attention, they were all discharged.

The investigation into this accident is still ongoing. (KPSM)  

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Tue, 02 Nov 2021 18:06:28 -0400
PFP requests public meeting to vote on President of Parliament. UD, UP, USP and Emmanuel sign on,-up,-usp-and-emmanuel-sign-on&Itemid=450,-up,-usp-and-emmanuel-sign-on&Itemid=450

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Stemming from the recently leaked, controversial statements of President of Parliament Rolando Brison, Party for Progress (PFP) Members of Parliament (MPs) Melissa Gumbs and Raeyhon Peterson have called on MP Brison to resign from his position. If he does not comply, the PFP MPs have submitted a request for an urgent public meeting on the issue, where Parliament can officially remove MP Brison with a majority vote.

Before submitting the request, MP Gumbs called a meeting of faction leaders on Monday afternoon, November 1, 2021, to discuss the matter directly with MP Brison. In addition to MP Gumbs, four other faction leaders signed on to the public meeting request. These are MP Grisha Heyliger-Marten of United People’s (UP) Party, MP Claudius Buncamper of United Sint Maarten Party (USP), Independent MP Christophe Emmanuel, and MP Sarah Wescot-Williams of United Democrats (UD).

The public meeting is to be called no later than Friday, November 5, 2021, and MPs would vote on removing MP Brison from the position of President of Parliament. If passed, Brison would still remain a Member of Parliament.

In the controversial voice clip - which circulated widely on social media on Friday, October 29, 2021 - Brison could be heard talking about “making deals” with “the young boys” in National Alliance (NA) and how current Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (VROMI) Egbert Doran will not comply with the Motion of Disapproval passed against him. Brison also openly spoke of MP Heyliger-Marten not being able to receive a permit because of her recent stances in opposition to the Government.

MPs Gumbs and Peterson have condemned these statements, characterizing them as unacceptable, disrespectful and a threat to our democratic processes.

“While much of the focus has been on the insults to that MP, this goes deeper than that. The statements clearly show that our President of Parliament is okay with Ministers ignoring Parliament’s instructions and using their office for personal and political retribution and intimidation. I am not okay with that and I have expressed this directly to MP Brison,” said MP Gumbs. “If it were only insults, we could have accepted an apology. But there are also insinuations of collusion, nepotism, and the shadowy interests of third parties. The President of Parliament has demonstrated that he is fine with some persons in the coalition violating the principles of good governance and trampling on our democratic processes. As a leader of this country, this is unforgivable.”

“The PFP faction is committed to good governance and accountability among our elected and appointed officials. This is why we submitted the Motion of Disapproval against Minister Doran, to ensure that there is a fair and objective process in the distribution of long-lease land in the Over The Bank area. The motion was passed with a substantial majority and all the factions leaders, including MP Brison’s faction leader, voted in favour,” said MP Peterson. “Ensuring accountability is the same motivation we have in calling for the MP’s resignation as Chairman. The President of Parliament is tasked with a certain level of complete objectivity at all times, in public and in private, and this does not only count for MP Brison, but for anyone who wishes to take up the role of President of Parliament. If they cannot, then the PFP faction is ready to take the necessary steps.”

“This evolving scandal is not about MP Brison’s role as a representative of his political party, but his role as the head of Parliament, the people’s highest representative body,” explained MP Peterson. “The people deserve to have a President of Parliament that respects the authority of Parliament as a check on Government’s power. This is more important than what was signed on to in a coalition agreement. ”

The PFP MPs do not believe that this matter is an internal party conflict, as mentioned by MP Heyliger-Marten in a press statement over the weeked and Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs in a radio interview on Monday morning.  

“As such, it is the people’s representatives who need to decide on how to handle this breach of public trust and confidence, not the individual party boards,” said MP Gumbs. “It is a stain on our country for the President of Parliament to openly enable certain Ministers to avoid accountability to Parliament and to continue their wrongdoing. I urge my fellow MPs to join this faction in cleaning up the stains.”

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Mon, 01 Nov 2021 20:25:17 -0400
Governor Holiday: Stay True to You, Your Choice and Your Training,-your-choice-and-your-training&Itemid=450,-your-choice-and-your-training&Itemid=450

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – His Excellency Governor drs. Eugene Holiday made the following remarks during the graduation ceremony on Friday of the Police Cadets of the Class of 2018. 

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning,

And a very special good morning and congratulations to the graduating Class of 2018.  In the next few moments, you will be promoted from cadets to officers. Congratulations to officer:

  • Kimberly Brown
  • Shannathey Cathalina
  • Marcos Henrietta
  • Shirley Hughes
  • Tatiana Hyman
  • Janica Jones
  • Randell Macnack
  • Raymond Martes Stroop
  • Franklin Mathew
  • Joel Labady
  • Denzel Levinstone
  • Suini Pantophlet, and
  • Sabina Sabroche

And congratulations to your parents who I am sure have instilled in you the values required to take on this profession.

In choosing to be police officers you have chosen the noble profession of law enforcement. You have chosen to join the law enforcement community, a special and essential group of professionals. Each of you may have different reasons for making your choice. But whatever your reason I am thankful to all of you for choosing this profession. For choosing to serve and protect our community. 

You have completed your Basic Police Education. You have been well prepared by your coaches and instructors from our Sint Maarten Police Force and from the Police Academy of the Netherlands. You have received a broad and all round training in law enforcement for police officers covering classroom subjects, such as criminal and civil law; skills and attitude training such as physical fitness, self-defense and service mindedness, and practical fieldwork, including the value of teamwork.

Your training has prepared you to be professional police officers. It has imparted and strengthened important values of discipline, respect, fairness, and honesty. Values that will guide you to master your work as police officers. I trust that you will internalize the lessons learned and values instilled in you during your training and that you will continuously reflect on, practice, and sharpen them as you take up your duties as police officers. 

It is no secret that we live in difficult and challenging times. Times are becoming more complex as our world becomes more global. Besides the problems of our own making, we increasingly face global threats from cross border crime, such as drug- and human trafficking, from climate change, such as stronger hurricanes, or from pandemics such as COVID-19.

Police officers are as a result on the frontline facing these threats and you will be expected to tackle increasingly difficult situations. You will have to mediate conflicts and to make split-second decision in life and death situations. Persons will challenge you and others will tempt you and test your character. And increasingly your decisions and actions will be questioned.

Taking on this challenging job takes courage and strength. As you encounter these situations, you ought to stay true to you, stay true to your choice, and stay true to the lessons learned and values instilled in you during your training. Always remember that it is your duty to uphold the law in service of the common good and that together, as part of the law enforcement team, you stand stronger with a much better chance to solve problems and make a difference in our community. A difference which manifests itself through the freedom, peace and order we enjoy in everyday life on Sint Maarten. This thanks to the essential work of our law enforcement community.

Members of the class of 2018 as you join the law enforcement community as members of the police force of Sint Maarten may each of you be blessed for your courage to take up this law enforcement challenge, blessed for the invaluable services you will provide and blessed for the sacrifices you will make on behalf of our Beloved and Sweet Sint Maarten land.

Today is a high point in your life and I hope that it will be followed by many more going forward. I wish each of you much success in you careers and expect to see you as leaders in law enforcement in the future. Once again congratulation to the Class of 2018.

Thank you.

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Fri, 29 Oct 2021 17:02:42 -0400
13 New Officers join KPSM Police Ranks

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Police Force of St. Maarten KPSM has added thirteen new police officers to its ranks with the graduation of the Basic Police Training BPO Class of 2018 on Friday morning.

The new officers took their oath before Justice Minister Anna Richardson in front of the Walter R. Kramers Building (Police Headquarters). They received their completion certificates from Chief Inspector R. Appelhof of the Netherlands Police Academy, and handed their epaulettes, signaling their change of rank from cadet to police officer, changed by their family members.

His Excellency the Governor of St. Maarten Drs. Eugene Holiday, Prime Minister the Honorable Silveria Jacobs and the Minister of Justice the Honorable Anna Richardson, Chief Prosecutor Mirjam Mol, and NAPB President Inspector R.E. Mauricia addressed the graduates. They wished them well in their chosen paths and expressed thanks to the graduates for taking up the call to serve in the justice field.

Police Chief Carl John, the rest of KPSM management team, and representatives of the Netherlands Police Academy congratulated all graduates on their academic achievements and warmly thanked the family members for their support for the officers during their training.

KPSM intends to continue to train its personnel to the highest possible level and to lay the foundation for the highest level of professional police service. Two other classes of recruits are undergoing the same intensive training, one class will sit their final exams at the end of this year.

The ceremony was also attended by other members of the Council of Ministers, Members of Parliament, government department heads, representatives of various associations and communities, fellow colleagues, relatives, and friends. (KPSM)

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]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Fri, 29 Oct 2021 16:39:16 -0400
Minister of VROMI Doran Approves Airport Terminal Reconstruction Permit

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning, and Infrastructure (Ministry of VROMI) recently approved the permit for reconstruction of the terminal building at the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA).

The permit immediately authorizes all necessary modifications to the super-structure to realize its renovation and optimal functioning.

“The reconstruction of our airport is long overdue, and I am pleased that we arrived at the turning point of signatory approval.

“Signing that building permit gives me hope of a swift return to a fully operational airport in the very near future,” Minister Doran said on Thursday.

The minister added that the permit enables the execution of necessary concrete and steel works, constructing of walls and rooms, installation of elevators, escalators, and stairwells and other tasks of similar nature.

Ministry VROMI Minister Doran during recent visit to PJIA

Minister of VROMI Hon. Egbert Doran (5th from left) during a recent visit to PJIA; Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Brian Mingo (4th from left), Prime Minister Hon. Silveria Jacobs (6th from left) and other airport, contractor, and board representatives.


]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Thu, 28 Oct 2021 16:30:03 -0400
Victorious Living Hosts Caribbean Stage At Lifestyle Medicine Summit on Wed

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - Over 70% of deaths worldwide are related to non-communicable diseases (NCD) and they devastate individuals, families, communities, and countries’ healthcare systems.

Research shows that 90% of every healthcare dollar goes to treating people with chronic conditions. Moreover, 89% of those hospitalized with COVID had pre-existing conditions. Health care providers and patients are frustrated and agree that we need new evidence-based, innovative solutions proven to stop and reverse lifestyle-based chronic diseases.

Considering these startling statistics, Johannes Fisslinger, founder of Lifestyle Prescriptions University (LPU) has embarked on a commendable feat with his team to launch the virtual Lifestyle Medicine Summit which starts on Wednesday October 27th, 2021 until October 31st.

The Summit focuses on helping health care professionals to integrate lifestyle medicine in their practices so that more lives can be saved through prevention of chronic diseases; while helping health lovers to use the best practices to create healthy lifestyles.

Visionary of Victorious Living Foundation, Dr. N. Erna Mae Francis Cotton, and her husband Roy Cotton, Jr., host of the internationally syndicated radio show, Love & Inspiration, who studied Lifestyle Prescriptions Medicine Health Coaching at LPU have seen amazing results with the protocols learned at LPU. Consequently, they have teamed up with Fisslinger to host an interactive Caribbean stage at the Summit on October 31st.

The theme of the Caribbean stage is: “Making the Caribbean the Health Destination of the World.” The stage opens at 2:45 p.m. on October 31st with an introduction by the hosts Roy Cotton, Jr. and Dr. Erna Mae Francis Cotton; Talks by Dr. Emiko Bird-Lake, cardiologist at the St. Maarten Medical Center, Billie Sterling-Lewis, Counselling psychologist, Certified Life Coach, Author and Founder of EMPAC in Tobago, Honourable Priest Kailash Leonce, Visionary, Mount Kailash Rejuvenation Centre St. Lucia, and Dr. Arlene Rose Medical Doctor, Dermatologist, Author, Motivational Speaker, Jamaica. It all culminates with a panel discussion on what it will take to make the Caribbean the “Health and Wellness Destination” of the world.

You are invited to register for this free conference at by going to the health page. You’ll get: 90+ World-Renowned Researchers, Experts & Best-Selling Authors; 70+ TED-style Live Talks (100% content); 18 Premium Live Workshops; 9 Live Interactive Stages; spread over 7 Continents and 3 Languages (English, Spanish, Arabic).

Be a part of the change as together we revolutionize our health care system.

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]]> (Roddy) Soualiga News Today Tue, 26 Oct 2021 14:49:06 -0400