Soualiga News Today

Soualiga News Today (4155)


SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Management of NAGICO Insurances hereby advises that our Head Office in Philipsburg will reopen on Monday, October 5th to the public. However, out of an abundance of caution, our Medical and Claims Department will remain closed, and services from those department will be available online only.

Following the recent confirmation of one of our staff testing positive for the COVID-19 virus on Wednesday evening, immediate action was taken and we closed our office for two days, to allow CPS to conduct a thorough contact tracing and a professional cleaning firm to do a complete deep cleaning, fumigating and sanitization of the entire building.

We are happy to report that our staff is in good spirits and under the guidance of CPS. NAGICO will continue to be prudent and responsible in our actions as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The safety of our staff is important to us and we take our responsibility to provide a safe, clean and healthy working environment for our team very seriously,” Managing Director and Territory Head Eric Ellis explained. “We would like to reassure our clients that despite the closure of our Medical and Claims Department, both services will be available online and we encourage them to connect and transact with us digitally at or via email through your usual NAGICO representatives.”

We are operating in very challenging times and we would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone of the importance of adhering to the Covid-19 prevention guidelines and wish you and your families continued good health.


Testing capacity now on Saba. More countries, islands move to high-risk category

SABA (THE BOTTOM) — The Public Entity Saba has announced some developments in light of the COVID-19 crisis. One positive development is that a COVID-19 testing capacity has been set up on Saba. At the same time, updates have taken place with regard to the entry and quarantine policy in the latest emergency ordinance. Several countries and islands moved to high-risk category, including Bonaire, Curaçao and the Netherlands.

Being able to test for COVID-19 and have quick and accurate results is an important tool to control any potential spread of the coronavirus. Since last week, Saba can perform Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing on-island with the installment of the necessary equipment facilitated by the National Institute for Public Health and Environment in the Netherlands (RIVM).

The number of tests that can be done on Saba is however limited, and will be prioritized for patients with symptoms, and for close contacts of any possible new case on Saba. In these situations, quick results can greatly reduce the risk of further spread. Most routine end-of-quarantine tests will still be processed off-island, either in St. Maarten or Curaçao.

Testing persons without symptoms still remains a challenge for incoming passengers from the United States and Canada, therefore Saba has also extended its testing requirements for entry to persons traveling from outside the region to 120 hours maximum before arrival to the island. For persons traveling from within the region a 72-hour maximum result is still required.

Risk categorization

Another development is that Saba has updated its risk categorization of countries and islands per September 28. On the high-risk list are now: South and Central America, the United States, the Dominican Republic, St. Maarten, Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, the Netherlands, and most of Europe.

Classified as medium-risk countries are: Canada and St. Eustatius. Only Anguilla and St. Kitts and Nevis remain categorized as low risk.

It is required that all persons who want to enter Saba must email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to request approval from the Island Governor for entry to the island. Requests are dealt with case by case. Persons from high-risk areas and medium-risk areas can be subjected to additional measures such as quarantine upon arrival and testing prior to and after arrival. Incoming persons from low risk countries/islands still need approval beforehand, but require no testing or quarantining.

Central quarantine

Concerning the central quarantine policy, the Public Entity Saba announced that it will no longer be mandatory for persons from high-risk areas to stay in a government central quarantine location. Persons from high-risk areas now have the option to quarantine at home or a private location suitable for quarantine purposes. The government quarantine location will still be available for people who cannot stay at home or do not have a private location. The price is US $50 per person, per night. All quarantine locations will be monitored 24/7 through mobile surveillance.

Long-stay visitors

Saba is working with the hotels and accommodation managers on planning for a phase one soft opening for long-stay visitors. These visitors will need to follow specific requirements such as pre- testing, signing a quarantine waiver agreeing to a 14-day quarantine, and testing at the end of quarantine for people coming from high-risk areas. The hotels and the government together are drafting plans which contain elements such as supplying of food, check-in procedure, cleaning supplies, staff procedures, transportation etc. An information package will be provided to the accommodation which will act as a guideline for the businesses and which will also have documents that need to be sent to potential guests.

Dive visits

The Public Entity Saba is furthermore working together with the local dive shops to put a protocol in place which will allow yachts to visit Saba for diving purposes. The idea is that the yachts will only come to the moorings, where they will meet with the designated dive shop. All paperwork will be done beforehand. The dive briefing will be done from a distance and the guide and divers will each depart from their own vessels before meeting under the water. Ultimately, no close or physical contact will occur and all equipment will be disinfected before and after each use.

In addition to this, the Caribbean Explorer has begun charters to Saba again. They also only go to the mooring and as they have their own dive permit, they conduct the dives themselves without any interaction with residents. Divers from both the Caribbean Explorer and the yachts are not permitted to come ashore.

The Government will continue to work along with the Saba University School of Medicine on a process for incoming medical students and professors to the island. 


CIBC FirstCaribbean Employees Count Down to Virtual Walk for the Cure

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - CIBC FirstCaribbean employees wore purple, and Walk for the Cure/Positive Foundation face masks for Jeans Day to raise cancer awareness and funds ahead of the bank’s Virtual Walk for the Cure & Concert of Hope taking place this Sunday, October 4. 

The bank, through promoter 4D Entertainment, will be producing the regional event that will bring together some thirteen popular regional performers and two DJs for a full three hours of entertainment that will also include energetic workout sessions from a number of top fitness coaches. 

Two performers bringing a different feel to the show will be St. Maarten’s very own, King James and Reinir Lijfrock from the island of Curacao. Regional performers include Mr. Vegas from Jamaica, Mr. Killa from Grenada, Teddyson John from St. Lucia, Ricardo Drue hailing from Antigua, and from the Bahamas Julian Believe. 

The online programme commences at 4p.m. and can be viewed by logging on to;;;

Caribvision and Zoom. 

Persons wishing to support the cause can purchase face masks for $10.00 USD via the bank or the Positive Foundation. Contributions can also be made via the walk’s donation drop boxes or via CIBC FirstCaribbean Account C/A 10055400 at both the Philipsburg and Cole Bay branches.



SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Management of NAGICO Insurances advises that we have received notice of one confirmed Covid-19 case at the Company’s Philipsburg Office. We have taken immediate action in the best interest of our staff, customers, and partners. Our Philipsburg Office will be closed on 1st and 2nd October 2020 to facilitate the thorough sanitization of the three levels of our building by a professional cleaning firm.

We are being prudent and responsible in our actions. CPS is aware of the positive case and is conducting contact tracing. Please rest assured that although our Philipsburg Office is temporarily closed, our team remains available remotely to address your needs in the normal course of business.  As a reminder, for your convenience we have expanded the suite of services available on our website and we encourage you to connect and transact with us digitally at or via email through your usual NAGICO representatives. The online services include request a quote, notification of a loss, submission of claim documents and renewal of policies.

The health and safety of our stakeholders is of paramount importance to us. We have taken the necessary steps to ensure business continuity and your well-being.

We are operating in some very challenging times thus we take this opportunity to remind you of the importance of adhering to the Covid-19 prevention guidelines and wish you and your families continued good health.


PFP MP Gumbs Questions Minister of TEATT De Weever on BTP Matters

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Party for Progress (PFP) Member of Parliament (MP) Melissa Gumbs sent questions to Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Telecommunications and Transportation Ludmila de Weever on Tuesday, 28 September 2020 about the current status of several outstanding items related to Bureau Telecommunications & Post (BTP).

BTP is the country regulator on telecommunications and postal matters. Gumbs, who prior to being elected to Parliament worked for one of the country’s telecommunication companies, based her questions to the Minister on the 2015 General Audit Chamber’s audit report on governance at BTP and the country’s current ICT status.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown our country’s ICT infrastructure into the spotlight,” Gumbs said in a media statement. “From online learning and accessing government services online, to the ability to do business digitally, COVID has exposed existing cracks in our ability to compete regionally from a connectivity point of view. At the heart of it is, in my belief, the country’s regulatory body, Bureau Telecommunications and Post.”

Gumbs requested that the Minister provide a breakdown of how the Ministry had addressed and implemented the recommendations of the Audit Chamber’s 2015 audit report. Among these recommendations, which Gumbs provided with her questions, were setting a vision, policy, and policy objectives for the telecommunication and postal sectors of the country.

“The Audit Chamber report highlighted that there has been no actual vision for how we would like to see these two sectors develop and grow,” Gumbs stated. “This has, unfortunately, been a running theme for each TEATT minister, year over year.”

Also, among the recommendations from the Audit Chamber was the establishment of an annual performance contract for the Director of BTP that is actually in accordance with the National Ordinance of BTP. The audit report highlighted several discrepancies with regards to the state of the Director’s contract in 2015, and Gumbs is curious as to whether this, and other recommendations, have been resolved.

Secondary to the Audit Chamber’s report, Gumbs queried the status of BTP’s probe project, which involved installing mobile and fixed measuring probes in vehicles and homes, respectively. The project was meant to yield clear data that reflected actual performance levels of the country’s internet service providers, with the intention that BTP then hold the providers accountable for any failure to meet service standards. The MP requested information on the project, most notably what the results were, if telecom providers were in compliance with BTP and if any final reports on this project be delivered to Parliament.

“E-government, online learning, e-commerce are all beautiful concepts,” Gumbs said. “But they rely on a vision and concrete plan for growth and development in the telecom and postal sector. Bandwidth capacity issues will impact the future of these areas of our country’s development and more. Even ideas that target digital nomads (people who work from different countries) will be held back by a lagging ICT infrastructure; if we cannot handle the people who live here, how do we expect to handle an influx of others?”


SMMC installs new state-of-the-art mammography machine

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) is pleased to announce the arrival and installation of their new GE Pristina Mammography Machine and the resumption of its mammography service.

The machine, which has been operational since September 1st 2020, is a state-of-the-art mammography machine that features superior diagnostic accuracy, 3D imaging and an FDA seal of approval and has been named one of Time Magazine’s Best Inventions in 2019. In addition to its innovative features, the new machine offers a more pleasant and less intense experience for patients, and is right on time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

As of September 1st, patients who were placed on the waiting list were scheduled for their exams along with urgent cases. New requests were scheduled accordingly to handle the backlog of patients due to the previous machine being down and the local surge of COVID-19 cases. Prior to the arrival of the new machine, patients were given a referral to the French side to conduct their mammograms but since September 1st, these referrals to the French Side have ceased.

SMMC’s Manager Patient Care and Education, Mr. Antonio Pantophlet said; “We are extremely happy to have this new machine in service as it allows us to continue to provide quality care to the people of St. Maarten, Saba, Statia and the surrounding islands, close to home”.

“In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, unfortunately this year our observance of breast cancer awareness month looks a bit different than usual but nonetheless, we still intend to spend the month of October doing all we can in close collaboration with the Positive Foundation and the Elektralytes Foundation to increase breast cancer awareness on the island of St. Maarten”, concluded Mr. Pantophlet.

SMMC thanks all patients, the General Practitioners and the insurance companies for their patience and understanding while they awaited the arrival of the new machine. SMMC also extends their gratitude to Dr. Bartoli and the Centre d’Imagerie Medicale on French Saint Martin for accommodating patients’ mammography exams in the interim.

SMMC is proud to have this new, state-of-the-art machine in service and urges all patients interested in a mammogram to visit their General Practitioner to obtain a referral letter. Appointments can be made by calling the Radiology Department at: Tel: +(1-721) 543-1111 ext. 1360 or 1367 from Monday - Friday between 8:00 am – 4:00 pm.

SMMCs GE Pristina Mammography Machine

SMMC’s Mammography Room with the new GE Pristina Mammography Machine



West Tech Shipping and the Rotary Club Assist Families with Back to School

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - West Tech Shipping is donating school supplies to underprivileged students across the region.

This week the regional courier and logistics company donated tablets, wireless keyboards and school supplies to the Rotary Club, which selected the students who would benefit most from the donation. In a supporting press release the Rotary Club of St. Maarten Sunset says that supporting basic education and literacy is one of its primary areas of focus and the Club strongly believes in the right to sound education for every child.

“Providing a tablet for a student in need is like igniting a flame of endless opportunities. Although COVID-19 has presented our educational system with numerous challenges, it has also accelerated our educational system to embrace all the benefits of technology through virtual learning. As an educator and avid supporter of education, I am truly honored to be a part of an organization that takes action to create lasting change in our community

President of the Rotary Club of St. Maarten Sunset, Elisia Lake stated.

The 2020 school year is a very challenging one from a number of angles. With the introduction of homeschooling, tablets and other mobile devices have become a staple in the education curriculum. A number of families, in particular families with more than one student, have found it burdensome to source virtual learning devices to accommodate their needs. West Tech shipping recognizes that business and organizations must play its part in assisting those families for the benefit of the children.

“West Tech Shipping always strives to assist the community in whatever little way that we can. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many lives and created a major technological shift in the education system, one that many parents were not prepared for. We felt that if we could touch at least one underprivileged family from each of the five territories in which we operate, we would have lessened the burden and contributed to the education of a child.”

“We are not solely in the business of shipping your packages; we want to give back to our customers and the wider community. We are grateful that the Rotary Club agreed to partner with us on this humble venture by selecting and handing over the supplies to the deserving students.”

Commented West Tech Shipping’s Regional Marketing Manager-Delia Louis

This gesture is not the first time the Shipping Company has played an integral part in the development of the community. West Tech has partnered with the Buddy Bench programme to fight bullying in schools; the Dunnottar School to provide employment experience to a disabled student, the Make It Happen Foundation on prisoner rehabilitation, the Salvation Army through volunteer time, made donations to local charitable causes and supported sporting, cultural and social events through sponsorships. West Tech Shipping continues to work with local colleges to provide annual internship and employment opportunities for students.


About West Tech Shipping

West Tech Shipping is the leading, regional courier and logistics company. West Tech customers enjoy fast, easy and affordable air shipments (Monday to Friday), and one weekly sea freight package shipment, from the United States into the Caribbean region.

Simply order your items anywhere online, or West Tech orders for you, and you can receive your packages in as little as two business days, once the packages reach our US warehouse.

The shipping service can also be utilised to receive packages from friends and relatives in the US, or if you are travelling and do not wish to pay extra charges for flight luggage.

West Tech offers tracking and shipment notification services, as well as, the option to pay online or via our mobile app, using your personal West Tech account. West Tech customers also benefit from “Shippy” points on their orders, which can be used to pay for shipping and handling fees.

West Tech Shipping provides five convenient locations across the region, in Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Maarten, Grenada and Barbados

To experience quick shipping at the most competitive rates sign up for a free West Tech Shipping account at


Caribbean artist Kevin Lyrick recently signed to European label

SAINT-MARTIN (MARIGOT) - The new single hitting global airways, “Feel So Strong” combines hot Caribbean vibes with a cool Swedish touch, promoters said in a press statement on Friday.

Jamaica-born, St. Martin raised with a golden voice, Kevin Lyrick has a remarkable cross-cultural gift for melody. His creative spirit accented by his unique style of songwriting has distinguished him as the Best New Artist in 2019.

Kevin Lyrick is one of the hottest newcomers to the Caribbean music scene and was recently signed to the European record labels Black Beat Records and Kingstone Records. This marks the genesis of new music collaborations with artists across the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa to create a new fusion of Caribbean AfroPop.

The single ”Feel so strong” featuring Swedish pop singer Raven Reii was produced by London-born Wayne Beckford and Georges Williams. With a glimpse of our new and fresh sound, it went straight to the playlist of radio stations around the world.

Stay tuned. Kevin Lyrick's full album is already in the making and promises to be full of exciting musical surprises.



NV GEBE Donates 400 Tablets/Laptops to Government for the Primary Schools

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - NV GEBE on its 60th anniversary, September 16, 2020, donated 400 hundred tablets/laptops to the Government of St. Maarten who will in turn distribute those tablets/laptops amongst the Primary Schools on the island for students who are in need.

As uncertainty continues to hover about the physical reopening of schools due to the COVID 19, teachers, parents and students are concerned about the fate of education due to lack of resources to access classes online.  

In helping to relieve some of these fears, NV GEBE has donated 400 tablets/laptops. This will increase NV GEBE’s corporate social responsibility and financial support to the community of St. Maarten to $350 thousand dollars for 2020.

In an invited statement from CEO of NV GEBE he states that our island has been faced with so many challenges over the past few months and every child should have access to education and now 400 students will be able to continue their education even from home.

We understand that this is an uncertain time for everyone, we at GEBE are elated to be able to provide this level of support to help ease the burden and make a difference in the life of the student, parents, and teachers in the community.

The Managing Board of NV GEBE have been committed towards education and sports over the years.

To share in the small celebration of the 60th anniversary of NV GEBE, the Minister with responsibility for NV GEBE was invited to hand over the tablets/laptops to the Minister of Education.

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