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SoualiganSlangs launches Border To Border 2 Game at SMART

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - Iconic St. Maarten / St. Martin Culture company SoualiganSlangs will use the St. Martin / St. Maarten Annual Regional Tradeshow SMART of April 8-11 as launching pad for its newest product, the Border To Border 2 Game, as a sequel to its innovative cultural education card game Border To Border. This was announced today by the SoualiganSlangs Company in conjunction with the SMART Tradeshow.

Border To Border 2 is the sequel to the Border To Border card game, providing insights of the uniquely binational St. Maarten / St. Martin culture whilst playing. SoualiganSlangs is a company of young islanders trying to promote and preserve local language and heritage in modern and appealing ways. Both digitally, in fashion and in sticker form, amongst others their "Mawhnin!", "Watating" and "Ayo lawd!" designs are widespread.

Joy Carty of SoualiganSlangs: "We are elated to be present at SMART and look forward to making our designs part of a revived tourism product as presented at the tradeshow. We invite all tourism players present to pass by our booth, where we will be happy to demonstrate Border To Border 2 - possibly even challenge you with a game or two!” As a joint present, SoualiganSlangs and SMART will also provide visitors foreign and domestic with a "Culture Box", providing insights in both fun ways to learn about St. Maarten culture and the Border To Border game series.

SMART 2024 opened its Early Bird Registration last week. Tourism businesses and firms serving the industry are invited to join the principal tradeshow of the Northeastern Caribbean to connect to tourism firms foreign and domestic.

Its 16th edition will be held this April 8th to 11th at Sonesta Maho Beach Resort. The tradeshow is traditionally organized by the Sint Maarten Tourism Bureau, St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA), the Office de Tourisme de St. Martin and the Club du Tourisme. The event is the largest travel platform in the Northeastern Caribbean for foreign tour operators, OTA’s and travel agents to do business with local hoteliers, DMC’s and excursions.

In addition, the presence of many large regional hotels and companies attracts further interested companies from the region and beyond, serving the region’s main industry. Lower Early Bird Prices apply until February 28th. As SMARTs previous edition was wholly sold out, organizers are encouraged to ensure a spot on the tradeshow floor within this timeframe.

Interested parties can take up contact as of today with the SMART team at 1-721-542-0108 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or find booking and lodging information at www.shta.com/smart.

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Sint Maarten Real GDP for 2022 is estimated to have increased by 13.9%

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - The Department of Statistics (STAT) reports an increase in the real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the year 2022, with an estimated growth of 13.9 per cent when measured in constant 2018 prices (that is, after removing the effect of price changes).

This followed an expansion of 7.1 per cent in 2022 Between 2019 and 2020 real GDP decreased by 20.4 percent, largely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It then recovered between 2020 and 2021, increasing by 7.1 per cent, before the 13.9 per cent increase in 2022 noted above, leaving real GDP only slightly lower around 3.0 per cent than it was in 2019. The most recent increase reflects the country’s ongoing efforts to stabilize and recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

The largest contribution to the 13.9 per cent increase in real GDP in 2022 came from Transportation and storage (taxi’s, public busses, Car rentals, Container shipments, warehouse rental etc.) which experienced an increase of 47.3 per cent growth contributing 4.1 percentage points to the overall increase. The second major contributor was the Wholesale and Retail sector (grocery stores, clothing shops, electronic stores etc.) which experienced a 27.7 per cent growth compared to 2021 and contributed 3.2 percentage points to the overall increase of 13.9 per cent.

The next largest contribution to the recovery in 2022 was from the Accommodation and Food Services sector (hotels, guest houses, restaurants, take-ways, catering, etc.), which is highly dependent on cruise and stayover tourism arrivals, for which the estimated increase was 45.7 per cent, contributing a further 2.9 percentage points to the overall growth.

Taken together, these three dynamic performances alone contributed a total of 10.2 percentage points to the overall increase in real GDP of 13.9 per cent which underscores their substantial impact on the overall expansion of the economy. In current prices, which includes the impact of price changes, GDP witnessed a substantial 16.6 per cent year-on-year increase, reaching ANG 2.6 billion.

In the fiscal year 2023, the Department of Statistics underwent a comprehensive evaluation of its statistical processes with the assistance of the International Monetary Fund’s regional technical assistance centre (CARTAC).

This assessment led to the implementation of methodological changes and the incorporation of diagnostic checks into the compilation procedure. Furthermore, significant streamlining efforts were introduced to enhance the primary survey used for GDP compilation. These improvements led to some revision to the estimates for GDP for earlier years.

The methodology used for estimating GDP by production in constant prices is the ‘single indicator’ method. This involves either i) extrapolating the base year level of output (which is the amount of production) for each economic activity with a volume index (usually based on the physical quantity of the product produced by the activity, for example the kilowatt hours of electricity produced for the electricity generation sector) or, ii) dividing the nominal value of output in each year with a price index (a procedure referred to as ’deflation).

The constant price value of the purchases used to produce the output - technically referred to as the Intermediate Consumption (IC) – is then estimated in constant prices on the assumption that the ratio of IC/output ratio is unchanged since the base year.

The underlying assumption here is that the technology used to produce the output is reasonably stable in the periods since the last base year. Gross value added, or GVA, is then derived as balancing item, that is output minus IC.

The survey conducted in 2023 encompassed final financial data for 2021, based on financial statements, and estimates for 2022 obtained from businesses and organizations. STAT extends its appreciation for the ongoing collaboration with the business community and emphasizes the confidential handling of all received data.

It is reiterated that individual company information remains undisclosed, as all reports are presented at an aggregate level. The data serve as a valuable resource for the government, enabling the formulation of well-informed policies and decisions to foster continued economic growth.

STAT will continue to work to improve the overall quality of the estimates of GDP, including working with other government departments to make use of existing data holdings, STAT is also excited to explore the potential to incorporate additional information on trade flows using the recently announced ASYCUDA system which would be used to measure the value and volume of external trade into the GDP calculations.

SXM Picture2 table 1

SXM Picture3 table 2

SXM Picture4 table 3

 

 

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Exciting volunteer opportunity for young people

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - The Department of Youth in collaboration with UNICEF the Netherlands announces a unique volunteer opportunity for young people aged 13 to 25 in Sint Maarten. This initiative aims to develop a youth-focused survey, offering participants a chance to contribute to their community while gaining valuable experience in data collection and collaboration with international organizations.

By participating in this opportunity, young individuals will earn community service hours, connect with peers, and work alongside professionals from the Department of Youth and UNICEF the Netherlands. Interested candidates can find further details and apply at www.volunteer.sx.

The survey's primary objective is to identify effective communication channels between youth and governmental departments, focusing on media usage, preferred channels, and online influencers. This endeavour underscores the commitment of the Department of Youth to enhance meaningful youth participation in societal matters, ensuring their voices are heard in policy-making processes.

Soraya Agard-Lake, Head of the Department of Youth, stated: "Our goal is to empower youth and foster their active involvement in shaping our society. We believe in providing platforms for young people to express their opinions and influence decisions that impact their lives."

Selected volunteers will engage in online sessions led by UNICEF the Netherlands experts to assist in survey development. Furthermore, they will play a crucial role in disseminating the survey among their peers, gathering data, and contributing to the final report.

Young individuals aged 13 to 25 who are passionate about community engagement and communication are encouraged to apply through www.volunteer.sx before the new deadline on March 8, 2024.

For inquiries about this opportunity, please contact Laura Bijnsdorp, Communications Specialist at UNICEF the Netherlands, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Support NIA and Celebrate Jazz Legends with ‘A Jazz Triple Bill’

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - Get ready to groove and celebrate the legacy of jazz with “A Jazz Triple Bill,” presented by Union Lodge 266 St Maarten and the National Institute of the Arts (NIA). In honour of Black History Month, this event will showcase the timeless talent of Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, and Count Basie, all while supporting the vibrant local arts scene.

“A Jazz Triple Bill” will be held at NIA’s Blackbox Theatre, St. Maarten on February 16, 17, 23, and 24 starting at 8:00 pm. For just US$25 per ticket, you can experience an unforgettable evening of live jazz performed by both professional local musicians and students of the NIA. Not only will you be treated to incredible music, but you’ll also be contributing to the preservation of the arts on the island.

Jazz, often hailed as "America’s classical music," has roots that run deep in the cultural fabric of the United States. Originating in New Orleans at the turn of the 20th century, jazz blends elements of ragtime and blues to create a genre that is uniquely American. What’s more, some of the most iconic figures in jazz history were also Freemasons.

Duke Ellington was a pioneering jazz musician and composer whose impact on the genre continues to be felt today. Nat King Cole, a virtuoso pianist and band leader, emerged from the swing era to leave an indelible mark on the world of music. Count Basie, known as "The King of Swing," dazzled audiences with his exceptional talent as a pianist and bandleader.

But beyond their musical contributions, these legends were also members of the Freemasons, a fraternal organization with a rich history of supporting the arts and charitable causes. By attending “A Jazz Triple Bill,” you not only pay homage to these iconic musicians but also contribute to the nurturing of young talent, in music and in dance, and the promotion of the arts on St. Maarten.

Tickets for “A Jazz Triple Bill” can be purchased directly from the National Institute of the Arts. Simply call 1721 520-0444 to secure your tickets or reach out to members who have tickets available for sale. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of this unforgettable event and support NIA’s mission to enrich the cultural landscape of St. Maarten. Get your tickets today and be a part of something truly special.

NIA SCHEDULE

NIA INS2 Febres brothers

NIA INS1 Mr. James conducting the Youth Orchestra

 

 

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Parliament to have its first Public meeting for the 2024-2028 Parliamentary term

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The House of Parliament will sit in a Public meeting on February 10, 2024.

The Public meeting is scheduled for Saturday at 14.00 hrs. in the Legislative Hall at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg.

The agenda point is:

Appointment of Chairperson and Vice-Chairpersons

Members of the public are invited to the House of Parliament to attend parliamentary deliberations. All persons visiting the House of Parliament must adhere to the house rules.

The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House in Philipsburg. 

The parliamentary sessions will be carried live on TV 15, Soualiga Headlines, via SXM GOV radio FM 107.9, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the internet www.sxmparliament.org, www.pearlfmradio.sx and www.youtube.com/c/SintMaartenParliament 

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Tzu Chi resumes yearly prison visits, donates 92 packages for inmates

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - It was an inspirational day within the walls of the Pointe Blanche Prison on Friday, January 26, 2024, when the St Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation resumed its annual visits at the penal facility to donate personal hygiene and other items to inmates. 

The foundation has been visiting the facility annually for many years but paused in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Six volunteers and two Tzu Chi Commissioners participated in the visit, which represented Tzu Chi’s New Year’s blessings. 

A total of 12 of the 92 inmates, who are incarcerated in St Maarten, attended the session – ten males and two females, supervised by three prison officers.   

During the visit, Tzu Chi donated 92 packages containing personal hygiene and other items to inmates. The packages were for inmates at the Pointe Blanche Prison, Philipsburg and Simpson Bay detention facility. Each package contained a composition book, pens, colour pencils, toothpaste, toothbrush, bath soap, washing soap, shampoo, fruit juiceTZU prison delivery, instant noodles, cookies and chocolate. 

Inspirational

Prior to the distribution of the items, Tzu Chi volunteers took the opportunity to share an inspirational message to inmates, who displayed positive and harmonious attitudes throughout the interactive two-hour programme.    

Volunteers shared the message through a game entitled “Happiness and Sadness” with seven volunteer inmates. 

The game began with one of the inmates “Person A” having two cards in his hand: “happiness” and “sadness.” The inmate immediately passes on the sadness card to the first person, who receives the sadness and in turn passes on pain from his hand, the second person receives pain and passes on anger. The third person receives anger and passes on debasement. The fourth person got debasement and immediately passed on poverty. The fifth person receives the poverty and sent out his depression, the sixth person accepted the depression, and immediately passes on sadness back to Person A at the end of the circle. 

Tzu Chi Commissioner Sandra Cheung explained that although “Person A” kept happiness, that person chose to send out sadness and as a result the ripple effect resulted in a circle of negative cards in the process. “It is the same thing as our daily lives, the moment we send out negative messages, we end up increasing unnecessary confusion and afflictions to ourselves and others,” she said. 

“If we know that we made a wrong choice, we just need to admit it and accept the mistake we made. Life is just like a game or a stage- when we change our thoughts and change our characters, life will begin to transform.” 

The game was reset and played again with “Person A” instead handing out the happiness card to the second person, who received calm. That person hands out calmness to the third person who receives wisdom, this person hands out wisdom and the other person receives compassion, which is passed on for understanding, then gratitude and ends with happiness being passed on at the end of the circle back to the first person. 

Cheung explained that although “Person A” kept sadness this time and sent out the much more positive happiness, there were many positive cards in the process. “It is the same thing as in our daily lives. When we send out positive messages, that positivity will bring peace and happiness to ourselves and to others.” 

The inmates were grateful for the positivity shared. “Thank you for coming and taking time out of your day to give us positivity and speak wisdom into our lives. We really do appreciate it. What I take is what you give is that you get,” said one inmate speaking on behalf of his fellow colleagues.   

Another inmate thanked the foundation for teaching them the message of the four-spirituality soup of contentment, gratitude, understanding and accommodation. 

Another inmate said he was thankful for Tzu Chi’s efforts to help persons around the world and in particular for helping inmates be positive, to make positive decisions and to look into their spiritual selves for a better life. 

“Thanks for the encouragement and the positive [words] and I hope that everyone can give positivity as well,” said a female inmate.   

Similar sentiments were expressed by Tzu Chi volunteers, one of whom said he was happy to have assisted. “It was a very good experience for all of us and the prison guards were excited to see Tzu Chi and they [inmates] were all very interested in what was said and probably they will change their life,” said one volunteer. 

“It was a nice experience volunteering at the prison with the Tzu Chi Foundation. We went and showed some love and some support,” said another volunteer. 

Tzu Chi Commissioner Cheung said the visit had been a rewarding experience for everyone involved and she is grateful for the joyful participation of the inmates and the time spent by volunteers to share joy at the facility.

 

 

 

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BTP St. Maarten enhances data security through partnership with Blue NAP Americas

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - Bureau Telecommunications and Post St. Maarten (BTP) is excited to announce a groundbreaking partnership with Blue NAP Americas, reinforcing a significant leap forward in ensuring robust data backup and disaster recovery capabilities.

Blue NAP Americas, a distinguished tier IV state-of-the-art data center, renowned for its industry-leading security standards, is strategically located in Curaçao, situated beyond the hurricane belt. The center provides Business Continuity Services, guaranteeing 24/7/365 secure access, redundancy, and availability of critical infrastructure needs.

The formal agreement, signed at the CANTO conference in Port of Spain, signifies a pivotal moment in strengthening BTP's commitment to data security and business continuity. The signing ceremony was graced by Mrs. Judianne Labega-Hoeve, Interim Director of BTP, and Mr. Giovanni King, CEO of Blue NAP Americas.

Expressing her enthusiasm, Mrs. Labega-Hoeve stated, "This strategic partnership with Blue NAP reflects our dedication to safeguarding our data and ensuring uninterrupted services for the benefit of our stakeholders. Blue NAP's state-of-the-art facilities align perfectly with our commitment to excellence."

Mr. Giovanni King, CEO of Blue NAP Americas, added, "We are honored to collaborate with Bureau Telecommunications and Post St. Maarten in fortifying their data backup and disaster recovery capabilities. Blue NAP is committed to providing a secure and resilient environment for businesses to thrive, and we look forward to a successful partnership."

This agreement represents a shared vision for resilience, security, and operational continuity, highlighting the joint commitment of both organizations to maintain the highest standards in the telecommunications and data management sectors.

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Serious Traffic Incident on Juancho Yrausquin Blvd Involving Yamaha Scooter

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - Personnel of the traffic Department of the Sint Maarten Police Force responds are currently investigating a serious traffic incident that occurred on Thursday, February 1, 2024, at approximately 11:30 p.m. on Juancho Yrausquin Blvd in the vicinity of a well know Bar & Restaurant.

Central Police Dispatch received several calls alerting the police to the incident, prompting quick responses from several police patrols and ambulance personnel.

According to preliminary investigations, a black Yamaha Cygnus scooter with license plate MF-81 was involved in the incident.  Arriving at the location officers that the scooter was being driven by a male individual, and a female passenger. The were riding on Juancho Yrausquin Blvd from the direction of Pointe Blanche going towards Philipsburg.

As the scooter approached the area near Bar & Restaurant, the rider of the scooter lost control, most likely due to sand on the road surface. Subsequently, both the rider and the passenger fell onto the road sustaining injuries in the process. It is noteworthy that neither of the victims was wearing helmets at the time of the incident.

Ambulance personnel promptly arrived at the scene and administered first aid to both victims.  The passenger, who suffered severe injuries to her head and ribs, had to be flown out to Curacao for further emergency treatment.

The Sint Maarten Police Force urges all road users to exercise caution, especially in areas where road conditions may be compromised. Additionally, we emphasize the importance of wearing appropriate safety gear, such as helmets, to reduce the risk of injury in the event of an accident.

The investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident is ongoing.

police road sand oil ins1

 

 

 

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USM Celebrates Successful Completion of the English as a Second Language Course

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLNAD) - The University of St. Martin (USM) recently held a ceremony to recognize the graduates of its highly regarded English as a Second Language (ESL) program. The students were invited to the campus to receive their certificates. It was a significant milestone for the graduates who worked hard to improve their English language skills through USM's comprehensive ESL curriculum.

The ESL program at USM is intended to offer non-English speakers a unique opportunity to learn and master the English language. With levels ranging from Basic to Level 5, the program caters to learners of varying proficiency levels. Participants follow a rigorous curriculum centered on reading and writing skills, ensuring a well-rounded language education that prepares them for real-world communication.

Corrine LeJuez, the Program Coordinator of ESL at USM, expressed her pride in the recent graduates' accomplishments and emphasized the program's positive impact on individuals looking to improve their English proficiency. "Our ESL program is more than just learning a new language; it is about equipping people with the ability to communicate effectively in "We are overjoyed to see our participants' growth and success," she said.

USM encourages the St. Maarten community to actively guide people who may benefit from the ESL course. The ESL program is a community-driven initiative that seeks to create a welcoming learning environment that promotes language development and cultural inclusion.

The next classes of the ESL program are set to begin on Monday, February 26, 2024, and run until Friday, May 24, 2024. These upcoming levels include Basic, Level 1, 2, 3, and 4. Anyone interested in applying is encouraged to sign up and begin a transformative journey to improve their English language skills or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information on the ESL program at USM, including registration information, please www.usm.sx/esl or contact the Coordinator Mrs. Corrine Le Juez at +1 721 542 5171 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

USM ESL stud

USM ESL stud and coord

Some of the ESL students

 

 

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CPS Promotes Heart Health in “LOVE YOUR HEART CAMPAIGN”

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) will launch their “Love your Heart” campaign starting February 2nd, 2024. February is observed as heart health awareness month and in staying in line with CPS’s Health Observance Calendar 2024, CPS will be encouraging people to take action for their heart health. February is the month where many people reflect on matters of the heart, including love and relationships. This is also a great opportunity to emphasize the importance of heart health.

The campaign is a reminder to prioritize heart-healthy lifestyles, learn about heart diseases prevention and support those affected by a cardiovascular condition.

Through a Social Media Campaign and collaborating with the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Dr. Emiko Bird-Lake Cardiologist, various activities, challenges, and events will be taking place throughout the month of February to promote heart healthy-lifestyles.

On Friday, February 2nd CPS is collaborating with the Sint Maarten Heart and Stroke Foundation to host a “Red Remembrance Walk.” The aim of the walk is to reflect on heart health and to remember those who are living with or have lost the fight due to heart disease.

The event starts at 6:00 pm from the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) (tennis court), down to Bush Road and onto the Walter Nisbeth Road, to the Juancho Yrausquin Boulevard. The walk will end at the CPS office at the Vineyard Office Park Building parking lot.

Participants are urged to come out in full force and are encouraged to wear anything red in order to raise awareness of how important it is to take care and love your heart. At the end of the walk participants will be treated to healthy refreshments, and snacks. A short word of thanks and encouragement will follow suit to officially kick off the “Love your Heart” campaign.

Eva Lista de Weever, Department Head of CPS emphasizes the importance of taking charge of heart health stating, “We are urging our community to be proactive about their heart health and join this campaign to help raise awareness and to be informed of the health risks associated with heart diseases. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease, stroke and cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide. Sint Maarten is also faced with the same health conditions, which is why the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, and CPS have placed an emphasis on the importance of improving services and awareness on non-communicable diseases.”

CPS looks forward to the community’s support and commitment to living a healthier lifestyle.

Please follow Collective Prevention Services on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/CollectivePreventionServices/?fref=ts
Government website:https://www.sintmaartengov.org/Ministries/Departments/Pages/Department-of-Collective-Prevention.aspx
Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit them at their office in Philipsburg at the Vineyard Office Park Building for more information.

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