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UPDATED: One drowns and one seriously injured in fishing incident

SINT MAARTEN (POINT BLANCHE) – A couple who went fishing on the rocks on Saturday morning in Back Bay, Point Blanche, were washed into the sea due to rough coastal seas, the police reported on Saturday.

Sadly, the female person drowned while the male persons suffered serious injuries. The Coast Guard later retrieved the body of the female and brought it ashore. The police are now carrying out an investigation.

UPDATE: The Coast Guard report from the Saturday morning incident where a woman lost her life:

“This morning the Coast Guard received a notice from the St. Maarten police that persons was in a drowning situation in the water at Back Bay. The person, a lady, fell in the water after a wave surge swept her away.

“She was there fishing with her partner when she fell off the rocks into the water. Her partner jumped into the water in an attempt the help her get out of the water, but unfortunately, he was unable to rescue her.

“A nearby fisherman who was an onlooker in the situation and alarmed the authorities. The nearby fisherman assisted them by offering his cooler as a floatation device. Her partner managed to get himself out of the water onto the rocks, and back to safety after many attempts to retrieve the lady.

“The Coast Guard Metal Shark was immediately dispatched to the location in order to assist. At arrival the Metal Shark patrol found the lady unconscious laying in the water. The Metal Shark patrol got her out of the water and brought her to the pier at Great Bay where an ambulance was waiting.

“There the paramedics and Coast Guard personnel gave CPR to the victim, but sadly she already passed away. The St. Maarten Sea Rescue patrol had also sailed to the site to assist the Fire Department personnel with retrieving her wounded partner to an area where paramedics were able to treat him and where the ambulance took him to the Sint Maarten Medical center. The Coast Guard wishes the family of the deceased a lot of strength.”

MS bringing the lady ashore

Body being transported back to shore by the Coast Guard after retrieval from the water. 






Dutch and French St. Martin working towards enhanced cooperation on joint subjects

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - On Thursday, September 17, the Council of Ministers held a cooperation meeting with the Collectivité of Saint Martin at the Government Administration Building. Although this meeting was planned since earlier in the week, both governments are elated with the outcome of the unity march of Wednesday, September 16, that took place at the Cole Bay/Bellevue border checkpoint which led to the lifting of the border controls at the Bellevue and French Quarter checkpoints.

Present during the meeting were Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, Ministers Egbert Doran, Anna Richardson, Ardwell Irion, Ludmila de Weever, drs. Rodolphe Samuel, and Richard Panneflek as well as President of the Collectivité of Saint Martin Daniel Gibbs together with Vice-Presidents Valérie Damaseau, Annick Pétrus, and Yawo Nyuiadzi and their support staff.

Several points were addressed, such as the lifting of border controls, the synchronization of preventive health measures, the creation of a United Congress of St. Martin, and the continuation of joint cultural projects. The discussions were particularly constructive and fruitful, specifically the exchanges on the health protocols currently enforced in each territory and the joint measures that could be implemented to protect the populations such as the proposal of joint COVID-19 testing. Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs stated that a meeting would be held with Préfète Déléguée of Saint-Martin and Saint Barths Sylvie Feucher, the Regional Health Agency (ARS), local Public Health Department, and Collective Prevention Services (CPS) on Tuesday, September 22, 2020, to discuss the possibilities of synchronization and implementation of these health measures.

Both governments emphasized the importance of pursuing cooperation efforts on issues of common concern, such as the relaunching of the tourist destination and the estimated tourist arrival activity for the upcoming season and prevention of the spread of COVID-19. They also discussed the decision to accelerate the process for the creation of a United Congress; a joint institutional body, which would have been particularly decisive in the current crisis and possibly avoid reoccurrences of such unilateral decisions. Regular working meetings will be planned in order to make concrete progress on these topics of cooperation.

In closing of the meeting, all officials present expressed their elation for the people of St. Martin whom they stood in solidarity with. They expressed that Wednesday, September 16, signalled a day in history for St. Martin, a day of unity and strength as one island and one people.

Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs stated that she was happy to facilitate the meeting because there is so much that should be done in terms of actions to be taken in order to move both sides of the island collectively forward. “It will take continued collaboration and dialogue, and as such, if we have to be the example to show the state and the kingdom how it is to be done, let it be so,” she further stated.

President of the Collectivité of Saint Martin Daniel Gibbs stated that what transpired on Wednesday, September 16, is what we need to have translated legally so that it does not occur again. This is one of the reasons why he initiated the idea of a United Congress St. Martin in order to dialogue about all the issues discussed in the meeting as communication is of utmost importance in St. Martin’s mutual functioning.

President Daniel Gibbs Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs

L to R: President Daniel Gibbs and Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs



Beyond Kultura Delivers New Books in Spanish to High Schools

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – This week, Beyond Kultura Events Foundation delivered 25 copies of La Sangre Llama (Overseas Bloodlines), a 145-page family saga by BKE president and author Loekie Morales, to local high schools with Spanish-language programs.

In La Sangre Llama, Morales recounts her own family’s story of migration, loss and reunification. For many years, the Dutch version of the book, Bloedlijn Overzee, was on the reading list for high-school Spanish students preparing for literature exams in the Netherlands.

“Thanks to our sponsors, Banco di Caribe and BKE, we were able to donate these hardcover books to high schools,” says Morales. “The schools can use them in their Spanish lessons, and students can read them for their Spanish exam.”

According to Morales, the book project began when she asked her then-97-year-old grandmother, “What do you think if I go to Coro, Venezuela, to search for your family?” With her grandmother, Morales slowly began filling in the gaps in the family tree.

“As the saying goes, Seek and ye shall find, and that was completely true,” Morales says about the writing of La Sangre Llama. “This search had some downs, but there were crazy, emotional encounters as well. Those beautiful moments will stay forever in my mind and heart.”

At the invitation of schools, the multi-lingual Morales also visits classrooms to discuss the book’s themes, including migration, socio-cultural differences among countries, norms and values, childhood and expressions of love and compassion, with Spanish learners.


Guyana Consulate Organizes Repatriation Flights. Next flight Oct. 10

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Consulate of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana is continuing to organize repatriation flights for Guyanese wishing to return home.

The next charter is on October 10 and persons desirous of booking a seat must contact the Consulate on (721) 527-0704 or (721) 542-7314 on/before September 26, 2020. Seats are limited due to Covid-19 restrictions. Dutch nationals or Guyanese with valid resident’s permits wishing to return to Sint Maarten on the same flight can call (592) 638-4599 to make reservations

Presently, there are no commercial flights from Sint Maarten to Guyana and many persons have expressed frustration at the situation. In March after airports closed, several stranded visitors contacted the Consulate seeking help to return home. Since June there has been a flight every month.

Honorary Consul Kim Lucas-Felix said these flights are necessary because there are no regional commercial flights currently available for Guyanese wishing to return to home or for residents of Sint Maarten who are stuck in the South American country and wish to return. Some persons have resorted to flying via Miami or New York, but this option is only available for those with a United States visa.

Additionally, in light of the immigration crackdown announced by the Ministry of Justice in June, Mrs. Lucas-Felix said it is imperative that Guyanese who face deportation have an option available to them should they wish to leave the island voluntarily.

In the meantime, all consular services continue by appointment only. These include passport renewals; registration of birth; applications for certificate of good conduct (police record/clearance) and non-impediment of marriage certificates; renunciation of citizenship; life certificates; affidavits; recommendation letters; and legalizing of immigration documents, among other things.

The Consulate, situated on Cannegieter Street in Philipsburg (below the Law Firm) is open on Wednesdays (1:00pm – 5:00pm) and Saturdays (10:00am – 2:00pms).


18-year old Perpetrator arrested for committing home invasion

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Prosecutors’ office issued a warrant for the arrest of a suspect with initials C.S.C. (18) for his involvement in a home invasion which took place earlier this year in the month of April. 

Yesterday, September 16th, the detectives of KPSM were able to arrest C.S.C. at his home, without incident. In a previously issued press release dated April 10th, it was explained that the suspect(s) entered the home by prying through the kitchen window.

While in the home the perpetrator(s) stole several items, including the keys to the homeowner’s vehicle before fleeing the scene in the victims’ car. 

C.S.C. was arrested at his home without incident and brought to the Philipsburg station for questioning. He is now being held pending further investigations. (KPSM)


Bell Realty Company made generous contribution to Education on Sint Maarten

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The Bell Realty Company donated computers and printers to the seven public schools, as their contribution, towards education during this Corona Pandemic. This generous donation will assist the schools in providing online learning to the students attending the public schools on Sint Maarten.

One of the representative Mr. Russel Bell elaborated on the importance of education and the ability for students to be able to continue their education in spite of the current worldwide Covid Situation that requires a new Virtual reality.

This family owned business has been in existence on Sint Maarten for 50 years and were elated to be able to contribute to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport with this venture .

Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports drs. Rodolphe Samuel expressed his sincere gratitude to the Bell Reality Company and the Bell Family for their generous contribution to Education on Sint Maarten.



SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Wednesday, September 16 approximately thirty taxi drivers attended a virtual information session on financing options available for small enterprises. The session was organized by the National Recovery Program Bureau’s (NRPB) Enterprise Support Project (ESP) team in collaboration with the board of the Dutch St. Maarten Taxi Association who had further involvement from the Airport Taxi Association and Downtown Taxi Association.

The ESP team met virtually with the members of the various taxi associations, providing insight on the project and how each member could individually apply for a combination of loans and grants up to US$150,000 (One Hundred & Fifty Thousand). Diving into the eligibility criteria, methods of financing, and other specifics of the process, the info session gave the associations an opportunity to pose questions about the project.

The Enterprise Support Project recently launched on August 12, 2020 with financial partners Qredits and the Windward Islands Bank. The project is funded by the Sint Maarten Trust Fund and aims to provide support to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through direct financial assistance. In this way, the project will directly contribute to the economic restoration of activities in Sint Maarten.

The virtual information session comes on the heels of two similar virtual sessions held in August, which successfully had close to 150 entrepreneurs in attendance. “What we have here is a great opportunity to help Sint Maarten recover economically from the effects of both hurricane Irma and the more recent COVID-19 pandemic,” says Claret Connor, NRPB Director. “The ESP intends to strengthen the resilience of our economy and help build stronger MSMEs. With very favorable lending terms and even opportunities for grants, I strongly encourage eligible MSMEs to sign up for financing now.”

In an effort to continuously engage with the business community and similar stakeholders on the island, the ESP team continues to reach out to various organizations on the island whose members could potentially benefit from the project. “This opportunity really is one that is rare and will likely not come again,” ESP team member Anisa Dijkhoffz says, highlighting the importance of interested MSMEs seeking information and applying soon.

“The project directly boosts Sint Maarten’s economy by providing direct financial assistance that will eventually trickle down positively into our community. Our goal is to provide assistance to approximately 500 MSMEs; and more if we can manage. We’re actively reaching out to a wide range of organizations to highlight the details of the ESP in order for the project to support as many MSMEs as possible.”

Interested parties or associations are encouraged to reach out to the ESP team or visit the project’s webpage to read the requirements needed to get financial assistance. For more information, visit the website or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



SINT MAARTEN/BARBADOS - With close to 100 nominations received across the region, it is now your turn to help choose the FirstCaribbean Unsung Frontline Heroes in your community.

“Over the past weeks we have been very heartened by the many nominations we have received highlighting the brave and selfless work of so many across our region who have made the fight against Covid-19 and its impact, their daily mission,” said Debra King, Director of Corporate Communications, CIBC FirstCaribbean.

“As we move into the second phase of our initiative – sharing the inspiring stories of the nominees and giving the public a chance to read and vote on those entries – we hope that the public will be inspired and encouraged by the many stories we have received,” Mrs. King added.

Just over a month ago, the bank launched the regional initiative aimed at identifying those unsung heroes who have shone brightest in the darkest moments of the Covid-19 crisis.

To vote for your FirstCaribbean Unsung Frontline Heroes log on to our website, Facebook and Instagram pages. 

The nominees must have been resident in any the 16 territories where the CIBC FirstCaribbean operates and have worked, volunteered or been involved in any of the award categories listed below:

  • Medical personnel
  • The Protective Services
  • Community Heroes (individuals who by their courageous acts, strength and self-sacrifice in the service of a community, have made a difference to those persons impacted.

The public voting period ends on 26, September 2020 and winners will be announced at the end of September 2020. Winners will receive an E-Check for US$2,000 toward a staycation at a local hotel of their choice.

FirstCaribbean has previously highlighted many hidden treasures in our communities who have made a difference in the lives of persons they have helped or touched in some way through its flagship Unsung Heroes programme, which concluded in 2013.


Gibbs: Saint Martin must be able to find his life without borders! Sans frontière

SAINT-MARTIN (MARIGOT) - "Since the Treaty of 1648 was in existence, the people of St. Martin have lived on a binational territory with symbolic borders, with a precept of unity dear to them: One Island - One People - One Destiny!,” President of the Collectivite Daniel Gibbs said in a statement on Tuesday.

The statement by President Gibbs was translated from French to English:

For the first time in 372 years, physical boundaries have materialized between north and south because of the Covid virus19.

Border control occurred for the first time as part of an agreement between the Sint Maarten government and the local state representative, at the specific time of joint confinement in April 2020. It was then taken over by France alone, in August when the epidemic resumed and Sint-Maarten opened up to American tourism.

The decision of the State to continue these traffic restrictions throughout September, on the recommendation of the Regional Health Agency, leads to a strong misunderstanding of the people of St. Martin, a misunderstanding that I fully share.

Indeed, over the past month and a half, indicators show that border controls have failed to stop the circulation of the virus.

The initial argument, understood by many, of wanting to establish a protective dam of the French side against theCovid-19 no longer holds. Covid

On the contrary, thesecontrols have caused major difficulties for our companies and exacerbated a social malaise that must be taken into account in all its aspects.

After numerous appeals and warnings to the prefecture, the ARS and the ministries, Saint-Martin's request was unsuccessful..

I have decided to continue tirelessly to raise the voice of St. Martin and to support theposition of the Saint-Martinois by conspiring the State de to restore the free movement of goods and people between the two parts of the island. So is the survival of St. Martin.

The decision to maintain these controls instead of prioritizing cooperation between states and island-wide health management, is a mistake. It does not respect the intrinsic values of Saint-Martin and the way of life of The Saint-Martinois. Nor does it recognize the ability of Saint-Martinois to measure this pandemic and to observe appropriate behaviour and the recommended barrier gestures in the public space.

The event announced tomorrow could, once again, have been avoided. Ifour call had been taken into consideration,our island would not again beplagued by unnecessary tensions. I just hope it won't be a "PPRN bis repetita"

The health situation remains a concern and must be due. This responsibility must be established between the two parts of the island and their respective states through a genuine health cooperation plan. This cooperation is possible if everyone puts their own stamp on it! Economic survival depends on it. So is social cohesion.

As elected officials, returning to a favourable health situation throughout the island, as well as maintaining social peace, remain our top priority.

We will therefore make every effort to promote this joint health action plan to the size of the entire territory.

I have asked the State for diplomatic intervention to accompany this health cooperation between our health agencies..

I exchanged today with the Minister of Overseas Affairs Sébastien Lecornu, I listened to my request. I look back at his position and his proposals.

In the same vein, I will meet with the Prime Minister of Sint Maarten onThursday,September 17, to propose the same approach..

I am convinced that it is through dialogue and consultation that we will jointly find a favourable solution to this new ordeal."  


Victorious Living Leadership Summit 2020- Positively Disrupting the Status Quo

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - Locally, regionally, and internationally, our communities continue to feel the ripple effects of COVID-19. Our lives have been disrupted economically, socially, physically, spiritually and emotionally, leaving persons asking “How do we get back to normal?”

As many grapple with the realities of these challenging times, Victorious Living Foundation continues to prepare for its virtual Leadership Summit 2020, scheduled for October 9th and 10th .

Victorious Living’s Leadership Summit features the best in local, regional and international speakers. The two day Summit starts on October 9th featuring a rebroadcast of Leadercast, the world’s largest one day leadership conference designed to create leaders worth following and a live session on October 10th featuring inspiring speakers helping us to navigate these challenging times.

Richard Montanez, Vice President of Multicultural Sales and Marketing at PepsiCo, North America, the man who invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, was one of the favourites at Leadercast 2020. He profoundly stated:

“Any time a person's mind has been stretched it never goes back to its original form. Our minds are being stretched. It is a lockdown but not a lockout. You still have your imagination; abilities; ideas. Get ready for when it's time to come out. Come out ready to go.”

His inspirational talk along with eight other inspiring leaders at Leadercast, ignited courage, strength and tenacity in the 2020 attendees of Leadercast Live, hosted by Victorious Living and hundreds of host sites around the world on May 7th and will be repeated on October 9th.

Veteran educator of 54 years and forthcoming author of, In Emilio Wilson Park with Uncle Joe, Oswald Francis, said this of the experience:

"Leadercast 2020 was exceptional. I have heard of this prestigious conference before and decided to participate this year. It was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. The presenters were dynamic; the information was practical, current and very useful. Every presenter was impressive and the nuggets received were invaluable. My favourites are Andy Stanley, Richard Montanez and Magic Johnson. I recommend that all and sundry become part of the Leadercast family."

Victorious Living’s Leadership Summit continues on Day 2 with powerful local, regional, and international speakers such as Dr. Dawn Hunter, Doctor of chiropractic, Master esthetician, permanent cosmetics master artist and global trainer who will share how to launch a business in 90 days. Hunter and 12 other world class speakers including Denicio Wyatte, Director of Spaceless Gardens and creator of Cultural Xpression News Magazine will impart wisdom, and practical tools to disrupt the industries of agriculture, business, politics, education, mental health, health care, and more.

Visionary of Victorious Living, Dr. N. Erna Mae Francis Cotton will be sharing about this dynamic Leadership Summit on View Point with Wendell Moore on Tuesday September 15th at midday on 102.7 FM or

For more information, or to register, tune in to PJD2; call 1-721-524-8731 or visit and click the registration link.

SUMMIT dawn hunter

Dawn Hunter

SUMMIT richardmontanez

Richard Montanez

SUMMIT Erna Mae Francis Cotton

Erna Mae Francis Cotton





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