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Rotary Club of St. Maarten prepares for 50th Anniversary Celebrations in 2022

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - A contingent of the Rotary Club of St. Maarten met for the first time in a long while in a festive setting at a member’s home and it was an atmosphere of fellowship and togetherness; sharing stories going back to the early days of the club.  

The club, like many others has been challenged due to the Covid pandemic and its weekly meetings are still a hybrid of in-person and zoom meetings and projects outside of food package distribution have been limited.

The social event was therefore a welcomed opportunity to meet and catch up and get reinvigorated as a club moving forward. The members were elated to have several past club presidents tell of their experiences as Rotarians.

It was also a time to look ahead to next year, when, as St. Maarten’s first Rotary Club they will celebrate its 50th anniversary. Joining many of the members at the social event were their partners and spouses, who are credited for being the wind beneath the wings of the members.

It was also a delight to have the Rotary District Governor, Louis Wever and his spouse share in the evening of fellowship, and who presented the club with several banners of club achievements.

One noteworthy achievement was that 100% of the club’s members had earned/achieved the Paul Harris Fellow Award. “It was great to finally be back together, not only to talk and reminisce of the club’s proud history but looking forward to our 50th Anniversary of serving Sint Maarten/St. Martin and planning the many worthwhile projects helping others that we are getting back to doing,” said Club President Jim Ferris.

For more information about the Rotary Club of St. Maarten, please contact the Rotary Club of St. Maarten Press Officer at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the website www.rotarysxm.org.

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Pamela Gordon-Carty elected new political leader of USP. Nicholas new board President

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Former Minister Pamela Gordon-Carty was elected as the new political leader of the United St. Maarten (US) party on Sunday, November 28, and immediately made it clear that the party, in or out of government, will not allow the people of St. Maarten to accept “crumbs in exchange” any longer.

Re-emphasizing that the US has always been and remain on the path to realizing independence for St. Maarten, the new leader said the people must come together and decide that they will no longer tolerate their children to suffer in a St. Maarten that has so much potential.

Gordon-Carty replaced former MP Frans Richardson as party leader at the party’s congress held at the John Larmonie Center and considers herself a person with clear vision on how St. Maarten should move into a challenging future.

“I am so moved by the confidence and trust you have placed in my person to assume leadership of the USP which already is embarking on reactivating and restructuring in order to analyze, assess and examine the challenges our people in St. Maarten is confronted with on a daily basis,” she said.

The new leader assured that the US is not going to promise a one-time fee, but a life of growth and “enhancement of your social life, financial stability, healthy lifestyle, long term employment and a balanced future. We have a plan, and we will execute it in or outside of government because all we need at this phase of the plan is the people,” she said.

Gordon-Carty is described as someone who recognizes that St. Maarten is at a stage where mincing of words will do it and its people no good. As such and in true form, she did not hold back on Sunday evening while delivering her remarks.  

“In slavery days they exchanged gold for sea shells. Today, one-time food vouchers are being exchanged for land and the right to employment, the right to fair trail, the right to a dignified existence. Our people have been abused, walked upon and given empty promises. We will lead and our people will no longer exchange their patrimony for sea shells,” she said.

She continued: “If we need to walk on thorns then we will do so because people were made to trample upon all obstacles to achieve freedom and independence, not on paper, but true independence. The walk will be long but together we will reach the promised destination. When I look at St. Maarten I see a lot that has to be done. I also see an abused people, I see injustice toward our people, I see instilled fear, I see great minds being neglected and put aside, I see neglected rights, I see manipulation, deprivation, I see victimization and I can also silently hear the loud cry of our youth.

“But what I can also see is the fear of the strength of the people coming together. I smell the fear of colonialists hoping that one day the people don’t realize that together they stand stronger and that the people don’t come to realize that their breakthrough lies in their own strength. I see a method to keep them distracted and hungry,” she said.

“With small steps we will once again have our people dominate in managerial functions, our people will be employed permanently and not for short term, they will be able to own their own house and be able to pay their mortgage, bills and enough leave over to live a dignified and happy life,” she added

The US leader further called on the people of St. Maarten to stop expecting others/outsiders to do for them since intentions are often not pure and extremely self-serving.

“Don’t expect the colonialists to hand out olive leafs; reality is sometimes its poison ivy. Don’t expect investors to consider you as the solution, in some cases they will slip you a sleeping pill expect you stay in slumbering mode while they take over our high positions, while they take over our beaches and assets, our identity, trample over our culture, manipulate the system to suit their agenda, in return they will take for themselves long term profitable money making patrimonies,” she said.

“I am now making this plea to our people to come together and be part of our numerous educational and informative campaigns in the different districts that will highlight our plan step by step. Let US move together towards success,” she concluded.

Party members also elected Cecil Nicholas as the new President of the board of US. He said the US, under the leadership of Frans Richardson, was founded with a vision and plan “and we hold steadfast to that vision to this day.” 

He reminded the gathering that Frans Richardson had the party operating based on his vision of strong leadership for an independent St. Maarten and it is because of his leadership that “we are strong and still moving forward today. We had disappointments along the way, but we never lost sight of our goals. Our bonds are stronger because of the challenges we faced and our resilience is a reflection of the people, because we are just that, a reflection of the people of St. Maarten,” Nicholas said.

“Though some may say we are not ready for independence, my answer to that is so let’s get ready for it because we can no longer afford to sit by and wait to be rescued. The personal cost and debt to the country is too great. I say let’s put leaders in place that have a plan to make us self-sustainable. Let’s make the tough decision at our own pace. Let’s empower our people and not restrict them. 

“Let’s safe guard our assets for future generations to come and not give them away to save the day. Let’s place emphasis on making decisions that put us in a better position tomorrow and not just today. Let’s take better care of our elderly and those living below the poverty line. Let’s create an environment where our people can strive by diversifying our economy so that if the World ever shuts down again we can at least feed ourselves without having to rely on the importation of basic foods Let us build an Independent St. Maarten because we can, period!”  

As he did in 2014, Nicholas dedicated his new tenure as President of the United St. Maarten Party to Richardson’s vision of an Independent St. Maarten. “And I commit once again to work with my board in the best interest of not only the members and supporters of USP but to the entire country, of St. Maarten. I reemphasize my commitment to upholding the core principle of the United St. Maarten party which is to elevate the nation’s people to operate at their highest levels,” he concluded.

USP Board New

New USP leader Pamela Gordon Carty (center) with incoming and outgoing party board members and former leader Frans Richardson (second from right).

 

 

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Rotary Club of St. Maarten treats clients of WYCCF to Thanksgiving lunch

SINT MAARTEN (ST. JOHN’S ESTATE) - On 25th November, the Rotary Club of St Maarten treated the clients of the White & Yellow Cross Care Foundation (WYCCF) to a fantastic Thanksgiving Lunch, the WYCCF said in a statement on Monday.

The Rotary club has been doing something special for our clients for the last 30 years. In previous years, the clients were treated to a lagoon cruise on the Explorer boat, which Past President Michael Ferrier initiated.

However, due to Covid, this was not possible. Instead, President Jim and our club members decided to provide the clients and staff of the WYCCF with a complete Thanksgiving buffet. A team of about 14 Rotarians started early with the preparations, handed out food, talked, and danced with our clients before they ate themselves.

Community Service Director Kishore Idnani explained that this event had been one of the club’s main events since he joined the Rotary club 28 years ago. “Most of the members here today are among the senior Rotarians, so they have done this numerous times. All this can only be done as a team effort, and this is what Rotary does best”.

This event is only one of the Rotary Club’s activities as part of their community service projects. In the past, several families have been provided with a thanksgiving hamper brought to their homes by the Rotarians themselves.

Mr. Idnani explained that he and his fellow Rotarians don’t want too much publicity and that they are just happy to spend some time with our seniors. However, we could not let such a generous and warm-hearted effort go idly by. Therefore, the WYCCF, on behalf of all clients and staff, would like to thank the Rotary Club of St Maarten and especially all Rotarians who provided us with this amazing thanksgiving lunch. Thanks also to Dish D’lish, who catered the event.

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Say Yes to the Vaccine Booster Shot. Protect You and Your Family this Holiday Season

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Vaccination Management Team (VMT) of St. Maarten announces the roll out of the booster shot of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.  

The booster campaign will commence on Wednesday December 1st, 2021, between the hours of 8:30am -12:00pm and 1:30pm -3:30pm at Collective Prevention Services (CPS) located at the Vineyard Building in Philipsburg.

The Booster shot will help strengthen protection against severe disease in the population, especially amongst those who are at high- risk for COVID -19 complications.

The Booster will also help those amongst us who are already fully vaccinated with the primary two (2) dose series by increasing our protection against breakthrough infections.

Who Should get the Booster?

VMT highly recommends the following persons to receive the Booster six (6) months after completion of their primary series (i.e., six (6) months after their second dose):

  • Persons 60 years and older
  • Persons 18-59 years with underlying medical conditions or living in long-term care settings
  • Persons 18-59 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional settings such as health workers and front-line medical workers

The VMT is reminding persons to bring their vaccination card when coming for their booster dose.

If you have taken one of the other acceptable primary vaccine series such as Moderna, Astra Zeneca or Janssen, a Pfizer vaccine can be administered as the Booster vaccine six (6) months after the last vaccination in any of these primary series.

For persons in our community who have had the COVID-19 infection, the VMT is strongly encouraging persons to receive both doses. Encouraging completion of the vaccination series, despite the timing of your infection.

There are many persons in our population who received their second dose before June and are now eligible for the booster.  

There are many who are still unvaccinated or who are at highest risk of getting infected by and spreading COVID-19 in our community.

The CPS location at Vineyard Building is open to all unvaccinated persons and also for those interested in the booster shot.

VMT urges everyone to come out and get vaccinated before the holiday season, when we will be at high risk again!

Let’s stay ahead of the virus and keep St. Maarten safe. Say yes to the Booster, but most importantly, come get vaccinated!

For further information Contact CPS Hotline #914

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Sint Maarten Lions Club starts the Christmas Season with lights at the Cottage Roundabout

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Cottage Roundabout at the A.T. Illidge Road, the Sint Maarten Lions Club said in a statement on Sunday.

Members of the Sint Maarten Lions Club volunteered their time and talent last week by cleaning the area, putting up Christmas decorations and lights to brighten up this popular location at this busy time of the year.

The lights were officially turned on Sunday evening while Santa paid an early visit to chat and spread some Christmas cheer among the Lions and their families.

Many passersby honked their horns in appreciation as the area was transformed by the colorful lights at sunset.

In extending greetings to the community on behalf of the Sint Maarten Lions Club, Lion President Linette A. Gibs remarked “Despite whatever we went through this year, we must remember to give thanks for our many blessings.”

The first Lions Lighting Event was held last year as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations symbolically to “shine more lights of hope, love and kindness” in our community.

sxm lions club lighted for xmas

 

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St. Martin writer Lasana Sekou on the Barbados republic

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - There are Caribbean cultural workers that are as focused on the historical meaning of Barbados becoming a republic on November 30, as are political scientists and everyday citizens who love political matters, said Jacqueline Sample, president of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP).

Sample pointed to a statement by St. Martin writer Lasana M. Sekou on the Facebook page of the indie press in early November.

Sekou’s statement reads: “In 2021, Barbados declares itself a republic. This significant step in the sovereignty journey of the country and its people acquires the newest political milestone in the ongoing building of political communities in our region.”

For Barbadians, and for Caribbean people in general, the significant step “also invests in an irreversible psychological development that is crucial in advancing Caribbean civilization,” said Sekou, who is also the HNP projects director. (https://bit.ly/3lf8wLV)

HNP is a St. Martin publisher of acclaimed Barbadian political thinkers, historians, and authors such as George Lamming and Kamau Brathwaite.

November 30 is the 55th anniversary of Barbados independence.

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Emmanuel: Counting lottery booths will not lift our people out of poverty

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Christophe Emmanuel is of the opinion that once elected and appointed representatives of the people focus on providing real economic opportunities which leads to a better standard of living, “maybe then lottery booths might disappear from the landscape.” Until then, he argues, the lottery booths offers “life assistance” that the country does not.

Emmanuel said it was all well to count lottery booths in the country, but instead of decrying the booths, the amount of booths should expose the glaring negative picture in the country. “According to the United Nations poverty committees, people don’t just consider the lottery as cheap entertainment, but also as a prayer to escape from poverty,” the MP said.

“Here on St. Maarten we have the tax inspectorate putting liens on the accounts of senior citizens who have pensions that they can barely survive on. These are people who have worked their entire lives to live in peace in the later stages of their lives. They are now under pressure from aggressive tax collectors. Then along comes one of the lottery companies and offers the senior $500 to construct a tiny lottery booth on an empty spot next to their house. This senior can barely make ends meet. Do we really expect them to turn down the money?” Emmanuel asked.

He continued: “The same goes for a small business that is suffering under the yolk of the turn-over-tax. If they can make an extra $800 just by having a lottery machine inside the business or a booth connected to the building why wouldn’t they? We act as if economic opportunities are great on this island. Taxes are killing our small businesses and our seniors and we expect them not to find ways to have a semblance of a decent life.”

The MP also pointed out that the lottery companies legally employ hundreds of people. “It isn’t just foreign people in booths. There are local people in booths, local people in head-offices, local people running the day-to-day business. People who make a living, who have families,” the MP said.

“I have said it before and I will stress again, when people feel they have a chance of actively lifting themselves out of poverty and if they felt more ownership over their economic situation they would be less prone to create “home banks” or turn to the lottery. Our people cannot save a dime because cost of living is so high. So many people believe that there is one lotto ticket that will solve all of their problems.

“We should focus on how to provide a better standard of living for the people who voted for us to do exactly that. Quality education, adequate healthcare, reliable support services and an economy that works for our people are the fundamental elements we should devote our energy to,” the MP concluded.

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One hundred pounds of prevention is better than one hundred pounds of cure

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The Board of the National Alliance (NA) has taking note of the fact that the Minister of Justice and her ministry have tripled the fines for parking in specific areas and streets. We support the Minister of Justice, Ms. Anna Richardson 100% as we believe that our motorists must start to respect our traffic laws and signs.

It is unacceptable that motorists are parking on the sidewalks and in many cases to avoid having to walk from their parked vehicle to their final destination. But St. Maarten is not the St. Maarten of yesterday as we have more vehicles on the island meaning that parking spaces have become a scarce commodity.

But this still does not give you the rights to park on the sidewalks or in areas prohibited to park. As motorists, many times you have to slow down to allow pedestrians to walk on the road because there are vehicles parked on the sidewalks and this is all over the island and in particular the Philipsburg area.

We can’t afford to wait for a major accident to happen but must be proactive and prevent it. One hundred pounds of prevention is better than one hundred pounds of cure. It is for this reason that we support our visionary leader, Minister of Justice Anna Richardson one hundred percent in curbing the illegal parking of vehicles on the sidewalks and in areas prohibited for parking.

We also want to commend our police force and the prosecutor’s office in their joint effort to increase road safety and a better flow of traffic. We are all in this together.

We are looking forward as the government move on installing parking meters on the Cannegieter Street and in some of the parking areas in the Philipsburg area including the Clem Labega Square.

These parking meters are long overdue and would certainly ease the parking in the Philipsburg area. But they are also revenue generating and create jobs for parking attendants.

They will also create a cleaner environment as they reduce the gas that pollutes the air from motorists circling, looking for parking. We are very much aware that many workers in the Philipsburg area arrive soon on their jobs in order to find suitable parking.

These workers vehicles would remain parked in that spot until they finished working in the afternoon after five. We are asking those workers to please cooperate and park in the parking lot over at the government building. This walk to and from your place of work may be just the exercise needed for health reasons.

The persons coming to Philipsburg to do business or shopping can’t find parking and, in some cases, spin around for some time before they can find suitable parking, or they may just leave what they came to do for another time affecting to some degree our economy.

In order to install these parking meters, we will require some amendments to our traffic ordinance. We support the minister also in having new traffic signs erected in Philipsburg and her plans to amend the ordinance to include wheel clamps as these will be used to control the usage of the parking meters and illegal parking. But once again they will generate the much-needed revenue for the coffers of the government as well.

We are hereby asking our motorists in as much as the government is cash strapped, to adhere to our traffic laws and signs and please don’t park on the sidewalk or in areas that are prohibited to park. Don’t allow yourself to become part of the statistics that end up paying a large fine for illegal parking.

We are all in this together as we move this nation forward by improving our economy, our environment and most of all the free movement of our people and tourist alike on our roads without any major traffic accidents.

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Missing person arrested on the French side

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – In an update to the reported missing 21-year old, Police said on Saturday that the French authorities have arrested the man, but did not give any further details about the matter.

ARCHIVED: On Friday November 26th, 2021, a report of a “Missing Person” was filed at the Philipsburg Police Station by the mother of Shaquil “Shack” PRESCOTT born in Saint Martin, on 03 January 2000.

Shaquil “Shack” PRESCOTT was last seen by his mother a few days ago at Ginger Road in Cay Hill. He has since not returned home, nor contacted his mother or any other family member.

Shaquil is about 1.73 meters tall, slim build, dark skin complexion, black eyes and brown hair (locks) and is 21 years old. He was last seen wearing grey shirt and an unknown-colored pants.

The police department is seeking the assistance from the community to help locate Shaquil “Shack” PRESCOTT.

If you have any information about the whereabouts of this person, please contact the Police Force: 54-22222 or the emergency number 911.

Also if you are Shaquil “Shack” PRESCOTT and you are reading this then please do contact your mother to let her know that everything is okay with you. (KPSM)

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Man who Assaults Girlfriend Arrested. Another Man Arrested after Using a Hammer and Machete

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Sint Maarten Police Force has arrested two people for assault.

The detective department detained a man with initials G.A.P. for suspected assault after he turned himself into police on November 24. The suspect reportedly assaulted his victim with a hammer and a machete on November 4 in Cay Bay.

The victim was seriously injured by the assault and was treated at hospital.

The suspect’s detention was extended to eight days by the instructing judge on Friday.

The investigation is ongoing in this case.

In an unrelated case, a man with initials J.E.V. was arrested on the night of November 24, 2021, after he severely assaulted his girlfriend following an altercation. He has since been released by the court but remains a suspect in this ongoing investigation.

KPSM has increased is effects to tackle crimes related to assault and urges the community to keep emotions in check. (KPSM)

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