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WEATHER WATCH: Tropical Storm Alberto in the making?

SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN – The first storm of the season could kick-off the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season as early as next week according to a number of weather watchers.

Soualiga Newsday Weather Watch 2018 has been monitoring chatter amongst meteorologist and some long-term forecast weather models are indicating we could see Tropical Storm Alberto merge off the coast of Florida sometime next week.

The Atlantic hurricane season starts on June 1. According to Brian McNoldy who works in cyclone research at the University of Miami’s world-renowned Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS), says there have been over the years a number of pre-season storms such as Arlene in 2017, Alex 2016, Bonnie 2016, Ana 2015, Alberto 2012 and Beryl 2012, all forming before the official June 1 start of the season.

Crown Weather recently reported the following” It is looking increasingly more possible that we will see tropical development in the northwestern Caribbean as we get into the middle and later parts of next week.

“All of the most recent data suggests that this will occur and it is something that we are going to have to really watch. In addition to this, the latest forecast guidance are pointing towards a track that would take this system into the eastern Gulf of Mexico next weekend.

“Looking at the latest model guidance – All of the major global model guidance are now showing tropical development in the northwestern Caribbean in about a week from now. These models include the GFS model, the Canadian model and the European model guidance. Given the overall weather pattern that I am expecting for next week, I think the guidance are starting to really latch onto the tropical development idea and it may be correct in this thinking.

“The GFS model guidance has been the most consistent in showing tropical development and is currently forecasting that low pressure will initially develop over the southwestern Caribbean early next week that slowly moves north-northwestward reaching the northwestern Caribbean by about next Thursday. From there, the GFS model guidance forecasts this system to move into the eastern Gulf of Mexico by next Friday and next Saturday.

“The Canadian model guidance forecasts tropical development to occur in the northwestern Caribbean next Thursday and next Friday that moves into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico and then across central and south Florida next weekend.

“The European model guidance seems to indicate that tropical development may begin to occur by about Wednesday of next week that crosses westernmost Cuba as a tropical storm next Friday.

“From there, the European model guidance forecasts this system to move into the southeastern and eastern Gulf of Mexico as a tropical storm next Saturday that approaches the eastern Florida Panhandle and the Big Bend area of northwestern Florida next Saturday night and next Sunday. This type of track would bring heavy rain and winds of up to tropical storm force to a large part of the Florida Peninsula starting next Friday and continuing into next weekend,” Crown Weather concludes.

SOUALIGA NEWSDAY REPORT – WEATHER WATCH 2018

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Sint Maarten co-signs Declaration of Intent at Children’s Rights Kingdom Conference

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Minister of Social Development, Labour and Well-being hosted the Children Rights Kingdom Conference titled “Samen Kómen, Samen Bliíven, Samen Wérken” on May 14th, 15th and 16th on Curacao with the special theme of “Participation as a shared responsibility”.

This reoccurring conference is organized by the Children’s Rights Kingdom Taskforce to which Sint Maarten is represented by Mrs. Shermina Powell-Richardson, Acting Secretary General of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport/Head of Youth Affairs.

Sint Maarten’s delegation consisted of Erick van Arneman (Opvoedambassadeur, Senior Policy Execution Officer at the Ministry of VSA), Ms. Kamila Gumbs (President of the St. Maarten Youth Parliament), Ms. Connie Francis-Gumbs (President of the St. Maarten Youth Council) Mrs. Shermina Powell-Richardson and the Minister of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport drs Jorien Wuite and support staff as delegation leader.

Erik Arneman, the appointed “Opvoed Ambassadeur” for Children Rights on Sint Maarten highlights that, “we have to continue to be active parents and encourage teachers to listen to the students allowing them to express their feelings and involve them in problem solving.

“The conference encouraged us as caregivers to show more love and compassion to our youngsters. The Sint Maarten team committed to a renewed action plan with a revised Active Parenting Program, encouragement to other schools to implement these programs and the possibility to make it mandatory to all schools upon registration of students”.

Minister Wuite participated in the special session for Ministers and other official representatives of public entities with the objective to intensify (political) commitment of Kingdom countries.

“As Minister I participated, encouraged and supported the development of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the aim to improve Children’s Rights within the Kingdom as the UNICEF reports of 2013 highlighted various sensitive conclusions and urgent recommendations that justified the institution of the Children Rights Taskforce in 2014. I congratulate colleague Minister Hensley Koeiman for the successful conference and thank Mrs. Shermina Powell-Richardson & the other members of the delegation for their active participation and collaboration.”

On the last day of the conference, Wednesday, May 16th, the Declaration of Intent was signed by the Secretary of State for Health, Welfare and Sport of the Netherlands, Paul Blokhuis (on his behalf him, Job Tanis), the Minister for Social Affairs and Labour of Aruba, Glenbert Croes, the Minister for Social Development, Labour and Well-being of Curacao, Hensley Koeiman, the Minister for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport of St. Maarten, Jorien Wuite, the Deputy of Society and Care of Bonaire, Edsel Cecillia,

Saba Island Governor, Jonathan Johnson and the Government Commissioner of St. Eustatius, Marcolino (Mike) Franco (on behalf of him, Carol Jack) with the aim to conclude the MOU in two months.

Members of the Kingdom Taskforce as well as the various “Opvoed Ambassadeurs“ met with the organization team for a debriefing session the day after to give a quick reflection regarding the three-day conference.

There was an overall consensus that the Taskforce had accomplished a major milestone with the Ministers charged with children rights having signed a document of intent outlining key areas of shared responsibilities.

Mrs. Shermina Powell-Richardson said that it was agreed that each country would further develop their action plans presented at the Conference and that these plans should clearly outline the budget of the individual country but also more specific the cost related to common activities under the umbrella of the Taskforce.

“Regarding the way forward it was decided that further discussions where necessary before concluding which country would take up the chairmanship and secretariat for the coming year as well as which country would host the next conference” Mrs. Powell concluded.

The next video conference of the Kingdom Taskforce Children Rights is scheduled for May 31st, 2018.

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TelEm Group joins telco workers around the world in celebration

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - TelEm Group joined their colleagues all over the world, Thursday, in observance of World Telecommunication & Information Society Day (WTISD), providing treats to customers and friends.

WTISD is organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and celebrated on May 17 each year by workers in the Telecommunication sector.

This year’s theme is: Enabling the positive use of Artificial Intelligence for All.

The day began at TelEm Group with a newspaper message to the general public and to staff from the Supervisory Board of Directors and the management team.

Cup cakes were distributed to staff by the Human Resources & Development Department team with a iced “Thank You” message. A drink and cookie was also presented to customers who visited TelEm Group’s main building and main locations throughout the day.

TelEm Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mr. Kendall Dupersoy, fully embraces this year’s World Telecommunication and Information Society Day recognizing that the company is presently putting into place a major project to provide an island-wide fiber optic infrastructure for St. Maarten that will soon be able to utilize much of the progress now being made in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology.

“On this day we are especially thankful to all our customers for their continued service and most grateful to our personnel for the pride they take in being a part of the very important telecommunication sector,” said Mr. Dupersoy.

CUTLINE: Cable TV customer Altagracia, appreciated receiving a treat on World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, at the TelEm Group main building Thursday.

telecom 2

 

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USM President and Dean of Academics pay courtesy visit to Prime Minister Romeo-Marlin

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - On Monday May 14th, President of the University of St. Martin (USM) Dr.  Antonio Carmona Baez along with the new Dean of Academics, Dr. Rolinda Carter paid a courtesy visit to Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin.

During the introductory meeting, the President of the USM briefly addressed the ongoing discussions on the law for Tertiary Education and the future vision for the institution. 

He indicated that he is looking forward to possible changes to the structure, composition and expansion of the University of St. Martin.

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Minister of Justice De Weever gives updated Police Vehicle Fleet Overview

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – In line with transparency, Minister of Justice Cornelius de Weever gave an update with respect to an overview he gave in the House of Parliament on May 8 during the national budget debate when responding to questions from a Member of Parliament about the status of the current vehicle fleet of the Sint Maarten Police Force (KPSM).

Minister De Weever received an update on May 11 with respect to the current status of the fleet of vehicles at the disposal of law enforcement.

“On behalf of the people, Government and in particular the Ministry of Justice of Sint Maarten, I would like to reiterate how thankful we are to the Dutch Government, the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security, and the Dutch National Police Force, for all the assistance and resources that they have contributed and rendered to Sint Maarten, and continue to do so since the passing of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

“This form of assistance once again shows the strong bonds within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and at the same time it shows how the relations and structural forms of cooperation can be used to assists each other in times of national disaster, and the hurricanes of September 2017 were a clear example of the aforementioned at work,” Minister of Justice Cornelius de Weever said on Sunday.

At the beginning of October 2017, the Sint Maarten Police Force received 20 police vehicles from the Dutch National Police Force that were donated to the Ministry of Justice of Sint Maarten. These vehicles arrived onboard the Zr. HM Karel Doorman.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria severely damaged 80 per cent of the police vehicle fleet. In order to increase police visibility and to be able to respond to emergencies and requests for police assistance, the Chief of Police and Management Team prepared a request for assistance which included vehicles.

The Dutch National Police Force made available 20 police vehicles which comprised of 14 Tourans, four vans, one mobile command center and one truck/mobile command unit. Upon arrival of the aforementioned, the vehicles were immediately put to use as soon as they were registered and all official documents were in order.

The truck and small command unit were returned to the Netherlands during the second trip of the Zr. HM Karel Doorman to the country at the end of October.

Due to the road conditions especially within districts, several patrol vehicles sustained damage; climbing of hills at high speed in response to emergency calls; the use of a different type of fuel; different climate conditions; a number of the vehicles had mechanical issues.

At the moment, eight of the 14 Tourans patrol vehicles are operations, and an additional three will be back on the streets of Sint Maarten. The aforementioned three will be restored by using parts from the other three that suffered mechanical challenges.

Road conditions in the immediate aftermath of the passing of Hurricanes Irma and Maria took a toll on vehicles in general.

KPSM use the Tourans on a daily basis to carry out their duties to protect and serve the Sint Maarten community and are therefore very thankful to the Dutch National Police for their assistance.

CUTLINE: Minister of Justice Cornelius de Weever

min teatt act

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Community Theatre Group well into production of new play: The GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR

SINT MAARTEN (SOUTH REWARD) – Seventeen cast members of the Behind the Beyond Community Theatre Foundation have been incredibly busy for the past few months preparing for the second production of theatre Director, Albina Matuzko – a Russian classic called THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR  and scheduled to run at the Backstreet Community Center,  June 15, 16 and 17. 

Ms. Matuzko was the toast of St. Maarten’s theatre scene last year when she staged her first production of Stephen Leacock’s comic play Behind the Beyond, also introducing her main supporting cast.

This time around she is whetting appetites of theatre-lovers everywhere with her offering (and own unique comic adaptation) of the GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR -  an 1842 play written by beloved Russian writer, Nikolai Gogol.  The play has been made into several movies. It has also been performed all over the world, in practically every language and at every level from amateur theatre, to college campus and to magnificent theatrical stage productions. Most of all, the play is still as relevant and recognizable today as it was all those years ago.

“Our new production is another classic in every sense of the word even though it is 176 years old,” said Director Matuzko.

 “The story is about human nature, the vulnerabilities that we all have, the exposure of our ambitions and the steps we are prepared to take in realizing those ambitions. It’s about knowing who we are, where we’ve come from and a hint of where we should not be going,” continued the director teasingly.

She is once again putting her cast of players forward for mention because of their amazing commitment to the Arts on St. Maarten, recognizing the many, many hours they have already spent in the past weeks and months rehearsing lines and working out the finer points of the production, even though many of them have also had their own personal lives and businesses disrupted by Hurricane Irma last year.

“This is the most amazing group of talent that I am so happy to work with because of their commitment and drive. They keep me going when at times I’ve felt like just giving up,” said Ms. Matuzko, herself a driven practitioner of the arts who demands the best of her performers.

“We have had many challenges to get to this moment of our production after deciding last year to make our next production THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR.

“It was impossible to find a place to rehearse and practice our craft, and when we finally found a place in the Cole Bay area, Hurricane Irma came and took that way from us,” recalled the director.

She remembers thinking at the time what she could possibly do to keep her troupe together, some of whom have never been on stage before, but all of whom were needed if the new production, with its demand for a large number of performers, was to have any chance of being performed to a St. Maarten audience.

The director says with support from the Netherlands Representative Office in Philipsburg (VNP) immediately after Hurricane Irma, the Behind the Beyond Community Theatre Foundation was able to provide its own brand of emotional relief to local communities by teaming up with Clowns Without Borders to bring laughter and joy on St. Maarten.

With this new sense of purpose, the group continued with its production of the Government Inspector when members learned that the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds would be donating to the group so that they could continue with their production.

Director Matuzko is especially thankful to the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds for their generous support.

“I can honestly say that without the donation we received of the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds , together with VNP and Oranje Fonds, which was the sponsor of the SXM DOET program that has assisted groups like ours, we would not have been able to continue with our production after Hurricane Irma took away all that we had, such as props, costumes, etc.” said Ms. Matuzko.

 “I remember at the time that all of our spirits were down when we realized we could not continue. When Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds said they could help us, I can’t describe in words how happy we were and how grateful we are to them for recognizing the importance of supporting the Arts after something as devastating as Hurricane Irma had shaken everything up,” the director said.

Albina Matuzko, members of the cast, volunteers and fans of the Behind the Beyond Community Theatre Foundation will now be stepping up the pace of their rehearsals in the coming days as the deadline towards opening night draws nearer.

Everyone is excited about the prospect of showing what they have been working on these past months and are looking forward to audience reaction to their second production – The GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR.

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101 Vessels still Abandoned or Wrecked in Simpson Bay Lagoon

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - The Sint Maarten Nature Foundation together with inspectors from the VROMI Ministry last week to map the number of vessels still abandoned or sunk in the Simpson Bay Lagoon after the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

During the exercise the Nature Foundation mapped and geolocated 101 boats still abandoned or sunk in the Lagoon, including both salvaged and unsalvaged vessels.

The Nature Foundation is very concerned regarding the vessels remaining in the Simpson Bay Lagoon some two weeks before the start of the 2018 Hurricane Season; “Last week we managed to map out the remaining wrecks in the Simpson Bay Lagoon and unfortunately there are still a significant number of wrecks in the Simpson Bay Lagoon.

“This is situation is quite worrying considering both the environmental effects of still having all of these vessels in the Lagoon but also in terms of what to do with the vessels considering the pending Hurricane Season.

“If there is a weather event with these vessels still in the Lagoon they can cause further damage to both the environment and infrastructure,” commented Nature Foundation Manager Tadzio Bervoets.

The Foundation is calling for a structured disposal plan for the vessels still in the Simpson Bay Lagoon; “Unfortunately, considering all of the issues going on concerning waste management, we do not suggest carrying wrecked vessels, including vessels larger than 30 meters, to the landfill.

“Considering this we suggest a coordinated and cooperative removal plan with St. Martin taking into account the environmental effects of removal,” continued Bervoets.

The Nature Foundation is also calling for legislation leading uo to the Hurricane Season regarding vessels entering and staying in the Lagoon during threatening storms; “There is a real need for legislation which outlines what happens in the Lagoon with regards to threatening storms and the use of the Simpson Bay Lagoon.

“Many vessels which have been abandoned belong to owners who have left the island. The other issue is related to the delay regarding the salvaging of vessels right after Hurricane Irma which has caused many vessels that were still salvageable to be completely written off.

“We have learned valuable lessons in the past few months and it is now necessary for us to apply these lessons learned in order to make thus country more resilient,” concluded Bervoets.

CUTLINE: A map generated by the Nature Foundation showing the location of abandoned vessels.

Map 1 Irma Wrecks Overall View

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CPS: International Nurses Day. A Voice to Lead: Health is a human right

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – This year’s theme for International Nurses Day, Saturday, May 12 is, “A Voice to lead: Health is a human right,” Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department within the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, said on Friday. 

CPS added that May 12 represents the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. Florence was an English social reformer and statistician, and the founder of modern-day nursing.

CPS would like to wish all nurses especially those working within the Ministry of Public Health, namely, Suzianne Duzong-Davis; Shardina Blomont-Frederick; Ivanca Woodley-Sterling; Claudia Yhan; Edward de Cuba; and Nirmala Vlaun; nurses tasked with the execution and planning of Youth Health Care and the Surveillance activities within the Collective Prevention Services, a Happy Nurses Day on May 12.

“On behalf of CPS and the community, we thank CPS’s nurses no matter the location or the setting, for all their hard work, commitment, initiatives, dedication, and creativity in collectively working to ensure a healthy and protected Sint Maarten, by means of preventive information and activities aimed at preventing diseases and enhancing the quality of life.

“Mobilizing civil society to make sure that the vaccination coverage is at a level to protect the country against vaccine preventable diseases, and mitigate the spread of communicable diseases as well as to undertake positive healthy lifestyles, are just some of the preventive approaches that are taken by nurses in public health care for a healthy community,” CPS said on Friday.

The international theme highlights the strengthening and expansion of primary health care services, based on the Strategy on Human Resources for Universal Access to Health and Universal Health Coverage, as well as reinforces the concept of the role of advanced practice nurses.

According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO), PAHO/WHO in the Human Resources Strategy for Access and Universal Health Coverage, urges the countries of the Region to develop strategies to achieve the maximum deployment of professional competencies, according to appropriate models of coordination and supervision, including the change of tasks and the incorporation of new professional profiles.

PAHO/WHO says nursing can contribute to reducing barriers in access to quality health care equitably, but requires, the development of strategies and plans that seek to increase the number of nurses qualified, and expand its role in Primary Health Care.

Experiences from other countries show that advanced practice nurses can improve access to health care in areas with medical deficits, maximize access to Primary Health Care and allow intensive monitoring of patients with chronic diseases.

PAHO/WHO added that Latin America and the Caribbean should take these experiences into account in order to improve universal access and coverage of health.

For information about public health matters, call CPS at 542-1122, 542-1222, 542-1322 and 542-1570; or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Wuite sends message of continued success to exam students

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Jorien Wuite extends continued wishes of success to all students in the exam classes of the primary and secondary schools on the island.

“To the students, continue to get plenty of rest before each test, eat a nutritious breakfast and always be on time” the Minister advises. “This is the culmination of hours and hours of hard work and studying. All we (your teachers, parents, guardians and support community) ask is that you endure in trying your very best.”

The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) examinations which started on May 7th and will last until June 14th has three different types of exams; the Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC), Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) exams.  

Participating schools taking part in these examinations are the Charlotte Brookson Academy of Performance Arts (CBA), St. Dominic High School, the Methodist Agogic Center (MAC) Secondary School and the St. Maarten Academy’s academic section. 

Due to the passing of the hurricanes in September, the University of St. Martin and PSVE Section of the St. Maarten Academy are currently being used as alternative venues.

The Cambridge Dutch Examinations will be held on May 16th and 21st at the University of St. Martin for the Sint Maarten Academy and MAC Secondary School while the St Dominic High School will facilitate their students and those of the CBA.

The examinations for vocational streams PSVE, PKL/PBL, TKL as well as the academic streams of HAVO and VWO have also started on May 7th and ends on May 29th. Schools sitting these examinations are St. Maarten Academy PSVE, Sundial School and Milton Peters College. Five hundred and twenty-two group 8 students will sit the Foundation Based Exit Examination from Monday, May 21st to Thursday, May 24th

The Minister of Education and Head of the Division of Examination, Yvette Halley, are very pleased in the way the exams were able to be facilitated in the wake of the shortage of classroom space.

“There is great collaboration between the management and staff of these secondary schools and the Division of Examinations to ensure a successful examination period in 2018. This is clearly one more example of how we are able to adapt and do well during challenging circumstances.” Minister expressed.

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Man sitting in his car stabbed in his leg by knife wielding suspect

PHILIPSBURG - The Special Unit Robbery is presently investigating an attempted robbery of a vehicle which resulted in the persons being stabbed in the leg buy the suspect.

The incident happened on Sunday May 6th at approximately 6.00 p.m. on Cannegieter Street. According to the victim he was supposed to meet a friend at the Jump Up Casino.

Due to the limited parking in the area he decided to park on Cannegieter Street. While sitting in his car on Cannegieter Street he was approached by an unknown man who held a knife to his throat and demanded the keys to his car.

The victim tried to defend himself against this attack and in that process he was stabbed twice in the upper leg. The victim escaped from his attacker by running from the scene.

The suspect did not succeed in taking the car. The victim was later met by police who took him to the Sint Maarten Medical Center for treatment. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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