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St. Maarten Entrepreneurs engage with Chinese Delegates

SINT MAARTEN/THE HAGUE – A Chinese delegation organized by the Foreign Affairs Office of China Commercial Enterprise Management visited I.S. Cleaning’s office in The Hague, the Netherlands on Friday afternoon.

I.S. Cleaning is a commercial and domestic cleaning company founded in 2013 by St. Maarten Entreprenuer & Student Leandra Leslie. Operations Manager Luis Hurtault also from St. Maarten attended the meeting via skype to answer questions that the Chinese delegation would have and to explain I.S. Cleaning’s operations and core values.

The Chinese delegation comprised of 20 enterprises which included Environment Protection technology companies, cleaning companies and property management companies.

Their visit was organized in able for the association to exchange ideas and to learn about the cleaning service industry in the Netherlands and how enterprises in the various cities provide public service area, cleaning services. One of the delegation’s goal was to understand the operating system, the daily management experience and I.S. Cleaning’s cleaning standards.

Marketing Manager & Business Relation’s Officer Kimberly Nijon also from St. Maarten gave a presentation of IS Cleaning’s organization and webshop activities. The delegation got to tour I.S. Cleaning’s facilities and were introduced to I.S. Cleaning products and technologies.

I.S. Cleaning’s Founder and Chief Financial Officer Leandra Leslie said, “I am delighted to have the opportunity to share our business expertise and success with the China delegates and to also explore opportunities of working together in the future.”

Executive Vice President of the Cleaning Branch of China Commercial Enterpriseq Management Association, Ms. Gong Na said, “China has a very large market of cleaning, environment protection technology and property management companies that have developed since several years ago. However, recently studies carried out show that China has much room for growth in this sector.”

At the end of the visit Business Relations Officer Kimberly Nijon exchanged gifts with the delegation and thanked them for their generous visit. The delegation hopes to further promote investment and economic exchanges for both parties, and to pursue other cooperation opportunities.

Founder Leandra Leslie hopes to explore similar business opportunities in St. Maarten.


St. Martin, Virgin Islands writers, poolside at Anguilla Lit Fest 2018

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - “We are happy that the Anguilla Literary Festival invited writers Dr. Patricia Turnbull and Faizah Rochelle Ward to Anguilla to read their published work, to speak, and participate on a publishing panel,” said Sample.

Dr. Turnbull is the “keynote speaker at our Maverick Lunchtime Presentation – After the Storm,” said festival member Carla Harris. The poolside presentation takes place at Coral Cove Resort, at 12:15 noon.

Between 10 – 10:20 AM and after her presentation, Dr. Turnbull will sign copies of her children’s book Ti Koko and Kush Kush (HNP, 2018) for the book fair’s island and tourist guests, said Sample.

 Ti Koko and Kush Kush is a great book to help children cope with their own loss or feel for other children affected by a natural disaster such as a hurricane or a man-made crisis such as war, said the publisher.

The anthology Where I See the Sun – Contemporary Poetry in the Virgin Islands (HNP, 2016), which contains poems by Dr. Turnbull, will be available too, said Sample. Dr. Turnbull is a historian and well-known VI educator based in Tortola. Her writings have also appeared in literary books from her native St. Lucia.

St. Martin poet, blogger, and teacher Faizah Rochelle Ward, will recite her poetry at Saturday’s “Rise and Shine Breakfast” session, starting at 8:30 AM, said Sample.

At the 10:20 AM blogging panel Ward will be “one of the main persons among our Anguilla bloggers,” said Harris. Ward’s poems are in Where I See the Sun – Contemporary Poetry in St. Martin (HNP, 2013). Her writings are blogged at According to author Lasana Sekou, “Faizah is at the leading edge of St. Marin’s new generation of poets.”

This is Ward’s second Anguilla Lit Fest appearance. “It’s always an investment in the critical development of the region’s literature when our literary artists and authors are invited to present at Caribbean book fairs or literary festivals,” said Sample.

Among the guest authors from the USA and the Caribbean at Anguilla Lit Fest 2018 are a number of Anguillan writers. “We’re doubly happy that the festival is featuring Alexis Ryan, Vanessa Croft Thompson, and Marnair Claushaun Richardson, Anguillan poets published by HNP in Where I See the Sun – Contemporary Poetry in Anguilla (HNP, 2015),” said Sample.

Ryan, a 2018 Malliouhana Poetry Competition winner, Thompson, and Richardson are scheduled to recite at the popular poolside morning session at Coral Cove Resort, said Harris.

CUTLINE: Ti Koko and Kush Kush by Patricia G. Turnbull (Virgin Islands), a storybook that helps children cope with loss, feel for other children affected by a natural disaster such as a hurricane, and love their island’s natural environment.

TKK bookcover


Health Sector participates in Tsunami simulation exercise

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - On May 16th, a simulation exercise was organized for ESF (Emergency Support Function) 6 by the Ministry of VSA (Public Health, Social Development and Labour) and the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG), with support of IHE Delft. The 6th Emergency Support Function (ESF) is in charge of the health sector during disasters and crises. 

ESF 6 was confronted with a computer based scenario of a tsunami developed by IHE Delft within the European Commission funded PEARL project and were given insight in the consequences and dilemmas that need to be addressed in the situation of a crisis.

Step by step the participants were taken in the different phases of the scenario in order to clarify the different roles and responsibilities. The table top focused on decision-making and communication processes and the strategic management of healthcare institutions during crisis situations and with chain partners. 

The table top (a simulation-workshop) was a follow-up to the workshop of March 28th.  The input gathered by the first workshop in March and the specific material developed afterwards were tested in this table top. 

Besides giving insights in the roles and responsibilities, Lianne van Driel, disaster coordinator of the Ambulance Service of Brabant in the Netherlands and attached to the recovery project of VNG International, developed a concrete task chart for ESF 6; a checklist to support analysing the required incident information and to define action.  

Following this table top, the information that has been gathered by testing in this table top will be further used to improve the specific material developed and strengthen the processes of disaster management preparedness. 

ESF6 is made up of health agencies that all aid in the achievement of the roles and responsibilities of the group, as listed in the Landsbesluit Rampenplan St. Maarten.

These supporting agencies consist of Sint Maarten Medical Centre, White Yellow Cross Foundation, Pharmacist Association, WIMA, General Practitioners, SLS Laboratory, Red Cross Foundation, WIEMS (Windward Islands Emergency Medical Services), Ambulance Services, Mental Health Foundation, VSA, Preventive health department. 

For more information please contact VNG International: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; +31703738401


Guyanese Association launches Week of Independence Celebrations

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Guyanese across St. Maarten/St. Martin will on Saturday launch a week of celebrations to mark their country’s 52nd independence anniversary, slated for May 26. Several notable Guyanese will be recognized in the process.

The celebrations will begin at the 158B Back Street of the St. Maarten Guyanese Association (SMGA) in Philipsburg with a cake sale from 11:00am on Saturday, May 19, 2018. All patrons can expect delicious Guyanese treats and they can use the opportunity to pick up a souvenir T-shirt for just $10.

On Sunday, there will be a church service at The Church of God of Prophesy in Ebenezer starting at 10:00am; while Wednesday night’s general meeting will take the form of Culture Night starting at 7:30pm. Head of Planning Committee, Mrs. Vanessa Fraser is encouraging all to dress to represent one of the six ethnic groups of the country on Culture Night.

Celebrants can also share and enjoy a potluck dinner party. That night, the festivities will be led by St. Maarten Academy teacher, Ms. Velda Blackett who promises to keep all engaged in fun trivia games testing their knowledge on any and everything Guyana.

SMGA is also encouraging all Guyanese to turn out on Saturday, May 26 for a grand Family Fun Day and Stage Show hosted by Black Diamond Entertainment on the Ring Road (close to Air Lekkerbek) from 11:00am. Patrons can expect games such as cricket, dominoes, and soccer while enjoying succulent Guyanese dishes.

Persons or teams interested in competing in the cricket, dominoes, and soccer knock-out tournaments can register with Mrs. Dewanti Persaud by calling 556-6843 for a chance to win a $400 cash prize and trophy. There will also be authentic Guyanese games for the children.

In lieu of a flag raising ceremony to mark the anniversary of Guyana’s independence from Great Britain, as is customary in Guyana, all Guyanese are encouraged to come out that Saturday evening at the same venue on the Ring Road to be a part of the release of balloons representing the flag colours of green, black, red, white and gold.

Thereafter, a grand stage show will commence featuring internationally-recognised Guyanese artistes Mahendra Ramkellowan known for his hit single ‘Dem Ah Watch Meh’, alongside Asha G out of New York City.

The night’s proceedings will also feature one of Guyana’s top sound systems Stereo Sonic with DJ Akelo out of Guyana. Entertainment will also be provided by Gavin Cash and Hotep Shine from Jamaica and Black Diamond Sound with DJ Crazy Omar.

The following day, the festivities will close off with a motorcade, which will begin at the roundabout by the Causeway Bridge close to the border and end at the Ring Road (behind Air Lekkerbek) for a second day of fun and games.

Prizes will be awarded for the best dressed cars. That afternoon, several outstanding Guyanese, including students who excelled at last year’s CXC examinations, will be honoured, prior to the drawing of a raffle.

SMGA is encouraging all Guyanese or persons of Guyanese descent to get into the spirit of the celebrations by flying the Golden Arrowhead on their cars during this upcoming week. Persons who are interested in securing booths for the May 27 event on the Ring Road can contact SMGA President, Mr. Malcolm Mickle on 524-9587.

Guyana, the only English-speaking country on the continent of South America, gained its independence from Great Britain on May 26, 1966. Prior to Britain’s colonization, the country changed hands many times, with the Dutch being the first of a series of European nations to settle on the land in 1616.

Evidence of the close to 200 years of Dutch occupation can still be seen today in the names of many places, such as New Amsterdam, Uitvlugt, Stabroek Market, Kyk-Over-Al and Fort Zeelandia up the Essequibo River, and Zeeburg. Its capital city, Georgetown, owes much of the architecture, canals and kokers to Dutch ingenuity.

The colony of Demerara-Essequibo was created on 13 August 1814 when the British combined the two colonies into one. In 1815, the colonies of Essequibo and Demerara were formally ceded to Britain, and 16 years later, in 1831, Berbice, the last of what is known today as the three counties was merged into British Guiana, thereby ending Dutch rule.

British Guiana remained under British control until 1966. Four years later, on February 23, 1970, the country became a republic and was formally recognized as the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, having as its first Executive President, the Honorable Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham, who ruled until his death in August 1985.




COM nominates Maria Plantz for Kingdom Council of State position

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The Council of Ministers (COM) has put Maria Plantz forward to the Kingdom Council of Ministers as nominee for the position of member of the Kingdom Council of State (Raad van State) as per October 1, 2018.

This vacancy remained unfilled after Dennis Richardson left the Council of State in 2013 to become Minister of Justice. Mrs. Plantz currently serves as member nominated by Sint Maarten of the CFT (Committee for Financial Supervision for Curacao & Sint Maarten), since October 1, 2015 and has previously served as vice-chair of the first Corporate Governance Council of Sint Maarten from 2010 to 2014.

Mrs. Plantz is the granddaughter of the first elected Senator of the Windward Islands, Mr. William Rufus Plantz, and is the legal representative of his estate on Sint Maarten. Prime Minister Leona Romeo Marlin is extremely happy that this important position to safeguard Kingdom relations will be filled now.

The Kingdom Council of State is a High Council of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which acts, among others, as independent advisory body to the Kingdom Government on legislative and administrative matters, including matters, which affect the Caribbean countries in the Kingdom.

Prime Minister Leona Romeo Marlin remarked, “We have come to know Mrs. Plantz as a knowledgeable legal professional, with a wealth of experience gained from her career as CEO (Chief Executive Officer) in international business.

She has proven to be a valuable member of team Sint Maarten, serving the country in public functions since 2010 and I am very happy that she will accept this new role when her term as member of CFT ends on October 1.”

The Kingdom Council of Ministers is currently considering the succession of Mrs. Plantz at CFT, where her departure will leave a void. “We are mindful that we need to ensure that a replacement is found for Mrs. Plantz at the CFT as soon as possible. We regard CFT as an important partner to achieve improvement of our overall financial budgeting and accountability”, said Prime Minister Leona Romeo- Marlin.


10 Domino’s St. Maarten Team Members Headed to Las Vegas

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - On Saturday, 10 Key Domino’s team members are headed to the World-Wide Rally to be held at the Mandalay Bay during the next week. Domino’s holds these rally’s every other year and is attended by ‘Dominoids’ from all over the world. 

The attendance this year is expected to be a whopping 10,000. The idea is to Celebrate and award the efforts, results, further the training and knowledge of all those who attend. 

“Each Rally we try to bring 6 of us, but this year after Irma and all the hard work that our dedicated team members put in during the aftermath, we decided to dig deeper in our pockets and find a way to bring a few more.

Sadly, we can’t take everyone, and many well deserving team members will perhaps get the chance to attend the next one,” said John Caputo, the local Domino’s franchisee. “The efforts of what the Domino’s St. Maarten team accomplished after Irma being the first to Open; not to sell but to give didn’t go unnoticed by Domino’s Corporate as St. Maarten is also set to be featured in a video about the island’s recovery and how our team members rallied to help within the community and each other.

“The Domino’s World also responded to provide assistance to them thru an internal program called “Partners. Team members helping team members”.  Relief assistance was provided to the whole team to help them rebuild and replace what they had lost,” John continued to say. 

The attendees will be immersed in the latest Domino’s training, awards, presentations, and celebrations which cap off with a closing party featuring a concert by Earth Wind and Fire. In all 10,000 Dominoids from around the world will attend and this certainly will be great exposure for St. Maarten since we are being featured.  

John Caputo is also a presenter in a break out session about thinking and marketing outside the box; taking risks. The session has been booked up to room capacity. Pizza delivery by Jet pack and delivery via Winair and Post Irma efforts will surely be shown. 

“Last June, St. Maarten hosted a smaller regional conference and the attendees from Latin America, South America, Canada, Alaska, Hawaii, and the Caribbean and they saw St. Maarten at our very best as the island as a whole really rallied to make it the highest rated regional meeting to date.

“Then just a few short months later they saw an Island devastated.  I can’t wait for them to see how we are bouncing back and how trying times can bring out the best in people.  I’m certainly proud that my team will be recognized for their efforts,” John continued to say. 

There is a lot to celebrate this year as Domino’s worldwide has become the largest pizza company in the world surpassing Pizza Hut relating to market share and volumes; A goal that was expected to happen in 2020 but thru innovations, online ordering, and taking some risks came to fruition a few years early.   Domino’s operates 15,000 locations in 85 Countries around the world. 


Sint Maarten U14 boy’s to participate in CFU U14 Boys Challenge

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The U14 boy’s selection will be travelling to Haiti in July 2018 to participate in the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Challenge in Haiti from July 21-29.

They will be facing several other Caribbean Countries and are hoping to make their mark in the region.

The President of the Sint Maarten Football Federation (‘SXMFF’), Sudesh Singh: ‘the national selection players have been training for some time now and are excited to be able to represent Sint Maarten abroad.

“Our goal is to make sure they gain the necessary experience and, most importantly, for them to have fun playing ‘the Beautiful Game’. The participation in these international tournaments will also continue to strengthen our national players, out football programs and hopefully inspire more youths to play football’.

For more information on the road to the competition, please follow our Facebook page: St. Maarten Soccer. 


New USM President and Dean of Academics announced

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - At a press conference held on Wednesday, May 9th, President of the Board of the University of St. Martin (USM), Mrs. Valerie Giterson-Pantophlet, in the presence of Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Jorien Wuite introduced the new Dean of Academics and President of the University. 

In her introductory remarks Mrs. Giterson-Pantophlet highlighted that both new staff members are fully committed to making serious contributions to further build the institution and that their presence fills the void left by the departure of key staff members in 2017.

New Dean of Academics, Dr. Rolinda Carter, a local St. Maartener and alumna of the University, has a doctorate in pathology and laboratory medicine and has a love for science and research which she brings with her to her new position. 

President, Dr. G. Antonio Carmona-Baez, has a Master of Arts degree from the University of Amsterdam in International Relations. Dr. Baez, who originates from Puerto Rico, also studied political science and engages in research in public policy with a focus on sustainable development.  

Minister Wuite expressed her delight in the appointment of the new staff members and re-affirmed the intention of the Ministry to continue to partner with USM to engage in critical conversations regarding the funding, subsidy, multi-annual strategic planning and legislation of higher education.

She recognizes the importance of both functions as they are critical and important to acknowledge, position and develop the institute as an institution for higher education and science. Minister Wuite ended the press conference by wishing the USM team and board much success. 


K1 Second Chance Program Sends Youth to United Kingdom

SINT MAARTEN/UNITED KINGDOM – Since its establishment in 2014, K1 Britannia Foundation has worked with and to support vulnerable youth on the island. Hurricane Irma brought a lot of challenges to the island, one of them being high unemployment. This means that K1’s target group of youth has become much more vulnerable.

K1 is creating training programs in partnership with other organizations on the island to give teenagers the opportunity to get jobs in the boat building and construction fields, which are two very relevant job markets during these upcoming years of rebuilding.

One of the long-term goals of K1 is to create training opportunities abroad for vulnerable youth on the island who do not have the opportunity to benefit from such training on their own.

The belief is that having the chance to study/work abroad for a period of time, broaden one's horizon, vision, possibilities, opportunities and life goals. It gives them a chance to be exposed to an environment that is new and different where no one has any preconceived ideas or has put them in any kind of box. The world becomes a blank canvas for them to create their own imprint on.

One of the foundation’s pilot programs is a 47-week complete boat building apprenticeship program at IBTC Lowestoft in the United Kingdom in collaboration with the K1 Britannia Trust,  sister charity of the foundation.

Eighteen-year-old King is one of the recipients who has been given the opportunity to complete this course which besides boatbuilding skills will also additionally cover other relevant skills to gain employment in the marine industry.

“We are very proud of King and with our experience working with him over the last two years, we felt he was the best candidate for this program and also someone who has worked in the maritime industry in St. Maarten and has a desire to continue to do so. This is both an incredible opportunity for this youth as well as the island as King will return with specialized skills that are not currently taught in St. Maarten” said K1 co-founder Priya Thirumur.

The hope is to expand this program further and to be able to send youth abroad, near or far for similar apprenticeships.

“We are very thankful to those who have helped make King's journey so far, one of them being the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta who helped to pay the initial part of King's school fees” added K1 Project Manager Iris Hakkens.

The K1 Second Chance Program gives over 30 vulnerable youth on the island educational and job training opportunities as well as mentors and workshops to guide them to become productive members of society.

The journey has just begun for King, who needs the support of individuals and the business community to help him complete his certification.

Persons interesting in learning more and how they can support King and other vulnerable youth on the island are encouraged to contact the foundation by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., visiting their website or visiting their Facebook at

Monthly updates on King's progress will be posted on K1 Britannia Foundation’s Facebook and Instagram pages.


May 15: Information session on prospective applications for Dutch Disaster Fund Monies

SINT MAARTEN (HOPE ESTATE) - In November 2017 the Dutch National Disaster Fund (NRF) pledged a maximum of 2 million euros for post-Irma recovery projects in St. Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius.  Since March 2018 the fund is open for applications which must be submitted before 1 August 2018.

Organizations that focus on the re-building and strengthening of social networks and activities are invited to come to an information session which will be organized by Fleur Hermanides and Jose Sommers, local project advisers for the Disaster Fund.

This will take place on Tuesday, May 15th at the St. Maarten Senior Citizen Center in Hope Estate from 6.30-8.30PM.

In an earlier press release the board of the Disaster Fund informed the public of its decision to spend 2/3’s of the fund via organizations that are established and registered on the islands.

Organizations such as neighborhood and community centers, children day care and after school and youth centers, PTAs as well as organizations that cater to vulnerable persons such as seniors, mentally and physically challenged and low income/socially challenged groups, form the main target group.

Most of these social NPOs offer social, cultural, arts, sports, environmental, parent-child and/or other activities with the aim of promoting social cohesion and strengthening the social fabric of the community. Organizations that fall into, or collaborate with one of these categories, are encouraged to attend this information session and apply for funding.

The local non-profit sector has proven to be a very important stakeholder after the hurricanes. The local advisors are excited to assist the non-profit organizations with making use of this funding opportunity, as it is clear, 8 months post Irma and Maria,  how much the NGO/NPO community has already done for the islands, but also how much social support is still needed.

The prospective 2 million euro’s that has been made available is a perfect opportunity for not only the large, but also for the small local social organizations to strengthen themselves and the projects and programs they execute.

During the information session criteria will be shared and attendees will be taken through the forms sharing some ins and out on the application process.

Information (Terms of Reference) on this project funding opportunity can be found via This also includes a downloadable application form (in both Dutch and English).

The project advisers can be contacted at 5860808 /   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Fleur Hermanides) and 5815050 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Jose Sommers) and are looking forward to see a large turnout on Tuesday, May 15th 2018, 6:30 p.m. at the St. Maarten Senior Citizen Home Center in Hope Estate.





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