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It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of

                Andrea M. Richardson (aka Andy or Murchilah)

24 January 1969 ~ 8 January 2012

He leaves to mourn:   
Mother:      Maybel Richardson
Sister:      Samara Richardson
Grandmother:  Inez Richardson
Grandfather:   Albert Carty & family  in Aruba
Aunts:    Bernadine Rohan & family   Sxm
Nyuka Arrindel & family        Sxm
Esmi Hillman & family in N.Y.
Uncle:   Albert Enzer in Holland
Great Aunt:    Adrianna Lake & family   Sxm
Lucinda Richardson Brooks & family  Sxm
Great Uncle:   Albair Richardson & family  Sxm
Close relatives:   Ricardo Scott, Quintus & Carlisle Chance
Sulivane, Eddy, & James Lake
Jeannetta Rivas Richardson
Close friends.:Johnny Thomas, Sulbia Pantophlet, Nataly Frans, Mona Gumbs
He also leaves to mourn many other relatives & friends to numerous to mention
He was related to the Richardson, Carty, Rohan, Rivas, Providence, Hodge, Lake,Hughes,Cocks, Glasgow and Bryan families.
The Funeral Service for the late Andrea Martinus Richardson will be held on Friday January 13th, 2012 at the Emerald Funeral Home Chapel in Cay Hill. Viewing: 09:00m to 10:00am. Service: 10:00am. Interment: Cul de Sac cemetery.

The Management and staff of Emerald Funeral Home would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the bereaved families.

May his soul rest in eternal Peace



Noel Coward wrote this wonderful song entitled "Don't put your daughter on the stage, Mrs. Worthington. His message was clear – talent is what is required to make it in the world of dramatic arts. These meaningful lyrics have clearly not filtered down to Clyde Van Putten whose performance at last week's Island Council meeting on Statia has amused but not impressed the local review critics.
No Oscars or Golden Globes from these reluctant experts. They complain of too much adlib, too many cheap gags and deviation from the plot. The entire production also suffered from too many quick costume changes leaving its audience unsure as to who the real heroes and villains were. Inevitably, the latter upstaged the former.
For those unaware of the plot behind this stage production, I shall explain. The plot revolves around a motion of no confidence in the leading star (or NuStar) role played by Van Putten (PLP).

Jailhouse blues

Curtains up and it all starts with the relocation of the prison from Man-a-War to Steward. Van Putten's side-kick resigns and this ignites a government crisis. Allegations of nepotism, corruption and graft are thrown across the council floor. Despite these tribulations, our not so beloved leading actor rises like a Phoenix to deliver presumably more of the same.
In his defense, this troubled soul was accused of many things. They include promising the prison land to his brother, paying the health bill for his ex-wife's visit to Venezuela from public coffers, political appointees, private commissions from local contractors and so the list goes on.
Attack is often the best form of defense and once the mask was ripped from this wounded thespian he responded with equally dramatic angst. He accused his accusers of many woeful acts. But then he decided to take the inappropriate higher ground.


Biblical references washed out the Legislative Hall as he transformed the event into a personal pulpit. But his characterization of Scarlet O'Hara (If God is my witness, etc) and the invocation of the blood of Jesus were far too melodramatic for my taste.
He defended the gift of land use for his brother's cows quite well. Besides, we all know this land is covered in so much junk that it is totally unfit for grazing by four-legged critters. But the audience was still left with the correct notion that perhaps this ideal location was earmarked for grazing by political or petrochemical animals of the two-legged variety.
And then the dramatic mask slipped once again to reveal the true character behind the persona. He asserted that the prison would only be built "by white Dutchmen to lock up our black children."
At best, this was off-the-mark and at worst, clearly discriminatory. Unlike van Putten, God loves us all.
I am not sure how his fellow troop of actors viewed the performance in its entirety. Perhaps Franklin Brown, the protagonist of the STEP party took exception to being cast as one of Cinderella's ugly sisters. As Commissioner and owner of a cable company, there is perhaps a conflict of interest. A prison built on the new location will require kilometers of cable and actors do so adore encores.
Less entertaining was a roll-call of political roles performed by our esteemed leader through his many years of public service. His assertion that he was ready for the Maker to call him once his work on planet earth was completed seemed equally distracted and distractive. After all, the debate should have been about political not divine judgment. Nevertheless, members of the Coalition of Hope if not Despair remained silent.

Already decided

Repudiation in the face of such repetition is pointless when the casting couch has already been crafted. The vote on the Jailhouse Rock had already been decided the night before.
Power broker and casting manager is Reginald Van Dam (UPC). For Reginald, the Chavez style of Van Putten was absolutely not consistent with the St Eustatius School of Acting. But staging a production with the opposition DP (while demanding to be the sole casting director) also seemed doomed to become a Broadway flop. Political power under personal stage management in the wings is more influential than the public power of politics in the floodlights. Stage make-up is less humanly painful than making up. Better to stay with the Devil you know than the Devil you know even better!
In truth, this Legislative Hall production had its high moments. Self-contained performances from Koos Steek (DP) were memorable. Accused of misusing political power for personal gain, he responded in true biblical 'cast the first stone' fashion.
Once the curtain fell, theatre critics were left wondering if it was a good show. Absolutely not! We expect more from our politicians than venality and self-interest. We expect them to be representative, responsive and responsible. Their dirty laundry has no place within the culture of integrity and good governance. But on Statia, this lofty principle is more honored in the breach or in breech pockets than in the observance.
The future of the prison and that of Van Putten remains unresolved. Relocating the prison from an industrial to a residential area makes no economic or common sense. The Ministry of Justice was not pleased with this frivolous decision and the real motive behind the relocation still has to be revealed.

No vision

Van Putten has become a one-man act. His impromptu and autocratic performances hold no vision for a people whose future depends on long-term wisdom. DP also failed its audition. If Van Putten has achieved anything for the acting profession, he has at least made the point that greed for personal gain has become a universal standard.
Moreover, it is such a pity that the public gallery in the Legislative Hall was empty for most of this comic show. Tickets were free and so were political inhibitions. We learned much about our leaders and their weaknesses.
As for Mrs. Worthington, she would be delighted with Van Putten's performance. But I can safely say without any fear of serious contradiction that Noel Coward would have found it very, very poor indeed!

James Russell

Dear Mr. Thompson,

Your foundations objectives are well stated on your website. Let's take a look at them with Rain Forest Adventures plan in mind.

  • To obtain the Emilio Wilson Estate property.
    The EWEF will not gain control of the property under the Rain Forest Adventures plan.
  • To establish it as a Natural, Cultural and Historical Park for the benefit of present and future generations.
    Precisely what we want, with a little adventure and easy access to the peak included making it more attractive, fun, memorable and sustainable.
  • To facilitate, stimulate and promote educational programs and activities on the importance of the Emilio Wilson Estate's Natural, Cultural and Historical aspects.
    Our museum plans celebrate the estates natural, cultural and historical heritage. We also plan a program whereby local school classes volunteer to assist with reforestation in return for a free day in the park to learn the lessons of the museum and enjoy the rides. We want the students to learn about and 'take ownership' of the newly planted endemic forest.
  • To promote the preservation, conservation, restoration and study of historical monuments and artifacts present at the Emilio Wilson Estate.
    We will fully restore the historical structures and RFA has solicited SIMARC to perform archeological investigations with the assistance of the SIMARC Youth Program.
  • To preserve Sint Maarten's various species of Flora and Fauna found at the Emilio Wilson Estate.
    The footprint of the proposed new infrastructure accounts for just 3.6% of the total property, including untouched corridors under the cable attractions. We have committed $1/visitor to a reforestation and forest maintenance fund. As an environmentalist you must agree that replanting endemic forest is considerably more valuable than conserving the post-agriculture invasive species present on the hillside today.
  • To facilitate the establishment of environmentally friendly agricultural and aqua-cultural stations in specially designated areas of the Emilio Wilson Estate.
    Some sample crops of sugar cane and tobacco are planned but no fish farming is forseen.
  • Promotion of public awareness through the production of publications and media presentations, facilitation and organization of activities, educational programs and assistance to archaeological and biological research on the Emilio Wilson Estate.
    There will be high exposure for the Heritage Displays and Nature Programs and, as with our other parks, research is always welcome and local visitation is encouraged with a half price entrance fee.
  • To obtain sustainable financial resources to achieve and manage the EWEF' s goals.
    We have the plan, the recourses, the financing and the proven experience to achieve and manage these goals sustainably.
  • To pursue co-management agreements with the Sint Maarten, the Nature Foundation of Sint Maarten and the Emilio Wilson Historical and Cultural Park Foundation once the EWEF has achieved structural and financial stability.
    We plan to assist the Emilio Wilson Historical and Cultural Park by providing improved maintenance as part of our forest maintenance program.

Mr. Thompson, I totally fail to understand your continued opposition to this proposed park. On several occasions we offered to help you and Miss Veen visit any of our other parks and discuss our operations with local environmental groups so you could foster an educated opinion of our company and our plans yet you consistently rejected our offer. It is unfair of you to accuse us in the press of misleading the public and greenwashing the project without investigating us for yourself. If you did your homework you would find that we are a reputable company with an exceptional environmental record and numerous successes in both conservation and education. We are well experienced working in environmentally sensitive locations with minimal impact. That is why we use helicopters in construction.

You should be taking credit and helping make this program the best it can be. After all, the property would have become housing if not for the extensive EWEF efforts. Now it has the opportunity to be reforested in a sustainable manner while bringing expanded cultural identity and economic benefit to the community, not to mention some fun and adventure. We have a realistic solution here, meeting or exceeding your stated objectives. I ask you once again, why not join us in this? We could use your help.

John Dalton
Chief Engineer
Rain Forest Adventures

Dear Senator Fleming,

For you to openly say on Radio 101.5 FM that "as far as I am concerned, there is no dispute" regarding the estate of the late Louis Constant Fleming Sr. clearly means that you are either a blatant liar or that you are completely uneducated in French Civil Law and therefore you are
not fit to be anything in government in Saint Martin, now or ever, especially you, as Senator who's main function is to create and or amend laws.
Approximately 7 months ago, I first sent you a registered letter informing you of this dispute, it was also mentioned in local newspapers as well as local news sites on the internet for everybody world wide, to read, including you, yourself and yet you profess that there is no dispute. Well since there is no dispute, then why did you hire a lawyer in France to represent you, all which I have proof of.
For those who may feel that this is a personal vendetta or as you reportedly said, "an attempt by Claudie and myself to extort monies from you during this campaign", I say to you, it's not. It's about giving Claudie no more or less than what is rightfully his. It's a personal dispute involving you and your family, Senator Fleming but more significant than that it involves people of the state you presently represent as Senator, Saint Martin's people! You are an elected civil servant! You should be for all people, including Claudie. Shame on you for seemingly trying to involve your elderly mother in this, by reportedly suggesting to others that we approach her for an explanation as to what took place in 1933 while married to your late father.
I once again urge you to clean up this mess your father orchestrated, (who was also an elected civil servant) if you really would like to be elected to anything on this island, hereby also avoiding yet another personal scandal.
Remember, it was the same Claudie Fleming who steadfastly stood by your side to get elected to where you are, when you desperately needed him, his wife, his children, their families and friends' votes and support, wouldn't you need these same votes to get you over the top, this so important election? Can you afford to loose any more support than you already have lost due to the mess you have created or are you living in denial?
But then again, Mr. Senator, it's your dilemma because up to date you still fail to give the voter of Saint Martin a clear and honest explanation as to why you made the same mistake, more than once as stated by your mean rival Albert Fleming.
I trust that you will comply with my request in order for this to be put to rest, once and for all for your own good and well being of your political campaign.

Yours truly,
Norman C. Wathey

Dear Editor,

Much has been said over the past few years about the Emilio Wilson Estate. In recent months the estate has again become the center of controversy as an American company "Rain Forest Adventures" has submitted permit requests to build an amusement park on the former plantation. Please allow me to present the Emilio Wilson Estate Foundation's (EWEF) position on both the Emilio Wilson Estate itself and the Rain Forest Adventures plans for an Amusement park at the estate.

The EWEF's position on the estate is simple. The Emilio Wilson Estate should be established as a National Park for the protection of the area's natural and cultural-historical value but also for the long-term welfare of St. Maarten's residents. Spending time in green open spaces such as the Emilio Wilson Estate has been shown to improve people's health happiness and overall wellbeing. From and economic perspective St. Maarten's Natural and Cultural Heritage, and the Emilio Wilson Estate itself, forms the Foundation of the island's tourism driven economy. The durability of St. Maarten's tourism product greatly depends on the level of nature conservation and environmental care and requires a balance between tourism and the natural environment.

The EWEF's goal is to turn the Estate into the "Emilio Wilson Estate Ecological and Historical Centre and Protected Area" much like Curacao's Christoffel park, Aruba's Parke Arikok and Puerto Rico's many protected areas.

Government made commitments to the people of St. Maarten from September 2005 through July 2008 by implementing a number of basic measures towards the protection of the Emilio Wilson Estate, including placing the entire area on the monument list. The ball is therefore very much in Government's court and it is the task of Parliament and the Council of Ministers to pursue all possible legal and financial means necessary to realize their commitment to the people of St. Maarten. In short it is up to our elected officials to zone and purchase the entire Emilio Wilson Estate for the benefit of current and future generations of St. Maarteners.
The Rain Forest Adventures Golden Rock Park proposal for an Amusement Park on the Wilson Estate is a prime example of the misuse of our Natural and Cultural Heritage. The Company advertises its vision to be focused on "Developing Conservation Awareness" its mission claims to "sustain the environment and help conserve our natural resources while providing a world class eco-tourism experience". Yet the company has made no effort to have independent Environmental and Social-Cultural Impact Assessments made to analyze the effects of their proposed projects. Nor do their plans mention alternative locations, why the focus on Sentry Hill/ Emilio Wilson Estate, has the company considered relatively less sensitive areas such as Madame Estate or in the vicinity of the Indigo Bay project?

As much as the Rainforest adventures group would like us all to believe that their project is environmentally friendly, ecologically sound and geared at the protection of our heritage, the reality of the matter is that the proposal is aimed at the maximization of income in the short term through the mass exploitation of St. Maarten's heritage.

The Rain Forest Adventures' media campaign and promises that visitors to their proposed amusement park "will be funnelled through the plantation house where they will learn about the island's history, culture, the estate and its namesake the late Emilio Wilson" is nothing more than greenwashing. The company is spending more money and time on misleading Public Relations Campaigns, advertising it's supposed environmentally friendly intentions than it actually does on protecting the natural environment.

The Rain Forest Adventures' "Golden Rock Park Proposal" does not sufficiently protect and promote the Emilio Wilson Estate's Natural, Cultural and historical attributes and therefore does not meet the vision the Foundations have for the Estate.

People of St. Maarten please do not be fooled by media campaigns such as the one the Rain Forest Adventures Company has recently started in support of its mass tourism amusement park plans for the Emilio Wilson Estate.

Too many of St. Maarten's hillsides, ponds and other coastal areas have been sacrificed for tourism related development. We are jeopardizing our own wellbeing and the viability of our tourism driven economy through the systematic destruction of the very Foundation on which it is built: St. Maarten's Natural and Cultural Heritage. The time has come to safeguard the natural heritage we have left.

Rueben J. Thompson

Board member
Emilio Wilson Estate Foundation

Vice President
St. Maarten Pride Foundation

Numerous developments this week have prompted further questions about the human and financial consequences for the Dutch Government and local community in the event of a potential disaster at NuStar's operations in St. Eustatius. They illustrate that Dutch authorities - credited by the local government and NuStar with infallible scrutiny when it comes to safety measures - are just as likely to fail as any other. Safety assurances made now are therefore later worthless in the event of a major emergency.

The first involves management failings of the chemicals packaging company in Moerdijk that went bankrupt after a chemical fire. According to a Safety Council Report: "Chemie-Pack failed to meet operating permit conditions and did not keep to its own policy of procedures."

Sounds familiar? NuStar Pipeline Operating Partnership LP recently agreed to pay a US $450,000 civil penalty to the United States Government to settle allegations that it did not have plans to deal with spills and environmental accidents for eight of its oil storage terminal facilities in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska

The eventual cost of the Moerdijk clean-up has been estimated at 71 million euros.
Furthermore, local government has not escaped criticism by the same Safety Council report. It was not aware that the company was not meeting the conditions of its permit but did not increase supervision let alone close down the facility.


The second development is the cost of clean-up for the ecological and economic disaster created by the refinery in Curacao. Sold by its mainly Dutch owner last century for one guilder, the refinery will require significant funds from the Dutch Government for this purpose. It is another sober and salutary reminder that responsibility for petrochemical installations persists long after owners and management have left the scene.

The same principle of risk applies to the NuStar situation. This week David Smith, terminal manager assured us that "the project is still designed to meet the most sophisticated safety measures available and meet the most strenuous regulations in the world." However, his assurances or rather those of his creative copywriter are baseless on the grounds that they do not reflect current safety measures and performance at the existing terminal facility.

NuStar boasts an accident free record at its current site. But lost time incidents (LTI's) are neither reported nor analyzed to eliminate reoccurrence. This is the case for onshore as well as offshore operations. Incident reporting is a vital aspect of safety management since it forms the basis of prevention thereby avoiding serious accidents, loss of life and possibly major disasters.


However, some NuStar employees have also been questioning safety at the current site. They describe the culture as 'laid-back' and focused on the wearing of safety goggles, safety helmets, and on little else. Over the last four weeks alone, divers have been sent down on numerous occasions to free mooring ropes wrapped round tug propellers. The cause for these unreported incidents is well known. For several years, the release mechanism for the jetty mooring has been defect. No attempt to renew this unsafe equipment has been initiated.

NuStar maintains that its safety procedures are consistent with the Directive for above storage of flammable liquids in vertical cylindrical tanks. An integral element of this directive is the reporting of marine based incidents and accidents. So what faith do we have in their assurances?

One does not have to read between the lines to know that this expansion is all about quick dividends for shareholders and not about responsibility or care for the community. Given that NuStar does not have the working capital to deal with a full-blown disaster on Statia, how much and where are the substantial funds deposited by the company in escrow to cover the cost of potential disaster and clean-up?

They do not exist.

Queen Beatrix

Despite the appeal of Queen Beatrix for the Netherlands to take better care of Planet Earth, her New Year wishes on Golden Rock are being totally ignored. "Selfishness and the tendency towards excess makes one blind to the damage to our natural environment and undermine communities," she rightfully said.

If that were the case, one wonders why officials at her own Ministry for Environment and Water Management (VROM) have been told to accelerate and facilitate the process of granting permits locally. Corporate smoke screens can be just as deadly as the flames that eventually reveal their worthlessness.

I have been reliably informed that fire regulations and plans for existing NuStar terminal facilities were absolutely not up to scratch when Statia was part of the Netherlands Antilles. But the Island Government is happy to sign off permits for the new terminal on the Farm with or without these in place.

NuStar may well believe that it controls the Island Government through altruistic community gifts and vague corporate statements about safety and short-term economic benefits. It may even think it controls the Dutch VROM through the expensive lobby services of Ben Bot, former Minister in The Hague.

But who will control a man-made or natural disaster that strikes its terminal facilities? Nobody and nothing!


Despite questions raised about the many unresolved safety issues in the local media, answers have not been forthcoming. For such a company that prides itself on community involvement, their silence is an admission of arrogance.

Statia is not ready to have its horizon, landscape, heritage, natural environment, people and pride obscured by ugly tanks and corporate greed. A government that falsely claims that it is only a handful of Statians who object to this corporate colonization, may well be reminded that it was a similar "handful" of voters who elected them.

A rubber stamp for a firm whose creed does not reflect deed is not worth the risk. For such is the true nature of the beast.

James Russell

Dear Editor:


When earlier this week Louie Laveist, the "Honorable" Member of Parliament, talked about "Betrayal of the people of St. Maarten" by Deputy Prime Minister Heyliger, I became very nauseous. Now I know Minister Heyliger is perfectly capable of defending himself, so this is not about that! Neither is it about the fact that I agree that MP James and others who get paid to be fulltime representatives of the people, should choose which God they serve. I want to focus on the audacity and brazenness of MP Louie Laveist.

I want Mr. Laveist to consider the following:
  • As a DP Commissioner he got caught with his fingers in the proverbial cookie jar after he took over a perfectly well planned project to construct the new Government Administration Building. The DP Leadership thought it was the best thing for him to resign until his criminal investigation was over and his name cleared. He refused and after his detention from the Point Blanche prison, declared himself an "Independent" Council Member. Remember just before he left the DP, National Alliance Leader William Marlin publicly wiped the floor with him, crying out how shameful Laveist's greed-driven actions were (I am paraphrasing here)! However as soon as he (LL) said he was an "Independent" member, William scooped him up and formed a new government. TALK ABOUT BETRAYAL of the people TO THE CORE!?? By the way, 6 years after the new administration building was to have been inaugurated according the agreements made with RGM in 2002 and the first 6 months of 2003, the building still sits empty in litigation and costs the government approximately ANG 800,000 quarterly thanks to the shenanigans of an "Honorable" MP.
  • MP Louie Laveist should tell the people if the following is true or false: While he was entrusted with the portfolio of Commissioner of Transportation in the Executive Council of 2003 to 2007, three transportation companies were started up by members of his immediate family (including one who currently works at Pelican/Simpson Bay Resort). The companies in question are: Quality Transport Corporation for which the then Commissioner approved five (5) bus permits, Business Transport Corporation for which he approved seven (7) permits and Expert Transport Corporation for which he approved five (5) permits. And then I want the former (DP) Commissioner, now "Honorable" NA MP Laveist to confirm or deny that these bus permits are being rented out to individual drivers, some of whom are the very same constituents who had requested a permit in their own name. A nice monthly income to the owner(s) of the three transport companies at the expense of the brow sweat of the constituents. I would classify THIS to be a BETRAYAL of the people TO THE CORE! To add insult to injury, the owners of the same businesses who are family members of the "Honorable" MP, have all been issued individual taxi permits. Bear in mind that a taxi permit at the time was only to be granted if it was to be the recipient's primary source of income. And if I am not mistaken, N.V.'s (limited liability companies) could be issued multiple bus permits. So-called "eenmanszaken" could only be issued a single bus permit. 


  •  I ask who is more "boldfaced" than the "Honorable" Member of Parliament Laveist who had the gall to present himself on the National Alliance political slate after having been convicted by the court.
Lastly, in his tirade on radio and so quoted in the print media, Mr. Laveist ends with inciting labor unrest, prefacing the call to this unrest with a lame statement that he "doesn't WANT labor unrest", but sees it as unavoidable. Then he calls on his colleague James to do "the honorable thing". That's when I gagged! Louie calling for someone else to do the "honorable" thing???? Yeah, right!!

Michael J. Ferrier

Philipsburg:--- The plenary public session of Parliament with reference to the utility company GEBE and infrastructure developments that was held on January 16 will continue on Thursday, January 19 at 10:00am.

Vice Prime Minister Hon. Theo Heyliger, and Minister responsible for Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment and Infrastructure, will respond to the first round of questions that were posed by Members of Parliament (MPs).

The meeting will take place in the General Assembly Chamber of the House of Parliament on Wilhelmina Straat #2.1 in Philipsburg.

The two agenda points being dealt with in the plenary session are, infrastructure developments on Sint Maarten and the impact on the environment, and developments at GEBE including the generation and distribution of electricity, water and the fuel clause.

The National Alliance (NA) faction requested the plenary session in its letter dated January 06, 2012 to the President of Parliament.

The plenary public session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 20.

The Voluntary Corps of Sint Maarten (VKS) will be opening the New Year 2012 with attending Holy Mass at the Roman Catholic Church on Frontstreet, Philipsburg, on Saturday, January 7th, 2012 at 6 PM. The church service will be followed by a reception for VKS-members, their families and invited guests.

The Commander of the VKS hereby requests the members to come out in full force to give thanks for the past year and to pray for a blessed New Year 2012.

Philipsburg:--- Members of the Dutch Parliament both from the first and second chamber that are currently on St. Maarten for inter-parliamentary meetings met with the Council of Ministers on Monday in the A.C. Wathey Legislative Hall. Attending the meeting on Monday which was chaired by the Prime Minister of St. Maarten Sarah Wescot Williams were Deputy Prime Minister Theodore Heyliger, Minister Franklin Meyers, Minister Hiro Shigemoto, Minister Rhoda Arrindell, and Minister Cornelius De Weever, while Minister of Justice Roland Duncan is currently off island. Up to press time no details on Monday's close door meeting with the Council of Ministers had been released.

Click here to view more photos of Monday's meeting with the COM and Dutch MP's.

ST MAARTEN, Dutch Caribbean:--- IGY Marinas announces that Brian Deher, the Director of Marina Operations and Planning for IGY St. Maarten, has been awarded the designation of Certified Marina Manager, bringing the total up to 4 CMMs that comprise the IGY Marina Management Team. Brian also serves as the current president of the St. Maarten Marine Trades Association in addition to coming from a family of marina owners and operators in the Caribbean.

The full team of CMMs at IGY Marinas now includes:
Kenny Jones, MBE, our EVP Operations
Adam Foster, GM, Rodney Bay Marina, St. Lucia
Kevin Lussier, GM, Yacht Haven Grande, St. Thomas
Brian Deher, GM, The Yacht Club at Isle de Sol and Simpson Bay Marina, St. Maarten

Per the International Marina Institute, a subsidiary of the Association of Marina Industries, the CMM value statement iterates: "CMMs represent the elite in the marina and recreational boating industry. They value true personal and professional excellence and strive to maintain the highest levels of ethical and moral conduct in their commitment to the marina industry. CMMs have a deeply-rooted respect for the environment and recognize their role in keeping it safe for boaters and the communities that support them. CMMs are marina professionals who have completed an extensive training and certification process through the globally recognized International Marina Institute (IMI) and embrace the continuance of education and training for themselves and those who work within the marina industry."

mvogesandtelemreps16012012Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Last week Thursday executives from the TELEM Group of Companies visited the Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary in The Hague at the Sint Maarten House.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Helma Etnel and Chief Technical Officer (CTO) Eldert Louisa, met with Minister Voges to discuss possibilities of how the Cabinet could assist with recruiting Sint Maarten students for job opportunities with the TELEM Group of Companies.

TELEM is in need of persons with a technical and financial background to work at their different locations on the island. The telecommunications company is also offering on-the-job training for students and the chance to be employed at either one of the companies, TELEM, Smitcoms or Telcell.

Minister Voges used the opportunity to thank the executives for the TELEM Group's co-sponsorship of the Sint Maarten Day celebrations in Holland last year.

rainbowresidentsprotest20012012Philipsburg:--- Several residents of Rainbow Villas were seen protesting outside the Court of First Instance on Friday as a court hearing against the owners of Rainbow Villas was on going. The residents were holding placards stating that they are victims of Johnny Errato, the owner of Rainbow Villas. According to information reaching SMN News the residents are protesting the deplorable conditions of the villas they bought from Errato.

Click here to view more photos of the Rainbow residents protest at the Court of First Instance on Friday.

Philipsburg:--- A Plenary public session of Parliament is scheduled for January 24 regarding the voting of Member of Parliament (MP) Hon. Jules James.

The meeting will take place on Tuesday morning at 10:00am in the General Assembly Chamber of the House of Parliament on Wilhelmina Straat #2.1 in Philipsburg.

The National Alliance (NA) faction requested the plenary session in its letter dated January 10, 2012 to the President of Parliament.

The NA faction would like to discuss the voting of MP Jules James on November 17, 2011 on a draft motion of the NA; the position of the NA that MP Jules James was not allowed to vote on the motion; the letter of the Governor of Sint Maarten to Parliament, dated December 5, 2011; and the reactions of the Chairlady of Parliament to the aforementioned.

The plenary public session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 20 and via Pearl Radio FM 98.1 as well as via the Internet and

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL January 30, 2012:--- Becoming an increasingly popular and convenient way to cruise the Caribbean all year round, IGY's Caribbean Anchor Pass (CAP) is the method of choice for many mega yachts looking to save on dockage, while maintaining the freedom and flexibility to travel to several islands under one package.

Thus far, a number mega yachts ranging in size from 99 to 154 feet have taken full advantage of the only program that encourages cruising in St. Thomas, St. Maarten, St. Lucia and Puerto Rico - collectively. Exclusively created for yachts over 80 feet, the CAP program was inspired from mega yacht captains who voiced the need for more flexibility in dockage with a program that allows them to roam the Caribbean throughout the year while enjoying the best-in-class luxury marinas.

Under the pass, yachts travel between 5 different IGY marinas across 4 destinations over the span of a full year, while only paying for 120 days. Anchor Pass holders receive priority reservations at significant savings off the daily dockage rate, all the while maintaining the flexibility to move about the network freely.

Participating marinas in the IGY Caribbean Anchor Pass are:

  • Yacht Haven Grande, St. Thomas
  • The Yacht Club at Isle De Sol, St. Maarten
  • Simpson Bay Marina, St. Maarten
  • Rodney Bay Marina, St, Lucia
  • Palmas del Mar Yacht Club, Puerto Rico

"Over the last year, the Anchor Pass has grown to be a popular choice among IGY customers. The cost savings are significant and the flexibility of the program follows the very nature of transient mega yachts. We look forward to another successful year with the program as 4 yachts have already renewed their pass from last year." says EVP of Operations for IGY Marinas, Kenny Jones.

Holders of the Anchor Pass all have positive feedback about the flexibility and convenience of the program:

"We are very pleased with the professionalism shown by the staff at IGY Yacht Haven Grande, St. Thomas. Our vessel will be traveling south through the Caribbean and on to Curacao and Colombia. For our program and schedule, the Anchor Pass proved to be a link between the finest marinas in the Caribbean, while at the same time giving the assurance that the service and facilities will exceed those of most other marinas."

"The IGY Anchor Pass has been a great convenience for us, knowing that we'll have a dock when we wish, and has also has provided us with peace of mind. It is also wonderful that the marinas offer amenities such as a gym and lounges for our crew. Not only in St. Thomas, we can also count on the same service at other islands and the IGY marinas where we travel."

"I would recommend the IGY anchor pass for anyone who is looking to spend time down here in the Caribbean. We have explored only Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and IGY has made it as easy as possible to have a slip lined up and ready for us when we arrive. We found the marinas and staff to be very impressive, with everyone always willing to lend a hand if needed. For us it is an easy decision to choose the Anchor Pass, a choice we will be making again next year when we come back!"

For further information and inquiries, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 954.332.2398.

Great Bay:--- The 7th Annual National Day of Prayer will be held this Sunday, January 8, 2012 in front of the Government Administration Building under the theme, "Thank you Lord for watching over us as we go forward." The ecumenical service will begin at 4:30 PM with Praise and Worship led by the Love and Grace Ministry.
The Order of Service includes a call to worship by Pastor Wycliffe Smith of the St. Maarten United Ministerial Foundation and an invocation by Pastor Vashni Cuvalay.
Several choirs will sing throughout the service, including the Combined Roman Catholic Reward Choir, the MAC School Choir, the Seventh Day Adventist School Choir, the Bible Baptist Youth Choir and the Church of God Trio.
Intercessory prayers will be offered by Pastor Jerome Thomas and Pastor Emanuel Carbon, while Prophetess Aster Allen will give the sermonette.
Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams will offer some remarks with the vote of thanks being given by Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs, Dr. Rhoda Arrindell.
The National Day of Prayer is observed annually on the second Sunday of January, with an invitation to people of all faiths to pray for the nation. It is a way of bringing together the entire population in prayer to start the New Year on the right footing.

Great Bay (DCOMM):--- TB is a disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal.

TB is spread through the air from one person to another. The bacteria are dispersed into the air when a person with active TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, talks or sings. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected.

However, not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. People who are not sick have what is called latent TB infection

. People who have latent TB infection do not feel sick, do not have any symptoms, and cannot spread TB to others. But, some people with latent TB infection go on to get TB disease.

People with active TB disease can be treated if they seek medical help. People with latent TB infection can take medicine so that they will not develop active TB disease.

The Collective Prevention Service (CPS), a public health agency of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, says that public health officials must focus their resources on finding exposed persons who are more likely to be infected or to become ill with TB disease.

CPS's surveillance team reviewed relevant epidemiologic and other scientific data to conduct contact investigations in order to minimize any spread of the condition.

The index case is the person diagnosed by a physician with TB. The index case's close contact are followed up and interviewed by the surveillance team to determine if they may be infected. If they are determined to be at risk, they are referred for additional testing such as mantoux testing and chest x-ray.

Close exposure or exposure among particularly vulnerable populations may be more at risk for TB disease.

For 2011 CPS received reports and followed up on two TB cases, one case in November, a 21-year old male, and a 30-year old female in September.

It is recommended that persons diagnosed with TB as well as those who have close contact with the infected person are asked to strictly follow their medical treatment and in the latter case, to follow-up with their family physician for the results of the mantoux tuberculin skin test to determine further medical treatment and handling.

TB disease can be treated by taking several medications for six to nine months. It is very important for persons to take these medications as prescribed. Not adhering to the scheduled drug regime could make the bacteria resistant and hence, a person's recovery time could be longer. If a person stops taking the medications too soon, they also risk becoming sick again.

At all times to avoid putting others at risk, persons should exercise cough hygienic practices – "Cover your Cough."

Difference between Latent TB Infection and Active TB Disease

A Person with Latent TB Infection A Person with Active TB Disease
• Has no symptoms • Has symptoms that may include:
- a bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer
- pain in the chest
- coughing up blood or sputum
- weakness or fatigue
- weight loss
- no appetite
- chills
- fever
- sweating at night
• Does not feel sick • Usually feels sick
• Cannot spread TB bacteria to others • May spread TB bacteria to others
• Usually has a positive skin test • Usually has a positive skin test
• Has a normal chest x-ray and a negative sputum smear • May have an abnormal chest x-ray, or positive sputum smear or culture
• Should consider treatment for latent TB infection to prevent active TB disease • Needs treatment for active TB disease

pelicanworkersatgreatbayresort12012012Great Bay:--- The Pelican workers are currently demonstrating silently at the Great Bay Resort where the inter-parliamentary meetings are taking place.
The workers first went to the Pelican Resort (SBRMC) to collect an application form. They then met with their union at the WIFOL before heading down to Great Bay Resort to inform the visiting delegation about their plight due to one of their colleagues Jules James from the St. Maarten Parliament.
The Head of the Delegation and Vice Chair from the Netherlands along with the leader of the National Alliance William Marlin met the workers outside of the resort. More details later today.

Great Bay:--- On Wednesday afternoon, members of the Tripartite committee received an extensive introduction regarding the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labor. Presentations were made by Peggy Ann Dros-Richardson of the Department of Labor Affairs; Dr. Earl Best of the Inspectorate and Raphael Boasman of the Labor Department.
Mrs. Dros pointed out that the Department of Labor Affairs plays a critical role in the execution of policies that address the following areas: unemployment(high risk groups); job placement and vacancy registrations; work permits and business registrations.
The vision and mission statement of the Department of Labor Affairs was also addressed by Mrs. Dros. The vision states that the department strives to become the recognized government authority in workforce related matters; providing concise leadership, sound advice and value thru partnerships with all stakeholders. Whereas the mission statement clarifies the department as one to provide laborers to the labor market thru analysis of the business need; to provide employment thru training for the unemployed and adherence to legislation, and to treat fairly all laborers seeking assistance.
The first Tripartite committee meeting was held on December 21, 2011, and was of an introductory nature, with members during that meeting discussing such topics as priorities for 2012 and explanations of the tasks and responsibilities of the Tripartite Committee. Tripartite Committee meetings are held every month with Minister of Public Health, Social Development & Labor, Cornelius De Weever serving as chairman. The Tripartite Committee is made up of representatives for employers, employees and government.

Philipsburg:--- St. Maarten Cable TV today provided an update on the network modifications being made in preparation for the upgrade to an all-digital platform on February 1, 2012.
On January 12, 2012, subscribers received notification of a planned outage that would cause both Cable TV and CableNet customers to experience service interruptions between the hours of 1:00am to 4:00am on January 14, 2012. The scheduled outage allowed the technical team to relocate the fiber to the new building. Although the technical team worked diligently to restore all services within the announced time period, the team encountered unanticipated technical issues that led to the delayed restoration of both services. Cable TV was restored to all areas by 8:00am on January 14, 2012. CableNet service was restored at 5:00pm
There are customers on the network that are still experiencing service issues with their high-speed internet and their video service. The technical team is working diligently to resolve any remaining issues.
Beulah Jonis, Managing Director of St. Maarten Cable TV stated, "St. Maarten Cable TV apologizes for the inconvenience this outage may cause our subscribers and we are continuously grateful for the patience that you have exhibited throughout the process."

IMBALI Center For Creative Movement, presents:

Introduction to the Art of Clown, Master classes by International clown teacher Albina Matuzko. Starting 11 or 12 February, depending on preferences of participants: 5 x Saturdays or Sundays mornings: 10am-1pm at Imbali Dance School Located at the John Larmonie Center, Long Wall Road in Philipsburg.

Clown classes for adults ages 18 years and up .
For registration and classes information, please contact:

Albina Matuzko
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,
Facebook /Albina Matuzko,
Tel. 588-44-39

Come as you are...

fmeyersmeetsrblackmoore18012012Philipsburg:--- Minister of Economic & Tourism Affairs, Telecommunications & Transport Hon. Franklin Meyers last week Friday met with Dominica's Minister of Public Works, Energy & Sports with responsibility for Civil Aviation Hon. Rayburn Blackmoore.

Minister Hon. Blackmoore had requested the meeting to discuss the discontinuation of Windward Island Airways (WINAIR) flights to Dominica.

It was agreed that a structural solution would be looked into in order to service Dominica on a regular basis.

zayshasinclair23012012Reigning Junior Carnival Queen Zaysha Sinclair is encouraging the parents of little girls between the ages of 7 to 12 years to register to take part in the pageant for Carnival 2012. The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) has closed registration for all shows and competitions for Carnival 2012 except the Junior Pageant. The foundation has extended the registration for this pageant until the end of January.

Zaysha, who describes her reign and her experience as "wonderful", said she hopes to see more girls her age register to have fun. "I had a lot of fun when I was going up. You are treated nice, you do fun things, you meet new friends, you get to be in the parade. It's is all very exciting. I think parents should sign up their children because Carnival is our culture and it's good to be a part of that," Zasha said.

Interested parents can email the SCDF at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 5225133 or 5220509 to register their child. The Jr. Carnival Queen wins US $1,000 in cash, a computer and other prizes. "We hope to get more contestants for this pageant which was a terrific success last year. The girls are taken on outings around the island, treated to the movies etc and do so many more things," President of the SCDF Stuart Johnson said.

In the meantime, Johnson added, the SCDF is very satisfied with the registration of all other areas of Carnival. "We are looking good. The other local shows have a good number of registrants, all Carnival booths are out, so we are happy with that. We will be introducing the contestants for all our shows next week and then it's all full steam ahead to Carnival, to two weeks of fete," he said.

Philipsburg:--- The Central Committee of Parliament will be meeting on Wednesday afternoon at 2:00pm.

The January 25 meeting is open to the public and will take place in the General Assembly Chamber in the House of Parliament at the Wilhelmina Straat #2.1.

Members of Parliament (MPs) will decide on the advice of the Seniorenconvent about the installation of a Committee for Country Expenditures.

The second point to be discussed is becoming a member of Parlatino's Political, Municipality and Integration Committee which discusses political issues.

The committee session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 20 and only the audio via Pearl Radio FM 98.1 as well as via the Internet and

Great Bay (DCOMM):--- The St. Maarten Tourism Bureau has relocated to a new address.

The new address is as follows:

Krippa Building, Unit 9 & 10
Juancho Yrausquin Boulevard #6
(Across Sang's Supermarket)
St. Maarten

The temporary phone is (721) 526-8284.

The usual telephone numbers are currently out of service.

Philipsburg:--- The second plenary public session of Parliament regarding the voting of Member of Parliament (MP) Hon. Jules James in a parliamentary session back in November 2011 is set for January 31.

The meeting will take place on Tuesday afternoon at 2:00pm in the General Assembly Chamber of the House of Parliament on Wilhelmina Straat #2.1 in Philipsburg.

The National Alliance (NA) faction requested the plenary session in its initial letter dated January 10, 2012 to the President of Parliament.

The first plenary session with respect to this agenda point was held on January 24, 2012, however due to a lack of a quorum, the meeting did not take place.

The NA faction would like to discuss the voting of MP Jules James on November 17, 2011 on a draft motion of the NA; the position of the NA that MP Jules James was not allowed to vote on the motion; the letter of the Governor of Sint Maarten to Parliament, dated December 5, 2011; and the reactions of the Chairlady of Parliament to the aforementioned.

The plenary public session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 20 and the audio via Pearl Radio FM 98.1 as well as via the Internet and

Philipsburg:--- The Managing Director of Postal Services St. Maarten Denicio Richardson has hired the services of HBN Law, namely Attorney at Law Wim Van Sambeek to contest the suspension implemented by the PSS Supervisory Board on December 27th 2011.
A press release from Attorney at Law Wim Van Sambeek confirmed that his client was suspended by the Supervisory Board as reported by SMN News under the heading "Director of PSS Suspended" which was published on December 31st 2011.
Van Sambeek said that his client wants to emphasize that maintains his opinion that he at all times acted within his authority and responsibility as the statutory director of PSS. Van Sambeek said in the interest of PSS and the staff his client will not comment on the lightly taken measure of suspension, however, he will use all available legal means to have the suspension rectified and lifted as soon as possible.
In the article published on this website on December 31st 2011 it states that the PSS Director was suspended from December 27th, 2011 to January 13th, 2012.

Philipsburg:--- The Permanent Committee of Kingdom Affairs and Inter-parliamentary Relations will be meeting on Thursday afternoon at 2:00pm in a closed door session.

The meeting is being held to finalize preparations for the visit of parliamentarians from Holland, Curacao and Aruba, in the setting of the inter-parliamentary Kingdom conference that will take place from January 10 to 13, 2012.

Members of Parliament (MPs) who are members of the aforementioned committee are: MP Hon. Roy Marlin (Chairman), MP Hon. Dr. Ruth Douglass (Vice Chairlady), MP Hon. Patrick Illidge, MP Hon. William Marlin, and MP Hon. Frans Richardson.

specialdeliveryboys05012012The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) announced on Thursday that its popular Youth Extravaganza will take on a new format for Carnival 2012. Entitled "Youth Extravaganza 2012: Reloaded" the talent showcasing event will be more like "America's Got Talent" with one overall winner selected by a panel of five judges.

The cash prize will be US $1000. The event will also feature and elimination and a final round of competition. "Youth Extravaganza has grown since its inception into a dynamic and energized show displaying the best of the best in St. Maarten youth talent. Comparable to other shows held annually, youth extravaganza continues to compliment our Carnival schedule of events by having a high attendance rate throughout the years," President of the SCDF Stuart Johnson said.

He continued: "This year we've opted to change the format and we are excited about the possibilities. Dancers, singers, young calypso singers and steel pan players, rappers, actors, just talented young people will all compete for that one cash prize. It should be fun."

Young people interested in competing in Youth Extravaganza must register like everyone else before January 16, 2012. Registration forms can be collected at the Government Administration Building at the security desk. Forms can also be emailed to interested persons once requested via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

"The future of Carnival depends on the inclusion of our young people either through direct involvement with the SCDF on our youth wing or through participation in SCDF events. It is vital that we allow them to be part of our festival. The SCDF holds firm to this principle an looks forward every year to giving them a night of their own. For Carnival 2012 that night will have a little more excitement to it and we can't wait," Johnson said.

cftvisitssxm18012012Philipsburg:--- The Board of financial supervision (College financial toezicht – Cft) visited Sint Maarten the last few days. Under the new chairmanship of prof. Age Bakker, the Board conducted meetings with the Finance Minister, Mr. Hiro Shigemoto, the Governor, Mr. Eugene Holiday, the Council of Ministers and Parliament. This was the first time the new member of the Board Mr. Richard Gibson and the new secretary of the Board, Mr. Kees van Nieuwamerongen participated in these meetings. It is expected that a new member of the board to replace Margo Vliegenhart, who has resigned, will be appointed shortly. During the visit a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with Sint Maarten and the Cft offices on Sint Maarten was opened.

The opening of the office and the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding are the result of the further developing cooperation between Sint Maarten and Cft. This cooperation is of great importance to continue building up country Sint Maarten and foster sound public finances.

During the meetings an array of topics were discussed, such as the budget, the accountability, corporate governance and financial management. It can be concluded that there has been progress on all areas, although at the same time there are still many challenges ahead. Currently Sint Maarten does not have an approved budget for 2012 as yet. Sint Maarten requested Cft to advise on the draft budget, before submitting this to Parliament. Cft is pleased that Sint Maarten decided to do so. In this way Parliament will be informed of the Cft views on the draft budget, and will be in a position to include this in their deliberations. The expectation is that the draft budget will soon be presented to Parliament and Cft hopes that the budget will soon be adopted. A fast adoption of the budget 2012 means also that preparations for budget 2013 can be started timely, in order for these to be adopted within the legal terms.

The budget 2012 will have to be executed under difficult economic conditions. Economic and financial uncertainty is eminent worldwide. It may therefore be necessary to adjust the budget during 2012. In addition the Cft indicated to the government the risks in the multi-year budget as far as pensions and social security is concerned. Countries all over the world are confronted with increasingly unmanageable costs in these areas, other than was originally expected when these systems were designed. It is therefore prudent to obtain timely insight on these matters on Sint Maarten and to plan to effectively cope with potential problems. Cft welcomes the fact that Sint Maarten is taking steps to significantly improve the tax system. The Board has recommended the Council of Ministers to also consider adopting a dividend policy for government owned companies. This will contribute to transparency and proper allocation of all public funds. Parliament however, is the ultimate decision maker as far as this is concerned.

Sint Maarten is a young country that is working on building its institutional capacity and developing its general financial management. So there is at present a backlog in the preparation and auditing of financial statements. It is important to complete and audit financial statements of the past. Cft is pleased to have learned that the financial statement 2010 is completed and has been submitted to the required advisory bodies. In a wider context, Cft has emphasized the importance of the adoption of the Public Expenditure Framework Assessment (PEFA) as the basis for a roadmap to strengthen financial management in future. This process should in the end lead to a financial management that is in compliance with internationally acceptable standards. This will support institutions such as Parliament to carry out its role. Cft applauds these steps that Sint Maarten is taking in this area. The building-up of a country brings along challenges for the government and the leadership of the country.

With the opening of the new office and the close cooperation Cft is confident in the future of Sint Maarten.

babayaga19012012Philipsburg:--- On the heels of a successful first run last December Imbali Center for Creative Movement and Albina Matuzko are bringing the theatrical production Baba-Yaga back for a final run on Saturday, January 28, at 8pm.
This event will be staged at the John Larmonie Center on Longwall Road and cost for admittance is $15.
Baba-Yaga is a production which has been performed for international audiences to much acclaim and which also received appreciative reviews from local audiences. The story unfolds through the perspective of Matuzko's clown character Klusha, who identifies with Baba-Yaga, even though she is a well-known Slavic mythological character known for being "mad, bad, dangerous, haglike and ugly."
According to Matuzko, Klusha is fascinated by Baba-Yaga and wants to create a production which tells her story. However, as the production unfolds Klusha discovers that Baba-Yaga is not some external figure, but elements that live deep within her, thus the nature of the story is altered in the telling.
"Klusha is drawn to Baba-Yaga's vulnerability. She, Baba-Yaga, is viewed as a lonely, wild, cantankerous sort of character, who is often used a scare tactic especially with young children, but those are elements that are within all of us, as Klusha discovers," Matuzko said.
The production, which runs about one hour, draws audiences into Klusha's experiences as guided by Baba-Yaga and audiences are encouraged to go on an inner journey of laughter, tears and discoveries.
In addition to restaging the production Matuzko, in collaboration with Imbali Center for Creative Movement will be hosting a clown workshop for five consecutive Saturdays or Sundays, depending on participants' preference, starting February 11 or 12 between 10am- 1pm.
Matuzko said that a clown is "a master at the art of life. S/he exists within everyone of us. Discovering your own clown means bringing more joy, love and pleasure to your life. It also means being able to connect with yourself and others from one heart to another."
"The course is an invitation for you to empower yourselves, empty your busy heads, open your minds and go to the source of energy in your gut and the follow the senses in your hearts," Matuzko said.
She explained that games, dance and contact with other participants would incorporated into the workshop.
"By following impulses and acting in the moment you will discover the magic and power of improvising. You can re-experience your spontaneity, imagination, freedom and playfulness. You will learn to embrace your mistakes and have fun, to take risks; conquering fears. And if you are able, at the end, to laugh at the beauty of your own ridiculousness your lives will seem much easier," Matuzko said.
According to Reyes no previous experience in clowning is necessary in order to be a participant in the 5 week course. Matuzko said that the course is a basic one which would be good for the development of individuals from all walks of life.
"This course is especially useful for teachers, nurses and doctors, managers, leaders, politicians, policemen, officials, housewives, papas and mama, basically everybody who is in daily contact with other people. Artists of all kinds of performing arts can also enrich their own creative personalities by taking this course," she said, "You don't have to be smart, brave, or funny and it is absolutely great if you think you are far from perfect, just come out and give the workshops a try."
Aspects of focus include the development of clown character, emotions, and routines, clowning for special purposes including at hospitals and street performances and finally stage-clowning.
For more information concerning both the restaging of Baba-Yaga and the clown workshop please contact Matuzko at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or facebook: Albina Matuzko or 588-4439. or

rockstarsfornaturefundraiser20012012The Rockstars for Nature Fundraiser in support of the Nature Foundation after school activities program Snorkel Club managed to generate over four thousand dollars towards Nature Education on St. Maarten. The fundraising, which was organized by Stephanie Reed, Free Lance Grant Writer and Fundraiser at the Nature Foundation, generated significant revenue which will allow the Nature Foundation to expand its After School and in-school Nature Education Programs.
"One of our main tasks here at the Nature Foundation is to generate awareness and interests in the environment for the youth in order to instil pride in their local environment. In the past we ran our after school activity program on a shoestring budget but now, through the generous donation of the business community, we will be able to broaden our programs and offer them more sustainably," commented Tadzio Bervoets, Nature Foundation Manager.
The Board and staff would like to give express their sincerest thanks to all those who were involved in the Nature Foundation, particularly the local band Orange Grove, who have supported the program to the fullest and who have generously offered to extend 10% of their merchandise sale towards the Nature Foundation Youth Program. The Nature Foundation would also like to thank F.K.G. Marine Rigging & Fabricating N.V. St. Maarten , Different Real Estate, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, VanDorp, Simpson Bay Marina/IGY Marinas, Carib Broadcasting Island 92Henderson Insurances, Porto Cupecoy, La Bamba Beach Bar, Port de Plaisance Marina, Pineapple Pete, Fusion Restaurant, Harley Davidson St. Maarten/Super Bikes, 12-metre Challenge, Local Lift Happy Hour Charters, The Scuba Shop, ReadyForJade, Top Carrot café, Island Water World, Xperts Hair Salon, Port de Plaisance Resort, Trakx Design, Mark Yokoyama, Percy Rankin, Ku-J, Photographer for Nature Gierdre Lesmonaite, Claudienne Peterson, Ronny Santana and band, and the I-tal Shack.
The Nature Foundation will be launching the 2012 Snorkel Club in March which will run for a period of six weeks.

The SXM advisory Board of funding Agency Samenwerkende Fondsen/ Cooperating Foundations of the Dutch Caribbean has decided to make it easier for foundations and associations with good plans to approach them with requests for funding. Besides email contact NGO's can now make an appointment to discuss their plans in a new office on Backstreet, behind the Catholic Rectory and opposite Sheika's/Cultural Community Center. Newly appointed project advisors Mr. Leon Lake and Mrs. Saskia Kliphuis will be available on Wednesday and Friday afternoons, in evenings and Saturdays, to accommodate the often busy board members of our lively St. Maarten NGO field. On Saturday January the 28th the new office will be officially opened by the Advisory Board of St Maarten and Mr. Etienne Ys, general advisor of the Cooperating Foundations.
Cooperating Foundations, is a collaboration between 5 Dutch funding agencies, namely Skanfonds, Oranje Fonds, Stichting Kinderpostzegels, Fonds Sluytermans van Loo and Innovatiefonds Zorgverzekeraars. Aiming at strengthening society and living up to the motto "Together we participate, together we are stronger", the collaborating Funding Agencies strive to support projects in the Dutch Caribbean that focus on community development, or target children, youngsters and senior citizens. Other focal points are: poverty alleviation, relief for vulnerable groups and projects catering to volunteers and persons with a handicap or a chronic disease.
Assisting White and Yellow Cross with furniture neatly falls within the scope of the objectives of Cooperating Funds. Bregje Boetekees of White and Yellow Cross will gladly accept the cheque of Naf 73.368,00 on Saturday.
Foundations that would like to hand in a request for funding can contact the project advisors on 5860808 or email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

wibbestbank201130012012The Windward Island Bank Ltd. was named best bank of 2011. Voters "could cast their vote online via and no less than 1,182 made use of this possibility, while many others still chose to bring in filled-out hard copies. The "Best Of" issue appeared in the Tuesday, January 31st edition of the Daily Herald Out 'n about" as stated by the Daily Herald.

The Windward Island Bank Ltd wishes to thank the general public for such an acknowledgement and the Daily Herald for organizing and coordinating the "Best Of" in 2011.

theyliger23122011My fellow Sint Maarteners, residents, and friends of Sint Maarten,

The sun has set on 2011, and with great anticipation the dawn of 2012 has arrived. My wish for the people of this great island is one of peace and goodwill. It is a message that I hope will resonate in your homes, communities and work places throughout the year that stretches before us.

In 2011, Government diligently pursued its stated mission and objectives as outlined in our Governing Program "A Foundation of Hope for Our Country," in order to elevate the quality of life around Sint Maarten. Government's policies, programs and projects have continued to touch the lives of the people despite facing some very difficult challenges, nevertheless, we have prevailed.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the general public and motorists in particular as well as our visitors for their patience and endurance during a number of infrastructural works that took place throughout the past year. The projects were executed at the same time unfortunately due to the timeline set by the Dutch Government with respect to utilizing the available development aid funds before the end of 2011. If they were not utilized the country would not have been able to make use of those monies.

2011 was a difficult year as turmoil in the international economy continued to affect us here; however, I must also say that we are fortunate when compared to some other countries that are experiencing severe economic decline, protest and riots, salary cuts, massive unemployment, reduced government services, public sector job cuts, huge debts and budgetary deficits.

Government is cognizant of the difficulties and challenges that some families, households and the business community had to go through in 2011. Ways and means will be looked at in 2012 to lessen the burden where and if possible.

At the same time, we must recognize the positive developments such as increased cruise tourism, additional increased airlift from airlines, the clean-up of Mullet Bay, interests shown in the development of boutique hotels, interests shown in the development of medical tourism on the island. I am looking forward to seeing some of these developments lead to concrete plans and the additional creation of employment and business opportunities for our people.

I must caution the nation that 2012 is forecasted to be a difficult year for the global community of nations. Many economists predict a recession in Europe and a deepening global recession.

Governments have been forced to slash budgets and the people have been asked to make more sacrifices in 2012 which are needed in order to ensure the future of generations. Measures taken in Europe and the US are anticipated to lead to those economies growing again in the coming years.

As we look forward to 2012, we are committed in building and developing our country. Despite the global economic challenges, we must continue to work to extend economic opportunities and prosperity to all, and to work together to address the issues that confront our people.

We must recommit ourselves to the ideals of peaceful co-existence, tolerance and respect for life and property. Let us as a country resolve to make this great nation of ours even stronger in 2012.

2012 calls on all concerned to come together to work on a new level to move our nation forward.

I call on the trade union movement, employers and employees to have a new approach for 2012 where more understanding for each other's positions is achieved through negotiation and discussions resulting in a win-win for both parties and stakeholders.

Government renews its pledge to continue to work diligently in handling the challenges that are confronting our country in 2012. We will leave no stone unturned to find solutions that will continue to open up opportunities for our people.

I would like to use this opportunity to thank all those whose support and prayers I have enjoyed throughout the past year.

I extend to the nation, very best wishes for 2012, and that you enjoy good health, success, opportunity and prosperity in this New Year and beyond.

May God continue to bless Sint Maarten.

Hon. Theo Heyliger

Vice Prime Minister

Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment & Infrastructure

Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Thousands of students went back to school on Tuesday after the Christmas/New Year's holiday vacation came to an end.

The School Bus Inspection Section is reminding all motorists to observe the traffic rules as school.

Motorists must be observant while driving behind a school bus as well as oncoming traffic. Look for pre-warning flashing amber lights, red flashing signals, a stop-signal arm on the side of the bus, or a strobe light mounted on the roof. These are all tools used by the bus driver to indicate that the school bus is going to stop.

All school bus drivers are reminded to follow the dress code while transporting school children to and from school; secondly, to also deal with un-rudely school children according to the code of conduct while being bused to school or home.

The School Bus Inspection section is also appealing to parents to speak with their children about proper behavior while being transported on a school bus to and from school.

Everybody has to abide by the rules and regulations governing the safe transport of school children in order to ensure an incident free ride.

Parents need to be observant of what's in their child's school bag. In the past school children were caught carrying potential weapons and other things in their bags which do not belong there.

Anybody who sees any unusual behavior on or with a school bus is encouraged to report this to the Inspection Section at telephone number 542-4511 or 542-4509.

swescotwilliams22072011The first full calendar year as a country is behind us.

At this time it is usually expected that we cast a fleeting look on what is behind us as we contemplate on what is before us. In looking behind, we must guard against dwelling too long on what should've been, as all our focus is needed to look and plan ahead. To be truthful, in St. Maarten's case, the look back does not reveal any big bangs or "shock and awe" type of events.

While some might regret this, I see it differently. Shock and awe could have also been created by events that could have had a dramatic and negative impact on our country. This we have not had and I am grateful for that.

Yes, we have had our share of struggles and squabbles, some near calls, but nothing close to the upheavals that rocked other countries, near and far.

To suggest that we even approached such chaos , would be ungrateful and bordering on selfish wishing for self-fulfilling prophesies.

Still looking back, what is undeniable, are the small and stable steps we have made during this first full year as country.

This is evident as we look back on the government organization in general and the new ministries and departments in particular.

I experienced our constitution coming to life, slowly but surely. This document represents the people and their government. It establishes freedoms and limits, bedrocks against any undemocratic tendencies.

Government workers throughout the organization have stepped up to the plate and many have gone beyond the call of duty to ensure the successful start as country. But we are not there yet.

Government's decision-making has become much more transparent, with the publication requirement for all ordinances, national decrees and ministerial decrees.

Dialogue has taken on new meaning, as the Parliament of our country set out to hear and dialogue with organizations, big and small, with respect for the opinion of others.

In the area of foreign affairs, we have planted seeds, the fruits of which we will reap in the coming year and beyond. In the area of health care, the institution created to succeed the former SVB e.g., has hit the ground running. Gone are the long lines and the even longer waiting time for services.

With the termination of Dutch development aid on the horizon, St. Maarten has established its own NGO financing platform, a vehicle to properly guide social funding to the most needy in our community.

The Community Helpdesk Initiative has taken shape and the first one in St. Peters is up and running.

The last months of 2011 have been in the light of many infrastructural projects. This is to continue in 2012, where we will also see new projects coming on stream, such as the hospital expansion, school and road constructions.

Tourism is slowly on the rebound and the additional airlift into St. Maarten is a sign of such.

It was pleasing to witness a stronger police presence on our island during the holiday season, a sign that the much needed expansion of our police force is underway. Nevertheless, fighting crime committed against residents and visitors remains a top priority of government in this new year. I commend the citizens who have assisted the police force with information that was helpful in solving acts of crime. I trust that the police force in handling this information will protect those citizens to ensure an even further strengthening of the trust between the police and the citizenry.

Investments in St. Maarten, from government's perspective, must be with the ultimate objective to contribute to the further economic growth of the nation and thus the overall wellbeing of our people.

At the same time, we take note of the mixed predictions regarding the global outlook for 2012. There is some optimism, at least as far as the travel and tourism industries are concerned. We know "a thing or two" about this industry and should pursue growth opportunities and growing markets relentlessly.

Predictions for the US economic growth, still our main source market, put this growth anywhere between 2.0 and 3%, notwithstanding its internal budget woes and it is generally expected that the US economy will hold its ground against a predicted continued, possible escalated European recession in 2012.

Global peace remains fragile, with turmoil in many parts of the world that should be viewed with great concern by all nations of the world.

It is these outlooks that St. Maarten faces and must contend with as we welcome a new year. A year of many uncertainties, yes, but also opportunities if we focus on what is important for St. Maarten and the roads that will take us there. For every individual, personal or professional, there is with every beginning, whether a new year, a new month, or even a new day, the opportunity to start anew, with renewed vigor and determination, not dwelling for too long on what you should have done, but rather on what you will do.

So it is for our entire nation:


Happy New year!

sxmacademygraduation11012012Cul De Sac:--- It was a fitting way to close one calendar year and look forward to another, as 83 proud graduates of St. Maarten Academy took their final walk as students and emerged as new leaders for a better St. Maarten.
That last school night in December 2011 also marked another momentous occasion for the school – its 25th anniversary of offering the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) exams.
Like the institution that nurtured them, the group, with Tamara Reid as valedictorian, embodied the theme, "Believe It and Achieve It". The St. Maarten Academy started in 1986, believed in its ability to be a leading institution of education on the island, and has proudly achieved 25 years.
At its annual commencement ceremony on December 14, 2012, Principal Shareed Hussain took the opportunity to reflect on the years since the school's inception and the people who helped to shape its destiny.
"From the time the St. Maarten Academy was born, this noble institution believed that it had to make valuable contributions to the development of this island. Today, if you examine the offices of government, the legal system, tourism industry, business, education, healthcare, you will find students of the St. Maarten Academy performing. The school will continue to play a significant role in providing the human capital for the advancement of this island as we strive to build our nation in the coming years.
"To believe in something can be easy, but to achieve it can be a very challenging and daunting task. We at the St. Maarten Academy have always believed in excellence and over the years, we continue to achieve it. We travel this path because we have the indomitable spirit to stay focused amidst all obstacles, the unwavering commitment to work very hard, and the unshakeable faith and trust in the Almighty God. These ingredients provide the platform from which we launch our drive to achieve what we believe in," Hussain said to a gathering that included Acting Governor Reynold Groeneveldt; Education Minister, Dr. Rhoda Arrindell; and Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto.
Hussain said the Class of 2011 exemplified the principles of the school and like previous years, produced outstanding results at the May/June 2011 Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) examinations.
For the first time, seven students passed a total of 12 subjects. Hussain made it a point to note that all students graduating from the institution sit the examination only once and write their subjects at the same time. Other outstanding performances included 21 students passing 10 subjects, an equal number passing nine subjects, nine students passing eight subjects, and four students passing seven subjects. Just three students passed only six subjects, still surpassing the required five subjects needed to enter most colleges and universities.
The achievement of the students, he said, would not have been possible without "a fantastic team of teachers"
"They have the expertise, patience and determination to bring out the very best in our students."
Hussain reflected on the early struggles to start the CXC programme. "A quarter century ago, we at the St. Maarten Academy believed that affiliation with the regional examination board, the Caribbean Examination Council, was the correct way to go for our students. We worked very hard to convince the educational authorities of the then Netherlands Antilles that the CXC certification was worldwide recognized and achievable by our students.
"We had our trials and tribulations to convince all that we were doing the right thing. We used our indomitable spirit and courageous tenacity to achieve that goal and we shall continue to pursue greater educational goals to take this institution to greater heights beyond comparison."
Among the pioneers who fought to establish CXC on the island were Mr. Macdonald Alexander (principal), Mrs. Patricia Lourens (vice-principal), Mrs. Josianne Fleming-Artsen (vice president of the school board and educational advisor), Ms. Velda James (Mathematics teacher), Mrs. Solange Duncan (Spanish teacher), Mr. Wellington Archibald (Biology and Information Technology teacher), Mr. Henry Thomas (Art teacher), and Mr. Hussain (then Physics, Mathematics and Information Technology teacher).
"As our young nation moves forward, we at the St. Maarten Academy believe in education for self-reliance, self-determination, and liberation. We believe that we are going to achieve these goals because we plan purposefully, prepare prayerfully, proceed positively, and pursue persistently," Hussain told the gathering in the school's auditorium.
Former Academy student and media personality Cedric Peterson delivered the feature address, while Minister Arrindell expounded on the theme chosen by the Class of 2011. Mr. Van Dijk Bell, president of the school board, outlined future programmes, including advanced secondary education that will soon be offered at the institution.
Valedictorian Tamara Reid also copped the Principal's Prize for her outstanding contribution to the school, as well as the "Most Outstanding Business Student" award. The first runner-up was Solomon Hosein, while Shakimo Martinus received the honour of second runner-up, as well as the "Most Outstanding Science Student" award.
The Principal's Prize for outstanding academic performance went to Dorvanique Cocks, Derina Jean, and Atwanna Voglezon; while Jagdeo Gumbs and Chesley Augustine were named Most Athletic Male and Female Student, respectively.

smspamembersandhermanwiels12012012Philipsburg:--- The St. Maarten Seniors and Pensioners Association (SMSPA) intends to submit at least three petitions on Friday to the Council of Ministers, the Kingdom Council of Ministers, and to the Members of Parliament that are currently meeting on St. Maarten.
The vice president of the SMSPA Raymond Jessurun informed its members on Thursday that they have been meeting with other social partners throughout this week planning their way forward. Jessurun said the seniors and pensioners are demanding equality and denouncing the discrimination against their members. It should be noted that the SMSPA requested to meet with the Members of Parliament during the Inter-parliamentary meetings but their request was denied.
Ever since then, the SMSPA has decided to mobilize its members while they invited a group of persons representing seniors and pensioners on Curacao that are facing the same issues as the SMSPA. During the meeting on Thursday members of the Chamber of Labour Unions attended and Member of Parliament of Curacao Herman Wiels showed up at the WIFOL building where the informative meeting was held to show his support for the elderly.
In the petitions, the SMSPA informed the Kingdom Council of Ministers that it is the responsibility of the Netherlands to implement the social application of securities in a non discriminatory manner.
The SMSPA highlighted the CESCR treaty which states that it is the responsibility of the Kingdom Government to guarantee the rights in its entirety in all parts of the Kingdom of the Netherlands without restrictions and exceptions.
They said that on behalf of their members and their families and the people of St. Maarten they want them to put an end to the discriminatory systems of health care and the social provisions in the Kingdom. Equal rights should be guaranteed to all citizens despite where they choose to live, the petition states.

Click here to view the SMSPA petition to the Kingdom Council of Ministers.

Click here to view the SMSPA petition to the St. Maarten Council of Ministers.

rotarydonatestoahead12012012Philipsburg:--- The AHEAD Center of Excellence in St Maarten a school for children with learning challenges (autism) and other issues that do not allow them to attend regular public education, received supplies and funds from Dade City Rotary Club which partnered with Rotary International's District 7020 in the Caribbean (Rotary Club of St. Maarten), the East Side 8 (Pasco County, Florida) Rotary Clubs, First United Methodist Church of Zephyrhills and Regent Seven Seas Cruise Lines. School supplies were gathered and shipped to Regent's headquarters for loading aboard the Seven Seas Navigator in January. Dade City Rotarian John Wheeler coordinated the collections and delivered the donated supplies to the school with assistance from Regent and St. Maarten Rotary Club President Rebecca Low, board members Henna Budhrani , Pierre Decelles and Maria Buncamper-Molanus during the Navigator's Western Caribbean cruise port call.
Eleven boxes of school supplies were provided and shipped (at a discount) with the donated funds to Regent Seven Seas Cruises headquarters in Miami. The Vice President of Guest Services, Gair O'Neill, arranged to have the supplies loaded aboard the SS Navigator on January 6th, the departure date of a Caribbean cruise. Henna Budhrani of the Rotary Club of St. Maarten identified the needs of the school and made the arrangements on St. Maarten in anticipation of the SS Navigator's arrival on January 11th.
Dade City, Florida, USA Rotarian Captain John Wheeler, USN/ret, initiated the idea after seeing the need on a previous Regent Cruise up the Amazon. Working with the Caribbean Rotary Coordinator the school and local coordinator Mrs. Budhrani, needs were identified and the generosity of Rotarians became a reality.
dushantji12012012The Rotary Club of St. Maarten thanks captain John Wheeler and join him in thanking Date City, San Antonio, Wesley Chapel, Zephyrhills Daybreak and Dade City Sunrise, First Methodist Church of Zephyrhills, Village Grove Home Owners Association, Goin Postal and Regent Corporate Office and the captain and crew of Regent's SS Navigator.
The supplies include such items as letter-size (8.5x11) white paper, Wipe out/Whiteout, manila folders (letter size), black, blue, and red pens, pencils, coloring pencils, White Board markers, index cards, construction paper of different sizes, note books, rulers, colored magnets of different sizes, scissors (large & art size), staplers & staples, and elastic bands.
The project was concluded at the lunch meeting of the club held at the Sundial School's Restaurant. Guest speaker at this meeting was Art of Living teacher and Chairman Dushant Ji who spoke to all present about overcoming stress, depression and violent tendencies.
Rotary Club of St. Maarten would like to commend the Sundial School for hosting the large group of 41 persons at the recently renovated "learning "restaurant and encourages the general public to visit the school's restaurant for lunch on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

smspagivespetitiontodutchrep16012012Philipsburg:--- On the last day of the Inter-Parliamentary Kingdom Consultations (Friday January 13, 2012) a small delegation of the social organizations of Sint Maarten, delivered the petitions endorsed by their members, in the meeting of Thursday afternoon in the WIFOL, to the Parliamentarians of the IPKC, the Dutch representatives, the Prime Minister and the Vice Prime Minister.

The three coordinators of the unity of action of the social organizations 1^ Vice-President of WICLU Claire Elshot, 1* vice-president of the SMSPA Raymond Jessurun and Presdident of SUNFED Alberto Bute signed and delivered the petitions on behalf of the (WICLU) Windward Island Chamber of Labor Unions, the (UFA) United Federation of Antilles, the (WIFOL) Workers Institute For Organized Labor / (ASEWI) Association of Staff Employees of Windward Islands, (WITU) Windward Islands Teachers Union, (ABVO-SXM) Algemene Bond Voor Overheidspersoneel - SXM, (WICSU/PSU) Windward Island Civil Servants Union / Private Sector Union, (SMSPA) Sint Maarten Seniors and Pensioners Association, (HAFH) Home Away From Home Foundation, (SUNFED) Sint Maarten United Non-governmental Organizations Fedration, and the (BBF) Building Bridges Foundation,

At 10 am the coordinators of the social organizations handed their petition to add an agenda point on the following Parliamentary Kingdom Consultation to the delegation leaders of the Parliaments of Sint Maarten, Aruba and Curacao, the Netherlands, and to each one of the 55 members of Parliament. The social organizations asked the parliamentarians to cooperate to end the unequal discriminatory realization of all human rights in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, especially our right to health care, our right to social protection, our right to an adequate standard of living, wherever we choose to live in the Kingdom.
The proposed agenda point was later presented by the Sint maarten Parliamentary delegation leader Roy Marliin. He read the proposed agenda point of the social organizations, which was : "Cooperation for the full realization of the economic, social and cultural rights, to guarantee all these rights without discrimination of any kind throughout the Kingdom."
Chairlady Gracita Arrindell translated the agenda point in Dutch. But the Dutch parliamentary delegation had objections to put this agenda point on the agenda of the following IPKC. The Aruba delegation leader then came to the rescue of the proposal and suggested to have this proposal discussed in the Presidium which is the presidents of the parliaments of the four countries in the Kingdom.
The social organizations even put the text of Article2 the International Covenant Economic Social Cultural Rights to argue for their agenda point.
2.1. Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to take steps, individually and through international assistance and co-operation, especially economic and technical, to the maximum of its available resources, with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the rights recognized in the present Covenant by all appropriate means, including particularly the adoption of legislative measures. 2.2. The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to guarantee that the rights enunciated in the present Covenant will be exercised without discrimination of any kind as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
The coordinators of the social organizations platform then visited the Dutch representative in the island of Sint Maarten. The petition was received and registered and the Dutch representative assured that the Minister of Internal Affairs and Kingdom relations will receive this letter. In the letter addressed to all ministers of the Kingdom Council of Ministers, the social organizations are requesting all 14 Dutch ministers and the three Minister Plenipotenciaries of the Caribbean countries in the Kingdom, to put an end to the discriminatory systems of health care and social provisions in the Kingdom of the Netherlands and to guarantee all citizens of the Kingdom equal rights wherever we want to live in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. As poverty is a violation of the human right to an adequate standard of living for one's health and wellbeing and of our dignity, we demand of the Kingdom Council of Ministers, as is required from all State parties that ratified this International Covenant, to take steps "to the maximum of its available resources" to guarantee us equal rights.
PRIME MINISTER Sarah Wescot Williams and VICE-PRIME MINISTER Theo Heyliger received a copy of the letter that was first registered by the coordinators at the secretariat of the council of Ministers. In their petition to the Council of Ministers of Sint Maarten the social organizations request the Council of Ministers to instruct the Minister Plenipotenciarey to table the unequal realization of human rights on the agenda of the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom meeting. "As poverty is a violation of the human right to an adequate standard of living for one's health and well being and of our dignity, and cognicent of the fact that with the CFT and the limited balanced budget of Sint Maarten we cannot come out of poverty. We support you the government of Sint Maarten in your demand of the Kingdom Council of Ministers, as is required from all State parties that ratified this International Covenant, to take steps "to the maximum of its available resources" to guarantee us equal rights."
Monday January 16 the leadership of the social organizations will evaluate the outcome of this Inter-Parliamentary Kingdom. They will then decide on follow up actions to be taken when they meet again at 6 pm at the WITU office.

Philipsburg:--- On Tuesday Minister of Finance Hon. Hiro Shigemoto and the Committee of Financial Supervision (CFT) Chairman Age Bakker, will jointly open the Sint Maarten CFT Office.

Minister Shigemoto has been championing the opening of such an office on Sint Maarten which would lead to a closer and improved working relationship between the CFT and the Ministry of Finance.

The intensified cooperation will be cemented into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to also be signed on Tuesday afternoon between the Minister and the CFT.

The Council of Ministers (CoM) during its Tuesday cabinet meeting will be officially introduced to the new chairman of the CFT Age Bakker and Sint Maarten member Richard Gibson.

During the CoM meeting with the CFT, after the formal introduction, a number of issues will be discussed such as the 2012 national budget, the Public Expenditures and Financial Accountability (PEFA) report, the MOU, opening of the CFT Office and the 2010 Annual Accounts.

"We have reached a very important milestone in the relationship between Sint Maarten and the CFT. Besides having the CFT physically established on the island with their own staff and office, the MOU is another major step in the relationship with this body.

"The objective of the MOU is to provide a framework in the development cooperation between our country and the CFT. Both parties understand the need for more intensive cooperation, mutual positions and responsibilities.

"The main intention is not to increase the administrative burden that results from accountability for the country, but to provide a basis for help and support provided by the CFT to the country's entire planning and control cycle up to par," Minister of Finance Hon. Hiro Shigemoto said on Monday.

The MOU is based on the recognition that:

  • Sint Maarten is a new country that has to work on the quality of the institutions governing it;
  • Lasting sound financial policy and an enduring quality of financial management on Sint Maarten are the objectives of both parties;
  • Achieving this asks for a close cooperation between both parties;
  • Openness about the objectives and (im)possibilities of proposals, deadlines, improvements and policy-options of both parties, is best served by cooperation between both parties;
  • Knowledge and an understanding of the specific situation of Sint Maarten by the CFT is best reached by a physical presence in the country;
  • Both parties want to work together towards realizing their mutual goals.

kfrancaandswescotwilliams18012012Philipsburg:--- The Chairman of the organizing committee Keith Franca who organized the visit of the Royal Family in November last year presented the final report on the visit on Wednesday to the Prime Minister of St. Maarten.
Franca made the presentation to the Prime Minister on Wednesday shortly after the weekly press briefing. He told reporters that the financial reports was reviewed and vetted by Price Water Coopers (PWC). Franca said that the budget for the visit was provided by the government of St. Maarten and there remains an excess of funds of Naf. 71,000.00 which he also turned over to Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams.
The Prime Minister thanked the committee for their work while she termed the Royal Visit a success.

mayorworldconferencerepsvisicom19012012Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams will be guest speaker during the joint luncheon of Mayor World Conference Inc (WMC), National Bar Association and the Judicial Council tomorrow, January 20.

Johnny Ford, Founder, extended an invitation to Prime Minister Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams for Sint Maarten to become a member of the WMC, an offer she accepted as it will ensure that the contact and the relationship established will remain and will be further worked out.

On Thursday, January 19, a delegation of the WMC paid a courtesy visit to the Council of Ministers to discuss and explore possibilities of collaboration, exchange views about joint ventures with Sint Maarten in areas such as Youth, Sports, Public Health, Economic Development, Education and Tourism.

The delegation is on the island for a site visit to plan an eventual seminar for the WMC, similar to the ones that are currently being held by the National Bar Association and the Judicial Council.

WMC was founded in April 1984 as a non-profit organization with non-political affiliation. The following seven T's are the WMCs fundamental goals: trust, trade, tourism, technology, transfer, and treasury, training and twin city programs.

Membership is not only limited to mayors, but to any elected or appointed public official.

Both parties agreed that the issues in their respective country are basically the same, whether on a large or small scale and that being part of a platform and dialogue to address these matters and to exchange best practices will be an added value.

Philipsburg:--- Country-wide road patch-works are tentatively scheduled to start before month-end, and to be carried out by Contractor MNO.

Contractor MNO has a contract for Naf.1.28 million for road repairs.

The contractor has already been busy grading the road near the Tropicana Casino and in the vicinity of Blue Point in Cole Bay. These road works started on Thursday.

The road works will continue over the weekend that includes the installation of drainage cross over. Excess water from the building where Blue Point and several other businesses are located, will be channelled via a drainage system under the road to the existing storm-water drain.

The road crossing is tentatively scheduled for Sunday morning at 6.00am with limited traffic disruption and the owner of the building is footing the bill for the repairs.

Weather conditions may influence the road works. Motorists are asked to show caution in work zones.

"The nation's road network system last year and so far for the New Year has been hit with heavy and persistent rainfall and this has created a number of pot holes throughout the country.

"Every effort is being made by the staff in my Ministry to draft plans to repair our rain-hit roads within the shortest time possible.

"I ask our community and in particular motorists to bear with us as these works are carried out in the coming weeks, and which will be carried out with as little inconvenience as possible.

"I also would like to apologise to those who do experience some inconvenience," Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment and Infrastructure Hon. Theo Heyliger said on Friday.

Four-year agreement with Globo starts with 2012 season. Includes live transmission of up to 100 games per year to non-Portuguese speaking countries.
ESPN International has signed an exclusive agreement with TV Globo for four seasons of the Paulista and Brazilian Championships. Under the agreement, ESPN can exclusively broadcast up to 100 games live via all means and media in Spanish speaking Latin America and the Caribbean.
Tim Bunnell, Senior Vice President of Programming and Marketing for ESPN International said "we are very excited to announce our agreement with Globo which provides us with the ability to offer our sports fans in Latin America and the Caribbean year-round soccer content from two of the flagship soccer championships in the world".
In addition, ESPN will broadcast the weekly program FootBrazil, which highlights the best plays and presents special interviews related to Brazilian soccer. This marks the first time in over a decade that ESPN will broadcast Brazilian soccer to the region.
Countries in which ESPN will have the right to broadcast the games in Latin America and the Caribbean include: Argentina, Ascension Islands, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Falkland Islands, French Guyana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela, and the Caribbean (excluding U.S. territories and possessions).

ESPN International will telecast a 30-minute highlight program showcasing the Tobago International Cycling Classic 2011, the first Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI)-sanctioned cycling race in the English-speaking Caribbean. The program debuts Monday, January 23 at 8:30 p.m. ET and again on Wednesday, January 25 at 2:00 p.m. ET on the ESPN Caribbean network it was announced by Bernard Stewart, Vice President and General Manager, ESPN Caribbean and Maritime Media.
ESPN's highlight show will capture world class cyclists battling through the four-stage, 112-kilometer race across Tobago's challenging terrain. Top competitors include Austrians Ricardo Zoidl and Werner Riebenbauer, Raphael Meran of the Dominican Republic, German Mathias Wiele and Russian Sergei Tvetcov. The 2011 race took place September 28 to October 2.
Jo Ankier, the former track star from the United Kingdom and sports presenter, will serve as on-air talent for the program. Mark Donaldson, ESPN commentator, will provide voiceover segments.
"ESPN's Caribbean programming team continues to find opportunities for our Caribbean networks to air locally relevant events, while at the same time showcasing the Caribbean sport lifestyle to the world," said Stewart. "Cycling enthusiasts who have watched ESPN's coverage of major meets like the Tour De France and España are sure to enjoy the Tobago International Cycling Classic."
"We were thrilled to work with ESPN on the Tobago International Cycling Classic," said Jeff Charles, president of Trinbago Wheelers, the organizer. "This was the 25th anniversary of the event and 152 cyclists participated, more than seventy percent of whom were from outside of the Caribbean. This represents a thirty percent increase in international participation from 2010."

manofwarshoalmarineparkmap21012012The St. Maarten Nature Foundation announces that as of Monday, the 23rd of January 2012, visitors to the Man of War Shoal Marine Park will have to pay a Nature Fee to be able to enter the Park. Based on the Ministerial Decree of the Minister TEATT on the designation of the Man of War Shoal Marine Park of December 30th 2010, and based on the Ministerial Appointment of the Nature Foundation August 15th 2011 (Bestuurscontract mbt Minister en Nature Foundation St. Maarten) and in accordance with the Landsbesluit Maritiem Beheer (LBMB 2007) and the St. Maarten Nature Conservation Ordinance (AB 2003) all non-resident visitors to the Marine Park have to pay a Nature Conservation Fee. This fee will be collected by the Nature Foundation and will go directly towards the management and maintenance of the Man of War Shoal Marine Park and other Dive Sites in the territorial Waters of St. Maarten.

The fees are set at three dollars US ($3,-) for a daily pass and fifteen dollars US ($15,-) for a yearly pass. Residents are exempt from paying this fee. "This fee is for non-residents and visitors to the island. The Marine Park was established for the people of St. Maarten so we feel that they should not have to pay this fee. After lengthy negotiations and consultations with all Stakeholders, including a survey which was distributed to visiting divers we were able to arrive at a fee which was mutually accepted by all," commented Tadzio Bervoets, Nature Foundation Marine Park Manager. The Nature Conservation fee is similar to fees which are charged for the use of Marine Parks throughout the region and the world.

Dive Centres on both sides of the island have been given the Nature Tags and are cooperating to facilitate the selling of the tags. The revenue generated through the sales of the tags will be dedicated to the Management of Marine Park infrastructure and educational programs related to the Man of War Shoals Marine Park and St. Maarten's unique underwater environment. For more information one can contact the Nature Foundation at 5444267 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Great Bay (DCOMM):--- The Inspectorate of Taxes of Sint Maarten would like to notify businesses that as of Wednesday, January 25, 2012, the various forms used for filing taxes can be picked up at the tax authority.

The following forms for filing taxes will be available for pick-up: Wage tax and premium AOV/AWW, AVBZ; Turn over Tax; Profit tax; Room tax; Car rental tax; and Timeshare tax.

Those picking up the aforementioned forms should bring along their crib number in order to facilitate the pick-up of the aforementioned documents.

The Inspectorate is located at the Vineyard Building, Buncamper Road #33 and is open from 8:00am to 3:00pm. For additional information you can call 542-2143 or 542-5301.

Philipsburg:--- Member of Parliament and former Commissioner of Labour Louis Laveist has issued a call to the government of St. Maarten to stop betraying the people of the island. Laviest said the people are being betrayed to the core when government allows a company to trample on the basic rights of the people. Laveist told reporters on Tuesday that the Simpson Bay Resort Management Company that is managed by one of his colleagues in Parliament Jules James has become so confident that he is now refusing to give the workers of SBRMC a copy of their labour contract. Laveist further explained that the SBRMC is in violation of the labour laws by refusing the workers a copy of their contract. Two weeks ago, the SBRMC decided to rehire some of the workers that are represented by the Workers Institute for Organized Labour. Several workers took the opportunity to reapply for their jobs.
Laveist said that he believes that the leader of the United Peoples Party Theodore Heyliger is giving James full support in trampling on the constitutional rights of the workers. "From what I have been taught, silence gives consent and so far the UP leader has not spoken out against James and his actions." Laveist said the actions of the SBRMC management can considered as a slap in the face when they denied the workers a copy of their labour contract. "The action of SBRMC in my opinion is union busting and I therefore want to call on the unions to guard against the company successfully when they try to accomplish their goal." Laveist said that he does not want to see any form of labour unrest on St. Maarten but if the actions of SBRMC continues then labour unrest would be unavoidable he further stated that he hopes the union is paying close attention. Furthermore, the former Labour Commissioner said he believes that the unions on St. Maarten should join forces to fight against the injustice of the workers of SBRMC. "I am calling on the people to pay close attention to the constant violation of their rights and the constitution. In every other country government respects its people and I never thought that I would see the day when my government would put the rights and interests of the foreign investors ahead of the rights and interests of their own people. In my opinion, this is the greatest betrayal of the people by the United Peoples Party."

george21082009Member of Parliament George Pantophlet said that the no-show of the members of the coalition is evidence that there is dissent within their ranks. The issue of Mr. Jules being a Member of Parliament and at the same time General Manager of Simpson Bay Resorts although not illegal is an apparent conflict of interest and appears to be weighing heavily on the minds and conscience of his colleagues. There seems to be talks within his camp that he has on numerous occasions been asked to resign as a Member of Parliament and refused to do so. On the television program aired on Monday last when confronted by the host, he made it plain that he will be holding on to the two positions. The Member of Parliament said he does not need to remind Mr. Jules James of article 56 of the Constitution of Sint Maarten, the last paragraph which reads as follows: "I swear (promise) allegiance to the King and the Constitution of the Kingdom, that I shall always help to uphold the Constitution of Sint Maarten and that I shall champion the interests of Sint Maarten to the best of my ability. So help me Almighty God." Therefore, in whose interests is he maintaining both positions? As a Member of Parliament we are supposed to be the representatives of the people who have elected us, we are supposed to be their mouth piece, their defenders. This is not what is happening with this Member of Parliament but quite the opposite. On another note, interesting but not surprising to the Member of Parliament George Pantophlet was the relaxed demeanor displayed by the President of Parliament Gracita Arindell while waiting to commence the meeting. The President is one who is normally fidgety and overexcited if the Members do not sign the attendance list fast enough and the gesture such as pointing at her watch has become the order of the day. While the President of Parliament should be impartial the very fact that it is someone appointed from the midst of a political party leaves room for party politics and that is exactly what took place on Monday. A blind man could see that the President of Parliament was informed as to what was happening. There is no doubt as to who is in charge and that a delay strategy was applied on Monday. He will see what happens in the next meeting but is still asking the question, was it planned?

Postal Services St. Maarten NV (PSS) hereby would like to inform the general public that it will be extending the deadline for payment of PO Boxes up to and including February 29th, 2012, to allow all persons who have not yet paid their annual subscription fee for rent of their PO Box, to still be able to make payment without any penalties.

PSS hereby is urging everyone who has not yet paid to make use of this opportunity to do so, without penalties.

Payment of the PO Boxes can be made at either of our locations, in Philipsburg or Simpsonbay.

For more information or questions, please contact the post office at 542 2289 or e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

alexagratama29012012Since September 2011, Alexa Gratama has been affiliated with law firm VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne as senior advisor. She will reinforce the Dutch Caribbean Desk in Amsterdam, where she is a member of the selection committee and represents the firm at conventions and with clients and relations. Furthermore, she provides professional support in the form of courses for the lawyers of the firm. In addition, Alexa has a Consultancy & Mediation practice.

After eleven years as a lawyer in the Netherlands and two years as a judge in Breda, Alexa was a judge with the Common Court of Justice of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba from 2005 until 2009. After her return to the Netherlands, she became associated with the Zutphen court, first as a judge and currently as deputy judge. She has also been an arbitrator with the Court of Arbitration for the Building Industry since January 1, 2012.

Last week, Alexa was chairman of the "court" during the sessions constituting part of a mock trial organized by the law firm. These sessions took place in the conference room in Curaçao, but the offices in Aruba, Bonaire, and St. Maarten could also participate by means of the advanced videoconference system. The lawyers were given strategic clues to perfect their performance in the session. With her broad experience as a lawyer, judge, and mediator, Alexa was able to elucidate all sides of the litigation field.

Philipsburg:--- The second plenary public session of Parliament regarding the voting of Member of Parliament (MP) Hon. Jules James in a parliamentary session back in November 2011 that was scheduled for January 31 has been cancelled at the request of the National Alliance (NA) faction.

The meeting was set to take place on Tuesday afternoon at 2:00pm in the General Assembly Chamber of the House of Parliament on Wilhelmina Straat #2.1 in Philipsburg.

The NA faction sent a letter to the President of Parliament on Monday, January 30, 2012 saying they have withdrawn their request for the meeting.

The NA faction requested the plenary session in its initial letter of early January to the President of Parliament.

The first plenary session with respect to this agenda point was held on January 24, 2012, however due to a lack of a quorum, the meeting did not take place.

The NA faction wanted to discuss the voting of MP Jules James on November 17, 2011 on a draft motion of the NA; the position of the NA that MP Jules James was not allowed to vote on the motion; the letter of the Governor of Sint Maarten to Parliament, dated December 5, 2011; and the reactions of the Chairlady of Parliament to the aforementioned.

As a means to balance the 2011 budget, Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto announced in December 2010 that the turnover tax (TOT) would be increased by two percentage points (from 3 % to 5%) effective February 11th 2011. Shortly thereafter, the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry publicly endorsed government's proposed turnover tax increase only as a temporary measure for one year. The SHTA, on the other hand, condemned the move as a quick-fix method to balance the 2011 budget and suggested other ways to go about achieving a balanced budget.

Following the Chambers endorsement, the turnover tax was increased to 5%, with the understanding that it would not be a permanent measure. This would give the ministry time to work on a new tax structure that was to be in place on January 1st 2012. The SHTA was asked to make a presentation on its views for the new tax structure. This was done in March 2011, with promised follow up by members of the Working Group New Tax System. To date, after repeated requests, SHTA has not received any update on the progress of the new tax structure.

Recently, Minister Shigemoto announced that the 2012 budget will not be presented by the December 15th deadline but in the latter part of Jan 2012 or by March 1st 2012 at the latest; until such time the 2011 budget will be in use. In our opinion, this leaves the private sector -and in fact the entire population- with many unanswered questions: Is the TOT going back to 3% or finally being reduced to zero as it was a temporary measure to begin with? Is it going to stay at 5% or can we expect yet another increase? As SHTA has stated numerous times in the past, not knowing what the new fiscal policy will entail, will cause more damage to the economy, investors sit on the fence and wait, business do not give raises or extend contracts, nor can they forecast their own budgets adequately.

SHTA is requesting clarification and an update on the new tax structure. It is crucial that the fiscal plans, which turnover tax is a part of, be finalized and disclosed to the population.

Great Bay (DCOMM):--- The problem of overweight and obesity have reached epidemic proportions globally, and both developed and developing countries are seriously affected.

In some countries, the epidemic of obesity sits alongside continuing problems of under nutrition, creating a double-burden of nutrition-related ill health among the population, including children.

Nutrition related health problems in children are increasingly significant causes of disability and premature death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The St. Maarten Health Study, "How Healthy is St. Maarten,?" indicated that on a daily basis 31 per cent of the participants don't consume breakfast; 63 per cent don't consume vegetables and 66 per cent don't consume fruits. This is an indication that this lifestyle is also practice by their descendants.

Collective Prevention Services (CPS), executing agency of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, therefore strongly recommends to parents and guardians to prepare healthy snacks for their children as of the beginning of the New Year and throughout the year. Healthy choices equal healthy children and healthy smiles!

Improving the nutritional status of school-age children is an effective investment for improving educational outcomes of school children for the New Year.

Establishing healthy dietary and physical activity patterns among young people thereby promotes health and nutritional well-being and preventing obesity and various non-communicable diseases.

In making healthy foods and beverages available at home and for school, and in providing, supporting and encouraging opportunities for physical activity, parents can influence their children's behavior.

Simultaneously parents are advised for the New Year to live and promote a healthy lifestyle because children's behavior is often shaped by observation and adaptation.

Here are some tips for children and adolescents: provide healthy breakfast before each school day; don't leave home without breakfast; serve healthy school snacks to children (whole-grain, vegetables, fruits); promote the intake of fruits and vegetables.

Restrict intake of energy-dense, micronutrient-poor foods (e.g. packaged snacks); restrict intake of sugars-sweetened soft drinks; ensure an opportunity for family meals; provide information and skills to make healthy food choices.

Promote regular intake of water and physical exercise and get your child involved in sport activities.

Philipsburg:--- St. Maarten Cable TV today announces another step forward to upgrade the cable TV system to an all-digital platform this spring. To ensure that the digital channel line-up will be in place by the February 1, 2012 deadline, eight channels will be removed from the analog line-up on January 23, 2012.

Effective January 23, 2012, the following channels will no longer be viewed on the analog channel line-up:
  • Channel 43- Animal Planet
  • Channel 47- DWTV
  • Channel 55- Bulletin Board
  • Channel 59- Carib Vision
  • Channel 64- Sony
  • Channel 66- TCM
  • Channel 68- CBC
  • Channel 69- Bloomberg

St. Maarten Cable TV will begin the process of swapping customers' analog boxes to digital converters on February 1, 2012. From February 1, 2012 to May 1, 2012, customers are encouraged to visit the Business Office at Madame Estate to upgrade their service to digital. The 90-day swap period is essential for customers to be processed in an orderly fashion. During that transition period, the signal for most channels will be simulcast in both analog and digital to ensure that customers can continue to enjoy Cable TV. Customers with a digital converter will be able to view the aforementioned eight channels that will be removed from the analog line-up on January 23, 2012.
The following two channels will also be relocated from their current position on January 23, 2012. Food Network will move from Channel 65 to Channel 47 and SPACE will move from Channel 58 to Channel 55.
Beulah Jonis, Managing Director of St. Maarten Cable TV stated, "We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our customers, however, we are very pleased with our progress to date as we prepare for our digital launch."

dutchdelegationarrivesonsxm08012012Philipsburg:--- Chairman of the Permanent Committee of Kingdom Affairs and Inter-parliamentary Relations Member of Parliament (MP) Hon. Roy Marlin and Secretary General of Parliament Jozef Semeleer, were at the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) late Saturday afternoon to welcome the Dutch delegation who will be attending the Inter-parliamentary Kingdom conference that will take place from January 10 to 13, 2012.

The Dutch delegation arrived on a charter flight from Saba.

pdecellesofficiallyopenswhiteflag10012012Officially opened by Pierre Decelles, the Canadian Consul on St. Maarten, the White Flag bar and restaurant perched on the rooftop of the Mega Yacht Mall has spectacular views. It also has smoked beef from Montreal.
This Canadian delicacy has Jewish origins that became popular during the Roaring 20's. It quickly made a hit and invaded the corner cafes of Montreal's notorious St Lawrence Street
Nathalie Sabourin, owner of White Flag is optimistic that the kosher smoked beef will make a culinary hit not only with Canadians and the Jewish community. "The beef is marinated in barrels before gently smoked for three days in oak fired ovens. We fly the beef directly once a month from Montreal and carefully steam it for two hours before hand slicing and serving in a rye bread sandwich."

Pierre Decelles who tasted the smoked beef at the official opening of White Flag agrees that this latest addition to the island's choice of food on offer will make it even richer. I not only declare that the opening of the White Flag is official but also declare that the Montreal beef is gastronomic."
"St Maarten is rapidly becoming a major tourist destination for Canadians who at this time of year need to escape temperatures of minus 40 degrees and are eager to taste Caribbean dishes as well as familiar home cuisine. With as many as thirteen flights per week that embrace St Maarten from each of our ten provinces, their presence at White Flag with its stunning panoramic views will be a memorable experience."

Celine Dion
One of Canada's most famous celebrities is Celine Dion from Quebec. Nathalie spoke to her recently at a golf course near Montreal and the famous singer promised to visit White Flag in the near future. "We talked about many usual things," says Nathalie, "The weather, children and restaurant business!"
In addition to smoked beef normally served with a choice of coleslaw, homemade French fries and pickles, Nathalie's rooftop menu includes many Mediterranean dishes including a fine selection of Amuses Bouches.
"I decided to name the restaurant White Flag because it is a symbol for surrender and to parlay. It's all about social communication and the emotional importance of sharing! Fun, fantasy and fascination are the conversations at White Flag."

Great Bay:--- Minister responsible for Public Health Social Development & Labor, Cornelius De Weever extends words of comfort to the family and friends of the late Marius Lionel Gumbs, who was a former employee at the Ambulance Department.
Marius Lionel Gumbs took up employment with the Ambulance Services in 1979 as an ambulance driver. At that time government had just taken over ambulance services from the police department, and the Ambulance Department was established. Mr. Gumbs worked for the department for 19 years, and was known as a dedicated worker.
On June 17, 2011 Mr. Gumbs was given an honorary award of excellence for appreciation and dedication during Emergency Medical Services (EMS) week. Although he was retired he was always invited to and very much involved in activities held by the Ambulance Department.
"On behalf of the people of St. Maarten I extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of the late Marius "Lange" Gumbs. May his soul rest in eternal peace."

OXFORD:--- The governments of small countries deliver excellent results when they involve as many local players as possible, including opponents. Dr. Scott Douglas from the University of Oxford concludes this on the basis of his research into governance success stories on Aruba, Curacao, and St. Kitts.

For his PhD-thesis at the English university, Douglas compared sixteen government-owned public utilities in the Caribbean, who were responsible for energy, water, or infrastructure. This group included both high and low performing organizations. In his conclusions, Douglas does not discuss specific cases, but compares successful and failing styles of governance. The standard for good governance, suggests his research, is not lower than in larger countries. The way this is achieved however might be different.

Successful organizations, the research indicates, are characterised by a governance style which is both strict and open. The rules are consistently applied, but employed to give as many actors a role as possible. In addition, strong organizations give room to strong leaders. Finally, successful organizations constantly spread background information, also informing opponents of the policy. Scott Douglas: "Government officials become successful when they dare to strengthen others."

The research presents a structured analysis of several governance successes, but does not claim to have found the one and only recipe. Scott Douglas emphasizes: "There are probably more important ingredients. Everyone can explore this for themselves, by starting with the question: What goes currently well in the public sector?"

Several open seminars will be organized across the different islands throughout January. This Great Governance Tour is made possible with the support of Berenschot International, USONA, Alexander & Simon, and United Trust. A short, practical guide to governance successes has been written as well, this is freely available from

Clown is a Master of “Art of Life”. He exists within everyone! Discovering of your own clown means bringing more Joy, Love and Pleasure in your life and be able to connect with yourself and others from heart to heart.

This course is an invitation  for you to empower yourself, empty your busy head, open  your mind and go to the source of the energy in your belly and senses in your heart.

Through games, dance and contact with each other, following impulses and acting in the moment  you will discover the magic and power of improvising. You can re-experience  your spontaneity , imagination, freedom and playfullness. You learn to embrace your mistakes and have fun to take risks,  conquering fears. And If you will be able at the end  to laugh at the beauty of you own ridiculousness your life  would seem more easier.

No previous experience is necessary to start. You don’t have to be Smart, Brave, Funny, and it is absolutely great if you think you are far from being Perfect Smile.

This course is a basic- course of clowning, which could be good for everyone’s development.

Special useful for teachers, nurses and doctors, managers, leaders, politicians, policemen, officials,  housewifes, papa’s and mama’s…everybody who daily is in contact with other people Smile Artists of all kinds of performing arts could enrich their own creative personality.

Clown’s character, emotions, clowns routine’s and clowning for  special purposes as care-, hospital- clowning, street-performances, stage-clowning …could be next staps in the process.

When: from  11 OR 12 february (depend on participants.  If you are interested, mail me as quick as possible and mention your day of preference ):

5 x Saturday’s:  February 11, 18, 25   March 3, 10

OR      5 x Sunday’s:     February 12, 19, 26  March 4, 11

From 10 a.m – 1 p.m

Where: John Larmonie Center (Imbali and Motiance dance schools), Philipsburg (next to the sports school and across the Toyota store).

Price: The whole course is 160 dollar.

Booking, questions:

Albina Matuzko

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Facebook: Albina Matuzko

Tel.588-44-39    More info:

sewagerunningonroad20012012St. Peters:--- Several residents of the St. Peters community are at their wits ends with the sewage water that has been running through their homes and yards for years and nothing has been done to rectify the hazardous situation that poses health risks to the residents of the area.
SMN News spoke to three residents of Lime Road whose properties are filled with sewage water that is drained from the nearby homes. Doradine Gumbs said that she grew up on Lime Road and it has been 35 years now that she has been trying to get government to deal with the constant sewage water that is running through her yard on a daily basis. Gumbs said the former board members of the SPCC did nothing to assist the residents that are plagued with the fresh sewage water. Gumbs showed an SMN News reporter the fresh sewage water that is now seeping through the walls of her home, causing her to abandon one of the apartments in her yard. She said several inspectors visited the area but they never returned neither have they done anything to rectify the problem.
Marie Jeffers also showed SMN News her property and the amount of fresh sewage in her yard. Jeffers said that the sewage is coming from a neighbor's yard and she complained to government but to date nothing has been done. At the back of one of the homes that is located next to the Jeffers' property there is an open septic tank that is covered with a piece of plywood while sewage water is overflowing from the septic tank on to the Jeffers' property. The constant sewage overflow has now damaged the Jeffers' home causing tiles inside their bathroom to fall off, yet government officials and the health inspectors that visited the area did nothing to rectify the problem.
Mrs. Jeffers said one of her granddaughter's got a skin infection due to the sewage water and the child had to be taken overseas for treatment. Both the President of SPCC Rene Junior Wilson and Mrs. Jeffers said several inspectors and government official visited the area and promised to rectify the sewage problem but to date nothing has been done. Wilson said the SPCC board even met with the former vice president Maurice Lake and he promised to look into the matter but to date nothing has been done. "The new SPCC board wanted to meet with the Minister of Infrastructure Theodore Heyliger but Lake prevented us from seeing the Minister, he claimed he will work on the problems facing the St. Peters community but to date Lake has not addressed the problems brought forth by the residents of St. Peters and the SPCC board." In an invited comment, Lake said he never met with the SPCC board and furthermore he is not interested in being part of the SPCC board. Maurice Lake is the executive advisor to Minister Heyliger, he said that his only interest is to look out for the St. Peters community and by doing so he has offered his assistance in reorganizing the SPCC board. As for the new President of SPCC, Lake said Rene Cotto Wilson appointed himself as president and he (Lake) wanted to make sure an election is held so that the members of SPCC can be duly elected. Lake said he plans to hold a town hall meeting shorting to inform the residents of the area of the SPCC election and if Rene Cotto Wilson wants he can postulate for the position.
sewageinyard20012012Wilson said instead of Lake dealing with the problems that are facing the residents he went to the newspapers claiming that the SPCC board needs to be reorganized. Wilson said the former board members of SPCC are refusing to cooperate with the current board members because SPCC board members believe that whatever work has to be done in their area must be given to the contractors living in St. Peters. Wilson said St. Peters have a number of heavy equipment owners who are not able to get work from government and the council believes that work in the area must be contracted to the people living in their community so that the youths of St. Peters can eventually find work. Besides that, Wilson said since the installation of the new board he is unable to get the necessary paperwork from the former SPCC board members. "The only person who tried to assist was the former President Rolando Tobias, but he never gave us the paperwork. We don't even know who handles the SPCC bank account because the former members of the SPCC board were never changed at the Chamber of Commerce. I went to the Chamber of Commerce to retrieve the Chamber registration only to find out that the SPCC owed the Chamber of Commerce close to Naf.4000.00 and the new board members have to now pool monies to pay that debt. Furthermore, there is a new board in place since August 2011 and someone from the former board withdrew monies from the SPCC account in October 2011. Wilson said they managed to recover a statement from the Windward Islands Bank that was mailed to SPCC at # 3 Tangerine Road, St. Peters that showed that someone debited $474.82 from the account on October 31, 2011." Wilson provided the WIB bank statement to SMN News as evidence of the withdrawal.
Maurice Lake provided SMN News with the statement of account which shows all the monetary transactions for the account for the years 2008 through 2011. The October 31st withdrawal shows that a bank overdraft was done on that day.
The President of the St. Peters Community Council (SPCC) Rene Junior Wilson also reacted to newspaper article that was published earlier this week criticizing the SPCC. "The former Vice President of the SPCC Maurice Lake should be the last person to talk about running sewage water on the St. Peters public roads because Lake's mother has been pumping her raw sewage on the road for years." Wilson took SMN News reporter to # 3 Tangerine Road where a pipe and hose from the home is leading to the public road and water is constantly flowing out. When confronted with this Maurice Lake said that the water emanating from his mother's yard is spring water and not sewage water. He said the water is lodged in his mother's yard because the other neighbors blocked off the back of her yard. Lake also said the water that is running down Lime and Tangerine Road comes from the Hillside Public School.
Wilson said that as recent as Thursday a pump was attached to the hose that is leading from the Lake's property and the fresh sewage water was pumped out on to the main road.
Another resident who shared concerns and witnessed the sewage water from the Lake's property is Reginald Bakari Arrindell. Arrindell said he is trying to find out who might have provided a letter he wrote to the President of the SPCC to the former board members. He said he is currently investigating the leak because the contents of his letter to SPCC was printed in one of the daily newspapers and he neither Wilson gave anyone the letter. Arrindell said he is very much concerned about the current situation facing his community as such he penned a letter to Wilson asking him if the SPCC plans to hold a town hall meeting with the residents to update them on the activities that are planned by the SPCC. He said he also enquired if the activities were postponed and to his surprise the contents of his letter to Wilson appeared the following day in the newspapers.
Another resident told SMN News that the persons working at the helpdesk approached her and offered assistance but to date she have not seen them back, instead she received a letter telling her that her address now comes into question. The woman said that her yard was flooded for years with sewage water and during the 2010 elections one of the candidates that ran on the National Alliance slate and Rene Wilson took sand to fill in her yard. "Thanks to Wilson and the NA candidate I can now walk at the back of my house."
While the residents of Lime and Tangerine Road have spoken out hoping that they will attract Government's attention namely the Minister of Infrastructure Theodore Heyliger, students attending the Prince Willem Alexander School have to walk through a pool of sewage water on a daily basis to get to the school's compound. The raw sewage water that is running down from Lime Road and Tangerine Road passes in front of the school.

Click here to view photos of the sewage water on Tangerine Road and Lime Road in St. Peters.

Philipsburg:--- A Jamaican national identified as Calbert Edwards who was arrested last week Wednesday for falsified documents is still in shock after he discovered that a police officer stole his gold chain while it was in the police safe. In an exclusive interview with SMN News, Edwards said he was arrested on Wednesday at the Census Office when he went to register his residency papers. Edwards said officials at the Census Office told him that the stamp on his birth and marriage certificates is false, therefore they called the police. Edwards said the officers took him to the Philipsburg Police Station where they arrested him. "While at the police station the arresting officer took my gold ring, gold chain, and my wallet with $47 and placed it in a plastic bag. Edwards said on Friday he was released from police custody after paying a fine of $300. He said after he was released an officer went to get his belongings and it was that officer who discovered that his chain was missing. "I was looking for the chain and when I could not find it the female officer showed me the plastic bag and said someone cut open the bottom of the bag and stole the chain. The officer further advised me not to sign for my belongings because the chain was missing. I even saw the officer that was dealing with my case and he told me he heard my chain disappeared." Edwards said that the officers asked him to return to the Philipsburg Police Station on Monday to file an official complaint with officers York or Wheil. "I still cannot believe that there are thieves in the Police Station, I think those things happen on the streets but now I am shocked to learn that the people who are supposed to protect us and our properties are in fact the ones stealing from prisoners.
Edwards said the person (cop) who stole his chain probably believed that he would have been deported today and no one would have known about the stolen chain.
Chief Commissioner of Police Peter de Witte has promised to look into the matter on Monday since he was not informed of the incident.

gtmnagicolaunchtrinidad23012012On Friday January 20, 2012 the acquisition of GTM Insurance Company Ltd by the NAGICO Insurances Group was officially announced and celebrated during a grand champagne evening held at the Chamber of Commerce building at Westmoorings, Port of Spain in Trinidad.
Many prominent guests attended the event including business leaders, agents, brokers, executive management of NAGICO and management and staff of the local NAGICO/GTM company.
Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Directors, Mr. Michael Bishop, offered opening remarks in which he thanked the Central Bank of Trinidad & Tobago for their cooperation and guidance in obtaining the operating license for Trinidad & Tobago. He also confirmed "NAGICO's long term commitment to Trinidad & Tobago, the clients, brokers and agents and emphasized the financial responsibility of NAGICO across 16 territories in the Dutch, English and French Caribbean, which includes compliance with all regulatory authorities in each territory".
In his presentation CEO of the NAGICO Group, Mr. Imran McSood-Amjad, gave the audience a general overview of NAGICO and outlined his vision for the local company, temporarily branded as NAGICO/GTM before assuming a full NAGICO branded identity in the near future. "NAGICO's financial stewardship is outstanding and we are proud to state that the general insurance group operations carry the prestigious AM Best B++ rating". The CEO further stated that "the GTM acquisition is in line with NAGICO's continued strategic expansion throughout the Caribbean as plans include expansion to 19 territories by the end of 2012".
General Manager of the local company NAGICO/GTM, Mr. Christopher Henriques, addressed the audience in welcoming remarks in which he noted that "after the acquisition was completed in October 2011, the local company hired new staff and implemented a management trainee program to accommodate the growth of the company with the best people in the industry".
NAGICO's Director of Finance & Operations, Mr. Glenville Blake, gave a financial overview of NAGICO. "NAGICO writes premiums of almost TT$ 600 million (USD 95 million) and has total assets of approximately TT$ 730 million (USD 115 million)". He further emphasized that "the solvency of NAGICO to be 300% over regulatory obligations".
Mr. McSood-Amjad ended the official part w ith a Champagne toast after which a cocktail reception was held in a festive ambience.

hhfandsmhdf25012012To mark its 15th anniversary and establishing one of its strategic goals to expand the service of Helping Hands Foundation, to include the clients of the St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation, the HHF and SMHDF signed a Memorandum of Understanding which provided the purpose and clearly identified the responsibilities of each party. In the MOU, the HHF Foundation agreed to:
  • Enhance the mobility of the SMHDF Elderly and Disabled Clients
  • Increase the opportunity to attend activities with the other Elderly
  • Reduce cost in transport and ability to enjoy other benefits for those disabled and over 60
  • Provide opportunity for better health care
  • Become more independent in moving around and not be dependent on anyone
The SMHDF on the other hand committed to:
  • Support the HHF morally and comply with the MOU
  • Promote HHF services to clients
  • Sponsor when necessary clients who are in dire need to be transported
  • Evaluate the HHF services on a quarterly basis
The Funding for this project has been provided by AMFO. The HHF, which celebrates 15 years existence this year, plans to mark this celebration with many events, which will honor our Elderly. AMFO has been loyal to HHF for many years and HHF is thankful for the many grants they have received which have kept the HHF in existence thus far. Thank you AMFO!
The SMHDF will immediately provide the HHF with an additional 40 plus clients who will need transportation for medical purposes, recreation, bill payments, groceries and other tasks the clients might prefer. The SMHDF just last year celebrated its 15th anniversary as well and now supervises some 745 homes in various locations on St. Maarten.

Philipsburg:--- The term Shape Up or Ship out, now applies to the Members of Parliament that stayed away from the Parliament meeting which was scheduled for Tuesday to discuss the Jules James vote on November 17th, 2011 says the members of the Windward Island Chamber of Labour Unions. On Tuesday, the only Member of Parliament representing the coalition that attended the meeting was the chairlady Gracita Arrindell. The Members of Parliament were supposed to discuss the lawfulness of the vote cast by MP Jules James regarding a company of which he is the Managing Director. Vice President of the WICLU Claire Elshot told reporters on Thursday that the actions of the Members of Parliament is a slap in the face for the people of St. Maarten and the people cannot continue to tolerate this kind of modus operandi of the Parliament of St. Maarten. "We are more than year now as a country and I cannot remember one decent law that has been presented. Someone has to tell Parliament to shape up or ship out." Elshot further stated that the Members of Parliament were elected to represent the people and if they are unable to do so then they should demit from their offices. If this trend continues St. Maarten will be repeating what happens on St. Eustatius, whose governing coalition collapsed on Wednesday.

President of the WICLU Theophilus Thompson described the actions of the Members of Parliament representing the coalition as blatant disregard to the country, Thompson said those MPs held their own meeting in the same building that housed their offices. Most of the Members of Parliament from the governing coalition were present at the time of the scheduled parliament meeting but refused to sign in. The only Member of Parliament who gave notice of his absence was MP Petrus Leroy De Weever. Thompson said the move by the MP's has placed a huge question mark on democracy. The unionist said the Members of Parliament do not understand their roles. "I consider this to be a very serious matter for the population and the country. To not show up at a meeting and take care of the people's business when the people are paying you good salaries is a very serious concern." Thompson said there is too much conflict of interest and everyone is defending their interest on both sides. It is clear something is wrong. Thompson further explained that it is regrettable that the leaders of the governing parties remained mum on the SBRMC issue and the workers plight.

Great Bay:--- Due to the ongoing labor dispute regarding the former Pelican Resort workers, President of the Chamber of Labor Unions, Theophilus Thompson stated that he will be making an official complaint with the International Labor Organization (ILO) against the government of St. Maarten for violating certain ILO Conventions. The claims made by Thompson are not justified.
Thompson stated in a press release that St. Maarten is violating Conventions 87, 98, 154 and 181. C87 Freedom of Association and Protection of the right to Organize Convention, 1948; C98 Right to organize and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949; C154 Collective Bargaining Convention, 1981; C181 Private Employment Agencies Convention, 1997.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands has ratified many conventions. It was therefore up to the then Netherlands Antilles to decide which conventions they would make applicable to them. Conventions 98, 154 and 181 were not made applicable by the Netherlands Antilles and are therefore not applicable to St. Maarten.
Convention N0.87 Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize is applicable to St. Maarten. This Convention sets out the core framework of protection for the fundamental rights which is union rights, such as the right to join a trade union and the right to organize trade union activities.
The Workers Institute for Organized Labor (WIFOL) from the very beginning were representing the workers of the former Pelican Resort. WIFOL as a member of the Chamber of Labor Unions on St. Maarten has had the freedom and the right to be established and to represent workers. The workers were free to join an organization of their own choosing and to elect their representatives in full freedom as stated in Convention N0.87
Article 3 sub 2 of Convention N0. 87 states "The public authorities shall refrain from any interference which would restrict this right or impede the lawful exercise thereof." In no way has the rights of the workers and that of WIFOL been violated as far as this Convention is concerned.
The Constitution of St. Maarten also promotes Freedom of Association. In article 12 it states "The right of association is recognised. This right may be restricted under national ordinance in the interest of public order."
The government of St. Maarten never undertook, encouraged or sanctioned any action justifying the claim made by Mr. Thompson. The laws governing St. Maarten and policies of government guarantees freedom of association and conforms to ILO Convention 87, which guarantees core labor standards to all workers.
Even though ILO Conventions 98, 154 and 181 are not applicable to St. Maarten, the laws and policies of the government respects and promotes the rights of said conventions as stipulated in the constitution of the ILO.

employabilitythroughtrainingspeaker29012012Great Bay:--- On Friday afternoon Minister of Public Health Social Development & Labor, Cornelius de Weever encouraged the participants at the information session of the "Employability through Training" project to take advantage of this unique opportunity afforded to them.
The "Employability through Training" is a Social Economic Initiative (SEI) project, which is aimed at taking people from welfare to work and giving them the opportunity of on the job training. The goal of the project is to assist unskilled unemployed individuals to acquire basic job skills and knowledge to help bridge the distance between them and suitable employment within the local labor market by offering specialized training and mediation for a period of two and a half years. This will allow them to not only get familiar with the supply and demand but will also develop their social, communicative and professional work related skills which will motivate them to actively participate in the local labor market.
The target groups for this project are those between the ages of 18-55; Dutch nationals registered on St. Maarten; unemployed and have a willingness to learn and accept work.
employabilitythroughtrainingaudience29012012More specific objectives of this project are as follows: reduce the welfare assistance list to only those that truly are not able to perform work; prepare the target group to be professionals; provide the target group with coaching, training and mediation to a suitable job; develop a constant structured working relationship with the business community and promote more job creation and lastly to establish contacts with the Chamber of Commerce and unions for close collaboration and participation in various activities.
Over the next two and a half years 250 participants between the ages of 18-55 will be given specialized training whereby the curriculum is adapted to their specific needs, whereby their chances of unemployment will be alleviated and/or lessened.
At the information session held on Friday for the participants, representatives of the three training institutes were on hand to give the participants information about the training being offered at their respective institution. The job coach was also on hand to explain to the individuals what her role will be throughout the process, which will be keeping in contact with them and assisting them throughout the entire process. At the end of the session, participants were given the opportunity to ask questions.
Minister De Weever thanked the participants and the training institutes for coming out and reiterated to the participants the importance of the project, which has his full support.

Bureau Telecommunication and Post St. Maarten (BTP SXM) has taken note of the fact that, there are whole sale and retail stores in St. Maarten offering in sale devices not in compliance with the rules and regulations on the import and sale of wireless electronic communication devices.

Inspectors of BTP SXM have conducted several onsite spot-checks, and have noted that several stores on St. Maarten are selling illegal devices to the general public. These devices can cause interference with public and governmental communications systems, resulting in unforeseen outages and/or service degradation.

BTP SXM herewith reminds all sellers of electronic communication devices that, only the sale of FCC or CE approved wireless electronic communications devices is permitted in St. Maarten. All devices within the permitted category need to comply with FCC part 15 requirements or the EU R&TTE Directive.

BTP SXM grants a two (2) week grace period, as of the date of publication of this notice, to sellers to review their inventory and conduct a compliance verification. Sellers are advised to utilize the grace period for the removal from their store of all devices that are not incompliance with the FCC or EU guidelines. Devices not in compliance with the standards listed herein may not be sold or gifted. These devices should be shipped back to the manufacturer or distributor (with proof submitted to BTP SXM) or destroyed in the presence of BTP SXM inspectors.

A detailed list of the wireless electronic communications devices that are deemed illegal is available on the BTP SXM website ( Any device not in compliance, sold after the grace period will be confiscated and the business in question will be fined based on the Telecommunication act of 1995 No.196 art.15 sub1. and art. 20, which carry a penalty of maximum of six (6) months imprisonment or an administrative fine of Twenty Five Thousand Guilders (Naf. 25.000).

The Director

Philipsburg:--- Minister of Finance Hon. Hiro Shigemoto confirmed on Tuesday that he will be meeting with the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA) next week Wednesday to discuss the issue of tax reform.

Minister Shigemoto said the Council of Ministers Secretariat attempted to schedule a meeting with the SHTA in December but the latter were not able to meet on any of the proposed dates.

"I am looking forward to the meeting where I can address any concerns of the SHTA and update them on matters related to tax reform which we have diligently been working on. Additional information with respect to this will be provided within short," Minister of Finance Hon. Hiro Shigemoto said on Tuesday.

Philipsburg:--- The inter-parliamentary Kingdom conference that will take place from January 10 to 13, 2012 will kick off at the Sonesta Great Bay Beach Hotel at 8:00am on Tuesday, January 10.

The parliamentary delegation leaders of Aruba, Curacao, the Netherlands and Sint Maarten will make brief opening addresses at 8:00am on Tuesday morning prior to leaving for a tour of the Princess Juliana International Airport and of Windward Islands Airways.

The conference sessions at the Sonesta Great Bay Beach Hotel will be carried live on PEARL 98.1 FM Radio and can also be heard via the Internet on

smspameeting09012012Philipsburg:--- The St. Maarten Seniors and Pensioners Association (SMSPA) has been strengthening its bonds with the other unions both on St. Maarten and in Curacao to attract the attention of the visiting Dutch Parliamentarians from the first and second chamber that are currently on St. Maarten.
Raymond Jessurun, Vice President of the SMSPA told reporters on Monday that they sent an official letter to the Chairlady of Parliament Gracita Arrindell requesting that she schedule a meeting with them and the visiting Members of Parliament but to date Arrindell has not responded to them.
Jessurun said they also met with several Members of Parliament of St. Maarten to lobby their support in order for the Dutch MP's to meet with them. "The Dutch MP's have so far refused to meet with us while they have agreed to meet and greet with the people of the BES islands." The SMSPA considers the refusal on the part of the Dutch as an insult to the people of St. Maarten.
He said that the SMSPA wants to Dutch to understand that all pensioners within the Kingdom must be treated equally and so far the pensioners and seniors of the former Netherlands Antilles are getting the shorter end of the stick. "We want equal treatment as those pensioners and seniors in the Netherlands, our intention was to inform the Members of Parliament from the first and second chamber of the in-equality and since they have refused to meet with us we have decided to address them through the media." On Monday a meeting was head with the following persons: Alberto Bute President of SUNFED, Claire Elshot of WICLU and WITU, Robert Rawlins - WITU treasurer, Derie Leonard President of WICSU-PSU, Keturah Brown President of ABVO –SXM, Wilfred Manning President of Building Bridges Foundation, Patricia Flanders President of SMSPA / HAFH, Frances Rovelet SMSPA Secretary of Organization, Carl Cooner - SMSPA Secretary of Education, Warno Kartokromo - SMSPA assistant treasurer,Veronica Arndell SMSPA Secretary Contacts with Seniors in Institutions,Raymond Jessurun - SMSPA vice president and 1st president of KOPAMKO, Silvio Dap KOPAMKO Secretary Correspondence / FEPESCU Secretary General (Federation Pensioners Ex-Shell refiinery Curacao), Kenneth George - KOPAMKO board member / FEPESCU board member and Edgar Wanga KOPAMKO supervisory board member ASPD [association of pensioners from the Dry Dock Company) to further discuss their predicament. Jessurun said the Netherlands has to take its responsibility when it comes to Health Care and Social Assistance because St. Maarten is still a young country that lacks funding to properly care for its people.
When asked if the unions and SMSPA plans to demonstrate during the visit of the Dutch Members of Parliament Jessurun made it clear that while they are still meeting to discuss their strategies they have not ruled out demonstration.