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Sonesta St. Maarten Resorts Announces the much anticipated Winter 2018/19.

Reopening Dates for Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa and Sonesta Ocean Point Resort Following Hurricane Irma

ST. MAARTEN:--- Sonesta St Maarten Resorts is grateful for the enduring support from its clients, partners and guests over the past year following the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma. Now, both the limitless, all-inclusive, adults-only Sonesta Ocean Point Resort and the family-friendly Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa are primed for a complete renovation and will come back "Stronger and Brand New" with projected opening dates November 15, 2018 and February 1, 2019, respectively.
Loyal guests will be reassured that the resorts’ signature limitless, all-inclusive concepts will remain the same, as will favorite services, amenities and familiar faces of our beloved staff, with a number of exciting new features to debut. Sonesta St. Maarten Resorts has taken every measure to implement the latest architectural innovations and storm resistant materials in the renovation, ensuring the future security and well being of its properties and guests.
Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa (Re-opening Febrary 1, 2019)
Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa will come back stronger and brand new, keeping its family-friendly charms, amazing array of restaurants and bars, Kids Club and Teen Zone, fun daily activities and personalized services.
The resort’s Sky Tower sustained the most damage and the renovation required that the building be stripped to its main structural frame that was fortunately spared by the storm. The reconstruction project will entirely overhaul the building instating a comprehensive architectural and interior redesign but most importantly, will install TCK and LVKE building technology with storm resistant building envelope that can withstand sustained winds in excess of 200mph winds (Irma had sustained winds of 165mph) and severe earthquakes. TCK and LVKE is a China-based, green technology consortium and its revolutionary building panels will also significantly enhance thermal insulation and energy efficiency, reducing the carbon footprint of the resort, as well as improve fire resistance making the building safer. Groupe Nox Engineering and Studio Trebbi Engineering completely re-designed the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems of the resort. The new Sky Tower will be compliant with all the latest safety and environmental standards.
Design + Positif is responsible for the overall architectural and interior redesign of Sonesta Maho Beach Resort and Galo Rosas, principal and Senior Architect, is spearheading the project. The resort will be updated with a new look reflecting a contemporary, clean and airy aesthetic throughout the public spaces, restaurants and guestrooms, while maintaining a fun, friendly and approachable Caribbean vibe that the resort is known for.
Sonesta Ocean Point Resort (Re-opening November 15, 2018)
Sonesta Ocean Point Resort fortunately sustained somewhat less damage, with the structure, mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems remaining in good condition, as the property recently underwent a 2015 gut renovation. Repairs are being made to damaged areas with improvements implemented to increase storm resistance of the building’s exterior envelope. The Ocean Point lobby will be entirely redesigned and given an updated contemporary style, while the new Casa Blue, a Spanish-style tapas restaurant, will debut on the rooftop terrace above Azul restaurant.
The Convention Center, including the Royal Pavilion, will be completely rebuilt and redesigned by Design + Positif, updating all its 24,000 square-feet of eco-friendly meeting and conference facilities accommodating up to 700 guests, keeping with the new contemporary décor of the adjacent resorts.
Maho Village & Casino Royale
Maho Village, the shopping and nightlife promenade located just steps outside the resorts, along with Casino Royale, the largest gaming emporium on St. Maarten, are undergoing a massive transformation as well, and are set to re-open this summer with a modern new look. Casino Royale will continue to offer over 21,000 square-feet of gaming and entertainment with the biggest theater in the region, and will debut two new alfresco restaurants and a new outdoor bar and lounge overlooking the main street of Maho Village. It should also be noted that Great Bay Beach Resort, formerly Sonesta, was bought by the Sunwing Group last year. That Group will make its own announcements when available.
Hospitality First
Understanding the hardship faced by many of its hospitality employees post Hurricane Irma, The Maho Group, owners and operators of Sonesta St. Maarten Resorts, along with other concerned industry parties, launched Hospitality First, a St. Maarten Training Foundation (SMTF) academic initiative. The program helps ensure the well being of staff and employees making it possible for them to maintain a livelihood after the storm as well as improve their skills and knowledge in hospitality while resorts are closed and now being renovated.
All employees of The Maho Group remained employed following Hurricane Irma, and no staff was terminated. With Hospitality First, Maho employees receive an attendance allowance while taking the courses; keep their jobs, seniority, and benefits including medical insurance and will be reinstated in their positions when the resorts reopen. As SMTF caters not only to Maho Group employees but to employees of the hospitality and tourism industry in general, other individuals who are unemployed in the hospitality sector receive a stipend while attending classes. SMTF announced that it received a grant of approximately $4.5 million from the Governments of Holland and St. Maarten. It is anticipated that additional funding will come from a trust fund administered by the World Bank for €470 million which was set up by the Government of The Netherlands to assist with the reconstruction and recovery of the island.
Pre-opening Special
Starting June 1, Sonesta Ocean Point Resort and Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa will offer an attractive pre-opening 45% discount promotion that will be available to book online or by calling 1-800-SONESTA (223-0757) with promo code: PREOPENING. Selected travel partners and agents will also have access to this promotion and for group reservations and other sales related inquiries email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Gift Certificates
All Gift Certificates with an expiration date from September 6, 2017 onwards will be honored and their validity automatically extended for six months from the reopening date, subject to availability and blackout dates. Gift certificates must be redeemed at the original property and cannot be transferred to another Sonesta Resort. Gift Certificate reservations can only be made by calling 1-800-SONESTA, and guest must provide a certificate number, verified expiration date, and the reservation name must match the name of the traveler.

Re-opening February 1, 2019 as the brand new, Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa is the largest, limitless, all-Inclusive family-friendly resort in St. Maarten offering an exhilarating and fun vacation experience combined with stellar customer service. With limitless all-inclusive meals, drinks, Kids Club, Teen Zone and scheduled activity programs for all ages, Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa is a destination within a destination, offering the island’s most exciting nightlife, a variety of accommodations and first-rate amenities for singles, couples, families and groups. The 10-acre, 416-room beachfront property is conveniently located on St. Maarten’s southwest shore just minutes from the airport and features the oversized signature Oasis pool area with swim-up bar and separate kids pool with mini aqua park; five restaurants and a pizzeria; five bars; fitness center; sports courts; oceanfront wedding gazebo; and more than 24,000 square-feet of meeting space and unique outdoor venues. Guest can enjoy other amenities including the signature Serenity Spa and the destination’s largest gaming emporium Casino Royale as well as access to tours, car rental and motorized water sports for an additional fee.
Reopening November 15, 2018, Sonesta Ocean Point Resort embraces a contemporary Caribbean style, offering an adults-only, limitless all-inclusive vacation experience, while bringing style, luxury and outstanding service to St. Maarten. Set in the most spectacular location with breathtaking views over Maho Bay, adjacent to Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa, the 129 all-suite ultra-luxurious yet sustainable “resort within a resort” sits on the westernmost point of the island and features three exclusive pools including the Edge pool with a zero entry cliff side beach, four bars and two restaurants including the signature Azul restaurant and other resort amenities such as 24-hour room service, state-of-the-art fitness center, an open-air wellness area and private cabanas. Amenities are complemented by exemplary service from personalized concierges and Butler service in the top 25 suite categories for extra comfort and next level luxury, all culminating in one of the most uniquely designed resorts in St. Maarten and the entire Caribbean. Apart from the exclusive amenities at Sonesta Ocean Point, guest have full access to all services and facilities at Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa with five additional restaurants and bars, Serenity Spa with sauna and steam room, tour desk, sports courts, Casino Royale and more than 24,000 square-feet of brand new meeting and conference facilities.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

ddpr2105208Fines up to 20 million Euro’s for Non-Compliance with new EU data protection regulation

PHILIPSBURG:--- The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, (EU Regulation 2016/679) is a regulation in EU law that was approved by the European Union on April 14th 2016, and set to come into force on May 25th 2018. It’s one of the most significant and wide-ranging pieces of legislation passed relating to technology and the internet, with new guidelines that are better suited to the modern, technology-dominated world.

The GDPR is primarily designed to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens’ data privacy, and to reshape the way organizations approach data privacy. Explicit consent of an individual (data subject) to store and use their personal identifiable data is one of the focus points of the GDPR. The aim is to give control to EU citizens and residents over their personal identifiable data and protect them from privacy and data breaches in an increasingly data-driven world.

One may think that these new regulations are only applicable to businesses that are established within the EU, but this is far from the truth. This new legislation is vastly different than the 1995 legislation with an increased territorial scope, as it applies to all companies that are collecting and processing the personal data of data subjects residing in the European Union, regardless of the company’s location. Meaning to say that even businesses outside of the EU that are offering goods or services to anyone living within the EU will also need to ensure they're compliant with these new rules, as they could also be subject to hefty fines up to 4% of annual global turnover or €20 Million (whichever is greater).

According to BTP, “even though Sint Maarten is not formally part of the EU or the Single Market, we are part of the “Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT)” with a special relationship with the Netherlands – a full member state of the EU. In addition to this, our island is shared with Saint Martin and they are also part of the EU. Because of our close ties with these EU countries, our dealings with them on a regular basis, and the mere fact that thousands of EU visitors come to our shores on a daily base for both business and pleasure, it’s it advisable for entities established on Sint Maarten (Profit & Non-Profit, Public & Private) to pay keen attention to this new legislation”.

The Director of BTP Mr. Anthony Carty stated: “It’s imperative that we follow suit with both the collection and protection of personal identifiable data of EU citizens and residents. All entities that are not compliant with the GDPR by May 25th 2018 are facing the risk of enormous penalties from the European Authorities. We are therefore urging all businesses on the island, - especially those that are targeting EU markets, or collecting and/ or processing personal identifiable data of EU citizens and residents-, to familiarize themselves with the GDPR, and ensure they are compliant with the new regulation by May 25th 2018. Larger entities are advised to appoint or hire data experts to perform assessments, and revisit company procedures”.

More information to be found on:

Any further questions or queries can be addressed to Bureau Telecommunications and Post St. Maarten: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Lottery office robbed --- Police Investigating.

PHILIPSBURG:--- The Special Robbery Unit is presently investigating an armed robbery which took place on Saturday May 19th at approximately 08.00 p.m. at a numbers-office located on the L.B. Scot road. According to the report two men riding at a scooter arrived at the location. The passenger jumped of the scooter and stormed into the office with a shotgun in his hand. He then threatened the female working with the weapon and forced her to handover the money. After receiving an undisclosed amount of money the suspect jumped back onto the scooter and both suspect fled the scene.
KPSM Press Release.

IsLands’ Airport Safety Conference Takes Off at SXM Monday.

iacconference21052018SIMPSON BAY:--- Experts from various airports that comprise the Islands’ Airport Safety Committee (IASC) will be discussing issues related to all aspects of operational safety at aerodromes from Monday, May 21 to Friday, May 25th, at a conference hosted by the Princess Juliana International Airport, SXM. The Honorable Interim Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications, Dr. Cornelius de Weever, will officially open the conference which will attract delegations from Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Bonaire , Curacao, Saba and Suriname.

According to the head of the SXM delegation, Stefania Kong - Gumbs of the Quality Assurance Department, the conference was supposed to have been held in September 2017 but due to hurricane Irma it had to be cancelled. SXM was given the opportunity to host this year’s event by the President of IASC, Mr. D. Phalai and Mr. Michel Hyman, COO, accepted on behalf of the SXM airport. At the opening session on Monday, Hyman, will provide the conference with updates and information about developments at SXM Airport following the severe damages inflicted by Irma last year. FAA expert, Kenneth Taira will give a presentation on “Safety in Airport Design”
while another FAA colleague, Mr. Mahendra Raghubeer will follow with a presentation on “Safely in Airport

The packed schedule which includes a meet and greet at the beginning, conference meetings, audits, and a closing party on Friday, has been designed to offer participants an opportunity to engage in interactive sessions, while they would also be able to see for themselves how the island, and particularly SXM airport, continue to recover from
the devastation of last September storms.

“Aviation safety is at the core of SXM Airport’s fundamental objectives. SXM Airport is constantly striving, in close collaboration with partnering airports and the entire air transport community, to further improve aviation’s successful safety performance while maintaining a high level of capacity and efficiency. We are indeed happy to be able to host the Conference this year, in spite of all the challenges of rebuilding our airport and island after the unprecedented damages suffered at the hands of Irma and Maria last year,” said Hyman.
“We hope all participants will be able to experience first-hand the resilience that we are known for, and the friendliness that is our trademark,” he added.

Presentation by COO Michel Hyman.

Opening of the IASC Conference

Honorable Minister of TEATT, Dr. Cornelius de Weever, President of the IASC,
Heads of Delegations from IASC membership

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Let me begin by thanking the President of the Is-Lands’ Airport Safety Committee, Mr. D. Phalai for giving us the opportunity to host this year’s conference. Last year, the conference was to have been held in September, but as you know, it had to be cancelled as a result of Hurricane Irma. We have been steadily digging ourselves out of the rubble the storm left behind. We are however honored to welcome you, as always, with open arms, to this important conference.

Safety for us at SXM Airport has always been and will continue to be top priority. This has become even more so in the aftermath of the hurricanes of last September. Only those who lived through that nightmare would know how powerful Irma was. Gusts of up to 230 miles per hour were recorded at our airport and storm surge recorded at
18 feet high. That is what hit us on September 6th last year.

As you can see, we are in full recovery and reconstruction mode right now. Our goal is, of course, to rebuild better, stronger and smarter, so that, God forbid if we ever get hit again, we will be able to withstand storms as strong as or stronger than Irma and Maria. In this process, our focus remains firmly on safety; operational safety; passenger safety, and safety of equipment, aircrafts, and in particular, safety of all our staff
and employees.

The Princess Juliana International Airport has been a member of the Is- Lands’ Airport Safety Committee since its inception in 2006. And this is the third time we have had the honor of hosting this Conference where we exchange safety information, sit in safety classes/workshops, review various aspects of aerodrome safety and share safety ideas. This has always benefited us as an aerodrome operator and has helped us prepare for external audits.

But let me say this: the safety of any one of our airports affects the reputation of all the others in one way or another, the same way that when a hurricane destroys any one of our islands in the Caribbean, the whole region feels the impact.

That is why coming together in conferences like this one allows us to share experiences and best practices, while ensuring that we all remain on the same page when it comes to safety matters.

Aviation safety is not only a national or regional concern, it is a global issue, with organizations like the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, at the forefront of promoting aviation safety worldwide. Recognizing that the air transport industry has a significant role to play in world economy and development, ICAO, a United Nations body, sets Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) to “facilitate harmonized regulations in aviation safety, security, efficiency and environmental protection on a global basis.”

We must, in our own region, function as a mini-ICAO, fostering cooperation among ourselves, to improve safety at our airports and therefore continue to earn the confidence of all our users.

Finally, I would like to ask for us to keep in our prayers the family for the more than 100 passengers who lost their lives when a Boeing 737 crashed shortly after take-off from the Jose Marti International Airport, Havana at about midday last Friday, May 18th. This is a chilling reminder of how seriously we must take aviation safety.

I wish you all very insightful and useful deliberations and a very successful conference.

I thank you.

Business Students of the Saba Comprehensive School Forms 3 & 4 to host pop-up movie theater.

blackpanter21052018SABA:--- Tasked with the project of creating a school business, the business students of Saba Comprehensive School Forms 3 & 4 decided on the concept of a pop-up movie theater as part of their learning in action called Sabaplex. Sabaplex will debut this Friday, May 25 at the Sunny Valley Youth Center in The Bottom as it premiers Marvel Studio’s Black Panther on big screen at a 7pm show time. Tickets are available at the Saba Comprehensive School.

The project, led by business teacher Ms. Suzette Fletcher and project coordinator Mr. Shaigan Marten, gives students a first-hand experience into the world of entrepreneurship. Responsible for realizing the school business, the students were challenged with making their idea a reality and building a feasible business concept. As part of their market research, more than 100 surveys were handed out to create the ideal business model for the pop-up movie theater. Leading up to Friday’s school business debut, students are fully in charge of marketing, ticket sales, food & beverage as well as setup and security in consultation with Ms. Fletcher and Mr. Marten.

Not only will the pop-up theater create a new weekend activity for teenagers, it’s really good news for the entire community. Compared to nearby St Maarten for example, Saba lacks a fullscale movie theater and entertainment facilities where family and friends can enjoy a night out, with this project, the opportunity exists to fill this void.

Inside Sabaplex, popcorn, nachos, brownies, croquettes, pizza and soft drinks will be on sale to complete the night out. If you don’t already have something planned for Friday night, come out and support the project and have a fun night out with family and friends.

Sabaplex can pop up anywhere and provide entertainment for all.

For more information, contact Saba Comprehensive School at 416-3270. Doors open 1 hour before show time.

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