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Navy intercepts almost 1, 000 kilograms of cocaine in Dutch Caribbean Region.

navycocaine21092023WILLEMSTAD:--- During 2 drug seizures in the Dutch Caribbean Region Zr.Ms. Groningen has intercepted almost 1,000 kilograms of cocaine.  This already happened on September 11 and 12, but was only announced today. During the first capture, the suspects only surrendered after warning shots.

In both cases the Zr. Ms. Groningen was informed about suspicious go-fast boats by a USA patrol plane. The fast interceptor boat FRISC then came into action. On board was not only the crew of the Groningen but also a delegation from the US Coast Guard.

During the first action, the suspects did not simply surrender. That only happened after warning shots. That was not necessary for the second action. All suspects and a total of approximately 985 kilos of contraband have been handed over to the Americans. They will proceed to persecution.


Patrol vessel

Since May 2023 Zr.Ms. Groningen is active as a patrol ship in the Caribbean Region. The Dutch Navy ship, amongst other things, is deployed during counter-drug operations. This she does together with the Coastguard Dutch Caribbean Region and the US Coast Guard. 

Households reminded to cooperate with important national health survey.

PHILIPSBURG (DCOMM):---  The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (Ministry VSA) Public Health Department, Collective Prevention Services (CPS) executive agencies, in conjunction with Social & Health Insurances (SZV), and other relevant stakeholders, started the STEPS Survey SXM 2023, a national population health survey to assess risk factors for noncommunicable diseases.
CPS is reminding households to cooperate with surveyors when they pass by to conduct the national health survey.
3,500 households will be randomly selected and surveyed. House-to-house interviews and health screenings will be conducted among selected adults between the ages of 18-69 years.
The aim is to collect data on behavioral and biological factors that can increase the risk of noncommunicable diseases like hypertension, diabetes, heart attacks, and cancer.
This survey is conducted with the support from Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO). This survey is also being conducted in various countries in the Caribbean Region.
The survey commenced in July 2023 and is scheduled to conclude at the end of October 2023.

Youth Substance Abuse and Youth Awareness: A Call to Action.

substanceabuse20092023DUTCH QUARTER:---  On Friday, September 15th, 2023, Christian Faith Ministries International in the Dutch Quarter hosted a critical session entitled "Bringing Awareness on Substances." This event brought together community members, parents, and experts to address the pressing issue of youth substance abuse and violence and the importance of youth awareness.
The guest speakers for the evening, representing two departments under the Ministry of Justice, shared invaluable insights and expertise on this critical topic. Dr. Tasheena Thomas, Director of Turning Point, and Inspector Felix Richards, Community Police Officer of KPSM, delivered compelling messages during the event. To everyone's surprise, the Honorable Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson graced the occasion with her presence, demonstrating her unwavering commitment to addressing the critical issue of youth substance abuse and violence.
Dr. Tasheena Thomas, Director of Turning Point, discussed the various drugs affecting our community and schools. She emphasized the changing patterns of substance use, from nicotine vaping and marijuana to synthetic drugs like molly and ecstasy. Dr. Thomas also highlighted the dangers of cocaine, crack, and the emerging narcotic, isotonitazene (iso). She stressed the importance of parents paying attention to behavioral changes in their children and the need for accurate education on substance use. She underlined, "Marijuana is a drug, and our community is often misguided on the truth about what it does to our mental health. All drugs are deadly, and seeking help with addiction is nothing to be ashamed of."
Inspector Felix Richards, Community Police Officer of KPSM, expressed his gratitude for the community's support during the presentation. Inspector Richards outlined five key pillars to address youth substance abuse:
1. Parents' Role: Highlighting the importance of returning to traditional parenting values and guidance within the home.
2. Schools: Innovative and comprehensive educational approaches that nurture creativity and foster holistic development.
3. Government: Emphasis on the need for government initiatives that strengthen the social fabric and empower families to create stable and nurturing environments.
4. Churches: Spiritual institutions were highlighted as vital in uniting and fortifying communities, serving as pillars of support and solidarity.
5. Police: Law enforcement should evolve into mentors, big brothers, and coaches to our youth, beyond their traditional enforcement role.
6. Business: The business community can create job opportunities like a summer camp job or weekend within their own community where they conduct business
Minister Richardson also shared her thoughts on this event, stating, "Youth substance abuse is a pressing issue that demands our collective attention. The insights provided by Dr. Thomas and Inspector Richards underscore the urgency of our response. We must work together as a community, with parents, schools, government, churches, and the police, to protect our youth and ensure a brighter future for all." I express a heartfelt thanks and congratulate Apostle and Prophetess Arrindell and their time at Christian Faith Ministries International church for organizing and hosting this much needed platform for awareness and discussion.”
The session ended on a hopeful note, with a call to action to recognize individual roles, responsibilities, and capabilities in addressing youth substance abuse. The community is urged to seek accurate information and support, and to join hands in preventing and combating this grave concern.


World Bank Delegation Impressed with R4CR.

birdwatching20092023PHILIPSBURG:--- A World Bank mission, led by Mr. Alex Kamurase visited Sint Maarten from September 11 to 15, 2023 to assess the progress of the Resources for Community Resilience program (R4CR). The delegation also included Ms. Natalia Bavio, a Financial Consultant, and Ms. Chanelle Fingal, a Social Development Consultant. Their primary objectives were to evaluate the overall progress, operational implementation, and compliance of the R4CR program with the World Bank’s standards in the key areas of financial management, procurement, and social and environmental safeguards.

During their visit, the World Bank team engaged with various other stakeholders, including the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB) and R4CR's Project Technical Committee. Mr. Kamurase explained, "The general objective of the R4CR program is to improve the capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) and support the implementation of reconstruction and resilience subprojects at the community level."

The R4CR program includes a grant scheme as the funding mechanism for community and social rehabilitation initiatives on Sint Maarten and also focuses on improving the capacity of local civil society organizations (CSOs) in reconstruction and resilience activities post Hurricane Irma. The R4CR program consists of 3 components. Component 1 provides small grants to local CSOs for social rehabilitation projects. Component 2 includes funds for capacity-building activities and technical assistance for local CSOs while Component 3 covers project management costs.
The World Bank mission thoroughly reviewed these components and found that the R4CR program not only met but exceeded expectations in all three areas thereby earning a “satisfactory” rating.

In addition to the R4CR program assessment, the delegates had the opportunity to visit several R4CR projects currently in progress. They interacted directly with CSOs and their direct beneficiaries, gaining valuable insights into the program’s progress and impact.
The delegates had the unique opportunity to visit the pelican nesting site at Fort Amsterdam and the site of the new birdwatching platform at the Freedom Fighters roundabout. This was done under the guidance of Nature Foundation who received funding from R4CR for their birdwatching project. The St Maarten Yacht Club Sailing School welcomed the delegation and introduced them to the boat “Nemo” designed to enable individuals with a disability to experience the exciting world of sailing. The refurbished public pool at the Raoul Illidge Sports Complex was the next stop of the tour where the team saw the first group of school children receiving swimming lessons after the pool had been closed for 8 weeks while works were being done to improve the facilities. At the Mental Health Foundation, the team got the opportunity to tour the almost completed therapy kitchen, a vital component of their client rehabilitation program. Animal welfare is also an important thematic area of the R4CR program and therefore the World Bank team made a stop at SXM PAWS in Cay Bay. There they saw the refurbished kennels and upgraded storage facilities and were enthusiastically greeted by the furry tenants. The St. Maarten Youth Council at the Rupert Maynard Community Center in St. Peters was the next stop on the tour where the team met with the youth leaders and saw the renovated kitchen and outdoor staircase that were part of the R4CR project. The community center is used for many out-of-school and youth activities.
The team of the NOW Generation Foundation welcomed the World Bank delegates to their new facility in the Plaza Building where they will provide training and support for young adults leaving the foster care system. The facility is currently being furnished so the program can commence within a few weeks. This project is a collaborative effort between R4CR and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports. The final site visit was at the National Institute of Arts (NIA) where the mission got a small taste of the “Total Theatre” concept (a project whereby the arts are used as a therapeutic tool for youth). The delegates observed a ballet lesson and witnessed a practice session of the youth orchestra.

The project review and site visits provided the World Bank delegates with a comprehensive understanding of R4CR-funded projects and their positive impacts on the community. Mr. Kamurase concluded, "We are very impressed with what we have seen, and moving forward all stakeholders need to think about how to make these impacts sustainable after the R4CR program concludes at the end of 2024."
The R4CR program is financed by the Government of the Netherlands via the Sint Maarten Trust Fund. The Trust Fund is administered by the World Bank and monitored by the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB). The R4CR program is being implemented by VNGI.
For more information about the R4CR program or a detailed review of all R4CR projects please visit or the Facebook page (R4CRSXM).


Infant dies at Daycare in St. Eustatius.

On Tuesday, the 19th of September, the police received a report about a baby who showed no signs of life at a childcare center on St. Eustatius. The ambulance arrived on the scene and started resuscitation but to no avail. It concerned a girl of a few months old. The case is under investigation. Infant dies
On Tuesday, the 19th of September, the police received a report about a baby who showed no signs of life at a childcare center on St. Eustatius. The ambulance arrived on the scene and started resuscitation but to no avail. It concerned a girl of a few months old. The case is under investigation.


KPCN Press Release.

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