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USM Alumni Stuart Johnson donates mini Library to USM.

stuartminilibrary18032019PHILIPSBURG:--- Alumni of the University of St. Martin and Rotarian Stuart Johnson donated the first Little Library on Dutch St. Maarten to the University of St. Martin as a contribution to the Rotary International outreach program, "Little Library", on Friday last week. The little library has been erected outside the University of St. Maarten where visitors to both the University and the Government Administration Building and others interested in reading can now "Bring a Book and Take a Book." Fellow Rotarians along with Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset President Jaida Nisbett, President of the University of St. Martin Dr. Antonio Carmona Baez and Dean of Academics Dr. Rolinda Carter joined with Johnson outside the University to celebrate the occasion. The concept Little Library was created by a fellow Rotarian in the USA who had a passion for reading and wanted to share his love for books with his community. The Rotary Club of St. Maarten Sunset, of which Johnson is a member, thought it was fitting to introduce the concept on the island, especially given the dire situation of our libraries on both scales of the island post-Irma and Maria. The first Little Library was launched on French St. Martin in December 2018, and the response from the community was excellent. The anticipation is that the Little Library outside the USM will be the first of many on Dutch St. Maarten.


EXCLUSIVE: Council of Ministers passes resolution to dissolve PJIAE Holding and give shares to the Dutch.

PHILIPSBURG: --- Information reaching SMN News states that the Council of Ministers passed a resolution last week in their weekly meeting to fire the Supervisory Board Members of PJIAE Holding Company and to dissolve PJIAE Holding Company thereafter.
The source said that the intention of the Council of Minister is to sell or turn over shares to the Dutch Government in exchange for the loans they are seeking.
SMN News further understands that the strategy was used at the St. Maarten Harbor Group of Companies in 1998 when the Harbor was looking for finances to construct the AC Wathey Pier. The Dutch Government later turned over the shares to St. Maarten Harbor Group of Companies some years later.
The Princess Juliana International Airport is cashed strapped and while the management of PJIAE is seeking to secure loans from the Government of St. Maarten through the World Bank and the European Investment Bank, funds at PJIAE is running low especially since the income from head taxes are held by the bondholders. Besides the head taxes, the bondholders are also holding $54M which was acquired from the insurance company.
The government already gave PJIAE a financial injection of $5M and it is expected that another $10M will be going to PJIAE so that they could meet their daily expenses.
PJIAE is also in negotiation with Piper Jaffray and while the latter is ready to buy out the current bondholders so that PJIAE can have access to the $54M no decision has been taken as yet as which of the options PJAIE will follow.

Rotary Sunset Launches Little Free Library At USM.

rotarysunsetlibrary17032019PHILIPSBURG:---The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset launched its first Little Free Library on the Dutch side of the island at the University Of St. Martin in the presence of the President of USM, Mr. Antonio Carmona-Baez, the Dean of Academics, Dr. Rolinda Carter, as well members of the club.

The concept of the Little Free Library was initially introduced in 2009 by Rotarian Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin and the idea quickly spread throughout thousands of communities in the United States, with the goal of creating awareness on the importance of literacy. The Little Free Library is certainly not a new one for the island of St. Martin, as Rotary Sunset initially introduced the first little free library in December with its initial launch on the Marigot Waterfront. The objective of the little free library is mainly to advocate the importance of reading and to promote literacy, a key area of focus for Rotary clubs worldwide.

“We received an outpouring of support and encouragement from members of the community with the installation of our first little library on the French side and we decided that there was a need to construct additional little libraries which would be installed at various locations around the island, especially given the dire state of the public libraries on both sides of the island. Today we are extremely grateful for the support of the Management and staff of USM and for the generous donation of Rotarian Stuart Johnson who sponsored this little free library,” President Jaida Nisbett stated. Stuart Johnson in a brief statement expressed his gratitude to Rotary Sunset and to USM for awarding him the opportunity to give back to his community. “I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be able to give back to USM and I am thankful to be a part of such a wonderful organization which has enabled me to be able to give back to my community and to further promote literacy on our island with the installation of this little library. USM is dear to my heart, especially being a former student and this is a small token of appreciation to show how much I appreciate USM.” President of USM Antonio Carmona-Baez in a brief statement thanked the club for their efforts in the community and for considering USM to house one of its little free libraries. “On behalf of the Dean and myself, I would like to thank you all for this wonderful opportunity for collaboration. As a new resident on the island, I have come to realize how important Rotary Clubs are to St. Martin and it is extremely nice to see that there are so many collaborative efforts, especially in the areas of education. I do believe this would have a tremendous impact on our students and all visitors who come by. We are truly proud of this collaborative effort and we look forward to many more in the future.”

The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset would like to encourage the general public to pass by the little library, take a book and leave a book. Members of the community are urged to donate books they are no longer using to either of the club’s little libraries. The club would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Rotarian Stuart Johnson for his generous donation and to the Management and Staff of the University of St. Martin for their support.

Over 2,000 volunteers to 112 projects in 2 days for 5th year of SXM DOET.

sxmdoetsactivities17032019PHILIPSBURG:---The 5th year anniversary of SXM DOET was a huge success. Over 2,000 volunteers rolled up their sleeves to be part of positive change and lend a helping hand at 112 different projects over the course of 2 days. 81 local organizations in total hosted a number of projects on Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16 and this year saw projects that were elevated in quality and impact than ever before, with many organizations participating for the first time.

There was a diverse selection of projects, something catering to everyone's abilities and preferences, ranging from very hands-on projects requiring more skilled volunteers like fixing roofing for play areas, building school benches, fixing playgrounds, kitchens and cupboards, rejuvenating basketball and netball courts, creating recycle bins, HIV-testing events, and clearing hiking trails. Others were more beautification type projects such as gardening, painting murals, cleanups, creating signage, painting schools, and day care centers. Additionally, there were lots of social projects, such as baking cookies, taking special kids for a fun day out, movies in the park, assisting with food drives, island tours, and sports and spa days with the elderly. There were also more culturally driven projects, such as: creating little libraries, and restoring a historical site, amongst others. Most of the projects received a small stipend in order to obtain the materials for the projects, but they could not have been executed without the generosity of hard-working volunteers and NGOs who were up to the task to make their ideas reality.
"We are so very thankful to all the volunteers that participated this year. The NGOs have all been working so hard to get back up on their feet post-Irma and keep contributing day in and day out to the community, no matter how hard they have it in their personal lives. They really are the drivers of our community. Their dedication, spirit, and drive are truly impressive. It is also absolutely heart-warming to see this initiative grow each year, not just in size, but mainly in impact and quality,” stated Melanie Choisy, Fleur Hermanides and Laura Bijnsdorp, of the SXM DOET Project Management Team. The welcome addition of the project coaches over the recent years has also ensured success, we are very grateful to have them all on-board this year again. They have really made SXM DOET what it is today, and it is always a pleasure to work with such motivated and caring persons whom want to give back in such a profound manner.
SXM DOET is part of a Kingdom-wide initiative, whereby, this year, a total of over 10.000 projects were hosted with over 400.000 volunteers all giving back to their communities on the same two days. The King and Queen join in, as well as Princess Beatrix, whom all physically contribute at a project every single year in the Netherlands, as patrons of the funding agency whom have initiated it all, the Oranje Fonds.
Locally, many persons, such as representatives of Government and/or Parliament, businesses, schools, clubs, and groups joined in, with many requesting to contribute to the event in multiple ways. Some companies partnered with the SXM DOET Team to provide discounts and donations to all participants, and others donated their time and assistance by adopting a project for the weekend. To those entities, we owe a very special thank you, since, without such selflessness, SXM DOET would not be what it is today!
The SXM DOET Team would, therefore, like to thank: SXM Festival, including the photographers, Easy Print, Firgos, Domino’s Pizza, Cake House, Prime Distributors and CC1, Heavenly Water, Greenfingers, Kooyman, Sherwin Williams, Dijtham, the Johnny Caker, UTS, R&R Tackling Gas Station, RMG Designs, Viva Signs, the Philipsburg Broadcasting Company, Island 92, PJD3, The Daily Herald, Caribbean Legacy, NIPA, Hospitality First Training + Education, Soggy Dollar Bar, the Daily Herald, Fit Foods, and Purple Pelican. Partnerships that have helped make a difference.
Be The Change Foundation, the executor and organizer of SXM DOET would also like to thank the Oranje Fonds for having brought the initiative to Sint Maarten just 5 years ago, and of course, for funding the effort locally and throughout the rest of the Dutch Kingdom. This year a welcome contribution from SXM Festival made it possible for this year’s contribution to the NGOs to have been even greater. A much-appreciated collaboration which will hopefully grow in the future. This year a total of $68,065.00 was divided over 98 projects (of the 112 total) in funding, all of whom submitted requests to SXM DOET for their projects, of which $10.000 was in thanks to an SXM Festival donation. Many more in-kind donations and discounts were provided as well thanks to the above-mentioned partnerships.
“Thanks to the collaboration of funders, government departments, businesses, foundations and especially our volunteers - a huge positive impact was made on Sint Maarten. And that all in just two days! We hope that SXM DOET continues to grow, mainly in impact, each year!” said the SXM DOET Project Management Team.
For more information on SXM DOET or to learn how to contribute in any way, please contact: the SXM DOET Project Management Team, Melanie Choisy, Fleur Hermanides or Laura Bijnsdorp, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.sxmdoet.com / www.facebook.com/SXMDOET.

Cause Way Jump Up a success.

PHILIPSBURG:--- The Cause Way Jump Up which was the first for the 2019 Carnival Season and 50th Carnival Anniversary was held on Saturday, March 16th, 2019. The Jump up started just after 08.00 p.m. on the Welfare road in the area of Billy Folly road heading over the Simpson Bay Bridge, Airport Boulevard, Cause Way Bridge, Union road and back the Welfare road where it ended on time. The Jump up also caused the traffic to back up somewhat but, this was cleared up as soon as the parade passed by. The jump up was a success and there were only two arrests made.

KPSM Press Release.


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