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BirdsCaribbean Celebrates Local Birds with Virtual Learning, “From the Nest” Campaign, and our First Bird Zine Contest.

birdscaribbean18052021MARIGOT:--- It’s that time of year again when our beloved warblers and other migratory birds have left the islands. This is the time when our endemic birds, who live here year-round, come into their own! We have a chance to enjoy them. We watch many of them building nests and raising families in Caribbean gardens, fields, and forests.

The Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival (CEBF)’s 21st edition is well underway. It is a month-long celebration of the region’s endemic birds organized by BirdsCaribbean and its partners, ending on May 22. Last year’s popular “From the Nest” online series continues this spring, as many of us are sadly still experiencing the pandemic’s restrictions. Log on to learn about 30 new endemic birds (in addition to last year’s selections). There are coloring pages for kids, activities, puzzles, videos, drawing classes, and more, every day.

The theme for the Festival is: Sing, Fly, Soar — Like A Bird! The CEBF brings people of all ages together, right across the region. The goal is to raise awareness about the 171 unique birds that live only in the Caribbean. Many face threats to their survival. BirdsCaribbean partners are presenting their own CEBF projects on their respective social media pages.

We have a new online activity you’re going to love! We invite you to participate in our first “Bird Zine Contest.” We will use each entry to build the first-ever virtual Caribbean Bird Zine library! This is a fantastic opportunity for children and adults to creatively express their knowledge of birds. You will find detailed guidelines and judging criteria at these links: Bird Zine Contest Guidelines and What is a Zine and Bird Zine Contest Instructions. Among the grand prizes are two waterproof Vortex Diamondback binoculars (each worth $270USD). The deadline for submission of your zine is 11:59 PM EDT on Sunday, May 30th, 2021.

A series of weekly webinars on aspects of bird conservation is also happening. Visit our website to register and join us on Thursdays at 4 PM EDT from now until June 3rd.

We are also launching a new e-book: “A Collection of Cultural Myths, Tales and Beliefs About Caribbean Birds.” It is a collection of stories that show the roles birds play in shaping our understanding of the natural world, social norms, and even beliefs about the afterlife. All stories, articles, poems, photographs, and artwork were submitted by BirdsCaribbean members. The e-book will be available for viewing and downloading from our website.

The #HumansofBirdsCaribbean have been busy behind the scenes, so be sure to follow us on social media and our website and share with your bird-loving family, friends, and networks!

SMMC staff engage in customer service workshops.

smmc18052021CAY HILL:--- Staff of St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) recently took part in a series of customer service excellence workshops contributing to continuous staff development as part of SMMC’s ongoing ‘Fit for the Future project.

A total of 65 staff members took part in the first series of customer service excellence workshops, which were held at NIPA, with more to follow in the near future. The workshops were conducted by Coyle Hospitality, a leading hospitality training institute, and participants were actively contributing to the various customer service scenarios and role-playing demos.

Topics that were covered include professionalism, helpfulness, cooperation, respect, non-verbal communication, first impressions, and various other areas that encompass customer service excellence. A mystery shopper will soon visit SMMC and evaluate the lessons learned and will relay this back to the organization.

SMMC’s Fit For The Future project is aimed at providing staff with possibilities to enhance their knowledge and skillset in order to be able to adequately adapt to an ever-changing healthcare industry as well as making sure that everyone is ready as SMMC transitions to St. Maarten General Hospital, which includes attaining JCI accreditation.


10 confirmed COVID-19 cases today.

omarottley23022021PHILIPSBURG:--- As of May 17th, there were ten (10) persons who tested positive for COVID-19; however six (6) persons have recovered; bringing the total active cases to thirty-six (36). The total number of confirmed cases is now two thousand two hundred ninety-two (2292).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring thirty-five (35) people in home isolation. One (1) patient is hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center. The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at twenty-seven (27).

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten has increased to two thousand two hundred twenty-nine (2229). Forty-four (44) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS.

The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development, and Labour (VSA) Airport Health Team in collaboration with Health Care Laboratory Sint Maarten (HCLS) have tested 2, 862 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA), while CPS tested 28, 642 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures.

In order to achieve herd immunity, we must work together and encourage one another to get vaccinated. Play you part and protect your health.

Telem Continues to Support Sint Maarten's COVID 19 Efforts. Next Pop-Up Vaccination Clinic May 22 in Cole Bay.

telemcovid17052021PHILIPSBURG (DCOMM):---TelEm has provided much-needed internet support to the Vaccination Management Team’s (VMT) “Pop Up Vaccination” community initiative.
As planning is underway for more community vaccination events, TelEm has provided multiple mobile internet devices which can be used during community outreach efforts across various locations.
The device donations were timely as Collective Prevention Services (CPS) from the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA) held its first community Pop-Up clinic in Belvedere on May 8th and they were quickly able to register persons on-site.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, TelEm has supported government’s COVID-19 campaign in multiple ways including the creation of the 914 COVID-19 help line which is free to the public, multilingual pamphlets which were disseminated throughout the community, COVID-19 awareness billboards, and they also continue to facilitate broadcasts of official COVID-19 information via SMS to subscribers.
“I am humbled and appreciative for all TelEm has done and continues to do in supporting our Government's COVID-19 campaign,” said Minister of VSA Omar Ottley.
The next “Pop Up Vaccination” will be in Cole Bay on May 22 at the Orange Grove Shopping Center, Orange Grove Pharmacy from 9.00 AM to 2.00 PM.

Airport CEO racks up Naf 300,000 in credit card charges in two years.

cemmanuel05012021~ MP Emmanuel calls for Shareholder to investigate ~

Re-instated CEO of the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) Brian Mingo racked up corporate credit card bills totaling almost Naf 300,000 from January 2019 to January 2021, with approximately NAf 170,000 of that spent in 2019 alone. Independent Member of Parliament disclosed this information on Monday, adding that “this is just the beginning of the apparent misuse of airport funds, unnecessary over-spending, and shameless self-gratification at the expense of the airport and its workers.”
Emmanuel said documents in his possession show that Mingo has spent lavishly over the past two years on clothing in New York City from Men’s Warehouse and Macy’s, orders from Amazon, airline tickets, computer software purchases, night clubs and numerous breakfasts, lunches, and dinners locally and in the US, Canada, and Europe, among other things.
The charges were made to two corporate credit cards, a “Black MasterCard Business” with a US $20,000 charging limit and a VISA card with a US $5,000 charging limit. The charging limit on the MasterCard was reduced in 2021 to a US $10,000 limit. In the month of March 2019 alone, Mingo charged over US $17,000.
MP Emmanuel called on the Shareholder Representative of the airport, which is the government of St. Maarten to immediately investigate the spending of the CEO. Corporate agreements sometimes afford top management leeway on business dinners ect and allowances are included. But this level of spending on oneself and to “feed you every time you are hungry” is not normal or acceptable. “He has literally eaten at almost every restaurant on St. Maarten,” the MP said.
The MP said in a time when people are struggling to put food on the table, coping with a global pandemic and the resulting economic fallout, the board of PJIA is enabling one man to spend wildly and without care or oversight. He said Mingo’s spending spree is the same amount of money that could have been used to pay about 160 airport employees.
He said it is sickening that on top of more than US $10 million in consultant fees from Schiphol and others that the airport has to pay, the spending for “clothes and thousand dollar-steaks” has to be added to the list. “All the while, we have Dutch CFO who must have seen these things if not participated in some, who sat back and did nothing to curb the overspending and misuse of funds,” Emmanuel said.
“This is the CEO that has been put back in charge at PJIA. A person who is well known for his disrespect of airport employees and unwillingness to pay them what is due. But he has no problem letting them work their tails off so the airport can make just enough money to cover his extravagant lifestyle. This is where the real investigation has to start by government into the CEO, CFO, and the board of the airport operating company (PJIAE). They have to go,” the MP stressed.
Emmanuel said “it is impossible” that Chairman of the airport holding board (PJIAH) Dexter Doncher was suspended over a technicality and being made into a scapegoat by a government who is afraid to stand up to the Dutch, while the same government allows the other board of the airport and their puppet CEO “to get away with murder.”
“Is one man living the high life off of airport funds the kind of good governance that the Prime Minister, State Secretary Knops, Schiphol, and the World Bank profess to want at the airport? Doncher and his board were preventing Schiphol from claiming control over PJIA and got rid of a man (Mingo) who was clearly not good for the airport. But he is being crucified and treated unfairly and even suspended illegally. But you accept a serial spender of the airport money,” Emmanuel said.
He said the Prime Minister, through the airport holding board, must provide answers to the people of St. Maarten about how one man continuously got away with this kind of spending without being questioned or stopped.



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