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Johnson wants urgent action to bring Airport back online.

airportsjohnson22072018PHILIPSBURG:---Enhancing the experience for arriving and departing travellers and bringing the Terminal Building back online “post-haste,” was the message given to airport management by Tourism Minister Stuart Johnson when he toured the Princess Juliana International Airport PJIA in his capacity as shareholder representative on Wednesday.
According to a press release issued Sunday, Minister Johnson also reemphasized the importance of the PJIA to the island’s overall economic revitalization. He said the Airport’s reconstruction, including the provisions to build the US Preclearance facility, is part of the governing program 2018 -2022 and represents a vital feature of the government’s plans for redevelopment and creating a sustainable St. Maarten.
One of the main reasons for Johnson’s visit was to get a realistic impression of the potential for reopening the terminal building for the start of the new tourism season in November this year. To date, several media articles have highlighted the cry from the local population and business community about the alarmingly long time it has taken to see real signs of reconstruction at SXM. There is also international pressure from tourism partners to get the airport back on track urgently.
Besides, local hoteliers who are investing millions of dollars in the reconstruction of their properties, have also expressed their concerns over the delay in rebuilding the airport, and have asked for solutions to the immediate financial issues facing the Princess Juliana International Airport NV. According to the release, these matters have the minister’s immediate attention. Johnson is also calling for more effort in the interim to improve the experience for visitors and residents at SXM..
Johnson met recently with Dutch Representative in St. Maarten Chris Johnson and Hans Leijtens and discussed amongst others, the securing of funding for the airport reconstruction. As a result, the Dutch Government has agreed to issue a statement of commitment, which is forthcoming, to assist the PJIAE in securing the necessary funding for its reconstruction.
Meanwhile, Minister Johnson expressed grave concern about humidity inside the tents presently being used as temporary Arrival and Departure halls. He said notwithstanding the devastation to the airport caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, the comfort level of passengers and SXM staff and others working in the arrival and departure halls must remain a high priority. Management at PJIA has assured Minister Johnson that they would give urgent attention to improving the ventilation at the Arrival and Departure hall. The PJIA was asked to urgently address the comfort level of visitors and workers and encouraged them to find practical ways to help circulate the cold air coming from the portable Air-Condition units . Johnson told PJIAE ‘s Management Board that he is eagerly awaiting the recobstruction of f the Terminal building . He made mention of the recent media publications which showed passengers standing outside the departure hall in long lines and said the speed of work to repair the terminal building and replace the check-in kiosks must be increased to improve the ease and comfort of travel.
The Minister and his delegation were accompanied by the airport’s Chief Operation Officer Michel Hyman, Project Manager for the airport reconstruction Rob Noorman, Chief Financial Officer and Acting Chief Executive Officer Ravi Daryanani and Corporate Communications Officer Audrey St. Luce-Jack.

BOFT, Cole Bay Methodist Church Collaborate in ‘The Rise and Fall of King Solomon’.

SUCKER GARDEN:--- Better Opportunity for Talent (BOFT), in collaboration with the Cole Bay Methodist Church will on Saturday, August 11, 2018 stage the highly-anticipated biblical love drama, ‘The Rise and Fall of King Solomon’, at the L.B. Scot Sports Auditorium.

The production, which was first presented in April, is being directed by veteran cultural icon Ann Meyers, and will feature award-winning actor Earl Duzong, with performances by gospel singer Benjamin Bell and God’s Chosen, as well as Catherine Carbon’s Total Restoration dance group.

According to producer and BOFT president, Milton ‘Bobby’ Ottley, patrons will be blessed with a wholesome family production, which pulls together a wide cross-section of talent from the various Christian denominations on the island. Among the two dozen cast members are Class 2 leader of the Cole Bay Methodist Church Esther Narcisco, who takes on the role of the harridan who wanted King Solomon to divide a baby; Methodist Chorale leader Esther Davis; and Baptist singer Karen Cadogan to play the Queen of Sheba.

Meyers, chief architect behind the drama, said the play is aimed at building and maintaining the culture of St. Maarten, as well as showcasing the homegrown talent of the island.

“I did a lot of research. If you are writing something on your own, you can put in anything. But when it comes to something from the bible you have to be so precise to make sure that you do not slip and say what is not there. It took a lot of nights to get it right,” said Meyers.

It was no easy feat taking the story from several books of the bible and compressing it into a factual retelling of one of the wisest kings who reigned before the birth of Christ. Meyers chronicles the story of Solomon from childhood through his adult life when he had hundreds of concubines. It was this love for women that caused Solomon to fall out of favor with God.

Although this will be the first major production of BOFT, Meyers comes with more than 40 years of experience in theatre, having been recognized by the House of Orange in The Netherlands for her cultural work on the island. She has already successfully staged the play at her place of worship, the Cole Bay Methodist Church and it was that success that motivated the group to form a wider collaboration to bring the play to the big stage.

Patrons attending the August 11 production can expect to be serenaded first by Benjamin Bell and God’s Chosen, followed by dance presentations by Catherine Carbon and the Total Restoration dance group. Thereafter, the play will be staged with songstress Karen Cadogan bringing more entertainment at intermission.

“This is a complete production,” said Ottley, promising that patrons should expect to get a full package. “They will see great talent, hear great singing...and the dance group will entertain as they are passionate about what they do and are very creative. This is a production that people should not miss.”

Ottley said plans are already underway to take the play to Atlanta, Georgia, which will further expose the talent that St. Maarten has to offer.

“We have ongoing communication with the Ousley United Methodist Church in Atlanta and LMB Network, which has about 20 radio stations and two TV stations. Everything that we are doing now will be broadcast and this gives St. Maarten the extra promotion,” Ottley said.

According to the producer, this first step for BOFT is intended to open the doors for many other talented persons on the island as the organization plans to continue exposing and highlighting all the hidden talent among the youth. BOFT’s aim is to create role models for the youngsters to follow.

Underscoring the main message of the play, Ottley, who has been involved in theatre through his mother while growing up in Curacao, said he wants patrons to leave after the show recognizing that no man is perfect and that all have sinned.

“None of us is perfect. We all are going to fall like Solomon, but I believe in God and I believe in doing His work,” Ottley stated. He was highly complementary of Meyers for making the play work and pulling the production together. He said when the play was first staged in church he was amazed by its success.

“The night of the concert was the bomb. I take my hats off to the director [Meyers].”

Meyers gained much of her experience in stage productions before the formation of the Cole Bay Theatre Company, of which she is a founding member. The group will celebrate 40 years of existence on August 8. She first started working with the youth at the Cole Bay Methodist Church, performing in Dominica and St. Kitts. Back in those days, the focus was on folk songs until Montserrat-born playwright David Edgecombe started working with the group which had branched off into theatre by then.

Meyers and the Cole Bay Theatre Company have performed in Aruba, Saba, Statia, and Curacao and three of their members – she, the recently-deceased Roland ‘Pa Ben’ Bryson, and Carmen Tyson – even earned nominations for Best Actor and Best Actress awards from among some of the best dramatists in the Caribbean and North America.

According to Meyers, she just loves what she is doing and sees the production of ‘The Rise and Fall of King Solomon’ as another production that holds a strong message for the St. Maarten community.

Tickets for the show have already gone on sale at SOS Radio and VanDorp Stores. Cast members also have tickets and for a limited time only, patrons will receive discounts. They are being urged to get their tickets before they are all gone. Tickets for adults cost $20, while children will pay only $5.

NAGICO launches the Hurricane Xtra Policy.

PHILIPSBURG:---Today, NAGICO Insurances unveiled a new insurance product called the NAGICO Hurricane Xtra Policy. It’s designed as a supplemental coverage to insure uncovered expenses that may arise following a hurricane as well as items around your home that are not typically covered against hurricane damage under the standard Homeowners Policy.

“Based on our client’s as well as our personal experiences dealing with the turmoil post hurricanes Irma and Maria, we realized that there was a need for a policy that could provide cover for the additional costs that would arise after this kind of a disaster,” Dwayne Elgin; CEO of NAGICO explained. “We created the Hurricane Xtra Policy to take care of expenses clients may not have catered for. The beauty about this coverage is how simplified and hassle-free the claim process is and that you the client get to decide how much coverage you want to purchase as well as how to use the payout.”

The NAGICO Hurricane Xtra Policy does not require estimates or adjuster involvement, so you can get back on your feet faster with this swift pay out after the disaster. Best of all, there is no deductible.

“It is important to note that the Hurricane Xtra policy is not a replacement coverage for a standard Homeowner’s Policy. It is a policy designed to complement your existing Homeowners Policy and provide you with additional protection.” said Mr. Elgin.

Examples of items and costs that can be covered under this policy are: landscaping, travel expenses, emergency evacuation or medical care for you and your family, fuel for generators or vehicles post hurricane, loss of wages, even that pesky deductible on your standard policy and so much more.

Business owners will be pleased to know that this policy can provide additional protection to their NAGICO policies as well.

For more information on the new Hurricane Xtra Policy, contact any NAGICO representative, agent or broker, or visit us at our office or online at

TelEm Group rejects BTP fines of alleged poor service to Cable TV customers.

telem22072018Pond Island:---TelEm Group says it is taking “very seriously” the actions being taken by the Bureau of Telecommunications and Post (BTP) to impose fines on the company for allegedly not providing adequate service to St. Maarten Cable TV’s paying customers. - TelEm Group purchased the local cable company in January last year and recently obtained court permission to dismiss 17 workers remaining in the company paying them termination packages.
According to the BTP, TelEm Group has failed to deliver on service and is being fined for a number of infractions required under Cable TV’s operating concession, however in a response this week, TelEm Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mr. Kendall Dupersoy, said he was “most surprised” by the public pronouncements of the BTP, noting that he is greatly troubled at what the regulator’s motivation would be.
He said in any event TelEm Group has turned to the courts to reject the BTP fines and will make its own case before a judge.
“It is not a secret to the BTP that our hands have been literally tied so far as restoration of the Cable TV infrastructure, because of the extent of the damage in the first place, and secondly because of various reasons connected with the court case while it was ongoing,” said Mr. Dupersoy.

“The public and customers of St. Maarten Cable TV are aware of these developments through the various media outlets and also directly by us and when we have made good on credit payments to customers who have not been receiving the service they paid for,” continued Mr. Dupersoy.

He said in the same way the public and customers are aware, so too must the regulator, therefore he questions their threatened action against TelEm Group and also their motivation for wanting to remove the Cable TV license from the company if their intention is to secure cable TV services to customers generally.
“The general public and Cable TV customers should we aware that we have addressed the matter of Cable TV services on the island with the Shareholder of TelEm Group, as recently as July 5th, when we outlined all the issues we are having and how we intend to move forward to fully provide service to customers now that matters have been cleared up within the courts,” continued the CEO.
He said part of the information to the Shareholder in actual fact was TelEm Group’s plan to replace the major part of the outdated Cable TV system with a more modern IPTV service that will utilize a brand new fiber optic network that is being laid islandwide by TelEm Group offering more bandwidth to customers than has ever been available on St. Maarten with the potential for many more services than presently available from St. Maarten Cable TV’s infrastructure alone.

MOTORWORLD GROUP Supports the 43rd Annual Saba Summer Festival.

PHILIPSBURG:--- With the continued spirit of corporate responsibility, Motorworld Group of Companies is proud to expand its reach throughout the region and sponsor the 43rd Annual Saba Summer Festival. The Saba Summer Festival thrives as an essential cultural celebration among the community of Saba, with outreach to visitors who travel from near and afar to partake in the events.

"We congratulate the Board, event organizers, stalwart supporters, and the people of Saba for their ongoing dedication to organizing the Saba Summer Festival. We remain steadfast in our commitment to support our local and regional communities with these major events that exemplify our rich Caribbean multi-cultural heritage," says Tariq Amjad, Managing Director, Motorworld Group of Companies.

Themed, "Spice Fest 43", the Saba Summer Festival officially starts on Monday, July 23rd and includes a week-long line-up of festivities, with the highlights being the Junior and Teen Road March competition, as well as the highly-anticipated “Capsize Night" and the "Spice on the Rocks” events.

The Saba Summer Festival culminates into the J'ouvert and the Grand Summer Festival Parade on Saturday, July 28th. The Grand Parade will feature a stunning motorcade with a variety of brand new vehicles from Motorworld and Caribbean Auto.

"We are truly grateful for the support provided by Motorworld to enhance our Summer Festival. It will be well invested to ensure the overall success of our events, and our Saban culture," shared Mr. Antonio Hughes, President of the Saba Festival Foundation. "On behalf of the board of the Saba Festival Foundation we are extremely happy for the partnership with Motorworld, as they have really shown their full patronage towards the island of Saba. As president, I have to thank our advisor Mr. Dave Levenstone for bringing Motorworld on board with us this year, and much support from Ms. Jacqueline Louis who believed in this partnership from the first discussion with Mr. Levenstone for Saba and Motorworld."

Mr. Dave Levenstone, Advisor to the Saba Festival Foundation stated that he is extremely satisfied with the results of his first discussion regarding the partnership with Motorworld and looks forward in greater things happening in the future. Working together as a team, we can achieve a lot for our islands.

For the complete line-up and further information on the Saba Summer Festival, please log onto:



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