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Sint Maarten Takes Steps to Move Beyond Plastics; BEYOND A PLASTIC SXM Webinar to Empower Businesses.

beyondplastic21042021PHILIPSBURG:--- Sint Maarten is taking a major step to becoming plastic-free with the BEYOND A PLASTIC SXM Webinar to be held on May 6th. The webinar is a collaborative effort of MP Sarah A. Wescot-Williams, Ms. Juliet Carvalhal of Impact Blue, along with Mrs. Camila De Conto of Songster.

The free event will include a panel discussion as well as training, aimed at empowering businesses with the necessary knowledge and tools to duly prepare and adopt the law within their organizations.

Today, April 22nd, we recognize and celebrate Earth Day and the BEYOND A PLASTIC SXM team embraces this year’s theme “Restore Our Earth”, which focuses on “natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems” as a timely reminder for us join forces and do our part to protect our health, our livelihood, and our future. “A healthy planet is not an option — it is a necessity.”

The Sint Maarten plastic bag ban prohibits single-use plastic bags, plastic straws, and styrofoam food containers and takes effect on July 1, 2021. The interactive webinar targets owners or managers of retail operations (including supermarkets or mini-markets, dine-in or take-out restaurants, hotel F&B operators, and distributors) that use bags at their check-out counters, styrofoam food containers, and/or straws as part of their operations.

The two-hour session includes a panel discussion with speakers MP Wescot-Williams, Ms. Carvalhal, Mrs. De Conto, Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern of Nature Foundation, and Nikima Hickinson, Senior Policy Advisor in the Ministry of General Affairs (BAK).
Following the panel discussion, businesses will be engaged in training facilitated by Carvalhal, de Conto, and Meijer zu Schlochtern. Upon completion, registered participants will also receive a digital toolkit to support the implementation of the law within their organizations.

“We are quite excited with the response received thus far and in addition to those mentioned above, we have also secured the collaboration of TelEm and SHTA, with several others to follow”, commented MP Wescot-Williams.

Businesses and organizations are welcome to register or request information at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Let’s together move BEYOND A PLASTIC SXM.

Repair of Sport Facilities begins today.

basketball21042021PHILIPSBURG:--- Minister of Education, Culture Youth and Sports Rodolphe announced on Wednesday that the Department of Sports and its executive arm, the National Sports Institute (NSI), has started with the much-needed repairs to the district basketball courts.
The repairs to be executed include new rims, backboards, posts, and fencing. The materials for the baskets have been carefully sourced and made on-island to ensure longevity through the easy removal of the baskets before any disaster.
The National Sports Institute started the repairs over the weekend with the replacement of the posts, backboard, and rims at the court outside of the Leonard Conner School in Cay Bay/Cole Bay and the court outside the Sister Regina school in Simpson bay. The children in the neighborhood were more than happy to see their community court being repaired and were found playing basketball once the baskets were installed.
The repairs will continue over the coming weeks at the various courts, including St. Peters, Dutch Quarter, Belvedere, and at the Melford Hazel Sports complex and the Jose Lake John Cooper ballpark.
The Department of Sport is excited about these much-needed repairs. It will continue to collaborate with the NSI to secure the much-needed funds to make more repairs at the various facilities. The Minister recognizes the hard work of all of the staff of the department of sports and the staff at the NSI, and we look forward to seeing the repaired courts serve as a vehicle for establishing social cohesion within the community and stimulation of participation in sport and physical activities.

In regards to the transfer of DPE, I have been advised to rectify the financial situation of DPE and regulate all employee's rights and privileges, even those of the teachers, before continuing with the transformation of DPE.
In July 2020, I asked the Acting SG to put a hold on the transfer of DPE and put attention on the financial and employees’ situation. That process has already started with the rectifying of all employee files.

Court rules in favour of Government in Alegria water rights case.

jurendydoran07092020PHILIPSBURG (DCOMM):--- In a case of water rights between the Alegria Real Estate N.V. and the Government of Sint Maarten, the Judge on April 19, 2021, considered all the claims made by Alegria to be without merit and rejected their request to have the decision to deny the water rights annulled.

On October 6th, 2020 the Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Development, and Infrastructure (Ministry of VROMI) Egbert Doran, denied the request made by Algeria Real Estate N.V. for water rights.

The amount of water rights requested was more than 13,000 m2. Alegria challenged this refusal of the requested water rights by filing an objection by the administrative Judge.

According to Alegria, a valid and binding agreement was entered into based on the confirmations made by the former attorney representing the Ministry of VROMI and the Secretary-General of VROMI.

Alegria also claimed, among other things, that they were being discriminated against in the denial of the requested water rights.

The Judge as mentioned earlier, rejected Alegria’s request to have the decision to deny the water rights annulled.

The Judge referred to the relevant laws and jurisprudence that reiterate that Alegria should not have taken the position that they had a reasonable expectation to get the water rights because neither the former attorney representing Alegria, or the Secretary-General of the Ministry of VROMI were authorized to make such commitments on behalf of the Ministry of VROMI or country Sint Maarten.

As the decision to refuse the requested water rights was properly motivated, the Judge did not find any faults in said refusal to justify the claims of Alegria.

As there are other legal matters related to the various Alegria cases still ongoing, the Minister of VROMI cannot divulge any additional information other than what the Court has ruled in connection with the court case.

The Minister of VROMI would like to conclude by stating that he is very pleased with the outcome of the administrative decision.

Unidentified fiber cable outage hits major telco carriers on St. Maarten

telemfibre21042021PHILIPSBURG:--- TelEm Group’s international telecommunication circuits were back up at approximately 10:10 am Wednesday following a major outage affecting all carriers on St. Maarten – after going dark for just over one hour.

 According to TelEm Group engineers and technicians, local telecommunication links with Tortola, British Virgin Island were all fully operational at the time of the outage, leading to speculation that the problem would have occurred between Tortola and Miami where the main undersea fiber cable connecting St. Maarten and other carriers pass.
At the time of the alarm, technicians speculated the outage was due to a break in the fiber cable between Jacksonville and Miami, which was damaged by excavating equipment last week, however, contact could not be made to the company’s telecommunication partners in Miami to confirm this.
Full reports are expected to be sent to all affected carriers within the hour to determine the nature of the problem and the source of the outage, until then the technicians and engineers are busy restoring connections and checking equipment configurations.
TelEm Group is continuing to monitor its circuits and equipment as services are restored and will be insisting on additional assurances from its vendors that such major outages will not occur in the future.
TelEm Group hereby apologizes to customers and members of the public for any inconvenience caused by this morning’s outage, which the company says was beyond its control.

Male victim encountered with gun shots wound in his car in Dutch Quarter died.(UPDATED)

PHILIPSBURG:--- The male victim that was found in Dutch Quarter after the vehicle he was driving crashed in the vicinity of Zerk en Rust passed away late Tuesday night confirmed Police Spokesman Joe Josepha. The victim has been identified as Shaquan Gumbs who is also from the Dutch Quarter area. Details on the shooting that has claimed the life of the young man are not yet available.

Josepha said on Tuesday evening March 20th approximately 06.50 pm, the dispatch center received several calls concerning a male victim who was found in a vehicle in Dutch Quarter suffering from a gunshot wound to his lower extremities.
At the location, the patrols encountered a male victim sitting in his car who had sustained a gunshot wound. The victims were quickly stabilized on the scene by the paramedics and rushed to the Sint. Maarten Medical Center in critical condition.
So far the police have no clear picture of what had taken place. The forensic department is still collecting evidence in this investigation. The vehicle in which the victim was encountered was later confiscated for further investigation.
More information will be provided as it becomes available. If you or anyone you know may have information as to what took place do not hesitate to contact the Police Detective Department at +1 721 54 22222 or the anonymous tip line on 9300 (free of charge). You can also visit the website at to report crime anonymously via the tip contact form, or you can leave a Private Message via our Facebook page (Police Force of Sint Maarten - Korps Politie Sint Maarten) if you know or suspect something.

KPSM Press Release.

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