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One person arrested by French authorities as a suspect in human smuggling investigation

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Human Trafficking Human Smuggling Unit (UMM) of the Sint Maarten Police Force has been carrying out investigations into several human smuggling incidents since the middle of 2021, originating from Sint Maarten (Saint Martin) with the ultimate destination being the United States Virgin Islands (USVI).

The nationality of the people who were being smuggled often were Haitians, Venezuelans, and Brazilians. In the meantime, several arrests have been made of suspects who are believed to have played an organizing role within this smuggling organization.

Collaborating closely with the French police, a suspect involved in this investigation was arrested by the French police upon request of the human smuggling team of KPSM.

During one of these human smuggling incidents, the vessel used encountered problems and ultimately sank. One of the crew members went missing in the process and probably drowned. This investigation is ongoing and the UMM team is not ruling out more arrests. (KPSM)

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Grand Carnival parade on Sunday, May 1. Police prepare for street closures

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - This Sunday, May 1, 2022, the SCDF will hold its grand carnival parade. The parade will start on L.B. Scott Road and will end at the Salt Pickers roundabout behind the Police Station in Philipsburg.

It will be one of the last events held before the closing of this carnival period. As is customary, the parade will also be passing through Front Street.

In the meantime, the public is requested to refrain from parking their vehicles on Front Street as the vehicles may be towed away in the interest of public safety. It is anticipated that the first troops will be expected to arrive on Front Street around 12:00pm. In connection with the free movement of the carnival parade, Front Street will be cordoned off earlier in the day.

St. Maarten Police made it possible for churchgoers to use Front Street to get to the church on Sunday morning May 1, 2022. Worshippers can use Front Street to drop off the parishioners, but their vehicles will have to be parked on Back Street or any other parking locations. Law enforcement personnel have reached out to several of the church's pastors in order to make it easier for their congregation to get to their church service and back home.

Parishioners who are attending Methodist Church on Sunday, May 1, 2022, will be able to enter through school-streeg (next to Oranje-school) in order to access Front Street.

A request goes out to the church members who finish with the mass after midday, that they should use Soualiga road or Sucker-garden Road, to go exit Phillipsburg not to get caught up in traffic.

The St. Maarten Police wishes all revelers and the community a very safe final days of carnival. (KPSM)

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Minister of Justice Richardson a step ahead with professionalism

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Friday, April 22, the Honorable Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson paid a visit to a four-day workshop on ‘Civil Servant’s Rights & the Advising Process’ currently undertaken by personnel advisors of the Ministry of Justice from April 19 until April 22. The safety and protection of the St. Maarten community greatly depend on the efforts of the civil servants in the Ministry. As such, this workshop comes as a step forward in improving the Ministry’s personnel affairs processes and dealing with the issue that affects its most important asset; its employees.

“Since taking office in 2020, I have been focused on improving the various issues that have plagued this Ministry for more than 10 years. Concerns, regarding the existing staff and further staffing, are being addressed, firstly, with the completion of the Ministry’s Function Book which has now been published, and now via dialogue with the unions in order to regulate the legal position of KPSM and the National Detectives, and their new salary scales,” stated Minister Richardson.

The Ministry has been working diligently toward filling numerous key positions within the various departments. Among these, are the recruitment and selection of professionals for the Victim Support Services (VSS), the further processing of the organizational plan for the Executive Protection Unit (EPU), and the completion of training for 12 certified customs officers who were sworn in on April 22. KPSM has seen an increase in the police force over the past two years via the training and certification of their recruits, a practice that continues at present, and training for Point Blanche Prison guards is expected to begin in June 2022. Critical professional development projects are also being prepared to train personnel of various sections of the Immigration and Border Control Services, and in the interim, training qualifications required to recognize several educational programs formally, are being reviewed.

The workshop for the personnel advisors is the beginning of a new approach where cooperation between the executive services is being improved. Working in teams from the different departments will allow staff members to learn from each other and make better use of the power of collaboration which has been strengthened by Minister Richardson with the approval of the development and implementation of a digital platform. The platform will allow direct communication among the Ministry’s staff, where requests concerning allowances and other employees’ benefits can also be made.

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Royanna Baly makes history as first known St. Maarten-born Deputy Prosecutor

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On April 22, the community of St. Maarten learned about Ms. Royanna Baly’s appointment and participation in her first court session as Deputy Prosecutor. Baly has been working at the Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM) of St. Maarten since 2020 and is the first known St. Maarten-born person to have accomplished this milestone. She is now able to work on minor cases as Deputy Prosecutor.

Prime Minister Silveria E. Jacobs stated, “As St. Maarteners, it is time for us to continue recognizing the achievements and highlight the importance of our collective growth. This historical moment adds to our collective efforts required towards the continued building of our nation. It shows what our younger generation, with the right support structure, education, and love for country, can and will achieve for their personal growth and ultimately taking their rightful places as future leaders.”

The Government of St. Maarten hereby extends congratulations to a daughter of the soil, Ms. Royanna Baly and the OM on her first court session appearance, and being the first known St. Maarten-born person to achieve this milestone, thereby contributing to the positive future of St. Maarten.

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MPC students showed their craftmanship during the SKILL Finals in the Netherlands

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS - This week Nathan Joseph and Gilmar Blackman, Electrical Engineer students from Milton Peters College (MPC), are busy with their Practical Central Exam in electrical engineering and plumbing, but they had a good trial run last month during the vocational SKILLS Competition in the Netherlands, SVOBE said in a press statement on Tuesday.

“As the only representatives of the Caribbean Dutch islands, Nathan and Gilmar competed against seven other electrical teams from various Dutch provinces. In five hours’, time they had to make a lamp from copper pipes and install it.

“Only one team managed to complete this time-consuming assignment, but the MPC students scored high in planning, preparatory installation work and remained steadfast and focused throughout the competition.

“Afterwards they enjoyed watching the students of tertiary vocational education (MBO) competing in their two-days challenge in robotics, vehicle technology, wall plastering, culinary arts and about 30 other vocational areas.

“Other highlights were witnessing snow and a visit to the MBO school Summa College, where the students participated in a lesson in digital electronics. The copper lamp they have assembled will be shipped to Sint Maarten and will receive a nice spot in the renovated school to honor the craftsmanship of our committed students,” the SVOBE statement concludes.

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ZERO TO HERO ROUND UP THEIR 8TH TRAINING

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - The latest Zero to Hero program nearly comes to an end, as 12 local participants finish their STCW 2010 and their Superyacht Crew/RIB/Small Power Boat/VHF Courses with trainings held at the Maritime School of the West Indies in Cole Bay.

This initiative, organized by Kidz at Sea Foundation, is one of 11 local projects in round 3 of the NRPB’s R4CR grant program which was established to support community projects through the Trust Fund. The Kidz at Sea Foundation’s Zero to Hero program specifically focusses on getting young adults prepared for jobs within the maritime industry, which can occur on St. Maarten or in the wider world.

Lead by Lorraine Talmi, Garth Steyn, Iain Mobbs, Rien Korteknie and Jon Westmoreland, the students learnt a range of skills sets, from boatbuilding and maintenance to basic communication and safety trainings. The STCW 2010 course is the essential entry level course to the industry, as it is deemed necessary for any professional crew to be current in this certification.   It includes training in Basic Firefighting, Elementary First Aid, Personal Survival Techniques (Sea Survival), and Proficiency in Maritime Security Awareness.

“We had a young and energetic group of students, who showed high academic skills” says Instructor Jon Westmoreland. He also mentions that it is interesting to see how some students gravitate more towards job opportunities on motor yachts, whereas others find the sailing yachts more appealing. “We hope that we have prepared these young adults as much as possible to enter this tough but prominent industry”. Jon explains that he runs a tight ship with strict scheduling, to get them used to the realities of the yachting industry; one in which rules and regulations are off a high standard.

Several of the students who have participated in previous rounds have integrated well into the industry and are working on or around boats around the world. “Hopefully we can see the same happening for the students of this 8th round of the Zero to Hero program” as per Jon.

kidz at sea learn to sail students

The students learn to sail as part of their training.

kidz at sea student learn skills one

kidz at sea stud learn skills two

Student learn skills such as boat building and maintenance.

 

 

 

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Extra Parking Available. Police Warn Parking on Rhine Road Shoulder Subject to Towing

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - A very busy Easter weekend is about to commence, herewith this the police of Sint Maarten take this opportunity to wish the community a safe Easter season.

Police encourage those who will visit or camp on Mullet Bay Beach or any other sites to take the utmost precautions to ensure their safety and that of their property.

Considering the busy situation on Mullet Bay Beach, finding parking will be an issue for beach visitors. All visitors are requested to use of the parking lot and avoid leaving their vehicles on Rhine Road.

Just for this busy weekend only, permission has been granted by the management of Mullet Bay Resort to make use of their parking area. This parking lot is located at the old Mullet Bay casino right behind the golf shop.

Beach goers can leave their vehicles in this parking area behind the Golf Shop and then walk to the Mullet Bay Beach. As previously communicated in the media, vehicles left on the shoulder of Rhine Road may be subject to towing at the owner's expense. Towing may be done in the interests of safety and the free flow of traffic. (KPSM)

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Grisha’s presentation well received at international panel discussion in Argentina

SINT MAARTEN/ARGENTINA - On April 7th and 8th, President of Parliament (PoP), the honourable Grisha Heyliger-Maarten, attended the “International Workshop of Scholars and Parliamentarians” in Argentina. This two-day workshop consisted of thirteen panel discussion sessions with topics including political and constitutional reform, good practices in parliamentary procedure, parliaments and education, parliaments’ defence of democracy and human rights, and parliaments, gender and women's empowerment.

Heyliger-Marten attended twelve of the thirteen panel discussion sessions, including the opening and closing sessions of the workshop, and made a presentation during the panel discussion entitled “Parliaments, Sovereignty and Peace”. The entire presentation can be found on Heyliger-Marten’s personal Facebook page.

In her presentation, Heyliger-Marten gave an overview of the constitutional history of Sint Maarten, the challenges currently faced related to achieving a full measure of self-government and finalizing the decolonization process.

In a press release issued Sunday, PoP Heyliger-Maarten said St. Maarten benefited significantly from the opportunity to give the presentation as it helps to forge international relationships with key strategic partners.

"In-person interaction has the advantage of having more in-depth and specific exchanges of information related to Sint Maarten’s plight.

While attending the workshop, Heyliger-Marten had constructive one-on-one discussion number of international scholars and Parliamentarians, who are well-versed in addressing the issues Sint Maarten is currently facing.

One of these scholars was a representative of Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA). PGA is the largest non-profit, non-partisan international network of legislators from elected parliaments worldwide. Its mission is to "Inform and mobilize parliamentarians in all regions of the world to advocate for human rights and the Rule of Law, democracy, human security, inclusion, and gender equality. During the workshop, Heyliger-Marten received an official invitation e-mail from PGA outlining how it can assist Sint Maarten with achieving its objectives as a developing democracy. She indicated that she looks forward to fellow Parliamentarians on Sint Maarten considering joining PGA.

During the workshop, PoP Heyliger-Marten also met with a number of Argentinian Governmental representatives, with whom she discussed a number of topics of mutual interest. One of those topics was the issue of the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands, which is a long-standing colonial dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom. During the most recent Parlatino meetings in Panama, Parliamentarians from Aruba and Sint Maarten expressed their support for Argentina on this matter.

According to Heyliger-Marten, both Argentina and the islands of the former Netherlands Antilles face issues with European colonial powers. “It is good to have these discussions and exchange ideas on how to address issues that we have in common. Having attended the Parlatino meetings and now this workshop, I am looking forward to continuing discussions with fellow Parliamentarians from Europe about Sint Maarten’s plight during the EUROLAT meetings the upcoming week.”

In closing, Heyliger-Marten stated that it is the sacred duty of the Parliament of Sint Maarten to advance and protect the sovereignty of Sint Maarten and, by extension, the other five Dutch Caribbean islands.

“As a legislative body, the Parliament of Sint Maarten is aware of its responsibility to ensure that all legislation governing the island complies with international law and benefits the people it represents”, Heyliger-Marten said.

“As such, and based on the motion of November 5th, 2020, I will continue to bring Sint Maarten’s case to the attention of third parties who can assist with achieving Sint Maarten’s objectives towards a full-measure of self-government and true democracy”, Heyliger-Marten concluded.

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WITU hosted a successful Zumba event

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - President of the Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU) Stuart Johnson expressed his profound appreciation to everyone that attended the first WITU Zumba event hosted for its members and the community. 

The WITU Zumba Event was held on the Boardwalk on Saturday Morning. 

"I wish to thank everyone that showed up as we celebrated World Health Day and continue with our variety of activities in the WITU calendar of events," Johnson stated. 

Minerva Marlin-Cooper, the Assistant Secretary General of WITU, led the special Zumba Activity.

Johnson singled out the U 2 Can Move group, which came out massively on early Saturday morning in support. 

"We will continue to bring a variety of activities throughout the year for our WITU members besides being an unbreakable pillar of support for our members," Johnson concluded.

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Ruby Labega Primary School gets a new outdoor water cooler

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On April 5th, 2022, the Rotary Club of Sint Maarten- Mid Isle, handed over the newly installed water cooler at the Ruby Labega Primary School. This was to coincide with Rotary’s Theme for the month March: “Water and Sanitation”.

During the month of March, we are celebrating our commitment to create healthier communities by supplying clean water and sanitation facilities to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Through water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs, Rotary’s people of action mobilize resources, form partnerships, and invest in infrastructure and training that yield long-term change.

Present at the presentation were President- Elect Quincy Lont and Treasurer Tony Da Cunha. Representing the Ruby Labega Primary School were Adjunct Principal Mrs. Gustina- Lake and some students.

The staff and students from the Ruby Labega Primary School expressed their gratitude for the much-needed water cooler.

The Rotary Club of Sint Maarten- Mid Isle would like to wish the staff and the students from the Ruby Labega Primary School much enjoyment with their newly installed water cooler and hope that they can enjoy a healthy lifestyle by drinking clean water for several years to come.

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