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South Omega Leo Club Hosts First Service Activity

SINT MAARTEN (SUCKER GARDEN) - The Sint Maarten South Omega Leo Club hosted its first service activity for the Leonistic year July 1st, 2021-June 30th, 2022, whereby the members came together on Sunday August 1st and thoughtfully provided homemade soups and johnnycakes for the most vulnerable persons within the community.

The Leo Club also distributed homemade soups to the God Bless Nurse Monique Nanny Nurssy Foundation. The President of the Omega Leo Club, Leo Javid Hurtault remarked, “Our members fully understand the importance of working together with the goal to collectively reinforce and engage the community in building a better place for all.

“The Club aims at working with more Organizations to ensure it expands its outreach efforts to as many vulnerable persons as possible.”

Through this initiative, the intention of The Sint Maarten South Omega Leo Club is to be a beacon of hope in the community especially for persons in need, recognizing that the Club’s support can go a long way as the island continues to maneuver its way through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As a Service Club, we believe it is important to help and provide for the less fortunate in our community by supporting them at their most vulnerable times,” Leo President Javid added.

The Sint Maarten South Omega Club encourages persons within our community to continue to support their efforts and sincerely thanks its members for their continued dedication.

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success”. -Henry Ford

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SMMC postpones elective admissions to the Medical/Surgical Department

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - In light of the rise in active cases of COVID-19 and the prevalence of the highly contagious delta variant, St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) has postponed all non-urgent and elective admissions to the Medical/Surgical Department effective immediately.

Patients whose appointments have been postponed will be contacted by the hospital ahead of their scheduled appointment date and time.

Appointments at SMMC’s other Inpatient Departments (Obstetrics/Gynecology and Pediatrics) and the Outpatient Department (Policlinics) will continue as planned. Patients visiting SMMC are asked to ensure that they fill out the COVID-19 screening questions truthfully, that their masks are worn correctly and that social distancing rules and guidelines are adhered to. Only persons with appointments may be allowed to enter the building with the exception of minors and medically indicated companions. Persons who refuse to comply or cooperate may be kindly asked to leave the premises.

SMMC also reminds the public that patient visiting hours have been suspended. Persons with friends or family admitted to SMMC are asked to make use of text messages and phone and video calls where possible to keep in touch with their loved ones. Persons wishing to receive an update on a patient must contact the patient’s emergency contact (which is typically a spouse or immediate family member) as SMMC does not provide patient information to third parties in an effort to protect and uphold patient confidentiality and their patients’ right to privacy.

SMMC apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the public for their cooperation as they provide quality care close to home while keeping their staff and patients safe.

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COM and Union members meet. Discuss alternative measures to meet conditions for personnel deductions

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) -Philipsburg – On July 26, the Honorable Ministers of General Affairs Silveria Jacobs; Justice, Anna Richardson; Finance, Ardwell Irion; TEATT, Ludmila de Weever; and Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, drs. Rodolphe Samuel; met with the Committee for Civil Servants Unions (CCSU) members; WICSU-PSU, WITU, ABVO with representatives of NAPB to continue the discussion on the 12.5% cost-cutting measures on the employment benefits. After calculations were finalized by the Ministry of Finance, the government paid out the 3% (50% vacation allowance) withheld since June 2020 during the first two weeks of July 2021.

During the meeting, Minister Irion presented two proposals from the government per article 112h of the LMA, this in keeping with the fact that the Constitutional Courts’ verdict is still outstanding. The first proposal represented a package to cover the 3% (50% vacation allowance) already paid out. Parties agreed that the 3% vacation allowance 2019-2020, paid out to government workers based on June 29, 2021, will be compensated by;

A) A reduction in the vacation days (2019-2020: by 2.8%)

B) The elimination of payment of overtime across the board except for the Ministry of Justice (0.2%)

The second proposal regarded the payment of the 2020-2021 vacation allowance, owed. Though liquidity remains a challenge, and the Government intends to pay out the balance of the 6% owed for 2021, parties agreed that Government would look into the possibility to consider the benefits mentioned in article 112h of the LMA, as personnel-related benefits. In so doing, some of the “benefits” such as travel expenditures, uniform allowances, and the compensation for the usage of personal vehicles to execute work-related services, could be accepted by CFT as personnel-related benefits, and be cut accordingly.  

Prime Minister Jacobs stated, “These quarterly meetings will continue together with the Council of Minister and the CCSU members in the interest of our civil servants. We will also meet again with the union members once the Constitutional Court renders its decision on the petition of the Ombudsman regarding the 12.5% cost-cutting national ordinances.”

Discussions on the issuance of the 6% vacation allowance owed will resume once Government has information to share with the CCSU membership.

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Six illegal guns confiscated in 16 weeks

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Police Force Sint Maarten KPSM, in collaboration with the Prosecutor’s Office OM SXM, have confiscated six illegal firearms in the past sixteen weeks. The weapons are related primarily to armed robberies committed on Front Street jewelry stores.

These confiscations average at least one illegal firearm taken off the streets approximately every three weeks by law enforcement officials. The weapons were confiscated directly from suspects, found in (house) searches or from crime scenes.

While the removal of these deadly weapons from the streets is a good development, OM SXM is still very concerned about the number of illegal firearms in the country and the use of these in the committing of crime.

The ongoing cases that have yielded these illegal firearms are only some of the incidents in which firearms were used by criminals since the start of 2021.

Possession of an illegal firearm carries severe penalties under the Penal Code. Those penalties become even graver when weapons are used in a crime and/or used to assault, injury or kill another person.

Helping to rid the country of illegal weapons and removing these from the hands of criminals may aid in safeguarding a life, whether it is your own, that of a loved one or even someone else in the community. Therefore, anyone in the community of Sint Maarten who knows about illegal weapons or have information about robberies or other crimes should contact the police. Information can be shared with law enforcement confidentially.

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“Love & Inspiration with Roy Cotton Jr.” Returns to Airwaves This Sunday August 1st

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Devoted listeners and the general public who have been anticipating the return of the sensational and inspiring live Sunday afternoon show, Love & Inspiration with Roy Cotton Jr. may tune in this Sunday August 1st from 3:00pm-5:00pm on The Voice of Sint Maarten PJD3 102.7FM.

Roy Cotton Jr. the host of Love & Inspiration, states, "I would like to thank all my listeners and well-wishers for all their support and commitment towards my radio show, Love & Inspiration since its premiere in August 2011 on Youth Radio 92.5FM on Sint Maarten.  

Love and Inspiration aired on Youth Radio 92.5FM between 2011 and 2014, and on 102.7FM since March 2015.

Love and Inspiration premiered on February 11, 2007, on University of Hertfordshire’s former student radio station Crush Radio 1278AM, broadcasting to a student population of 23,000 students and to online listeners around the world. Cotton was nominated at the annual Student Radio Awards, supported by BBC Radio 1 and British media company Global in July 2008 in the categories of Best Male Presenter, Best Interview and Best Entertainment. 

From the start, Love and Inspiration was a force to be reckoned with. Approximately 1.3 million people listened to the programme in April 2019, its first month on Bshani Radio in New York. This ranked fourth among the station’s programmes. Its fan base steadily grew, netting 1.6 million in June up to its current apex position of nearly two million.

Bshani Radio’s founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Bennie Randall Jr., also listens to Love and Inspiration and described it as “a hot show.”

Cotton states to his fans, ''It has been my pleasure in presenting to you a top quality Sunday afternoon radio show during the past ten years on St. Martin.”

Love & Inspiration radio show has been receiving great reviews and extensive exposure; with local, regional and international listenership. The radio show has a listenership as far as Dubai. The demographics of my Love & Inspiration’s Global community comprise persons aged 19 to over 65 who range from bargain hunters to serious investors; the adventurous to the tranquility seekers.

Love and Inspiration focuses on building stronger relationships and inspiring lives through various interviews on topics which “enable listeners to experience more meaningful relationships in their lives.”

The show is known for its musical selection of contemporary gospel, easy-listening and love songs.

Love and Inspiration is aired on Sunday afternoons LIVE on 102.7FM or online at pjd2radiosxm.com/ from 3:00 p.m.-5:00p.m. AST. Additionally, Love and Inspiration is rebroadcast on Sundays from 8:00-10:00p.m. and on Mondays from 10:00a.m.-12:00p.m. on www.voiceofthecaribbean.net and streamed on Bshani Radio from New York City on Mondays at 3:00pm AST on various podcast platforms such as Spotify, iTunes, iHeart Radio and Radio Public. 

Roy Cotton Jr. is ready to take Love & Inspiration to another dimension. Therefore, committed listeners and first time listeners are sure to be in for an awesome treat with his re-launch.

Love & Inspiration will continue with the segment Health Inspiration, a segment on the show that brings you the best in health education. Health Inspiration is brought to you in collaboration with victoriouslivingsxm.youngevity.com, the health arm of Victorious Living Foundation. Other new segments such as Travel Inspiration with Roy Cotton Jr will bring you the best in retreats, hotels, resorts, destinations and vacations for couples and families. In addition, the Fine Dining segment will highlight the best restaurants; their special offers; delicious cuisines and special amenities especially for those couples who are seeking the ideal restaurant to have a romantic dinner.    

Furthermore, the Love & Inspiration Birthday segment will highlight the best restaurants, SPAs and businesses where the birthday celebrants can celebrate their birthdays in style and receive the best in birthday treats at significant discounts.

Roy Cotton Jr. encourages his committed listeners and lovers of smoothe love grooves and inspirational hits, to tune into Love and Inspiration this Sunday from 3-5 p.m. on The Voice of Sint Maarten PJD3 1027.FM or online on pjd2radiosxm.com/ 

For more information or to be featured in an exclusive interview, contact Roy Cotton, Jr. at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., on Facebook: Roy Cotton Jr; Love & Inspiration with Roy Cotton Jr. Tel/Whatsapp: +1721-522-20-84.

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The population frustration has its limits says three civic organizations

SAINT-MARTIN (MARIGOT) - The deteriorating social climate at the Collectivité is evident said the Soualiga United Collectif, Soualiga Grassroots Movement, and CGTG in a press statement on Thursday.

The three organizations said in their statement that this is evident in the:

  • “The absolute personalization of presidential power,
  • “The establishment of a new class of arrogant and disrespectful technocrats at the top ranks of the local administration from metropolitan France.
  • “The unhealthy divide between “the class at the top and the class of inferior local employees at the bottom”,
  • “The squandering of public money,
  • “Failure to respect the fundamental rights of workers …

“Faced with this unprecedented situation, we are entitled to ask ourselves some fundamental questions:

  • What is the purpose of the French education system in St Martin?
  • Is this system incapable of producing local public service executives?
  • Or is it a political will to keep us and our children out of top executive jobs?

“Our conclusion is clear: “When injustice becomes the law, resistance is a duty.”

“In addition, we would like to point out that the most prestigious positions in the “Collectivité” of St Martin can no longer be reserved solely for the French people from metropolitan France. The executives of the “Collectivité” of Saint Martin must be a reflection of the people of St. Martin. President Gibbs is out of touch and has mistaken the period we are living today. We are no longer in colonial time.

“As a result, we are giving the President Gibbs and his team five days to resolve most of these problems in the interest and respect of the population. After this time, we will keep the public informed of the actions to be taken to be respected,” the Soualiga United Collectif, Soualiga Grassroots Movement, and CGTG statement concludes.     

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Chris Wever donates school bags with school supplies to Benjamin foster home

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Former Minister Chris Wever continued his passion of giving back to the community on Tuesday by donating school backpacks filled with essential school supplies to the New Start for Children Foundation foster home. Wever, in collaboration with Sentinel Accountants & Consultants and Arts From the Heart (Office 1), made the presentation to Sally Benjamin who runs the foster home.

Wever said for him it is simply about being a good citizen and giving back to those who might need some assistance. As the start of the school year is approaching, he chose to give back to children who might not have as much as others but who deserve nice things and vital school supplies nonetheless.

“Every child would like to begin the school year with something nice and supplies to make use of in school and to stay ahead, not fall behind. Ms. Sally and the foundation has been doing such important work with these children and trying to provide a good upbringing and as much as a normal way of life as possible. It is beyond commendable. I am happy that together with Sentinel and Arts from the Heart we were able to make it possible. My thanks goes out to those to companies who stepped up as good corporate citizens,” Wever said.

Benjamin thanked Wever for his kind donation to the children and used the opportunity to tell him about the home and her almost 50 years of work with children. “We do as much as possible to make these children feel like any other child. Circumstances is what brought them here, it wasn’t their choice. So we treat them as our on,” she said.

The home currently caters to 17 children between the age of 5 and 15. Of the 17, 15 will be attending school at the start of the new school year.  

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MP Emmanuel seeks Opinion of Integrity Chamber on Ballast Nedam vis-à-vis PJIA

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Christophe Emmanuel, has sent a letter dated July 22 to Rafael Boasman of the Integrity Chamber of Sint Maarten in connection construction company Ballast Nedam that was recently awarded a contract with Sint Maarten Airport PJIA.

The letter reads as follows: “On July 21, 2021, The Daily Herald newspaper on St. Maarten published on its front page a story regarding the selection of the company Ballast Nedam to execute the reconstruction of the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA). Ballast Nedam apparently won the public bid for this project over three other companies. This was further confirmed by the Prime Minister of St. Maarten on the same day (July 21).

“The Integrity Chamber was established by the St. Maarten Government amidst a broad discussion about integrity and the integral roles it plays within administrative bodies (i.e. government and its entities, including government-owned companies), and the overall image of the country at home and abroad.

“As per your public descriptive statement; The Integrity Chamber is an independent body with the core tasks of rendering advices and giving proposals, investigating suspected misconducts within administrative bodies, and to continuously provide information to strengthen awareness about the importance of integrity in the community.

“In the context of this broad role of the Integrity Chamber, I hereby elucidate and request the following;

“The aforementioned Dutch construction company Ballast Nedam between 1996 and 2003, was investigated by the Dutch Tax Authorities' Investigative Department FIOD for paying bribes to the Saudi kings Fahd and Abdullah and government officials in Suriname for rights to execute projects in those countries. According to public reports by FIOD, in exchange for construction contracts, Ballast Nedam paid bribes to legal entities in Liechtenstein, the British Virgin Islands, Cyprus and Jersey, among other places. These legal entities funneled the money to the Saudi kings.

“However, the company and the Public Prosecutor reached a 17.5 million euros settlement on this bribery case in 2012. Additionally in 2003 Ballast Nedam was also fined in the construction fraud case, for which cartel watchdog NMa fined the company. Ballast Nedam has apparently also been in the center of corruption cases involving the firm KPMG and others going back some decades.

“In the broad scope of responsibility of the Integrity Chamber and considering the positions of the Government of St. Maarten as well as the Dutch Government regarding the upholding of integrity and good corporate governance in government entities and the society in general, I hereby request that the Integrity Chamber provide its opinion on whether the awarding of the reconstruction of the airport project by the Supervisory Board of the Princess Juliana Airport operating company (PJIAE) constitutes an act or a failure by an administrative body or government entity to adhere to values and norms, legal requirements, or other obligations through which the interest of society, or the proper functioning of an administrative body or government entity could be harmed.

“Additionally, the Integrity Chamber is also requested to provide its opinion on whether the decision by PJIAE, supported by the Shareholder of PJIA (the Government of St. Maarten) to award Ballast Nedam the reconstruction contract for the airport despite its history, is in conflict with the World Bank’s procurement policies, its values and norms in working with other entities as well as its anti-corruption guidelines and sanctions framework. Looking forward to a reply soonest, Respectfully, Member of Parliament - MP Christophe Emmanuel.”

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Kidz at Sea launches the SXM Coastal CleanUp Project with R4CR

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - Kidz at Sea has received a grant from the second round of the R4CR Quick Win Grant Schemes in order to execute the SXM Coastal CleanUp Project: ‘Making our Coastline Safe and Clean Again—One Bay at a Time’.  

The SXM Coastal CleanUp project will focus on surveying and mapping the bay areas of St. Maarten where debris from Hurricane Irma can still be found. With the assistance of the Nature Foundation St. Maarten one bay will be chosen to execute a clean-up and removal of hurricane debris.  

To ensure that the project provides as much benefit to the residents as possible 12 young adults will be trained in the skills necessary to properly execute the mapping and clean-up including beginner and more advanced diving certifications and basic first-aid. In addition to the training and clean-up events the project will provide educational outreach about the effects of pollution on our ocean and host Discover Scuba Diving events for students who wish to try out diving for the first time 

“This project is an amazing opportunity to not only, improve the health of our ecosystem by removing old hurricane debris, but will also provide a large group of young St. Maarteners with skills and life-time diving certifications that they could use in future careers,” said Project Coordinator Leslie Hickerson, “Our outreach events will help educate our youth about the importance of safeguarding our natural resources and instill a sense of responsibility to protect our ecosystem.” 

This project, which launched on July 1st, 2021, will be completed by December 2021 and is a first step towards ensuring that the coastline of St. Maarten is once again free of the signs of the damage from Irma. Due to the extended period the materials have been underwater they must first be analyzed to ensure that there are no negative impacts to the environment during removal.  

Since 2012 the Kidz at Sea organization has worked to introduce and train St. Maarten young adults in the maritime sector, giving them the skills and certifications necessary to succeed in the industry. 

“We are excited to start this project! We see the Scuba training as a continuation of our Zero To Hero program, allowing interested participants to expand their knowledge in the underwater world.  We are thankful to RC4R for this opportunity,” said Kidz at Sea Board Member Lorraine Talmi. 

Kidz at Sea is now accepting applications from St. Maarten residents ages 18-35 that would like to join the SXM Coastal CleanUp team. Participants must be medically fit to dive, able to swim, hold valid medical insurance, and have an interest in contributing to the health of our island. Those interested can send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or WhatsApp +1-721-526-7463 for more information. To learn about the outreach events and activities follow SXM Coastal Clean Up on Facebook and Instagram. 

SXM Diver

Reef SXM

 

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Six More Cruise Ship Calls for July at Port St. Maarten

PORT ST. MAARTEN – Port St. Maarten is expecting a staggered approach to the resumption of cruising in the Caribbean. For the remaining two weeks of July, there will be six cruise ship calls at Port St. Maarten.

The Celebrity Edge will be in port on Wednesday, July 21 (06:15 – 17:00); Celebrity Summit Saturday, July 24 (06:00 – 22:00), and Star Breeze (06:00 – 19:00).

Seabourn Odyssey will be in port on Wednesday, July 28 (08:00 – 18:00); Celebrity Summit on Saturday, July 31 (06:00 – 22:00) and Star Breeze (06:00 – 19:00).

Besides making its first call to the destination, Seabourn Odyssey, will be resuming homeporting operations out of St. Maarten later this season. This will be a plus economically for the destination.

If there are any changes, these will be communicated as cruise industry resumption planning remains fluid.

The destination remains a favorable port of call for the cruise industry in connection with regular scheduled destination port of calls throughout the week. Port Management continues to maintain dialogue with the cruise industry and based on tentative developments, there is great potential for thousands of passengers to arrive at the destination between August and December.

“Vessel capacities is something that will be determined based on cruise bookings and the ongoing U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guideline modifications based on industry test cruises.

“Most cruise lines have already announced full vessel deployments by the end of year. We continue to be very confident based on current trends that the upcoming five months and going into 2022 will be very promising for the destination as together we navigate through the pandemic,” Port St. Maarten Management said on Tuesday.

Port St. Maarten reiterates that it is looking to local stakeholders such as the taxis, retailers, and tour operators to continue to maintain high service level standards along with local COVID-19 public health and safety protocols.

Scheduled port calls are important to the destination as it will allow passengers to explore the Island in a safe manner for a couple of hours as was done pre-COVID-19 pandemic.

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