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Soualiga Newsday Top Stories (3635)

Africa in My Skin wins USA graphic design award for St. Martin book publisher

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - HNP has won the American Inhouse Graphic Design Award 2021 for África en mi piel / Africa in My Skin / L’Afrique dans la peau, according to Gordon Kaye, publisher at Graphic Design USA (GDUSA).

The winning book cover for the trilingual poetry collection by Rafael Nino Féliz, a Dominican Republic educator — was designed by Gina Rombley of BEOS, Inc.

House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP) received the award in July on behalf of both companies from GDUSA in New York City, said Jacqueline Sample, president of the St. Martin indie press.

This year marks the 58th anniversary of the GDUSA design awards. “We saw 6,800+ entries; only the top 10 percent – including you! – were selected as a winner,” wrote awards director Sasha Kaye-Walsh to HNP in a July 29 email.

Among the winning brands and companies for the 2021 graphic design award are “AARP, Amazon, American Bar Association, Art Institute of Chicago, Citibank, Doritos, E&J Gallo Winery, Gatorade, National Community Pharmacists Association, PepsiCo, Prudential, State Farm, Walmart, and many more,” according to Kaye-Walsh.

“Many thanks to Gina Rombley for her stunning book cover design,” said Sample. “Thanks also to GDUSA for selecting HNP among its awardees in 2021.”

Sample also congratulated “Professor Rafael Nino Féliz. I can’t thank him enough for deciding to publish África en mi piel / Africa in My Skin / L’Afrique dans la peau with HNP.” 

África en mi piel / Africa in My Skin / L’Afrique dans la peau is available at Van Dorp and Arnia’s bookstores in St. Martin, bookstores in Santo Domingo, DR, and at Amazon and SPDbooks

HNP also won the GDUSA Award in 2017 and 2018, with cover designs by Carole Maugé-Lewis for Plastered in Pretty by N.C. Marks and Language, Culture, and Identity in St. Martin by Rhoda Arrindell, said Sample.

award GDUSA 2021



Tribute to poet “Big Ray” Helligar “under the mango trees” on August 7

SAINT-MARTIN (BELLEVUE) - The tribute concert with 25 poetic performances for the late Raymond Helligar takes place here at The Gardens on Saturday, August 7, said organizer Sabrina Charville.

The open-air program “under the mango trees,” which begins at 4:30 pm, honors the work of Raymond “Big Ray” Helligar as a spoken word artist, said Charville. He was a “founding poet” at the recitals in Sandy Ground organized by Coffee & Soda Biscuits, a cultural association founded by Charville in 2017.

A number of the poets and spoken word artists scheduled to perform on Saturday will don a black beret, a cap often worn by Helligar. Melissa Fleming, Thierry Stephen, Clara Reyes, Sarina Alexander, Prisca George, Cristine Maccow, Lise Coats Flanders, Jeremie Huot, “and many more” readers are lined up to take the stage, said Charville.

Among the guest readers are writers published by House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP). “Tamara Groeneveldt, Rhoda Arrindell, Fabian Adekunle Badejo, Faizah Tabasamu (Rochelle Ward), and Magueda Jackson are listed to recite their poetry or read from Helligar’s work,” said HNP projects director, Lasana M. Sekou.

The signature poem of Helligar, “Sin Martin is We’z Own,” and his popular and defiant pieces, “Wee Mother Tongue” and “Holding on to We Cock,” could be a challenge to writers and performers asked by the organizer to read those selections, but they will delight and inspire the audience, suggested Badejo on his Culture Time radio show last Sunday.

“Sin Martin is We’z Own” is one of the poems found in the book Where I See The Sun – Contemporary Poetry in St. Martin (HNP, 2013).

Raymond Helligar was also known as a workers rights organizer, chamber of commerce officer in Marigot, and a businessman. He passed away last June at age 73.

The concert admission fee is $5 or 5 euros. Covid-19 mask-wearing and distancing will be observed, said the organizer. For event details see the Facebook page of Coffee & Soda Biscuits

The sponsors of the Raymond Helligar tribute include the Collectivity, CCISM, SoualiganSlangs, 92.5 FM, SKA, Radiance, and 4 Real We Agree with Culture, said Charville.



SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - As in most countries in the world, the public finances in Curaçao and Sint Maarten deteriorated considerably in 2020 on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic. President of the Centrale Bank van Curaçao en Sint Maarten (CBCS) Richard Doornbosch stated in the CBCS 2020 Annual Report that in both countries the current budget deficit widened significantly in 2020 compared to 2019, due to a decline in government revenues combined with an increase in expenditures.

In addition, the debt-to-GDP ratio rose significantly in both countries. Therefore, according to Doornbosch, having a multiannual plan to achieve a balanced budget is crucial for both countries to achieve sound public finances.

“In 2020, tax revenues dropped sharply in both Curaçao and Sint Maarten, while cyclical expenditures, including unemployment benefits, increased as economic activities shrank considerably. At the same time, both countries implemented discretionary measures including a payroll subsidy and other social transfers to vulnerable groups in society amid the coronavirus crisis,” Doornbosch explained.

“The increase in expenditures in Curaçao also reflected transfers by the government related to the takeover of the preferential claim of the CBCS on Girobank N.V. At the end of 2020, the current budget deficit amounted to 14.0% of GDP in Curaçao and 10.9% of GDP in Sint Maarten.”

Doornbosch added that the debt-to-GDP ratio rose rapidly in 2020 due to a sharp increase in the public debt, driven primarily by the liquidity support that the two countries received from the Netherlands, combined with a deep contraction in nominal GDP. It is expected that, as the economies of Curaçao and Sint Maarten will not reach their pre-pandemic levels until 2024, high fiscal deficits will persist over the medium term making additional liquidity support from the Netherlands indispensable. However, this poses a risk to debt sustainability.

“Against this background, fiscal consolidation is crucial for both countries to achieve sound public finances,” Doornbosch stated. The path towards sound public finances should be designed carefully to prevent fiscal measures, especially when they are pro-cyclical, from hampering economic recovery. Overoptimistic assumptions should be avoided.

“Hence, the countries should develop a plan to achieve a balanced budget over a period of about four years. This plan should include a multiannual budget with operational targets for the current budget balance, the primary balance, and the debt-to GDP ratio as long-term anchor. In addition, public financial management must be strengthened while tax reforms are needed to broaden the tax base to raise revenue in the least growth-distorting way,” Doornbosch said.

The Netherlands has tied additional liquidity support to Curaçao and Sint Maarten to strict implementation of structural reforms and fiscal consolidation. The agreed upon structural adjustment program (“landspakket”) should benefit both countries by improving their competitiveness, promoting sustainable and inclusive economic growth, and strengthening resilience.

According to Doornbosch, the decades-long experience with structural adjustment programs by the International Monetary Fund shows that there are at least three critical success factors that should be taken into account when designing and implementing a reform program.

“First of all, the program will only succeed if strong ownership is taken by the governments of both Curaçao and Sint Maarten. Second, overoptimistic macro-economic assumptions should be avoided when designing the budgetary framework of the program. In the case of the landspakket of Curaçao and Sint Maarten, a multiannual budgetary framework is absent and should be established as soon as possible. Finally, the agenda should take into account the capacity constraints of both countries in setting the deadlines to achieve the agreed-upon actions and targets,” Doornbosch stated.

He emphasizes the importance of prioritization of program objectives and conditions. He concluded that a constructive dialogue and cooperation between the Kingdom partners will prove the most effective way towards overcoming the COVID-19 crisis and embarking on a sustainable and inclusive growth path for Curaçao and Sint Maarten.

The complete text of the 2020 Annual Report can be viewed on the CBCS-website at under the Publications section.


Construction firms, Builders and Trenching Contractors must be Prepared & have Storm-Ready Plans

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Ministry of General Affairs Fire Department/Office of Disaster Management (ODM), is appealing to the building sector, to have storm-ready plans in place for the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.

Construction activities, trenching and excavation works, are taking place throughout the country, and at building and construction sites, materials and debris laying around could pose a threat in the event of a storm/hurricane threat to the nation.

It has already been forecast that the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season will be a busy one. So far, five named storms have already formed for the season.

Contractors and builders must have a plan in place to secure building sites before a storm/hurricane strike. This is also applicable to trenching and excavation contractors, and ODM calls on the sector to review their plans today on how they would secure their building and excavation sites in the event of a storm/hurricane threat.

Building sites must be storm-ready within a 48-hour period before the arrival of a storm/hurricane.

Contractors, trench/excavation works and home builders during severe weather are responsible for securing building sites for the protection of the public, and property.

Materials such as plywood, shingles, zinc, and other construction materials could become flying missiles capable of impaling zinc roofs, windows, or anything in its way.  

Construction debris can cause severe damage to property and lead to possible loss of life. Every construction site supervisor and/or foreman is advised to review their annual hurricane season plan with respect to what action they will be taking at their building site whether it’s a small, medium or large house, or commercial enterprise project.

As a rule, all building and trench work sites should be kept organized and clean. Arrange timely pick up of trash (discarded old zinc, wood etc.) dumpsters, and only keep materials on site you will utilize during any given week especially bearing in mind that we are in the hurricane season and keep construction equipment secure.

All businesses should also see to it that their premises are kept clean of any debris as part of a preventative approach.

Any planned supply deliveries should be postponed if there is a storm/hurricane threat to the island within a 48-hour period.

When a tropical storm or hurricane watch is issued 48-hours before a system is forecast to hit, remove all scaffolding, and remove, or safely secure, all building materials and equipment.

Sub-contractors should also be alerted to their responsibilities as well with respect to securing or removing their materials and equipment.

Stop job processes that will likely become damaged by the storm/hurricane, such as window installations, house wrap, or landscaping. Complete those tasks that will likely prevent damage, such as concrete work, closing in a house, or filling in foundation excavations.  

Follow through with a quick inspection of your building site once a tropical storm/hurricane watch has been issued for the country. Do not wait until the last minute to inspect your job site, as you will need that time to go home and secure your own family dwelling. Employees will also need time to do the same to make their final storm/hurricane ready preparations.

Once the storm/hurricane is over and the All Clear has been given by the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) headed by the Prime Minister of Sint Maarten, you may return to the building site for damage assessment and inspection.

For general information about preparing prior to a storm/hurricane strike, visit the Government website: where you will be able to download your “Hurricane Season Readiness Guide’ and “Hurricane Tracking Chart.”

Listen to the Government Radio station – 107.9FM - for official information and news before, during and after a hurricane.

For official weather-related information, check out the website of the Meteorological Department of St. Maarten (MDS): or visit their social media page


23-Year-old man arrested at the airport due to drug smuggling

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY-AIRPORT) - The Alpha Team arrested a young man with initials R.S.G.A. (23) on Tuesday for his involvement in a drug smuggling offense that took place in the first week of July at Princess Juliana International Airport.  

During the investigation, narcotics were intercepted and confiscated. The suspect remains in police custody in connection with the investigation.

The Alpha Team is a jointly multidisciplinary team comprised of the Police Force Sint Maarten KPSM, the Customs Department, the Immigration Department, the Koninklijke Marechaussee and the Dutch Caribbean Coastguard. (KPSM)


Voluntary Recall Notice Mc. Cormick Italian Seasoning Products and Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Ranch Seasoning

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Due to possible Salmonella risk McCormick & Company, Inc. has initiated a voluntary recall of McCormick Perfect Pinch Italian Seasoning, McCormick Culinary Italian Seasoning and Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Ranch Seasoning due to possible contamination with Salmonella, the Sint Maarten Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA) Inspectorate said on Wednesday.

Salmonella is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses.

The four products subject to this recall include:

McCormick Perfect Pinch Italian Seasoning 1.31 oz bottle UPC NUMBER: 052100049731 MCCORMICK ITEM NUMBER: 901582629 AFFECTED DATE CODES: BEST BY MAY 26 24 K, BEST BY MAY 27 24 K, BEST BY JUN 04 24 K, BEST BY JUN 05 24 K

McCormick Perfect Pinch Italian Seasoning 2.25 oz bottle UPC NUMBER: 052100038254 MCCORMICK ITEM NUMBER: 901455463 AFFECTED DATE CODES: BEST BY JUN 30 24 H, BEST BY JUL 01 24 H

McCormick Culinary Italian Seasoning 1.75 lbs. bottle UPC NUMBER: 52100325743 MCCORMICK ITEM NUMBER: 932574 AFFECTED DATE CODES: BEST BY Jun 12 24 H

Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Ranch Seasoning 153g bottle UPC NUMBER: 066200021047 MCCORMICK ITEM NUMBER: 901543520 AFFECTED DATE CODES: BB / MA 2022 SEP 06

This recall affects cases that were shipped of the affected date codes. Wholesalers and retailers (supermarkets, mini markets, etc.) are instructed to remove these products with the affected date codes from store shelves and warehouse centers immediately and have them destroyed.

The Food Safety division of the Inspectorate is conducting the necessary controls.


Last week of Mass Vaccination against COVID-19

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Vaccination Management Team (VMT) encourages everyone who hasn't been vaccinated to come in this week to one of the administering locations, as it is the last opportunity to come in while the Pfizer vaccine is still available on a walk-in basis.

This week the Belair Community Center will be open from Tuesday to Thursday from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

The Collective Prevention Service (CPS) at the Vineyard Office Park will be open from Tuesday to Friday from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM and 1:30 PM to 4:00 PM.

The VMT also announces that there will be two final vaccination, POP-UPs, on Friday and Saturday, which will be communicated with the public with respect to the venues and times later this week.

Almost 24.000 persons on Sint Maarten have already received their Pfizer vaccine and are now protected against COVID-19. The Delta variant, which is twice as contagious as the Alpha (British) variant, has also spread to Sint Maarten. As this variant is causing major problems in various countries, it is important to know that the Pfizer vaccine is still 88% effective against this variant. This is also evident because almost all current active cases and hospitalizations are of unvaccinated persons.

Lastly, while being young and healthy significantly reduces the chance of developing severe complications from COVID, it is never guaranteed. There are several examples of professional athletes and young, healthy persons ending up in the hospital.

We also know that 10 to 20% of the persons who had COVID-19 can develop ''long term COVID'', which means that they can have mental health issues, chronic fatigue, lung damage, and the loss of smell and taste for months or years after recovery.

The VMT strongly encourages all persons 12 years and older to come for their COVID-19 vaccination at one of the vaccination administering locations or POP-UPs this week. Only if enough persons get vaccinated do we not have to fear another outbreak and Sint Maarten can return to normalcy, the VMT said on Monday.

Sint Maarten Protected Together.


Chartered Flight to Guyana August 1. Four seats remaining

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Consulate of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana is organizing a chartered flight to Guyana on Sunday, August 1, 2021. Persons desirous of booking a seat must contact the Consulate on (721) 527-0704, (721) 527-3198, or (721) 542-7314. Seats are limited due to Covid-19 restrictions and only four seats are remaining.

The three-hour direct flight will emanate from Guyana and return the same day, landing at the Eugene F. Correia International Airport at Ogle. Tickets are one way.

In the meantime, all consular services continue by appointment only. These include passport renewals; registration of birth; applications for certificate of good conduct (police record/clearance) and non-impediment of marriage certificates; renunciation of citizenship; life certificates; affidavits; recommendation letters; and legalizing of immigration documents, among other things.

The Consulate, situated on Cannegieter Street in Philipsburg (below the Law Firm) is open on Wednesdays (1:30pm – 5:00pm) and Saturdays (10:00am – 2:00pms).


Wreath laid on Dr. A.C. Wathey’s 95th birthday

PORT ST. MAARTEN – Port St. Maarten Management and Staff laid the annual traditional wreath at the statue of the late Dr. Claude Wathey in front of the Cruise Terminal Building on the occasion of his 95th birthday.

The country’s seaport – Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facility - is named after Wathey who oversaw the economic transformation of the country over a 40-year period.

Over the four decades, Wathey’s vision transformed St. Maarten into a prosperous tourism destination. Since then, tourism continues to be the mainstay whereby the island maintains a competitive position within the Caribbean Basin.

Wathey’s legacy is celebrated at Port St. Maarten every July 24th that bears his name, the port continues to be proactive during this phase of cruise industry resumption ‘return to sail,’ and is making extra strides to ensure the rebound of cruise tourism reminiscent of the destinations pioneer.

On Wednesday, July 28, Port St. Maarten will be catering to two transit cruise vessels in port on the same day, a welcome scene not seen since before the pandemic. One of the vessels includes the first port call of Celebrity Equinox.


Jabbed or not jabbed? Vaccination take-up is crucial, say experts

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – With everyone in the Netherlands over the age of 12 who still wants to be vaccinated now able to book an appointment, questions are being raised about what will happen in the autumn thanks to the dominance of the Delta variant of coronavirus.

And while experts do not expect a total lockdown again, we are still a long way from being able to ditch the basic social distancing rules, says virologist Alex Friedrich, a member of the government’s Outbreak Management Team.

‘There remains a risk that flare-ups could put extra pressure on the healthcare system,’ he told regional newspaper Dagblad van het Noorden. Some 89% of people in the Netherlands say they will get vaccinated, but only slightly more than half of those eligible are now fully protected.

In total, nearly 12 million people have had at least one vaccination and eight million of them are now fully jabbed, according to the most recent figures from the government’s coronavirus dashboard.

Including 12 to 17-year-olds, 15.4 million people in the Netherlands are eligible for a vaccination. The number of new coronavirus infections in the Netherlands surged from 500 a week to 10,000 when the government relaxed most of the restrictions on June 26.

Since then, festivals have been banned and clubs ordered to close their doors again and the number of new infections has fallen to between 6,000 and 7,000 day. At the same time, hospital admissions are rising again, and most those being admitted have not been vaccinated for coronavirus.

‘If restrictive measures are needed because the IC wards are full of people who could have protected themselves, then that could lead to problems in society at large,’ Roland Pierik, a senior lecturer in the philosophy of law at the University of Amsterdam, told broadcaster NOS.

New measures

Although an infection wave like last winter seems unlikely because of the growing vaccination rate, new measures are a real possibility, given the dominance of the Delta variant. And experts say flare-ups are likely in neighbourhoods or villages where the vaccination take-up rate is low.

The government has already suggested that regional and local measures may be brought in, if this is the case, but it remains to be seen if people who have been vaccinated are prepared to stick to the rules, Dick Willems, who teaches medical ethics at the University of Amsterdam, told the AD.

‘Vulnerable people who have already had treatment delayed would appear to me to be facing the greatest danger,’ Willems said. ‘You cannot continually delay because hospitals are full of coronavirus patients.’

This in particular, he said, could lead to increased tensions between those who have and have not been vaccinated.


‘Certain forms of compulsion may be necessary to make it more attractive for people to get vaccinated,’ Andre Krom, who researches the legal aspects of healthcare at Leiden University’s LUMC, told the paper.

While this could mean requiring people to show they had been vaccinated to sit at a pavement café, it could also mean asking people to spend more time at home instead, he said.

Vaccination centres

Meanwhile, the regional health boards are preparing to close some mass vaccination centres because their work is done. ‘Almost everyone who is able to be vaccinated has been either completely or partially vaccinated, has an appointment or has been invited to make one,’ the regional health board association GGD said.

‘We are planning thousands of appointments a week, but their number is now decreasing.’ In Houten, for example the mass vaccination centre will close on August 4, while the facilities at the Utrecht Jaarbeurs exhibition centre and in the Rijntuigenloods in Amersfoort will shut their doors at the end of next month.

‘Our focus now is on smaller-scale vaccinations, in all parts of each region, and in specific neighbourhoods where the vaccination rate is low,’ the spokesman said.

By last week, over 19 million vaccinations have been placed in the Netherlands and over a million appointments are scheduled for the week to Sunday July 25.


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