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Celebrating Reading Success with Five Enthusiastic Readers at Five Day Care Centers

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - Five dedicated individuals sparked reading success at five different Day Care Centers as part of the Read to Me Book Start Campaign 2023, aiming to promote early literacy, and instilling a love for reading among young children.

During the weeklong event, Five Readers engaged enthusiastic children in interactive and captivating reading sessions led by dedicated volunteers and staff members.

The readers came from various backgrounds, including educators and community members who are passionate about literature and early childhood development. Each reader visited a different daycare center, where they read stories, encouraged discussions, and introduced children to the enchanting world of books.

The readers focused on age-appropriate books, sparking creativity, imagination, and early language development in both of the country’s language of instruction, Dutch and English.

The readers were:

Marilyn Clark-Waterfort, reader at Ideal Pre-School, reading the story titled Waar zijn Joko’s vriendjes? written by Ruth Brown,

Remi Prinsen, reader at Brighter Child, reading the story titled “Welterusten Sam” written by Marie – Louise Gay;

Sabrina Vrutaal, reader at Ingrid’s Home Care, reading the story titled “Kleine Huppel Groot versjesboek “written by Suelens Clara;

Jennifer Oduber, reader at Children’s World, reading the story titled “Een goed idee written by Peta Coplans.

Merlyn Joseph reader at Kids World, reading “Belle Beer: een hart voor mama” written by An Melis

One reader’s testimony stated that it was an absolute joy to read to the wide –eyed youngsters. Their fascination and unwavering focus warmed his heart as they embarked together on a literacy adventure about Sam, who could not sleep without his dog called Fred. Surprisingly, the children grasped the story, effortlessly, even picking up some Dutch words like “Welterusten” (goodnight). The reader went on to express that personally, he found immense satisfaction in sharing the magic of storytelling with them. He was deeply grateful to the Sint Maarten Library for granting him this wonderful opportunity to nurture young minds with the enchanting world of books in the country’s official language.

Another reader’s testimony expressed that the children listened in amazement as they heard new and familiar Dutch words while listening to the stories from “Kleine Huppel Groot Versjesboek”. The story reader mentioned that the illustrations from the book were used to quickly convey the story in the English language. Afterward, they asked the children about their experiences with regard to the storyline. It was easy for the children ages 1 to 5 years to understand and relate to Huppel’s adventures.

The collaborative effort of the day care centers and the readers, along with their testimonials to promote reading, is evidence that the Sint Maarten community believes in the importance of early childhood literacy.

Sint Maarten Library’s goal is to make reading fun, interactive and accessible to all children. We will expand our reach in the future to inspire even more young readers.






Minister Ottley, NSI and CDFHA jointly work to repair and restore sport facilities

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - On Thursday, September 21st, the Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor, Omar Ottley, the National Sports Institute (NSI) and Community Development, Family & Humanitarian Affairs (CDFHA), proudly announced the next phase to their island wide community basketball court enhancement project.

The purpose of the project is to repair and restore the backboards and basketball nets on the outdoor basketball courts in Dutch St. Maarten communities. Areas such as St. Peters, Middle Region, Dutch Quarter, Melford Hazel, Simpson Bay, Belvedere, and Cay Bay will benefit from this motive.

The initiation of this project stems from a request made by the community members of Belvedere to repair their outdoor basketball court backboards.

However, after the discussions with the National Sports Institute (NSI), it was determined that addressing the needs of multiple communities would be a more comprehensive and impactful approach.

Consequently, the project became much more extensive by reflecting a broader commitment to enhancing sports facilities across the Dutch side of the island.

“The decision to undertake this project is rooted in its significant social implications,” said Minister Ottley.

NSI, CDFHA division head Mrs. Chantale George Groeneveldt and Minister Ottley recognizes the vital role that outdoor basketball courts play in fostering community engagement, promoting physical activity, and providing a safe and constructive recreational space for residents.

“By restoring and improving these facilities, we aim to enhance the overall well-being and quality of life of our citizens,” said Ottley.


2nd Annual Meeting with Women Heads of State and Heads of Governments

SINT MAARTEN/UN HEADQUARTERS, New York— The President of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Dennis Francis, and the Executive Director of UN Women, H.E. Sima Sami Bahous, convened the highly anticipated 2nd annual meeting with women Heads of State and Heads of Governments during High-Level Week. The Prime Minister and Minister of General Affairs, Silveria Jacobs was welcomed, with a member of her delegation, as a current woman Head of Government.

This significant gathering centered its discussions on the critical theme, “Accelerating the implementation of SDG5 towards achieving Peace, Prosperity, Progress, and Sustainability.” Esteemed former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Ms. Helen Clark, served as the moderator, ensuring a productive and engaging dialogue.

During the event, His Excellency Mr. Dennis Francis, President of the 78th session of the General Assembly, delivered the opening remarks, followed by opening remarks from Ms. Sima Sami Bahous, Executive Director of UN Women. Her Excellency Ms. Helen Clark, Former Prime Minister of New Zealand, introduced an interactive segment, where leaders shared insights and actions related to SDG5. This interactive session aimed to foster dynamic exchanges of ideas.

The gathering delved into the actions undertaken by women leaders to effectively lead in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a particular focus on SDG5. Leaders had the opportunity to share valuable practices that can serve as models for other nations. Discussions centered on recommendations and insights from women leaders to empower women and girls as catalysts for change across various decision-making domains, encompassing economic and social policies, peace initiatives, climate action, and more.

The meeting sought input from women leaders regarding the Summit of the Future, aiming to propel gender equality and advance the rights of women and girls. The emphasis here is on departing from conventional approaches to achieve substantial progress and create lasting impact.

Prime Minister Jacobs was able to voice her opinion to the tune of underscoring the pivotal role of SDG 5, dedicated to achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls, as a catalyst for broader societal progress. She emphasized that gender equality is not just a goal but a powerful force driving peace, prosperity, progress, and sustainability. The Prime Minister acknowledged the presence of inherent biases within the 2030 Agenda, particularly racial biases that disproportionately affect marginalized communities. She also stressed the need to actively dismantle these biases and advocate for an intersectional approach within SDG 5. Prime Minister Jacobs concluded by emphasizing that SDG 5 is not just one of seventeen goals but a linchpin holding the entire framework together, stressing the importance of placing gender equality at the forefront of efforts for a just, peaceful, and sustainable world.


Khalil Revan spearheads Cay Bay clean-up

SINT MAARTEN (CAY BAY) - Local Engineer Khalil Revan recently spearheaded an effort lately to rid the district of Cay Bay of debris to be better prepared in the hurricane season. The activity was carried out in partnership with the St. Martin First Foundation.

Large industrial rubbish bins were made available to the community with trucking to the dump thanks to the kind donations and help of Dental Ton's Quality Builders N.V. and Second Chances Trucking. Revan said, "This much-needed Hurricane preparedness cleanup project was able to be executed in Cay Bay because of partnership."

The project, which was initially intended to run for one week, was extended due to the overwhelming response from the residents. With the donations and assistance provided by the partnering businesses, residents were given a longer period to dispose of their waste properly and without costs.

Additionally, residents were now able to get rid of their large amounts of waste, which posed a severe hazard to the neighborhood before this program. Given the damage caused by storms in the past, Revan said that the project was definitely required.

"We have personally witnessed the devastation a hurricane can bring about, and we must take precautions to get ourselves and our communities ready."

Given that the garbage ordinance mandates that bulky waste be collected once per week, he said, this endeavor was equally crucial. He added however, that the collection procedure is not standardized, which frequently exposes densely populated areas to unsafe and harmful conditions.

“The community has come together to support this vital project, demonstrating a true sense of unity and care for their neighborhood. We are proud to acknowledge the support of GEBE NV, who kindly provided access to their property for the residents to easily access on of the bins.”

"We are humbled by the enthusiasm and support shown by the community," said Revan. The project is just one of several that Revan has undertaken as part of his commitment to giving back to the community. "It is important for successful businesses to play an active role in their communities," he said.

Another issue brought up by residents of the district was that after Hurricane Irma struck the island in 2017, the bulk of the street lights in the area's side roads had not been fixed. Revan committed to act on behalf of the locals since he understood how important safety was, especially for the most vulnerable people of the community.

As a concerned and proactive member of the community, Revan has taken it upon himself to contact the appropriate authorities in order to ensure that the street lights are replaced. District residents are counting on and will support this effort since they think it will significantly increase their safety.


Grisha questions Minister of Finance on tax holidays. Warns that Incentives can be “double-edge swords”

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - In a letter to Minister of Finance, the Hon. Ardwell Iron, Member of Parliament Grisha Heyliger-Marten submitted five questions regarding the granting of tax holidays and/or other fiscal concessions by the Government of St. Martin since it took office in 2020.

In her letter dated September 15th, 2023, Heyliger-Marten posed the following questions to the Minister:

  1. How many requests       for tax holidays and/or any (other) fiscal concession(s) have been received by the Government during the current governing term (February 2020 to the present day)?
  2. How many of these requests were granted, if any?
  3. If any requests were granted, who were they granted to, and what was the reason/legal basis for such?
  4. Does Government currently have a policy related to tax holidays and/or any (other) fiscal concessions?
  5. If such a policy exists, is it applicable only to foreign investors/companies, or also for locals?

“In light of the Government’s ongoing tax reform plans, or rather “tax improvement” plans as the Minister of Finance has labelled the changes to the tax system, it is important to get an idea of what Government’s actions and policies have been and currently are with regards to tax holidays and other fiscal incentives”, Heyliger-Marten stated in a press release on Sunday evening.

“These types of incentives can be “double edge swords”. If applied correctly, they can benefit the country, but if not, they can do more harm than good. I therefore look forward to Parliament receiving the answers from the Minister of Finance in accordance with article 69a of the rules of order of Parliament’, Heyliger-Marten concluded.


Doctor’s Post (HAP) at SMDC Officially Opens. Sees 60 plus patients on its first day

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - On Friday September 15th the Sint Maarten Diagnostic Center N.V. (SMDC) officially opened its doors to the public.

The center will offer after-hour general practitioners (GP) service to the general public, Monday through Friday 6pm - 12am, Saturday 8am - 12pm and on Sunday 10am - 12pm.

The initiative was brought to the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (Ministry VSA) by Doctors Michael and Danny Dennaoui as an initiative that would improve access to quality health care.

The project was approved by the Minister of Public Health, Social Development Labor, Omar Ottley with hopes that it would alleviate the long waits at the St. Maarten Medical Center by tending to non-emergency urgent care during the above-mentioned hours.

“Our experienced medical professionals are here to serve you during evening hours and weekends, providing quality healthcare when you need it most.

“Whether it's a sudden illness, minor injury, or general medical care, we've got you covered. The fact that we were able to assist so many patients over the last couple days shows that this project was needed,” said Dr. Danny Dennaoui.

“I am extremely happy to see that we made the right choice in moving forward with the HAP. I would like to thank the department of public health, SZV, my support staff and the SMDC for making this possible,” said Minister Omar Ottley.

SMDC N.V. is located on Airport Road, Simpson Bay (Right across the SOL Gas Station).


Successful Emergency Drill Demonstrates Preparedness of Sint Maarten's First Responders

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - The Sint Maarten Police Force (KPSM) is proud to announce the successful completion of the first in a series of emergency drills and training exercises, in collaboration with the Marines and various other emergency response agencies. This vital training event took place on Friday, September 15th, 2023, along the A.J.C. Brouwer Road at Harold Jack.

The primary objective of this exercise was to enhance the readiness and coordination among first responders in dealing with a variety of crisis scenarios. The comprehensive training included real-life simulations, tabletop exercises, and stress-testing decision-making abilities of our leadership teams.

Key Scenarios and Highlights:

Armed Vehicle Incident: Responders faced a scenario involving a vehicle occupied by individuals in possession of firearms. The exercise tested the swift and coordinated response of law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety of both the public and our officers.

Motorcycle Bomb Threat: A challenging scenario unfolded involving a motorcycle rider carrying a backpack suspected of containing an explosive device. First responders were required to assess and mitigate the threat while safeguarding civilians.

Multi-Vehicle Accident: In a realistic simulation, multiple casualties were created, and various emergency services were deployed to manage the incident, assess injuries, and provide medical assistance to victims.

Tabletop Scenarios: Decision-making capabilities were scrutinized as leaders engaged in tabletop exercises that involved complex problem-solving, ensuring our teams are well-prepared for unforeseen challenges.

The success of this drill would not have been possible without the dedication and collaboration of all participating emergency services, the Marines, and the invaluable volunteers who selflessly contributed their time and expertise.

KPSM would like to extend its sincere gratitude to all involved parties for their commitment to ensuring the safety and security of Sint Maarten. We would also like to inform the public that several more drills and training exercises are planned in the upcoming weeks. These initiatives are essential in maintaining and enhancing our emergency response capabilities, ensuring that our island remains well-prepared for any eventuality.

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WIB announces launch of Bankomatiko+ Mastercard debit card

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - The Windward Islands Bank and Mastercard proudly launched “Bankomatiko+ (Bankomatiko plus) Mastercard debit card”, which will replace the current Bankomatiko/Maestro card. The launch took place at Emilio’s restaurant in the landmark Flamboyant rich Emilio Wilson estate. Several prominent members of the community as well as bank managers were invited to this event.

The new Bankomatiko+ Mastercard debit card brings more of the best to the cardholder with a number of additional benefits such as: Wider acceptance anywhere in the world; the possibility to also make online purchases with One Time Passcode (OTP) technology & continued earning of Fun Miles on all local purchases. The Bankomatiko+ card comes in three versions: (Standard, Premium and Business) to serve varied client needs. More information and distinguishing features of the new series of the Bankomatiko Plus Mastercard debit cards are available on WIB’s website:

Within a few weeks, Windward Islands Bank will start with the roll-out of the new Bankomatiko+ Mastercard debit cards to clients with the present Bankomatiko card. Clients can easily and automatically activate the new card with the first use of the card and using the same PIN that they have grown accustomed to with their existing Bankomatiko/Maestro debit card. Replacement of the present card with the new Bankomatiko+ Mastercard debit card will take place in phases, which will be publicized.

“Thanks to a great expanded partnerships with Mastercard and Fun Miles, WIB is able to offer this best-in-class series of debit card products. We are proud to mention that our Bankomatiko+ Mastercard debit card is the only debit card in St. Maarten and the Dutch Caribbean that provides the user with Fun Miles for all their local purchases.” says Solange Kohinor, Operations Head at the Windward Islands Bank.

In his opening address, WIB Country Head, Derek Downes emphasized the role that WIB continues to play as a leader of innovation and offering clients alternatives to traditional banking. With the strong support of MCB Management, partnerships with Mastercard and Fun miles, WIB continues its slogan as being your partner in progress. The new cards were unveiled by WIB Country Head Derek Downes, WIB Operations Head Solange Kohinor, MCB Senior Project Manager David Frans.

Following, the unveiling of the cards Country Head of WIB, Mr. Derek Downes presented donations totaling NAf. 5,000.00 to Sint Maarten Vocational School (NAF. 2,500.00) & Sint Maarten Academy (NAF 2,500.00) for the purchase of air conditioning units for their classrooms. Schools have been crying out for air-conditioned classrooms and WIB wants to lead the way as a good corporate citizen and hope other businesses will follow, WIB Country Head Derek Downes stated.


Corporate Governance Trainee Program applications open. Submit before Sept.18

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - Minister of Finance, Mr. Ardwell Irion, the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers and the Themis Institute for Governance and Leadership have collaborated once again for the second iteration of the Corporate Governance Trainee Program. The application process is now open for young professionals to join this year’s class.

A total of 15 applicants will be selected to embark on a year-long training program to prepare young professionals to be better equipped to hold positions on supervisory boards. The tailor-made program was developed by the Themis Institute for Governance & Leadership and the trainings will be once more led by Professor Dr. Frank Kunneman and Dr. Aubrich Bakhuis with the assistance of Mrs. Joane Dovale-Meit of this same Institute.

Among the key modules covered are roles and responsibilities of (supervisory) board members; contemporary challenges in corporate governance; relationship with the shareholders; relationship with the shareholder(s) and his representatives; (avoiding) liabilities; integrity and dealing with conflicts of interest; stakeholder management; reputation and risk management; National Ordinance Corporate Governance and Code Corporate Governance; common challenges for a board member; and avoiding pitfalls.

The Corporate Governance Trainee Program for Young Professionals is comprised of comprehensive theoretical sessions and practical exercises, culminating in a final exam that challenges the applicants with a mock board meeting led by experienced Supervisory Board members, enabling them to apply their knowledge in a real-world context. The applicants will be graded based on their ability to navigate complex scenarios and demonstrate their grasp of corporate governance principles stood as a testament to their dedication and preparation.

Interested persons should be between the ages of 24 - 40 years and live in Sint Maarten. Applicants are required to have a higher (professional) education degree (HBO/Bachelor) or equal working experience with a preferred minimum 3 years of working experience in a position at a higher professional education degree level. According to the rules of integrity the applicants should be able to pass potential integrity tests as well as attending all sessions with active participation; this includes mock meetings for the final exam. Restrictions are placed on current board members of a Government (owned) entity. If interested persons are civil servants, there will be a separate training organized to facilitate this particular group; further information will be forthcoming.

If you are interested in participating and have filled all of the above qualifications, please send a short letter of motivation and commitment attached to your resume to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The deadline for submission is September 18, 2023. Late submissions will not be considered.


Bike Patrol Operations Yields Results. 80 Vehicles Controlled 37 Fines Issued

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - The Police Force of Sint Maarten (KPSM) wishes to inform the public about the recent operations conducted by the personnel of the Bike Patrol in the Philipsburg area. Over the past week, officers were visible along Front Street, Boardwalk and Back Street, taking proactive measures to ensure the safety and compliance.

The primary focus of these operations was to address the issue of illegally parked vehicles and scooter riders, which have been causing concerns in the area. During the course of the week, officers conducted controls on a total of 80 vehicles. As a result of these efforts, 37 fines were issued to individuals found in violation of parking regulations.

In addition to addressing parking violations, our officers engaged with 15 drivers regarding tinted windows on their vehicles. The discussion aimed to educate these individuals about the relevant regulations surrounding vehicle windows.

We would like to take this opportunity to kindly request the cooperation of the public in avoiding parking or leaving their vehicles in the Kanaal-Steeg, located in close proximity to the Prosecutors' Office, and along the Boardwalk. It has come to our attention that this practice has been causing congestion and inconvenience in the area.

Please be advised that our Bike Patrol personnel will continue to take action against this unlawful practice in the coming days. KPSM is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all who reside in or visit Sint Maarten. Your cooperation is invaluable in helping us maintain order on our streets.

The Police Force of Sint Maarten (KPSM) remains dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in our community. We encourage all residents and visitors to stay informed about local traffic regulations and to follow them diligently.

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