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APS launches digital pension portal ‘My APS’. Personal pension information accessible safely online

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - Algemeen Pensioenfonds Sint Maarten (APS) launched My APS - a new digital platform where participants of the fund can access their personal pension information online. Participants can now view personal data such as their current pension build-up, consequences of early retirement, and attainable old-age pension. Participants can log in via portal.apsxm.org with their own personal login details.

With the portal, APS takes another step towards digitization of its business processes. An important feature of the portal is the now digitally available annual pension overview (pensioenbericht) for participants of the fund. Before the portal was launched, participants received annual information about their personal pension situation hard copy via post or their employer. APS will continue to send the overviews hard copy until further notice, so participants have time to adjust to the new channel.

‘Personal financial planning also means planning for the future. It is important to know where you stand today, so you can make informed decisions for tomorrow. We are proud and happy to offer our participants online access to the status of their pension, because it increases transparency for all parties. A great feature of the portal is that participants can assess if their personal information is up to date. This is important, because life events like, change of employer, working more or fewer hours, marriage, divorce, and having children, all have an effect on your future pension’, said APS Director Nadya Croes-van Putten.

‘The My APS participant portal is a great milestone for APS, as this is one of the many goals set by APS. We are very grateful to all employees who contributed and worked tirelessly to filter and confirm all data so we could prepare for a successful launch of the My APS participant portal,’ added vice-Director Oscar Williams.

APS secures pensions for civil servants, teachers, and employees of other government-related organizations on the island of Sint Maarten. Are you an employee of one of these organizations and did you not receive your portal login details? Please contact APS via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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James Ellsmoor (Island Innovations) Confirmed as Keynote SMILE 2023

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - James Ellsmoor of Island Innovations will be one of next year’s keynote speakers at the 2023 St. Maarten Innovations, Initiatives and Industries Link-Up Event (SMILE) on October 27th – October 28th. Earlier this month, Ellsmoor opened the first “Road To Smile 2023” digital event with a presentation on how the post-pandemic timeframe provided opportunities for islands like St. Maarten.

After the announcement that the former Chief Technology Officer of President Obama Meghan Smith and her co-founder of Shift7 and former lead Public Engagement of the United Nations, Susan Alzner will speak at SMILE, Mr. Ellsmoor is the third confirmed keynote speaker at the event centered around innovation, sustainability and business networking.

Ellsmoor is founder of the global Virtual Island Summit, yearly connecting over 10.000 islanders worldwide on topics like sustainable development goals, expertise sharing and cross-culture collaboration.

During the digital SMILE pre-event, Ellsmoor made clear that he sees the post-pandemic timeframe as a time of opportunities for the Caribbean, an era it should embrace. Living more digitally during the COVID19 pandemic has further explored the frontier of what works digital for humans, and what does not. “The pandemic was an accelerator for much developments already in place. The pandemic has shown both the advantages and disadvantages of working remotely. Trust of working independently has increased.”

He sees benefits of this new timeframe for the Caribbean region as an attractive place to be, and in turn the internet opening up connections that were not there previously ‘’The internet allows us to connect and exchange a unique amount of skill sets, previously separated by locations.”. He used the example of the Portuguese island of Madeira, that in the pandemic saw a large amount of hotel rooms occupied by remote workers. “Remote workers tend to connect with small businesses and spend on island. This is why remote working on Madeira was not an initiative by the Tourism Bureau, but by StartUp Madeira.”

However, according to Ellsmoor remote working programs are not always sustainable. “Remote working works when it is integrated with the local ecosystem. Events like the upcoming SMILE event connect the remote and the real life, regions and the world”.

Benefits and downsides of the new era of remote working were further explored with Ellsmoor by SMILE Master of Ceremony and entrepreneur John Sandiford in a panel discussion, and including SMILE 2019 speaker Susan Alzner of American societal innovation group Shift7, Bernise Stoffers of the Kingdom Enterprise Agency (RVO), Jennifer Carty of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (COCI) and Wyb Meijer of the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA).

SMILE 2023 will be the event’s fourth physical edition and takes place on October 27th and 28th 2023. Key topics will once again be innovation, sustainability and networking. SMILE 2023’s main theme will be “Making Your Business Future Proof”. In addition to Smith, Alzner and Ellsmoor, Ms. Stoffer also stated she will again be present at SMILE to elaborate on Kingdom instruments for St. Maarten entrepreneurs looking to do business abroad.

Over the upcoming months, more confirmed speakers will be revealed at the event website smilesintmaarten.com. Those organizations wanting to take part in either pre-events or the main event or as a supporter can be subscribed without cost to the SMILE mailing list via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling +1721- 5420108.

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In response to the monetary tightening on the international financial markets CBCS further increases the pledging rate

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO – The Centrale Bank van Curaçao en Sint Maarten (CBCS) will tighten its monetary policy stance further by raising the pledging rate by 125 basis points to 4.75%. The pledging rate is the rate at which commercial banks can borrow at the CBCS in case of a liquidity shortage.

The current increase in the pledging rate is consistent with a projected further rise of interest rates on the international financial markets, particularly the fed funds rate. Although still solid, gross official reserves and the import coverage have been showing a declining trend over the course of 2022 and are expected to further decline in 2023.

Therefore, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)1 of the CBCS will continue to monitor the economic and monetary developments in the monetary union closely and tighten the monetary policy stance further if warranted.

Due to, among other things, persistent high inflation that curbs consumers’ purchasing power, tighter financial conditions, and spill-over effects of the war in Ukraine, global economic growth moderated substantially in 2022 and will ease further in 2023. Despite the higher inflation, real GDP continued to grow across the monetary union in 2022. “According to preliminary figures, Curacao records a real GDP expansion of 5.9% while Sint Maarten registers a growth of 5.1%.

Growth was in both countries sustained primarily by a recovery of stay-over tourism”, explained dr. Jardim, executive director of the CBCS. The economic projection for 2023 has been revised down due mainly to the projected economic slowdown in the main trading partners, i.e., the United States and the Netherlands.

“Real economic growth will slow across the monetary union in 2023 to 2.7% in Curaçao and 3.3% in Sint Maarten”, added dr. Jardim. The soaring international commodity prices, both oil and non-oil, have resulted in a sharp deterioration of the monetary union’s terms of trade. As a result, the deficit on the current account of the balance of payments widened at a faster pace than initially expected in 2022.

Despite a projected decline in international oil prices, the current account deficit will remain practically the same in 2023 as foreign exchange earnings from primarily tourism activities will increase at a slower pace due to a slowdown in external demand. As external financing and capital transfers will not be sufficient to cover the current account deficit, gross official reserves are projected to decline in 2022 – 2023.

In addition, according to the most recent estimates, the import coverage 1 The Monetary Policy Committee discusses the economic and monetary developments and the monetary policy stance at least on a quarterly basis.

The Monetary Policy Committee takes decisions on the monetary policy stance and the deployment of monetary policy instruments that are ratified by the Board of Executive Directors of the CBCS. drops to 4.5 months in 2022, still well above the norm of 3 months. Nevertheless, liquidity of the commercial banks showed a turnaround since October, ending the declining trend that started in March of this year.

To contain the persistent high inflation, the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) increased its federal funds rate six times in 2022. The last four times, the Fed rose its target rate by 75 basis points, reaching 3.75%-4.00% on November 2, 2022. The market expectation is that the Fed will further increase its fed funds rate in December of this year. An increase of the federal funds rate affects immediately the international money market rates and, consequently, the interest rates in the money market of the monetary union of Curaçao and Sint Maarten as the NAf. is pegged to the US dollar.

“Against this background, the CBCS has decided to increase the pledging rate by 125 basis points to 4.75%, effective November 29, 2022. This will be the third adjustment this year. In addition, the CBCS will continue to focus on the extension of the average maturity of the outstanding balance of certificates of deposit (CDs) through offering longer maturities (i.e., 12, 26 and 52 weeks) on the bi-weekly auctions of CDs.

“Since the changes in the CD policy introduced in September, the share of longer maturities increased, contributing to the extension of the average maturity of outstanding CDs. The CBCS will continue to stimulate the commercial banks to hold more funds locally to maintain a solid foreign exchange position”, dr. Jardim stated. Jardim also explained that the risks to the economic outlook for the monetary union are significant and remain tilted to the downside.

The spill-over effects of the war in Ukraine, notable higher than expected inflation that will affect disposable income, and a slower than anticipated growth or even recession in the monetary union’s main trading partners are the main risks to the outlook.

Tighter than anticipated global monetary policy and financial conditions, a further strengthening of the US dollar, a resurgence of global health scares, a further decrease in airline seat capacity and airlift, and the occurrence of natural disasters and extreme weather conditions are other factors that could negatively affect the economic outlook for the monetary union.

In addition, the implementation of fiscal austerity measures without room for public investments could pose a threat to the pace of economic recovery in both Curaçao and Sint Maarten. Meanwhile, for Curaçao specifically, the current imbalance on the labor market remains a downside risk while a resumption of activities at the refinery could support a faster than expected economic recovery. In the case of Sint Maarten, delays in reconstruction activities may slow down economic growth.

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PERIDOT FOUNDATION: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Peridot Foundation stated on Sunday in a press statement: “Civic societies around the world commemorates November 25th International day for the awareness of the eradication of violence against women and children. Not only is a time for joint reflection, it’s also time to assess where we are in our joint efforts to combat and eradicate violence against women and girls.

Given the increase of violence in general as well as the noticeable increase of relational violence in particular we must make a pact and a pledge to declare domestic violence Public Enemy Number One.”

President of Peridot Foundation said: “The international theme set by the United Nations Secretary General for November 25th 2022; “Unite! Activism to end violence against women and girls!” emphasizes the urgency for civic societies to UNITE all efforts to inform, educate, prevent, prosecute perpetrators and ultimately heal our communities. A holistic and multidisciplinary approach by all involved must be a joint undertaking”.

Arrindell continues; “Domestic violence is an ugly truth, we must boldly defeat through our collective determination. All entities such as those in the medical field, educators, justice department including law enforcement agencies, mental health organizations, women shelters, and the clergy are called once again to Unite our efforts if we are to succeed in our mission. Individual outreach and outspoken activism ought to continue relentlessly in order to halt the assault on women and girls. Additionally; placing the emphasis on the state of our mental health in relation to the effects domestic violence has on the costs to our society is timely and appropriate.”

“In this respect Peridot Foundation is very pleased to host this year’s program with guest-speaker Forensic Psychologist Ms. Zoya Hyman on Monday December 5th.

Ms. Hyman is a well-known personality praised for her knowledge, enthusiasm and well-rounded approach to the issues previously outlined.

A subsequent release will provide information on the full program and location of our event.”

Arrindell concludes: “Let us resolve to be United! in our efforts to break the deafening silence and declare Domestic violence Public Enemy Number One, as we continue in our pursuit to protect loved ones we may loose.”

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FLOW sponsors first prizes at Nature Foundation’s Beach Clean-up this Saturday at Mullet Bay

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - Do you want to make a difference, have fun and win prizes? Then come on out this Saturday, November 26th, to join Nature Foundation together with FLOW at Mullet Bay beach from 4-6 pm for their monthly beach clean-up. FLOW got on board for this clean-up to sponsor the first prizes in each clean up category. This initiative is in alignment with FLOW’s vision on nature conservation and environmental sustainability.  

Nature Foundation and FLOW believe that our beautiful island must be protected for generations to come and that it is a collective responsibility for residents and businesses alike. Don’t forget, according to Robert Swan, “The biggest threat to our planet is the thought that someone else will save it.”  

Of course, it will also be a fun event where you get to socialize on a gorgeous location while watching the beautiful sunset. There will be drinks and snacks available for all volunteers, sponsored by Corona and CC1 as an incentive for improving our natural environment. There will also be prizes to be won for the volunteers that collect most waste in their category; glass bottles, plastic bottles, cans and assorted other. So, bring out friends, family and colleagues! 

The Nature Foundation partnered with DCNA and In-No-Plastic to decrease the amount of plastic in St. Maarten. In-No-Plastic is a three-year project funded by the European Union in an H2020 research project. 

Learn more by visiting https://naturefoundationsxm.org/.../in-no-plastic-project/ or our previous social media posts on Facebook and Instagram about how you can help decrease the plastic in our environment 

Nature Foundation wants to thank the sponsors that made this event possible; FLOW, CC1, Corona, Island Radio, Radio 104.3, SXM GOV Radio! If you want volunteer at or sponsor our event, please don’t hesitate to reach out the Nature Foundation via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Misinformation in community about hit-and-run accident

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Several comments on social media regarding the hit-an-run accident on Sucker Garden Road, which occurred on Sunday, November 22, 2022, have caught the attention of law enforcement. In particular, these concern comment threads that refer to the victim, a well-known local activist, was being deliberately struck down and killed.

KPSM and OM SXM dismiss this misinformation circulating on social media and request that the community allows space for the investigation to continue unhindered.

The Police of Sint Maarten KPSM and the Prosecutor’s Office OM SXM informs the community that the investigation points to the fatal incident as a hit-and-run.

No further information about the victim was disseminated by KPSM, as permission was not given by family members.

Police have received information that group(s) are planning a protest march in connection with the hit-and-run incident on the premise of misinformation. Police remind the public while the freedom of assembly is a general right, notification of such a gathering must be provided to the authorities in advance to secure, safety and security measures related to overall safety and traffic circulation.

As a general rule, drivers should bear in mind that this is the busiest time of the year when many activities are held, and the roads are congested than usual.

Drivers should comply with the traffic regulations for their safety as well as that of others. Furthermore, drivers are reminded to avoid driving under the influence or alcohol and/or other (illegal) substances.

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Three arrested for firearm possession on Front Street

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Police spot checks on Front Street have led to the arrest of three people for firearm possession on Wednesday, November 23, 2022.

Police foot patrol spotted and pulled over a white Hyundai i10 on Front Street. The driver and co-occupants were subjected to a vehicle control. Officers discovered two balaclavas and a firearm in the vehicle. The driver and the co-occupants, one of whom was a minor, were arrested for violation of the firearms ordinance.

The firearm, balaclavas and car were confiscated by police. The three remain in police custody as the investigation continues in this case.

The spot checks were executed Front Street, the Boardwalk, and surrounding areas. Several drivers were warned and/or fined for entering Front Street when it was closed off to vehicular traffic.

The street was closed to vehicular traffic from 9:00am to 5:00pm in connection with heavy foot traffic in Philipsburg and surrounding areas from residents as well as cruise ship passengers from the six cruise ships in port. (KPSM)

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Reminder to the Community to Attend Public Health Discussion on Thursday about Overuse and Misuse of Antibiotics

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The community is reminded to attend a public health discussion event at the University of St. Martin (USM) on Thursday, November 24, Room 202 at 7:00 PM that has been organized in observance of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW), which is from November 18-24, by Collective Prevention Services (CPS) in collaboration with a number of stakeholders.

The public health discussion will also be carried live via the following link www.vidmedia.tv/live where persons will be able to follow via their cell phone, iPad, Desktop or Laptop computers.

You will be able to learn more about Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), and why it’s a global concern and what impact it could have on Sint Maarten.

The opening remarks at the public health discussion event will be made by the Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (Ministry VSA) Hon. Omar Ottley. The USM moderator will be Lysanne Charles.

Guest speakers for the evening will be Dr. Kalkidan Bekele, General Practitioner; Dr. Wandokayi Matowe, Pharmacologist; Sabine Vollenbroek, local Pharmacist; and Nkosazana Illis, Social Worker & Artist.

The stakeholders involved in creating awareness about AMR are: USM, PAS (Pharmacy Association of Sint Maarten), the Sint Maarten Medical Center (SMMC), and the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC).

For additional information about the AMR public discussion event, you can call CPS at 542-1222 or 914.

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Sint Maarten defends human rights record

SWITZERLAND (GENEVA) - On November 15, 2022, the Honorable Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson led the Kingdom delegation to the 41st session on the 4th Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Kingdom of the Netherlands at the UN Office in Geneva, Switzerland. The Minister’s delegation was supported by Interim Director of Foreign Relations Mr. Patrice Gumbs and Senior Legal Advisor of Judicial Affairs Ms. Geertje van Haperen.

The UPR is an examination by UN member states of each other’s record in upholding international human rights obligations. Of the 193 UN member states, the Kingdom received 101 interventions and a total of 255 recommendations. Sint Maarten’s recommendations focused mainly in the areas of migration, asylum, and climate. Great appreciation was noted for the work being done to improve the penitentiary system, including the construction of a new detention center (prison) on the island by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). The state of the detention centers has been an issue for Sint Maarten for several years.

In her opening statement, Minister Richardson discussed the project which is in its final stages as well as a comprehensive plan of approach that will focus on rehabilitation. In her remarks, Minister Richardson also discussed the impact of climate change on small islands, victim support, children’s rights, and the role of the recently launched National Development Vision (NDV). The NDV will be used to align government actions with international obligations moving forward. Human Rights on Sint Maarten are coordinated by the Human Rights Platform, an inter-ministerial work group, and chaired by the Department of Foreign Relations. 

In regards to the more general recommendations for the Kingdom, whose delegation composed of the Ministers of Justice of Curaçao, Aruba, Sint Maarten as well as the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations of the Netherlands, note was made in the varying degrees of the application of rights across the Kingdom. Specific mention was made on capacity issues as well as the conditions for aid and support between the larger country and the countries in the Caribbean. Overall, the UN member states gave a positive response to the Kingdom’s report and responses to criticism received. The Kingdom will follow-up in February with what recommendations will be accepted. Minister Richardson closed the 41st session by reiterating the Government’s commitment to human rights as well as the importance of a strong civil society in the development of a healthy democracy.

Persons interested in rewatching the hearing are invited to follow the link: https://media.un.org/en/asset/k17/k17e8egg57

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Apology, Yes, But the Offender Does Not Decide on the Sentence

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The One St. Martin association (aka One SXM) has taken note of the recent statement attributed to the Netherlands Minister Franc Weerwind (Legal Protection portfolio) that “the cabinet” is planning to issue an apology for the “Netherlands’ history of Slavery.”

According to the NL Times of November 4, 2022, Weerwind had remarked that the Dutch government was planning to issue an official apology, likely in connection to the approaching 160th anniversary of the July 1, 1863 abolition of Slavery by the Dutch.

One St. Martin sees such an official apology as a form of accountability on the part of the Dutch government, and it should necessarily be accompanied by an acknowledgement that Slavery was a crime against humanity, along with Reparations.

We have also taken note of the narrative by the Dutch government representatives in various media this year to limit what Reparations would look like without having done the research on the extent of the damage and its continued effects on the people of St. Martin, Saba, St. Eustatius, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, and Suriname.

Today, the people of St. Martin continue to live with the full effects of colonialism, a perpetuation of Slavery.

One St. Martin reiterates its condemnation of the fact that the Advisory Council of the Dialogue Group on Slavery’s Past did not include consultation of the St. Martin people in its report on the matter.

One St. Martin salutes the ancestors like Lokhay, Quashiba, the Diamond 26, and all of the forerunners in the quest for liberty and justice, many sacrificing their lives and livelihoods, to bring the Dutch to this point.

Thus, we cannot and will not accept the attempt by the Dutch government representatives, even before the research is completed, to decide what Reparations should look like.

Just like the National Slavery Monument in Amsterdam, we see the mention of “awareness” for the Dutch State’s participation in Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade as another gesture that will largely benefit people living in the Netherlands and not rendering reparatory justice to the descendants of the people who actually experienced Slavery. In fact, none of the actions mentioned to date seem geared toward rendering reparatory justice for the damage caused by Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

As a platform for independence, One St. Martin denounces any attempt to work toward a “shared future” in the kingdom. If the Dutch State is sincere in its shame and repentance for Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade and its role in the structural underdevelopment of the islands, it would honor the people in the colonies’ quest to be fully free. One St. Martin welcomes all support to facilitate this transition in a responsible way.

In this liberation, the lead should be taken by the people in the colonies, and this is why One St. Martin is once again calling on Parliament to table a referendum on the issue of independence for St. Martin.

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