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Dr. Richardson presents book for Mother Tongue Language Day

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - On Monday, February 19, Dr. Linda Richardson officially presented her book “Trilingual Terminology in Criminal Proceedings” to the Prime Minister of Sint Maarten, Honourable Silveria Jacobs.

This book is a reference tool, ideal for those within the justice system and connected to it to ensure that the standard of translation and interpretation is raised. With more than 50 years as an interpreter/ translator and more than 40 years of experience within the justice chain – from interrogations to appeal, Dr. Richardson has unique experience and insights on how human rights are being infringed upon because of language rights not being fully respected. In fact, at the official launch of her book in October of 2023, Dr. Richardson stated: “Language rights are human rights”.

In a multilingual society, this reference book, serves to ensure that language standards are maintained, and language rights upheld. This book provides accurate translation of Dutch terminology used, from the time one is detained by the police to the appeal, in criminal proceedings. Dr. Richardson as a sworn translator in various languages, translated the Dutch terminology into both English and Spanish. This reference book was also revised and supported by Caribbean Court of Justice, through Justice Bob Wit, until his recent passing.

As former Minister of the Netherlands Antilles, Dr. Richardson fought for mother tongue education in schools and has seen her predictions come to pass with English being the language of instruction in St. Eustatius and Saba, and that St. Maarten has most students being educated in English.

A trained linguist, Dr. Richardson studied the impact of mother tongue education on the cognitive skill development and based on her research and thought leadership was appointed to be Minister of Education, Culture and Sports at the time. Years later, she continues to fight for mother tongue language in the legal system.

As the need for court interpreters have increased, Richardson designed and facilitated an intensive program for court interpreters in the summer if 2021. The first of its kind, this program has supported the Court in gaining two additional interpreters in its first cohort. This year, another cohort will launch as the demand continues to grow and there is increased interest from potential trainees.

In celebration of Mother Tongue Day (February 20), it was imperative for Dr. Linda Richardson to present Prime Minister Jacobs with her book. The Prime Minister wrote the foreword in the book underscoring the importance for this type of literature in our society and for the systems that govern the land to be in the language that is widely used among its people. Both the Honorable Prime Minister Jacobs and the Honorable Minister of Justice Richardson spoke at the soft launch and the official launch of this book in March 2023 and October 2023. respectively.

Trilingual Terminology for Criminal Proceedings is now available at Van Dorp Bookstore in both branches and at Adolphus Richardson Office Supplies on the Walter Nisbeth Road.

For more information about the book, training programs, and services email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or WhatsApp at: +1721-554-6979.

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Cassandra Richardson is the Newly appointed Director of Victim Support Services

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - Cassandra Richardson has been successful in securing the candidacy of Director of the Victim Support Services (VSS) role in Sint Maarten as of January 15, 2024. The newly appointed Director and her team will lend support to the victims of society who are experiencing trauma in major life occurrences. VSS is a team of dedicated professionals who support persons affected by heinous crimes which is punishable by imprisonment of six years or more or a serious traffic accident. VSS is also established to assist indirect victims: family members, those involved in abuse, altercations, or robbery, and relative parties, by Article 206 Paragraph 1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.  

“The Victim Support Services has been conceptualized to not solely focus on the offender and the crime but to support the victim in realizing a sense of normalcy in their life post-trauma. Often, when a crime is committed the emphasis is on apprehending and prosecuting the perpetrator and there is little to no focus on how the victim will resume to live with the trauma within our society. The establishment of the Victim Support Services will remove the missing element within the Justice system and I’m happy to have this realized during my tenure as the Minister of Justice.

There will be three (3) appointed members of the Board of VSS. The Victim Support Services will be assisted and supported by various judicial institutions namely: The Police Force of Sint Maarten, The Public Prosecutor office, SJIB, and the Ministry of Justice,” summarized the Justice Minister, Anna E. Richardson. 

Cassandra Richardson, MSw/M.A., a native of St. Maarten, has over 25 years of extensive experience in community programming and working with vulnerable groups. Richardson holds master’s degrees in social work, Communications, and Social Justice from the University of Windsor, in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Before returning to St. Maarten in 2016, Cassandra made significant contributions to the Canadian community in Windsor, Ontario, during her residency of over ten years. As a senior Program Manager, she designed programs for newcomer Canadians and displaced individuals, showcasing her commitment to community service and development. Additionally, as a Canadian registered mental health professional, she practiced community mental health, offering support to both children and adults. 

From 2019 to 2021, she served as a Quarter Master (Kwartiermaker) under an appointment with the Dutch Ministry of Health (VWS). In this role, Cassandra focused on investigating the feasibility of establishing a framework to shelter seriously threatened victims of domestic violence across the six Dutch islands. 

She served as a Program Coordinator in 2020 at NPOWER, the umbrella NGO organization in St. Maarten, and as the Director of the Safe Haven Foundation, a shelter for battered women, from 2016 to 2019. 

Recently concluding her impactful role as the Mental Health Focal Point with the Ministry of VSA, Cassandra led crucial social research and coordinated activities addressing St. Maarten's mental health challenges. 

Victims of natural disasters, minor traffic accidents, and political abuse do not fall under the target group of the Victim Support Services. 

In September 2021, the Victim Support St. Maarten Foundation was established under the leadership of the Minister of Justice, Anna E. Richardson. The foundation's board was incorporated at the notary but was never realized until present. The members at that time included Cassandra Richardson as President, Roxanne Howell as Treasurer and Isaac Harold Richardson as Secretary.  The former board members underwent training to ensure the foundation functions at the level required to provide optimal service.

Currently, the Victim Support Services is already working with clients and the community remotely. Information concerning its location will soon be released to the public as the VSS team looks forward to an official opening of the foundation to be scheduled in March 2024. 

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Join USM for the Long-Awaited Symposium on AI Navigating the opportunities and challenges in SIDS

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, AI has emerged as a powerful tool with the potential to revolutionize various aspects of society, including education, healthcare, governance, and the economy, the University of St. Martin (USM) said in a press statement on Thursday.

However, for Small Island Developing States (SIDS), navigating the opportunities and challenges presented by AI requires careful consideration and strategic planning. This symposium will bring together experts, scholars, practitioners, policymakers, and members of the community to engage in a constructive dialogue about the implications of AI for SIDS.

We invite all members of the community to join us for this important discussion. Whether you are a student, faculty member, industry professional, policymaker, or concerned citizen, your perspective and insights are invaluable as we collectively navigate the complexities of the digital era in SIDS.

Together, let us explore how AI can be harnessed as a force for positive change and sustainable development in Small Island Developing States. Your presence and contribution will enrich the conversation and contribute to shaping a brighter future for our region.

Don't miss out on this opportunity to be part of the conversation on AI in SIDS. Mark your calendars for Thursday, February 15th, and join USM and the team at the University of St. Martin Campus -Lecture Hall 202 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM We look forward to seeing you there!

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CPS Calls on the Community to Take Action on Harmful Effects of Saharan Dust

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) stated that the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) in a recent bulletin stated that it is highly likely that particulate matter levels will be above the 24-hour outdoor air quality guidelines as established by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) of Sint Maarten is therefore urging persons to protect themselves against adverse health effects of a Saharan dust plume.

CPS encourages residents and visitors with respiratory issues to monitor daily weather reports from the Sint Maarten Meteorological Department (MDS) by visiting their website meteosxm.com or their Facebook Page facebook.com/sxmweather which can provide more information on when a Saharan dust plume would affect the country.

Saharan dust can be hazardous especially to small children, older adults and people with underlying lung conditions and chronic heart diseases.

Saharan dust can also impact the health of persons who suffer with asthma, allergies, and those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (persons with breathing difficulties, wheezing).

Measures that can be taken are: Stay indoors as much as possible and when outdoors, wear a dust mask (eg. KN95)

  • Utilise a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Absorbing) air filter indoors to purify air in individual rooms
  • Persons who use medications for pulmonary conditions should carry them at all times and use as prescribed
  • At the first sign of difficulty while breathing, seek professional medical advice immediately

• For less severe symptoms, standard allergy medications such as antihistamines and steroid nasal sprays may alleviate symptoms, check with your pharmacists or physician.

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APPROVAL RECEIVED FOR THE TRANSITION OF CIBC CARIBBEAN’S ASSETS IN CURAÇAO AND ST. MAARTEN TO ORCO BANK

SINT MAARTEN/BARBADOS - CIBC Caribbean (operating as CIBC FirstCaribbean in the Dutch Caribbean) is pleased the Centrale Bank van Curaçao en Sint Maarten has approved the transactions that will allow Orco Bank Limited to purchase the assets of FirstCaribbean International Bank (Cayman) Limited in Curaçao and St. Maarten.

This approval is the start of a complex process involving two territories and several thousand accounts. It is to be expected, therefore, the transition from one financial services company to the other will take several months to complete.

Teams from both banks are working together in earnest to complete the two transactions and in the interim, CIBC Caribbean will continue to provide its clients in both Curaçao and St. Maarten with the same level of professional, leading-edge service they have become used to.

“Our first priority is to discuss with our staff in both territories what we are planning as a transition schedule, followed by communications to our clients setting out precisely the detailed schedule by which we will begin transitioning their accounts to Orco Bank,” noted Mark McIntyre, the Managing Director for the bank’s Cayman Operating company, under which the Curaçao and St. Maarten businesses fall.

McIntyre added Orco Bank will also begin communicating with clients, but that it will take some time before all details of the services the purchasing entity will provide is worked out between the two banks.

He added: “Our clients can rest assured that we will keep them informed at every step of the process and we will work together as a team to ensure this transition is seamless, with minimum disruption for our clients. We will make full use of our social media channels, letters via post and traditional media to communicate our plans to our clients. We will leave no stone unturned to ensure this process is as smooth as possible for all involved.”

McIntyre concluded the bank is committed to treating all employees with dignity and respect during this period as they work to continue providing excellent customer service to our clients.

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Enhanced check-in hall at Princess Juliana International Airport open for passengers from all airlines

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY-AIRPORT) - Today, Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) completed the transition to the enhanced check-in hall for passengers from all airlines. On January 24, PJIA primarily opened the new hall for Winair and Delta Airlines passengers. As of today, all airlines are operating out of the entire new facilities marking the end of phase 1 of the reconstruction project. The second phase of the project will see the completion of the enhanced arrival hall, which will be ready for passengers by the Summer of 2024.

The check-in hall is fully operational as of this morning with a total of 22 new check-in counters and 28 new self-serve check-in kiosks. The whole area is designed to provide passengers with the best check-in experience, including the ability to check-in oversized luggage. The unique hybrid self-bag drops are also equipped with counters and can be operated by the airline staff, when needed. This gives the airport the increased flexibility for growth in the near future.

“Today is like the icing on the cake,” said Brian Mingo, CEO of Princess Juliana International Airport. “It’s been four weeks since the official celebrations of the check-in and departure halls and today we welcome all of our airline partners to their new home in the check-in hall.

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Robbery at Supermarket located on L. B. Scott Road

SINT MAARTEN (ST. PETERS) - On February 07th approximately 9:40 pm the Police dispatch received a distress call regarding a robbery in progress at a supermarket located on L. B. Scott Road.

Upon arrival at the scene, law enforcement officers were briefed by the store owner, who reported that two armed individuals had entered the establishment, brandishing firearms and demanding cash. During the course of the robbery, the store owner was assaulted with a firearm.

Regrettably, the perpetrators were able to abscond with an undisclosed amount of cash before fleeing the scene. They both fled in the direction of the St. Peters area.

The Forensic and Detective Department were at the crime scene conducting their investigation gathering evidence and pursuing possible leads.

The KPSM urges anyone to come forward with any information related to this robbery.

Your assistance could be crucial in apprehending the individuals responsible for this heinous act.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Police Department immediately at 5422222 or our hotline at 9300. 

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Advisory Information Related to: It is Strongly Recommended for Motorists to Remain Off the Road Network. Schools Closed Thursday

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The National Disaster Coordinator/Fire Chief Clive Richardson from the Office of Disaster Management (ODM), has been in consultation with Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, the various ministries, and departments relevant to the current weather activity and advises the following based on those deliberations.

Due to weather conditions, on behalf of the Government of Sint Maarten, after consultation with the Meteorological Office of Sint Maarten, kindly note that all schools will be closed on Thursday, February 8, 2024, in light of the current inclement weather affecting the local area.

The situation will be monitored and if an extension is deemed necessary, you will be informed accordingly, according to the statement from the Minister of Education Rodolphe Samuel.

Based on the latest weather report to be issued by the MDS early Thursday morning, an assessment will be made about the status of business openings for Thursday in connection with the inclement weather, and this will be communicated in an update. Businesses can remain open until further notice.

Residents and visitors are urged to continue to monitor weather reports from the Meteorological Department of Sint Maarten (MDS). For official weather-related information, check out the website of MDS: www.meteosxm.com or visit their social media page Facebook.com/sxmweather/

The country is currently under a Flood Watch according to MDS. This is in effect until 6:00 pm Thursday, February 8. A small craft advisory is also in effect until further notice. Small craft operators, swimmers, and coastal facility owners are advised to exercise extreme caution and to take necessary measures to protect life and property. Hazardous sea conditions with long-periods of northerly swells may cause beach erosion, and these conditions should continue for the next couple of days.

A frontal boundary weather system is associated with abundant moisture and instability that is producing cloudy to overcast skies, scattered showers, gusty winds, and thunderstorms.

Motorists and residents are warned to exercise caution, to be vigilant for/and or avoid flood prone areas and rockslides in vulnerable areas of the country. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to stay-off the road network! Between two to four inches of rain is forecast during the next 24 to 48 hours.

A number of areas have already experienced flooding such as the Zagersgut Road, Bush Road/Cost U Less, and the Wellington Road.

The flood gates have been lowered as a mitigation measure aiding in controlling the flow of water and minimizing it from overwhelming the surrounding areas.

In case of lightening strikes very close to your location, switch off and disconnect any sensitive electronic equipment; disconnect any phone line from your computer.

Listen to the Government Radio station SXMGOV – 107.9FM - for official information, news, and weather information. You can also follow weather related news and information as well as national addresses by the Prime Minister, chairlady of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) by going to @SXMGOV Facebook Page.

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NV GEBE experiencing challenges from rough seas in Cay Bay. Several Power Outages were Reported

SINT MAARTEN (CAY BAY) – The NV GEBE Power Plant at Cay Bay is being impacted by rough seas on the south coast of the country.

This impact resulted in two small engines facing what NV GEBE described as “operational issues.” This resulted in a temporary power outage for Cole Bay, Saunders, parts of the L.B. Scott Road, parts of Cay Hill, and parts of Bush Road.

The power outage NV GEBE said could last approximately 45 minutes.

A technical team worked to resolve the issue and the aforementioned areas have been re-energized.

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That’s A Wrap! The Diam 24 Merlin Named Most Worthy Performer, the HH66 Nemo Crushes CSA 1 Racing Class

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - After a challenging four-days of unusual Caribbean light weather, close competition on the race course and an adventurous island tour of St.Maarten /St. Martin and St. Barth’s for the cruising set, the 6th running of the Caribbean Multihull Challenge Race and Rally concluded last evening at the prizegiving ceremony on the grounds of the host organization, the St. Maarten Yacht Club. It was a time to celebrate the latest excellent edition of the annual event and look ahead to the future.

The Most Worthy Performer prize went to Alexis de Boucaud’s Diam 24 Merlin, which strung together eight victories in a 12-race series to win the expertly driven 10-boat class of sprightly trimarans. In presenting the award, CMC steering committee member Robbie Ferron had high praise for the popular, growing fleet of one-design multihulls, which are taking the island by storm. “The Caribbean has never seen a fleet of this quality with racing this close and competitive,” he said. “It was very, very impressive.”

In accepting the award, de Boucaud heaped high praise on his close-knit crew comprised of tactician Benoit Champanhac and floater Ivan Skobtsoy. “We weighed in at 257 kilos —the minimum weight in the class is 220 kilos — and we were definitely the heaviest of all the Diams,” said de Boucaud. “We were worried in the light air that we’d be hammered.”

Instead, they took the class in rather dominating fashion, finishing the regatta by winning three of the last four races. “We spent two days prepping the boat beforehand, and then practiced for a day-and-a-half,” he continued. “Teamwork was the key. We had really good, aggressive, excellent starts. We quickly saw that Erick Clement’s Karibuni was going to be our main competition, so we had our eyes on them like hawks. We covered them on every tack and jibe, it was like match racing. Anticipate, anticipate, anticipate, that’s what we tried to do. In the end, it was really about flawless maneuvering more than anything else.”

There was no shortage of rock-star talent in the CSA 1 class, with a pair of 66-foot heavyweights trading punches throughout the 8-race series. Aboard Ricardo Pavoncelli’s Gunboat 66 Mana, the crew included two offshore legends: Brit Brian Thompson and Frenchman Loick Peyron. But American Todd Slynstad’s squad on Nemo was no slouch, and included pro sailors Ryan Breymaier, Mat Bryant and Jan Majer. It was a winning combination, as Nemo registered three bullets on the final day of racing to seal the CSA 1 championship.

“I always worry about coming here to St. Maarten with Nemo because the trade winds typically blow much more than what we had, but this time they didn’t,” said Slyngstad. “The whole regatta kind of fell right into our wheelhouse and played to our strengths. We were able to utilize all of our tools. It was fun and not too stressful.”

Slyngstad had high praise for the CMC organizers, and also revealed that the regatta was also a swan song of sorts for Nemo. “This regatta is always fun, it’s such a great place to sail and everyone does a great job,” he said. “Nemo has been a great boat but I’m going to move up now to a MOD 70 trimaran and hope to move up a notch in boat speed and have some more fun.”

As Slyngstad noted, with the usual easterly trades on hiatus, the conditions were unlike what the Caribbean generally dashes up. In fact, with no breeze whatsoever on the event’s third day with high pressure settled atop St. Maarten, principal race officer Chris Mansfield was forced to cancel the day’s competition. But Mansfield and his team did an excellent job taking what the weather gods offered, and was able to conduct three fine days of competition.

The weather presented few issues for the 16 yachts in the Rally portion of the event, which visited Great Bay, Orient Bay, Anse Marcel and St. Barth’s over the course of their travels, a movable feast which featured shoreside parties, music and food all along the way. When all was over, at the prizegiving a pair of Rally entries also scored awards: Pierre Yves-Legris’s Alibi 65 Surprise won the time trials in which boats were challenged to predict their expected times of each leg of the Rally. And Ron Boehm’s Antrim Perry 52 Little Wing took home a pair of prizes, for both the Navigational Challenge and the Bingo Card Challenge, in which the Rally boats were charged with completing a host of tasks along the way.

Elaine Lembo, the editor of the popular Caribbean Compass sailing magazine, sailed in the Rally aboard the Sunsail 424 charter boat Midsixty. “It was such a great experience,” she said. “You can bring your own boat or charter one. It’s a great opportunity to go sailing, be in the warmth and sunshine, and meet so many like-minded souls. What’s not to like?”

In summation, long time sponsor and CMC supporter Chris Marshall of F.K.G. Rigging said, “CMC VI was another wonderful, very successful event. The light air meant they couldn’t run the big distance races like the FKG 60 Mile Sprint sponsored by our firm, but that’s sailboat racing. The organizers certainly think this year was an outlier, so they’ll be back stronger than ever in 2025 with a full slate of inshore and offshore racing, the Cruising Rally, and the great shoreside activities at the St. Maarten Yacht Club and other venues. We will be there, and we will try again for the Sprint. See you then.”

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