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Collaboration between CoM and Press Aims to Improve Communication and Rebuild Public Confidence and Optimism

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Council of Ministers (CoM) convened with press representatives on Friday, May 17, 2024, to discuss enhancements to the current Council of Ministers Press Briefing format.  

After introducing the Cabinet members, who have been in office for two weeks, an informal session was held to outline the future approach to press communications, encompassing press conferences, statements, and releases. 

During the meeting, various agreements were reached, with some feedback from the press requiring further deliberation and decision-making by the Council of Ministers. 

A significant outcome was the decision to review the media accreditation policy. Attendees of the briefings will be invited to offer suggestions for improvement, forming the basis for collaborative discussions.

Prime Minister Dr. Luc Mercelina underscored the media's vital role in nation-building, emphasizing its contribution to keeping the public informed and engaged, thereby fostering hope in the country's emerging democracy. 

Regular meetings with the media will be scheduled to maintain ongoing dialogue and collaboration. The first Council of Ministers Press Briefing is slated for Wednesday, May 22, 2024, at 10:00 a.m. 

Recognizing the pivotal role of a robust and independent press in informing the public, these efforts aim to enhance communication, rebuild trust, and hope, and ensure citizens are well-informed about their leaders' initiatives and progress.

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Public Advisory: Refrain from Burning Shrubbery and Garbage

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - The Police Force of Sint Maarten (KPSM) has recently received numerous reports and observed incidents of individuals burning shrubbery and garbage on their properties without taking the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of fire and smoke to neighboring areas.

These dangerous practices pose significant risks, not only to the individuals involved but also to the surrounding community. Uncontrolled fires can quickly spread, causing property damage, environmental harm, and health issues due to smoke inhalation.

The KPSM urges the public to refrain from burning shrubbery and garbage in their yards. We emphasize the importance of adhering to safety protocols and considering the potential consequences for themselves and others.

For further information and assistance, please contact the Fire Department of Sint Maarten.

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La Casa Del Habano St. Maarten Turns Cyrus Wathey Square into Little Havana for Its First Anniversary Celebration

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - Celebrating one year since opening its doors, La Casa Del Habano St. Maarten hosted an extraordinary anniversary event that turned Cyrus Wathey Square (where the lounge is located) into a vibrant slice of Havana, drawing a lively crowd of cigar aficionados from around the world, local officials, radio and media personalities and global celebrities to revel in this momentous occasion. This celebration not only commemorated the first successful year but also celebrated the rich cultural heritage that the household name La Casa Del Habano has brought to the Caribbean from Cuba.

Exactly one year ago, on May 16th, La Casa Del Habano opened with a soft launch and quickly established itself as a premier destination for cigar lovers for both locals and visitors alike. Now, 365 days later, the venue is known for bringing together the finest elements of Cuban tradition, including authentic top class habanos, luxury spirits, and a pristine lounge for those perfectly curated moments.

The event featured an array of vintage cars that transformed Cyrus Wathey Square into a picturesque scene, reminiscent of 1950s Havana, creating numerous Instagrammable moments for the guests. Live cigar rolling demonstrations provided a captivating glimpse into the artistry behind each premium cigar, while Grammy award-winning saxophonist and a roster of famed musicians entertained the crowd, setting the mood with vibrant Cuban melodies.

Among the attendees were notable franchise owners from across the Caribbean, influencers, and media personalities who all came together to share their passion for the unique cigar experience La Casa Del Habano St. Maarten offers. Guests enjoyed a selection of Cuba's best rums and expertly mixed cocktails, alongside a curated selection of Cuban cigars.

La Casa Del Habano St. Maarten’s management wishes to take this time out to extend a deep gratitude to the St. Maarten community for embracing their presence and making the lounge a favored destination for luxury and relaxation. As they move into their second year, they are committed to continuing the tradition of providing an authentic Cuban experience, matched with unparalleled hospitality in the heart of the St. Maarten.

About La Casa Del Habano St. Maarten

La Casa Del Habano St. Maarten is part of an international franchise known for its rich tradition and luxurious cigar lounges. Situated in Philipsburg on the Cyrus Wathey Square, it offers aficionados a sophisticated environment to explore and indulge in the rich Cuban history, tradition and art of cigars amidst the backdrop of stunning St. Maarten. For more information, please visit www.lcdhsxm.com

HABO ins1

 

 

 

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SMYC Racing Team Returns joined the St Barth Yacht Club's Mini Bucket Regatta

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - The Sint Maarten Yacht Club Racing Team proudly returns home after a week of intensive practice and competition at the St Barth Yacht Club's Mini Bucket Regatta. Adilyn Treadwell, Harper Treadwell, Axel vanden Eyende, Oskar Versteegden, and Nathan Sheppard traveled to St. Barth to sail in the Opti Class, together with Massimo Lapierre and Rio Stomp who competed in the ILCA Class.

Together with sailing coach Sam Peeks, the seven sailors of the racing team showcased their skills and determination at the 2024 Mini Bucket Regatta, which took place over the weekend of May 11-12.

The journey began on May 4th when the SMYC Racing Team departed for St Barth Yacht Club. They spent a week in intense practice, joining a clinic to improve their sailing skills. The training sessions, which lasted five days for the Optimists and two days for the ILCAs, were designed to prepare the young sailors for the competition of the Mini Bucket Regatta.

The first race day on Saturday, May 11th, saw the SMYC Racing Team spending about seven hours on the water. “Despite the challenging conditions and a limited number of races—only four out of the planned six—the racing team performed very well.” Said Sam Peeks, racing coach of the SMYC. “The strong winds tested the sailors' skills, but the team's preparation paid off with improvements compared to last year’s performance.” He continued.

On the final day of racing, the SMYC Racing Team continued to demonstrate their progress and determination. SMYC is very proud of the team's dedication, hard work, and results. In the ILCA Class, Rio Stomp secured 3rd place in ILCA 6, and Massimo Lapierre achieved 6th place in ILCA 4.

In the Optimist Class, Nathan Sheppard finished 5th, Harper Treadwell placed 11th and was the 1st girl, Oskar Versteegden came 12th and was the 2nd Benjamin, and Adilyn Treadwell secured 15th place and was the 4th Benjamin. Despite getting sick on the last day, Axel van den Eynde finished 9th in the green fleet.

The SMYC Racing Team extends their gratitude to the St Barth Yacht Club for organizing the event and to Frits Bus for providing transportation and accommodation on his catamaran. Special thanks are also due to the team's sponsors, Avis-Budget-SXM, and Bob Hilbert Sportswear for helping to make these trips possible.

The team's next big event is the St. Maarten National Championships, sponsored by IWW, scheduled for June 15-16 at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club. The team is eager to continue their training and build on the successes from the Mini Bucket Regatta.

SMYC race team returns

 

 

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NV GEBE Announces Loadshedding for Tuesday

SINT MAARTEN (CAY BAY) – “We regret to inform you that loadshedding will be implemented today, May 14, 2024. This temporary interruption in power supply is necessary for essential maintenance work,” NV GEBE said in a statement on Tuesday morning.

“Duration: Affected areas may experience power outages lasting between 60 to 90 minutes.

“We understand the inconvenience this may cause and sincerely apologize for any disruption to your daily routine. Our team is working diligently to ensure minimal inconvenience and a swift restoration of services. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation during this time,” the NV GEBE statement concludes.

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THREE KPCN EMPLOYEES ARRESTED

BONAIRE (KRALENDIJK) - On Monday morning, May 13, 2024, by order of the Public Prosecutor's Office and in cooperation with the Police Force Caribbean Netherlands (KPCN), three employees of KPCN were arrested by the National Criminal Investigation Department.

The employees are suspected of assault and forgery which acts were allegedly committed while exercising their duties. The investigation is being conducted by investigators of the National Criminal Investigation Department.

In the interest of the investigation, no further announcements can be made at this time, while the investigation is ongoing.

The Public Prosecutor's Office and KPCN emphasize that integrity violations, especially those that may involve criminal offenses, will not be tolerated. If any specific signs of such abuses reach us, they will be investigated and punished where necessary.

KPCN wants to continue to contribute to the safety of society with integrity and service to its citizens. The Public Prosecutor wholeheartedly supports KPCN in this.

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Cabinet Mercelina Prioritizes Inclusiveness and Communication with Public Servants

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – On Friday morning, May 10, 2024, the Council of Ministers (CoM) met with the newly proposed Employee Engagement Council (EEC), composed of 17 members from various departments and executing bodies within government.

This initiative follows an independent employee satisfaction survey and recent exit interviews. The EEC analysed the survey results, which highlighted concerns over primary labor conditions, and has formulated 21 recommendations aimed at four specific target groups: colleagues, middle management, secretary generals, and political leaders, along with six general recommendations.

Key priorities identified include enhancing open communication, implementing the full human resource cycle throughout the government, and increasing transparency through the publication of annual plans and quarterly progress reports, which are supported by monthly updates from middle management. The recommendations also emphasize policy-based budgets and promoting career development opportunities.

The intention is to establish the EEC as a permanent and independent council via a ministerial decree and repeat the employee satisfaction survey in 2026.

The Prime Minister, Dr. Luc Mercelina, affirmed the government’s commitment to ensuring that civil servants are not only held accountable, but also enhancing support for them. He proposed small, tangible improvements, such as a better upkeep of the Government Administration Building’s exterior.

Further, the Prime Minister advocated for the inclusion of public-school representation within the EEC to ensure a comprehensive approach to employee engagement across all sectors.

Another proposal was to extend the mental health support services provided by the Company Counselor in the Department of Personnel & Organization of the Ministry of General Affairs to the police force.

CoM has agreed to meet regularly, once every two months. to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the recommendations. The next meeting is scheduled for July 12, where the focus will be on developing methods to recognize and reward staff contributions and to conduct a baseline measurement (‘nulmeting’) of current government vacancies.

The meeting is an integral part of the R.I.S.E. (Leadership Excellence through Relationship Building, Insight, Skills, and Empowerment) Onboarding Program, aimed at delivering insights in the context of CoM and strengthening relationships both within and beyond government.

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Minister Lewis: To all the mothers of St. Maarten, We thank God for you.

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) – Minister of Justice Lyndon Lewis on Thursday issued the following pre-Mother’s Day message: Thank God for that one Sunday in May where we get the opportunity to pour extra love and adoration upon you. We are given the opportunity to remind you that you've been the architect of our dreams and the backbone of our families. You've laughed with us in joy, and wiped away our tears in sorrow, you've been the comforting embrace we seek.

The Caribbean mother has always been a figure of immense power and beauty and a fierce protector. You have shown us that wisdom doesn't always come from books, but often from the lived experience. Mothers are our greatest teachers, not just in words, but in the eloquence of their actions. With all of the words written about motherhood, none have come close to fully expressing the thankfulness and joy owed to mothers.

Giving flowers is always a good idea. But I hope that on this Mother’s Day, we’ll recommit ourselves to doing more than that. Through deeds that match our words, let’s give mothers the respect they deserve, give all women the equality they deserve, and give all parents the support they need in their most important roles.

Special kudos goes out to the mothers in the Police, Fire, Ambulance and Nursing services. You are the women who rush towards danger to serve and protect strangers, all while maintaining a home that is a sanctuary of love and discipline. You are the embodiment of courage, and your dual service to your families and the community is a testament to your extraordinary character.

For those who've taken on the role of mother, whether through birth, adoption, mentorship, or simply through the love and guidance offered to a child in need, we salute you. You have extended the definition of motherhood, showing us that the heart's capacity to love is boundless.

To our women who are raising small children, I cannot emphasize enough that the amount of love and attention, teaching and discipline that we provide our children will determine the future of this country. Let us teach our children to discern what is truly valuable. Let us teach children the importance of respect and perseverance. Let us teach them the importance of discipline, and instill in them a sense of morality and decency.

The government recognizes the tireless efforts of these mothers. We are committed to creating policies and providing resources to make your lives better, to afford you the opportunities and support you need to continue your invaluable role without the burden of undue hardship.

On this Mother's Day, we honor the women who have nurtured, taught, and raised us. We honor their endless patience, their unwavering support, and the boundless love they bestow upon us. Let us recommit ourselves to supporting and uplifting our mothers in every way possible.

So, to all mothers, foster mothers, grandmothers, aunties, sisters, and mother figures, we honor you. Happy Mother's Day. May God bless you, keep you, and continue to shine his light upon you.

Lyndon Lewis

Minister of Justice

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Minister of Justice Lewis, sends justice workers back to work

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - In a comprehensive response to critical issues affecting all departments in the Justice Chain, the Honourable Minister of Justice, Lyndon C.J. Lewis, has taken decisive action to correct employee suspensions and alleviate significant staff shortages, costs, and ensuring that fair labour practises within our legal framework are followed across almost all Justice Ministry Departments.

Recent findings revealed that many employees were placed on "toegangontzegging" status and sent home. This is intended to be a temporary measure until further investigation. However, in most circumstances, the employee is kept at home for an extended length of time with the investigation still ongoing. This not only indicates that the necessary procedure was not followed within the scope of the law, but these personnel receive their entire monthly income at the expense of the country without having to perform the tasks to which they have sworn. Furthermore, this provides an instant remedy to most departments' understaffing issues.

Considering this, Minister Lewis has instructed all department heads to draft retraction letters formally revoking the denial access "toegangsontzegging" for his signature and sends justice employees back to work immediate effect.

In addition, Minister Lewis also instructed all department heads, to reinstate other employees who are currently absent from work without valid justification to resume their duties with immediate effect.

"Justice in administration is just as important as justice within our courts and communities," Minister Lewis emphasized. "It is essential that we adhere to our laws and regulations strictly, ensuring fairness and transparency. This corrective measure not only addresses a significant oversight but also marks a commitment to financial responsibility and optimal departmental functionality."

Furthermore, Minister Lewis plans to meet with all affected employees to discuss their future conduct and performance expectations. This initiative is part of a broader effort to restore full staffing levels and set a precedent for responsible governance and accountability in Sint Maarten.

The Minister of Justice, is dedicated to upholding the highest standards of integrity and efficiency, continually adjusting practices to align with legal standards and the public interest.

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