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Concordia Cup 2022 – Saint Martin retains cup

SINT MAARTEN (MULLET BAY) - The annual event of the Concordia Cup golf tournament was held over the weekend of November 13th and 14th. Started in 2005, this tournament is based on golf’s “Ryder Cup“and pits Dutch side St. Maarten Golf Association ( SMGA ) players and French side Saint Martin ( Les Tamarins ) players. The event is held over two days with 18 players per team.

Scoring is 1 point for a win, ½ point for a draw, 0 point for a loss.

Due to the lack of golf carts the format was changed so that the players would only have to complete 18 holes in total instead of 36 holes. On Saturday morning 36 players started play at Mullet Bay Course in teams of “2 against 2“for 9 holes. The lowest score of the 2 being the one that counts against the opponent’s lowest score. Les Tamarins players team managed to go ahead with a score of 5 and a half vs 3 and a half.

Following on, all players went straight on to play the remainder of the course with a different format. In teams of 2, the players had to hit the same ball alternately until the end of the hole. This time the Dutch players fought back gaining 5 points over 4 points. So, after the first day the competition remained close with the French team leading with 9 and a half points vs 8 and a half for the Dutch.  

Sunday morning the format was 18 individual matches. SMGA players had to win 10 out of the 18 matches to win back the cup. A daunting task and one that sadly did not come to fruition, with Les Tamarins gaining a successful 11 wins against 7. Thus, Les Tamarins golfers retained the Concordia Cup 2022 with a 20 and a half to 15-and-a-half-point win.

Since 2005 this 2022 Concordia Cup is the 18th annual tournament. Presently the Dutch side has won 10 and the French side 8. The French side has won the cup for the last 4 years so the future years will be exceptionally interesting.

Keith Graham (President SMGA) thanked Jan Peter Holtland for taking over from Gitte with the scoring and organization. Jean Paul Clerk (President Les Tamarins) thanked Fred Boureau for his help and the SMGA for the organization.

The Concordia Cup tournament, although very competitive, is played based on friendship and in good spirits and all players look forward to continuing this prestigious tournament for many more years.

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COMMERCIAL/BUSINESS CUSTOMERS WITH PAST-DUE ACCOUNTS

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - NV GEBE has worked tirelessly to consistently provide all customers, including commercial/business customers, with electricity and water services, despite the ransomware attacks on March 17, 2022.

The company has shared several notices urging customers to keep their accounts current by making timely payments, based on their average monthly consumption. Payments can be made without a bill. Such a payment is credited to customer accounts and a receipt is issued for the customer’s accounting records. 

Unfortunately, N.V. GEBE’s financial records reflect that several commercial/business accounts are currently PAST DUE. Starting this week, notices are being distributed to various commercial/business customers with PAST DUE accounts. 

N.V. GEBE KINDLY REQUESTS FOR ALL BUSINESSES WITH PAST DUE ACCOUNTS TO PLEASE REMIT PAYMENT OF THE PAST DUE AMOUNT FOR THE PERIOD UP TO AND INCLUDING OCTOBER 31, 2022. 

TO PREVENT DISCONNECTION OF YOUR SERVICE, PLEASE MAKE YOUR PAYMENT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, NO LATER THAN WITHIN TWO (2) BUSINESS DAYS OF RECEIPT OF THE NOTICE.

N.V. GEBE appreciates customers’ prompt attention and cooperation. As a community member, we ask for your consideration in paying for the essential utility services that N.V. GEBE provides to you. NV GEBE cannot continue to provide utility services without payment. That is not a sustainable situation.

N.V. GEBE has explored various avenues to work with the business community on resolving this matter. The payment plan opportunity was available for a limited period, until November 21, 2022, and regrettably, is no longer possible at this time.

For further information, please contact the NV GEBE Customer Care Department via the help desk at: (721) 546-1100/ 546-1160, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., WhatsApp: +1721-588-3117 or, at the Philipsburg/Simpson Bay branch offices.

NV GEBE remains dedicated to its mission to serve the community of St. Maarten, providing reliable, cost-effective, quality electricity, water, and waste management services in a safe, environmentally friendly, sustainable, and innovative manner.

The community will be provided with continuous updates and additional details on relevant matters. Please stay informed via GEBE’s website: www.nvgebe.com, and Facebook page: www.facebook.com/nvgebe, as well as other media outlets. 

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Dutch civil service pension fund to increase payouts 12% in 2023

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Civil service pension fund ABP has become the last of the big five funds to announce its payouts for next year – and has opted for an increase of almost 12%.

ABP is the biggest pension fund in the Netherlands and one of the biggest in the world with €461 in assets under management at the end of October. Almost one million people in the Netherlands currently enjoy an ABP pension.

‘Hopefully this will ease the situation for our pensioners after prices have risen so sharply,’ fund chairman Harmen van Wijnen said. ‘If you have a net pension of €1,000, this means an extra €120 a month.’

ABP raised pensions by 2.39% in July and this was the first increase in 10 years. The two big engineering funds, the health service fund and the construction industry fund have all announced rises in pensions next year, ranging from 4% to 14.5%.

The increase has been made possible because the funds’ coverage ratios – the assets they need to meet their obligations – have all gone above the required 105%, due in the main to rising interest rates. The state pension AOW is also rising by 10% in 2023.

(DutchNews)

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Measures to ‘manage’ international students early next year: minister

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Education minister Robbert Dijkgraaf has told MPs that he will come up with proposals to ‘manage’ international student numbers early next year, after putting the previous government’s plans on ice.

The measures will include ‘language and the possible introduction of fixed numbers’ for non-Dutch courses’, Dijkgraaf said. ‘The availability of higher education for Dutch students is, and will remain, an important principle,’ he said.

Earlier this week MPs from the ruling VVD and CDA called on Dijkgraaf to do more to limit the number of international students coming to the Netherlands.

‘There is no need for German students to study psychology in English at a Dutch university,’ CDA MP Harry van der Molen said during the debate.

This summer, a number of universities called on foreign students not to come unless they had organised accommodation in advance. MPs are also concerned about overflowing lecture theatres and the lack of room in labs.

Some 85,500 international students are currently studying at one of the Netherlands’ 14 universities and 72% of them come from Europe, according to figures published by the Dutch university’s association last month.

The total is an increase of 7.2% on the previous academic year, but well down on growth in previous years, which has ranged from 12% to 15%. The Dutch universities association has campaigned since 2018 for new rules to allow them to manage the flow of international students and the impact on course quality.

Amsterdam University has already introduced a cap on the number of psychology student places – 260 in Dutch and 340 in English – even though this has not yet been officially sanctioned.

(DutchNews)

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K1 Britannia’s 9th Christmas Angels Program Kicks Off this Week

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - K1 Britannia Foundation initiated the Christmas Angels Program in 2014 with the intention to support vulnerable groups and local organizations during the holiday season. Since then, the program has seen the local community come out year after year to make Christmas special and memorable for a child, teenager, adult or elderly.

Over 400 handmade Christmas Angels will be hung up on two large Christmas trees at the Government Administration Building in Philipsburg, starting this Thursday, December 1st to Monday, December 5th, 2022. The K1 Britannia Team will be on location between 9:00am to 6:00pm.

Each angel was hand made with love by the program’s recipients. The angels represent foster children, UJIMA members, children at Player Development and the Transitional Shelter, clients of Sr. Basilia Center, District Nursing and Mental Health Foundation, Excellence Learning Academy students, Freegan Food Foundation Food Program Clients (children), Down Syndrome Foundation members and other vulnerable children who need some extra love this Christmas.

The community is encouraged to pass by, choose a special angel, buy a gift for the person who made it and when you return by latest Monday, December 5th at 6:00pm with the gift, in return, you will get to keep the little angel as a gift from that person – a perfect ornament to treasure!

Individuals, families, friends, colleagues, social and sport clubs and companies showing support by coming out, picking angels and purchasing one or more gifts is needed and instrumental in making the program a success and the holiday season special for over 400 persons. For recipients of the gifts each holiday season, it’s meaningful and impactful that individual thought and care was put into showing them that yes, they do matter and are valued.

The K1 Britannia Foundation believes that it is in giving that we receive. Join the program this Christmas and feel the impact one single act can have on the most vulnerable in our community.

For more information about the program and how individuals, groups or companies can participate or partner with K1 Britannia Foundation, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., call +1(721) 553-8186/ 524-5312 or send a message to the foundation on Facebook or Instagram @K1SXM.

K1 20211203 Christmas Angels Day 1 At The Tree 60

Family poses with their picked Christmas angels as part of the Christmas Angels Program. 

K1 20211205 Christmas Angels Day 3 At The Tree 2 copy

Mother and son selects an angel from the Christmas tree as part of the Christmas Angels Program. 

 

 

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Health Fair Set for World AIDS Day. Participate in STI Survey

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The global HIV response is in danger, even as HIV remains a major public health issue that affects millions of people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Locally, especially since the onset of the COVID pandemic, the St. Maarten AIDS Foundation has noticed an increase in new cases and remind persons to be aware of sexually transmitted infections including HIV.

The WHO adds that over the last few years progress towards HIV goals has stalled, resources have shrunk, and millions of lives are at risk as a result.

Division, disparity, and disregard for human rights are among the failures that allowed HIV to become and remain a global health crisis.

World AIDS Day is observed each year on December 1st. The theme is: “Equalize.” The equalize slogan is a call to action.

Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (Ministry VSA), commemorates World AIDS Day as part of its calendar of annual observances, along with a number of stakeholders including the St. Maarten AIDS Foundation. Together both organizations are promoting awareness and have organized several activities.

The community is invited to the World AIDS Day Health Fair on December 1 from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM which will be at the AIDS Foundation, Welfare Road #55, Cole Bay, 2nd floor accessible via the parking lot in the back, which is located in the building across the street from Tropicana Casino in Cole Bay.

At the Health Fair, there will be Free HIV testing, along with the following health screenings, glucose, blood pressure and weight provided by CPS.

A Sexual Transmission Infections (STI) Survey is currently open to the community to participate in and can be accessed via the following link https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1kaouEKJJu77T9ZQnuPAF13_B0GDTHJ_B72fWKlR8Auc/edit or QR Code.

World AIDS Day STI questionaire QR Code.png

The internationally observed day provides an opportunity to raise awareness, educate and improve a greater understanding of HIV as a global public health issue.

CPS encourages the community to educate and inform themselves about the latest developments related to AIDS and HIV.

It is also important for the community to be supportive and not discriminate against persons living with HIV AIDS or any other diseases.

 

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VOICES Foundation to Organize Women’s Self Defense Workshop on Saturday

SINT MAARTEN (ST. PETERS) - In Commemoration of International Domestic Violence Awareness Day which is celebrated on November 25 with the Theme “Every 1 Knows Some 1” VOICES Foundation will be having two events to bring awareness in our St. Maarten community.

The first event will be a Women Self Defense Workshop at the John Larmonie Center on Saturday November 26, 2022 from 7pm until 9pm where our Honorable Minister of Justice Ms. Anna Richardson will be present says President and Founders Ms. Nkosazana Esther Illis.

The Workshop will be given by Mr. Franklyn Cuffy who have collaborated with VOICES Foundation before and is very instrumental in teaching women how to protect themselves in challenging situations. VOICES are inviting the women in our community to come and learn some skills on how to protect not only yourselves but your family as well. This event is free of charge and no registration is necessary.

The second event will be held on Wednesday November 30, 2022 which is the Birthday of Micheline Douglas-Illidge the late sister of Ms. Nkosazana Illis whose life was brutally taken by Domestic Violence. VOICES Foundation has asked Civil Servants, High Schools, Nipa, USM, TeLem, Banks, St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce, PJD3 Radio Station and is asking the different businesses and the people of St. Maarten to wear the color Lilac Purple (light purple) in honor of all who have lost their lives through Domestic Violence.

VOICES strongly believes that by doing this you the people of St. Maarten will be breaking the silence and bringing a strong message of Awareness to put a stop to Domestic Violence right here and right now says Ms. Illis . VOICES “use your voice and save a life.”

Domestic Voilence Pic

Instructor Franklyn Cuffy demonstrating Self Defense Workshop with Nathalie Piper

 

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ROTARY MID ISLE HOLDS 9TH ANNUAL SPELLING BEE

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - On November 13th, 2022, the Rotary Club of Sint Maarten-Mid Isle held its 9th Annual Spelling Bee at the Belair Community Center. Present at the event was the Honorable Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Drs. Rudolph Samuel, who gave an inspirational speech to the children competing.

Rotary Club of Sint Maarten-Mid Isle’s President Quincy Lont made a speech as well and considered all of the participants already a winner because of all the difficult words they had to learn for the competition!

In the Preliminary Round there were 22 students from various schools who participated in the sit-down portion of the Spelling Bee. Of the 22 students, 10 were chosen as the Semi Finalists who were from MAC-JAG Janee Fleming, Abdiel Soto and Venndy Isaac, from 7th Day Adventist Primary Shamoya Mascoe and Ferrer Grace, from Asha Stevens Hillside Christian School Eleesa Lewis, from MAC-BFM Adrian Richardson, from St. Dominic Primary Benae Fitzpatrick and from Anguilla Anaya Gillis and Skai Carty from Morris Vanterpool and Vivien Vanterpool Primary respectively.

Spelling Bees are very beneficial for children, not only are they required to learn and spell words on stage, but they also develop self-confidence, communication, and public speaking skills.

In the second round, the 10 Semi Finalists spelt out 20 words. All of the students did a great job, and five students will move onto the Final round which will take place this Sunday, 27th November 2022 at 12:00pm at the Belair Community Center.

All of the participants are encouraged to attend the final round as each student will receive a goody bag for participating in the Spelling bee. 

The Rotary Club of Sint Maarten-Mid Isle meets biweekly - contact us if you would like to attend any of our projects or meetings at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Far-right extremism is quietly increasing, researchers warn

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Far-right and anti-government extremists in Dutch provinces are going unnoticed because intelligence agencies are focusing their efforts on jihadists, researchers have warned.

Groningen University (RUG) said in its first study of extremism in the northern provinces that around half of incidents in the region since 2018 were related to anti-government sentiment.

The total number of incidents is small – around 10 per year – but the trend is rising, researcher Pieter Nanninga told NRC. The study was commissioned by Groningen’s city council and covered the three provinces Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland.

Extremist violence in the north is more likely to reflect a ‘broad anti-Randstad sentiment’ and target sites for wind farms, asylum seekers’ centres and rural areas where the government wants to reduce nitrogen compound emissions.

‘The latest overview of the threat by the national co-ordinator for counter-terrorism and security (NCTV) covers things like anti-government extremism, but jihadism is still described as the greatest threat to our security,’ Nanninga said.

Incidents in recent years include the door of Groningen’s provincial assembly being attacked with a tractor during a farmers’ protest and a Molotov cocktail thrown through the window of a journalist investigating anti-lockdown groups.

Social unrest

The emphasis on jihadism means security agencies tend to underestimate the risk posed by homegrown far-right extremists, the researchers say. ‘Put simply, we are quicker to label someone with a beard who speaks Arabic an extremist than a farmer who batters the door of the provincial assembly,’ said the RUG’s Léonie de Jonge.

She says authorities need to develop a better understanding of the relationship between anti-government protests and far-right extremism. ‘We see the broader social unrest and distrust of the government reflected online in various extremist groups,’ De Jonge said.

‘We see a lot more cross-pollination than a few years ago, particularly online, such as right-wing extremists taking part in farmers’ protests.’

(DutchNews)

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Coronavirus indicator switched to lowest level as new cases fall

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The indicator which the government uses to show the how serious the spread of coronavirus is in the Netherlands has been reduced to the lowest of its four levels.

Public health authority RIVM said on Tuesday that the indicator can be turned down because the infection rate remains low and the two new variants of Omicron which are spreading are not worrying.

The alarm level was first increased on October 11 at the start of the autumn wave. The RIVM registered 5,417 positive tests in the past week, the lowest level since the end of June last year.

However, the total does not reflect the true infection rate because the result of self tests are not included. Nevertheless, the positive test rate recorded at regional health board testing centres, which are open to health service workers and people who cannot take a self test, has now fallen below 50%.

The RIVM also said 254 people were hospitalised with the virus in the past week, a drop of 25% week on week and the lowest number since the beginning of September.

The volume of virus particles in waste water fell 30% last week and has gone down a further 25% so far this week, the RIVM said.

1,000 days

The first case of coronavirus in the Netherlands was registered 1,000 days ago today, on February 27, 2000.

Since then, the Netherlands has been in a partial lockdown three times, 8.5 million people have been infected with the virus at some point and over 40,000 people have died.

A further 125,000 have spent time in hospital with the virus, the Parool reported on Tuesday.

(DutchNews)

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