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SXM BJJ Brazilian Jiu Jitsu martial artists school holds successful summer graduation

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - Brazilian Jiu Jitsu on St Maarten reached another milestone this week. Coach Jami Eloi was awarded a brown belt after nine years of training. Police officer Sheldon Cathalina also earned the rank of Blue Belt. On Thursday May 6, SXM BJJ held a demonstration and graduation for the youth Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) students. Students demonstrated techniques in front of family and friends followed by live training. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the event was broadcasted to family members via Zoom.

The summer graduation recognized the hard work of students. Achievement coins were awarded to select students for outstanding, discipline, technical skills, improvement and helpfulness: Carter Yeung, Ayla Bus-Kiric, Gabriel Sweetman, Lazaro Ahlip, Daniel Pearson, Rohan Rinkler, Kaelen Caballero, Sernik Porcasi, Aiden Wilkie, Doglas Pearson and Keenan Benjamin, Gabriel Amado and Meshak Hazel earned achievement coins.

The following students earned grey/white belts. Amara Fleming, Ayla Bus-Kiric, Aarav Kukreja, Gabriel Sweetman, Carter Yeung, Djahmar Euson, Gabriel Mendez Amado. Grey Belts were earned by Alexander Roper, Olivia Shepard, Keenan Benjamin. New Grey/Black belts: Lucas Berman/Wathey, Sernik Porcasi, Nathan Shepard, Mila Johnson, Nahjae A. Prince, Emily Roper. White/yellow: Vlad Ahlip, Liam Van Windt, Ziro Degrammond, Jaali Galvani, Justice Lawrence Yellow: Selah Romney, Dorina Smirnova, Meshach Hazel, Sebastiaan Hoekstra, Douglas Pearson, Jahmaly Peterson, Eldric Phebe. Orange/white: Naiysha Hassall, Param Jessani. Stripes were earned Lazaro Ahlip, Lincoln Berman, Angelo Gioia, Aram Jagtiani, Kenron Vanterpool, D'jeni Anselm, Jean Harold Audebert, Germani Blais, Kaelan Caballero, Sophia Chamas, Topper Daboul, Mason Hoeve, Dawson Lake, Megan Lockhon, Charlotte Mulot, Jules Mulot, Daniel Pearson, Rohan Rinker, Abigail Rosen, Amir Sachdev, Ekam Singh, Eli Van Windt, Jaden Busby, Ayuna Hardemen, Keziah Hoeve, Niel Jederon, Nakysha Jederon, Miles Cheasley, Aarav Mirani, Mataija Reyes, Santiago Esparragoza, Aiden Wilkie, Leandro Zabala.

Adult students earning stripes include Coach Johan Steinber Munoz Rodrigues, Alejandra Rondon, Malanie Diaz, Crista Hardemen-Djo, Louis Greau, Dwight Williams and Jose Browne.

SXM BJJ martial artists are required to have integrity, honesty, discipline and humility. Students learn fighting skills only to be used in self-defense or organized competitions. Fighting in the street is strictly forbidden. Instructors hold their students by this guideline. The aim of the program is to instill discipline, respect and self-confidence in each student.

Kids martial arts classes continue at SXM BJJ, closing for July. For more information or to register contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 721 544 4444.

SXM BJJ Class Photo 5 to 6 years May 2021 INS1

Class Photo 5 to 6 years May 2021

SXM BJJ Class Photot 7 9 years May 2021 IN1

Class Photo 7 9 years May 2021


Three suspects arrested for drugs smuggling

SINT MAARTEN (POINT BLANCHE) - Three suspects were arrested for drug possession by the Alpha Team at an apartment in Point Blanche on Tuesday, May 3, around 11:20am.

The suspects with initials A.G.H.T., R.R.P., and J.A.S., were detained following a search of the suspects’ residence. Several items relevant to the investigation were confiscated from the premises.

The suspects were transported to the Philipsburg Police Station where they are still detained pending further investigation.

The Alpha Team is a multidisciplinary team comprised the Police Force of St. Maarten KPSM, Customs Department, Immigration Department, the Koninklijke Marechaussee, and the Coast Guard. (KPSM)


Guests announced for the COVID-19 Vaccination Panel Discussion for May 11th

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Do you have questions or concerns about the COVID-19 vaccination, or do you want more information about the purpose and goal of the vaccines? Make sure you watch the second edition of the COVID-19 Vaccination Panel Discussion on May 11th at 7:00 PM and get your answers straight from the experts.

This online event will be broadcasted via the Government of Sint Maarten Facebook Page Livestream and on the SXMGOV Radio 107.9FM.

Various health experts will provide updates and new data regarding the COVID-19 vaccines and answer all questions via the live broadcast.

The Facebook Livestream panel discussion will be opened by the Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA) Omar C.E. Ottley and hosted by Roylyka Roache from the Department of Communication (DCOMM).

Speakers for the evening will include Eva Lista-de Weever, Epidemiologist and head of the Collective Prevention Services (CPS), Dr. Anand Raghosing who is a general practitioner on the island for many years, Claudette Rijff, who is the quality nurse at the White & Yellow Cross Care Foundation (WYCCF), and the very first recipient of the COVID-19 vaccine on Sint Maarten, and Dr. A.J. Duits, Medical Immunologist and Director of the Red Cross Blood Bank Foundation, who is a specialist in immunology and vaccines.

There are many new developments regarding vaccination here on the island and worldwide. There are several different mutations, and many countries are adapting their COVID-19 regulations and restrictions now that the vaccination level is increasing within the population.

Why do you still have to wear a mask if you are fully vaccinated? Why is a PCR test still mandatory when you are fully vaccinated? Can I still become sick after vaccination? The experts will touch on these topics and much more.

Questions can be posted live in the comment section or send in advance an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

With this event, which is available for everyone to view, Ministry VSA, DCOMM, and the Vaccination Management Team (VMT), aim to inform and update the public and limit the spread of misinformation.

The event takes place on Tuesday, May 11th at 7:00 PM via and simultaneously via the Government Radio Station 107.9FM.

Make sure that you don't miss this event, and let the experts answer your questions!

Sint Maarten Protected Together.


US $1.7 million distributed to help restore local small business economy

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - To date, US $1.7 million has been disbursed to enterprises within the St. Maarten small business community who have taken advantage of the combination grant/loan financial assistance offered through the Enterprise Support Project (ESP). The US $35 million relief initiative is being implemented by the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB) and is funded by the Government of the Netherlands through the Sint Maarten Trust Fund.

The project, launched in August 2020, has seen interest from a wide range of sectors including architectural services, e-commerce, restaurants, tour companies, and physiotherapy clinics. Disbursed money has supported businesses in purchasing necessary equipment, non-structural repairs, and expansions of services, thus strengthening the sustainability of the small business community on the island. To date, thirty (30) enterprises have been approved and the project’s team is in the process of working their way through an additional eight-five applications.

“It is no secret that access to financing is a long-standing challenge for all small businesses, particularly for women and for young entrepreneurs. Through the ESP, twelve women owned or managed, businesses have been approved for funds to date.” Anisa Dijkhoffz, the ESP Portfolio and Accounting Officer, comments. “We maintain a close relationship with all of our enlisted beneficiaries. We take the time to explain not only the benefits, but also the obligations related to the project such as maintaining accurate financial records and adhering to the safeguard and environmental policies of the World Bank and Sint Maarten.”

NRPB Director Claret Connor considers the project, which will run until 2024, to already show signs of success. “We’ve had great responses to the Enterprise Support Project and the benefits are already visible. We continue to engage different target groups and have held several informative information sessions in various districts on the island. This project has tremendous potential to positively affect the economy of our island. We highly encourage entrepreneurs  and established businesses to not let this once in a lifetime opportunity pass them by.”

The ESP offers financial support in the form of three packages. The Working Capital Package is being offered at favorable terms and rates to assist company’s everyday expenses during this economic downturn. The Asset and Repair Package offers financing for non-structural repairs and assists businesses in investing in assets that support their unique needs. In addition, the project offers a Re-Financing Package that allows for the refinancing of performing loans not exceeding US$20,000 to free up collateral. The ESP offers financing opportunities to meet the needs of any small businesses, from those that are in the startup phase to those that are already established.

Small businesses that are interested in applying should visit the NRPB’s website and arrange the required documents to submit to the NRPB, the first point of contact for all applications. The project is supported by local financial partners Banco di Caribe, Qredits, and Windward Islands Bank. Other financial institutions who are interested in joining the project are encouraged to reach out to the team for more information on how they can be a part of efforts to build a strong and resilient small business community.  


AOV and AWW now to be paid on the 28th of each month, says Minister Ottley

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Earlier this year, the Social Insurances (SZV) announced that the monthly AOV and AWW pension pay date would take place on the 1st of each month.

Numerous concerns within the community were voiced about this, primarily the concern of pensioners receiving their payments late.

Together with the team of SZV, the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA) was able to discuss these concerns. 

Today, the Minister of VSA, Omar Ottley is happy to inform the public, that SZV will be making a change in the monthly pension payment schedule. 

The change is as follows: 

  • The monthly AOV and AWW pension will be paid in advance,on the 28th of each month, excluding public holidays and weekends.  
  • All pensioners with a local bank account (Dutch SXM) can expect to receive their pension pay, in advance, on the 28th of each month.  
  • Pensioners abroad or those with an international bank account can expect their payment a few days later, based on the processing time of their international bank. 

This change will go into effect immediately, which means that the pension payment for the upcoming month of June will be available on the 28th of May.  

SZV will publish the new payment schedule today, on their website, Facebook page and other media channels.  

Minister Ottley would like to thank the team of SZV for their timely cooperation with the Ministry of VSA to come together to achieve this result. A result, the Minister hopes will be a comfort to our pensioners. 



SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - This Saturday, May 8, the National Institute of Arts (NIA) will be having a very special Blackbox Series # 9 honoring Carnival and featuring our very own powerful female Calypsonians, the NIA said on Wednesday in a media statement.

Gracing the stage will be Empress Zee, Lady Tiffany, and Ebony Empress. In true Blackbox fashion these local icons will not only engage in performance but also in meaningful dialogue about their Calypso journeys and their experiences thus far.

The performance will be hosted by Fernando Clark. Join us for an eventful night of culture and conversation. Tickets go on sale at 6:30 pm. John Larmonie Center, Longwall Road #20.

Masks required and Covid-19 rules enforced. The performance starts at 8 pm sharp!! Limited seating. See you there!"

Ebony Empress

Ebony Empress

Lady Tiffany

Lady Tiffany



Over 180 attend Rotary Prevent & Manage Diabetes Walkathon

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Disease prevention and treatment takes on many forms, from supporting studies to helping immunize people, to improving drinking water, and the sanitation infrastructure.

The world relies on Rotary to tackle these global challenges, and to set an example for others to follow. In light of one of Rotary’s six Areas of Focus” Disease Prevention and Treatment”, the Rotary Club of Sint Maarten Mid Isle in collaboration with the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunrise, the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset and the Interact Club of St. Dominic High School hosted their first ever “Prevent & Manage Diabetes Walkathon on April 24th.

Approximately 185 persons attended the walkathon, and the tickets included a healthy breakfast after the walk. Members of the Diabetes Foundation St. Maarten (DFS) were also present, to share some valuable information on Pre-Diabetes, and participants were handed a sheet to be completed to check for signs of Pre-Diabetes.

The Rotary Club of Sint Maarten-Mid Isle, the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunrise and the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset would like to extend their heartfelt gratitude to all Rotarians, Interactors and friends of Rotary for their kind contributions towards this initiative by; purchasing tickets, making donations, sponsoring items, and lending a helping hand.

Special thanks to Print & Sign Express, Arena Base Cafe, Kam’s, Prime, KFC and Tony’s Air conditioning & Refrigeration Services.

All proceeds collected from the walkathon will go towards the Diabetes Foundation St. Maarten (DFS).


COVID-19 Drive Through Testing Remains Open in Point Blanche

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA), would like to inform that the CPS COVID-19 Drive Through testing remains open.

All persons are encouraged to come to the testing location in Pointe Blanche (before the entrance to the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facility) Monday-Friday from 8:30 AM to 11:00 AM.

Testing is free; however, this is not for travel purposes. Weekend testing remains by appointment only.

914 Information Line is still operational. The hours of 914 are: Monday-Friday 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Please note that due to low call volumes the time was adjusted from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Saturday and Sunday 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

CPS vaccination clinic operating hours are from: Monday to Friday 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM.

For any questions about COVID-19 vaccinations, please call 914 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Minister Ottley meets with local entertainers for Island wide vaccination campaign

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - On Monday May 3rd, 2021, the Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (VSA), Omar Ottley in the presence of his Legal Advisor Lyndon Lewis and Department Head Collective Prevention Services, Eva Lista-de Weever met with local entertainers and video producers in preparation to launch an Island wide vaccination awareness campaign.

The official launch date of the campaign is scheduled for tomorrow Wednesday May 5th, 2021. The Government is requesting assistance from all stakeholders and the community to join the road to ‘normalcy’.

The campaign will focus on the many issues that we face day to day due to COVID-19 and will highlight what we must do to achieve some sense of normalcy; which is to create herd-immunity by vaccinating 85% of our population.


Nature Foundation and R4CR provides Update on Monkey Management Project

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - Nature Foundation’s Monkey Management Project funded via the Resources for Community Resilience has recently undergone changes to the outline of the project. This change is due to time and resource constraints as well as an interest from the World Bank to continue the initial research. Due to this change, the project’s final initiatives have adapted to a social survey. The Monkey Management Project was fully supported by the Resources for Community Resilience (R4CR) within the first ‘Quick-Win’ round for Non-Profit organization on St. Maarten. 

The newly added survey is designed to ask St. Maarten residents what they would like to see as a future management plan for the invasive vervet monkey population. The residents are given background information and details on pros and cons of each possible solution. The Nature Foundation Staff and Volunteers have been around local ‘hotspots’ such as supermarkets at various times of the day to ask a range of St. Maarteners to participate. 

The R4CR program is a grant scheme that focuses exclusively on financing and strengthening of local Civil Society Organization (CSOs). The program is financed by the Government of the Netherlands via the St. Maarten Trust Fund. The latter is administered by the World Bank, implemented by the NRPB (National Recovery Program Bureau) and executed by VNGI (the Vereniging van Nederlandse Gemeenten International) in close cooperation with Foresee Foundation-NPOwer and other local partners. 

As the project is nearing the end, the Nature Foundation and Resources for Community Resilience have updated the project to ensure that there is enough preliminary research for the Monkey Management Plan. This alteration resulted in an extension of phase 1 to give optimal results. The project will now include interviews conducted with St. Maarten residents, giving them the opportunity to weigh-in on the options for management of the monkeys. These changes will provide valuable data for future in-depth projects, and will support and benefit research on invasive species on St. Maarten. 

“It is very important that St. Maarten residents understand that this change is for the good of the project as well as for the island. This survey will now allow the Nature Foundation and everyone else to hear your opinions about what you believe is best for St. Maarten’s youth, agriculturists, native flora and fauna as well as the future of our island,” explains Alice Manley, Project Coordinator. “A part of this project is ensuring that the species is managed humanely by professionals. We understand that there are several different opinions about what should be done to manage the vervet monkey population, and both the Nature Foundation and R4CR want to ensure that the public’s views are included in our final project report.” 

Vervet monkeys are invasive to the island of St. Maarten. While their history on St. Maarten is mostly undocumented, it is highly believed they originated at pets being traded to the island from St. Kitts and South American countries. Vervet monkeys are wild animals and require a permit to have in your possession, they can be dangerous towards humans and other animals when they feel threatened. They do not have any natural predators on the island and their population can double in size within a year. Vervet monkeys also disrupt our native species as they not only eat multiple different fruits, vegetables and leaves, but can also eat insects, birds and bird eggs. If this monkey population continues to rise, St. Maarten’s native flora and fauna are at risk of dramatically decreasing overtime. 

The Nature Foundation is a non-profit organization that aims to preserve and enhance the natural environment of St. Maarten for generations to come. 

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