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Exciting start to the Hoedemaker Series, part of the Grant Thornton Dinghy Season Championship

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - Twenty-one participants competed in the opening day of the Hoedemaker Series, held last Saturday, February 17th. This event is part of the Grant Thornton Dinghy Season Championship and is organized and hosted by the Sint Maarten Yacht Club. Sailors from various clubs such as French Saint Martin, St. Barth, Dutch Sint Maarten, and others joined the competition.

Under the guidance of sailing instructor and race officer Wessel Tangenberg, the race committee successfully started four races across two classes: Laser and Optimist.

The Optimist class was the biggest class with 11 participants. Lourenço Rolo Couto Jorge from St. Barth Yacht Club clinched the third spot, while Carmona Bouvrais Tao, also representing St. Barth Yacht Club, secured the runner-up position. Thomas Magras, also from St. Barth Yacht Club is in the lead of the Hoedemaker series. Remarkably, showed consistency throughout the races. Lourenço consistently finishing third, Carmona consistently securing second, and Tao dominating by clinching first place in all races.

In the Laser Class, featuring 10 participants, Pascal Belle from MDA claimed third place, Rio Stomp representing SMYC secured the second spot, and Emilien Le Normand, representing Club de Voile de Fryers Bay, is in first.

Reflecting on the day's events, race officer Wessel Tangenberg remarked, "It was a fantastic afternoon of racing; the weather was good, with just the right amount of wind. Unfortunately, this race marks my last Grant Thornton Dinghy race since I will leave the island in a month”. Tangenberg also extended heartfelt appreciation to Team St. Barth, highlighting their commitment to the sport. "I must give a special shoutout to Team St. Barth: they participated in the Sailing Week of Schoelcher in Martinique, they arrived in St. Barth on Friday and joined us in St. Maarten for the Hoedemaker series on Saturday. Their passion for sailing is truly inspiring," Tangenberg concluded.

The second and last day of the series is scheduled for Saturday, March 16, 2024, with registration currently open. It remains to be seen if the current frontrunners can maintain their current position.

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Milton Peters College joins the Green Dream Recycling Project

SINT MAARTEN (SOUTH REWARD) – Today, Monday, February 19, 2024, recycling of plastic, glass and aluminum will start on the Milton Peters College (MPC) Campus in South Reward.

During Assembly the students were informed of the Green Dream Project, started by Claude Javois, MS Environmental Studies, at the MAC schools. The Green Dreams Recycling initiative, funded through UNESCO SXM, is currently operational at 21 Schools on Sint Maarten.

SVOBE Schools fully embraced this awareness raising initiative for staff and students once it was guaranteed that the gathered materials would really be recycled and not end up on our mountainous Dump after all.

Sundial School will come on board as soon as the Green Dream Recycling bins have been made available. SVOBE hopes that the enthusiasm of the schools and daycares into the recycling effort will entice the government to follow the example of the French side and make recycling for the general public easy, structural and all over.

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AI successful symposium marks the beginning of USM's 35th-anniversary celebration

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The University of St. Martin (USM) proudly hosted a dynamic symposium on Thursday, February 15th, marking the start of its 35th-anniversary celebration Lecture series. The lecture, titled "Navigating Opportunities and Challenges in the Digital Era in Small Island Developing States (SIDS)," brought together a diverse range of stakeholders and thought leaders to discuss the implications of artificial intelligence (AI) and digital technology in the context of St. Maarten and the Caribbean region.

The symposium, held on the USM campus, was well attended, with the lecture hall filled to capacity. USM had the honor of welcoming distinguished guests which included His Excellency Governor Ajamu Baly, Member of Parliament Shamira Roseburg, USM Acting President Wycliffe Smith, and Dean of Academics Dr. Gale Rigobert. The opening remarks were delivered by USM Dean of Academics, who set an inspiring tone for the evening.

Ms. Riddhi Samtani, a youth activist and research student, masterfully served as emcee for the evening, guiding attendees through thought-provoking presentations. Mr. Marcus Nicolaas, a USM faculty member and PhD candidate in Technologies/Education,  shared a presentation and his valuable insights into the intersection of technology and education in SIDS. This was followed by an engaging panel discussion with industry experts such as Serge Bakker, Managing Director of Carib-Work IT N.V.; Duncan van Heyningen, Managing ATS Training and Development at Princess Juliana International Airport; Marvio Cooks, ICT Coordinator at the Division of Public Education - Ministry of Education Culture, Youth, and Sports; and Jhuriel Daniel, IT Professional.

Alexandrox Bloem and Kleyian Carter, two students from Milton Peters College's VWO-6 exam group, presented their insights and experiences with AI and digital technology in education and society, emphasizing the importance of youth perspectives. The evening concluded with a powerful closing speech by USM alumnus Conrad Richardson, who reflected on the symposium's significance and the opportunities that await St. Maarten in the digital age.

The symposium stimulated lively discussions and prompted attendees to consider the implications of AI and digital technology on St. Maarten's development trajectory, emphasizing the importance of developing legislation and a strategic plan for artificial intelligence on the island. Many people expressed the need for ongoing dialogue and engagement on these critical issues.

Celebrating 35 years of educating the nation, USM has committed to hosting a series of lectures throughout the year on topics that are relevant and urgent for St. Maarten. The next lecture, titled "Culture, Society, and Climate Challenges," will be held on Thursday, February 22nd, from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM on the USM campus. The USM team encourages the general public to come out and attend these enriching discussions.

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USM welcomes Dr. Guadeloupe & research team for presentation on Transatlantic Academic Platform

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The University of St. Martin (USM) is excited to announce the upcoming visit of Dr. Francio Guadeloupe, former President of the university, and a team of distinguished researchers as part of the Islanders at the Helm initiative, with a particular focus on the Transatlantic Academic Platform. The team will be in St. Maarten from February 22nd, 2024, to engage with the local community and share findings from their ground-breaking research.

On February 22nd, 2024, the team will host a presentation on the Transatlantic Academic Platform from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. in lecture hall 202 at the USM campus. The event aims to promote dialogue and collaboration among academics, policymakers, and the general public on critical issues confronting Caribbean islands, particularly in the areas of culture, climate change, and historical adaptation.

The panel of experts includes Dr. Gregory Richardson, a postdoctoral researcher specializing in the intersection of music, culture, and climate challenges. Mr. Harold Helly (Ph.D Researcher) is conducting archaeological research on historical adaptations to climate change among island inhabitants, with implications for present resilience strategies. Ms. Riddhi Samtani, a St. Maarten native and youth activist, was a key speaker at COP 28 and a recent moderator at the USM 35th Anniversary Lecture series. 

Dr. Francio Guadeloupe, a renowned expert in Caribbean studies and higher education leadership, will moderate the panel discussion. Dr. Gale Rigobert, Dean of Academics at USM, will deliver the opening remarks, laying the groundwork for an engaging and informative discussion. Following the presentation, attendees are invited to a light reception under the Gazebo at USM, which will allow for additional networking and discussion with the visiting researchers and moderators. 

The USM team warmly invites the general public to participate in this enriching event, which promises to deepen understanding and inspire collaborative action toward a resilient and sustainable future for St. Maarten and beyond.

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Night of Hit Makers 2.0 Phase 1 Tickets Available for Sale Starting February 19th

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - Xtratight Entertainment is thrilled to announce the release of Phase 1 tickets for the highly anticipated Night of Hit Makers 2.0 event! Hosted by Xtratight Entertainment, this Ultimate Dance Event of the Year promises to be an unforgettable experience for all attendees.

Starting from Monday, February 19th at 8 am, tickets for Night of Hit Makers 2.0 will be available for purchase at select outlets. These outlets include ALEEZE Box Office in Madame Estate, open from 8 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday; Adolphus Office Supplies; Domino's Pizza Bush Road & Simpson Bay; Levi's Boutique Marigot, and through Xtratight Team Member at +1-721-524-4872.

Mr. Bertaux, also known as Mr. Rude Fleming, expresses his excitement about the ticket launch, stating, "Everyone has been eagerly anticipating the release of tickets, and we're thrilled to announce that they are now available. Moving away from early bird sales, we're introducing tickets in phases, with Phase 1 being very limited. Once sold out, we'll move on to Phase 2."

Tickets for each show are priced at $35, so be sure to secure yours early. The lineup promises to be a force to reckon with, featuring double the dancing, double the artists, and an overload of memories.

Sint Maarten, get ready for the Ultimate Dance Event! Night of Hit Makers 2.0 is set to take place on April 30th and May 1st. Don't miss out on this incredible experience!

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FAVE’s St. Maarten Academy PSVE Plans their School’s Development

SINT MAARTEN (ST. PETERS) - On February 14 and 15th, the team at the St. Maarten Academy PSVE participated in two team workdays to complete stage 1 in formulating their school’s development planning (SDP) cycle, to 2027. 

Under the auspices of the school’s Board, the Foundation for Academic and Vocational Education (FAVE), the school’s substitute Acting School Manager Ms. Caline Celestine opened the two days’ activities, together with FAVE’s Interim Executive Director Mrs. Talullah Baly-Vanterpool who offered welcome remarks and updates to the team. 

FAVE’s Chair Mr. Elroy Hughes also shared with the team and welcomed the participants, acknowledging that it was Valentine’s Day.

Gathered for the review workdays at the Carl and Son’s establishment, FAVE’s vocational team answered the question “Where are we now?” through a series of whole school and focused group discussions and presentations aimed at improving the school’s planning, programs and services.

Mrs. Marisha Olivacce served as the school’s SDP facilitator, in collaboration with the Board’s SDP Facilitator, Innovations Coordinator Mrs. Lavern Nelson.  Together, they charted the team-review process which included solicited feedback through surveys to the school’s parents/guardians, students, and staff. 

Additionally, the team reviewed a number of essential documents and policies such as the FAVE’s Strategic Plan 2023-2027, FAVE’s values, vision, mission and goal statements and the school’s preliminary SDP Chapters 1 and 2, recommending what needed to remain or be omitted, amended or added.

At the end of the two-day process, the school determined the priorities for strategic action planning during the upcoming stage 2, the design stage of the SDP project. The design stage will answer the question “where are we going?” 

Like its vocational campus, FAVE’s academic campus is formulating their SDP cycle, to 2027, and will host their team workdays to begin their review in the SDP planning process.  FAVE’s SDP Project is a collaborative effort, coordinated by its Innovations Coordinator, Mrs. Lavern Nelson.

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Sint Maarten Tax Administration Unveils New Website: Tax.sx

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - Minister of Finance, Mr. Ardwell Irion, proudly announces the official launch of the Sint Maarten Tax Administration's new website, tax.sx, effective today. The website is designed to provide comprehensive information to individuals and businesses seeking detailed knowledge regarding taxation on Sint Maarten.

Notably, it offers a wealth of information, including background on the structure of the tax administration, relevant laws, and various downloadable forms, such as Tax Return Forms, Profit Tax Returns, and Pension Request Forms. The platform also features an extensive Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section, allowing users to easily find answers to commonly asked questions. Content is available in English, Spanish, French, and Dutch, accessible on both mobile devices and computers, catering to a diverse audience.

This milestone is part of a broader initiative spearheaded by the Minister of Finance to enhance tax compliance throughout Sint Maarten. The modernized website reflects the government's commitment to creating a more efficient, user-friendly, and customer-centric Tax Administration.

The Minister encourages individuals to explore the wealth of information and resources available on tax.sx to stay informed about Sint Maarten's taxation landscape.

For further information or inquiries, contact the Tax Administration via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Three Separate Traffic Accidents in Prompt Ongoing Investigations by Traffic Department

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - The Traffic Department of the Sint Maarten Police Force (KPSM) is currently investigating three distinct traffic incidents that occurred within a span of 24 hours, resulting in injuries to individuals involved.

The first incident was reported at approximately 08:30 PM on February 16th, 2024. Police Central Dispatch received multiple calls concerning an accident on Sucker Garden Road, near a gas retail establishment.

Upon arrival at the scene, officers and emergency medical personnel discovered a female pedestrian who had been struck by a vehicle while crossing the road. The victim sustained injuries to her shoulder and was provided with first aid before being transported to the Sint Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) for further medical attention. Her injuries are not life threatening.

Subsequently, at around 12:30 AM on February 17th, 2024, Central Dispatch received another call reporting a severe collision on Juancho Yrausquin Boulevard involving a red SUV and a semi-truck.

Responding units, including police patrols and ambulance services, promptly attended the scene. It was observed that the female driver of the red SUV had lost consciousness following the collision.

She was administered first aid and rushed to the SMMC for medical evaluation. Preliminary investigations conducted by the Traffic Department indicate that the driver may have been driving under the influence of alcohol. Although sustaining minor abrasions to her face and upper body, her injuries are not deemed life-threatening.

Lastly, Central Dispatch received a distress call after 04:30 AM on February 17th, 2024, reporting a multi-vehicle accident on Simpson Bay Road. According to preliminary investigation, the driver of a green Hyundai Accent appeared to have fallen asleep at the wheel, subsequently colliding with a parked garbage truck and also causing damage to two other vehicles in the vicinity. The driver sustained minor injuries and received immediate medical assistance from ambulance personnel.

In light of these incidents, the KPSM urges all drivers to exercise caution and responsibility, particularly in assessing their fitness to drive. Driving under the influence of alcohol or in a fatigued state poses significant risks not only to the driver but also to other road users.

The Traffic Department continues to investigate these accidents thoroughly to ascertain all contributing factors.

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Internet consultation regulation for social initiatives slavery past now online

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - The internet consultation for the regulation for social initiatives is now online. The regulation which goes into internet consultation aims on supporting social initiatives in European Netherlands that contribute to the awareness, recognition, commemoration, or continued effect of the Trans-Atlantic slavery past.

Starting February 16th, people can respond to the regulation in a timeframe of 30 days through the following website: https://www.internetconsultatie.nl/slavernijverleden. For this regulation, a one-time amount of 33.3 million euros will be available. In total, the Dutch government made 100 million euros available.

The amount is divided in three parts: 33.3 million euros for the European Netherlands, 33.3 million euros for the Caribbean part of the Kingdom and 33.3 million euros for Suriname. Separate, tailor-made regulations will be created for the Caribbean part of the Kingdom and for Suriname.

The regulation dedicates specific attention to promoting grassroots organizations of descendants and involved communities. For example, they can further professionalize and strengthen their organization with the use of a voucher.

Also, larger initiatives that work together with grassroots organizations or that include grassroots organizations in a project will receive a higher classification in the granting of subsidies. Furthermore, the regulation is meant for social initiatives that focus on strengthening the community of descendants of enslaved people and the celebrating and expanding of their resilience.

The regulation is also meant for larger projects that have a considerable impact on increasing the knowledge, awareness, recognition, commemoration and tackling the continued effects of the slavery past.

Participation sessions Caribbean part of Kingdom

It is expected that the regulation for the Caribbean part of the Kingdom will go into effect in the summer of 2024. Participation sessions will be organized in the coming months with representatives of the islands.

These sessions are essential to incorporate the regional needs and insights in the broader programme. Islands’ residents can also actively participate in the preparation of the regulation for the Caribbean part of the Kingdom via an internet consultation which is expected to commence late February, early March.

The regulation for Suriname will be published at a later date. The aim is to still do so in 2024.

Participation as a solid base for approach after slavery past apology

Using an approach that centres on participation, major steps are being taken to further work out the apologies for the slavery past. In the past year, extensive discussions were held with a broad group of descendants and other involved persons.

These discussions yielded valuable insights which will form the basis for policy. On the request of the ministry of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations, the bureau TrueTalk spoke with 270 descendants and directly involved persons. Various dialogue methods were utilised for this purpose, including individual talks, roundtable meetings and conversations in a natural setting, in the street or in cafeterias. The descendants’ communities were included in this effort.

Age, organisational and emotional involvement, cultural background and regional spread were taken into consideration in selecting the discussion partners. The insights of the research make clear that, to this day, the consequences of the slavery past are especially felt in the social position of the community in areas such as housing, education, and the labour market.

There is a need for social initiatives that offer solutions to address that structural inequality. The commemoration is also seen as a means to work on a more equal society.      

At the end of January, eight ministers and state secretaries, including Alexandra van Huffelen, Hugo de Jonge, Hanke Bruins Slot, Robbert Dijkgraaf and Franc Weerwind, will engage in talks with about 70 descendants in the Diligentia Theatre in The Hague.

Topics included the steps after the comma, the draft regulation for social initiatives and the contours for the Kingdom-wide Commemoration Committee. Participants in this dialogue session came from the European Netherlands, the Caribbean part of the Kingdom and Suriname.

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Sint Maarten’s Airport 'Restoring a Princess' Series Earns Prestigious NYX Awards for Construction and Tourism"

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY-AIRPORT) - In December 2023, The Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) achieved a notable milestone by winning two NYX awards—one for Construction and another for Tourism. The NYX awards program celebrates outstanding achievements in the creative and marketing industries.

This recognition was earned through the "Restoring of a Princess" video series, showcasing the reconstruction of Princess Juliana International Airport post-Hurricane Irma. The awards include two physical accolades for 2023, bearing the airport's achievements.

The informative series can be seen on the //www.youtube.com/@SXMAIRPORT">YouTube channel of the airport, as well as on the Facebook and Instagram channels. 

On September 6, 2017, Hurricane Irma severely damaged Princess Juliana International Airport in Sint Maarten. The "Restoring a Princess" series provides a behind-the-scenes look at the reconstruction, depicting the dedication to restoring the airport's glory from roof to basement. The videos were made by Gary "Gee Money" Euton and Darin "King Vers" Hodge under the assignment of PJIAE who wanted to share the rebuilding steps with its traveling guests through these series. 

The reconstruction project is funded by the trust fund designated for St. Maarten's rebuilding, the project is supervised by the World Bank and partially funded by the European Investment Bank. 

The completion is scheduled for Q2 2024, with the departure hall already operational since November 15, 2023. In 2022, the airport handled over 50,000 aircraft movements and nearly 1.5 million passenger movements.

The NYX Awards is a prestigious international competition that recognizes and celebrates excellence in the creative and marketing industries. Our categories encompass Advertising & Design, Strategic Communications and Marketing Campaigns, as well as Digital Media, including web, video, and social media. Spanning the spectrum from boutique studios to industry giants, NYX Awards warmly welcomes entries from agencies of all sizes. Our mission is simple: to recognize and honor the brilliance that lies at the heart of the creative and marketing industries.

Since its inception in 2018, the NYX Awards has attracted thousands of entries from over 60 countries, making it a truly global competition. We believe that brilliance knows no bounds, and our platform is designed to reflect this belief. Whether you're a visionary ad agency rewriting the rules of brand storytelling, a design and print studio crafting visual masterpieces, a strategic communications powerhouse shaping narratives, or a digital media virtuoso redefining online engagement, the NYX Awards is your stage to shine.

Join us in this celebration of innovation, where the brightest minds in the creative and marketing sectors come together to inspire, learn, and set new standards of excellence.

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