Soualiga News
Menu

Soualiga News (4491)

Nature Alliance to Launch New Website

BONAIRE (KRALENDIJK) - Featuring Nature Related Conservation Projects, News, Science, Legislation and Education for All Six Islands of the Dutch Caribbean

The Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) has launched its brand-new website. In a press statement released by the nonprofit nature conservation network created to safeguard nature in the Dutch Caribbean, DCNA gave various highlights on how its new website will facilitate information exchange not only between the members of the nature conservation network but also to the general public.

In a departure from the previous website, the new website will feature various interactive information portals which will make information exchange on nature conservation, management, research, monitoring and educational projects within the Dutch Caribbean much more accessible.

Interactive news platform

On the new website readers, you can find the latest nature news with a focus on research and monitoring projects coming out of the Dutch Caribbean through a fully interactive news platform named (Bio)News (https://dcnanature.org/news/), also optimized for viewing on mobile platforms.

While the website in itself will be in English the various nature news items will be translated into Papiamento, Papiamentu and Dutch and available on the website. BioNews is kindly supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality.

Nature Conservation in the Dutch Caribbean

An interactive overview of active research and monitoring projects in the Dutch Caribbean will also be featured and readers will be able to learn about the members of the DCNA Network and the DCNA Secretariat. An overview of the various Nature and Conservation legislation and educational projects for all six islands of the Dutch Caribbean will also be accessible.

Visitors to the site can also access nature and conservation data through the linking of regional databases, including from the Dutch Caribbean Biodiversity Database (DCBD), and links to websites from DCNA members and partners.

Documents specific to DCNA such as the Management Success Reports for the Protected Area Management Organizations for all six islands can also be found in addition to ways in which residents and tourists can be involved in conservation on their respective islands through job vacancies, volunteering, recording nature sightings and potential partnerships.

“I would especially like to thank the contractors; Bram Perry, Deviate Design, and Coastal Dynamics, for their help in developing the website as well as the contributors to the DCNA Photobank which helped us showcase the Dutch Caribbean’s beautiful nature on our new website.

“We hope you will enjoy the new website and learn more about nature conservation in the Dutch Caribbean” commented Tineke van Bussel, DCNA Research and Communications Officer and project lead for the new website development.

The new DCNA Website www.dcnanature.org, has been made possible through the continued support of the Dutch Postcode Lottery.

Read more...

Captured by Corona book launched at 978 Sanctorum

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - The book ‘Captured by Corona’ Sint Maarten authors was launched Wednesday 31 March in a cozy ambiance at 978 Sanctorum by Beyond Kultura Events (BKE) Foundation, BKE said in a press statement on Thursday.

Sint Maarten students and adults are featured with their precious poems and letters about how they coped with Confinement, the Covid-19 lock down period.

Captured by Corona is a beautiful hard cover, full colored book, of which we are very proud of’, Morales, president of the Beyond Kultura Events Foundation, stated.

BKE has called up all children and adults of Saba, Statia, Sint Maarten and Anguilla to participate in its writing competition 2020.

An international committee of four literary specialists has gotten the poems and letters with only a code. No names were given in order to maintain objectivity in the judging process. The committee has selected the best poems for Beyond Kultura.

‘We are very happy with the high quality of the entrees,’ Morales stated.

The best poems, Haiku’s, letters and cry outs are published in this ‘Captured by Corona’ book, decorated with beautiful paintings of Penka Petkova.

During the launch all authors have proudly recite their poem or letter.

The publishing and distribution of this COVID-19 lock down experiences book to primary schools has been possible, thanks to the financial support of the Prins Berhard Cultural Fund Caribbean, N.V. GEBE, UNESCO SXM and BKE.

The coming two weeks, all the Sint Maarten primary and hight schools will get the books for comprehensive reading in English literature. The books will be accompanied by Posters to teach the holistic 3-W method of Marianne Tefft and Loekie Morales to prevent COVID-19: Wash your hands, Widen the social distance and Wear your Mask! There were also T-shirts, stickers and mugs with Winnie- the Hero Girl, holding up her 3-W fingers to remind us to prevent and to keep safe. These items are for sale at the Shipwreck and Van Dorp Book stores and at Beyond Kultura at 5271223.

Read more...

Gasoline price to drop on Saturday while Diesel Prices remains unchanged

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – On Saturday, April 3rd, fuel pump prices will be adjusted downward for gasoline while diesel remains unchanged. 

The current price of unleaded gasoline is Naf.2.115 per liter, will be adjusted to the new price of Naf.2.073 per liter.

The current price of diesel is Naf.1.587 per liter, remains unchanged.

The Government of Sint Maarten regulates the prices of petroleum products by imposing a maximum price at which wholesalers and retailers can sell these products in the country to motorists.

At the international level, the prices of crude oil have experienced adjustments and local prices follow the international trend, and therefore prices are adjusted to reflect this. 

Read more...

MPC & Sundial School basic necessities project comes to an end

SINT MAARTEN (SOUTH REWARD) - In an effort to support students and their families, who through the corona crisis have been struggling to provide a wholesome meal on the table, the SVOBE Schools Milton Peters College (MPC) and Sundial School successfully applied for a grant at Samenwerkende Fondsen Cariben as part of the funding agency’s “acute corona assistance Caribbean initiatives program,” the SVOBE said in a media statement on Thursday.

From October till now 314 grocery vouchers of Naf 100 each were distributed to students and their parents&guardians. Milton Peters College and Sundial School want to wholeheartedly thank Samenwerkende fondsen for their support and also Supermarket Sunny Foods for the good collaboration. Meanwhile the regular breakfast programs in the schools have resumed.

Read more...

VMT actively encourages people to register for the vaccine due to increased risk of a third COVID-19 wave

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Many countries in Europe are now in lockdown due to a third wave of COVID-19. The cases are mainly caused by the United Kingdom (UK) variant, which is both more transmissible and causes severe disease.

The UK variant is also driving the explosive transmission on the islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. Over a few short weeks, Curacao went from a handful of cases to over 1,000 in a single week. Sadly, the numbers are still rising, and the number of active cases stands at 2,548 up to Tuesday, and there were three additional deaths.

Emergency health resources have since been mobilized and sent to all three islands to cope with the unprecedented healthcare demand, as hospitals and Intensive Care Units (ICUs) approach capacity. The situation is deeply concerning.

The UK variant has now been detected on St. Martin, which means it is almost certainly on the Dutch side as well. While cases are still relatively stable on the island, the current outbreaks on the other islands coupled with the presence of the UK variant on the island, are a serious cause for concern. As we approach the Easter holidays when families and friends take time off to gather and socialize, there is a real possibility that Sint Maarten will experience a major outbreak caused by the UK variant.

There are a number of measures that can be adopted as a country in order to prevent an outbreak of the UK variant. Firstly, vaccination! The Pfizer vaccine is effective against the UK variant, but to really have an impact on national transmission, more people need to be vaccinated. To put this in context, 19% of the population Sint Maarten population have been vaccinated.

Bonaire has vaccinated 18%, and yet Bonaire is in the midst of a major outbreak, which indicates that our vaccine coverage is still too low to prevent an outbreak of the UK variant. Vaccination is now open to all those 18-years and over, so please register to get your vaccine. Registration is free and the vaccine is free.

Secondly, testing; if you experience symptoms or you have been in contact with a known case, please call 914 or your General Practitioner, and go to get tested for free at the CPS testing location in Point Blanche which is open between 08:30 AM and 10:00 AM from Monday to Friday. Free testing is also available on the weekends, but you will need to make an appointment by calling 914.

Thirdly, non-pharmaceutical interventions: masks, social distancing, and handwashing; these three measures are the cornerstone of public health prevention. Please continue to adhere and comply with the rules, particularly over the long Easter-holiday weekend.

Therefore, members of the community are reminded to register for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Registration can be done via the online registration form which is available in English, Spanish, and Creole, and can be found via this link: https://forms.sintmaartengov.org/form.aspx?v=OGtn05kNmb

Both Cole Bay and Dutch Quarter Community Helpdesks are currently equipped to provide information and can assist with registration on the spot. They are open from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM on Monday to Friday. You must bring a form of identification when you visit the helpdesk.

Lastly, the paper-based “COVID Vaccine Registration Form” can be picked up at several locations, including CPS at the Vineyard Office Park Building, the Division of Labor Affairs at the Simpson Bay Public Service Center in Simpson Bay, doctors’ offices, the Government Administration Building, and select pharmacies.

Organizations who wish to inform their staff about the Covid-19 vaccine and vaccination program via an information session can send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you have a friend, parent, neighbor, or relative that may need assistance with registration, transportation, or emotional support, please do your part. If you need help with the registration process, your appointment, or wish for more information about the vaccination campaign, you can also call CPS at 914 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sint Maarten protected together.

Read more...

Emmanuel seeks to amend pension law for seniors to be paid earlier

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Christophe Emmanuel will be submitting an amendment to the Old Age Pension Law that would see pensioners receive their monthly funds a few days prior to the first of every month.

The MP said that if Members of Parliament and Government can get pay on the 25th of every month, then the most vulnerable people in the community should be getting the same. “It does not sit good on my conscience that seniors, depending on their bank or some other circumstance, have to wait until the 4th or even 5th of the month before receiving their money and suffering the consequences and indignity of such. It cannot stand,” MP Emmanuel said.

He explained that seniors are confused about the change from being paid a few days before, to the first of the month. Although the Old Age Pension Law stipulates that pensions “commence” on the first of every month, SZV was transferring funds a few days prior to the first in line with regular payroll. The Windward Islands Bank would payout the same day, while seniors with accounts at other banks would wait three working days. In any case, seniors were getting their pension payments before the first of the month.

Seniors became accustomed to this system and some are still confused and very upset at the change since having to wait three business days means getting money four or five days into the months after the payments are processed on the first.  “It can’t be that our seniors are at the mercy of a law that doesn’t take realities and bank processes into consideration. Some seniors are solely dependent on this money,” MP Emmanuel said.

The MP said he has started his due diligence in order to get the amendment on the floor of Parliament in the shortest possible time and will update the public accordingly.

Read more...

No vaccinations during the Easter weekend

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Vaccination Management Team (VMT) informs the public that no vaccinations will be administered on Sint Maarten during the public holidays of Friday, April 2nd, and on Monday, April 5th.  

A small number of appointments have mistakenly been generated by the system for Friday, April 2nd. These appointments have been rescheduled for either Thursday, April 1st, or Tuesday, April 6th, and the persons involved, have received an email of their new appointment date.  

On Tuesday, April 6th the vaccination campaign will resume at the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA) Collective Prevention Service (CPS) in Philipsburg and at the Belair Community Centre.

The VMT encourages everyone who has not yet registered to do so. It is essential to protect as many as possible against the COVID-19 virus, even more so because of the increasing infection rates on the islands of Curacao, Aruba and Bonaire. In only two weeks the number of positive cases on Curacao increased from 70 to 2.548 cases and three deaths as of Monday. The increase is caused by the more contagious UK variant, which has also been found on the Island.

Therefore, members of the community are reminded to register for the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Registration can be done via the online registration form which is available in English, Spanish, and Creole, and can be found via this link: https://forms.sintmaartengov.org/form.aspx?v=OGtn05kNmb

Both Cole Bay and Dutch Quarter Community Helpdesks are currently equipped to provide information and can assist with registration on the spot. They are open from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM on Monday to Friday.  You must bring a form of identification when you visit the helpdesk.

Lastly, the paper-based “COVID Vaccine Registration Form” can be picked up at several locations, including CPS at the Vineyard Office Park Building, the Division of Labor Affairs at the Simpson Bay Public Service Center in Simpson Bay, doctors’ offices, the Government Administration Building, and select pharmacies.

Organizations who wish to inform their staff about the Covid-19 vaccine and vaccination program via an information session can send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you have a friend, parent, neighbor, or relative that may need assistance with registration, transportation, or emotional support, please do your part. If you need help with the registration process, your appointment, or wish for more information about the vaccination campaign, you can also call CPS at 914 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sint Maarten protected together.

Read more...

MP Ottley demands urgent attention to housing for the Belvedere residents

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Member of Parliament for the United People's UP Party MP Omar Ottley says the public housing situation on St. Maarten is in urgent need of attention. He has also called on the Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure to provide urgent answers to Belvedere residents on when they can expect the much-needed repairs in their homes to begin. 

Belvedere's housing situation is, for MP Ottley, incredibly disheartening and worrisome given the Colorado State University's prediction that this year's Hurricane Season has a 65% chance of being above average.

The MP issued a press release on Tuesday in which he states that the concerns he expressed during a 2020 Parliamentary session with the Public Housing Foundation are still not addressed. "I asked about the living quality of the people in the Belvedere Homes and today substantial repairs has been done. Too many homes are still not repaired after Hurricane Irma, and people are still not getting any maintenance work done."

He said, "It has taken too long for things to get done for the Belvedere residents. These people do not deserve to be treated in this way. They have been neglected for too long." He is also calling on Minister VROMI, the honourable Egbert Doran, to have the Public Housing Foundation finalize transferring ownership of the homes to the Belvedere Homes tenants. 

"Many politicians have promised these people that they will have an opportunity to own their homes, which was never done. I believe this is the most appropriate time to create such an opportunity for the residents in Belvedere." 

MP Ottley raised this concern as well during the Parliamentary meeting with the Housing Foundation. "The fact that I have not seen anything done in this regard concerns me very much. I know that we are in an economic crisis and not everyone can afford to pay for these homes. But the Government can create the opportunity for those who can afford to purchase the houses to do so. Those who cannot afford to buy the homes may still be able to do some work on their own to make it more livable, which should be considered. 

He suggested that repairs are deducted from the rent or that the Government comes up with a mutually beneficial alternative. "We can deduct repairs from the rent or find a mutually beneficial means of making our citizens comfortable and safe."

Leading up to the Elections of 2020, MP Ottley campaigned on the need for good homes for residents. Despite his plea, several houses are still in disrepair since the 2017 hurricanes (Irma and Maria). Several residents have been displaced, and the island has experienced its highest demand for housing since 1995.

According to MP Ottley, it is not only in Belvedere that attention is needed but the entire Dutch Side of St. Maarten. "We have people still living with a tarp covering their roofs and some with only partial roofs, in many cases forcing large families to live in one room. This is not an ideal situation under any circumstance, and we have to do something about it now before it's too late to act," said MP Ottley.

Read more...

Quality Sweepers and Maintenance B.V. Files Complaint at Ombudsman

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - St. Maarten based local cleaning company Quality Sweepers and Maintenance B.V. (QSM) has filed an official complaint at St. Maarten Ombudsman, QSM said in a press statement. QSM was one of the 23 companies that participated in the Solid Waste Tender 2021- 2026 held on February 2nd, 2021.

The publication of a press release by MP Christopher Emmanuel on February 21, 2021, raised many doubts and questions, resulting in QSM losing all confidence in the bidding process and procedures. There is an old saying “Where there is smoke there is fire”. This has led to QSM sending multiple letters to the Minister of VROMI dated February 23rd and March 19th with questions and expressing great concerns about the reliability and transparency of the tender procedures, in which it was also requested to immediately freeze and halt all operational activities related to the Solid Waste Tender and allocation of parcels until clarity could be provided on this, to date no answers to the questions were received from the Ministry of VROMI.

Despite all efforts to receive clarity about the tender process, on March 17th it was made known by the Minister of VROMI via the media that the tendering of the solid waste contracts has been completed and that 5 contractors have been awarded 5-year contracts for 7 parcels. The main question that immediately arose was, how could one contractor be awarded multiple parcels while it was clearly stated in (bold) the Terms of Reference that “One parcel can be awarded per family per household.” 

The minutes of the Jan 8th information meeting showed that the above provision was removed. The question is who removed this vital provision, why was it removed, and did the Council of Ministers approve this change? QSM assumes that in a government vetted Terms of Reference vital changes such as this, can only be made possible through the approval of the Council of Ministers. Without the said approval this could be deemed illegal.

After the terrible storm Irma in 2017, St. Maarten and its people again suffered greatly, in 2020 to present now a result of the pandemic. It would be quite baffling, if it was found that the person(s) whom we have elected to represent and protect our interests has removed such an essential clause. In these unprecedented times, government should be responsible to create gateways to facilitate economical boost, job opportunities and prospects whereby more families can be fed. 


Experience and strategy, aimed towards revolutionizing the cleaning industry has resulted in Quality Sweepers delivering a high-quality bid book with a well-calculated, highly competitive, and realistic pricing for Parcel 1 (Philipsburg and Point Blanche area). The Ministry and its advising bidding committee did not award QSM with the Parcel that was tendered on, being Parcel one. Taking into consideration, the thorough research and time invested into compiling QSM's comprehensive bid book, this result is extremely uncomprehensive.

Based on the bid prices for parcel 1, which was made public during the closed-door tender on February 2nd, the tender was awarded to the third highest bidder in the selected price category. The question then arises why the highest bidder was chosen, given that QSM was demonstrably the lowest in the same price category? In a time where Government is facing obvious financial challenges one would assume that it would be prudent to explore the most favorable price in combination with keen evaluation of the contractor’s mandatory documents and its presented bid book.

Quality Sweepers has made its name by taking the cleaning of St. Maarten’s biggest cultural event “Carnival” to a next level, in the village by implementing a seamless system to eradicate the flies problem that has been plaguing the village for years, improving the hygienic aspect of the festival and remedied the previous eye sore on the streets with its revolutionize street sweepers by cleaning the route immediately after the parades, usually leaving the streets in a cleaner state than it was before. 

A public tender should be fair and transparent if this is not the case, it then becomes an uneven playing field making it favorable for some and creates a disadvantage for others. QSM took part in the Solid Waste Tender 2021-2026 with the hope to create an immaculate environment for Residents and Visitors alike, through the company’s ability to produce high quality work together with its dedicated trained staff and modern machinery. QSM remains focused on one of its objectives “365 Days A Year, A Cleaner St. Maarten”

Read more...

Former Minister of VSA employment policy goes into effect

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The National Employment Service Center (NESC) plans to implement modified work procedures, in close collaboration with Section Employment Permits in 2021, based on the “Policy on the issuance of labor permits” of the former Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor, published in the National Gazette on February 7th, 2020 on page 12 of issue number 05.

The policy as published aims to create a balanced and transparent system with the prerequisite checks and balances to safeguard that employers duly comply with their legal obligation to exercise all efforts to fill their vacancies first and foremost with suitable candidates on Sint Maarten before contracting foreign employment.

To facilitate the implementation of the noted policy the team of Department of Labor Affairs recently collaborated to create comprehensive work procedures and amend existing forms and processes related to vacancy, employment registration and employment permit application process, in line with the policy objective.

The National Employment Service Center will be hosting a virtual town hall meeting on Tuesday April 13th, 2021 from 10am until 11.30 to provide more information and address any questions from the public, regarding the policy and the modified work procedures. Interested persons can follow the session live on the Facebook page of Government Sint Maarten. In addition, for more information on the upcoming event visit the Facebook page of the Division Labor Affairs and Social Services.

The implementation date along with the work procedures will be published in the National Gazette for further review at a later date or you can request a copy from the Department in anticipation of the upcoming session.

To receive a copy of the work procedures and or policy contact the NESC Team at 1721 5420640 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Read more...
Subscribe to this RSS feed

Soualiga Radio