News 2 (2)

Soualiga News II (3753)

Greenhouse being built for senior citizens

SABA (THE BOTTOM) - The construction of a new greenhouse has started adjacent to the hospital in The Bottom. The greenhouse will be completely wheelchair accessible for the clients of the LIFE Center, a program for the senior citizens.

Commissioner of Health Care and Agriculture Rolando Wilson, head of the Planning Bureau Bobby Zagers and Planning Bureau project manager Evita Pronk visited the location on Thursday to take a look at the 22ft. by 12ft. greenhouse, being built by Donisa Construction.

The construction should be completed by the end of March. The structure, made of wood, will have netting on the side so wind can pass through it, and a plastic roof. The shelves on which the plants will be placed, will be at the wheelchair height. A ramp has already been put in place by Work Monster, which also poured the foundation.

The cistern that is already on the site will be used to water the plants, mostly vegetables such as lettuce, sweet peppers, Chinese cabbage, chives and kale. The clients will determine which plants they want to grow and will each have their assigned space.

The benefits of this project are multiple, said Commissioner Wilson. “This will help to keep the clients of LIFE Center healthy, strong and active,” he said. The LIFE Center is linked to the Benevolent Foundation, the foundation that runs the senior citizens’ home, located next to the hospital.

The greenhouse project is financed by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW), the Public Entity Saba and the Benevolent Foundation. A similar greenhouse has also been constructed at the primary school, the Sacred Heart School so children can learn to grow their own vegetables.

construction greenhouse 02




Man arrested after stealing cash out delivery truck

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Thursday afternoon February 25th, 2021, at approximately 1:30 pm, the Central Dispatch received several calls, that a man dressed in a black sweatshirt and white long pants man stole a bag containing an unknown amount of money from a delivery truck that was parked at a restaurant on the Soualiga road in Philipsburg.

After taking the bag the man stepped into a silver Toyota Corolla with the license plate number P-7550 and sped off in the direction of Arch road.

The police patrol was informed of what had taken place and began to search the area for the car and driver.

While the police patrol was busy searching the area for the suspect, the Dispatch Center received information about the car being spotted close to the entrance of the Dump driving towards the Arch road.

While patrolling on Soualiga road close to the entrance of the Dump the officers spotted the vehicle driving towards Arch Road and ordered the driver to stop.

The suspect with the initials S.N.P. was ultimately arrested without incident and brought to the police station in Philipsburg where he is being held for questioning. The black bag containing the stolen cash was found in the vehicle. The money and vehicle was confiscated for further investigation. (KPSM)


Lions Club Hosts Fundraising Raffle of Hyundai Grandi10 Sponsored In-Part by Motorworld

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - The St. Maarten Lions Club is a long-standing organization that has remained steadfast and actively engaged in various civic, cultural and social activities. In support of these vast initiatives, the organization is hosting a fundraising raffle of a New Generation 2021 Hyundai Grand i10, co-sponsored by Motorworld. This all new redesigned 2021 Grand i10 includes countless premium features.

“We are proud to partner with the St. Maarten Lions Club towards this fantastic effort! The New Generation Grand i10 is a great choice for their fundraising raffle, as it features countless upgrades and brings a whole new level of ART + INNOVATION = ARTNOVATION! So much so, that it makes much more than a mere statement. The feature-packed Hyundai Grand i10 responds to the customer’s every expectation. The cabin color, textures and shape combined, provide a premium and spacious appeal that is now even more safe and secure than ever!” shares Tariq Amjad, Managing Director, Motorworld Group of Companies.

Raffle tickets for the Grand i10 are available at the cost of $5/ each and are available for purchase from Lions Club Members and at the following locations: Motorworld, Divico, Top Toys and VanDorp.

Additionally, the Lions will be at several Supermarkets every weekend leading up to the raffle date of April 3rd. This weekend the Lions will be at Cost Pro and Sunny Foods. The schedule for every weekend after will be on their Facebook Page. The car will also be on display at select locations, and at Motorworld in Colebay.

“We are grateful to Motorworld for lending their support towards this fundraiser of the St. Maarten Lions Club. Funds from this car raffle will aid us in our continued humanitarian projects and service to the community of Sint Maarten throughout our 50th anniversary celebration year. We urge the community to come out and support our raffle,” states Mr. Alphons M. Gumbs, President, Sint Maarten Lions Club.

For further information on the St. Maarten Lions Club’s fundraising raffle and other initiatives, please contact Committee Chair Lion Carmen Lake or Lion President Alphons Gumbs at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Arrest and domestic searches in drug trafficking investigation

BONAIRE (KRALENDIJK) - In the morning of Wednesday, 24th of February 2021, the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (KMar) conducted two domestic searches in cooperation with the Dutch Caribbean Police Force (KPCN) and Customs Caribbean Netherlands (Customs CN). One suspect was arrested in relation to a drug trafficking investigation.

The two searches, one in the Antriol district and the other in Bario den Tera, were conducted simultaneously by two teams. The KMAR had sufficient indication that the suspect, a 45-year-old man with the initials S.I.L.E., was staying at one of the properties in question.

Both homes were therefore searched under the direction of the Public Prosecution Service. After his arrest in Antriol, the suspect was immediately taken to the police station for questioning.

Both homes were searched with the aim of finding further evidence for the purpose of the investigation. Money and narcotics were found, among other things, which were seized by the KMar. The locations were released to the residents after the search. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)


CBS: Launch National Accounts Survey 2019 in Caribbean Netherlands

SABA/SINT EUSTATIUS - During the next months, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) will carry out a survey on production revenues and costs in the Caribbean Netherlands: The National Accounts Survey 2019. The survey aims to show the economic development on the three islands. The organisations on the islands will be approached by CBS to complete the questionnaire.

A large part of the investigation will be based on available resources, in order to reduce the burden on the organisations as much as possible. A small part of the organisations on Bonaire will be addressed through a letter, since CBS is not able to obtain the information of these organisations through other sources. The results of the survey will be published in the last quarter of 2021.

Some results of the 2018 survey:

  • In 2018, Bonaire's gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 3.9 percent in volume. St Eustatius recorded a contraction of 11.8 percent and Saba’s GDP declined by 2.5 percent.
  • The value added of the accommodation and food services sector on Bonaire rose by 19.3 percent. This made it the fastest-growing sector in 2018, together with financial institutions. The value added of the construction sector increased by 13 percent.
  • The contraction on St. Eustatius, by 11.8 percent, was related to a few large companies on the island. Their production is mainly export-oriented and dependent on regional developments in the oil sector. In addition, they were affected in 2018 by the consequences of hurricanes Irma and Maria, which moved along the Windward Islands in September 2017.
  • On Saba, the contraction was caused by the effects of hurricanes Irma and Maria. Inbound tourism by sea and air dropped by nearly 16 percent in 2018. This diminished the value added of the accommodation and food services sector.

CBS is required by Law to treat all information collected as strictly confidential.

CBS would like to thank all selected organisations in advance for their cooperation and, if necessary, is available to assist when completing the questionnaire.

For further information and questions CBS office on Bonaire can be contacted. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

CBS Caribbean Netherlands

Bulevar Gobernador N. Debrot 67, unit 9

Kralendijk Bonaire

Phone: +599 717 8676

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Money makes the world go ‘round - Funding, Finance and everything ‘not-so-nice’

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Finding financial stability is always something NGO’s are working toward and sometimes it can feel like a never ending up-hill battle. NPOwer would like to make this battle a little easier by offering a wide variety of topics related to funding & financing NGOs.

NPOwer will also facilitate workshops related to legal matters, for example, setting up a well-balanced board structure, organizing annual COCI registrations, and more.

There are so many great ways you can learn how to make your NGO more stable, don’t miss out and sign up now!

Wed, Feb 24th : 6:00 – 6:45 pm

Get help with your COCI registration

Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI), Jude Houston


Thu, Feb 24th : 7:15 – 9:00 pm

Basics of accounting

R4CR, Chi Hing Roger


Sat, Feb 277h : 11:00 – 11:45 am

Basics of grant writing

Mar Consulting SXM, Margot Mesnard


Sat, Feb 277h : 11:00 – 11:45 am

Grant application information R4CR

R4CR, Rolf Hunink


Sat, Feb 277h : 11:00 – 11:45 am

Taxation & Budget Monotoring

BDO, Marcia Illidge & Paul Lungu

Sat, Feb 277h : 12:00 – 12:45 am

Auditing explained

S.O.A.B., Nicole Marlin

Sat, Feb 277h : 12:00 – 12:45 am

Managing finance with little finance

IHland Consulting, Iris Hakkens

Sat, Feb 277h : 13:00 – 13:45 am

NGOs and their legal structures. One size fits all?

Notary office Boekhoudt, Meredith Boekhoudt

Sat, Feb 277h : 13:00 – 13:45 am

Finding grants for your NGO

R4CR, Jose Sommers


Surviving as a Society

Disasters such as hurricanes and the COVID-19 pandemic have a direct impact on societies. This is no different for St. Maarten. During the conference, we will be focusing on how NGOs are dealing with the recent developments and how they can support each other. For example, there will be a workshop on the COVID-19 measures & the vaccination program, as well as a workshop on food security and ideas to set up a (national) food bank. There will also be 2 workshops on some specific critical needs in Sint Maarten’s society. In this context, one must certainly also consider the care for vulnerable individuals who are confronted with violence or mental, and social-emotional problems.


 Thu, Feb 25th: 6:00-6:45 pm

Someone’s gotta do it – Attuning to vulnerable persons

The Wild Flower - Cassandra Richardson


Sat, Feb 27th: 10:00-10:45 am

COVID Safety and vaccination

CPS- Eva Lista de Weever, White & Yellow Cross Care Foundation – Bart van der Meijden

Sat, Feb 27th: 01:00-01:45 pm

A (national ) food bank for St. Maarten

Moderator Kevin ‘Suppa’ Petrona, Government BAK department – Hassani Ellis, Freegan Food – Joost de Jong , Spaceless gardens – Denicio Wyatt


NGO Theme song being developed.

To put a ring to the great work the NGOs do, conference organizers have approached St. Martin’s own 4 time and Reigning Soca Rumble Power Monarch King Vers to translate to music the sentiments of the people who work for the civil society. Music has a way of reaching people from all walks of life and we cant wait to hear this song on World NGO Day performed by King Vers in collaboration with some local NGOs. 

Saturday February 27th World NGO DAY

King Vers and NGOs

Special Event and Funstuff


UNICEF is launching its newest program and likes to share with all attendees its plans for the upcoming four years.


Sat, Feb 27th: 10:00-10:45 am

New project - UNICEF

Suzette Moses-Burton, Marieke Roelfsema

Our keynotes Angela Richards and Yasmine Essed – dedicated volunteers with a passion for community

The NPOwer Raffle

The NGO Community Song by King Vers performed by the NGOs….

npower conf discu



Prosecutors ends investigation against MP Ottley

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On February 23rd the prosecutor's office notified lawyer S. R. Bommel that based on the investigation carried out by national detectives there is no need to continue an investigation against her client Member of Parliament (MP) Omar Ottley, the office of the MP stated in a media statement on Tuesday afternoon. There is insufficient grounds to proceed with prosecution therefore the case against MP Ottley is dismissed (geseponeerd).

MP Ottley was nominated as a candidate minister. Seeing that Sint Maarten doesn’t have a screening law in place yet for candidate ministers, MP Ottley voluntary agreed to a screening process carried out by VDSM.

During this screening process Ottley was informed that the Prosecutor General has him labeled as a suspect.

Based on that information of the Prosecutor General, Mr. Ottley could not be sworn in as minister of VSA.

The MP has always maintained his innocence throughout the whole process and began to protest such actions.

On behalf of MP Ottley, a request was submitted to the appeal committee, which rendered the popular decision that VDSM had no jurisdiction for screening of candidate ministers, as they are not on the list to be screened.

However, Ottley ’s hinderance was not due to any VDSM report, but that of the prosecutor's office which had him labeled as a suspect.

Lawyer S.R. Bommel brought the case before the court on January 23rd and requested that a date be set on whether the case against her client will be dropped or taken to trial.  The court granted the request of the defense and gave the prosecutor office 30 days to make a decision on whether they will prosecute MP Ottley or not.  

On February 23rd, an email was sent notifying the MP's lawyer that the case will be dismissed due to insufficient grounds to prosecute.


Two Saba sports fields upgraded

SABA (THE BOTTOM) - Two notable events took place to the advancement of sports on Saba on Friday, February 19 and Saturday, February 20 when the light masts at the Johan Cruyff Court were officially turned on and the upgraded Juliana Sports Field was inaugurated with a netball and basketball tournament.

On Friday afternoon, Commissioner Rolando Wilson, together with Will Johnson and Dave Levenstone of the Man-O-War Ground Foundation and sports coordinators Joelyn Robinson and Lauren Risley, switched on the lights at the Johan Cruyff Court. It was a special moment, not only because now people can practice sports in the evening hours, but because it did take a while for the light masts project to be completed.

When the Johan Cruyff Court was constructed more than 10 years ago, there was insufficient funding for light masts. This meant that many sports activities were shortened because of the lack of visibility after the sun had gone down. During his visit to Saba in June 2018, Commissioner Wilson took State Secretary of Public Health, Welfare and Sport Paul Blokhuis to the field. “I explained to him that Saba’s Johan Cruyff Court too needed lights and should not be seen as different from the rest of the world because there is a lot of great talent on the island. He understood the need for the lights and we presented a project file to him.”

With the assistance of State Secretary Blokhuis and the Johan Cruyff Foundation, and a donation for the LED floodlights by Signify, formerly Philips Lighting, the lights were arranged. However, the right poles were lacking. The poles needed to be hurricane proof, and arranging them took some time. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic which caused further delay. Early February, the electrical works on the light masts were completed. Some more upgrading still has to take place to completely level the court. Commissioner Wilson said this would be done in a couple of months. “I was so pleased to see the lights go on. This will make it possible to play football and baseball in the evening hours.”

Will Johnson of the Man-O-War Ground Foundation elaborated on the history of what is now called the Johan Cruyff Court. It started with Lynne Johnson arranging soccer lessons for the young boys around 1999 on an open, cleared spot in Booby Hill. When the rental agreement in Booby Hill ended, then Commissioner Will Johnson spoke to then Minister Leo Chance about buying the piece of land, locally known as the Man-O-War Ground to create a new sports field. The Man-O-War Ground Foundation was created to collect funds to buy the property, with Will Johnson and Dave Levenstone as board members. With the support of donors and the Johan Cruyff Foundation, the land was purchased and the field constructed. “We are happy that many organizations and young people are making use of this field, and also proud that the Juliana Sports field is being put to good use. Long Live Saba and her people who never give up when pursuing a goal,” said Will Johnson, giving thanks to the Dutch Government for providing the necessary funds.

The Juliana Sports Field, in existence since the 1970ies, was upgraded over the past years with the financial assistance from then Antillean agencies Sede Antia and Reda Sosial. The Public Works Department gave the field a fresh layer of paint in December, and with funding from the Sports Prevention Accord, the Public Health and Sports budget and BES(t)4Kids the basketball rims were purchased. The new basketball facilities were put to good use on Saturday evening during the 3-on-3 tournament. Ten teams each with three persons aged 12 and up signed up for the competition.

At the start of the symbolic opening of the renovated sports field, the Saba Gems netball team showed their talents. This was the first time that the netball team played a game on this field, also in an effort to generate more interest for this sport which is relatively new to Saba. Saturday’s event was very successful and drew a large crowd. “We had almost full bleachers. The basketball players asked when we will again organize a tournament,” said project leader public health and sports Lauren Risley. “There is no one happier than this commissioner to see this upgrade materialized. We invest a lot in our youth,” said Rolando Wilson, who called on people to take good care of both sports fields. “They are our own. Value them.” The Juliana Sports Field and the Johan Cruyff Court are well-used by young and old. And, with the two fields equipped with lights, people can continue to play sports after sundown.

Netball players at Juliana Sports Field

The Saba Gems netball team poses for a photo with Commissioner Rolando Wilson on the Juliana Sports Field.

Wilson with young soccer players at Johan Cruyff Court 01

Wilson with young soccer players at Johan Cruyff Court 02

Commissioner Rolando Wilson on the Johan Cruyff Court with young soccer players.


Over 60 percent fewer air passengers in the Caribbean Netherlands

SABA/SINT EUSTATIUS - In 2020, nearly 183 thousand air passengers travelled to and from the airports of the Caribbean Netherlands. This is 60 percent less than in 2019, when there were more than 457 thousand.

The total number of flights (12.6 thousand) was down by over 50 percent year-on-year. Almost 88 percent of the air passengers to and from the Caribbean Netherlands travelled via the airport of Bonaire. This is evident from new figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

Passenger traffic to and from Bonaire was 58.3 percent down on 2019. On St Eustatius and Saba, the number of air passengers declined by 68.7 and 70.5 percent respectively.

RCN Air Pax CN number 2

Sharp drop in air traffic following COVID-19 measures

During the first two months of 2020, the airports of Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba saw a total of 4.3 thousand aircraft movements, i.e. a year-on-year increase of 3.9 percent. This was mainly due to a higher number of flights to and from Bonaire, from 2.5 to 2.7 thousand.

The measures implemented in March 2020 to combat the coronavirus crisis were clearly visible in the subsequent months. Total air traffic in 2020 stood at 49.2 percent of the number in 2019.

Of the three overseas Dutch airports, Flamingo Airport on Bonaire has the highest number of aircraft movements and passengers. Last year, the number of flights at this airport fell by 50.5 percent: from 15.7 to 7.8 thousand. F.D. Roosevelt Airport on St Eustatius and Juancho E. Yrausquin on Saba recorded a year-on-year decline of 53.5 and 47.4 percent respectively.

Most passengers flying to and from Bonaire

On 14 March 2020, Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba closed their airspace for inbound passenger traffic from Europe and from other high-risk countries.

In April and May, when there were only a limited number of repatriation flights, barely one thousand passengers travelled to and from these three islands. In the same period one year previously, this was 76.3 thousand, representing a 98.7-percent decrease.

As of 1 July, a limited number of tourists were admitted to Bonaire, which led to a higher number of air passengers in July and August. Nevertheless, passenger numbers on this island were 58.0 and 51.3 percent lower respectively relative to the months of July and August 2019.

In 2020, a total of 160.5 thousand air passengers passed through the terminals of Flamingo Airport on Bonaire, accounting for 87.8 percent of all air passenger traffic to and from the Caribbean Netherlands that year. The airports of St Eustatius and Saba handled 13.2 and 9.0 thousand passengers respectively. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

RCN Aircraft Movements


StatLine – Caribbean Netherlands; Aviation, monthly figures airports (

StatLine - Aviation; monthly figures of Dutch airports (


Top 10 St. Martin books taken home from Philipsburg Jubilee Library

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - The book published by House of Nehesi (HNP) that was checked out the most from Philipsburg Jubilee Library (PJL) in 2020, is Language, Culture, and Identity in St. Martin by Rhoda Arrindell.

Last Friday, PJL librarian Francia Housen provided the list of “The top 10 books from HNP that were checked out for the year 2020,” said HNP’s Jacqueline Sample.

Dr. Arrindell’s book topped the list, followed by Nativity / Nativité / Natividad, the trilingual edition of the Atlantic World long poem by Lasana M. Sekou.

The illustrated storybook Lizzy Lizard by Robin Boasman and St. Martin Massive! A Snapshot of Popular Artists took third place in going home with library users.

The HNP books that tied at fourth place in 2020, are: Hurricane Protocol by Sekou, An Introduction to Government by Louis L. Duzanson, The Rainy Season by Drisana Deborah Jack, Cul-de-Sac People by Mathias S. Voges, After the Storm by Tamara Groeneveldt, and pioneerseries booklet Chester York – Making of a Panman.

Jack’s first poetry book The Rainy Season (1996), started appearing on HNP’s top “check out” list at PJL in 2009. “What’s interesting is how Drisana’s book looked like it had popped up out of the blue that year,” said Sample, HNP’s president. 

St. Martin Massive! appeared on the top 10 list nine years after its publication in 2000. Since 2009, the book has been competing to be checked out with National Symbols of St. Martin, a long-standing favorite at the front of the list.

In 2020, National Symbols did not make the list it usually dominates. “Over the years, librarians told us that books taken home don’t reflect the full use of books at PJL. HNP publications, such as the pioneerseries, may have high in-library use for homework, pleasurable reading, and research and are not listed as borrowed,” said Sample.

The space available for the public at PJL has been significantly scaled down at its temporary location on WJA Nisbeth Road. The library building on Voges Street was severely damaged by Hurricane Irma in 2017.

The HNP books checked out for the pandemic year 2020 by PJL cardholders are all by St. Martin authors. “This is not always the case but I vaguely remember a similar book sales and reading trend right after Hurricane Luis in 1995,” said Sample.

The indie press has published books by writers from the USA, Italy, Israel, India, and throughout the Caribbean.

HNP is celebrating its 41st anniversary in 2021. “In the mid-1990s, HNP started looking at library use and bookstore sales of its books, to get more information about reading habits related to books published on the island,” said Sample.

cul de sac people

Cul-de-Sac People – A St. Martin family series by Mathias S. Voges, published by HNP in 2006.


Subscribe to this RSS feed

Soualiga Radio