News 2 (2)

Soualiga News II (3828)

TelEm Group loading up electronics, other “e-waste” equipment for recycling

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - TelEm Group and recycling partner, Cadwell, Inc. are busy filling a shipping container with old and broken electronic parts and equipment destined for recycling overseas.

The container has been placed on TelEm Group’s warehouse compound on Pond Island, where all manner of home appliances, Communications and IT devices, Home entertainment devices, office and medical equipment and electronic devices and games can be deposited and disposed of.

According to TelEm Group, Manager, Procurement and General Affairs, Carmen Lake, persons, organizations and community groups wanting to donate any items under the above categories are free to do so on Thursday, April 1, 2021 between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:00 pm when the container will be loaded.

“This is a golden opportunity to get rid of that old printer that has been sitting in the corner for the last 10 years, or the old washing machine in the garden that you always wanted to fix but never got around to fixing,” says Carmen.

“Instead of these items finally ending up on our landfill where they will remain forever as an environmental eyesore or hazard, Cadwell Inc. will be taking everything away to be sorted, cleaned, bailed and transported via container ship to recyclers in the United States,” continued Carmen.

Carmen says the “e-waste” that will be shipped out will be refurbished, reused, resold and salvaged wherever possible, creating a win-win for the user and for the environment.

The St. Maarten Lions Club launched its e-waste Campaign last October reaching out to various Telcos and Computer suppliers for any e-waste items they have for disposal. TelEm Group was included in the list of companies who responded and is happy to announce that all e-wasted collected through the St. Maarten Lions Club initiative will be shipped out in the container TelEm has secured for the recycling campaign.

President and Cofounder of Cadwell, Inc., Joan Cadwell, has praised TelEm Group for joining her company in this region-wide recycling program, which she says leads to a “more efficient, cleaner way of life for the island, while promoting the idea of green initiatives.”


Council positive about follow-up recommendations by KPCN

BONAIRE (KRALENDIJK) - The Caribbean Netherlands Police Force (KPCN) and the corps executive (the Minister of Justice and Security) have executed the majority of the recommendations from four earlier inspection reports of the Law Enforcement Council. The Council concluded this in its review investigation ‘Follow-up recommendations KPCN’.

The Law Enforcement Council has made recommendations in various reports in the past 10 years in the area of the KPCN. In 2020, the Council investigated how its recommendations from four reports were carried out by the police force. It concerned reports in the area of the handling of complaints, the dispatch centre, victim’s assistance, and the basic police care. The Council is positive about the way the KPCN gave follow-up to the recommendations and the way in which the police force developed. This achievement is attributed to the police force as a whole and the corps management in The Hague.

The Council in its investigation particularly looked at the way in which the recommendations were followed and who was responsible for executing these. In practice, the directive control appears to be an important factor in the execution of recommendations. The Council at this time had 10 new recommendations for the Dutch Minister of Justice and Security. The Minister has sent the Council’s report, together with his reaction, to the Second Chamber.

Two recommendations of the Council concern the improvement of the general directing by the corps executive in The Hague. Namely, the exploring of a possible role of the National Police in the execution of the management of the KPCN, and the designing of a process to monitor the execution of recommendations. The Minister in his reaction indicated that he is taking over these recommendations. From now on, the follow-up of recommendations from reports of the Council and other themes will be placed on the agenda of the quarterly consultation between the corps executive and the KPCN. Also, the corps executive in 2021 together with the KPCN will explore the desirability and possibility of a role for the National Police in certain execution tasks of management of the police force. Another recommendation concerns the improvement of the specific guidance in the control room project. The Minister also takes over this recommendation and indicated, among other things, that the input of a new project leader has resulted in a considerable speeding up of the project.

The Minister has already given follow-up to a recommendation of the Council with regard to the occupancy of the consistent crime unit in the new Design plan of the KPCN. The recommendations with regard to victim’s assistance relate to the further automatization within the ActPol system where it concerns the intake and the feedback to victims/declarants. The Minister also takes over this recommendation. The corps management will further implement this in collaboration with the Foundation ICT Management.    

The Council’s inspection report and the Minister’s full reaction to the report are public. Both have been published on the Council’s website:


Veterinary Services in Statia continues to microchip dogs

SINT EUSTATIUS (ORANJESTAD) - The second micro chipping campaign of dogs in Statia has started recently and will end April 30th, 2021. Dog owners can pass by the Veterinary office at LVV from Monday to Friday between of 3:00PM to 4:00PM, with their dog(s). The micro chipping service is free of charge.

All dogs on the island of St. Eustatius must be micro chipped. The purpose is to help tackle the growing problem of stray dogs that are roaming the streets.


Micro chipping is not a tracking device. It provides essential statistics on the number and the type of dogs that are on the island. Also, if a dog is missing or is involved in an accident, the animal can be identified when chipped. Another benefit is to better prepare for a so called ‘epizootic’, a disease outbreak. A better preparation includes treatment and prevention and contributes to the animal welfare on the island and the veterinary public health.


“In the past year, many farmers complained that stray dogs entered their penned areas and killed their goats and sheep”, says Sharon Vera, Unit Manager of Veterinary Services. “When those dogs are caught, they are immediately micro chipped, in case they are not chipped already. A large number of dogs on the island are still not registered. This is why we are running a campaign to encourage all dog owners to bring their dogs to be chipped,” explains Vera. (Statia GIS)


Three Suspects Arrested for Suspected Fraud & Embezzlement at Large Supermarket

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Detectives of the Fraud Department are investigating a case of fraud and embezzlement that has taken place in one of the large supermarkets, police said in a statement on Sunday evening.

The management of the supermarket made an official complaint to the Detective Department on March 2, 2021, against several employees after an internal audit.  These suspects are being accused of falsifying invoices and forging a signature.    

In connection with this investigation, detectives arrested the first suspect with the initials T.J.L.S. on March 23, 2021. After questioning, the suspect was incarcerated pending further investigation.

Shortly after on March 23, 2021, officers also arrested another suspect with initials E.S.C.  After questioning, this suspect was also incarcerated pending further investigation.

On March 24, 2021, detectives arrested a third suspect. D.J. was arrested for his involvement in this embezzlement case. After questioning, this suspect too was incarcerated pending further investigation.  

This investigation is still ongoing. (KPSM)


Reminder to tune in for CDFHA/Prominent Women its “All About Business” Panel Discussion on Tuesday

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Women’s Desk, a division within Community Development, Family & Humanitarian Affairs (CDFHA) within the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development Labour (Ministry VSA), and the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Prominent Women, would like to remind persons to tune in to its panel discussion “All About Business” which is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, March 30 from 7.00 pm – 8.00 pm on the Government of Sint Maarten radio station SXMGOV 107.9FM, and the Government’s Facebook page, SXMGOV.

Amanda Vital – Bedminister will moderate the panel discussion and the guest speakers are, Justine Webster from the License department, Ife Badejo Founder/Chief Experience Officer of PWR Agency, and Edsel Gumbs from Qredits.

The International Women’s Day (IWD) activities has been a collaboration between CDFHA and NGO Prominent Women and is the final activity to close off the IWD campaign.

CDFHA and Prominent Women brought awareness to Women’s Day in March and hosted three information sessions that took place on Tuesday evenings which touched on important topics such as, empowerment, spirituality, mental health, and nutrition.


The Statia Royal Decoration Committee

SINT EUSTATIUS (ORANJESTAD) - Since the existence of the Chancellery of the Netherlands Orders, and that has been quite a few years, there has never been a newsletter. In this first newsletter, there is also a piece of the Caribbean Netherlands and a photo of the committee on St. Eustatius, that was appointed in September 2020.

The committee members are Anica Marsdin (President), Marion Schroen (Secretary), Maxine Spanner-Suares (member), Rosabel Blake (member) and Beulah Simmons-Merkman (member).

The islands in the Dutch Caribbean and municipalities in the European Netherlands can annually submit candidates for a royal decoration.

It took a lot of effort and commitment of both the members of the committee and the family members and friends of the nominees to submit the documents with thorough background information outlining why the person nominated should be considered for the year 2021.

Annually, on the birthday of H.R.H King Willem Alexander of the Netherlands Dutch nationals are decorated for noteworthy contributions in their respective communities. Then, the names of the award citizens of St. Eustatius will be made known to the public and to the nominee.

On the following can be read: The General Opportunity for the presentation of Royal decorations on the last working day before the birthday of His Majesty the King (the Ribbon Rain) will take place this year, as usual, on Monday, April 26, albeit in a modified form.

The committee would like to get out to the public that they can send in names of nominees at any time through This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

pag 2 newsletter





Tropical sea urchins move from a marine lab in Leeuwarden to the Rotterdam Zoo

BONAIRE (KRALENDIJK) - At Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences (HVHL) in Leeuwarden, the sea urchin Diadema antillarum has been cultivated to help restore the coral reefs around Saba and St. Eustatius (Caribbean Netherlands). The first young urchins bred in Leeuwarden were released on March 24th to the Rotterdam Zoo (Diergaarde Blijdorp).

The ultimate goal is to also breed this species on Saba in order to give the sea urchin populations there a helping hand. These sea urchins keep algae growth under control, giving corals more room to grow. During this project, researchers worked closely with students from the Coastal and Marine Management program. 

Repopulation of sea urchins for reef conservation

Diadema antillarum sea urchins were the main grazers of Caribbean coral reefs until over 95% of sea urchins were killed by an unknown disease in 1983. Without sea urchins grazing, algae became the dominant group on the coral reef, outcompeting coral.

Today, nearly 40 years after their mass death, sea urchins have still not recovered. HVHL is working with the RAAK PRO Diadema project (2019-2023) along with project partners for the restoration of this species on Saba and St. Eustatius (Caribbean Netherlands). 

Long awaited breeding method

For the past 40 years, researchers have been trying to breed Diadema in captivity, but unfortunately have only had limited success. Breeding as been found to be very difficult. Larvae of this type of sea urchin float along sea currents for the first 50 days of their life and are sensitive to water quality and nutrient availability.

However, in 2020 researchers and students from HVHL in Leeuwarden managed to develop a method for stable and consistent breeding of young Diadema

Rotterdam Zoo

It is difficult to transport these animals on a large scale to Saba or St. Eustatius, so the first group of young urchins will find a nice new home in the Rotterdam Zoo starting on March 24th.

The next step will be to breed urchins on Saba so that they can be released into the wild, strengthening the populations and helping to restore the coral reef.


Statia preparing for 2021 local Carnival

SINT EUSTATIUS (ORANJESTAD) - The Public Entity of St. Eustatius met recently with key stakeholders and has decided that Statia’s 2021 Carnival will be organized by the St. Eustatius Carnival Committee under strict local conditions and guidelines. One of the main conditions is that Carnival will be a local affair showcasing local artists. Parties further agreed that instead of the traditional 10 days Carinal 2021 will be reduced to 7 days. The planning and execution of the island’s largest annual cultural event is further contingent on the COVID-19 situation on the island. St. Eustatius is currently free of COVID-19.

Stakeholders will continue working on refining a Carnival strategy to ensure that all the safety procedures are in place at the Mike van Putten Youth Centre the venue for Carnival. In addition to the safety regulations focus will be placed on implementing strict hygiene measures and protocols. Hand sanitizing stations and additional toilet facilities will be put in place. There will further be an extra strict control on all quarantine locations.

Statians living abroad and friends of Statia in high-risk countries are advised that if they do plan to visit the island for the Summer holiday to ensure they make known to the Public Entity their interest to visit by sending their exact travel dates to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Visiting Statia only for the carnival will not be possible. Vaccinated persons will have the 5 days’ period where they are not allowed to attend events. More details will follow later.

During the course of this weekend the Carnival Committee will release its preliminary programme. “The success of Carnival 2021 depends on how well we as a Statian community work together to maintain our island COVID free. It has been a long year and together let us share this responsibility in order to restore normal life. As a Carnival Committee, in close collaboration with our key partners, we are up to the task”, says Marlon Hook, President of St. Eustatius Carnival Committee”

Stakeholders involved in preparing for the 2021 Carnival include the St. Eustatius Carnival Committee, St. Eustatius Lions Club, St. Euststius Musical Foundation, and the Task Force in which are represented, Public Health Department, Caribbean Netherlands Fire Brigade, Caribbean Netherlands Police Force, and the Deputy Government Commissioner with responsibility for the portfolio of Culture.

Statia’s 2021 Carnival is scheduled for Monday July 26th until August 1st, 2021. The Task Force has advised that no permits for large super spreader events should be issued in the month leading up the start of Carnival. “2020 has been a challenging year. We have had to cancel Carnival and several other mayor cultural events. One year later we know more about the COVID-19 virus. We must however, bear in mind the virus is still around with different variants popping up. As a small community we must therefore remain vigilant in order to protect the most vulnerable among us. As we attempt to gradually restore normal life, we must do this in a responsible manner,” Alida Francis, Deputy Government Commissioner. (Statia GIS)


Further improvements at waste management facility

SABA (THE BOTTOM) - Several improvements were implemented at Saba’s waste management facility since the beginning of March. Representatives of Cadwell Inc., the company from Florida that assists the Public Entity Saba in the area of waste management, trained the personnel(s) on how to properly separate the waste streams and how to enhance the processes. With the increased sorting of recyclable and non-recyclable waste, the amount of household residual waste has been reduced, resulting in less frequent burning.

With these new processes, the crew at the waste management facility has been able to reduce the burning of the residual waste in the air burner from 4 to 5 times per week to one night per week, stated Commissioner of Infrastructure Bruce Zagers. Seeing that the majority of the waste that is being burned is organic, the burning cycle is much cleaner resulting in less and cleaner emissions.

Single use plastics and contaminated plastics are no longer being incinerated in the air burner. On average, 40 jumbo bags of these plastics per week are being pulled out during the sorting. Usually, this was being burned but will be instead exported and will be repurposed in a waste-to-energy plant in South Florida. 

This week eight empty shipping containers are expected to arrive on the island, so that the processed waste that has been accumulated so far for the year can be shipped out. Based on early estimations, one to two containers every two weeks will be needed to ship out the baled plastics which are not burned. This does not include the other waste streams that are normally shipped out such as metals, tires and carboard. 

In addition to the improvements, a truck scale has been purchased and has arrived this week. Once this is installed, statistics can be generated showing the volumes coming in, volumes being exported and ultimately what is left to be burned. With real time statistics, more tactful decisions can be made.  

To further improve the processes at the waste management facility, the purchasing of a larger commercial chipper/shredder is being contemplated. This machine will be used to chip the treated lumber, tires, white goods (appliances) etc. With the chipper, treated lumber would be removed from the burning process which is another step towards making the burning process much cleaner.

Furthermore, by chipping or shredding the materials, a more efficient loading of the containers becomes possible, which in turn will save costs in exporting the containers.

Since introducing recycling to the island in 2015 there has been several improvements but also obvious challenges throughout the last years, stated Commissioner Zagers. “What is important now is that we can maintain the results that we have seen during the month of March. We all have a role in whether we truly make this initiative a success or not. The success of this goes beyond the role of the workers at the Waste Management Facility. It starts with properly sorting waste streams at the households and then to ensuring that the garbage is being collected in the right manner. When these two fundamental steps become more efficient, the working processes at the waste management facility will also greatly improve. We should not dwell on the challenges in the past but look towards the future as we commit to making and maintaining these improvements in our waste management.”

Lastly, a house-to-house information campaign about the importance of waste separation and single-use plastics will begin next week Monday. During the house-to-house campaign, the households will receive a manual on how to separate waste as well as a starting kit of reusable items to replace single-use plastics. A family event to further promote these initiatives is being planned for April. 

SGIS WASTE plastics removed during sorting 1

Plastics that were removed during sorting at the waste management facility.

SGIS WASTE five jumbo bags of plastic bailed into one block 1

Five jumbo bags with plastic bailed into one large block which will be exported off the island.



Citizen Scientists Needed to Identify Local Manta and Devil Rays

BONAIRE (KRALENDIJK) – The Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) is partnering with the Caribbean Islands Manta Conservation Program, an affiliate project of the Manta Trust, and to track local manta rays and devil rays within the Dutch Caribbean. Through individuals reporting their (old and new) sightings and interactions with mantas and devil rays, researchers are hoping to learn more about local populations to shed light on this mysterious species. 

Manta Rays and devil rays 

Manta and devil rays are highly charismatic and have some of the largest brains of all fish species. Although they can be found throughout tropical, subtropical and temperate waters worldwide, they are highly threatened, often victims of fishing. Whether caught as bycatch or targeted for their gill plates, which are valuable on the black market and used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, populations of this species are dwindling, leaving them endangered. 

Mantas and devil rays are some of the largest of the ray family, reaching sizes of up to 7 meters wide. Until only a few years ago, manta rays were thought to be a single species of their own genus, but they are now considered to be part of the mobulid genus, along with the devil rays.  Two distinct species of manta ray have been identified, yet a third is likely. Oceanic manta rays (Mobula birostris) are the largest mobulids and are found worldwide, typically in open ocean water.  Reef manta rays (Mobula alfredi) are found in the Indian and West Pacific Oceans, more commonly along coastlines and coral reefs. A third species of manta ray, the Caribbean manta ray or Mobula c.f. birostris has been proposed, and scientists are working to confirm the distinct species.  Caribbean manta rays are likely sympatric to the oceanic manta ray and found in the Atlantic, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.   

All mobula species are filter feeders, swimming along with their mouths open, sieving out zooplankton and krill from the water. They're known to use creative techniques involving repeated somersaults to create a cyclone effect, trapping their food in the water column.  Unlike stingrays, they have no stinger or barb in their tail and are completely harmless to humans.  Manta rays and devil rays will always be on the move through the water, as they are ram-ventilators and must continuously swim to run water over their gills.  They can swim very quickly but they can also be quite curious about divers and will often circle around to investigate, especially when divers or snorkelers are calm in the water. 

Manta rays often make regular visits to the reef, particularly to known cleaning stations where smaller fish feed off larger fish, removing parasites and dead skin. Knowing these locations and tracking regular visitors can help researchers understand more about mantas' life cycles and migration patterns.  Many of the sightings from the Dutch Caribbean have been of feeding manta rays in areas of dense plankton concentration.     

Manta rays can be identified as individuals by the unique spot pattern on their ventral side or belly. Using a photograph of these spots, researchers can track individuals over time, perhaps across international borders.  Anyone with a camera can take a photo of manta ray and all images are helpful regardless of showing the mantas spot pattern.  Even images taken from land or a boat can be helpful in determining seasonal movements and aggregation sites.   

Around the islands of the Dutch Caribbean, Mobula birostris and Mobula c.f. birostris as well as two species of devil ray, Mobula hypostoma and Mobula tarapacana have been identified.  Sightings appear to be infrequent and unpredictable; however, researchers are hoping to learn more with increased data and reports.   

Highly Threatened 

Although manta rays are long-lived, with expected life spans of 30-50 years, females are slow to sexually mature and tend to only have one pup every two to five years. Threatened by overfishing, these species have seen a drastic decrease in their numbers worldwide. Luckily since 2011, mantas have been protected within international waters by the Convention on Migratory Species as well as a variety of local conservation efforts such as the establishment of the Yarari Sanctuary in the Dutch Caribbean. Much of this has been driven by countries realizing the economic value these species can generate, as many tourists will travel from around the world to see these creatures first hand. In fact, one study estimated that a single ray could generate up to one million dollars in its lifetime. 

In 2020, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) changed the status of oceanic manta rays from vulnerable to endangered, signifying that they need further conservation worldwide.  This species and the putative third species, the Caribbean Manta Ray, are the two most sighted in the Dutch Caribbean waters. It's essential to continue researching these species to protect them and their habitats for the future.   

The Project 

Together with the Caribbean Islands Manta Conservation Program, an affiliate project of the Manta Trust and, DCNA is working to catalog local manta populations and educate residents and visitors about these incredible species. By reporting sightings and interactions with mantas in the Dutch Caribbean, individuals can contribute to this database. Each sighting can be validated using either an automatic or manual method, especially with the manta conservation program staff validating species for

The Manta Trust collects information on manta ray sightings worldwide, and they have now recorded more than 120 encounters throughout the Dutch Caribbean. DCNA and the Caribbean Islands Manta Conservation Program are currently working to build a regional database of ID photos from citizen scientist and researchers. More than 20 individual manta rays have been identified in the Dutch Caribbean, and lucky photographers have named some of these individuals.  Recently, Caribbean manta rays from Bonaire were named Caicai (reported by Bas Tol) and Ari (reported by Arinae Scharpenberg).  In Aruba, an oceanic manta ray was named Dushi (reported by Danielle de Kool and Rudolf Ulloa). If you are the first to photograph the spot pattern of a manta ray and submit it for the database, you'll also be given the opportunity to name the manta.   

Report your sightings 

Please report any sightings or photos (new or old) you have of manta rays, or any other unique species on The current goal is to increase data collection to highlight multiple sightings of individuals and to determine what areas mantas tend to revisit. With increased submissions, researchers hope to determine whether there are any aggregation sites or seasonal patterns of sightings around the Caribbean islands. and DCNA will share your photos with Manta Trust researchers; however you can also submit your photos and videos from anywhere in the world directly to, an international manta tracking database of the Manta Trust.    

If you prefer, or for more information regarding your sighting, you can email photos or videos (make sure to include the date and location) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Photos can also be sent through the Caribbean Islands Manta Conservation Program social media pages on Facebook and Instagram.  If uploading images to social media, particularly Instagram, tag #Caribbeanislandsmanta in your uploads to make sure these images are easily found and included in the global database.  

We look forward to hearing about your encounters and learning more about these incredible species in the Dutch Caribbean. 







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