Soualiga News Today

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Globally, October is observed as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This year, 2022, the Positive and Elektralyets Foundations have organized several pink events during the month of October aimed at increasing the awareness of breast cancer, encouraging warriors, survivors and those who understand the importance of staying in tune with their health, that getting checked is important in saving lives in our community. The events encompass screening opportunities, education, fundraising, fitness, and awareness activities.

Screening Opportunities

Screening initiatives is an opportunity for women to get a free clinical breast examination.

The Women’s Health Day at SMMC, an annual event, will be from 9 am- 3pm on October 15th and attendees will have the opportunity to receive a free clinical breast examination carried out by SMMC’s medical specialists and local general practitioners.   In addition to breast cancer screenings for women, SMMC will also offer free blood pressure and blood glucose monitoring, free eye exams, free HIV testing by the St. Maarten AIDS Foundation, free vegan food tasting by Freegan Food Foundation and information on insurance from SZV Social and Health Insurances and Guardian Group. Screening is an important element in the fight against breast cancer and therefore the foundations have committed and partnered with the SMMC to cover the cost of 100 free mammograms for uninsured women on St. Maarten. To avoid long lines, pre-registering for breast cancer screening is strongly encouraged. Women over the age of 20 are asked to email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with their name and phone number to register. Once registered, the attendees will receive confirmation with their appointment time. Walk-ins are welcome and will be facilitated.

Another screening opportunity is the breast abnormalities survey project scheduled for October 1st, 22nd and November 26th which includes a free breast examination and health screening for women over the age of 18 years. The screening will be held at Collective Prevention Services (CPS) from 9 am to 3pm. Participants are required to call +1-721-545-2298 ext. 4042357 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to make an appointment. This initiative, the breast abnormalities survey, begun in 2017, to identify breast abnormalities, that can be risk factors for diseases, of the breast as early as possible and to refer for further diagnosis and treatment. The target group is women 18 years and older and approximately 400 women have already participated in this project prior to the COVID 19 pandemic. The goal is to screen 1000 women to complete the project.

The screening entails a free clinical breast examination performed by a board-certified AUC physician, Dr. Chobanyan, and a health screening which includes checking the participants, height, weight, blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol, waist circumference, BMI and vision. Participants will also be educated about breast cancer and risk factors for this disease. The Positive and Elektralyets Foundations encourage women, who are 18 years and older, who have not participated in past AUC breast screenings to participate.


Education initiatives during October 2022 included breast cancer awareness presentations to the staff of NAGICO and students at the Sister Borgia School.

On October 5th at 7pm the Women’s League of the Philipsburg Methodist Church will a breast cancer information session at the Philipsburg Methodist Church. An Invitation is extended to public to participate and engage in an interactive discussion on reducing your risks for breast cancer which will be presented by Dr. Chobanyan and Taylor Newsome of the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC).

The U2 Can Move will host its annual Sip and Chat on October 8th at 6pm at the John Larmonie Center. During this event there will be several guest speakers including Dr. Chobanyan a certified oncologist on St. Maarten and a professor of clinical medicine at the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC). Everyone is encouraged to attend.

These events are free, and everyone is invited to attend. The foundations along with support from AUC believes that the presentation the “Risk Factors of Breast Cancer” was very important and should not be missed. The foundations will also distribute, for free, breast cancer education literature.


The foundations kick-off event, the Pink Sunset Sail, on Saturday October 1, 2022. Each year this event, now in its 7th year, is organized by Aqua Mania Adventures and along with sponsors raised funds through ticket sales and raffles. In 2021 proceeds amounting to US$4K was raised to continue the foundations quest to boost Breast Cancer Awareness on the island of St. Maarten for research, screenings, awareness activities, projects, and education. The 2nd annual Full Moon Paddle hosted by Trisport on October 9, and Clink for Pink hosted by the Amsterdam Cheese Shop on October 14th, 15th, 21st and 22nd are all fundraisers and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the foundations. Schools like Montessori, Caribbean International Academy (CIA) and St. Maarten Academy PSVE and Sister Borgia are also raising funds and will contribute to the cause.


In the fight against cancer, physical activity is an important way in which we can reduce our risk for developing cancer. Therefore, the foundations always ensure that physical activity is included in its month-long campaigns. This year the Pink and Blue “Ya Gotta Get Checked Fitness on the beach will be held on October 2, 2022, at 5.30am on the Great Bay beach on the boardwalk around the Castaway Beach Bar, in collaboration with NAGICO, Monster Factory. Participants will experience a warmup exercise followed by a circuit of 10 training stations geared towards all fitness levels and abilities. Participants will be treated to a free t-shirt, promotional items for NAGICO, refreshments from ILTT and water, and apples and oranges. This is a free event.

October 29, 2022, at 5am is the CIBC First Caribbean Move for the Cure, this event is a walk, dance an yoga marathon. The proceeds for this event will benefit the Nurses. Participants can register and collect shirts and bands at any CIBC First Caribbean Branch.

The month-long breast cancer awareness campaign would not be complete if we did not pay tribute to and encouraged our warriors not to give up the fight, survivors and those who understand the importance of staying in tune with their health, the importance of getting checked and those who have lost fight.

Awareness and Celebratory

Together with partners like Kooyman, the Colebay Methodist Church and Caribbean Eagles Bike Club, warriors, survivors, those who are currently engaged in the fight and those who have lost the fight were celebrated, encouraged, supported, and remembered. Kooyman will be hosting its annual Paint it pink event on October 22, 2022. The Caribbean Eagles bikers for boobs rally is on October 16, 2022, and the Colebay Methodist Church will host its celebratory cancer awareness service on October 30, 2022.

Additionally, we hoist two “Get Checked” flags at two strategic locations – the Courthouse on Frontstreet, and Lexwell’s Attorneys at Law Office at Harbor View in Philipsburg.

The Positive and Elektralyets Foundations said that “Many of us may have overlooked getting our annual physical because of the challenges associated with the pandemic, while some of us may have questioned why you should see your doctor for an annual physical exam, if you are feeling generally healthy. One good reason is checking in with your primary care physician can confirm that you have no underlying health risks that need attention. Or an exam may lead to an early-stage diagnosis of some kind, which means you could receive treatment sooner with better outcomes”.

The Positive and Elektralyets Foundation is calling our entire community to action to “GET CHECKED!” as breast cancer does not discriminate, and it could affect the ones we hold dear to our hearts. Help us help our community and let us be proactive in the fight against Breast Cancer and stand together as one to help save lives!

The breast cancer awareness movement launched in 1998 by the Positive Foundation has collaborated with the Elektralyets Foundation for over 10 years in the fight to save lives with its early detection messaging.

For more information regarding Breast Cancer Awareness events please check our Facebook pages - Positive Foundation or Elektra Voltage or contact:

Shelly Alphonso Cellphone:580 9658


Mercedes”Elektra” van der Waals-Wyatt Cellphone: 523-7418

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


Minister Ottley Gives Extensive Explanation on New Civil Code

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (VSA), the honourable Omar Ottley has taken the pragmatic approach to allow the draft legislation Book 7, Title 10 of Civil Code regarding the abuse of short-term contracts, extended maternity, introduction of paternity leave and various aspects of the law to go into effect as of October 1, 2022, while he works on necessary improvements to the said law.

Alluding to concerns expressed by some community members, Ottley said, "The law goes into effect from October 1, 2022, with no retroactive implications. However, the implications of the law will convene after October 1, 2022."

There are some persons in the community that view the implementation of the Book 7, Title 10 of Civil Code as being abrupt, but the Minister would like to remind persons that this Law was published since October 2021.  

The original intention was to publish the National Decree (LB) with the Civil Code going into effect in March 2022.  This was not the case and instead the LB was published on September 8th, 2022, with a three weeks’ notice of October 1st, 2022, for implementation.

Minister Ottley met with Parliamentarians in the Parliament Committee of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (CVSA) on September 2nd to discuss his plans to amend the law "even further" after it goes into effect.

He told lawmakers that the amendment (Book 7, Title 10 of Civil Code), which was approved by Parliament in 2019 will not end the longstanding abuse of short-term contracts in its present format but in the interests of the country and continuity he will push forward with the Civil Code as it has beneficial attributes to both employers and employees.

"I do not believe that the new amendment to the Civil Code will curb the abuse of short-term labor contracts because the option to send employees home for three months and a day still stands," said Minister Ottley.

He did confirm that some features of the law would benefit employees such as extension of the maternity leave, introduction of paternity leave, equal treatment, the restriction for employers to singly change labor contracts and protection in transfer of enterprises.

" I will go forward with the introduction of this new legislation because it is long overdue. However, I have already informed Parliament that my Ministry is finalizing further amendments to Book 7, Title 10 of the Civil Code, to end the short-term contract abuse permanently. Rather than further delaying the process, I believe it is essential to get the process started because without committing, we cannot solve the problem," said Minister Ottley.

According to Minister Ottley, both the employer and the employees’ interests are being considered while drafting his new proposed law.

Minister Ottley acknowledges that the Book 7 Title 10 Civil Code that was passed in 2019 is not sufficiently forth coming and the explanatory memorandum lacks some key information.  

The Minister went on to state that although he was not the initiator of the law, as the Minister present during publication, he can only interpret the law in the best way that promotes “good employer and employee relationship”.  The law should be interpreted in a fair and just manner that takes into account the employees transition of the previous Civil Code without forcing the employer to abruptly take on employees as permanent.

"The previous Civil Code, which expires on October 1st, 2022, states that if an employee received three consecutive contracts without intervals of leave of more than three (3) months, they will become permanent on their next contract. It also allows the employer to keep the employee working for up to thirty-six months with interruptions of no more than three months per interval without making the employee permanent."

The question asked by many is “if an employee is on their third contract that started prior to October 1st, 2022, but ends after, will that employee automatically become permanent, seeing that the amendment is to reduce the number of consecutive contracts from three to two.”

The answer is No, this employee will not automatically become permanent. However, considering that the initial contract was based on the previous Civil Code, if this employee receives their fourth contract after October 1st, 2022, with no intervals of leave greater than 3 months, they will become permanent.

An additional concern is “if an employee’s current consecutive time period already surpassed the newly amended 24 months, but no more than 36 months period prior to October 1, 2022.”

In this case, the employee is not automatically considered a permanent employee. However, if an additional contract is granted without intervals of leave of more than three months after October 1st, 2022, this employee is then entitled to becoming a permanent employee.

Example 1: An employee had an annual contract from August 1st, 2020, to August 1st, 2021. After that, the employee received an extension of the contract from August 1st, 2021, to August 1st, 2022. Then he/she received a third annual contract from August 1st, 2022, to August 1st, 2023.  In this case, this employee will not automatically be entitled to become permanent as of October 1st, 2022. If the employer grants the employee a next contract on August 1st, 2023, then the employee is permanent.  

The new Civil Code will apply to all contractual agreements established or amendments of existing contracts after October 1st, 2022.

Example 2: An employee received their first contract August 1st, 2022, to January 31st, 2023. Their next contract is from February 1st, 2023, to September 30th, 2023. Although the first contract started prior to October 1st, 2022, due to the fact that a new agreement was established after October 1st, 2022, this employee will be viewed as having two consecutive contracts. If the employer gives this employee a next contract without intervals of leave more than three (3) months, the employee is permanent under this new Civil Code.

Example 3: An employee had an annual contract from August 1st, 2020, to August 1st, 2021. After that, the employee received a second annual contract from August 1st, 2021, to August 1st, 2022. Then they received their third annual contract from August 1st, 2022, to August 1st, 2023.  This employee will not automatically become permanent as of October 1st, 2022.

However, because the employee is at the maximum time frame of the previous Civil Code at this time (36 months) and the new Civil Code (24 months), if the employee is given a next contract without intervals of leave of more than three (3) months, the employee will be permanent.   

Example 4: An employee received their first contract August 1st, 2022, to August 1st, 2023.  Their second contract will be August 1st, 2023, to August 1st, 2024. Although this particular contract started before October 1st, 2022, a new agreement was established with no intervals greater than three months after the implementation date therefore the new Civil Code will be honoured.  

Therefore, this employee would be considered as having 24 months and will become permanent if the employer grants them another contract without intervals of leave of more than three (3) months.

Example 5: If an employee was given one contract for a period of 3 years/36 months on July 1st, 2022. The contract will still be regulated by the previous Civil Code as the contract was established prior to October 1st, 2022.  

According to the Minister, "the new law reduces the contract period from thirty-six (36) months to twenty-four (24) months and it changes the number of consecutive contracts allowed from three (3) contracts to two (2) contracts. However, it allows the employer to continue using the loophole of sending the employee home for more than three months before rehiring them, making it possible to avoid the employee's position becoming permanent."

"The problem remains that employers can send employees home for three months and a day and not be in violation of the law, even with the decrease in the number of contracts before becoming permanent," said Minister Ottley.

His upcoming proposal should solve this issue and be finalized and ready for discussion with local social partners also known as the Labor Tripartite before the end of this year in preparation for the commencement of the legislative process in 2023.

The Minister is convinced that this will finally eliminate the abuse of short-term contracts and grant employees the job security many need.

His objective is to regulate under what conditions short-term labor contracts can be used. It is the intention that if an employer wants to hire employees temporarily, this is only possible based on a written fixed-term employment contract. The conditions are that fixed-term contracts can be used if it is necessary to meet a need for temporary workers, which need only exists in part of the calendar year and arises from the increase in activity in the company during that period; if the contract serves to replace one or more temporarily absent employees; or if contracts relate to the execution of a precisely defined work or project.

Project based work is defined as employment with a definite start and end date.  This allows the employer to hire an employee for a specific period with both parties being aware of an end date, as employees cannot be permanent for a job that is not of a permanent nature.

"Many persons have been in the same job for more than five years but were never made permanent. This is a sad reality that affects their ability to improve their socio-economic standing within our community. These persons cannot purchase a new car or acquire a mortgage to buy or build their own homes, because they do not have what is considered a secure enough income to offer a bank," said Ottley.

Ottley said: “If the social development of the Citizens of Sint Maarten is to be of fundamental importance, we must all recognize the need to end the abuse of short-term contracts. At the same time, we must be mindful of the need to make provisions that do not burden employers with unproductive employees or a labor market that is too rigid which hampers productivity. Ignoring these facts will also have a crippling effect on businesses and the economy of Sint Maarten.”

Some of the new significant priority articles in terms of social, economic, and practical impacts include topics as:

Pregnancy and Delivery (Maternity leave)

There is an introduction of 16 weeks of maternity leave, which prior was 12 weeks, meaning that the woman involved gets 4 additional weeks of paid leave.  

Within the new Civil Code, the employer may not demand a test for pregnancy or a statement to that effect, during the job application as this is in violation the law. Furthermore, the refusal to enter into a labor agreement with a woman because of her pregnancy revealed during the application process is also a violation.

Partnership Leave (Paternity leave)

The new legislation introduces the partnership and/or paternity leave for a period of seven (7) days. Employees who are in a family relationship with the child through marriage or recognized the (unborn) child is entitled to continued payment of wages. The general principle is that the father is equally important for the development of a child.

Equal treatment (men and women)

Ensuring equal treatment is in line with international treaties and human rights principles, amongst others established by the ILO, to ensure decent work globally. Further, equal treatment is anchored in article 16 of the Sint Maarten Constitution. Employers are prohibited to discriminate between men and women in employment relationships. Discrimination should not occur in the following situations:

  1. Entering into an employment contract (for example if the woman is pregnant);
  2. Provision of personal development for the employee (education and training);
  3. Terms of employment (including wages, benefits, e.g., permanent employees/temporary employees);
  4. Working conditions (regards to childcare e.g., occupational safety and health);
  5. Equal promotion possibilities, and;
  6. Termination of the employment contract.

Transfer of enterprise,

The new articles on transfer of enterprise have important implications for employers and employees. A transfer of enterprise usually involves changes. The new employer and/or owner has ambitions and plans to take over a company. This can have adverse and unpleasant consequences for the employees.

The new legislation provides greater protection for employees in the event of transfer of enterprise.

In the event of a transfer of undertaking, the rights and obligations arising from the labor agreements that existed are automatically transferred to the new employer. All terms and conditions between the employee and the former employer apply to the new employer. In this regard, this reference can be made to the Pelican Resort matter.

Restrictions to change labor contracts

The possibility for employers to unilateral change labor contracts is further restricted. This is only possible if prior agreed upon by both the employer and employee in writing. In case the contract is unilaterally changed by the employer, the employer must have a substantial reason to change the labor contract that outweighs the interests of the employee and should meet the standards of reasonableness and fairness. Lastly, standardized employment conditions in addition to the labor contract, for example via an employee handbook or employee regulations, are no longer possible.

A copy of the new law scheduled to take effect October 1, 2022, can be found on by the Law section in the year 2021 under title National Ordinance Labor Contracts/Landsverodening arbeidsovereenkomst (AB 2021, no. 64).


Flow supports K1 DIRECT Disaster Training

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - FLOW team members joined volunteers of K1 Disaster Relief and Crisis Team (K1 DIRECT) during a recently held disaster management training session focused specifically on providing psycho-social support to the community in disaster situations. The telecom Operator funded the training sessions, and the training plan provided the participants with the skillset to identify and manage distress and severe stress situations.

‘We would like to say thank you to FLOW and their team for partnering with us for this training and for seeing the importance of it.’ says Josiah Lamothe, K1 DIRECT Program Manager “As a disaster relief team, this training is very important for us to stay prepared not only physically but mentally. It helps us to be better prepared to manage people and their emotions in high stress moments in a disaster, which is important in our role as disaster first responders. ‘Lamothe continues. 

K1 DIRECT is the pilar of the K1 Britannia Foundation which focusses on providing critical support to communities after a natural disaster such as a hurricane, but also with crises such as the recent COVID19 lockdowns and its implications on the community. They do so on St. Maarten but will also deploy to other islands/ countries in the region to support local disaster relief efforts in terms of coordination and manpower.

‘We were happy to support the K1 DIRECT volunteers in strengthening the skills they tap into when confronted with the very real and serious situations that arise in the aftermath of a disaster. We commend them for their readiness to help in times that our community needs it most.’ comments Rauf Engels, Statutory Director of Flow.

‘We were also very pleased that our own team had the opportunity to join the sessions to learn valuable new skills. We’ll use the learnings from the course to be there for our own staff in an even more meaningful and comprehensive way. The psychological impacts of disasters are often not recognized as immediately as physical injury or other visible material damage, but that doesn’t make it any less important. We’re happy to support a community partner that recognizes that importance’.

‘Thanks to FLOW for not only partnering with us for this training, but for also assisting with our DIRECT communications for a year.’ adds K1 Britannia management team member, Chiaira Bowers ‘Partnerships like these are what makes it possible to maintain and expand as a non-profit organization with a volunteer disaster relief and crisis team. We look forward to a continued partnership with FLOW as we continue to stay prepared and ready to assist affected communities locally or regionally.’ 


Customs intensifies controls of several flights due to illegal import of firearms

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The Customs Department has intensified its activities at the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) due to a significant number of firearms and ammunition being identified and seized from the luggage of in- and outbound passengers. 

Customs aims to contribute effectively to the safety and security of St. Maarten while forming a minimal obstacle to passenger flow. However, as of January of this year, the Customs Department has intercepted a significant number of firearms, ammunition, and parts of firearms on passengers traveling to St. Maarten via the Princess Juliana International Airport.

Through further investigation, it was identified that some of the suspects successfully bypassed a number of checkpoints and were able to travel from their country of origin and entered St. Maarten with the firearm. On Tuesday, September 27th, a passenger who claimed that she was an active-duty police officer abroad, indicated that she brought her service firearm to the island for protection. However, there is no record that the traveler acquired clearance from the Minister of Justice to do so.  

Pursuant to Article 2 of the National Decree on Firearms, the import, export, and transit of firearms are forbidden without the permission of the Ministry of Justice. Permission, also known as a consent document, is needed from the Minister of Justice prior to transporting the weapon. In issuing a consent document the Ministry of Justice checks if a person is by law authorized or has a valid permit to own or carry the weapon. Not only private persons but also law enforcement officers and commercial weapon dealers have to request permission from the Minister of Justice to import, export, or transfer a firearm to or from St. Maarten. 

If such a consent document is not issued, the Customs Department has the right to confiscate the weapon. Based on Article 13 of the Firearm Ordinance the Customs Department is authorized to enforce the laws regarding the import, export, and transfer of weapons in St. Maarten. Violating the aforementioned legislation is considered a criminal offense and is punishable with a maximum detention sentence of 4 years or a maximum fine of ANG 10.000,-.

Persons involved in these cases were either arrested, fined, or received a conditional dismissal and/ or forfeited their rights to the product.

These intense actions have affected the normal free flow of passengers at the airport and the department notes that this can be a discomfort for some. However, it must be understood that law enforcement has a duty to serve and protect. The Customs Department in particular must take actions that safeguard the community at large and controlling what is imported and exported to and from Sint Maarten is directly linked to that.


PSG Prepares for Sustained Growth in Cargo Division. Employs First Female Crane Operator

PORT ST. MAARTEN – Port St. Maarten Group (PSG) is preparing for sustained growth of incoming cargo at the Captain David Quay located at the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facility.

In the coming years, local construction and building sector indicators reveal a very active period with a number of projects continuing to come online in 2023 and beyond. The cargo sector is a vital part of the nation’s economy and hard and soft investments are needed.

Diana Nicholson is PSGs first female trainee crane operator. She started her training in August 2022 and has been working in the safety and security department at PSG since 2018, but from very young, always had an interest in operating heavy machinery.

Nicholson’s advice to young females is: “Don't limit yourself to what society tells you is best for you, especially when it is based on a gender stereotype. Follow your intuition, dream big and do not be afraid to pursue those dreams, and if your dreams don't scare you, then you're not dreaming big enough. Dream Bigger!”

Kimba Thomas is the second trainee crane operator who applied at PSG and was selected due to his number of years of experience operating heavy equipment for construction companies in St. Kitts & Nevis, England, Africa, Antigua, St. Lucia, and Sint Maarten.

PSG Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Alexander Gumbs said he is now very pleased to have a female form part of PSGs talented crane and cargo team. “We are always working to promote our staff to the next level as part of our business human resource development and instilling of organization citizenship.

“Our seasoned operators will be training the new recruits in the coming months testing and sharpening their operating capabilities. All operators will be going through additional training in the fourth quarter by certified technicians out of the U.S.,” PSG CEO Gumbs said on Tuesday.


Leader of the US Party: Self-fulfilling Agendas over Principles seems to be the Order of the Day

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Leader of the United St. Maarten Party (US) Mrs. Pamela Gordon Carty in an invited comment said, “The Chair of Parliament should reflect 15 members of Parliament. It’s unfortunate to continuously see immaturity, power plays and politics taking precedence over running the country.”

“The position of Chairperson of Parliament is a position that is neutral and should be carried out with the outmost respect. Running a country is a serious matter and personal issues should not be intertwined with the execution of this task,” said Gordon - Carty. “The appointment of the chair is voted on by all members of parliament and not exclusively coalition members. It is unfortunate that with all the serious issues facing the country at this time, personal agendas and party politics is taking priority ahead of the people’s business,” continued Gordon -Carty.

Gordon-Carty weighed in on the very public spat between the Leader of the UPP, MP Rolando Brison and the Chair of Parliament MP Grisha Heyliger - Martin that has dominated the air ways and social media over the past few days.

“There is something seriously wrong with the NA /UPP union, the issues being debated, stem from a lack of principles. Principle positions seem to be applied as a matter of convenience and that has eroded the stability and integrity of the coalition.”

The USP leader lamented that ministers being falsely praised for the execution of task that they are appointed and paid to complete, and photo-ops with civil servants executing their duties, is not the definition of governing. “Deviating attention from the critical issues facing the country to non-existing achievements as a means of distracting the population from the sea of ongoing negative matters has been this coalition’s modus operandi lately.”

Gordon- Carty said, “Instead of focusing on wanting to be the longest sitting government the focus should be placed on upholding the constitution and achieving progress for the country. Fact is that no laws has been presented and passed by the coalition members of parliament other than the three laws that in effect hurt our people by decreasing their spending power and by extension stagnated the rebound of our economy. This government has failed the people and the coalition partners in parliament have failed to uphold the core principles of our constitution.”

“I am not impressed, but rather disappointed in the execution results of this government thus far, much more could have been and should be done,” said Gordon-Carty. “The lack of principles, integrity and transparency, sly behavior, cunning attitudes, and the falseness being displayed is unbecoming of true leadership. I am calling on the population to not lose hope, things can change, your constitutional rights can be upheld, and your life and living conditions will improve when you elect the USP slate of capable and committed candidates under my leadership and place them in the position to lead this country.”

Gordon-Carty pointed out what she termed as empty promises and nice talks currently being used to erase and account for all the mishaps, justifying the disappointing manner in which the people’s business has been handled thus far. “The best interest of the people does not describe what has transpired in the Jacobs cabinet. Emotionally misguiding the population by means of a reverse psychological approach of sympathy, pity and fake humility only adds insult to injury.”

“It is time for the NA/UPP coalition to show some maturity, accountability and respect towards those that placed them in their positions and the country as a whole. Your job is to uphold the core principles of the constitution, and work in the interest of the people, not misinterpret and use it in the best interest of your coalition. That approach is obviously flawed and has not produced any positive tangible results for the country. The turmoil and utter failures that have spawned out of that approach speaks for itself,” concluded Gordon - Carty.


PSGs CEO Gumbs, Act. Minister of TEATT Ottley Met with Cruise Executives from Carnival Corp. Brands

PORT ST. MAARTEN – Port St. Maarten Group (PSG) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Alexander Gumbs and Acting Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Hon. Omar Ottley, recently met with a number of cruise executives in order to generate more business for the destination.

Carnival Corporation & plc as a long-term partner of PSG are working on positioning cruise ships from the nine brands which will create new opportunities for the destination for the upcoming cruise seasons.

Acting Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Hon. Omar Ottley stated, “Fruitful discussions were had with the Carnival Corporation & plc and Princess Cruises executives.

“The discussions with the executives were based around opportunities for additional calls for Princess Cruises which is looking to have a stronger presence in the Caribbean, and it is our goal to make sure St. Maarten remains at the forefront of the cruise industry.”

“Exciting times are ahead as we fine tune the details whereas a cruise port, we will pick-up more port calls from the Carnival group. The nine Carnival brands, eight of them currently visit the destination on an annual basis.

“Our deliberations also allowed us to connect with the President of Holland America Line Jan Swartz and President of Princess Cruises John Padgett,” PSG CEO Gumbs said on Tuesday.

Princess Cruises had an exclusive event for the unveiling of their most advanced ship to date the Sun Princess. During this event Gumbs and Minister Ottley had the opportunity to connect with Carnival Corporation & plc recently appointed CEO Josh Weinstein.

Sun Princess is a next-generation ship and is the first ship in the fleet to be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). This cleaner burning fuel will significantly reduce air emissions and marine gasoil to minimize the cruise companies’ environmental footprint.

Gumbs said that the discussion with Padgett had a strong note to the Environmental goals outlined by the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) 2030 carbon vision.

Gumbs added that PSG has been strengthening its compliance department which has been transitioning to include Environment, Social & Governance (ESG) principles aligned with the recently completed high level vision plan.

Sun Princess is the third ship to be honored with the Sun Princess® name, adding to the legacy of the first ship sailing from 1974 to 1988 and the second ship sailing from 1995 to 2020. At that time, she had the largest number of balcony cabins and the cruise companies’ first 24-hour cafe.

Sun Princess embarks on its inaugural cruise in 2024. The vessel will weigh in at 175,500 tons with an overall length of 1,133 feet. The next-generation ship will have 2,150 guest cabins and have a guest capacity of 4,300.

“Weinstein during our discussions showed full confidence in the cruise industry where it concerns its full return and benefits for the industry and destinations,” PSG CEO Gumbs pointed out.

Carnival Corporation & plc is the world’s largest leisure travel company with 92 ships sailing under nine cruise brands including Princess Cruises, famously known as the line of the Love Boat, and Cunard which built the world’s biggest ocean liner at the time, Queen Mary 2.

Carnival Corporation & plc’s 120,000 employees worldwide serve more than 13 million guests a year.

Carnival Cruise Line is the company’s biggest brand with 22 ships, operating 1,500 voyages annually, calling on ports from Cozumel to Ketchikan. The fleet’s largest ship, Panorama, can accommodate 4,008 guests.

The company’s portfolio of global cruise line brands includes Holland America Line, Seabourn, P&O Cruises (Australia), Costa Cruises, AIDA Cruises, and P&O Cruises (UK). Carnival Corporation also operates Holland America Princess Alaska Tours, the leading tour company in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon.


MP Wescot: Time to renegotiate the cuts in workers’ benefits comprehensively

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The government is expecting that its proposal of law to sanction its unlawful act of paying out vacation allowance will be passed by Parliament on Monday, Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot Williams said in a press statement on Sunday evening.

“As can be recalled the government paid out vacation allowance in June to civil servants.  There is currently a law in place that cancels the vacation allowance payment, as well as reduces vacation days and overtime payments”, MP Wescot Williams explains. 

The government has found all types of arguments to cover up the fact that it acted against the law, but its argument regarding its legal right to do so without the approval of parliament is really neither here nor there. 

No one can contest the fact that the annual vacation allowance payment is very much appreciated by civil servants and for varying reasons. Arguments such as persons needing to pay school fee and get school stuff etcetera are valid and definitely not overstated. 

“That many people on Sint Maarten are hurting is also not an exaggeration. I experience it every single day.”

In the view of the MP, the government needed to inform parliament of its intentions, provide a financial overview, and ask for parliament’s approval to go ahead and pay out the vacation allowance in the absence of a legal basis. 

MP Wescot emphasized, “They did not!  They paid out the vacation allowance and now want the parliament to approve this law retroactively. Even now the government has not provided the financial paragraph for this payment, and I have in the past addressed the ambiguous situation with respect to the CFT’s (Ed. Committee of Financial Supervision for Curacao and Sint Maarten) advice on the matter. 

But even more concerning is how the government is handling or rather not handling the 12 ½ percent cut in the salaries of the other workers. Other workers meaning those who work for semi-government institutions. The cutting of the salaries of the other workers is part of the law that maximizes the so-called top incomes.  The government, on instructions of the Dutch government, has amended the so-called top incomes law, but went only as far as amending the law to meet the requirements of the Dutch government, explained MP Wescot. 

‘While the Prime Minister is pushing to get the law passed to cover their tracks of paying out vacation allowance to civil servants without the required parliamentary approval or authorization, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance are seemingly on a campaign to fix (for the lack of a better word) the payment of vacation allowance to the other workers, such as teachers employed by school boards and many others.” 

Again, it seems to be expected of parliament to sit back and wait and see when and how the government will deal with the top incomes law and address how school board employees and others will get the relief that civil servants got through the payment of vacation allowance. 

The top incomes law as far as it relates to the 12 ½% cut in salary benefits states that every institution that applied the law should publicize how. To give an example, if school board X chose to apply the 12 ½ percent cut by amongst others not paying vacation allowance and for the rest cut other benefits, school board X should make that known. 

“Up to now, I as a member of parliament have no information as to how any semi-government institution has complied with the law”. 

“Some might have cut the vacation allowance of their workers, others might have not, and I have stated from day one that the rationale behind a 12 ½ percent cut in workers’ benefits at the time when this was demanded and done, was flawed economic reasoning. This should therefore be undone as soon as possible for all workers, in its entirety.” 

To facilitate this, the parliament of Sint Maarten in approving the laws labeled temporary, gave the government the authority to cancel these laws by a decision of the government, formalized in a national decree. To undo both laws that slashed workers benefits with 12 ½%, the government has the mandate to do so by national decree. 

“Rather than muddying the waters with actions by individual ministers, the COM (Ed Council of Ministers) should collectively make a strong case for reinstating the workers’ benefits that I maintain were imposed on Sint Maarten more out of frustration with the government’s actions towards The Hague than any sound economic arguments”, MP Wescot concluded.


TV15 keeps the ball rolling with launch of SXM Sports on TelTV+

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Well-known sports commentators and sports personalities, Herbert Martina and Dennisio Duzong are the latest addition of TV15’s line up of locally produced and aired broadcasts from the channel’s Orion Production Studio, Backstreet.

The pair are teaming up for the weekly sports program, SXM Sports, with the aim of touching on all the major sporting events and developments on St. Maarten in the past seven day.

The premier episode of SXM Sports will be aired at 8:30 pm this Friday evening, formal introductions from presenter, Mr. Martina, and reporter, Mr. Duzong.

The pair will give a wrap up of some of the sporting events that have recently taking place and other events that are coming up. The program will be re-broadcast the following day, Saturday, at 1:30 pm for those who may have missed the earlier broadcast.

Program producers say on the show tonight, some important local sports personalities will be featured and some interesting insights will be given into the development of local sports generally. There insights will be a regular feature.

Earlier in the week, TV15 launched a local news program that is being aired each evening. Producers say with the addition of the SXM Sports each week, more attention can be given to impressive sporting achievements that are up to now going unnoticed on St. Maarten.

TV15 operator, Mr. Ricardo William, predicts a strong following for Mr. Martina and Mr. Duzong, both of whom are themselves involved in sports. Mr. Martina lists Basketball amongst his favorite participating sports while Mr. Duzong is more comfortable in cycling pursuits. Both have commentated on live sporting events on St. Maarten and are equally at ease covering and speaking about all sports activities.

“In the opening program, SXM Sports will be touching on a number of sports, including softball, basketball with a very special mention in swimming, that everyone should watch out for in terms of the mark our sportsmen and women are making not only here on St. Maarten, but overseas as well,” said Ricardo.

Ricardo says the 30-minutes broadcast is powered by TelEm via TelTV+ and the Sports Department.


SHTA Beach cleaner Project Used as Regional Best Practice by CHTA

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - In a regional digital conference organized by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) this today Thursday pertaining to the regional challenge of Sargassum seaweed, St. Maarten's efforts were highlighted by means of a best practice panel. The country received regional acclaim for its multi-partner Beach cleaner project spearheaded by the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA).

SHTA's secretary and Beach cleaner Foundation President Ricardo Perez was invited to be part of a multi-island panel discussing solutions to the seasonal influx of Sargassum seaweed. This natural phenomenon is not just a challenge for the beach tourism dependent regional economy, but also to its biodiversity. In addition, the Foundation coordinates educational sessions from time to time with the equipment operators and others providing information about turtle nesting protection and awareness.

The Beach Cleaning Foundation’s President Mr. Perez gave a presentation conferring how St. Maarten has been combating the Sargassum issue since the beach cleaner’s arrival in 2021.

In the wake of hurricane Irma (2017), SHTA commenced a fundraising campaign to acquire a beach cleaning machine. In conjunction with the St. Maarten Nature Foundation, procedures were developed to make sure the truck would safeguard St. Maarten nature to the best of its ability. 

Donations of ANWB the Netherlands, Rotary Club of St. Maarten, Rotary Mid Isle, Port St. Maarten and owners of Oyster Bay Beach Resort and Coral Club made it possible to achieve the milestone of securing the machine. For this special cause, producer Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeug AG (Germany) generously supported the acquisition as well.

Several of the aforementioned partners founded a not-for-profit Beach cleaner Foundation making the Cherrington 5500 beach cleaning machine available for island wide use. For this cause, Windward Roads continues to offer transport and personnel for any entity desiring the Beach Cleaner for a full day of operations at cost price. 

For more information about the beach-cleaner please contact SHTA at +1 (721) 542-0108.

shta beach cleaner at work



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