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Emmanuel: Schiphol agreement should not be extended after two years of no progress

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Christophe Emmanuel on Thursday called on Minister Silveria Jacobs to explain to the public why the cooperation agreement with Schiphol Airport is being renewed after two years of performance failure by Schiphol and demands that basically would lead to the complete takeover of the airport. The MP also said the PM has to be clear and inform Parliament and the country if State Secretary Knops and BZK (Dutch Ministry of Interior Affairs) are now using the cooperation agreement with Schiphol as a negotiating tool for liquidity support.

“Which wouldn’t be a surprise considering the history of how State Secretary Knops and BZK has dealt with this government and the fact that this government keeps giving in to demands or begging for help,” the MP. “This is what happens when you simply refuse to come up with viable alternative plans, sign one-sided agreements and try to play games with the Dutch. Today St. Maarten is made to beg the Prime Minister of the Netherlands for help with the same State Secretary whose demands this government has constantly gave in to,” the MP said.  

With regards to the airport, the MP stressed that he wanted to be very clear about his position on the cooperation agreement with Schiphol which has not changed: the Holding Company of the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIAH) should be given the leeway to get the reconstruction of the airport done and sees no added value with the involvement of Schiphol other than pleasing BZK (Dutch Ministry of Interior Affairs).

The MP pointed out that in most other countries lack of performance such as Schiphol has shown would be grounds for termination of any agreement. He said on St. Maarten however, it seems as if entities, once they have the backing of BZK (Dutch Ministry of Interior Affairs), can blackmail and demand their way to extensions of agreements that are drafted in their favor.

“The public shouldn’t hold its breath for any kind of explanation from the Prime Minister because she seems more scared and concerned about upsetting the Dutch. But the responsible thing for the PM to do is to explain why sign another agreement with a company that have not done anything at PJIA. More than likely the PM would look to replace the St. Maartners on the holding board rather than tell Schiphol that their demands are not acceptable,” the MP said.

The MP said that it has come to his attention that Schiphol wants the expired agreement to be extended and does not want to renegotiate anything. The MP urged the Holding Company of the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIAH) not to cave to the demands Schiphol and BZK and make the same mistakes it did with the first agreement and allow Schiphol to have its way with St. Maarten’s airport, their exorbitant consultants and board members on the holding and operational boards of the airport.

“Airport Holding has to make sure the Prime Minister is aware of its objections and does not give Schiphol carte blanche at our most strategic national asset,” said. The MP also said PJIAH must ensure that timelines and benchmarks are met by Schiphol and penalties included if and when they are not met. He added that a firm date indicating when Schiphol will no longer be involved in PJIA affairs must also be included and suggested no longer than another two years.

“If Schiphol protest having an end date to the agreement then it becomes clear what their intentions are, as well as those of BZK: To be in control forever. He said PJIAH as the owner of the airport has to be forceful and ensure that the agreement is well vetted and advantageous to St. Maarten in all aspects. For example, the counterpart to the CFO must be appointed post haste. We all know who the local candidate is, it is time to appoint her.

“When you read the first agreement it read like a take-it-or-leave-it manual. This is our airport, built by our people. PJIAH must make sure that the language of the agreement does not give Schiphol any type of “Because I say so” leverage over the airport,” MP Emmanuel said.

MP Emmanuel said the airport should not be saddled with costs amassed by the Schiphol and BZK appointed CFO, consultants and board members. “Together these costs came up to well over US $10, million which PJIA had to pay. In the meantime, airport employees still waiting on answers about money owed to them,” the MP said.

“I think it is important that the Prime Minister tell us why they decided to stick with Schiphol especially after two years of no progress under Schiphol. Why not use the opportunity to say thanks, but no thanks and move in another direction? Why put up with demands and blackmailing from a company you do not need? The only thing we received from Schiphol is an expensive CFO, a whole army of consultants and demands that’s insulting to St. Maarten. It cannot be that Schiphol will get anything they want at the airport. If they, with the support of BZK, theathen to walk away because of not getting what they want, the PM has to let them walk and let PJIAH lead the way,” the MP said.

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15 KPSM officers graduate, class of 2015 (BPO-2)

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Friday, May 7, 2021, 15 police officers from the Class of 2015 attended their graduation ceremony held in front of the Sint Maarten Police Force (KPSM) Head Quarters in Philipsburg, the police said in a statement on Friday.

The graduation was attended by His Excellency the Governor of Sint Maarten Drs. Eugene Holiday, Prime Minister the Honorable Silveria Jacobs and the Minister of Justice the honorable Anna Richardson, Chief Prosecutor Mirjam Mol, government officials, department heads, representatives of several local associations and communities, colleagues, family members and friends.

Police Chief Carl John, the police management team, and representatives from the Nederland’s Police Academy (N.P.A.) proudly congratulated all of the graduates for their academic achievements and expressed sincere thanks to the family members for the support they have given them while they were in training.

KPSM continues to train its personnel to the highest level possible to give the foundation on which to build a career offering the highest level of professional police service.

Two classes at this moment are presently going through the same intense training one of which will be doing their final exams at the end of this year. (KPSM)

police ins 1

police officers ins2 fri07

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Rollocks releases book on Colonialism, Greed and Corruption

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Local science teacher and Political Consultant Julian Rollocks delivered a copy of his timely publication How Colonialism, Greed and Corruption Destroyed a Beautiful Island, to the University of St. Martin (USM) President Dr. Antonio Carmona Báez.

The book, a historical account on colonialism and the struggle for self-determination in Sint Maarten, will be housed at the USM library.

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MP Buncamper concerned about boat wrecks removal from Lagoons

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Member of Parliament (MP) Claudius “Toontje” Buncamper of the USP faction in parliament, on Wednesday forwarded a letter to the council of ministers expressing his concern about the progress of the ongoing cleaning of boat wrecks in the Simpson Bay Lagoon and it’s shorelines and the Oyster Pond while the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season approaches.

While he praised the organization for the decommissioning for the wrecks, the MP stated that it is unfortunate that the wrecks on the French part of the lagoon are not part of this program and that he is extremely concerned that the environmental aspect of the works will not meet its potential long-term goal.

The MP also noted that the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season starts in 26 days and the water in the lagoon shows no regards to the border. MP Buncamper questioned if any sort of agreement exists with the French part of the island regarding the removal of the wrecks in their waters to safeguard what can still be salvaged of our lagoon.

And more disturbing to the MP is the Oyster pond lagoon which has been left unattended since the passing of Hurricane Irma in 2017 due to the World Bank’s statement that they “do not carry our works in disputed territories.”

“While I understand the World Bank’s position, I cannot understand our government’s position nor that of the Netherlands” the MP mentioned. “We are all aware of what part of the Oyster Pond Lagoon is being disputed, yet we allow the lagoon to suffer serious environmental damages because of the nonchalant behavior of the Netherlands.” In his letter addressed to the council of ministers, MP Buncamper noted that after Hurricane Irma the French government discharged a barge into the Oyster Pond Lagoon and cleaned up nearly all of the sunken vessels there.

“I cannot accept that our government has not yet contacted the Ministry of Foreign affairs in the Netherlands to indicate clearly which specific area of the Oyster Pond Lagoon is under dispute with the French Government, to enable the World Bank to amend the ongoing project for the removal of shipwrecks to include the Oyster Pond Lagoon.”

MP Buncamper warned against allowing the cleaning team and their equipment to leave the island before completing the project, which will result in the environmental destruction of the Oyster Pond Lagoon for unnecessary reasons.

The French government has indicated to the Dutch Government, and by extension the St. Maarten government, exactly what portion of the Oyster Pond Lagoon they claim is their territory. So, we can at least start to clean up the rest while we discuss the disputed part. “In my opinion, such a compromise cannot be too farfetched” the MP stated.                                                                                                                                            “This will show that we truly care about the environment and that we are willing to do more than just talk about it” MP Buncamper concluded.

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Second edition of COVID-19 Vaccination Panel Discussion set for Tuesday May 11th at 7:00 PM

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Do you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccination? Do you have concerns about the vaccine, or do you want more information about the purpose and goal of the vaccines?

Next week, Tuesday, May 11th, the second edition of the COVID-19 Vaccination Panel Discussion will be held, and the guests can provide you with answers to your questions. In this online event, which will be broadcasted via Facebook Livestream, various experts will provide updates and new data regarding the COVID-19 vaccines and answer all questions live!

There are many new developments regarding vaccination here on the island and worldwide, such as several different virus mutations, and many countries are adapting their COVID-19 regulations and restrictions as vaccination levels within the populations increase.

Why do you still have to wear a mask if you are fully vaccinated? Why is a PCR test still mandatory when you are fully vaccinated? And can I still become sick after vaccination? Various health experts will discuss all these questions and many more.

Here on the island, more people seem to become interested in taking the vaccine but still have questions or concerns. In this online event, any question regarding the vaccine can be asked directly to the health experts. Questions can be posted live in the comment section or sent in advance to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

With this event, which is available for everyone to view, the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labour (Ministry VSA), Department of Communication (DCOMM), Collective Prevention Services (CPS), and the Vaccination Management Team (VMT) aim to inform and update the public and stop the spread of misinformation.

The Facebook Livestream will take place on Tuesday, May 11th at 7.00 PM via Facebook.com/SXMGOV & and simultaneously on the Government Radio Station 107.9FM.

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MP Emmanuel comments on contracts and companies without proper equipment

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Christophe Emmanuel on Monday said that the Minister of VROMI on Monday admitted that garbage collection contracts were allotted to companies without the proper equipment, using an explanation that contradicts the same term of reference documents that guided the bidding process.

Emmanuel said the Minister, with a sense of obsession, has occupied himself recently with trying to spin the garbage contract fiasco into some sort of personal tit-for-tat instead of answering critical questions. His admission that he signed contracts with companies who he knew could not fulfill stipulations of their contracts, re-enforces the concerns that other bidding companies had about the legality and transparency of the entire bidding process.

During a radio interview on Monday, Minister of VROMI Egbert Doran said that it doesn’t make sense to require contractors to have heavy equipment for garbage removal before awarding them a contract for garbage removal. The Terms of Reference dedicates more than 3 pages to exactly the kind of equipment that a contractor must have in place, how to maintain the equipment, the appearance of the equipment, size and dimensions, etc.

The Terms of Reference states verbatim: The collection and transport of the different waste categories will be executed in accordance with the tender requirements and with equipment. Not older than ten (10) years at the date of tender, in good state of maintenance and suitable for the job.

Furthermore, Emmanuel pointed out, the usage of equipment, especially garbage trucks, ties directly into the amount of experience a contractor and his personnel has in operating all types of equipment on a daily basis. Experience, he noted, is part of the evaluation process before awarding garbage collection contracts.

“So all of the complaints from the public about the improper handling of garbage and unsuitable vehicles used to collect garbage, can be laid at the feet of the Minister. He finally answered one of the many questions by admitting he signed contracts for companies who did not have adequate equipment. What sense does it make to award a contract to a company that cannot execute the work optimally? The banks are not accepting contracts as collateral, they accept hard assets,” Emmanuel said, adding that the public is paying for the Minister’s irresponsible action.

The MP said the Minister also doesn’t know his history when trying to tie the previous batch of garbage disposal contracts to his (Emmanuel) tenure as Minister. He explained that when he was sworn in as Minister in December 20, 2016, the garbage contracts had already been awarded by former Minister Angel Meyers. Emmanuel said when he started his tenure he never got involved unless necessary.

“And that necessity came about when the garbage haulers were making a mess of the place and I promptly saw to it that they were fined and lived up to their obligation and methods of collecting garbage,” Emmanuel said. “What has this Minister done with garbage still blowing everywhere? Nothing. And now after admitting he signed the contracts and basically said to contractors go pick up garbage with whatever you have, how can he ever legally impose sanctions on those who do not live up to the contracts,” Emmanuel added.

Regarding Doran’s statement that Parliament has not called him in and as such must be in agreement with him, Emmanuel reminded the Minister that if he truly had any sense of responsibility towards the people he would have used another avenue that Parliament also affords: Request a meeting yourself to address public concerns.

“But he does not care. He seems more obsessed with trying to get me to play a game of tit-for-tat. The bidding companies and other members of the public came to me as an elected representative with concerns. I in-turn as an MP used the avenue of public media to raise these concerns,” MP Emmanuel said.

He continued. “My job is to point out the inconsistencies, inaccuracies and the flaws of this government. I am addressing the people of St. Maarten via public media, just like he is lying and spinning via public media. It is my job to inform the people. My job is to hold government accountable and I have different means and ways to do so. Parliament’s platform is not only for MPs but ministers as well. The Minister doesn’t need an invitation to come to parliament and give a presentation on the garbage contracts or any presentation. I have asked the questions publicly thus informing the public.”

MP Emmanuel said the very next time the Minister goes on radio he should address the many questions he is running from including, but not limited to: were the correct and final contract documents sent to the Governor? What information did the financial controller not have before signing off? Was the financial controller given a warning letter? How were the final scores calculated? Where did government find NAf2 million extra for garbage collection and why? Has one of the contracts been awarded to a close relative of a sitting MP or Minister? How many inquiries have been started at the Ombudsman about the awarding of contracts? Have other bidding companies sought other forms of legal actions against government? How many Ministers signed the final dossier sent to the governor?

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Rotary Sunset, Mid Isle, & Heavenly Water Send Aid to St. Vincent

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - A considerable amount of relief supplies has and continues to arrive at the ash covered island of St. Vincent. For the past month, over 20,000 residents try to cope with La Soufriere’s ceaseless eruptions which has affected water supply and quality, with thousands either in shelters or have been taken in by family members and/or friends. To help with the recovery in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Rotary Club of Sint. Maarten-Mid Isle, The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset and Heavenly Water combined donated 12 pallets of water, for a total of 6,600 bottles of water.

The two Rotary clubs partnered with Heavenly Water to procure the pallets of water at a reasonable price. In total, Rotary Sint Maarten-Mid Isle secured 8 pallets, Rotary St. Martin Sunset secured 3 pallets and Heavenly Water graciously donated 1 pallet. This initiative was spearheaded by Rotary Sunset’s Honorary Member Kenrick Housen, who expressed that, “In times like these, it is only right that we look out for our neighbors. This donation will go a long way, but with added donations from the St. Martin population we can assist on a much larger scale to bring relief to the affected persons in St. Vincent”.

With more than 1.2 million members worldwide, Rotarians are on the ground and ready to take action to help communities recover when disasters strike. Here in St. Martin, we know all too well what it is like to be in distress after a disaster, and our Rotarians immediately knew we had to contribute to St. Vincent in their recovery efforts. To ensure that the donation reaches the most vulnerable, the pallets will be collected by President Annette of the Rotary Club of Kingstown, St.Vincent and will be dispersed by members of the Rotary club,” the clubs stated.

The Rotary Club of Sint Maarten-Mid Isle and the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset would like to extend its heartfelt gratitude to all Rotarians and friends of Rotary for their kind contribution towards this initiative. The clubs would also like to wish the people of St. Vincent much strength and speedy recovery at this time.

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Minister Ottley meets with Windward Islands Health Care Union Association

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - On Wednesday April 28th, the Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor, Omar Ottley held a meeting with Windward Islands Health Care Union Association (WIHCUA).

Representing the WIHCUA was Brunilda Illidge, President WIHCUA, Jacqueline Berkel, Vice President WIHCUA, Marguerite Priest, General Secretary, Charline Arrindell, Treasurer WIHCUA and Reinder Torrenga, Board member.

The main objective of the meeting was for the Minister to obtain a clear picture of the matters that the Union is dealing with, and to see how these issues can be resolved amicably.

The Union shared their grievances with some of the decisions taken by the SMMC supervisory board. The Minister informed the Union that he would do his due diligence and weigh in on the matter objectively.

The Minister went on to State that he cannot promise that all of the Union's needs will be met, but he will definitely bring the issues up with the SMMC supervisory Board to have both sides of the story.

The Union members told the Minister that they were encouraged to reach out to him after hearing that labor protection was one of his main priorities.

Brunilda Illidge, president of WIHCUA expressed her appreciation that her request for a meeting was accepted within less than 24 hours. She went on to state that it was the first time in her tenure as president that they were able to sit in a formal setting with a Minister to listen to their issues.

The Minister has a meeting scheduled in the coming week with SMMC where he will be able to get clarity on the matter.

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MP Romou and the St. Martin Promoting Young Ambassadors Foundation presents Cay Hill and Kenjo with the Artist Youth Excellence awards

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Monday the 26th of April, The Artist known as Cay Hill, a local artist who recently signed under the Pretty Boy Worldwide record label held a showcase of some of her songs at Motorworld, Member of Parliament MP Angelique Romou said in a press statement on Wednesday.

This was the culmination of a 4-day showcase of various Pretty Boy Worldwide artists. On Saturday the 24th of April was Kenjo’s showcase. In the month of February MP Angelique Romou and the SMPYA Foundation started the monthly Athlete and Artist Youth of Excellence recognition program recognizing Youth from St. Maarten for their Excellence in sports and in the arts. In choosing their awardees for the month of April they thought it very important to recognize these two Young talents of St. Maarten who are making a name for themselves locally and internationally in the art of Song seeing their great positive influence and motivation for up-and-coming St. Maarten artists as well.

MP Romou and the SXM Young Ambassadors presented both Cay Hill and Kenjo with the awards at the end of the 4-day showcase, which ended with Cay Hill’s showcase. MP Romou upon presenting the awards enlightened the audience about her relationship with the two artists, mentioning that “She knew Cay Hill since she was a Child and that she was a member of the Children’s choir which MP Romou directed and that Cay Hill also joined the SMPYA Foundation at the age of 9 and was one of the weekly voices on their Saturday radio Program called the Kids’ Place Radio Program on SOS Radio 95.9 FM when they started 10 years ago.

She also explained that Kenjo was also a member of the SMPYA Foundation from the age of 15, so bestowing the two young St. Maarten Stars with the prestigious Youth of Excellence artist awards was quite an honor for her and that she was proud to live to see this moment.

She thanked the PBW label for giving the two artists the platform to share their music with the world and encouraged St. Maarten to continue to support their local talent.

MP Romou wants to remind all Sport and Art organizations to submit their recipients for the month of April as they are a still receiving the nominees for the month of April and for those organizations who have not yet gotten in contact with her they can email MP Romou at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to enquire about the requirements and qualifications needed to submit their nominations.

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CPS & Belair Community Center extend opening hours for Vaccine Walk-ins on Tuesdays/Thursdays

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Vaccination Management Team (VMT) decided on Monday, April 26th, to extend the opening hours of both vaccination administering locations from 4.00 PM to 8.00 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays, starting on Thursday, April 29th.

The decision was made to keep both locations open for longer to make it easier for people to come for their vaccination after office hours or have other obligations during work hours.

Sint Maarten residents are invited to both vaccination locations who have not yet registered, to come to the Belair Community Center between 9.00 AM and 3.00 PM, and at the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA) Collective Prevention Services (CPS), between 8:30 AM and 4.00 PM for on-site registration and vaccination on the same day, and on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Both vaccination locations will stay open until 8.00 PM on Tuesdays & Thursdays.

The VMT would like to emphasize that to prove eligibility for a walk-in vaccination, the person only needs to show one of the following documents. Not all of them.

  • Rental agreement of Dutch side in the name of the person.
  • Pay slip of Dutch side company in the name of the person.
  • A Sint Maarten ID card, Sint Maarten driver’s license or a Dutch passport.
  • A non-Dutch passport with the latest immigration entry stamp dating back six months or longer, showing that the person is here six months consecutively six months.
  • Proof of registration from the Census Department.
  • SZV Card.
  • A copy of a residence and/or work permit.
  • Proof of residency application.

The VMT also informs the public that both vaccination locations will be closed on Friday, April 30th, due to the public holidays.

Sint Maarten Protected Together.

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