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Island-wide school writing competition for girls, boys, and teachers, March 2 deadline.

faizahTabasamu21022018GREAT BAY:--- The “Letter and Essay Writing Competition” for students and teachers of St. Martin’s primary schools and high schools is open until March 2, 2018, said organizer and teacher Rochelle Ward.
The island-wide writing competition with a unique twist, is organized by Don’t Break the Comb (DBC), the Natural Hair Lifestyle brand of which Ward is the owner.
“The writing competition has three prize-winning categories that focus on self-esteem building, writing skills development, and school pride,” said Ward.
“Schools from both parts of our island are eligible to take part in the following categories,” 1. Fourth Grade primary school students (Letter writing); 2. Fourth Form or Fourth Year high school students (Essay writing); and 3. Teachers of the participating classes, said Ward.
The competition has a unique theme. “The letter writing topic for the fourth grade boys and girls is, ‘If you were your hair, what would you say about what makes you feel sad, angry, afraid and loved and what immediate changes would you want?’” said Ward.
“The essay topic for the high school boys and girls is, ‘All about My Hair Relationship.’ Each teacher of the participating classes is invited to submit his or her own entry in the respective category,” said Ward.
Principals and teachers of schools from both parts of St. Martin can contact Ward for details at email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Entries are due by March 2, 2018.
Rochelle Ward, who has blogged and published her own writings under the name Faizah Tabasamu, is a language and literature teacher at St. Maarten Academy. For the last five years Ward has also become well known for DBC’s mega-workshops on hair, beauty care, and lifestyle products at St. Martin Book Fair and throughout the year.

Sold out Fundraiser at Holland House Hotel last Saturday.

hollandhouse21022018PHILIPSBURG:--- It seemed like not only a delicious 3-course meal was on the menu, but also laughter and music were served last Saturday at the Holland House.

DJ Jansen and Joost de Jong were hosting an evening called “Diner Chantant” together with the fabulous staff from the Holland House. The two Dutch musical entertainers flew in a few weeks ago to help the people of St. Maarten in the aftermath of hurricane Irma.

They started at the beginning of February teaching free musical theatre classes at NIA (National Institute of Arts) and cooking free plant-based lunches and sharing them out on the streets to the people in need.

The couple raised funds in Holland to be able to buy the groceries and to allow the children to join the musical theatre classes for free. However, when talking to Paul Boetekees, the idea came up to have a fundraiser for NIA and Animal Defenders Sint Maarten at Holland House, so both the foundations could benefit more from the gentlemens’ presence on the island.

Since Joost and DJ have been singing and dancing in Holland for years they took the opportunity and made the fundraiser not only an evening of appetizing food, but also of singing and putting the fun in the FUNdraiser.

While eating a mouthwatering vegan crab cake, songs like “I’m yours” from Jason Mraz, “Shape of you" from Ed Sheeran and “Everything” from Michael Bublé made the guests sway on their chairs and eventually they all sang along. The most beautiful moment was when the first notes from “All of me” (known by John Legend) seeped from the soundsystem., one of the guests ran up to DJ and asked if he could sing the song. DJ allowed him to, and knowing that the song contained pretty high notes, all guests where holding their breath. But when the most difficult part of the song reverbed in the restaurant, a big round of applause filled the room. It turned out that this young man was Kristopher Mercuur, who is taking the Art Heals musical theatre workshop at NIA.

At this point another student could not control her enthusiasm and beckoned Joost to hand over
his microphone, Stacy-Ann passionately joined Kristopher, magic was happening on the spot.

The gentlemen took a moment to explain why they were raising funds for the two foundations. The astounding singing of Kristopher and Stacy-Ann proved that Art really does Heal and the directors of NIA, Arlene Halley and Clara Reyes received a warm applause from the guests for their countless efforts in using the arts as a form of relief for the St. Maarten people. Present were also Mercedes de Windt and Mohana Ceasar with part of their team of volunteers. The gentlemen took the opportunity to address and praise them for their ongoing work benefiting the animals on St. Maarten.

The icing of the cake was when the Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, the Honorable Jorien Wuite, who was present at the venue, surprised the fundraising party by addressing the guests and taking her precious time to contribute inspiring words towards the effort of the two organizations.

The last set of disco music got the crowd dancing at the Holland House. With the help of Chef René, who served a delicious vegan 3-course meal, (because how can you raise funds for the Animal Defenders, while eating them at the same time) the evening turned out to be a great succes, everyone left with full bellies and a joyous feeling.

Emil Lee plans to hold ground breaking for New General Hospital despite the lack of finances.

~ Says he will not heed the advice given by SZV Supervisory Board since it's all about votes ~

PHILIPSBURG:--- Interim Minister of VSA Emil Lee is hell-bent on fooling the populace of St. Maarten in order to garner enough votes on Monday for his re-election. Lee plans to hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the New General Hospital on Friday despite not having the finances in place.
According to information provided to SMN News and the advice given by the Supervisory board of SZV to the Minister in 2017. It clearly states that SZV cannot withhold the finances for the Minister’s pet project. Lee wants SZV to shoulder 50% of the construction cost while he will get ING-Fatum and Videnova to finance the other 50%.
SMN News has learned that Lee got the Curacao-based companies to commit to financing the New General Hospital by committing SZV to 50% of the cost.
SMN News understands that the Supervisory Board of SZV dispatched a letter to Lee two weeks ago informing him that he cannot commit SZV for the financing of the New General Hospital since the medical insurance company simply cannot withhold such an expense post Irma. Based on the contents of the letter the Supervisory Board informed Lee that SZV had over USD23M in consultant fees since he took office and began the hospital project. SVZ Supervisory board also informed the Minister that he already jacked up $10M in consultation fees for the year 2018 while SZV has lost 70% of its income.
While the war continues with the Minister and the Supervisory Board members, the war is also brewing within the United Democrats especially the candidates coming from the Democratic Party.
Based on that letter Lee chose to say that he will not follow the advice given by the Supervisory Board especially Sharine Daniel since he believes that she placed a hold on the project to assist the opposition namely the National Alliance.
SMN News learned that the leader of the Democratic Party had a discussion with Emil Lee about his emotional outburst towards Sharine Daniel and his response was that it is all about votes at this crucial time and not what the Supervisory Board of SZV advised.

It is clear that the Minister of VSA has been using his clout to maneuver the Supervisory Board of SZV since Daniel is closely aligned with the Democratic Party and also since the son in law of the DP leader is also on SZV Supervisory Board.
The members of the board are Sharine Daniel, Dwight Williams, Bryan Deher, Alexander Gumbs and Cindy Marcia.

Janhendrik Boekaar released --- MP Richardson still behind bars. (UPDATED)

janhendrikboekaar140212018PHILIPSBURG:--- The Director of Windward Roads Janhendrik Boekaar has been released on Wednesday while Member of Parliament Frans Richardson remains behind bars.
Reports reaching SMN News states that Boekaar was released around 4 pm on Wednesday.  The spokesperson for the Prosecutor Office Hazel Durand said in a statement that the suspect J.B. in the ongoing “Larimar” investigation has been released. The Prosecutor’s Office no longer has grounds to keep him in custody. However, he remains a subject in the ongoing investigation. Moreover, there is no relation between the ongoing investigation concerning J.B. and the ongoing investigation concerning suspect F.R.
Boekaar and Richardson were arrested last week Wednesday by members of the TBO team who also conducted a number of raids. Boekaar was arrested in the Larimar investigation while MP Richardson in the Emerald investigation.

Truck knocks out TelCell mobile service in Dutch Quarter, Middle Region, Wednesday.

Pond Island:--- A truck collided with TelEm Group Outside Plant equipment at the entrance to Middle Region Tuesday night causing disruption to mobile voice and data customers close by and as far away as Dutch Quarter.

The truck damaged a fiber node that supplies signal to TelCell’s mobile cell site in Middle Region. This caused disruption in the mobile network not only for mobile voice and data subscribers in Middle Region, but also in Dutch Quarter where another cell site is also linked.

TelEm Group technicians were busy all day Wednesday making good on repairs to the fiber cable node and were expecting to restore services to mobile customers in both areas during the early evening Wednesday.

Management at TelEm Group and TelCell have apologized to customers for inconvenience caused by Tuesday’s accident and subsequent damage to network equipment.


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