Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.xVinaora Nivo Slider 3.xVinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.xVinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.xVinaora Nivo Slider 3.xVinaora Nivo Slider 3.x

University of St. Martin to Offer Academic Foundation Year.

usmsxm08122023PHILIPSBURG:--- Pending financial commitment from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (MECYS) the University of St. Martin (USM) is scheduled to join the universities of Aruba and Curaçao in offering an academic foundation year for high school graduates wanting to successfully pursue an academic career at USM or abroad, as per August 2024.

Working in close collaboration with Dutch Kingdom partners USM revamped its already existing Pre-USM programme in a concerted effort to offer Sint Maarten secondary school graduates a three-track College and Career Foundation Year (CCFY) to prepare them for either: (1) study at USM or any liberal arts institution of higher education, (2) tertiary studies in the Netherlands or (3) entrance into the job market.

The programme has been ready since April 2023 and shared with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (MECYS), as well with the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. The total cost for running the programme is approximately USD 138,000; or just under USD 4.000 per student for an initial cohort of 36 participants. Nevertheless, MECYS has indicated that they are not ready to finance the programme until August of 2024, hence the delay.

Responding to confusion stirred in the local media concerning the academic foundation year, Dr. Carmona Báez sent written statements to the press explaining the non-compulsory character of this programme.

“Contrary to what has been spread through print and social media, CCFY will not be compulsory. Nevertheless, ministries of education and institutions of higher education across the Kingdom of the Netherlands will encourage students to take advantage of the academic foundation year which will in part be subsidised by governments. USM wanted to kick-off the academic foundation year in August this year, but we are still waiting for MECYS to commit financially”, said Carmona.

According to the USM press release, CCFY is born out of the need to raise the level of preparedness among country Sint Maarten’s youth for success in higher education and entry into the labour market. It coincides with the formation of the Strategic Education Alliance (SEA), which among other goals, seeks to synchronise a Caribbean foundation year program in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. CCFY takes into consideration the diverse secondary educational trajectories existing on the island of St. Martin (French system and GED included). USM has expressed its readiness since May 2023 to serve students from Saba and Sint Eustatius as well.

The advantage of completing a foundation year in Sint Maarten through the CCFY programme is that USM is founded on the liberal arts tradition, which allows qualifying students to obtain transferable undergraduate credits by taking introductory courses in the social sciences, humanities, and math, computer and natural sciences. For those who need a boost to enter college, they can find more support in CCFY in the areas of academic writing, math and foreign languages. Unlike Pre-USM, the academic foundation year will also cater to HAVO and VWO graduates who might need intensive Dutch language and cultural training before heading to the Netherlands.

“Our priority is not to send our students to Holland. Rather, what we want to do is equip our youth with strong academic and professional skills needed to enter an academic career of their choosing, whether that be at USM, in the United States, Netherlands or anywhere else in the world, or enter the rapidly changing job market,” according to the President, Dr. Carmona Báez.

MP Arrindell Urges Swift Action on Escalating Armed Robberies.

PHILIPSBURG:--- In a recent correspondence to the Honorable Minister of Justice, Anna Richardson, Member of Parliament Akeem Arrindell has voiced his concerns regarding the alarming rise in armed robberies plaguing Sint Maarten. With the impending high season, MP Arrindell stressed the urgent need for immediate attention by the Justice Minister to address safety concerns and safeguard the well-being of residents and tourists to maintain the island's reputation as a welcoming destination.

MP Arrindell asked Minister Richardson to shed light on the current status of armed robberies in 2023 and the strategic measures to counteract these criminal activities. According to MP Arrindell, his concerns resonate with the broader anxieties expressed by citizens who have shared their worries concerning the surge in criminal incidents.

Among the inquiries made by MP Arrindel are requests for information on the number and types of offenses in 2023, specifically focusing on robberies and assaults, as he believes understanding the locations of these incidents is deemed crucial for devising targeted safety measures.
MP Arrindell is also inquiring about the collaborative efforts between the Ministry of Justice the Police Force of Sint Maarten (KPSM) and the general public to tackle the surge in armed robberies. MP Arrindell seeks an overview of existing and contemplated initiatives.

"The role of the police involves crime protection as well as detection of crimes in progress and apprehension of suspects, amongst other things. I am concerned that the police may not be getting the support they need to do what they must to protect our country effectively, and if that is the case, the Minister must say so. Identifying and acknowledging a problem is the first step to solving it," explained MP Arrindell.

MP Arrindell asked whether there are measures to address the concerns Front Street store owners highlighted regarding targeted robberies. "One store owner inquired about the possibilities of installing a barrier or boulder to prevent vehicular traffic in an alley to mitigate his store from being targeted," said MP Arrindell. In his letter to Minister Richardson, the MP seeks urgent assistance on the necessary steps to address this security concern and says it is a problem that can permanently and negatively impact the tourism economy.

MP Arrindell's proactive engagement underscores his commitment to the safety and well-being of the community. As the island anticipates an influx of tourists in the upcoming high season, addressing these safety concerns becomes paramount to preserving Sint Maarten's image as a friendly and secure destination.


Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) steps into a New Era of Governance with Two-Tier Board System Implementation.

BONAIRE:--- The Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) proudly announces a significant milestone in its organizational development—the implementation of a two-tier board system. On December 4th, 2023 the DCNA board, represented by its chairperson Hellen van der Wal and secretary Kai Wulf, signed the new Articles of Incorporation at the notary on St Maarten. This strategic move reflects DCNA's commitment to fostering good governance, which is expected to have a profound impact on its organizational effectiveness, such as fundraising initiatives and nature conservation efforts across the Dutch Caribbean region.
The DCNA is founded on the principles of collaboration and stewardship, uniting the islands of the Dutch Caribbean into a strong regional network. As a dynamic and growing organization, DCNA has evolved in its response to the challenges and opportunities met in the Dutch Caribbean with nature conservation and governance. Initially operating under a one-tier board system, DCNA has recognized that it is time to move towards a more sophisticated and comprehensive approach to governance. Over the years, DCNA has considered best practices and lessons learned from successful models of international conservation organizations steering the current governance structure into a two-tier board system.
The decision to move into a Two-Tier board system for the DCNA is rooted in its commitment to transparency, and accountability, and move into a seamless decision-making process. The organization will continue to uphold the highest standards in governance that are required today. The two-tier board system introduces a clear distinction between the Managing Board, responsible for day-to-day operations, the budget and strategic planning, and the Supervisory Board, tasked with oversight, governance, and safeguarding the organization's long-term interests. This separation of responsibilities not only aligns with international best practices but also positions DCNA to navigate the complexities of the conservation landscape more effectively. By taking this dedicated step, DCNA takes a leap forward in strengthening its foundation.
Additionally, an Advisory Board will be installed. This body has a representative of each of the island's partner organizations. Its chair is automatically a member of the Supervisory Board. In the monthly Advisory Board meetings conservation programs and projects, policy making, and joint representation will be addressed. This board will closely work with the Managing Board. This will create a more constructive level playing field focused on the essence of DCNA, which is safeguarding nature in the Dutch Caribbean.
Arno Verhoeven, the new statutory director of DCNA: “We are very happy that after many years of preparations, we finally are two-tier now. This is what stakeholders expect from conservation organizations nowadays. We also see our partner organizations on the islands go for this transition. Fundacion Parke Nacional Aruba (FPNA) already changed to two-tier in 2019, the Nature Foundation on St Maarten decided this week to change, the Saba Conservation Foundation is getting ready and CARMABI on Curaçao has started working on a new governance model recently. The DCNA will assist them with these changes.” According to Arno Verhoeven it is not only about accountability and responsibilities. Verhoeven: “The new structure will make us more effective and decisive, and I am convinced that next to a better cooperation within the alliance it will also make our network stronger outside our own region”
Finally, DCNA would like to express its gratitude to its current supporters and invites partners and the community to join in its mission to preserve and protect the nature of the Dutch Caribbean.

Lions Christmas Bingo slated for Saturday at the Aleeze.

wally07122023PHILIPSBURG:--- This year, the Sint Maarten Lions Club will break from its traditional venue the Jocelyn Arndell Festival Village to host the at Annual Lion Wally Havertong Christmas Bingo Club at the indoor facility, Aleeze Convention Center in Madame Estate this Saturday, December 9th.
2023-2024 Club President Lion Felix Richards stated: “Preparations for the Annual Lion Wally Havertong Christmas Bingo Spectacular have been finalized and bingo tickets can be purchased from any Sint Maarten Lions Club member, at the Lions Civic Center on Suckergarden Road and at the Big D Photo Studio in the Marcus Building on the Pondfill Road”.
The price per ticket is: US$15.00 or NAF 27.00 and each ticket entitles you to one bingo card. There will be numerous chances to win prizes, including Overloaded Christmas Baskets, various weekend stays at hotels & resorts, dinners at participating restaurants, and airline travel vouchers to destinations such as Paris, Aruba, Curacao & Bonaire. The grand prize at the bingo is a Santa Bag which is US$ 1,000 cash.
For all those persons who enjoy hearing Lion Wally Havertong sound off the numbers and ask the audience “Anybody Bingo?”, we encourage you to purchase your tickets in advance and arrive on time as the bingo will start at 8 pm sharp at the Aleeze Convention Center. There are about 900 seats available for bingo players and each person entering the venue must have a ticket for a seat which also represents one bingo card. Additional tickets & cards can be bought at the venue for US$ 15.00
The Sint Maarten Lions Club membership is aware that this is one of the most loved signature projects that the club holds on an annual basis. The Lion’s Bingo is not only a fun game for the entire family and friends, it also offers opportunities to win prizes that are in tune with what a winner would want during the Christmas Season.
More importantly, the bingo is the most important fundraising project for the club seeing that the proceeds are used to touch so many in our community who require assistance throughout the Lionistic year. Lions focus on community projects surrounding Vision, Cancer, Diabetes, Environment, and Hunger. The Sint Maarten Lions Club does even extra projects to also assist senior citizens, sports teams, artists, and other foundations on the island.
The President, board & members of the Sint Maarten Lions Club would to thank all sponsors who have donated baskets, gifts prizes, and made other donations to make the Christmas Bingo a success. The community at large is welcome to attend the bingo as the club membership is in full gear to ensure that this annual event is enjoyed by all.

SAFE expressed dismay at harmful postures towards LGBTQIA community.

St. Martin:--- The St. Maarten/St. Martin Alliance For Equality (SAFE SxM), the island’s LGBTQIA+ advocacy group, has taken note of comments circulating on social media implying that awareness for LGBTQ rights and/or including knowledge of sexual diversity in our curriculum is equivalent to forcing non-heterosexual orientation on minors. SAFE SxM notes that there is no LGBTQ-specific education curriculum, but there are models for education with gender and sexuality perspectives, which creates safer spaces for all youth. The negative messages were circulated against Party for Progress (PFP) leader MP Melissa Gumbs, who is currently the country’s only openly parliamentarian.

SAFE SxM expressed dismay at the harmful postures that are increasingly being taken with respect to the LGBTQIA community.

“It is unfortunate to see that LGBTQIA lives are being used as a political pawn in the upcoming elections, rather than focussing on the real issues that affect all St. Martiners regardless of their race, class, gender, religion, ethnic background or sexual orientation. All political parties should actually be actively advocating for human rights for all people including the LGBTQ communities”, said SAFE SxM founder Lysanne Charles.

SAFE SxM cautions the public from becoming distracted by homophobic rhetoric and encourages people to look across party lines for issues and proposals that will improve the quality of life for all island residents. As SAFE SxM has reiterated for the last 10 years, the organization rejects personal attacks on political and public figures based on their sexual orientation. The question of sexual diversity and rights for LGBTQ persons is on me which is deserving of dialogue within our communities across groups with differing opinions. We must challenge ourselves to have those discussions in respectful ways that do not endanger the lives and dignity of LGBTQ youths.

SAFE SxM noted that there are enough LGBTQ St. Martiners living abroad who are able and willing to make a positive contribution to the development of our country, but do not feel welcome or safe on the island. It is up to all residents to work to change this.


Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.xVinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.xVinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.xVinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.xVinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.x