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Rotaract Sunrise change of board members marked.

PHILIPSBURG:--- June 30th, 2019, marked a historic day for the Rotaract Club of St. Maarten Sunrise as they celebrated their change of board ceremony with their first male president in over 10 years.

Rotary’s distinguished guests such as the District Governor-Elect Mr. Louis Wever and Assistant District Governor Ms. Marcellia Henry along with Presidents, Secretaries, guests and other members of various Rotary clubs on the island were all present at this prestigious change of board ceremony held at the Infinity Restaurant in Oyster Bay, where they all indulged in a mouth-watering all-you-can-eat brunch.

Outgoing President Lerissa Rey gave her short outgoing speech on a year well accomplished and thanked her outgoing board for a job well done and provided assurance that the newly elected President Gabriel Flanders Hyman and his board will raise the bar even higher this year.

President Gabriel gave his outstanding speech, stating that if it wasn’t for the “KING” in him to push him to put his best foot forward; he wouldn’t know how he would’ve become President. He also outlined the goals he has set for the club this year, especially seeing that their club will be celebrating 15 years of existence in the next year 2020 which will be a big project on its own.

Former prospective member Mr. Kenny Faustin, who showed great dedication and consistency to being a part of Rotaract, was inducted as a new member and pinned by ADRR (Assistant District Rotaract Representative) Micaela Hart. 

President Gabriel Flanders Hyman and Assistant District Governor Marcellia Henry installed the incoming board for 2019-2020.


SMMC to reduce Eye Care Clinic waiting list.

eyecarecomplex19072019CAY HILL:--- The St. Maarten Medical (SMMC) is implementing measures in an effort to reduce the current waiting list at the SMMC Eye Care Clinic.
Since the opening of the Eye Care Clinic at the SMMC Care Complex in September of last year, there have been a tremendous uptick in the demand for Ophthalmology (Eye Care) services locally which has resulted in a waiting list for patients.
Although this increase in demand is common when a new medical specialty is introduced and takes some time to normalize, SMMC is continuously aiming to provide a better patient experience. Thus, in an effort to reduce the current waiting list at the Eye Care Clinic, the capacity of Ophthalmology services will be increased starting July 22th, 2019 by means of 1 additional Ophthalmologist on a 2-week rotational basis This means that during two weeks per month, two Ophthalmologists will be present to provide patient care.
A further measure taken to reduce the waiting list is that the Eye Care Clinic opening hours will be temporarily extended. The clinic will be open to see patients from 8.00 am – 8.00 pm during the weeks that two Ophthalmologists are present.
By taking the abovementioned measures SMMC expects that the waiting list will be reduced and patients can see the Ophthalmologist sooner, resulting in regular appointment wait times reinforcing SMMC’s mission of providing quality care, close to home.
Patients who wish to make appointments with the Ophthalmologist can call: (+1721) 543-1111 ext. 1345. Appointments can be made from Mondays-Fridays between 8:00 am – 4:30 pm. SZV patients are requested to obtain a referral letter from their family doctor before visiting the Eye Care Clinic at SMMC’s Care Complex.

Sint Maarten House Organizes Informative Session Highlighting Ongoing National Recovery.

sxmhousennrpb19072019PHILIPSBURG (DCOMM):--- The Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary in The Hague, the Netherlands, headed by Minister Jorien Wuite, welcomed stakeholders, representatives of various ministries, national and international organizations as well as professionals from the Sint Maarten diaspora in the Netherlands to an informative afternoon.

Here the audience was updated and informed of the recovery process by the Director of the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB), Claret Connor.

In his presentation, Connor highlighted the areas of progress thus far such as the early recovery component which had been implemented, thanks to the close and direct collaboration with the Steering Group and the World Bank.

Connor further elucidated on the project geared towards the assistance rendered to workers in the Sint Maarten hospitality sector in addition to unemployed and underemployed individuals whom were given the opportunity to upgrade their skills and return to the places of employment after the completion of the renovation of the properties where they were employed prior to hurricane Irma, or, find new work opportunities with their newly development skills, in the construction sector.

The director indicated that the disaster not only caused extensive damages to the island, uprooting many persons, but also, it afforded Sint Maarten the opportunity to revisit many policies and improve such, rebuild conscientiously and tackle long term social and economic ills.

Irma was an eye-opener on how to not only build back better but more so on how to build back stronger on both infrastructural and economic and financial policies.

It may seem to many that the reconstruction and rebuilding are taking for-ever, he stated, but one must realize that the size and impact of a storm such as Hurricane Irma in itself was a phenomenon never before experienced on Sint Maarten.

How to respond to such a major catastrophe in itself was new to all, both on a national level as well as on an international level.

There are no quick fixes, no readily available guidelines and unfortunately no expertise on local level to immediately deal with the required challenges the island faced right after such devastation that would bring Sint Maarten immediately back to and beyond to its former glory.

Highlighting the relationship with the Steering Committee, the Director indicated that all parties involved have grown into the respective roles and are communicating with a better and complete understanding of what is to be done to successfully rebuild and develop Sint Maarten.

In closing Connor issued a call to local professionals residing in the Netherlands, to consider returning to Sint Maarten to work and assist in the recovery process using their individual expertise, adding that this is direly needed.

The director outlined the status of the four ongoing projects consisting of:

Emergency repairs and disaster preparedness (55.2 million USD), Emergency Income Support and Training (22.5 million USD), Debris Management, Fire Suppression Landfill and Shipwreck Salvaging (25 million USD); and Upgrades to the existing hospital, and co-financing new facilities (25 million USD).

Other Projects which have been presented to the Steering Committee consists of: Small Business Recovery Project; Airport Terminal Reconstruction Project; Long-term Solid Waste; Connectivity – road construction and road safety; Digital Governance – ICT solutions for public services; Non-Governmental Organization collaborations and School Improvements.

After the process of reconstruction has been completed, Sint Maarten will be better equipped to strengthen its hub function and be able to assist other Caribbean countries faced with similar issues moving forward.

Following the presentation, Minister Wuite emphasized that the informative session was meant to sensitize and have a conversation through engagement with the audience in attendance which consisted of many professionals of the Sint Maarten Diaspora.

Questions raised ranged from Road Security in the wake of the many fatal accidents on the island, which called for not only technical and structural road infrastructure, but also including the necessary legislation.

Another very important question posed by a young professional was “what role could the Youth of the Sint Maarten diaspora could play in the recovery process of Sint Maarten.”

At the closing of the presentation by the National Recovery Program Bureau, the Student coordinator along with a student in the final stages of completing her Masters study in the field of Architecture made a presentation of the work some 35 students made based on their study-oriented field trip to Sint Maarten for the special curriculum Extreme Architecture.

The purpose of their field trip to Sint Maarten was to familiarize themselves not only with the island, but more so incorporate their findings in the creation of a scale model for the still to be built multi-functional structure which would house the Library, the National Heritage Center, Simarc and Shelters.

During a visit to the Technical University of Delft, Minister Wuite and her staff were informed by the students that took part in this assignment, that they had allowed themselves to be inspired by the surroundings. They all remained focused on the durability and soundness of the structural enforcement of the building enabling it to withstand a category 5 hurricane as well as earthquakes.

While on the island the students, in cooperation with UNICEF, carried out community service by brightening up the façade of a daycare center, repairing and painting the fencing.

Both the Coordinator of TU Delft and the student thanked all those who made this study assignment on Sint Maarten a success. The displays and of the scale models will be at the Cabinet until after the summer recess. It has already been determined that another group of 65 Masters students from the Netherlands will be returning to the island, next year April, to do another project.

The National Recovery Program Bureau applauds this effort and will assist in the creation of a possible new assignment.

Experts from PAHO/WHO to participate in international scientific conference on HIV/AIDS in Mexico.

The Director of PAHO, Carissa F. Etienne, will be a keynote speaker during the opening ceremony. There will also be sessions on PrEP in Latin America and the Caribbean, HIV in the Region’s indigenous populations, and new approaches to accelerate the response to HIV among men who have sex with men, and trans women. WHO will release new reports on HIV drug resistance and pre-exposure prophylaxis

Washington, DC, (PAHO/WHO):---The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for the Americas and Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Dr Carissa Etienne and Assistant Director-General for Universal Health Coverage/Communicable and Noncommunicable Diseases Dr Ren Minghui are leading the organization’s delegation to the 10th IAS conference on HIV science (IAS2019) taking place on 21-24 July 2019 in Mexico City, Mexico.
IAS 2019, which takes place every two years, will bring together more than 6000 scientists, clinicians, public health experts and community leaders from around the world, to discuss the latest developments in HIV research, and to explore real-world applications of this knowledge in order to tackle the epidemic.

The PAHO/WHO Director will be the Keynote speaker during the opening ceremony of the conference, which will take place this Sunday 21 July at 19:30, at the Citibanamex center. Etienne will discuss the importance of ensuring universal coverage and access to health in order to achieve the elimination of HIV as a public health problem.

Experts from PAHO/WHO will also participate in sessions to address the following:

• Achieving 90-90-90 and “getting to zero” in the Americas requires addressing equity for indigenous communities
Sunday 21 July, 10:15-12:15, Room: Palacio de Iturbide
Find out more:
• New generations free of HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B: Adding hepatitis B to the global initiative of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis
Sunday 21 July – 14:45 – 16:45, Casa del Diezmo 3 y 4
Find out more:
• It’s time for PrEP in Latin America and the Caribbean!
Sunday 21 July, 17:00 - 19:00, Casa del Diezmo 3 y 4
Find out more:
• New approaches to monitor HIV services and accelerate the response to HIV among MSM and transgender women in Latin America
Monday 22 July, 18:30–20:30, Palacio de Valparaíso 1
Find out more:

Prior to the start of IAS 2019, experts from PAHO/WHO will participate in the 5th International HIV/Viral Hepatitis Co-infection Meeting: Viral hepatitis elimination in Latin America and globally: How close are we? This will take place as a pre-conference on July 20 and 21 at the ‘Unidad De Congresos Centro Médico Nacional Siglo XXI’. For more information, visit:

WHO news at-a-glance:

• WHO will release a new policy brief on updated HIV treatment recommendations responding to the rapidly developing new evidence on the safety and efficacy of dolutegravir. This issue has implications for the reproductive health choices of women living with HIV. Less than 40% of women living with HIV have access to family planning services and more need counselling to make informed choices about HIV treatment.

• WHO will release a new report on HIV drug resistance showing that in 12 of 18 countries reporting survey data to WHO between 2014 and 2018, levels of pretreatment resistance to efavirenz and nevirapine among adults initiating first-line ART exceeded the WHO recommended threshold of 10%. Overall, levels of pretreatment drug resistance are nearly twice as high among women as among men.

• WHO will issue two new technical briefs on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention, including a new event-driven oral PrEP regimen formulated as “2+1+1” for the number of medicines to be taken at specific times. WHO will also highlight linkages needed between PrEP and sexually transmitted infection services.

• WHO and the Journal of International AIDS Society will issue a new supplement entitled “The power of partners” highlighting the underutilized opportunities of evidence-based partner notification approaches that assist people with HIV engage their partners in HIV testing and treatment.

• WHO will highlight the World Hepatitis Day 2019 “Invest in eliminating hepatitis” campaign to be commemorated on 28 July ( WHO will release the first-ever global price-tag on hepatitis elimination by 2030 during World Hepatitis Day 2019.

Tourism Bureau to Launch Tourism Awareness and Codes of Conduct Programs.

stuartj22032019PHILIPSBURG:--- The St. Maarten Tourism Bureau (STB) will be launching its Tourism Awareness Codes of Conduct Program during the second half of 2019 with the objective of heightening awareness on the importance of tourism within the community.

Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunication (TEATT) the Honourable Stuart Johnson, said on Thursday, “The Tourism Awareness Program and Code of Conduct Program are essential tools to sensitize and engage the service sector, students and the general population on the importance of tourism for the socio-economic development of our country.”

He said, “As the country continues to recover, both programs are an opportunity at this stage in our national recovery to project a positive image of our country to our guests and beyond. They are vehicles for individual and collective fulfilment.”

St. Maarten Tourism Bureau Director May-Ling Chun on Thursday said the two programs project responsible and sustainable tourism and profiling the tourism industry’s contribution to the quality of life and highlighting the sector’s benefits while minimizing potentially negative impacts on the environment.

The Tourism Awareness Program (TAP) includes In-school presentations to both primary and secondary schools. A representative of STB along with a representative from the hospitality industry will be conducting the presentations at the aforementioned schools.

TAPs objective is to sensitize students to have a better understanding of the tourism industry and to promote the many career opportunities that exist.

A tourism awareness televised mini web series is the first educational show to be launched by STB to educate the local community about the importance and benefits that tourism brings to the economy.

It will also enhance students understanding of the important role they play in the tourism sector and promoting sustainable tourism.

STB will be relaunching Codes of Conduct - Keep it Clean, Keep It Blue Campaign. Back in 2011, STB collaborated with the Nature Foundation, EPIC, Love the Lagoon and the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI), to erect redesigned environmental awareness signs on several of the country’s beaches as part of the Codes of Conduct and the Blue Flag Program.

The aim of the campaign is to help heighten the awareness of the local population to the importance of keeping our environment clean.

The new redesigned signs are more reader friendly compared to the former signs, which will include pictograms to demonstrate the Code of Conduct for beach goers to respect when visiting the beach.

STB would like to call on the public for their collaboration to adhere to the rules regarding the public use of the country’s beaches.

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