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The Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary Celebrates Sint Maarten’s Day in Grand Style.

hollandsxmday12112019PHILIPSBURG (DCOMM):--- After four months of preparations and communication with participants, the Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary commemorated the 60th anniversary of Sint Maarten’s Day with two separate events.

This year’s celebrations were mirrored to that of Sint Maarten in regard to the theme and contents.

On November 8th entrepreneurs, up and coming artist and professionals were showcased. Attention was given to the history and traditions of Sint Maarten, where the former Minister Plenipotentiary, Mathias Voges hosted the breakout session themed “back in the days”. Voges presented interesting historical facts and shared some of the island’s customs.

John Sandiford was the host for the entrepreneur’s breakout session, where local entrepreneurs of Sint Maarten descent were given the opportunity to relay to the large audience present, their road to doing business in the Netherlands.

Some of the entrepreneurs participating in this session included, M. Beauperthuy, Duarte Smith, Jerome York and Nazeth Smith.

Clifford Brown and Manukiel Edward, two Sint Maarten students studying dance in the Netherlands, presented the futuristic version of the ponum dance where the key elements were presented.

In this year’s setup, Sint Maarten culinary artists were afforded the opportunity to sell local dishes to the patrons in attendance. The dishes presented were the famous Johnnycake and chicken-leg, various local soups, rice and peas, coconut tarts and much more delicious delights. Guavaberry from Sint Maarten, Sint Maarten apparel and souvenirs were also for sale during the celebratory event.

At the official reception where various Ambassadors, representatives of the Government of the Netherlands, international organizations and Non-Governmental Organization’ (NGOs) along with a vast turn out of persons from the Sint Maarten diaspora in the Netherlands consisting of students young professionals and seniors alike, we're witness to a well- rounded array of performances.

The evening program began with musical interludes by the Lady of Jazz herself Anastacia Larmonie accompanied by an acoustic guitarist, Luis Larmonie, to the delight of all present. The traditional to the eclectic presentations of Sint Maarten music set the tone for what was to come.

Starting off the evening event, was the daughter of the soil and professional songstress, Rachell Brown with her rendition of the Sint Maarten song which was to everyone’s delight a most memorable experience.

Reverend dr. Joan Del Sol Mead, of the Netherlands circuit of the Methodist Church, did the prayers. Speakers for the evening were the director of the Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary, Carol Voges, whom in her welcome address, highlighted the theme of ‘We Story,’ and its connection to the path Sint Maarten is on, with the clear message that through unity and mutual respect Sint Maarten will move forward.

There was also a spoken-word segment where Lysanne Charles and Edwina Hodge recited works they created specifically for the occasion.

One of Sint Maarten cultural icons here in the Netherlands, Violet Lake together with her group Gwendis, performed their skit representing the local market vendors of ‘back in the days.’

The Minister Plenipotentiary in her address eluded to the historical relevance of keeping both the tangible and intangible culture of Sint Maarten alive.

As the country transitions and moves forward, this is of major importance, the Minister said. Notwithstanding the many hiccups experienced over the past nine years, Sint Maarten as a young country was allowed its mistakes, but that in moving forward as a nation, we will get it right in the benefit of its people. She further emphasized the significance of embracing unity between the North and South of the island. Her main message being, “One island, one people, one destiny”.

The Deputy Minister Plenipotentiary, Michael Somersall, after giving the words of thanks, recited his rendition of a poem inspired by Maya Angelou in which his message to Sint Maarten was, WE WILL RISE. The MC for the evening was Kelly Busby.

The official reception was followed by a mini-concert by a few Sint Maarten-very own Musical Ambassadors in the Netherlands, namely, Orange Grove who had the crowd on their feet and Kyle Brown, also known as DJ Spy, with his repertoire of artists from way back in the days to the present.
On the 10th of November, the Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary held the first around the island relay race NL edition in the Zuiderpark, The Hague.

The intention of this new initiative is to engage students in sports and health related activities next to their academic studies and is set to be organized annually by the Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary.

The organization of this event was led by a sports committee consisting of Alaine van De’Listle, Jamil Richardson and Kevin Javois, under the leadership of Minister Wuite.

The committee received assistance from Trisport, the top sport division of the municipality of The Hague, as well as USC and UPG.

In total seven teams registered, each team consisting of 11 runners. Teams participating came from the private and public sectors. Two universities registered and were among the top teams together with a team of the Kingdom Relations Ministry and the Runners Pack of The Hague.

Two local teams consisting of both young professionals and students also participated and were successful in placing first and second in the winner’s circle. The medals were presented to the winners by Sint Maarten Council of State member, Maria van der Sluijs-Plantz.

Both the Minister and Deputy Minister Plenipotentiary were amongst the runners. After the run, all present were treated to local Johnny Cake provided by the Johnny Caker in the Netherlands through the sponsorship of IS cleaning, a company owned by young professional Luis Hurrault and Bush tea. Duarte Smith sponsored the catering services through his company DIS.
Images of the 2019 Sint Maarten’s day celebration can be seen on the Cabinet’s Facebook page courtesy of Jeffrey Richardson, who was on hand to provide live streaming of both events.

The Cabinet takes this opportunity to extend a heartfelt thank you to the over 200 patrons that took part in, attended and sponsored this year’s celebration of ‘We Story’.

PHOTO: Minister Plenipotentiary Jorien Wuite delivering her speech to 200+ attendees in celebration of ‘We Story’.

Tourism Bureau & First Response assists Police Force.

firstresponse12112019PHILIPSBURG (DCOMM):--- The St. Maarten Tourism Bureau (STB) which falls under the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications (Ministry TEATT) and First Response, came together to sponsor shirts for the Sint Maarten Police Force (KPSM) Special Weapons And Tactics’ (SWAT) team to travel to Orlando, Florida.

For more than 17 years KPSM has had a SWAT team of highly trained groups of Police officers whose role is to deal with high-risk operations that fall outside of the capabilities of the regular, uniformed police.

SWAT officers are trained in particular for confronting heavily armed criminals; hostage and rescue; and counter-terrorism operations.

For the officers to maintain their level of specialized training, the KPSM SWAT team earned the right to participate in the ultimate training competition of SWAT Round-Up International that is taking place from November 9-16.

This annual event where SWAT teams from different countries compete against each other and train in the latest tactics and techniques together will be conducted by nationally renowned instructors and includes numerous relevant courses.

The SWAT Round-Up International is organized by the Florida SWAT Association whose mission is to be the lead training, development and research resource for tactical operators within the state of Florida.

The Association's mission statement ads that it also provides current and future generations of tactical leaders with the necessary tools and information needed to succeed as they risk their lives for our communities.

Sustainable finance project SSS-islands.

dcnasustainablefinance12112019This week the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) and World Wide Fund for Nature The Netherlands (WWF-NL) join forces with Wolfs Company to assist the Saba Conservation Foundation (SCF), St. Eustatius National Parks (STENAPA) and the Nature Foundation Sint Maarten (NFSXM) with strengthening their ability to achieve sustainable financing of the National Parks in Saba, St Eustatius and St Maarten, respectively.

Financing gap

Similar to other protected areas in the Caribbean, the organizations that manage the nature parks in the Dutch Caribbean (Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Eustatius and Sint Maarten) face a structural shortage of financing to fulfil their nature management tasks. In order to address this problem, several reports have been commissioned to, amongst others, identify the actual financial needs of the parks, the financing gaps and the potential financing mechanisms that could be implemented to bridge these gaps. However, these studies do not actually generate additional funding and do not address certain outstanding challenges.


Some of these challenges include: The lack of nature and financial management plans that provide a solid basis for financial planning, capacity within the park management authorities to actually undertake activities to identify and implement financing mechanisms, obstacles for putting financing mechanisms in practice, designing feasible financial mechanisms within the contextual constraints and possibilities of each of the islands.

Wolfs Company will bring in their expertise in conservation finance and facilitate workshops on each of the three SSS-islands of the Dutch Caribbean. The objective of this project is to address the challenges identified for the implementation of financing mechanisms to support protected area management, with the ultimate goal of supporting the parks’ management to develop and implement a sustainable financing strategy.

Building on experience and planning for the future

With the experience gained and expertise that is being built-up through this project, DCNA and WWF-NL will assess the possibility to set up similar workshops on the ABC-islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao).

EXCLUSIVE: Staff of PJL dispatch letter to Prime Minister, alleges that the Supervisory Board Members are Meddling into day to day operations.

PHILIPSBURG:--- The staff of the Philipsburg Jubilee Library dispatched a letter to the Prime Minister and Minister of Education Wycliffe Smith expressing their grievances and the alleged meddling of the board members into the day to day operation of PJL.

 The letter was also sent to the WICSU and to the Parliament of St. Maarten. According to the letter the employees said they have over 40 years of working as librarians and that they have been working for PJL since its inception. They further stated that since the passing of Hurricane of IRMA and MARIA and to date they do not know what will become of the library since they are being left in the dark. Instead, members of the board have been meddling into the day to day operations of the library while they are busy dividing the employees.
The letter can be found here.

EXCLUSIVE: Former Labor Inspector victim of Chinese Construction Company, calls on authorities to do their jobs.

ricardosprott12112019~Known Law Firm and Accountant assisting with alleged illegalities.~

PHILIPSBURG:--- Almost two months after SMN News published an article about a Chinese Construction company that has been hiring undocumented workers that have been entering the island illegally by boat a former Inspector identified as Ricardo Sprott came forward since he too is a victim of the construction company he identified as to LIU FUJUN Caribbean N.V.
Sprott who worked for the Inspectorate as a labor inspector said he worked for the company under the radar since he is now on pension and has to try to find work to pay his bills. He said at the time he along with two other persons that are Dutch nationals worked in the management of the company but they were all laid off when they began to point out illegalities at the construction site.
Sprott said he is of the opinion that he is a permanent employee but was terminated verbally while his salary has been withheld. He said that he contacted the accounting firm where he was being paid but to date, his queries on his salary are not being answered. He said since his labor predicament he spoke to his former boss, the Inspector General Dr. Earl Best who sent inspectors once to the site but since then nothing was done.
Sprott alleged that when the inspectors went to the site they claim not to find any undocumented workers even though he provided all information such as the worksite and living address of the undocumented.
sprottpayslips12112019The former inspector also explained that his former colleagues called in the accountant since he provided payslips with her company name and address but the accountant denied he was working for her and implicated another company. He said he was of the opinion that the Inspectorate would have called in the owner of the company that was implicated and confront parties but the Inspectorate did not follow up. “Basically, they are not doing their jobs he alleged, I would like for them to do their jobs so that I can be paid.” Further to that Sprott said he tried filing a complaint with the Department of Labor and Social Affairs but to date, he is not able to get someone to take the official complaint. “These civil servants would listen to me and then say they are not the ones to take the complaint. They even told me they would call me back but to date have not done so. Sprott said he is growing weary of waiting since his bills are piling up and the money he receives as a pensioner is not enough to sustain him.
Sprott said he was hired to deal with inspectors from the Labor Department and SZV even though he knew the company had undocumented workers in their employ. He said that he was informed that a known law firm and an Accounting Firm were busy filings for the undocumented workers. Asked if he knew first-time applicants had to be off-island while their documents are being processed. Sprott confirmed he knew the procedures but he also called in the labor department when things were not going right.
In the past employees, and a subcontractor spoke out and even said they were taking the construction company to court.

Click here for the first article for background information.


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