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Construction greenhouse for senior citizens completed.

sabagreenhouse090402021SABA:--- The construction of a new greenhouse adjacent to the hospital in The Bottom has been completed. The wheelchair-accessible greenhouse was built for clients of the LIFE Center, a program for the senior citizens.
Clients of the LIFE Center program joined Commissioner of Health Care and Agriculture Rolando Wilson, head of the Planning Bureau Bobby Zagers, Planning Bureau project manager Evita Pronk, head of the Agricultural Department Randall Johnson, and representatives of the Saba LIFE Center in a visit to the location earlier this week.
Construction of the 22ft. by 12ft. greenhouse by Donisa Construction started in late February and was completed in late March. The structure is made of wood and has netting on the sides so the wind can pass through it. The greenhouse has shelves for the plants at wheelchair height. There is a wheelchair ramp, put in place by Work Monster, the company that also poured the foundation of the greenhouse.
Commissioner Wilson said he was content that the project had been completed so swiftly. He thanked the contractors. He pointed out that there are multiple benefits to this project. “Not only will this help to keep the clients of LIFE Center healthy, strong, and active, but it will also give them the opportunity to grow their own plants and vegetables, do something that they like,” he said.
The LIFE Center is a program of the Benevolent Foundation Saba, the foundation that runs the care home, located next to the medical center. The construction of the greenhouse is the first part of a more comprehensive outdoor recreation area that the Benevolent Foundation wants to establish for the clients of The Home and the LIFE Center. The greenhouse will be further fitted by the Benevolent Foundation, and officially opened at a later date.
Some of the materials to grow plants have already been ordered, while donations of additional materials are most welcome. This comprehensive project has several advantages for the clients: it promotes healthy eating, offers recreational activities in the fresh air, and being engaged in outside activities together reduces loneliness.
The US $21,000 greenhouse project is financed by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate (EZK), the Public Entity Saba, and the Benevolent Foundation. A similar greenhouse has also been constructed at the Sacred Heart School so children can learn about growing their own vegetables.

Removal of Vessels from Oyster Pond Lagoon.

PHILIPSBURG (DCOMM):--- The Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment, and Infrastructure (Ministry of VROMI), as the legally assigned custodian of the Oyster Pond Lagoon, wishes to inform of the Government’s intention to remove the shipwrecked vessels located in the above-mentioned area.

Pursuant to Article 9 of the National ordinance removal ships and wrecks (AB 2015, no.9), the owners of the remaining shipwrecks located in the Oyster Pond Lagoon are hereby informed that there remains an opportunity to remove their vessel themselves.

In accordance with Article 9 sub 1, a period of 48 hours will be given starting at the date of today’s publication, April 9th, 2021, to the owners of the remaining vessels to remove their vessels in an environmentally friendly way.
After this period, all owners forfeit their legal rights to their vessels and the Minister of VROMI will initiate a procurement procedure to have all listed remaining shipwrecks removed.

Vessel owners are requested to contact the Inspection Department of Maritime Affairs of the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications (TEATT - +1-721-542-2507 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and discuss your Plan of Approach.

These remaining shipwrecks have been listed in a so-called Vessel list, that can be perused on the Government of Sint Maarten website or after an appointment has been made at the Department of Maritime Affairs.

Each shipwreck has been numbered and its location has been GPS tagged. Photos of each shipwreck can be viewed by clicking on the number associated with the shipwreck.

Owners that have had their shipwrecks removed in the meantime are requested to also contact the Department of Maritime Affairs and provide details of the removal.


Government closely monitoring Volcano developments on St. Vincent.

PHILIPSBURG (DCOMM):---The Fire Department/Office of Disaster Management, and the Meteorological Department of Sint Maarten (MDS), are closely monitoring developments on the island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines with respect to the La Soufriere Volcano. The volcano does not pose a threat to Sint Maarten.
According to the St. Vincent National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), the steaming/smoking at the volcano has increased, however, the alert level remains at Orange.
The La Soufriere Volcano stands 3,864 feet above sea level. According to the Seismic Research Unit (SRU) of the University of the West Indies, there have been five explosive eruptions at the volcano during the following historical period: 1718, 1812, 1814, 1902/03 and 1979.
The most recent dome building (effusive) eruption of the volcano began on December 27, 2020. Visual observations confirmed that high temperatures detected by satellites used to track wildfires were in fact caused by magma reaching the surface.
According to the SRU situation report of Thursday, at this stage, it is unlikely that the volcano will impact other islands, however, should the eruption escalate, volcanic ash may be emitted and may impact neighboring islands. During the 1979 eruption, volcanic ash was reported in southern St. Lucia and Barbados.
The Sint Maarten Fire Department/Office of Disaster Management and the MDS, will continue to monitor the situation and update the general public with respect to any new developments.

Port St. Maarten and RCG Officials reaffirms potential strategic initiatives.

repsrcg08042021POINTE BLANCHE:--- Port St. Maarten Management met with Royal Caribbean Group (RCG) executives this week where they had strategic discussions in connection with further strengthening the partnership that has existed for several decades.

The deliberations focused on port infrastructure and cruise guests’ experiences. “Port St. Maarten is the #1 port in this part of the region, and the discussions centered on strategic and tactical strategies in maintaining this posture as a cruise destination.

“We looked at how we can further increase and enhance homeporting opportunities and other potential business based on the ports Ernest & Young High-Level Strategic Plan.

“The RCG executives were also introduced to the Chief Operations Officer of the Princess Juliana International Airport with respect to the homeporting of Celebrity Millennium and what the logistics would entail for such an operation. All three parties have to be in sync and close collaboration is needed in order to make a success out of this opportunity.

“Port St. Maarten is committed to working closely with our partners in further enhancing the infrastructure, visitor experiences and building upon a solid foundation that has existed with the cruise industry. Additional discussions will be taking place in the coming weeks with respect to further extending current partnerships,” Port St. Maarten Management said on Thursday.

In the meantime, preparations for the homeporting of Celebrity Millennium from Celebrity Cruises which will set sail from the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facility on June 5 is continuing.

The RCG executives were given a site tour of the facility which will play a primary role in processing cruise guests prior to boarding Celebrity Millennium and upon their return.

The 2.200-guest Celebrity Millennium will be offering seven-night itineraries departing through August. According to a recent press release from Royal Caribbean Group, the ship will sail with vaccinated crew and will be available to vaccinated adult guests and children under the age of 18 with a negative PCR test result within 72 hours of embarkation.

The Celebrity Millennium which carries 2.200 guests at double occupancy, is expected to sail with approximately 50% capacity in the initial stage due to the pandemic cruise industry regulations.

The vessel entered the cruise market in June 2000 and has a gross tonnage of 90,940; is 965 feet in length with a beam of 105 feet. Celebrity Millennium was part of the Group’s US$500 million fleet modernization program offering new features and onboard experiences for cruise guests.

Port St. Maarten Management said this would be the largest homeporting vessel to date to carry out operations at the country’s main seaport.

“This is the first time that we will be carrying out homeporting operations during the hurricane season and therefore will be taking additional precautionary measures to guarantee a seamless operation during the period the vessel is homeporting out of St. Maarten.

“The past homeporting experience, since 2013 - that the port has garnered over the years from this niche market, is based on the synergy of all staff along with management which was one of the contributing factors for the Royal Caribbean Group to select St. Maarten.

“The build back of the current homeporting facility will take approximately two weeks. The Port St. Maarten team is working at full speed ahead on the buildup in close collaboration with the Group in order to assure a smooth and efficient resumption of the cruise business to St. Maarten,” Port St. Maarten Management said on Thursday.

Homeporting generates more airlifts in and out of the destination via the Princess Juliana International Airport; brings additional business for local service providers where it concerns vessel provisioning and fuel supply, and creates the potential for pre-and post-cruise extension visits at hotels. In addition, a spin-off of business activity for restaurants, tour operators, taxis, car rental companies, and many other varied small and medium-sized business operations and entrepreneurs.

MP George Pantophlet: to Shut down or not to Shut down.

georgepantophlet08042021Recently, I have taken note of some developments in St. Maarten. The most recent one being the shortening of opening hours for nighttime entertainment clubs, bars, restaurants etc. This has brought some thoughts to mind and I will express them via this article. Please note that this is my personal opinion on the matter.

PHILIPSBURG:--- One thing I have learned is that some people will do whatever they want to do without looking at the consequences. What makes matters worse is that their actions can be extremely harmful and even cause death to others. This kind of behavior is irresponsible, careless, and dangerous.
Our Kingdom partners, Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire are being heavily affected by the COVID19 pandemic. There are new variants that are causing more serious challenges especially on our sister Island of Curacao and my prayers go out to them.
Because of the behavior of some reckless persons on our island, our Minister of Economic Affairs had to take an unpopular decision by shortening the opening hours. The cry coming out is that the majority is being punished for a few and that only the perpetrators should be punished. Unfortunately, this is not how things work in reality.
It would behoove us all if business owners and/or other individuals become whistleblowers. If you see anyone breaking the established protocols, take a video and contact the relevant authorities. But of course, you might be saying that it is not your responsibility. In my humble opinion, I beg to differ.
What some don’t seem to understand is that we have a tourism-driven economy. What some don’t seem to understand is that if cases continue to rise, vaccination or not, countries such as especially the United States and Canada, where the majority of our tourists come from, will definitely cancel flights to St. Maarten.
Our Minister of Economic Affairs Ms. Ludmilla de Weever was able to secure some homeporting which will bring in some badly needed income. To date, we are dependent on liquidity support from the Dutch government and we know how that is going.
I concur with article 20.1 of the State Regulation of St. Maarten (Staatsregeling) which states as follows: It shall be the Government's constant concern to promote the provision of sufficient employment.
Isn’t that what Government was doing by allowing business establishments to open until the early morning hours?
Article21.1 also states that the government shall take steps to promote the health of the population. My question is, what about our civic responsibilities? Obeying the rule of law should be the most important one and if there is no law, then your behavior should be ethical.
I have come to realize that you can’t legislate morality. The recovery of our economy, contrary to popular belief, is dependent in this instance more on our behavior as a people than any program or law that government can execute or establish.
If we want our economy to thrive by the return of tourism, which includes, cruise tourism, stay over tourist, etc., we must each do our part by adhering to the protocols. We know that more tourists will translate into hotels being filled, restaurants being filled, taxi drivers making more trips, and casinos being filled, just to name a few. This will mean less dependency on Dutch liquidity support.
People of St. Maarten, the ball is in your court. You decide, to Shut down or not to Shut down.

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