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Large Influx of Sargassum Currently Making Landfall on St. Maarten; Nature Foundation Warns of Potential Health Effects.

sargassopointeblanche17042019COLE BAY:--- There is a large influx of Sargassum seaweed currently making landfall on Sint Maarten. The Nature Foundation is warning the community that the Sargassum impacts, based on satellite imagery and field surveys, started earlier this week and will continue to persist for at least another week: “We have been coordinating our monitoring efforts with our partners in the region and based on weather predictions, satellite imagery and field surveys large mats of Sargassum are impacting the area,” commented Nature Foundation Manager Tadzio Bervoets.
“We have been working closely with our partners in the region and with local stakeholders in monitoring the situation and to find a way to control the amount of the weed washing up on beaches in the case of a significant influx. In the case of an influx we need to find a way to coordinate the removal of the seaweed in order to avoid serious risks to nesting sea turtles and hatchlings while the algae itself can be a hazard to the animals,” continued Bervoets.
The Foundation is also warning residents of areas that are or will be impacted by the Sargassum to take precautions to avoid the negative health effects caused by the decomposing seaweed; “We are advising residents in especially Guana Bay and Point Blanche to keep windows and doors closed as much as possible,” commented Bervoets.

When the Sargassum lands and starts to decompose hydrogen sulfide gas is released. The gas is a colorless, toxic and highly flammable gas and spreads an unpleasant odor much like the smell of rotten eggs; “Inhaling the gas in small doses can trigger irritation of the eyes and the respiratory system, especially among people who are sensitive to it. The groups most at risk are people with respiratory problems, asthma patients, elderly people, babies and pregnant women. Certain animals, especially dogs, are also sensitive to the inhalation of hydrogen sulphide,” continued Bervoets
Sargassum is a genus of brown (class Phaeophyceae) seaweed which is distributed throughout the temperate and tropical oceans of the world. Sargassum first plagued St. Maarten in 2011 and 2012, with the Foundation having to warn swimmers to avoid swimming on certain beaches due to the large amount of Sargassum Weed and many beach front residences and hotels having to continuously clean washed up Sargassum.

The Nature Foundation will continue to monitor the situation and will coordinate with the public sector if and when the removal of Sargassum should occur.

SMMC to attend FRED Expo in Holland in ongoing recruitment drive.

smmcfred17042019~ St. Maarteners studying abroad urged to come to FRED ~

CAY HILL:--- St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) will be attending the upcoming FRED Expo at the World Trade Center in Rotterdam (Holland) on May 11th, 2019 in an attempt to fill critical vacancies. FRED is the only recruitment event aimed at Dutch Caribbean nationals living in Holland, and the wider Benelux area, and will be attended by dozens of companies established on the Dutch Caribbean islands.
SMMC will attend the recruitment expo in an effort to showcase that St. Maarten needs qualified persons, preferably with a strong connection to the island, that can contribute their expertise.
“The vacancies are open to any qualified local candidate. However, when we cannot fill the vacancies locally, we always try to recruit personnel that have roots on St. Maarten or a strong personal bond, preferably that have lived here and went to study abroad but want to come back home”, says Hester Versleyen who oversees SMMC’s strategic partnerships and the recruitment of medical specialists.
“That’s why FRED is a such great event to meet young St. Maarteners that are currently studying or have completed their studies and are contemplating to return home. Now more than ever, we are looking for St. Maarteners abroad that want to contribute their expertise and thus help St. Maarten build back better”, says Versleyen.
A great example of recruiting talented St. Maarteners is the recent joining of Dr. Damien Wilson as SMMC’s First House Officer. “That is our main goal and is a win-win for all involved, concludes Versleyen.
The vacancies are listed on the SMMC website at:
Apart from having a booth at the event, where interested candidates can come and exchange information, SMMC will also be giving a company presentation delivered by Dr. Felix Holiday, SMMC’s Medical Director. All interested candidates are urged to come out and attend FRED and especially attend the company presentation as they will have an opportunity to learn about SMMC’s continued efforts in providing quality care, close to home and pose questions to Dr. Holiday during the Q&A session of the presentation.

SHTA and JetBlue provide Masterclass on how to deal with "Active Shooter" Situations.

jetbluegroup17042019PHILIPSBURG:--- This past Tuesday, the Sint Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA), in conjunction with JetBlue and Sundial School held a masterclass “How to react when your business is under armed Threat”. There was a special segment specifically on school safety. 60 representatives of hotels, businesses and schools were present to learn from former special agent Miguel Figueroa (JetBlue / Supervisor, International Security Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport) about how to deal with malignant armed individuals.

Unfortunately, incidents involving armed individuals happen. The association thought it prudent to provide this training in order to increase confidence and awareness among members by providing knowledge on how to react just in case an event might occur.

The presentation is part of the “Jet Blue for Good” program. The program aims to share specific knowledge and best practices with partner destinations. Other islands in the Caribbean will host comparable programs. There is no reason to believe there is an imminent threat of an armed incident, the focus of the meeting centered around the benefit of preparedness and awareness. As specialist Figueroa put it “prompt and educated decisions could be the difference between live or death in situations like this”.

Among the attendees were, teachers of SHTA member schools Asha Stevens Christian Hillside School, MPC/Sundial and University St Martin (USM), as well as managers and security specialists from various properties and companies.

Figueroa discussed a long list of international “active shooter incidents” involving multiple casualties. Based on the philosophy “Run, Hide or Fight”, Figueroa taught the priorities in case of such an event. “Fighting should always be the last resort in a situation like this”.

The SHTA initiative was one of the first in its kind for Sint Maarten. SHTA hopes none of our visitors or residents will ever be faced with such a situation. SHTA does hope that the knowledge provided can be used in the event such an incident occurs and help keep individuals safe.

SHTA thanks the attendee, JetBlue for making Mr. Figueroa available and Sundial for hosting the event. SHTA tries to contribute to a better quality of life for all Sint Maarteners. For more information, see or call 5420108.

Opening Jump Up for Carnival 2019.

transactionlistfines201917042019PHILIPSBURG:--- As we are all aware the 50th Carnival Grand Celebrations are rapidly approaching, and the opening of the Festival Village is sleighed to take place this coming Saturday, April 20th, 2019.
Leading up to the grand opening of the Festival Village we have had four Jump-ups that have taken place without any major incidents and the KPSM team would like to congratulate the community on a job well done thus far. We ask that the community and visitors alike to maintain this same positive energy moving forward.
The opening Jump-up is to take place this Saturday, will begin on St. Peters between Apricot road and LB Scott Road at 08.00 p.m. sharp and will end at the festival village before midnight. As a safety measure, the entire community and main vendors along the route of the jump-up are urged not to use or serve any beverages in glass bottles.
The Police department is asking the community and visitors alike to keep the safety tips in mind to make sure this Carnival season begins and ends on a high note of safety. The Police Force of Sint Maarten is without any doubt doing its utmost, to protect you, your family and your property during the Carnival season as well as combat crime. The Public Relation Office of the Sint Maarten Police Force is, therefore, offering the entire community, the following safety tips, to help them prepare against crime.
Remember the 3 A’s of Crime Prevention

1. Be Aware of your surroundings at all times.
2. Be Alert to suspicious people and vehicles.
3. Avoid dangerous situations.
All of us at the KPSM would like to wish everyone a safe and fun-filled Carnival 50.

KPSM Press Release.

Young St. Martiner gun down, killer on the run.

murdervictim17042019MARIGOT:--- The Gendarmes are busy investigating the death of a young St. Martiner whom they said was murdered in the vicinity of the Souliga College. The victim was shot to death his body bore three gunshot wounds.
A press release from the Gendarmerie states that the killing occurred around 8:30 am and at the moment the motive for the early morning shooting is unknown, while the suspect is at large. Several law enforcement officers were on the scene along with the Public Prosecutor as the investigations continue.




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