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One Tete Lokay restored and replaced.

lokay18022021PHILIPSBURG:--- The One Tete Lokay statue that was damaged by hurricane Irma was restored and replaced on Thursday.
Minister of Education, Culture, Youth & Sport, Rodolphe Samuel thanked the Foundation Community Aid Sentry Hill, Mag Tech BV, TelEM Group, and First Response for their initiative to restore the statues on the three roundabouts as a contribution in support of Sint Maarten’s Culture and Heritage.
In particular, as Minister said his gratitude is towards the restoration of the One Tete Lokay, Peridot Foundation/Domestic Violence and the Salt Pickers statues.
“Our statues, portraying a significant role in displaying not only our country’s heritage, but also the strength, defiance, and courage of our women especially during the enslavement period.”
With the understanding that the foundation, which strives on providing financial aid to various organizations on the island, the Minister acknowledged their contribution to not only this project, but also their contribution to education and youth related projects.
Minister Samuel said he hoped that by restoring these statues, which display St. Maarten’s heritage and oral history, and by continuing to display them to the public, this can further solidify the importance of Culture and the Creative Industry to our brand that is Sint Maarten.
He said he also hoped that this would also increase the awareness and understanding of the importance of public-private partnerships and that more can be done in the future to help restore and maintain not only our statues but also our existing tangible and intangible heritage.
Thank you once again to The Foundation Community Aid Sentry Hill, I applaud you and encourage you to continue with your efforts to preserve the Culture and Heritage of Sint Maarten.

Ministry VROMI Traffic Alert: Partial road closure of Nazareth road intersection George C. de Weever Road.

nazarethroad18022021PHILIPSBURG:--- Ministry of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Development and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI), hereby announces partial road closure of Nazareth Road at the Intersection George C. de Weever road commencing today February 18, 2021, through Friday 19, 2021.

The partial road closure is in connection with road repair activities conducted by the contractor Windward Road B.V.

Motorists are advised to be vigilant, and observant of the traffic diversion signs. The Ministry of VROMI apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause.

St. Martin’s First Fatal Shark Attack in Recent History: What You Need to Know

sharks16022021Last December, St. Martin reported its first fatal shark attack in recent history, shocking the local community. In response, the government implemented a 48-hour ban on swimming and water sports at all beaches in the area. But how concerned should St. Martin residents now be about shark attacks in the area? 

Shark attacks are very rare

In St. Martin, only one unprovoked and non-fatal shark attack has been reported, and that was in 2005. In the wider Caribbean region, 34 unprovoked bites have occurred since 2000 — four were fatal. Most of these attacks happened in the Bahamas, one of which was fatal and happened last year. “It’s pretty unusual in that part of the world,” said Gavin Naylor, director for the Florida Program for Shark Research. He also noted 95% of shark attacks are accidental, and usually occur due to spearfishing or chumming. The Bahamas’ massive tourism industry is the reason for its higher rates of shark attacks. “We see a very strong correlation between shark bites and the number of people in the water,” he said. 64 confirmed unprovoked shark attacks around the world were recorded by the organization last year.

Common shark species 

Caribbean reef sharks and nurse sharks are the two most common species of shark in the area surrounding Orient Bay. These species don’t pose a risk. Bull sharks and tiger sharks are also sometimes spotted. “Most times they’re not a threat, but they can be dangerous,” said Mike Heithaus, shark researcher and dean of the College of Arts, Sciences & Education at Florida International University.

Staying safe in the water

Prioritizing water safety is essential while boating, swimming, snorkeling or diving in St. Martin. In fact, drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury and death worldwide. Take formal swimming lessons to strengthen your water confidence and avoid drowning. Always check local weather and sea conditions beforehand, and never go out on the water alone. Wear bright clothing to remain visible in areas with high boat traffic. Always clearly display your diver down flag when diving, and use a safety sausage if you have to ascend in an area with a lot of boat traffic. Never disturb or touch marine life: some corals and fish can sting and poison. 

Fortunately, shark attacks in St. Martin are an extremely rare occurrence. Nevertheless, it’s important to take steps to remain safe and enjoy your time in the water. 

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