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Port St. Maarten signs HR training agreement with USM/SCELL

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten – Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Mingo on Tuesday afternoon during a year-end general staff meeting signed a human resources training agreement with the University of St. Martin (USM) under the banner, “The 2016 Core Values 4 P’s Program of Excellence.”

Port St. Maarten’s Human Resource (HR) Manager, Iris Scot, contacted Dr. Natasha Gittens who is the Director of USMs new school named the St. Martin School of Continuing Education and Life Long Learning (SCELL), which was officially launched in August 2015, and together they created this program.

The 4 P’s stand for: Power Up, Positive Thinking, Practice and Performance.  The training program workshops will kick-off on January 18, 2016 and run through December.

Prior to the signing of the agreement with USM, Mingo stated that the workshops for the 79 staff members of Port St. Maarten, was value added to the organization. 

“Port St. Maarten is number 1 in the Caribbean.  We need to maintain this status, and we need to keep investing in our human resources in order to continue on the track that has been built making us the lead port in the Caribbean.

“At the same time, we need to support local educational institutions that can deliver on the requirements of the business community.  USM can deliver the talents that we need.  I am very pleased that we are able to ink this agreement with USM as the vehicle to excellence whereby the St. Maarten business community is provided with the tools they need to develop human capital and to increase service excellence,” CEO Mark Mingo concluded.

Signing on behalf of USM was President Dr. Francio Guadeloupe and CEO Mark Mingo on behalf of Port St. Maarten. Also present was SCELL Director Dr. Natasha Gittens, and senior Port Management officials.

The workshops throughout the 12-month period will be fun-filled, engaging, incorporate role playing, interactive discussions, news-feeds, and special media moments among other things.  The goal of the program is to enrich employees with important facts on core values, integrity, the Port’s history and its vitality to the economic sustainability of St. Maarten and much more.

HR Manager Iris Scot said that the 4 P’s Core Values Campaign is designed to foster a renewed commitment from Port employees to reconnect with their understanding of the Port’s History, Vision, Mission and Culture of Integrity and Core Values.

The workshops will be facilitated to four groups of 20 employees twice a month for 90 minute sessions.

Areas of concentration of the program will be: history and culture; vision; mission; integrity; customer centricity; social responsibility; respectful cooperation; transparent communication; loyalty; dedication; passion; and resolution.

SCELL is an initiative developed based on many successful training relationships that USM established over the past year.  SCELL is the business arm of USM which offers clients professionalism and a customized translation of their requests in the form of trainings, workshops, and courses that lead to certification.

MPC double champions high school soccer competition 2015

CAYHILL, St. Maarten - Saturday 12 December was the highly anticipated finals of the High School Soccer Competition. In both the female and the male category, participants competed for the first, second and third place.

Three games went into overtime and ended with a penalty shoot-out. For the female section it was combination team Sundial/Charlotte Brookson who managed to pass one goal by the MAC keeper gaining them a 1-0 advantage and therefore third place.

Goal was made by player Dorothy James. They were followed by the St. Dominic high and MPC game and this game was the only one of the night that ended with a 1-0 goal without overtime. The goal was made by Shakirah Gijsbertha with an assist from Aishel Peters. 

For the male section third place winners were St. Dominic High who tied the game with CIA with goals made by Brandon Potmis with an assist of James Cook (St. Dominic) and an equalizer goal made by Vivel Sabnaoi (CIA). The decisive moment came during the penalty shoot-out in which St. Dominic proved to be the stronger competitor with the winning goal made by Joel Lawrie. 

All games were intense and all players played with passion but the most exciting game of the night was the much anticipated game between PSVE Academy and MPC (MALE).

The two teams were the strongest overall in the competition and it proved to be a challenge for each team to penetrate the defense to make a goal. However, the first goal was finally made by Jeremy Drijvers from MPC but it didn't take too long for it to be equalized by Delano Hodge from PSVE. This game too went into overtime, a penalty shoot-out and ended with sudden-death penalties where MPC broke the tie and took the win. 

The evening concluded with the award ceremony with prizes presented by the representative of sponsors Pizzahut and 104.3, Mr. Teddy Sapia. Additional prizes next to the first, second and third place were presented to the Most Valuable Player and Best Keeper of the competition:

MVP male: Delano Hodge (PSVE)
MVP female: Shakirah Gijsbertha (MPC)

Best keeper male: Najib Baroud (MPC)
Best keeper female: Whitney Walsh (MAC)

The Competition was organised by the Oualichi Women's Soccer Association and the Sint Maarten Soccer Association. The competition lasted 6 weeks and was played on half field at the Raoul Illidge Sports Complex. Next year the organization hopes to grow and provide a full field competition to the participants. For more information and pictures follow the Facebook pages of the Oualichi Women's Soccer Association and the Sint Maarten Soccer Association.

More than 25 register for Soca Rumble 2016

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - It's shaping up to be another memorable Soca Rumble. Promoters Montage N.V. on Monday announced that registration for the annual Soca Rumble competition is now closed and registration numbers are "looking great".

It was disclosed that more than 25 singers has registered for the event which features Power Soca and Groovy Soca competitions as part of the 2016 Carnival celebrations.

"We are ready to rumble," Grisha Marten-Heyliger of Montage N.V. said. "The team would like to thank to the 25+ registrations received, and are anxiously waiting for the groovy and power song submission by January 25, 2015. We are expecting brand new releases," she added.
After the songs are submitted by January 25, a selection of finalists for the Power and Groovy competitions (10 songs/competitors in each segment) will be held. The show is slated to be held on Friday, April 15 in carnival Village.    
There are some changes to the format of the event for next year. Contestants are allowed to submit more than one song, in both categories. However, this does not guarantee that the participant will perform in both categories. There will only be 10 performances in each category, alongside the defending monarch kings.
Additionally, for band renditions/submissions, the lead singer will have to sing the song with the backup band provided by Montage. There will be no band change over’s. 
The eventual Power Monarch King and Groovy Monarch King each will receive a cash prize of US $10,000 while the First runner up , from each segment will receive a cash price of US $3,500.
As was done for Carnival 2015, a full campaign with the local radio stations will be launched to promote the submitted music.

Christmas is coming to town

PHILILISBURG, St. Maarten - In a blink of an eye the Christmas season is already here. The Dominican Roots foundation is bringing the spirit of the Holiday season to Philipsburg.

“A section of the Festival Village will experience a magical Christmas transformation and become the first Christmas Village at the Festival Village. Both traditional and LED lights will outline custom made façades of historical and popular buildings including the Courthouse, Amsterdam style homes, Gingerbread House and we are leaving the rest for your imagination.” Said Milagros de Windt, President of the foundation.

“By creating this enchanted Christmas Village we are adding a completely new and exciting attraction for the families who are always looking for magical moments to share during the Christmas Season.” Added Ms. de Windt.

 Christmas Carols, Dance Shows, Handmade Christmas trees, bouncer castle will be some of the attractions and as the environment has been changing very often there is a big chance that we will have snow J Cameras and fully charged cell phones are a must so the little ones and the not so little can capture the magic of Christmas.
“The unique atmosphere with thousands of lights, the various holiday Trees and decorated houses will bring the families into the perfect Christmas mood.” Concludes de Windt.
This is the first time for this type of event to be held at the Festival Village and the organizers hope that it keeps growing throughout the years.

The Christmas Village will be open on Saturday, December 19th and Sunday, December 20th, 2015 from 6:00pm to midnight at the Festival Village. The entrance fee is $5.00 for children (until 12 years old) and adults will pay $10.00. Food and Beverage will be on sale with many children’s favorites like Christmas sweeties, cotton candy, popcorn etc.

Safety Tips for Decorating your Home and Christmas tree

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – Holiday shoppers are busy buying Christmas trees and lights to adorn their home this holiday season.  As the day gets closer, families are bustling around to have everything in place for Christmas Eve.

Parents and family members should keep in mind some holiday safety tips where it concerns decorations and the Christmas tree.  The season is all about family togetherness and we would like everyone to have a safe holiday season incident free.  

Every year the Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a section that falls under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, as part of its calendar of observances, highlights and creates awareness where it concerns safe holidays.

Check out this list of holiday season safety tips:


  • When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label "Fire Resistant." Although this label does not mean the tree won't catch fire, it does indicate the tree will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.
  • When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and do not break when bent between your fingers. The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.
  • When setting up a tree at home, be sure to keep the stand filled with water. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.


  • Indoors or outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory, which indicates conformance with safety standards. Use only lights that have fused plugs.
  • Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections, and throw out damaged sets. Always replace burned-out bulbs promptly with the same wattage bulbs.
  • Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord. Make sure the extension cord is rated for the intended use.
  • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.
  • Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use.
  • Stay away from power or feeder lines leading from utility poles into older homes.
  • Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls, or other firm supports to protect the lights from wind damage. Use only insulated staples to hold strings in place, not nails or tacks. Or, run strings of lights through hooks (available at hardware stores).
  • Turn off all holiday lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.
  • Use caution when removing outdoor holiday lights. Never pull or tug on lights - they could unravel and inadvertently wrap around power lines.
  • Outdoor electric lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). Portable outdoor GFCIs can be purchased where electrical supplies are sold. GFCIs can be installed permanently to household circuits by a qualified electrician.


  • Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. Choose tinsel or artificial icicles of plastic or nonleaded metals. Leaded materials are hazardous if ingested by children.
  • Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens. Always use non-flammable holders, and place candles where they will not be knocked down.
  • In homes with small children, take special care to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable, keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children to avoid the child swallowing or inhaling small pieces, and avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a child to eat them.
  • Wear gloves to avoid eye and skin irritation while decorating with spun glass "angel hair."
  • Follow container directions carefully to avoid lung irritation while decorating with artificial snow sprays.

Man seriously injured in stabbing incident

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - The Detective Department is presently investigating a stabbing which left one man seriously injured.

The incident took place on Sunday November 29th at approximately 5.30 p.m. on Rubber Tree drive in Cole Bay.

Directly after the call came into the Emergency Dispatch several police patrols, Detectives and Forensic Department were sent to the scene to investigate what had taken place.

On the scene the investigating officers learnt that during a heated dispute between the victim with initials D.D. (25) and the suspect with initials J.C. (29) the situation got out of hand and turned into a fight.

During the fight the suspect stabbed the victim with a knife in his chest seriously injuring him. After committing this act the suspect fled the scene.

The victim was treated on the scene by paramedics and then transported to the Sint Maarten Medical Center for further treatment. At approximately 08.40 p.m. the suspect turned himself at the Philipsburg Police Station. He was arrested on the spot and put into custody for further investigation.

The victim in the meanwhile has been transported to the hospital on the French Side of the island. The condition of the victim was unavailable at press time.

As soon as this information becomes available the media will be informed.


Caribbean Tourism Month Profile: Maranatha Leconte Young Tourism Professional

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – As part of the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau (STB) Caribbean Tourism Day/Month awareness campaign, Maranatha Leconte, is a young female tourism professional working as a private Chef.

Leconte has been working as a Chef for five years, but has been involved in the tourism and hospitality sector for 10-years.

Leconte started out as an expeditor followed by server.  From there she moved on to food preparation working her way all the way to the top and becoming a Sous Chef.

Marantha Leconte graduated from the Le Cordon Bleu College for Culinary Arts in Miami, Florida.

Cooking is what Maranatha loves to do. “I enjoy it because of the interesting foodies from all over the world that I get to meet and cook for.

“The satisfaction is knowing that I have satisfied someone’s taste buds. I love working with my staff.  Behind every good Chef is an awesome staff.  I enjoy cooking for locals, especially those that don’t get to travel that often.

“Individuals would say that they have always wanted to go to Louisiana for gumbo or Cuba for that Cuban sandwich.  It feels good knowing that I can create and give the locals different food experiences from all over the world,” Chef Maranatha Leconte explained.

For those who would like a career in the tourism and hospitality industry, Leconte advises: “I would tell this individual that to work in the tourism sector is awesome.  It allows you to network and work with individuals from around the globe.” 

This profile is one out of eight as part of the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau Caribbean Tourism Month awareness campaign.

Conference for more collaboration in PrO Education Caribbean Netherlands

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Caribbean Netherlands educational professionals from the Expertise Centers for Education Care, the secondary schools and representatives of the Caribbean Netherlands Department of the Ministry of OCW (Education, Culture and Science) and the Dutch Inspectorate of Education recently met on Bonaire for the PrO (Praktijkonderwijs or Practical Education) conference.

The purpose of this conference was to exchange knowledge and best practices regarding PrO education and to make arrangements for future collaboration between the Caribbean Netherlands institutions involved in this education stream.

The PrO stream offers an educational programme with an emphasis on practical and hands-on subjects besides some basic academic subjects.

PrO students generally range between 12 and 18 years of age. It concerns special education students who may have a learning disability, a relatively low IQ and/or special learning needs.

This PrO Conference has set the stage for collaboration between the Expertise Centers for Education Care and the schools that offer PrO education.

Consequently it was suggested to establish a PrO commission to tackle the bottlenecks and to look into the way forward.

Two major challenges to overcome in the near future are the urgent need to hire sufficient fully qualified and competent staff for the teaching of practical skills and changing the negative perception of PrO Education in the communities of the Caribbean Netherlands. A follow-up conference in 2017 was suggested.

The participants included representatives from respectively the Saba Comprehensive School, Scholengemeenschap Bonaire (SGB), the Gwendoline van Putten School (St. Eustatius), the Dutch Inspectorate of Education and RCN/OCW.

The participants also visited the PrO-department of the SGB where PrO students from the Hospitality Department catered for their lunch.

Father and son Hobgood & Adamski win 3 person’s scramble

MULLET BAY, St. Maarten - Howard Hobgood, Oliver Hobgood and Buzz Adamski took top honors during the annual three person’s scramble at the Mullet Bay Golf Course. This event organized by the St. Maarten Golf Association SMGA drew 13 teams of 3 golfers to the course during last Saturday.

On a golf course that’s regaining its beauty and shape after the excessive rain from the last 6 weeks, the 13 teams fought a very close and competitive battle. Between the winners and team that came in last, was only 8 strokes difference.

Eventually the Hobgood’s and Adamski shot a stunning 64 stroke net score. Runner up’s were Geoff Heilmann, Leslie Struthers and Ian Gurr with a score of 66 net. Third place was also won by a team that included a father and son combination. This time it was Emmanuel and Pierre Garcia together with another young player Louchet that won 3rd place with a score of 67 net.

Afterwards lunch and drinks was served to all participants, courtesy of the SMGA and Coca Cola / CC1, a platinum sponsor of the SMGA.

The next tournament organized by the SMGA which is also the final tournament of the year 2015 will be the famous Santa Scramble. This tournament will take place on December 12th at the Mullet Bay Golf Course which will be followed by the annual awards and fundraising ceremony at a location nearby.

For more information about the SMGA or the upcoming Santa Scramble, please contact the Pro Shop at the Mullet Bay Golf Course or check our Facebook page for the latest updates:

Minister of Youth Affairs addresses students at Rights of the Child 2015 Opening Ceremony

CAY HILL, St. Maarten ( Speech of Minister of Education Culture Youth & Sport – Hon. Silveria Jacobs) Today November 20, 2015 marks the celebration of the International Day of the Rights of the Child.

Many in society today believe that children have too many rights and that this is why they are going astray.

While St. Maarten has signed on to the  Convention for the Rights of the Child and is striving to ensure that these rights are upheld. This in no way concludes that we allow our children to run wild and free. With rights come responsibility!

The main persons or entity of this responsibility lies with parents and the family!

So it is with great joy that I rejoin the Ministry of ECYS on a day like today where I can stress From this perspective   how important it is to focus on our children, their rights to love and a loving family, education, health, safety, a name, a nationality and so much more.

Who must ensure they have these fundamental rights? Their parents, and by extension their families and Government also have a role to play in this and we strive to improve daily, weekly, monthly and yearly in raising the standards on our 37square miles of earth.

So I applaud the Department of Youth for focusing on this theme  "Strong Families  Nurture Strong Societies" for 2015... and I would implore all to maintain this focus on building strong families for the foreseeable future.

I congratulate the Youth Department, their colleagues at Family and Social Affairs as well all other stakeholders on both North and South SXM who yearly come together in true unity to organize a week or more of activities geared at educating our community and our youth on their rights as well as empowering our children and youth. 

The child's right to be heard will be exercised by many young voices today and in the weeks to come and I pray that as a government and society we find opportunities year round to afford our youth and children the opportunity to be heard and to take their voices into consideration in our laws, policies and programs.

Today is recognized as the International Day of the Rights of the child and I congratulate all parents and families who continuously build up and encourage their children to exercise these rights.

A strong  child, supported by strong families will certainly nurture a strong and productive society.  I implore all within the sound of my voice to Look within our nuclear and extended families and seek ways to strengthen each and every child in our society!!!!





When we teach them these values we prepare them to work,  volunteer,  care and lead for generations to come!!!

DO ENJOY the weekend of youth activities planned jointly by the relevant government departments and youth organizations of St. Martin!

Strong Children raised and loved by Strong Families , Nurture Strong Societies!!!!

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