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PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) announced on Wednesday that 21 singers have registered to compete in the Nagico Senior Calypso Competition for Carnival 2016. Out of the 21, 10 will move on to the finals after competing in the eliminations to face reigning Calypso Monarch Fish Da Mega Boss.

The Senior Calypso Eliminations are slated for Saturday, April 2 with the finals on Monday, April 25. Both events are sponsored by Nagico who has been the main corporate sponsor of this event for almost a decade.

The Senior and Junior Roadmarch competition is also slated to be held on April 2, with the juniors starting earlier in the day.

The Senior Roadmarch Competition will feature 10 singers and the Juniors 5. All events will take place under the tent at Port de Plaisance. It is the Calypso show however, that is expected to be one of the biggest local shows on the Carnival schedule, even after a slight downturn in 2015.

~ 10 for Roadmarch Competition ~

After a year filled with political and social issues, Calypso lovers have already started to express on social media that they expect some “social melee” not just “social commentary” in the Calypso competition.

In 2015, Fish was really the only singer that “hit” the politicos for their actions with his winning song and play on words “Focus Up”. “General commentary is nice but the calypso show needs more melee,” one commenter said. “There are enough issues,” he added.

The 21 registered singers are (by their stage names): Baker Jr., King Beau Beau, Barrow, Mighty Dando, Mighty Chipman, Mighty Pepper, The Protégé, The Wizard, D. Monitor, Clement Richards, The Fox, X-Rey, Young Dow, Empress Zee, Lady Tiffany, Shakiya, Lady Baker, Ebony Empress, Lady Upsetter and Roxxy. The singers registered to compete in the Senior Roadmarch Competition are (by the stage names: Apple Jack, Lyrics, Roxxy, Lady Baker, Mighty Chipman, Baker Jr, Mighty Pepper, The Messenger, The Wizard and Barrow.

The foundation, together with Nagico, has also put a plan in place to devote more resources to marketing of the events. In the coming weeks the public will see and hear much more about the shows as well as the individual singers, through various mediums.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten – well known International Soca band “The Fantastic Four” – formerly the Burning Flames – will be one of the bands that will be performing at the 5th annual Rio Lighting Up de Road parade that will take place in Philipsburg on April 9th 2016.

The Fantastic 4 are pioneers of Soca Music and famous in the entire Caribbean and North America for their top quality music and outstanding performances. For Rio Productions it is a great honor to have these artists on the road. It will be the first time that the Band will be performing on the Road, together, since their infamous breakup.

President of Rio Productions, Ms. Brenda Wathey stated: “it is amazing to have this band perform with its original band members namely: Onyan, Ounku, Krokus and Foxx as they had broken up well over 15 years ago and went their separate ways. Today, as a reunited family, they are once again playing the favorite tunes of their fans across the World.

We are really looking forward having them perform during our annual Lighting Parade for the people of St. Maarten. It will be a spectacular night, and we can promise the public that they will not be able to stand still”.

There will be many “new features” to this year’s parade, the details of which will be released within the coming weeks but for now, we can share the following: this year, Rio Productions will be offering to its revelers a chance to do the lighted parade in full regalia. While historically, T-shirts have been the method of participation for the past years, this year it was decided to offer costumes that would rival any day parade! Those revellers who purchase costumes will be provided additional led lights which will highlight the costume at night,

The Theme for the 2016 Lightin Up De Road parade is called “The Clash of the Titans”. The reason this was chosen is due to the fact that 2 famous Caribbean bands will be to performing on the road for that night. The band that will be “clashing” against The fantastic 4 will be announced at a later date.

For more information about participation & registration, the general public is advised to visit: www.rioproductions.sx. T-Shirts & costumes are still available.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Carnival 2016 season passes are now on sale. The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) announced over the weekend that the passes officially go on sale as of Monday, January 11.

The Carnival season pass, now in its 4th year, has grown in popularity every year since its inception. It gives pass holders entrance to all Carnival shows in Carnival Village for a combined reduced price.

Price per pass for Carnival 2016 remains US $250. The deadline to register and pay for the pass is March 15. The SCDF stressed that no registration will be accepted after this date. The season pass can be paid in two non-refundable installments of $125 each installment or in full any time before March 15, 2016.

The pass is valid for all shows in Carnival Village from April 14 to May 3, 2016. The pass is not valid for pre-Carnival events outside of the Village or Carnival related events organized by other parties before Carnival.

Interested persons can register through Carnival’s new website at www.sxm-carnival.com or email sxmcarnival.com with a request for a registration form. The forms can be returned via email or dropped off at SCDF’s office, located upstairs of the Windward Islands Bank branch on Illidge road. The office is open every day from 2:30 until 5:00pm and every Saturday from 10am to 3pm.

“People get a season pass for the obvious convenience of avoiding long lines to get tickets as well as recognizing the opportunity to get a good deal. Getting into every Carnival show in Carnival Village for just US $250 is a heck of a deal when you do the math. We are asking those interested to register and pay the first installment as soon as possible. The deadline of March 15 will not be extended,” SCDF Public Relation Officer Alston Lourens said.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - The new website of the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) to promote any and all things Carnival is now online (www.sxm-carnival.com).The site went LIVE last week, the same day the foundation launched the 2016 Scotiabank Carnival schedule.

Carnival has benefitted from its very popular Facebook page which has served as its main web portal for the past three years. The new website serves to compliment the Facebook page (www.facebook.com/sxmcarnival) with features and information that’s not easily accessible via a page on Facebook compared to an actual website.

Complete with a countdown until Carnival 2016, the new site features information about the structure of the SCDF, a history of Carnival on St. Maarten, Carnival Village, an option to register for Carnival season passes, latest news and more. The site also links to the visitor website of the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA – visitstmaarten.com), providing info to visitors about St. Maarten in general.

Links are also provided to Posh Productions, the group now responsible for all Carnival pageants. The last statistical market report of Carnival can also be downloaded from the site. The site was fully designed and made by Alston Lourens, Public Relations officer of the SCDF.

“Our Facebook page does wonders for us in terms of promotion of Carnival worldwide. But there was vital information that we get asked about almost every day that isn’t feasible for a Facebook page. The website gives us the opportunity to make that information available to the public online,” Lourens said. “It will be constantly upgraded as we go along so while it is online now, the public can expect more from that website in the coming months,” he added.

Alston also disclosed that the SCDF will soon launch a mobile app for iOs and Android smart phone users. He said the mobile app will give Carnival lovers a whole new level of accessibility and interactivity to Carnival and its activities.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) and its long-time corporate partner Scotiabank on Thursday launched online the official 2016 Carnival schedule of events.

Scotiabank has produced the Carnival scheduled for well over 15 years and has once again teamed up with the SCDF to present a colorful product that will be distributed throughout the region.

The 2016 schedule features 30 days of Carnival activities, starting as early as March 19. Carnival 2016, the 47th edition of Carnival on St. Maarten, will kick off with the opening of Carnival Village on April 14 and will close with the traditional burning of King Momo on May 3.

The schedule features six international concerts and 24 locally themed Carnival events.

A significant change on the schedule is the separation of the Junior Carnival Parade from the Grand Parade. The SCDF had combined two over the past few years due to lack of participation in the junior parade.

The foundation is confident this year however that participation will be adequate to allow the children to have their own parade.

“Also, what weighed heavy on our minds is what happened last year when we had to rush the children along the parade route due to extreme heat.

The adults at the rear of the parade understood our reasoning but were none too pleased with what happened. So this year we will offer a shorter route for the children and their parade will start a little later in the day,” Director of St. Maarten Carnival Mike Granger explained.

The three parades will run back-to-back with the Juniors on April 30, Grand Parade on May 1 and Second Day Parade on May 2.

All four pageants are also back on the schedule, this time under the auspices of Posh Productions, the entity to which SCDF outsourced its pageants following the close of Carnival 2015. The Junior, Teen, Senior and Mature Pageants are on 4 consecutive nights in the middle of the schedule.

The six international shows features familiar brands such as what being called the flagship show of St. Maarten Carnival, Night of the Hit Makers, on the premier weekend of the festival. Sabor Latino IV is also back along with Caribbean Flag Fest II.

There will also be a reggae night, an African Flavour concert which is new to the schedule and a concert presented by Dreamteam Entertainment, also new comers to Carnival.

Additionally, the Nagico Calypso competitions as well as the Soca Rumble give lovers of soca and calypso lots of opportunities to enjoy their favorite art form.  

“It is never an easy task to put together a schedule for Carnival since we always have to consider so many factors including the Easter holidays. This year Easter falls early so it gave us the entire month of April to play with. We are satisfied with the final product and hope Carnival lovers are as excited as we are,” Granger said.

Granger also expressed thanks to Scotiabank for sticking with the foundation as a dedicated and dependable corporate partner. Scotia also produces the uniform shirts for the foundation’s members.

“Scotia continues to play an important role in St. Maarten’s largest, longest and oldest annual event.

We are grateful to know we can count on the bank annually and that it recognizes its role as a corporate citizen in this country,” Granger said.

MAHO, St. Maarten  – Sonesta Maho Beach Resort and Casino is the venue for the DP Dance Salsa Festival, the biggest Salsa event in the North-Eastern Caribbean. The Salsa Festive featuring the world champion of salsa dancing will take place at the Resort from Thursday, January 14, until Sunday, January 17.

A large number of internationally renowned Salsa experts will attend the Salsa Festival. Expert Salsa dancers from Cuba, Colombia, Italy, the United States, and St. Maarten and elsewhere in the Salsa world will grace the Salsa Festival stage. 

The spicy hot Salsa Festival gets started on Thursday, January 14, with a party featuring top Salsa bands and international Salsa dancers. The following day is dedicated to shows on stage and an all-night dance party.

The crème de la crème will offer Salsa workshops. More than 20 hours of workshops aimed at perfecting skills, technique and suave are available for Salsa newbies to experts. Workshops will take place all day Saturday, January 16.

Saturday evening will be the second stage show with Salsa dancing performances lasting more than two hours. A number of Latin deejays will provide the Salsa rhythm to dance the night away after the stage show.

Workshops continue on Sunday, January 17, at the Resort. Dancers can then head to the Latin pool party for fun and excitement. All dancers can shake it all off at “All You Can Dance Party” – the grand finale of the Salsa Festival.

To book tickets for this exclusive Salsa Festival, visit www.salsa-saint-martin.com or call Sonesta Maho at +1.721.545.2115 for further details.

HOLLAND - More than two million cinema-goers in the Netherlands have seen the latest James Bond film Spectre, making it the biggest box office draw of 2015, the Dutch cinema association said on Tuesday.

The total number of cinema tickets bought last year was over 32 million, 7% up on 2014 and the highest total in several decades, the NVF said.

The NVF sees two reasons for the rise: an increase in the number of cinemas and a large number of big box office draws.

There are now 893 cinemas in the Netherlands, up 34 on a year ago.

The top rated Dutch language film was Gooische Vrouwen 2 which was released in 2014.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - As 2016 unfolds King Vers and North Island Records prepare to make their first release on Friday January 8th.

The first single is titled "Father Help Me Please" and tells the story of struggle and the loss of faith in life's journey. As humans we tend to hide behind a pretentious wall where everything is perfect.

The reality however is very different. We face insurmountable challenges on a daily basis. Our faith is tested and stretched to its limit. On "Father Help Me Please" King Vers describes the obstacles faced on his journey from a teenager to adulthood.

All the while questioning his faith and subsequently asking God for help. " This Friday you'll be able to download "Father Help Me Please" via www.soundcloud.com/kingvers. This song is produced by Dizzell Bueno of REC (Red Eye Crew) and was recorded at Great Music Studio.

The video is already in the works and scheduled to drop before the end of January. King Vers is coming off a very productive 2015 where he traveled Europe along side Red Eye Crew and had a memorable set of performances at Soca Rumble.

This year promises to be an even more exciting in terms of music and travel. Be on the look out for more new music from King Vers. Follow King Vers on Facebook @ www.facebook.com/kingvers and Instagram @
instagram.com/king_vers For bookings contact  Management at +1 (721) 553-0353 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Pond Island, St. Maarten - TelCell’s Breakthrough team are off to a great start for the New Year 2016 with the launching of a new set of positive messages to the island’s youth.

The new banners feature the winners of last year’s popular TelCell Breakthrough talent search contest who all have a motivational message for their peers.

The messages can be seen arounds schools, sports centers and other areas where young people congregate.

Just before the holiday break, TelCell Breakthrough team members Kyanni Atmopawiro, Paul Brown and Aldi Farrell turned out at the Milton Peters College (MPC) for the unveiling of the poster message for that location. Two other members of the team, Rumari Rogers and Lian Borsje, were unable to attend the unveiling.

According to TelCell Breakthrough co-organizers, Mr. “Rude” Bertaux Fleming and Angel Richardson, several new messages have gone up in several new locations to inspire the island’s youth at the start of the new year.

“We have a lot of activities that our Breakthrough winners can look forward to for the rest of what we expect to be a very exciting year for them,” said Angel.

PHILIPSBURG, St. MaartenThe public is invited to a New Year’s Eve bash at the Walter Plantz Square (WPS).  There will be a dance party to ring in the New Year 2016.

Entertaining the public will be six DJ’s; the Old School master DJ DAVE NICE; the Unstoppable MIX MASTER PAULY; Big & Serious DJ FABULOUS; the ZOUK Master DJ BLACK BOY; and S.I.K. # 1 DJ UNKNOWN. 

There will also be a special appearance by THE INTERNATIONALLY KNOWN SHADZ.

This year’s Fireworks event in Great Bay will be the 11th year since Port St. Maarten has been supporting the country’s largest display for public enjoyment and to ring in the New Year.

Port St. Maarten and WPS invites the public to come out and enjoy with family, friends and visitors the beautiful WPS, and patronize the local restaurants while dancing the night away on New Year’s Eve. 

Restaurants are already open catering to residents and visitors: Irie Garden (vegetarian), Layback Bar & Restaurant (creole), and the Oranje Café.

Parking is available near the square.

Make WPS a place to visit this New Year’s Eve and beyond.  It is a great location for visitors, family and friends to hang out through the week or weekends.

Cruise passengers also have a new venue to visit and sample the products and services at the various ginger-bread houses at the square.

WPS is about promoting the national heritage of the country which is part of Port St. Maarten’s re-inventing cruise tourism and is essential to the new products and services to be offered to cruise and stay-over visitors. This is very important in order for the country to maintain its position as a premiere matured cruise destination.

WPS comprises of seven small buildings constructed according to the traditional St. Maarten architectural ginger-bread design, to reflect the national heritage of the destination. The essence of the project is to bring in the heritage value of the destination by showcasing the ginger bread homes of the past. 

The approximately US$2 million project entailed the construction of a square with cabanas to be used for a bar/restaurant, the selling of arts and crafts and other tourist related goods; water fountain; 12 Sylvester palm trees 12 feet high; toilet/bathroom facilities; lockers; the square will be disabled accessible; parking for five taxi’s; small splash pool for kids; water fountain illuminating 60 different lights at night; 24-hour security.

The square is strategically located next to the Walter Plantz Tender Jetty which connects to the boardwalk/beach promenade, Down Street and Front Street which allows for a broader distribution flow of passengers.

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