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DATE ISSUED: Sunday, December 08, 2019 @ 12:00 LST (16:00 UTC)

VALID UNTIL: Monday midday (12:00 LST) December 09, 2019 


This afternoon through Monday midday: Fair to partly cloudy with isolated showers possible.



Forecast High: 31°C / 88°F        Forecast Low: 26°C / 79°F 


Sunset Today: 5:37 P.M.               Sunrise Tomorrow: 6:32 A.M. 


This afternoon through Monday midday: Easterly to northeasterly with a gentle to moderate breeze of 08 to 17 mph.



The Atlantic high pressure system will maintain a gentle to moderate wind flow across the region. Pockets of moisture embedded in that flow may cause a few isolated showers

Seas are expected to peak near 7 feet during the next few days. Small craft operators and sea bathers should exercise caution.


STATE OF THE SEA: Slight to Moderate      WAVES/SWELLS: 4 to 7 feet



OUTLOOK through Tuesday midday: Fair to partly cloudy with a passing shower possible.


St. Maarten Tourism Bureau Director May Ling Chun (left), Chairman of Cliff Homeowners Association Emmanuel Jacques (centre), and the Tourism Minister’s Chief of Cabinet Cecil Nicholas cut the ribbon to officially reopen the Cliff on Friday evening.  (Robert Luckock photo)



CUPECOY--The Cliff at Cupecoy was officially reopened last night with a ribbon-cutting and reception for homeowners, businesspersons, tourism stakeholders, invited guests and the many contractors and designers who have given the tower building a luxurious makeover since the damage inflicted on it by Hurricane Irma in 2017.

Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs confirmed she had declined the option to have observers from other parts of the kingdom and elsewhere for the January 9 elections.

Members of the Second Chamber of Parliament in The Hague had expressed concern after learning this from Dutch Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Minister Raymond Knops. He said refusing objective observers “doesn’t show much strength,” while accepting them is a “very normal process.”

However, the prime minister reasoned that there is no need because St. Maarten has already showed it holds free and fair elections with outside observers present less than two years earlier. She alluded to the short preparation time for the snap election and it being during the Christmas seasons.

The reality is that while the country has seen more than one vote-buying case proven in court, these practices hardly took place at the actual polling stations where observers could have noted them. Fact is also that the prosecution and conviction of several persons involved has made others who might potentially follow suit think twice and has helped create awareness in general that selling one’s vote is not only wrong but risky.

It was more logical to have observers at the last election in early 2018 because the country was still reeling from the onslaught of the September 2017 hurricanes. There were uncertainties and practical issues such as not being able to deliver voting cards because citizens were temporarily displaced.

So, the prime minister has a point, but – on the other hand – what could it hurt? Her answer is that St. Maarten would have to bear the cost for 9 to 10 people “from the Netherlands and all over the world” while on the island.

That may sound like a rather frivolous argument but must be seen in context of the current budget constraints and deficits that require continued liquidity loans from the same Dutch government. Jacobs is in any case on record saying her interim cabinet has “absolutely no problem” with observers if the Netherlands pays for them.

Perhaps this can be seriously considered by the political establishment in The Hague under “unforeseen expenses,” as a gesture of goodwill.

All is now set for an early return to the polls on January 9, with all seven participating parties having received their number and colour. They will be vying for 15 Parliament seats, of which a majority is to install the next Government.

In the Kingdom of the Netherlands’ political system there is no way to know for sure whether anyone voted into office will join the executive branch to govern the people. The election is strictly for a new legislature and any political candidate but also others not on the ballot may be nominated as minister.

The fact that locally one can’t remain in both Government and Parliament while before 10-10-10 at least half the Commissioners had to be Island Council members too, played a role in several political leaders and/or highest vote-getters opting to stay in the legislature since then. Becoming minister currently implies a risk of being left “outside looking in” should a cabinet crisis occur or motion of no-confidence against them be passed.

In other Dutch Caribbean counties positions on the election list determine what candidates get the party’s seats unless they earn one outright. In St. Maarten these are allotted based on personal votes, which means it’s even harder to guess who might end up in what public function.

Consequently, the process boils down to voting for persons expected to take good decisions as elected representatives also on appointing ministers if they themselves don’t become one. The matter of – if necessary – possible coalition forming is also a consideration.

Most important is for voters to make use of their sacred democratic right and not leave the choice to others. If you do, don’t complain later.

KINGSTON, Jamaica--The Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) is calling for radical changes over the next decade to address childhood obesity in Jamaica and the rest of the region.

WASHINGTON, United States--Protecting and restoring natural areas in Latin America, home to 50 per cent of the planet’s biodiversity and over a quarter of its forests, is critical if the world is to avert a biodiversity and climate disaster.

PARIS--French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Friday nationwide strikes in the public sector would not weaken his resolve to reform the pension system but promised workers would be spared a brutal transition to the new regime.

GENEVA--A 20-year global moratorium on imposing tariffs on digital trade could end next week if India or South Africa makes good on threats, according to trade officials and documents, potentially forcing people to pay duties on software and movie downloads.

LONDON--Oscar-winning British actor Helen Mirren has hit out against the "exponential rise in homelessness" as she prepared to sleep out in central London on Saturday as part of a global charity appeal to fight the scourge.

NEW YORK--Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer who brought boyish vulnerability to Big Bird, the towering yellow-plumed character, during 50 years on the groundbreaking children's television show "Sesame Street" and even made garbage-loving Oscar the Grouch loveable, died on Sunday at the age of 85, the Sesame Workshop said.

DUBAI/WASHINGTON--The United States and Iran each freed a prisoner on Saturday in a rare act of cooperation between two longtime foes whose ties have worsened since President Donald Trump took office.

PENSACOLA, Florida--Investigators believe a Saudi Air Force lieutenant acted alone when he killed three people and wounded eight at a U.S. Navy base in Pensacola, Florida, before being fatally shot by a deputy sheriff, the FBI said on Sunday.

BEIRUT--Lebanon's leading Sunni Muslim politician, Saad al-Hariri, re-emerged as a candidate for prime minister on Sunday when businessman Samir Khatib withdrew his candidacy to lead a government that must tackle an acute economic crisis.

MEXICO CITY--Four people were killed and two injured in a shooting on Saturday near Mexico's National Palace, the presidential residence in the capital's historic downtown, officials said.

The 58 ft. yacht Maiden, that raced in the 1989/90 Whitbread Round the World Race will visit St. Maarten this week. Maiden has been fully restored and is currently on a round-the-world tour raising funds and awareness for girls' education initiatives.  (Photo: Kurt Arrigo.)

SIMPSON BAY-- Yacht Maiden is set to sail into St. Maarten Thursday and go throught the  5:00pm Simpson Bay Bridge.
  Maiden carried the first all-female crew to ever sail around the world when Tracy Edwards skippered her in the 1989/90 Whitbread Round the World Race (now known as the Volvo Ocean Race).  Tracy and her team battled the odds and the cynics and sailed into the record books winning two legs of the world’s toughest sailing race and placing second overall, the best result for a British yacht since 1977 and unbeaten to this day.

St. Maarten model slot car racer Reggie Corman placed sixth out of 31 competitors at the 2019 German Open. Corman raced in both the 27L Group and the Pro27. He placed sixth in both. He received his award from organizers Rebecca Fröbel and her father Peter. The field included racers from all over Europe, Canada, Brazil the United States and one from St. Maarten.

Dear Editor,

  Marva was born in Aruba to a diverse family with roots throughout the Dutch Caribbean, including Sint Maarten. At age 7, her family chose to relocate to Sint Maarten, Upper Princess Quarter, and ever since she has made Sint Maarten her home.

  Marva has been an educator for over 36 years, and as such has experienced a very broad spectrum of the educational system in Sint Maarten. She started her career in education as a kindergarten teacher, and has had the opportunity to continue to develop herself throughout the years; being able to fulfil various functions from teaching children of all ages at the pre-elementary and elementary levels to adults at university level. She also provided instructional coaching and mentoring to fellow educators and functioned in various managerial positions such as school principal, coordinator of a college preparatory programme at USM, and as an administrator at the university level with UVI.

  In Marva’s own words: “My journey began with a kindergarten teacher's diploma and has led to a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. This was not just a journey of hard work and dedication; it was also one of passion”. Along the way Marva also learned several valuable lessons; one of which is selflessness.

  It was through the dedication of love, time, energy and passion that I discovered and pursued my purpose. A purpose that, on a professional level saw my function as an educator, but on a personal level as a servant.

  Marva has also founded two children’s homes, namely Oasis of Love in Sint Maarten and Oasis of Hope in Suriname. In 2002, she joined her husband, Apostle Leyland Sam, in establishing Thy Kingdom Come Ministries International (TKCMI). In 2006, they also established the Believers’ Connection Convention: a place where believers in Christ could gather and unite so that we can be more effective in benefitting our society in its entirety.

  To be able to cater to the social and spiritual needs of the wider community as a whole, Marva and her husband established the Community Outreach Mentorship and Empowerment Centre, known as the COME Centre. According to Marva, “our goal has always been to provide a community and a sense of belonging for anyone who may need it. Through this extension of the ministry, we were able to erect platforms to serve the community in various capacities such as feeding programs, technical skill programs like sewing, literacy programs aimed to educate functionally illiterate, English and non-English-speaking adults, elderly support initiatives and other outreach activities”.

  SMCP is definitely proud to present Marva as the #8 Candidate. Her whole life can be characterized as serving the people of Sint Maarten in her various spheres of work, whether it is with children, adolescents or with our senior citizens. “Serving others has been my life’s work, so I know that we must serve if we want to change”. SMCP is asking you to give Marva Sam-Arrindell the opportunity to serve her country Sint Maarten.


Wycliffe Smith

Leader of the St. Maarten Christian Party (SMCP)

Dear Queenie,

  My daughter has a good education and a certificate for a good profession, but she does not have a job, so my wife and I have been helping her pay her rent and other bills, but when we ask her about looking for a job she always has some excuse. She also feels bad because she doesn’t have very many friends.

  Queenie, how can we get her to stop making excuses and find a job?—Worried father


Dear Father,

  As long as you go on “helping her pay her rent and other bills” your daughter has no motivation to look for a job. Stop helping her out so much. And remind her that the workplace is a good place to meet new people and hopefully make new friends.