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No damages from Magnitude 5.2 Earthquake...

THE BOTTOM - After the most devastating hurricane season, Saba along with Leewards Islands experienced a 5.2 Magnitude earthquake leaving this island with no damages. Sabans who are busy getting ready for Christmas and some at different church...

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Dear Reader

On Saturday, December 23rd, was presently surprised by an initiative coming out of The Hague by a Dutch entrepreneur who wanted to donate funds to help children on Sint Maarten as a part of the relief efforts post hurricane Irma and for the holiday season.

The initiative has raised 500 euros in pledges so far and the funds will be deposited on the bank account of When we checked our bank account on Saturday, the first amount of 200 euros was indeed deposited on our account.

So we will be looking to disburse these funds to children in need on Sint Maarten. One idea is to give food or gift baskets to orphanages on the island. So we will like to request foundations that care for children to contact us if they have children in need of this kind of relief assistance for the holidays.

With that spirit of giving in mind, we will like to wish all a Merry Christmas today.

Happy Holidays!

The Publisher,

PS: Richelda Emmanuel, please email in regards to the above to assist orphanages on Sint Maarten with this gift donation. Headline Story
500 kilos of cocaine confiscated after anti-drugs operation

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - The Coast Guard of the Dutch Caribbean between December 21-22 apprehended a go-fast vessel carrying 500 kilos of cocaine at an undisclosed location in the Caribbean Sea. The Dutch naval vessel Zr. Ms. Van Speijk which is...

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Haviser's Orange Movement wants constitutional referendum

By Hilbert Haar

PHILIPSBURG – Dr. Jay Haviser is on a mission. With the establishment of the Orange Movement he wants to convince the Parliament in St. Maarten to hold a referendum about the country’s constitutional status. His preferred option is controversial: making St. Maarten together with the BES-islands the thirteenth province of the Netherlands.

Why the Orange Movement? Haviser: “After Hurricane Irma I was shocked by the incompetence and the inability of politicians to handle the situation. I talked to colleagues and friends about this and they were in the same frame of mind: this was wrong.”

When he walked down the street after the hurricane, the 62-year old archeologist did not like what he saw: “Gangs of youngsters, actual looting and no sense of security whatsoever. It was like Lord of the Flies.” (For the uninitiated: Google the movie-title to understand this reference; it’s enlightening).

Haviser experienced a breakdown of norms and values and says that it’s a good thing that the marines stepped in to prevent things from totally getting out of control.
But the whole situation put his thought processes in overdrive. Haviser now expresses serious doubts about the autonomous status the island has acquired within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. “We have to approach the question whether autonomy works or not rationally and pragmatically, not emotionally,” he said. “And to be honest: the only real solution is re-integration into the Netherlands. We have had six government in seven years; that shows that autonomy has failed. Independence is of course an option but I am cautious about that one.”

Haviser labels St. Maarten’s current constitutional status as “non-democratic autonomy.”

How’s that? “We are ruled by a few families and the politicians do not speak for the people. There is a carousel at the top of power. Always the same group. Instead of a democracy we have an oligarchical democracy where a limited number of families rule.”

The core of the Orange Movement consists of eight people. Among them is Tadzio Bervoets, manager of the Nature Foundation. “Tadzio is part of that generation that has to take these decisions.” Haviser observes. “I hope this movement will help millennials to wake up and smell the coffee.” He emphasized that the Orange Movement is not a political organization. “We want people to speak up. Afterwards, we’ll see what happens.”

Nevertheless, Haviser acknowledges that politicians are the problem. Unfortunately, under St. Maarten’s constitution, those same politicians hold the key to any referendum. Unlike in the Netherlands, where a civil initiative has to present 300,000 signatures to force a referendum, the population of St. Maarten depends on the willingness of its elected representatives for a referendum.

To put this in perspective: 300,000 signatures represent roughly 1.75 percent of the Dutch population (currently 17,186,360); If St. Maarten had similar referendum-legislation with a proportionate requirement for signatures, it would take (based on 40,000 inhabitants) only 700 signatures to force a referendum – less than the number of votes needed to win one seat in Parliament.

“The first option is to hear the people’s voice.’ Haviser says. “If politicians have nothing to fear, they will let this happen.”

But the Orange Movement is also prepared for a scenario whereby politicians will not go for a referendum. In that case, Haviser says, the Orange Movement will call on article 51 of the Kingdom Charter. This article gives the Kingdom the option to issue a general measure of kingdom administration if a body of St. Maarten does not, or insufficiently do what it has to do based on the Kingdom Charter, an international regulation, a kingdom law or a general measure of kingdom administration.

The Orange Movement wants, if it comes to that point, use article 51 to convince the Kingdom partners to pressure the Parliament of St. Maarten to hold the referendum.
In the referendum, the movement wants to present three options: the status quo, independence and ‘Status Netherlands’. The third option is Haviser’s favorite. It would create a Dutch province, consisting of St. Maarten and the BES-islands. The status would offer social benefits and administrative and logistical responsibilities based on the Dutch model.

Haviser is passionate about this initiative, yet he is realistic enough to say that, when it comes to a referendum, the majority would probably vote for the status quo – St. Maarten as an autonomous country within the Kingdom.

“I would not have reacted so strongly if Irma had not happened.” he says. “Irma has exposed our vulnerability. We are too small a country to deal with these responsibilities. We are not only talking about local issues here but politicians are only looking inward for themselves and only a small percentage of the population benefits.”

According to Haviser the Dutch model is efficient and more productive than the autonomous status St. Maarten currently has. “Look at the airport; a typical example of incompetence and nepotism. The World Bank said that it could have the airport up and running again in four months and they said that three months ago. Look where we are now; we are not handling this properly.”

Haviser does not fear any backlash from this initiative. “Call me what you like.” he says. “Call me neo-colonial, but give the population the opportunity to decide. After the storm racial tensions on the island have increased. If they want to make this about me – fine. Marcus Garvey has said: an earnest man does not fear consequences.”

The you-not-from-here-argument will not work very well against the Florida-born archeologist. “I have lived the majority of my life under the flag of the Netherlands Antilles and I believe in the unity of the islands; that is better than a division. I am also a Knight in the Order of Orange Nassau. Being knighted is not just a pretty title. It comes with the responsibility to stand up for the right decision, also when that decision is not popular. I love St. Maarten and I want the best for our island.”

While the Orange Movement’s core group consists of just eight people, Haviser says that he is amazed how many business people and community leaders agree with his initiative. “But nobody has to courage to stand up for a controversial position like this.” Poll
Here are the Orange Movement referendum options. What is your choice?
Status Quo
Status Netherlands
We will publish the poll results in our next edition of the newsletter on Wednesday, December 27th, 2017.                    

Poll sponsored by, you order online, we deliver offline.
The Governor's Christmas Message

HARBOUR VIEW - His Excellency Governor Eugene Holiday on Christmas Eve released his Christmas Day Message to the people of Sint Maarten. My Fellow Sint Maarteners, I extend warm Christmas greetings to you and yours at home and abroad. Christmas...

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The Prime Minister's Christmas Message
Christmas Greetings 2017 from Prime Minister Rafael Boasman

GREAT BAY - Prime Minister of Sint Maarten Rafael A. Boasman issued the following Christmas Greetings to the people of Sint Maarten. As Prime Minister of Sint Maarten, it is with mixed emotions that I address you today as we enter into what is...

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The Minister of Culture's Christmas Message
Culture Minister Silveria Jacobs Issues Christmas Message

GREAT BAY - Minister of Culture, Silveria Jacobs, issued the following Christmas Message to the people of Sint Maarten. Christmas is a time of joy, peace, family gatherings, food and celebration. Culturally and traditionally we would herald the...

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Throw fireworks and you could face manslaughter charges

People who throw fireworks at the emergency services or others during the New Year celebrations could face charges of attempted manslaughter, the public prosecution department says. 'It will depend on the specific circumstances of the case...

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Many unaware of new marriage rules which come into effect

New rules on marriage which come into effect in 2018 are causing confusion and many people are not aware of the changes, according to Dutch notaries - lawyers who specialise in family and property law.

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Love thy neighbour

SUCKER GARDEN - Leader of the One St. Maarten People's Party (OSPP) Lenny Priest issued the following Christmas Day message about loving thy neighbour. "As St. Maarten joins the rest of the world in observing Christmas 2017, it shouldn't be a...

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30 undocumented persons detained for further investigation

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - The Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard on Saturday morning, December 23, escorted a vessel with 30 undocumented persons on board to the Coast Guard base at Parera. The vessel was discovered south of Daaibooi Bay, Curacao, early...

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SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - The preparations for the 7th edition of Curacao International Film Festival Rotterdam (CIFFR) which will take place from Wednesday 11 through Sunday 15 April 2018, are in full swing. One of these preparations is focused on...

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Police Force of Sint Maarten: 2017 CHRISTMAS SAFETY TIPS

As part of the continuing efforts to provide a safe environment for holiday shoppers the Police Force of Sint Maarten has commenced their annual Holiday Task Force initiative and is without any doubt doing its utmost, to protect you, your family...

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Five ships with over 10000 passengers and crew in port today

PORT ST. MAARTEN - Five cruise ships with over 10,000 cruise passengers and crew will be visiting the destination on Christmas and Boxing Day. The Marella Celebration and Independence of the Seas will be in port on Monday, December 25 and...

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Email today and request our advertising rates for 2018.

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Central Committee meeting upcoming Wednesday

Central Committee meeting of Parliament about Draft National Ordinance to amend the 2017 Budget in connection with changes to the ordinary service, on Wednesday morning PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten -...

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Advertise Here

Email today and request our advertising rates for 2018.

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"Vaste Kamercommissies" Kingdom Relations to visit Bonaire

BONAIRE - On January 7 th and 8 th, a delegation of the "Vaste Kamercommissies" on Kingdom Relations will visit Bonaire. On Sunday, January 7 t, the delegation is welcomed on Bonaire by Island governor Edison Rijna and acting Kingdom...

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Remember Safe Holiday Meals

GREAT BAY - With the clock counting down to Christmas, families have already been looking at their holiday meals shopping requirements. Cooking up a storm for this holiday season is one of the Christmas traditions. Part of the excitement of the...

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Seasons Greetings from the Sint Maarten Police Force

From the Management and Staff of KPSM

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Season's Greetings from the Parliament of Sint Maarten

Happy Holidays

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It is going to be a busy Holiday Season

Ladies and Gentlemen, This week no column from me. I doubt that anyone would be interested in reading the serious issues that I bring up, during a festive season. I could have waited another 3-4 days with this, but then everybody get stacks of...

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With the high season upon us and more and more airlines are resuming flights to and from St. Maarten, we are also open to take your flight bookings to and from St. Maarten as well.
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