Body of missing Anguillian Fisherman found on the beach in Cul De Sac

January 13, 2015
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ANGUILLA–On Saturday evening, January 10, police received a report of a man missing at sea. Clinton Connor of Blowing Point was returning from a fishing trip with Walter Connor. The two had left Grand Case and were heading to Anguilla, when Walter suddenly realised that Clinton was no longer in the boat, and started searching for him. He did not find any sign of Clinton, so he returned to Anguilla and reported the missing man to the police, who started a search which included local fishermen and the French Coastguard. The search continued throughout Sunday with no sign of Clinton.

The police reported that on Monday morning, January 12, a body was found on the beach at Cul de Sac. It was later identified by a family member as being that of Clinton Connor, aged 62. – The Daily Herald


Gas price drops – doesn’t mean instant reduction on you electricity bill say GEBE – Is this a rip off ?

January 13, 2015
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PHILIPSBURG–With the plummeting of the fuel price on the international market, many consumers have been questioning when and whether this will be reflected in their electricity bills.

In an invited comment via the Press Secretariat, GEBE’s Managing Director Romelio Maduro said one cannot compare gasoline with fuel oil or gas oil. He said too that fuel prices are not determined by the utilities company, but by ‘the posting’ and whether crude prices go down. “This does not entail that the additional expenses in getting the products to St Maarten will also go down.”

Maduro explained that GEBE’s fuel supply is provided by SOL. The pricing is determined according to a specific pricing standard. In many cases, fuel supply agreements work with Platts, but in GEBE’s case it is Eastern Caribbean Posting. “All of our fuel prices are according to this posting and besides the posting price; there are additional cost to getting the product here: insurance/freight rate/marketing differential,” Maduro said.

With gasoline, Maduro added, the price drop is immediate, depending when it was ordered.

“SOL has their tanks and the price is determined when this was ordered, and do not forget the consumers pay their GEBE bills at the end of the month (post payment), so this will be reflected one month later. Last but not least, the drop in crude pricing does not mean that we will have a drop immediately for there is a delay in that process.”

He said the posting used in the Caribbean is Eastern Caribbean Posting (which consisted of Petrotrin (Trinidad and Tobago) posting /Shell West posting/Chevron posting. Most Fuel Supply agreements have included that the price will be determined by the Lowest Caribbean Posting (LCP). At this moment in time, there is only one posting, which is Petrotrin Posting, so there is no comparison.”

He said a price drop in fuel oil/gasoil does not reflect the same drop in that of the gasoline. “Fuel prices are not determined by GEBE, but by the posting and if the crude prices go down, this does not entail that the additional expenses in getting the products to St Maarten will also go down. The additional expenses is determined by SOL not GEBE and also understand that the scale of economics also plays a role in this,” he added. – The Daily Herald


China Palace Supermarket Robbed – 4 suspects arrested

January 12, 2015
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Police at the crime scene – Photo The Daily Herald

PHILIPSBURG–An armed robbery took place at China Plaza Supermarket on the Pondfill near the junction with A.Th. Illidge Road around 7:35pm Sunday. About 20 minutes later the police arrested four men suspected of having been involved in the robbery.

Two young men had entered the shop, wearing black balaclavas and black clothing. Each of them pointed a handgun at the two cashiers before emptying the tills of the evening’s takings. One cashier and a frightened customer ran and hid in the back of the store.

The robbers appear to have waited for the security guard, who is always outside the shop, to have walked to the side of the shop to make a phone call. They parked a grey vehicle that had at least one other person inside in one of the supermarket’s parking spaces.

A staff member who was outside the store saw what happened and took note of the car’s registration. The description of the vehicle was passed to the police and circulated, and as a result, a patrol spotted the vehicle carrying four men matching the description on L.B. Scott Road. The occupants of the car were arrested and the vehicle was seized. The men were taken to the Philipsburg police station for questioning.

Meanwhile, uniformed officers and detectives at the store spoke to the traumatised staff and customers. Many local customers also came to the store, having been alerted by the blue lights, to check on the owners and staff, who are very popular in the area. – The Daily Herald


3 arrested for robbing tourist between Oyster Pond and French Quarter

January 12, 2015
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MARIGOT–The Gendarmerie disclosed it arrested three minors on Friday, January 9, in connection with the armed robbery of a Swedish tourist couple between Oyster Pond and French Quarter at 3:55pm on January 8.

The suspects appeared in court in Marigot at 2:00pm on Friday and have been placed under judiciary control pending their placement in a closed educational institution.

The couple was travelling along Coralita Road on a scooter when their path was blocked by the suspects brandishing two automatic pistols and a sawn-off shotgun. They were assaulted and had their personal possessions and scooter stolen.

Gendarmes succeeded in arresting two of the suspects at 5:00 that same afternoon, but the third suspect got away, although he was identified.

A subsequent search at the third suspect’s home at 7:00pm revealed a cache of weapons used by the suspects, although later, the weapons were found to be harmless, but realistic-looking replicas.

The third suspect gave himself up to the Gendarmerie in La Savane on Friday morning at 8:15, accompanied by his parents. – The Daily Herald



Gas price goes down on St Maarten on Monday January 10 – 2015

January 10, 2015
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cartoon- gas price down

PHILIPSBURG–Motorists will be paying less when they go to tank up at the pump as of Monday.
The Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications (TEATT) has announced that the gasoline price will go down from Monday, January 12.
The price of unleaded gasoline will move from NAf. 2.067 per litre to NAf. 1.957 per litre, while the price of diesel fuel will drop from NAf. 1.781 per litre to NAf. 1.697 per litre.
Government regulates the prices of petroleum products by imposing a maximum price at which wholesalers and retailers can sell them in St. Maarten. The ministry said the price of crude oil had experienced adjustments due to ongoing developments at the international level. Taking into consideration that local prices follow the international trend, the prices of unleaded gasoline and diesel fuel will be adjusted.


523 babies born in St Maarten in 2014

January 10, 2015
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PHILIPSBURG–More bouncing bundles of joys were born in St. Maarten last year compared to 2013; figures provided by the Department of Civil Registry via the Press Secretariat shows.

There were 45 live births in January, 29 in February, 36 in March, 40 in April, 41 in May, 33 in June, 49 in July, 41 in August, 61 in September, 53 in October, 43 in November and 52 in December, the figures show.

A total of 294 children were acknowledged last year compared to 293 the year before. A total of 28 children were acknowledged in January, 13 in February, 18 in March, 23 in April, 31 in May, 31 in June, 22 in July, 25 in August, 23 in September, 21 in October, 31 in November and 28 in December.

The Department of Civil Registry registered a total of 176 deaths in the last calendar year compared to 171 the year before. There were 21 deaths in January, 10 in February, 14 in march, six in April, 22 in May, 19 in June, 12 in July, 13 in August, 15 in September, 15 in October, 13 in November and 16 in December. – The Daily Herald


1 of the Caribbean’s best Beaches is Orient Bay in St Maarten

January 10, 2015
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MARIGOT–Orient Bay Beach in St. Martin stands a chance of earning the distinction of the Caribbean’s best beach. The Orient Beach is one of the nominees in USA Today’s latest 10 Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest, a category that includes twenty other Caribbean beaches contending for the title.

The best Caribbean beach category is a new category recently launched by USA Today.  The tourism office of St. Martin is urging members of the public to give the chances of the Orient Beach at winning a boost by going online and casting their vote selecting the Orient Beach as their choice for best Caribbean Beach. “You can vote from multiple devices, including your computer, cell phone, tablet, etc.,” Kate Richardson, communications officer for the French side tourist office states.

Persons interested in casting their vote for the Orient Beach may do so by using the link




Airport cargo building to get multi-million dollar face lift this year

January 7, 2015
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Artist’s rendition of the new SXM Cargo Building. (SXM photo)



GREATBAY— Talisien Construction NV has been selected as main contractor for the multi- million dollar renovation works of the cargo building of the SXM airport. Talisen Construction was selected out of 14 contractors who submitted bids. According to an SXM press release the selection was based on the contractor’s price, experience, and good reputation in big construction works.

After contract negotiations with SXM Airport, which was assisted by its legal representative, Lexwell, and with the Supervisory Board of Directors’ approval, the multi-million dollar agreement was signed between Talisien Construction NV and PJIAE NV to commence the construction works for the renovation of the Cargo Building. The other three agreements, including, Project Management and Supervision, and Steel Structure will be signed shortly. Regina Labega, SXM Airport managing director and Carl Critchlow, managing director of Talisien Construction NV signed on behalf of their respective companies. The total cost of all the contracts is about US$3.5 million.

According to Labega, the renovation of the Cargo Building is necessary given the importance of positioning SXM Airport as a cargo hub for the sub-region. “Of course, we cannot emphasize enough the important role cargo plays for SXM Airport and our core partners, the airlines,” she added.      Groundbreaking for the Cargo Building renovation works is expected to take place this month, and estimated to be completed by March 2016. The construction will be executed in two phases in order to allow the Cargo Operators to remain operational. Temporary offices will be constructed to accommodate the cargo handlers during the construction period.

The Cargo Building has been in need of renovations and improvement for a long time, and is part of the Capital Improvement Program that SXM Airport embarked upon at the beginning of 2013, after securing the funds on the international financial market in December 2012. Cargo and mail movements at SXM Airport have been steadily increasing over the last five years, going from 1,983 tonnes in 2009 to 3,010 tonnes in 2013, a jump of about 52%. The steel structure of the new Cargo Building will be manufactured in the Netherlands by known steel structure manufacturer, Van Sluisveld. The existing steel structure is still in top shape, and will remain. However, another steel structure will be added in order to add a new floor, and create eight additional office spaces, and a canteen. The renovations of the Cargo Building will include the re-organization of office spaces, more cargo storage, and parking areas. It will also involve the upgrading and expansion of the restrooms, the addition of a new floor, offices, and a canteen, and will also have to comply with Fire Department Regulations.  – Today



3 Arrested in St Peters for breaking and entering

January 7, 2015
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Ho Supermarket - SPGREATBAY—Police have arrested three young men who were part of a group that broke into the Ho Supermarket on St. Peters road during the early hours of Monday morning.

Acting police spokesman Inspector Steven Carty explained yesterday that at around 03:00am on Monday the police central dispatch received a call that several unknown persons were busy breaking into the Ho Supermarket on the St. Peters road and a patrol was immediately dispatched to the location.

“On arrival the patrol managed to arrest three young men between the ages of 20 and 23, while several others managed to evade capture. The stolen goods that were found in their possession were confiscated and later handed over to the owner who filed an official complaint. The young men are now in police custody pending further investigation,” inspector Carty concluded.


Developing an effective cruise conversion program is vital to our future

January 6, 2015
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Claret Connor (2)


GREATBAY—With the possibility of American tourists opting for visiting Cuba instead of St. Maarten looming ever nearer, Minister of Tourism Claret Connor opined that developing an effective cruise conversion program is vital to the island’s future.

St. Maarten recently reached the 2 millionth cruise passenger mark and most of the tourists visiting here are from America. With the lifting of the fifty years Cuban embargo on America and plans rapidly proceeding to make it possible for Americans to holiday in Cuba without travel restrictions, concerns have been raised by several factions in the Caribbean tourism sector that this is likely to negatively impact the other islands. Among the possible reasons for this is the curiosity factor which is likely at least in the first few years to attract many, and Cuba’s proximity to the United States which would make travelling there cheaper than to the islands.

“Developing the product St Maarten is priority number one regardless of the imminent opening of the Cuban market to United States tourists or not,” Minister Claret Connor said via press secretary Michael Granger  in an invited comment yesterday.

According to the minister there is no doubt that the lifting of travel restrictions to Cuba by the US government will impact the rest of the Caribbean destinations. “Cuba is already enjoying approximately 650,000 U.S. visitors annually of this number more than 550,000 are Cuban-Americans visiting family. Reports also show that non-Cuban American visitors may increase once the travel embargo is lifted. This however will happen over a period of about four years.

“The reality of what we are confronted with is that there is time, albeit a short period to improve on destination St. Maarten. We must continue, in a disciplined way, to improve on our product. In 2014, we saw the numbers of our cruise tourism hit the two-millionth mark taking us to the top tier in terms of numbers.  That is two million opportunities to complement our stay-over visitors. Therefore developing an effective cruise conversion program is vital to our future.

As I have stated in my New Year’s address we must place emphasis on improving our services.  ‘Our tourism-dependent economy is for the most part tied to the quality of services that we render. Service levels and standards will be two important principles that will receive due attention from my ministry.’ We must re-evaluate our list of priorities in the discipline of “service”, provide value for money and increase our tourism revenues,” Minister Connor said.

During his address given at the Chamber of Commerce’s 35th jubilee in May of 2014, Associate Professor and Associate Director of the Dick Pope Sr. Institute for Tourism Studies at the University of Central Florida and author of  the book “the small island paradox” Dr. Robertico Croes, stated that the ratio of receipts from cruise in comparison with stay-over visitors is about $1-$1. Connor pointed out that this means there is great potential for improvements by developing more land-based tours in the areas of ECO and Adventure Tourism. “The latter will have a direct impact on the cruise tourism receipts. With regard to stay-over visitors however, we must find investments to increase our room inventory, whilst enhancing the levels of service to insure a higher spending yield from our stay-over guests.”

He added that the current governing program has meticulously outlined its approach for enhancing the tourism product.


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