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Police are looking for owner of this Black Hyundai Elantra

PHILIPSBURG - On March 10th, 2015, a black Hyundai Elantra was discovered hidden in a container which was under investigation by the police. The vehicle was transported to the police station in Philipsburg, because at the time the owner couldn’t be found.

Police officers did research on all the details of the car, but still did not manage to locate the owner. The gendarmerie on the French side of the island was also informed; however no reports were made regarding this vehicle.

The police would like to return the car to its rightful owner and this person should come to the police station and claim his or her vehicle. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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General Audit Chamber says Audit of General Pension Fund Sint Maarten Financial Statements Show Areas of Improvement but also Challenges

PHILIPSBURG - On Friday, March 27th, 2015, in keeping with the National Ordinance on the General Pension Fund Sint Maarten (APS), the General Audit Chamber issued their report on the review of the 2012 financial statements of APS to Parliament and to the Minister of Finance.  The 2012 financial statements of the APS cover the period from January 1st, 2012 until December 31st, 2012, and were issued by the APS on August 12th, 2014.

The reports represent the second review of the APS by the General Audit Chamber. By law, the fund is subject to annual review. The results of the review indicate areas of improvement over the previous year’s audit. For example, the coverage ratio increased from 99,8% in 2011 to 100,4% in 2012. A coverage ratio of at least 105% is considered the benchmark in the Netherlands for avoiding shortages. Moreover, the 2012 financial statements of the APS reported a realized return on the investment portfolio of 5,5 percent.

The General Audit Chamber has however, identified a number of areas of concern based on the audit. Besides the financial statements themselves, the legal compliance with the National Ordinance General Pension Fund Sint Maarten as well as Governance, Compliance and Risk Management were evaluated.

The General Audit Chamber determined that APS’s claim against government at the end of 2012 of ANG 53,0 million is significant. The claim increased over the previous year (2011) when the amount of the claim was ANG 38,4 million. The General Audit Chamber recommends that attention is given to achieving a satisfactory settlement of the claim in order to prevent a loss of capital at the pension fund.

In addition, the General Audit Chamber noted that the files of the APS are not complete in terms of participant data. This situation therefore increases the probability that the actual pension obligation as of the end of 2012 could be higher than the amount reported in the APS financial statements (i.e. ANG 433.501.000). These facts and uncertainties contributed to the General Audit Chamber refraining from issuing an opinion on the 2012 financial statements. We also were unable to conclude definitively whether the financial position of the fund was sound at the end of 2012.

In terms of legal compliance in 2012, the General Audit Chamber noted a number of items requiring attention, among which was the timely submission of budgets and financial statements as well as making annual reports publicly available.

The APS, in the opinion of the General Audit Chamber, was found to have a sound risk management system for investments – in terms of the general design – in 2012.  Our recommendation in this regard to the APS is to improve the communication in terms of the investment committee. In addition, the General Audit Chamber suggests that the APS actively pursue dialogue with government regarding concerns related to the current pension regulation based on the results of their Asset-Liability-Management study.

The sustainability and soundness of the fund is of paramount importance to all stakeholders.

The report on the 2012 Financial Statements of the General Pension Fund Sint Maarten (APS) is available in both English and Dutch on the website of the General Audit Chamber (www.arsxm.org).

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Edward Dest says: The Crime I Committed was apparently that I ate and drank at Christmas Dinner. Considers partial appeal

PHILIPSBURG – Edward Dest, via his legal representative, Janna Westra, released the following statement on Thursday with respect to the court ruling regarding a case that was brought against him.

“After being persecuted for five years for alleged money laundering and embezzlement and only after I demanded closure of the preliminary investigation and/or the case, I was acquitted by the Court of First Instance of all money laundering. I was moreover acquitted for four (4) of the eight (8) embezzlement charges and sentenced to one (1) day of jail time, conditional, with a probation term of also one (1) day for the remaining four (4) charges of embezzlement.

“This, whilst the Court of First Instance explicitly cleared me from having personally benefitted in any way, shape or form from the established embezzlement cases, other than having partaken in an organized Christmas dinner for employees-of the Tourist Department and invited guests. The crime I committed was apparently that I ate and drank at said Christmas dinner.

“I was thus solely sentenced according to the Court of First Instance for contributing to the usage of funds destined for payments of general tourist expenses, for other government related expenses, namely maintaining the Tourist Bureau in New York. The Court of First of Instance thereby considered that for the charge of embezzlement to be legally proven, it is not required for someone to have personally benefited by acquiring goods/properties.

“The only reason why I was given a conditional sentence of one (1) day with an unusual probation term of also one (1) day is that according to the Court of First Instance it is by law not possible to find me guilty, without imposing some form of punishment.

“The punishment imposed by the Court of First Instance is a clear indication of its assessment of the culpability in this case. I have been taken through the wringer, made subject to the strong arm of the judicial force, for using funds from government to pay for other government expenditures, whilst the Sint Maarten Government structurally failed to timely fund the accounts for the New York tourist office as well as the local office It is not me who invented and sanctioned this payment form.

“This payment form found its birth in the mere necessity to have the New York tourist office remain operational, an office that catered to the backbone of the Sint Maarten tourism economy. I continued an established practice, sanctioned and known by the Sint Maarten Government for years that structurally funded that office too late. In essence, I have been investigated for five (5) years, prosecuted and now being punished for carrying out my duties as a civil servant and acting for the benefit of the Sint Maarten Government and public. While most of our visitors from North America come from the New York Tri-State area, the St. Maarten Tourist Office in New York was closed in 2010 and remains closed. Is tourism really our bread and butter?

“I have mixed feelings about this verdict. On the one hand, I’m glad to be acquitted of all the severe charges and feel vindicated by the fact that the Court of First Instance established that I did not profit in any way from using funds for a different public purpose than intended, an act that can still legally be qualified as embezzlement.

“I understand that using funds for a different purpose than intended, even if it’s used to pay for other tourist related government obligations, can in the opinion of the Court of First Instance also be qualified as embezzlement. On the other hand, I am not keen on having a criminal record, even one for a mere conditional one (1) day jail sentence, with a probation term of one (1) day that in practice will cease to exist, one day after the verdict becomes irrevocable, unless I’m found guilty of committing a crime that same first day after the verdict becomes irrevocable. I fought hard to redeem my good name and honor and for principal reasons, I am considering filing a partial appeal. The main question that remains that in my opinion has not been, satisfactorily and/or sufficiently answered is if one can be guilty for doing his work, as approved by direct superiors and accepted not to say institutionalized by their employer, in this case the Sint Maarten Government. 

“I also must wonder in looking at the verdict that was handed down why I had to be persecuted and shamed for the last five (5) years for personally benefiting from public funds and why the Public Prosecutor found it necessary to subject me to the full force of justice for matters that are, by lack of other means, now punished with a one (1) day conditional jail sentence that will go away in one day.

“The Public Prosecutor office cannot convince me that they were really after me. From the onset and certainly the questions posed to me during the investigation it is obvious that they were trying to get at –a- highly placed official(s). The million dollar questions remains, was this case really necessary and was it fair to succumb me to through criminal persecution for obvious alternative motives/purposes?

“Today the Public Prosecutor can say, apparently even without shame, that she is glad with the outcome. Glad with an acquittal for all money laundering charges a dismissal of 4 of the 8 embezzlement charges and a symbolic sentence of 1 day for using government funds for other government purpose. The public prosecutors sentiments should be taken with a grain of salt, certainly considering the enormous waste of tax payers money in persecuting me for 5 years in what for me has been an obvious attempt to try to get to others.

“During the last 5 years I suffered serious health issues –largely also- because of the constant harassment and stress of being the subject of a criminal persecution. For this harm done to me, I cannot be made whole. 

“For 5 years I kept my piece and did not speak out. It is time that the Sint Maarten Public obtains a correct understanding of matters and hopefully starts asking itself if we as local Sint Maarteners, should continue to condone the misuse of our criminal prosecution system by in essence a small group of temporary contracted workers for in my opinion obvious attempts to influence the Sint Maarten Political landscape,” the statement from Edward Dest concludes. 

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Protocol for the improvement of the hospital signed

CAY HILL - After an intense tripartite meeting between the minister of Public Health, Mrs. Rita Bourne-Gumbs, Director of SMMC Mr. Kees Klarenbeek and ad interim Director of SZV Mr. Glen Carty last week Thursday March 19th at the Westin regarding the hospital care in St. Maarten, a protocol between the three parties was signed to bond their cooperation intentions.

Prime Minister Gumbs opened the official meeting to sign the protocol on Thursday, March 26, and thanked everybody for their presence. With the signing of the protocol minister of VSA said she was looking forward to their future working relationship and their plan to work out a business plan for the improvement of the SMMC.  Mr. Carty thanked everybody behind the scenes who worked on the preparation of the tripartite as this brought the good spirit for the tripartite meeting last week, resulting in this protocol: “Everybody, advisors and lawyers behind the scenes worked together showing the cooperation that is needed for the future”.

Mr. Klarenbeek in his turn thanked everyone for the recognition of the situation; “I am glad that we are at the same page for looking for sustainable solutions for the healthcare on St.Maarten”.

The three parties signed the protocol, witnessed by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance. Ms. Luzz-Marie Tuitt as member of the council of SMMC, signed on behalf of Chair of the council Mr. Robert-Jan James.

On the signing of the protocol Mr. Carty also handed over a letter to SMMC stating SZV’s willingness to assist in the financial situation of SMMC.

Prime Minister Gumbs closed of the session with expressing his expectations of the follow up: “The three parties must realise the seriousness of signing this protocol.  The protocol states the development of the business case for the SMMC within three months and I expect that everyone will do their best, leave the past in the past and successfully realize the plans in this protocol on time. No more excuses”. The prime minister rooted for professional conversations and meetings between the three parties to resolve any execution hurdles together. (Press Secretariat, Government of Sint Maarten Council of Ministers)

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Tzu Chi gives 60 foot massages, served 250 at Lion’s Fair

POND ISLAND - A total of 250 persons were served by Tzu Chi Foundation and some 60 received free Thai reflexology foot massages as well as back massages from the foundation at the Lion Rudy Hoeve Health and Wellness Fair last Saturday.

The massages were popular amongst attendees with people lining up to wait for a massage even before the fair officially began. For some, it was the first time they received a massage.

Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs was amongst those who enjoyed the massage. Volunteer Claire Elshot said the Prime Minister indicated that the massage was refreshing and would be a welcomed treat at least one a month. Elshot said the Prime Minister also pledged his support for Tzu Chi’s mission.

The massages were performed by a team of five Tzu Chi volunteers led by massage therapist Roger Yee-Fong. 

In addition to the massages, Tzu Chi also had free sugar free lemon drinks and vegetarian snacks such as vegan sandwiches, eggless cupcakes and callaloo patties etc for attendees. The sugar free lemon drinks was appreciated by many particularly the diabetics who tried it.

Tzu Chi literature was also on display as information about the foundation was also shared with guests. A total of 15 Tzu Chi Foundation volunteers participated in the activity and some 35 new persons registered to support the foundation’s fund raising drive with its recycled Bamboo Banks (collection boxes). The Prime Minister was amongst those who signed Tzu Chi’s support list and requested 20 of the bamboo banks. He was happy to see that the bamboo banks were made from used water bottles. Elshot said Gumbs also supports the idea of having the bamboo banks at various Ministries in government.

  
Tzu Chi volunteer Bradly Attyl said the experience at the fair had been a fantastic one for him. “What captured me was that so many people came to get a massage. I was honoured to have given a massage the honourable Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs,” he said. “People were happy and satisfied and it gave me a nice feeling. As Tzu Chi founder Master Cheng Yen says: ‘Every drop of water makes a river.’ Let us continue to walk in Tzu Chi’s path.”

Volunteer Shung Hing said participating in the fair under Tzu Chi’s banner gave her an opportunity to work together and bond with other volunteers. “It was great seeing the people enjoy our relaxing foot massages. Even more satisfying when they said it was worth the wait.”

Elshot said she too enjoyed the opportunity to give massages.

Tzu Chi Commissioner Sandra Cheung thanked all those who, in one way or another, contributed to Tzu Chi’s successful participation in the fair. She singled out Yee-Fong for encouraging Tzu Chi to participate and the Fair organisers for providing the forum for Tzu Chi and other groups to participate.

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MINISTER BOURNE-GUMBS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE PHENOMENAL WOMEN FOUNDATION TO HOST THE “WOMEN’S FORUM” ON SUNDAY, MARCH 29

PHILIPSBURG - In follow-up to a divinely inspired spark,  the Honorable Minister Rita Bourne-Gumbs in partnership with Jacqueline Louis, Founder of the “Woman to Woman, Phenomenal Women Radio Program”, and President of the Phenomenal Women Foundation, are proud to present the “Phenomenal Women’s Forum.” 

This ground-breaking event is scheduled for Sunday, March 29, 2015 and marks the grand finale of the celebration of Women’s History Month, which is recognized during the month of March. This exclusive celebration will include a “Fancy Hat Competition” and a toast to the 4th Anniversary of the Phenomenal Women program which is broadcast live on SOS Radio 95.9FM every Sunday from 12:30-1:30PM to engage, educate and empower women.  

“The Women’s Forum is an interactive event to bring together women of influence from distinct sectors and organizations throughout the community of St. Maarten/St. Martin. It serves as a platform to discuss pertinent issues affecting women’s socio-economic development, wellness, prosperity and progress. The goal is to develop action points that will drive the necessary changes to build a better and brighter future for our entire community, in solidarity,” shares Minister Bourne. 

The ‘Phenomenal Women’s Forum’ is a historic undertaking as it  would be framed around open discussions to develop more cooperation among women to stimulate a stronger collective will and drive towards our common causes. In an effort to propel the agenda of women’s issues, rights and recognition to a higher level, the topics of discussion will include but not limited to: Education, Youth & Adult Education/Training/Professional Development; Healthcare–Insurance, Sports, Active Lifestyles; Spirituality; Youth; Culture; Abuse–Domestic Violence, Rape, Incest, Child Prostitution; Business–Career & Entrepreneurship; Financial Planning; Sexuality–Family Planning, Teenage Pregnancy; Law-Legal Rights and Crime– Prostitution, among other areas of interest.

The event co-partner, Jacqueline Louis further shares the following: “The purpose of the ‘Phenomenal Women’s Forum’ is to tap into the minds, hearts, and souls of women to develop a sense of common understanding, collaboration of personal/professional agendas, and forge a sense of unity. Through working together, women can achieve more, and make a profound impact as business and community leaders. This has been a long-standing vision of our efforts through the Phenomenal Women program. We are truly honored and grateful that Minister Bourne shares in this vision, and has taken the necessary steps towards inspiring and instilling this initiative among local women, which resonates among women worldwide,” states Louis.

The event sponsors include the Ministries of ECYS & VSA, SHEER Restaurant, SOS Radio95.9FM, IMBRACE, and Clara Reyes with the NIA.

For further information, please contact Jacqueline Louis (721) 581-7973 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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SXM Airport Clarifies the Issues of Closed Loop, Dividends and Concession Fees

SIMPSON BAY, SXM Airport - The Princess Juliana International Airport, SXM, has presented a proposal that it considers a win-win-win situation for all concerned which, in particular, would pave the way for Government to charge some concession fee.  

         

This proposal was disclosed in the presentation the Airport management made to members of the Committee on Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications of the Parliament of St. Maarten on Monday, March 23, 2015. The public meeting was carried live on radio and television. It would be the second time SXM Airport would meet with Members of Parliament in about a month to update them about developments at the Airport.

         

“It was again an honor for us to meet with the Parliamentarians and provide them with detailed answers to their various questions about developments at the Airport and we believe overall, our presentation was well-received,” said Regina LaBega, SXM Managing Director, who was accompanied by her management team at the presentation.

         

“In fact, we made a similar presentation to the Dutch Prime Minister Rutte and his delegation when he visited the island last July, the Governor, as well as Parliament in a previous meeting, and the response was very positive,” LaBega said, stressing that the Airport runs a very transparent operation and has no problems with giving information to the relevant authorities.

         

“Central to all our activities right now is the fact that we were able to secure a US$132 million loan on the international financial market at very favorable terms, all of which was made possible by the Moody’s Investors Service investment grade rating we obtained in 2012, following efforts by successive Governments since 2010 to obtain a sovereign rating, which was also granted simultaneously by Moody’s assigning the Government an even higher investment grade rating,” LaBega recalled.

In a press release issued by Moody’s at the time, it stressed what factored in the rating for SXM Airport were the favorable legal covenants and investor protections in the bond indenture. These include cash funded debt service reserve funds that cover three months debt service, and “a closed loop of funds that does not allow dividends to be paid to the holding company, retaining all excess cash flow for Airport purposes.”

         

“This is essential to understand why SXM Airport cannot pay dividends to Government,” LaBega explained. “It is a basic condition of the covenant we signed as part of the loan agreement and as such we cannot break it. That is why we have come up with an alternative proposal, which would offer Government a way to receive a concession fee without breaking the loan covenant.This proposal still has to be discussed with Government. We have requested a meeting with the Council of Ministers on this matter and are still awaiting a date for such meeting to take place,” LaBega said.

         

She stressed that unlike many airports in the region and even in the USA and Europe, SXM is not funded nor subsidized by government at all and has to rely completely on its own financial resources.

         

“It is in recognition of this that successive governments of St. Maarten decided to grant PJIAE NV a concession to operate the Airport without charging a concession fee while allowing the Airport to keep the so-called departure fees, which is not a tax, because only government can levy taxes,” LaBega continued.

         

LaBega recalled that part of the reason the bond issue to raise the US$132 million loan on the international financial market was quickly oversubscribed was the fact that investors were confident that Government would not be dipping its hands into the Airport’s finances for purposes that have nothing to do with the Airport.

         

“Investors are aware of the long-standing arm’s length policy of St. Maarten’s Government towards the government-owned companies. As a matter of fact, this was one of the issues raised by the Dutch delegation led by Prime Minister Rutte when we made the presentation to them last year,” LaBega said.

         

“We don’t need to go into the history of how that policy came into being and what has happened since, but our investors are definitely monitoring the pronouncements of our elected representatives with regards to the issue of dividends and concession fees and other related matters,” she added.

         

“We understand the position of Government, and we are not against paying concession fees; however, to just institute that now, in spite of the current concession agreement (which does not expire until 2030), would not instill confidence in our investors and could adversely affect not only SXM Airport, but Government and the whole economy of St. Maarten,” LaBega said.

         

“The closed loop is not something we came up with now; it is an integral part of our loan covenant. If we break that covenant, PJIAE would be in default and then we would need to ask the Government to come up with the US$132 million and then Government can do whatever it so desires with the Airport. It’s as simple as that. If you have a mortgage loan with a bank, and you later disagree with the basic terms of the loan, then you either have to pay up the bank or adhere to the agreed terms,” she explained, stressing, “this is why we are restricted in what we can do.”

         

“The airport is a strategic asset to the people of St. Maarten and I’m sure nobody wants to jeopardize its further development. As a growing regional hub, our hub partners too are closely watching what we are doing. More importantly, to continue to take SXM airport to the next level, of course, we need the cooperation of Government, particularly with the permits and authorizations that we are patiently awaiting to be granted.” (SXM Airport)

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Sint Maarten Disaster Management Organization partaking in Caribe Wave Tsunami Exercise

GREAT BAY (DCOMM) – The National Disaster Management Organization on Sint Maarten, through the Office of Disaster Management (ODM) in Cay Hill which is located at the Fire Department will be participating in a regional Exercise called Caribe Wave Lantex 15 on Wednesday, March 25.

The purpose of the exercise is to assist tsunami preparedness efforts in the Caribbean and Adjacent regions, including US and Canadian Gulf and east coasts.

Caribe Wave Lantex 15 is a Caribbean Tsunami Warning Exercise and the Sint Maarten ODM will be testing its communication channels and delivery of the dummy warning messages received from the US Pacific and National Tsunami Warning Centers and disseminated to all stakeholders.

The dummy warning messages are issued to test communications with Tsunami Warning Focal Points and Emergency Management Organizations.

Two exercise scenarios are planned.  One entails a tsunami generated by a magnitude 8.5 earthquake located just north of Panama in the southwest Caribbean Sea.

The second scenario is a landslide offshore Florida which generates a tsunami.

The Intergovernmental Coordination Group for Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (ICG/CARIBE EWS) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the US National Tsunami Hazard mitigation Program, are the entities involved in carrying out the tsunami exercise on March 25.

The tsunami warning exercise is being conducted to assist tsunami preparedness efforts throughout the Caribbean region.  Recent tsunamis, such as those in the Indian Ocean (2004), Samoa (2009), Haiti and Chile (2010), and Japan (2011), attest to the importance of proper planning for tsunami response.

Historical tsunami records from sources such as the NOAA National Geophysical Data Center show that over 75 tsunamis with high validity have been observed in the Caribbean over the past 500 years.

These represent approximately 7-10 per cent of the world’s oceanic tsunamis.  Earthquake, landslide, and volcanic tsunami sources have all impacted the region.  Since 1843, almost 3,500 people have lost their lives to tsunamis in the Caribbean. 

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UPDATE: TelEm Group Data and internet services restored Tuesday Morning. Technical Director Stresses need for continued vigilance and heightened security

POND ISLAND - TelEm Group’s Technical Department has confirmed that internet and mobile data services were restored at approximately 10:00 am Tuesday morning following a second outage of service at the start of the business day – the first outage occurred Monday after a reported cyber attack on company equipment. 

According to Chief Technical Officer (CTO) Mr. Eldert Louisa, Tuesday morning’s outage was caused because a number of IP addresses were not being routed properly throughout the public internet system. He said that situation is under control and is being closely monitored for any other suspect activity. 

“Data services for mobile subscribers should now be available along with the internet connections of ADSL subscribers,” said Mr. Louisa. He said however, in the event DSL customers are not connected, they should re-set their modems before calling the TelEm Helpdesk at Tel: 548-HELP (548-4357) for further assistance. 

“We believe this morning’s outage is a residual effect of the cyber-attack we experienced Monday. We prepared for such an eventuality by closely monitoring all systems, so we were able to respond quickly and decisively to restore data and internet services once unusual activity from one IP address was noticed,” continued Mr. Louisa. 

He said Monday’s cyber-attack has once again brought attention to malicious forces around the world who take pleasure in causing disruptions of this kind. 

“We do our best to maintain high security protocols and to be alert at all times, but even with the best ISP’s some attacks manage to get through. We therefore have to find new counter-measures to deal with sometimes newer and more sophisticated attacks,” said Mr. Louisa. 

The Technical Director said the company will also be revisiting its own processes and procedures as it relates to an overseas company charged with maintaining a defensive wall against such attacks from the outside. 

“We will be checking with the security company to see why they did not intercept this attack and whether their system or ours have been compromised in any way,” said Mr. Louisa. 

He confirmed a similar report from the company immediately after Monday’s interruption in service that TelEm Group is also in contact with other experts in the field regarding other permanent responses to this latest assault on the company’s networks. (TelEm) 

TelEm Group internet service interruption Monday caused by malicious cyber attack

(Monday, March 23rd, 2015) POND ISLAND - TelEm Group has traced a five hour interruption in company’s high speed ADSL internet service to malicious hackers who directed a cyber attack aimed at bringing down the Internet Service Provider (ISP) network.

Logs reviewed by technicians last night showed unusual activity from one particular IP address Monday afternoon with increasing broadcasts from the same IP address for a number of hours until the network was compromised and brought down.

According the Manager, Network Engineering, Mr. Jed Carty, the attack was directed against TelEm Group by malicious person or persons who so far have not been identified.

“We have reported the incident to the relevant authorities who make it a point of following the IP address trails of such attacks to identify where they are coming from and to warn other ISPs around the world about their operations,” said Mr. Carty.

He said Monday’s cyber attack left customers throughout the island without mobile data and ADSL internet connections for close to five hours while the malicious IP address and other suspect IP addresses were isolated from the company’s switching equipment.

“No ISP is totally immune from such attacks, but we will be monitoring all broadcasts more  closely over the coming days to guard against any new attacks and to be ready for an immediate response should another attack occur,” assured Mr. Carty.

He said customers literally flooded the company’s Helpdesk for the best part of the day Monday enquiring about the outage.

“Up until late last night the Helpdesk was still assisting customers with reconnections and reconfigurations,” said Mr. Carty. He advised customers to unplug and restart their modems as a first step to getting their connections restored and also advised customers to call TelEm Helpdesk on Tel: 548 – HELP should they still be experiencing difficulty.

Mr. Carty has meantime apologized to customers on behalf of TelEm Group management for the interruption in service. (TelEm)

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Sint Maarten hosted first Justice Tri-Partite at Ministry of Justice

PHILIPSBURG – On Thursday March 19th, 2015 the first Tri-Partite deliberations were held at the Ministry of Justice on the A.Th Illidge Road. In attendance were the Ministers of Justice of Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten, respectively the  Honourable  Minister Arthur Dowers, the Honourable minister mr Nelson Navarro, and the host of this meeting the Honourable Minister Dennis L. Richardson.

The purpose of this deliberation was mainly to focus on justice related issues all three Kingdom partners are being confronted with in terms of Immigration, Cooperation in the area of combatting international organized crime, and other pertinent matters. The Ministers were joined by their respective Secretary Generals.

An interactive presentation was given to the Ministers of Justice of Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten, about the Justice Information System (JIS) which is currently in the process of development on Sint Maarten.

The JIS is being developed to interactively link in the first place the entire Justice chain which will aid in the exchange of information between departments and other law enforcement entities as well as support policy development at the Ministry of Justice.

A bidding process was carried out based on a well-defined project proposal entailing the wants and needs identified by the Ministry of Justice and there supporting entities. The well renowned firm KPMG was awarded the contract to design and execute this project.

An interactive demo of the use of this system was given on Wednesday March 18th , with the Court of Guardianship as the entity utilizing the system. A presentation on its use and the need for such was given to those in attendance by the Director of the Court of Guardianship, Richelda Emanuel.

The Tri-Partite deliberations will continue to take place on a quarterly basis as all parties have indicated the need, willingness and necessity. (Press Secretariat, Government of Sint Maarten Council of Ministers)

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