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Central Committee meeting of Parliament about UTS set for Wednesday

PHILIPSBURG – The House of Parliament will sit in a Central Committee meeting on Wednesday, February 20. 

The Central Committee meeting is scheduled for 14.00 hrs. in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg. The Minister of Justice will be present. 

The agenda point is: Discussion regarding UTS(IS/550/2018-2019 dated January 31, 2019).

This meeting was requested by the Minister of Justice, shareholder representative of UTS.

Members of the public are invited to the House of Parliament to attend parliamentary deliberations.  

The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House in Philipsburg.

The parliamentary session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 115, via SXM GOV radio FM 107.9, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet www.sxmparliament.orgwww.pearlfmradio.sx  and Parliament’s Facebook page: Parliament of Sint Maarten.

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Finance Committee of Parliament to meet about the emergency measure to restructure Ennia by the Central Bank

PHILIPSBURG – The Finance Committee of Parliament will meet on Tuesday, February 19.

The Finance Committee meeting is scheduled for 14.00 hrs. in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg. The Minister of Finance will be present.  

The agenda point is: Discussion on the emergency measure to restructure Ennia by the Central Bank and the effects it has on the Central Bank and our local economy (IS/794/2017-2018 dated July 26, 2018)

This meeting was requested by MP A.M.R. Irion.

Members of the public are invited to the House of Parliament to attend parliamentary deliberations. 

The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House in Philipsburg. 

The parliamentary session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 115, via SXM GOV radio FM  107.9, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the internet www.sxmparliament.orgwww.pearlfmradio.com and Parliaments Facebook page: Parliament of Sint Maarten. 

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TelEm Group carrying out major repairs to DQ Internet/telephone lines

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - TelEm Group are carrying out major repair works to damaged telecommunication cables in the Dutch Quarter area starting this weekend and are informing residents and businesses nearby that their Internet and telephone lines will be affected.

TelEm Group’s Outside Plant says it has taken the opportunity of ongoing civil works in the Dutch Quarter area to excavate for suspected damaged cables, following complaints by residents about poor telephone reception and slow internet connections, especially after rainfall.

Acting Manager, Outside Plant, Mr. Steve Simmons, said technician’s fears were confirmed Friday, when they discovered a host of damaged underground telecommunication cables that had deteriorated over the years.

The Technicians also found that some of the cables had been damaged in multiple places, indicating they had been damaged in the past by other excavation works that were covered up again without the damage being reported.

TelEm Group Chief Technical Officer, (CTO), Mr. Eldert Louisa, is appealing to all civil works contractors, and persons who damage company cables during excavation works to report the damage so that they can be repaired and not just covered up.

Acting Manager Outside Plant, Mr. Simmons, said residents and businesses in the Dutch Quarter area have been complaining about poor lines and slow internet speeds for quite a while, but the company’s hands were tied because they could not get permission to excavate the busy roadway in the Dutch Quarter area, where the damaged cables were.

“Government is trenching in the area and we took the opportunity to do our own works to see the condition of the cables underground. We saw a lot of corrosion and damage to cables that have to be replaced right away,” said Mr. Simmons.

The Acting Manager, Outside Plant, says a sub-contracting firm will be carrying out the majority of the works and is expected to complete the repairs within the next week.

“Customers who have been complaining about their telephone and internet lines in this part of Dutch Quarter can expect a vast improvement once the repairs are completed,” said Mr. Simmons.

He said the works began Friday and will continue Saturday in the area of Dutch Quarter between Milton Drive and Caines Drive. The Garden of Eden area will also be affected during the course of the day, Saturday. The repair works will continue next week, affecting other areas of Dutch Quarter.

TelEm Group’s Outside Plant will be informing residents and business in the area about the progress of the works in the coming days with notifications of the various areas that will be affected.

TelEm Group management has meantime apologized to residents and business in the Dutch Quarter area for any inconvenience caused by the major repairs to telecommunication cables in the area. TelEm Group look forward to an improvement of Internet and landline connections in  Dutch Quarter when the repairs are completed.

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Destruction of property at KFC

PHILIPSBURG - One male suspect identified with initials S.J. is now in custody following the destruction of property at KFC on Bush road, police announced on Thursday. 

According to reports the incident took place Wednesday the13th February at approximately 11.00 p.m., when a disagreement between the suspect and an employee of KFC which led to him damaging one of the windows. 

This investigation is under investigation by the Detective Department. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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Dutch state casino privatisation on back burner, may not go ahead

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Plans to privatize the state-owned Holland Casino group will not go now go ahead before 2020 and may be postponed altogether, the Financieele Dagblad said on Wednesday. 

The issue should have been debated in the senate on Tuesday, but justice minister Sander Dekker cancelled the vote because of the volume of objections. 

In particular, senators are concerned that privatized casinos may encourage gambling and are worried about the way that the government planned to proceed with the privatization process. 

The draft legislation was approved by MPs two years ago. The plan includes selling 10 of the 14 branches under their current name while the other four locations will be sold as a group. 

The cabinet is also planning to open up the casino market to new providers – with two licenses up for grabs. Dekker has until June to come up with a new proposal which will win senate backing. 

‘We may adapt the law, withdraw it altogether or go for a vote after all,’ Dekker said in a note to senators. Senators will vote next week on legislation to legalize online betting and gambling. (DutchNews)

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Fintech’s adoption will continue to change postal landscape in 2019

SINT MAARTEN/INTERNATIONAL - In a world of digital transformation, pioneering technologies and accessible financial services, the postal sector is striving to embrace this brave new environment.

Two years ago, Australia Post entered into a joint venture with a company to offer local businesses a single platform to access e-commerce products and other services. Post office branches in the UK offer customers access to the majority of all UK current accounts, while in other parts of the world remittances are now being sent to remote rural communities.

These are only a few examples of how technology in the postal sector is transforming the delivery of financial services – known collectively as fintech. Once considered part of the back office, fintech has stepped into the spotlight and is now an essential feature of front office processes using computer-based and mobile software. 

As fintech possibilities grow, postal operators have seized on its ready potential. They recognize that a highly connected physical postal network forms a natural bridge linking the financial and electronic networks and capable of delivering value to customers and governments alike.

Can postal operators take advantage? The UPU’s Postal Financial Services Coordinator Sergey Dukelskiy believes so. He says that, instead of developing their own fintech solutions, Posts are actively looking for partners and already existing marketing solutions that are cheaper and faster to integrate.

His view chimes with that of the UPU’s Digital Inclusion and Policy Issues Expert Daniel Nieto who said in a recent interview, “Building from scratch is also sometimes unnecessary as there are companies that can help you build successful new services. If you want to avoid the investment of considerable time and resources, partnerships offer the best solution.”

The UPU’s Postal Technology Centre’s Account Relations and Product Management Coordinator David Avsec expects fintech to evolve further in 2019. “I think we will see evidence of the fintech sector’s ability to change the financial services landscape and drive down costs,” says Avsec.

He contends that the focus on mobile banking and micro lending and the absence of big infrastructure costs make fintech ideal for the less developed world. “Fintech is facilitating the expansion of networks. It can enable access to payment networks for millions of people previously denied this opportunity,” Avsec maintains.   

Regulation also plays a strong role. “Although huge progress has been made, problems remain. E-wallets on mobile phones, for example, are still not accepted in some countries and legislation needs to keep up with technological change,” says Avsec.    

The fintech discussion, according to Avsec, also has to account for blockchain’s influence. He stresses that, in the struggle to integrate secure transactions and ally operations to finance and technology, blockchain could be the missing link.

“There is a large range of market solutions, but they do not always speak to each other. In 2019, I think you will begin to see more evidence of blockchain becoming fintech’s unifying force,” he says.

Dukelskiy agrees that blockchain will influence fintech. “Blockchain can help reduce transaction costs, savings that can be potentially passed on to customers.” 

In early April of this year, UPU will bring experts to Berne, Switzerland for a conference titled, “Shaping postal financial services in a digital economy”. The conference aims to promote promising and exciting out-of-the-box solutions for postal operators, including blockchain and blockchain-driven cryptocurrencies.

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CARILEC Announces New Strategic Direction

SINT MAARTEN/ST. LUCIA – In 2019, under the leadership of Executive Director Dr. Cletus Bertin, The Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corporation (CARILEC) will be unveiling a suite of activities that align with its current five-year plan Strategic Plan. These activities include commemorating its thirtieth year anniversary; a grand ceremony will be held in Saint Lucia alongside its annual CEOs & Leadership Conference slated for May 21-24. This leading Energy Conference for Energy Leaders will be co-hosted by St. Lucia Electricity Services Limited. The Secretariat will also be launching a new website with a more engaging user-friendly experience with enhanced member database and navigation. 

CARILEC’s strategic plan for the period 2018-2022 emerges from an understanding of the role of the Secretariat within the regional and global environments. Established in 1989 with nine (9) members as part of an electric utilities modernization project funded by USAID and implemented by NRECA under a five-year “Co-operative Agreement” the Secretariat recognizes that advocacy, positive member relations, and capacity building are important tenets of a secure energy future. Under the thrust of its current strategic plan, it will continue to play a constructive role in the transformation of the region’s electrical sector to a more robust, modern and sustainable model. CARILEC’s new strategic plan includes realigned Mission and Vision statements, Core Values and the corporation’s By-Line, which will guide the Secretariat’s policy and decision making processes, and centres around six (6) integrated objectives which will inform its work over the period. 

According to Dr. Bertin, “this Strategic Plan articulates a new mission, a new vision and a realignment of our values, of which collaboration is pivotal as we recognize that knowledge sharing and collective action are critical tenets of a secure energy future. The 2018-2022 Strategic Plan must also be seen within the context of CARILEC’s continuing efforts to facilitate world-class electricity services and the adoption of sustainable approaches to energy solutions in the region.”

About CARILEC:

The Caribbean Electric Utility Service Corporation (CARILEC) is an association of electric utilities, suppliers, manufactures and other stakeholders operating in the electricity industry in the Caribbean. CARILEC was established in 1989 with nine (9) members as part of an electric utilities modernization project funded by USAID and implemented by NRECA under a five-year "Co-operative Agreement." Currently, CARILEC comprises a total of one hundred and sixteen (110) members. This includes thirty six (34) Full Members that are electric utilities, seventy-four (74) Associate Members that are companies involved in some aspect of servicing the electric utility business and eight (8) Affiliate Members. 

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Central Committee meeting of Parliament on the obligation to notify cross-border money transfers

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – The House of Parliament will sit in a Central Committee meeting on Thursday, February 7.

The Central Committee meeting which was adjourned on Wednesday, January 23, 2019will be reconvened on Thursday, at 10.00 hrs. in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg. The Minister of Justice and the Executive Director of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) Secretariat based in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobagowill be present.

The agenda point is:National Ordinance amending the National Ordinance on the obligation to notify cross-border money transfers in response to recommendations 32 and 33 of the Financial Action Task Force(Parliamentary Yeas 2018-2019-120)

Members of the public are invited to the House of Parliament to attend parliamentary deliberations.  

The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House in Philipsburg.

The parliamentary session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 115, via SXM GOV radio FM 107.9, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet www.sxmparliament.orgwww.pearlfmradio.sx  and Parliament’s Facebook page: Parliament of Sint Maarten.

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The Labor Inspection strictly monitors construction sites

SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS - Last Wednesday, January 30th, the Labor Inspection gave an order to suspend work on a construction site at the Kaya Grandi on Bonaire. This was because employees of a steel fixing company were working at about 10 meters height, without any form of protection against risk of a fall. 

After the command of the inspector, the employer purchased harnesses for the employees. The inspector has informed the employees on the construction site about the need for safe working, after which they could return to work. On this day the employer got away with a written warning.

On Friday February 1stin the morning hours, the Labor Inspection had to act again on the same construction site. Although the steel fixers were wearing harnesses, they didn’t hook up to the construction. Reason for the Labor Inspection to order to suspend work again. 

The employer was also ordered to place sturdy guard rails at the construction since the steel fixers did not use the harness as it was intended. The Labor Inspection drew up an official report against the employer and issued a written warning to the steel fixers. It is the first time that the Labor Inspection gives warnings to employees as well. 


On Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius there is an increasing number of construction activities. All the more reason for construction companies to keep a close eye on safety. The Labor Inspection will continue monitoring the risk of falling from height strictly. In case of violations they may draw up an official report. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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Central Committee meeting of Parliament about dismissal of the workers at St. Maarten Cable TV

PHILIPSBURG – The House of Parliament will sit in an urgent Central Committee meeting on Tuesday, February 5. 

The Central Committee meeting which was adjourned on Monday, February 5, 2018will be reconvened on Tuesday, at 14.00 hrs. in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg. The minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunicationwill be present.

The agenda point is: Status and situation around the dismissal of the workers at St. Maarten Cable TV and the predicament of the subscribers of said company (IS/309/2017-2018 dated February 1, 2018). This meeting was requested by MP P.F.M. Geerlings, MP S.M. Bijlani, and MP T.E. Leonard.

Members of the public are invited to the House of Parliament to attend parliamentary deliberations.  

The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House in Philipsburg.

The parliamentary session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 115, via SXM GOV radio FM 107.9, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet www.sxmparliament.orgwww.pearlfmradio.sx  and Parliament’s Facebook page: Parliament of Sint Maarten.

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