PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - Recently the National Security Service (VDSM) on behalf of the government of Sint Maarten held the first ever Critical Infrastructure Protection Conference on the island. The conference highlighted the importance of protecting critical infrastructure (CIP). By stimulating cooperation and communication between the various stakeholders, the conference has made a contribution in achieving an effective level of critical infrastructure protection in the future.
The conference featured both international and local speakers. Colonel (Ret'd) George Robinsonfrom Trinidad & Tobago with over 27 years in the Military and experienced in developing practical security solutions spoke on the topic of critical facility protection.
Ronald Jackson who assumed the post of Executive Director CDEMA in April 2013 spoke about CIP and the structure of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. Other experienced speakers with competencies concerning National Security and CIP, made presentations including the Director of the National Security Service Aruba, J.T. Nicolaas; Department Head at the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations of the Netherlands, I. Westerman; Director International Affairs Ministry of National Security of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago Antoinette Lucas-Andrews; Programme Manager Inter-American Committee against Terrorism, Shevaun M. Culmer, and special Agent Brian LeBlanc from the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America.
The two days conference also featured speakers from the local front: Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor the honorable V. H Cornelius de Weever, Drs. M. Arnold Head of the Department of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and Paul Martens representing the Sint Maarten Disaster Management Organization. Mark Mingo CEO of the St.Maarten Harbor Group of companies and R. Mercera, Department Head Department of Environment, Health, Safety and Security at GEBE both addressed local critical protection measures.
As one attendee to the invited only conference said “It was a good basis for the first time. There was a nice structure of local and international speakers”.
Since its inception in 2010, the National Security Service has been working on the promotion of measures to protect critical infrastructure in the county. The ambition of the National Security Service in relation to the protection of critical infrastructure of Sint Maarten is threefold:
- To advise and support the various stakeholders in their efforts to avoid large –scale failures or disruptions
- To advise and support government and the private sector in their efforts to strengthen the necessary preparation for the consequences of failure or disruption
- To contribute to (repressive) measures that can be taken to prevent or minimize damage from failure or disruption as much as possible.
For further information concerning the conference see also the conference website www.cipsxm.com.