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Sint Maarten Christian Democratic Coalition Governing Accord Signed

PHILIPSBURG—Formateur for the 2018 – 2022 government and leader of the United Democratic Party (UD), Theodore Heyliger officially signed the governing program for his new government on Friday June 22 along with his coalition partner and Leader of the St. Maarten Christian Party (SMCP) Wycliffe Smith.

The coalition also announced that they have chosen the name Sint Maarten United Christian Democratic Coalition. The governing program was signed by all incoming members of the soon to be sworn in Council of Ministers, and by the eight Members of Parliament who hold the majority in the St. Maarten parliament.

Since two members will vacate their seats to become ministers when they are officially sworn in on Monday, the two new incoming parliamentarians have also signed in support of the governing program.

Once the signing of the document was completed Heyliger in his final act as Formateur handed a copy of the governing program to Governor Eugene Holiday along with his final formation report. 

Heyliger was appointed late in March as Formateur with responsibility for forming the new Sint Maarten government 2018 – 2022. One of the essential requirements for Heyliger was to ensure that the coalition that is established shows political maturity and provides the political stability for the country to “get it right” especially at this critical stage of recovery.

Governor Holiday also requested that Heyliger put together a broad-based government that reflects the wishes of the population, and gives Sint Maarten the stability it needs to complete its recovery after being devastated by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.

High on Heyliger’s report of priorities for the incoming government is the restoration of homes, roof repairs and an instant economic boost for the return of jobs. Critical to achieving this goal is the reconstruction of the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA), and hotels that were destroyed by hurricanes. The report stipulates that focus must also be put on a final clean-up campaign and the preparations for the 2018 hurricane season.

Heyliger, who is a Member of Parliament and leader of the United Democratic Party (UD), also handed Governor Holiday a copy of the Governing Program 2018-2022 put together by the new Sint Maarten United Christian Democratic Coalition entitled “Building a Sustainable Sint Maarten”.

It outlines the plan of action for incoming ministers over the next four years. To ensure he was able to put together a government and a governing program that represented the needs and interests of the people, Heyliger went throughout the community and spoke with a broad cross-section of people and organizations to formulate his report.

Heyliger has put together a ministerial Cabinet of individuals who represent both political parties. The SMCP and UD based their coalition agreement on both parties’ vision and interest in stability and the promotion of the well-being of the people of Sint Maarten.

The collective interest of this Sint Maarten United Christian Democratic Coalition, centre on the goal of moving Sint Maarten forward. The nine members of the new ministerial Cabinet will officially take the oath of office on Monday, June 25th.

CUTLINE: From the left Leader of the St. Maarten Christian Party (SMCP) Wycliffe Smith and Leader of the United Democratic Party (UD) Theodore Heyliger at the signing of the governing program for the incoming coalition.

UD signing ins1 IMG 0058

 

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Ministers to be sworn in on Monday. Governor receives final formateur report from Heyliger

SINT MAARTEN (HARBOUR VIEW) - On June 22, 2018, His Excellency the Governor of Sint Maarten, drs. E.B. Holiday, received the final report from formateur Theodore Heyliger.

The formateur has accepted the commission to form a new government supported by as broad a majority in Parliament as possible. Based on the coalition agreement signed on April 5, 2018 the new government is supported by the UD-fraction (United Democrats) and the SMPC-fraction (Sint Maarten Christian Party) in parliament and consists of Ministers who are committed to the promotion of the wellbeing of Sint Maarten.

The new government will in its governing program entitled: “Building a sustainable Sint Maarten” focus on rebuilding a vibrant economy, restoring a strong social fabric and promoting a resilient sense of community through the finalization and implementation of the national recovery and resilience plan in cooperation with the Netherlands and the World Bank.

This includes giving priority to amongst others: employment, home repairs, the sanitary landfill, safety and security, disaster management and Kingdom relations.

Candidates for the various portfolios have been vetted based on the pertinent regulations regulating the pre-screening of candidates before nomination (National Decree Appointment procedure candidate Ministers and candidate Minister Plenipotentiary, May 22, 2013, No. LB-13/0442).

The formateur has nominated the following persons for appointment:

  1. Leona Marlin-Romeo, Prime Minister and Minister of General Affairs;
  2. Cornelius de Weever, Minister of Justice;
  3. Perry Geerlings, Minister of Finance;
  4. Stuart Johnson; Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication;
  5. Wycliffe Smith, Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports;
  6. Miklos Giterson, Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure;
  7. Emil Lee, Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour;
  8. Jorien Wuite, Minister Plenipotentiary; and
  9. Michael Somersall, deputy Minister Plenipotentiary.

The Governor has scheduled the appointment and swearing in of the Ministers on Monday, June 25th, 10:00 hours, at the Governor’s Office.

After the ceremony, the Governor and the newly appointed Ministers will have the constituting meeting at the Government Administration Building.

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MOBILE OPERATORS AGREE TO NETWORK SHARING IN CASE OF A CRISIS

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On June 20th 2018, Bureau Telecommunications and Post St. Maarten (BTP) – the Telecom Regulator of country St. Maarten - met with Management of the Telem Group of Companies and UTS to coordinate telecom recovery efforts in the event St. Maarten get hit by a hurricane or any other natural disaster.

During the meeting in-depth discussions took place on preparatory work on the Telecom infrastructure, network resilience and the availability of communication services in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.

While it’s clear that there are often many challenges to provide stable telecom services in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, it’s to the belief of all stakeholders involved that the chance of service continuity is greater by working together.

In order to achieve such, it’s to the belief of the Regulator that “Internal Roaming” is one of the most important things to enable in the aftermath of a storm to guarantee availability of communication services to all.

When the internal roaming is activated, it means that when the network of one mobile operator is down, their customers will still be able to make use of mobile services by connecting to the network of another mobile provider.

In Sint Maartens’ case; in the event the Telcell mobile network is compromised, their mobile customers would still able to connect via the Chippie network, and in the event the Chippie network is compromised, their mobile customers would be still to connect via the Telcell network.

In the unfortunate event that Sint Maarten again gets hit by a hurricane, and it has been determined by BTP that island wide mobile coverage is no longer guaranteed to the residents of Sint Maarten due to damages on the Telecom networks, BTP will advise the Prime Minister via the EOC-Structure to effectuate a Ministerial Decree that allows for internal roaming. The internal roaming will then remain in effect as long as the country is in a state of emergency. Confirmed article 8 of “rampenbestijding” and Article 40 through 42 of the “Landsveroderning Telecommunicatie.

The director of BTP Mr. Anthony Carty stated: “Even though BTP has the legal tools to execute the sharing of networks when the country is in a state of emergency, collaboration between parties is preferred whereby there is no room for competing at that particular point.

In an emergency situation all stakeholders in the industry need to come together and work together to provide services to the end users, and making sure that they are connected and be able to communicate with emergency responders and their love-ones on- and off the island.

Carty continued: “we do not have any control over when the next major hurricane will hit us, but we do have control over the preparation process. That’s why BTP will continue to make efforts to get all stakeholders in the Telecom industry to the table, and continue to work in the best interest of the island”.

“We have a common goal and BTP will continue to develop and update policies, implement service standards and provide guidance to the industry and ministry to further improve telecommunication services on St. Maarten”.

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Ministry ECYS introduces Safety and Emergency Response for Schools

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) The official ‘Safety and Emergency Response Guidelines for Schools’ (SERG) was dispatched this week by The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport to all schools as one policy within the larger MECYS Resilience Plan.

The Resilience plan was created after Hurricane Irma to ensure that the education sector will be more effectively prepared to respond to and recover from disasters and crises.

Developed in collaboration with various school boards, community stakeholders like the Fire Department and Red Cross and with technical support from UNICEF Netherlands, the SERG lays out a number of quality standards and procedures for safety preparedness and emergency response within St. Maarten’s schools.

Although schools are not traditional response organizations, when an emergency occurs, school personnel and students must respond immediately. In addition to natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes and hurricanes, a school’s environment is also relatively hazard and threat-prone.

Threats such as gang violence or technological hazards such as an explosions or gas leaks may occur within a school at any time. This is why it is imperative that in each educational institution on St. Maarten, its staff and students, are fully aware of the steps involved in dealing effectively with an emergency and are always prepared to respond accordingly, contact the relevant authorities and take safety measures when necessary.

Each school will be required, in addition to developing their own personalized School Safety and Emergency Plan, to establish a school Safety and Emergency Team (SET).

The SET is responsible for establishing a warning system in the school, creating awareness of safety within the school, keeping updated contact lists for medical support professionals and ensuring that first aid equipment is available and maintained.

The SERG was also created to foster an improved culture of safety in schools as well as act as the first step towards the development of a larger comprehensive school safety plan that will take into account long term issues related to building standards, disaster risk reduction education and sustainable approaches to sector development.

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Regional Human Resource Training Outpost for Logistical Excellence Coming

PORT ST. MAARTEN – Port St. Maarten will be establishing a human resources training outpost in the third quarter of 2018. Recent stakeholder meetings which included Global Port Training have been a success.

Further discussions will take place with educational authorities to further explore the possibility of recruiting students from the high school system.

The training outpost will lead to the certification of persons working in the logistics field such as heavy equipment operators, stevedoring activities, and other port-container related operations. The certification will elevate the skill set of persons who are going to be a part of the rebuilding of the country as this process starts to take shape to build the country back better.                            

In 2016, Port St. Maarten set the ball rolling to establish key partnerships with global organizations such as Global Port Training with the objective of setting up a training Outpost in St. Maarten. These discussions led to the formalization in Antwerp, Belgium with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

“The development and certification of St. Maarten’s human resources in the logistics sector and providing an opportunity for those seeking a career in this area, will further catapult the country into this field of human resource development making it appealing to actors within the Caribbean Basin, as well within the North and Latin America markets.

“The latest logistics training technology will be used as we develop human resource development and excellence in logistical training that will serve first and foremost the local market followed by the region and beyond. Education is at the forefront of training the local market building a stronger and better workforce to meet the demands of the future,” Port St. Maarten Management said on Monday.

Global Port Training offers customized solutions - each project is unique, developed and based on the customer's expectations. The solutions both align with the company's as well as the target group's objectives. The company is specialized in launching new maritime activities and /or companies.

Global Port Training delivers a full 'concept', which clearly links the theoretical part of the training to the practical part; is very adaptable, mobile and flexible; and combines training and knowledge of Port related aspects offering training modules such as communication of safety issues, all aspects within stevedoring / dockers know how's, crane certification training, train the trainer courses and as well as the maintenance of the equipment.

The trainings also have an added-value as, for example with the maintenance of equipment’s the machines will remain in good operational condition for longer as well as last longer; there will be no unnecessary delays due to breakdowns; and operating hours will be maximized.

Global Port Training customers include companies, institutions and governments all around the world.

The training Outpost Facility will be a key component to Port St. Maarten’s operational excellence platform ensuring quality and certified port operations across the board via establishing various audit models for continued improvement and success of Port St. Maarten cargo division and will also be used as a catalyst to use St. Maarten as a centralized training hub on a regional and international level.

The partnership between Port St. Maarten and Global Port Training started back in 2009 with the certification training of the port’s first crane operators when the crane company was formally established. Due to the successful relationship that has been developed, Global Port Training and Port St. Maarten have been exploring opportunities in enhancing their working relationship.

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SXM Airport Surveillance Radar Replacement Project on Schedule

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) – The SXM Airport Air Traffic Services facility experienced catastrophic damage to its equipment during hurricane Irma last September.

The company has taken on the difficult task of restoring all the equipment and components required for the safe and efficient operation of aircraft within St. Maarten’s airspace.

PJIAE has chosen Thales as the provider of Primary/ Secondary Surveillance Radar and Automation equipment. Thales is one of the most reputable providers of radar and automation systems worldwide and has been delivering on its obligations.

The integration of radar, communication and navigation equipment is a tedious yet essential component of the project. PJIAE is on schedule to complete the Radar portion of the project by August 2018.

The radar project involved among many other logistical aspects, dismantling the dome above the Air Traffic Control tower, removing the existing radar antennas/ motor assembly, replacing the components and rebuilding the dome.

There has been an excellent and close coordination between all PJIAE departments and the contractors and hence PJIAE Air Traffic Control expects to be at full capacity prior to the high season of 2018/2019.

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De Weever says dumping boat wrecks on the landfills not permitted

POND ISLAND, Sint Maarten – Minister of Justice Cornelius de Weever, who also acts in the absence of the Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI), hereby informs all boatowners, marina operators, salvaging companies and any other entity or persons that are presently in the act of discarding old boat wrecks and/or parts thereof on both landfills, to cease from doing so as this is not allowed.

Reason for such lies in the fact that the fiberglass parts are extremely flammable and with the serious heat presently ongoing the change for sporadic combustion on the landfill is serious which can lead to an outbreak of fires.

The fumes of fiber are very dangerous, so the Government isn’t allowing any fiber products on any of the landfills.

The Government is busy in collaboration with the World Bank to have a total cleaning carried out of all the boat wrecks that litter the landscape, so they can be safely discarded within the next few months.

In the meantime, all wrecks should be left at their present locations for processing or moved to approved locations, Acting Minister of VROMI Cornelius de Weever said on Sunday.

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STB congratulates on-Island finalist in FCCA Environmental Children’s Poster Competition

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The St. Maarten Tourist Bureau (STB) congratulates Shannaz Horne, a sixteen-year-old student from the Charlotte Brookson Academy who is the on-Island finalist in the senior division of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) environmental Children’s Poster Competition.

Congratulations are also extended to Tefari Prevoo Francisco, an eleven-year-old student from the Sister Regina School who is the on-Island finalist in the junior division of the competition.

Shannaz and Tefari’s posters were selected and as on Island Finalists. Their posters will be sent on to the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) for further judging.

This competition seeks to promote and stimulate awareness amongst students and effectively educate the younger generation on the importance of environmental protection.

Tourism and the environment go hand in hand. St. Maarten’s students have been taking part in this competition for over a decade.

Last year destination St. Maarten had a first-place winner in the person of Aziza Baly of the St. Maarten Academy.

This activity forms part of the Tourist Bureau Tourism Awareness Program targeting the in-school community.

“Congratulations to Shannaz and Tefari, their art teachers of the Charlotte Brookson Academy, and the Sister Regina School, and we wish them all the best in bringing home that first prize,” STB said in a statement on Friday.

CUTLINE: Tefari Prevoo Francisco

MinTEATT STB FCCA Poster Competition Tefari

 

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Minister of Finance Michael Ferrier visits APS

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - On June 12th, Algemeen Pensioenfonds Sint Maarten (APS) Director Nadya Croes-van Putten welcomed Minister of Finance, Michael Ferrier to the APS office for an official visit and tour.

As part of the visit, APS took the opportunity to highlight the status of ongoing development projects, of which the generated return is expected to contribute to the growing pension capital of the fund. By law, the Minister of Finance is ultimately responsible for the fund.

Management of APS gave Minister Ferrier an update on current and prospect development projects of APS. The most recent prospect being the Sint Maarten Investment Bank for which APS held a round table discussion event last week.

Minister Ferrier was also briefed on several ongoing development projects of the APS such as the housing development project Oryx Hills.

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Port St. Maarten Management pleased with Court Ruling

PORT ST. MAARTEN – Today, June 14, 2018, the Joint Court of Justice rendered a provisional judgment with regard to the Public Prosecutor’s request for a civil inquiry and several injunctive measures.

The Court took into consideration that, based on several measures already taken by the Port, the Public Prosecutor withdrew several of the requested injunctive measures against the Port.

For example, the demand to suspend the entire supervisory board and to have the Court appoint an interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and new supervisory board, were already dropped by the Public Prosecutor before the hearing on May 24, 2018.

At the request of the Public Prosecutor, Mr. Mingo, CEO of the Port, was suspended until further notice. Mr. Mingo was already placed on non-active duty based on the allegations raised against him, so the Port did not object to his suspension.

The Court further ruled that the requests by the Public Prosecutor for other injunctive measures such as the appointment by the Port of a compliance officer and a confidential counselor will be reviewed during the next court hearing to be held on December 13, 2018. This gives the Port the chance to complete the appointments that are already in process.

On December 13, 2018, the case will continue. In the meantime, the Court invites the Port and the Public Prosecutor to discuss whether the objections raised by the Port for a civil inquiry (mainly costs and time) can be alleviated. Furthermore, parties can further discuss the scope and timing of a possible inquiry.

The Port management is pleased with the ruling of the court which, for the moment, allows the Port to focus most of its energy on the rebuilding efforts, which are of great importance for all Sint Maarten.

The Port will, however, also continue on the path towards improved compliance and good governance. Furthermore, the Port hopes to engage in fruitful discussions with the Public Prosecutor on the scope and timing of any further investigations the parties consider necessary to alleviate the Public Prosecutor’s concerns.

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