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Internet Week Guyana advances Caribbean tech development agenda

SINT MAARTEN/GUYANA - Around the world, the growing sophistication of cyber criminals is challenging the capacity of governments, businesses and individuals to defend themselves.

Within the Caribbean, governments are forging strategic partnerships with regional actors like the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) and the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG), the region's largest volunteer-based community of network engineers, computer security experts and tech aficionados.

Recently, CaribNOG and the CTU collaborated with the Government of Guyana and other Internet organisations to host the inaugural Internet Week Guyana. International collaborators included the Internet Society, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), and the Latin America and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (LACNIC).

The five-day conference focused on building human resource capacity in cyber security and other key technology-related areas.

“The government of Guyana has been investing heavily in education and capacity building programs over the past two years. The idea of Internet Week Guyana came as a result of our collaborations with regional and international NGOs involved in the technology education space. And our collaboration bore fruit from the first day of Internet Week Guyana to the last,” said Catherine Hughes, Minister of Public Telecommunications, and host of the pioneering event.

The event attracted more than 400 participants, including public and private sector officials, telecommunications and computer networking specialists, entrepreneurs, and secondary school students.

“Private sector leaders, law enforcement and judicial offers, academia and civil society all have a collective responsibility to ensure that citizens, businesses and governments are safer and more secure in the digital age,” said Bevil Wooding, Caribbean Outreach Manager at ARIN, and one of the co-organisers of the event.

“We encourage Caribbean governments to develop legislative agendas and increase intra-regional cooperation, in order to strengthen the region's overall cyber security capability,” said Kevon Swift, Head of Strategic Relations and Integration at LACNIC, another coordinator for the event.

Throughout the week, representatives from participating organisations demonstrated practical ways in which stakeholders could work together to strengthen and secure Caribbean networks.

Stephen Lee, a CaribNOG co-founder, translated global cybersecurity issues into Caribbean priorities, outlining some of the challenges and opportunities of special relevance to the region.

Albert Daniels, Senior Manager for Stakeholder Engagement in the Caribbean at ICANN, outlined that organisation’s work in supporting secure network deployments around the world.

Shernon Osepa, Manager, Regional Affairs for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Internet Society, took the occasion to formally launch the Internet Society Guyana Chapter, with Nancy Quiros, Manager of Chapter Development in Latin America and the Caribbean at the Internet Society. Lance Hinds, Special Advisor to the Minister of Public Telecommunications, is serving as the chapter’s Interim President.

But the exclamation mark on the weeklong event was undoubtedly a gathering of young people, hosted by the CTU, on the conference’s closing day. About 300 students representing secondary schools from across the country took part in the all-day agenda. Educational videos, interactive presentations and lively Q&A sessions all helped bring new awareness to cyber-safety and cyber security for youth.

“The CTU continues to support the development of the Information and Communication Technologies sector in the region, including an emphasis on harnessing the potential of the youth,” said Michelle Garcia, Communications Specialist at the CTU.

Following the meeting there were several calls for Internet Week Guyana to be made a fixture on the country’s event calendar. Now the real work continues, to convert the high interest in the meeting into tangible national benefit. (BY GERARD BEST)

PHOTO CUTLINE: Organizers of Internet Week Guyana, representing the government of Guyana, regional and international Internet development bodies, take a photo call at the fifteenth meeting of the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG), held at the Pegasus Hotel, Georgetown, Guyana, on October 11, as part of the Internet Week Guyana. PHOTO COURTESY CaribNOG.

Internet Week Guyana organisers


Social Affairs and Labour expands provisions related to Hurricane Irma and Maria

SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS - The Unit of Social Affairs and Labour (SZW), in recognizing the needs of residents of Saba, St. Eustatius and Bonaire, is hard at work to expand its provisions to the fullest extent possible within the limits of the law.

Because of this, special provisions are being made. One of the special provisions that the Unit of Social Affairs and Labour has implemented since the passing of  hurricanes Irma and Maria is the speedy processing of requests for durable goods  to include bed, refrigerator, gas stove, fan and washing machine.

The Unit of Social Affairs and Labour is pleased to inform the public that that the disbursement of  the first set of durable goods is taking place this week October 16th through 20th.

The goods will be delivered by the SZW supplier and where applicable (as is customary) the item which is being replaced will also be confiscated by someone contracted by SZW.

Due to the high demand for special assistance SZW is unable to fulfill every request through its local suppliers at the moment. Therefore, delivery of goods will be based on urgency as well as the date of the request.

All other goods will be purchased on Curacao and transported to Statia at the end of October on the navy vessel the Karel Doorman via St. Maarten. “We are striving to have the goods transported October 22nd arriving in Maarten one week later on October 28th.

Once the goods have arrived on St. Maarten these will be off loaded by the military and shipped to Saba and St. Eustatius,” says Margreth de Groot, Head of the Unit SZW. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)


St. Maarten Guyanese Association Meeting Wednesday. Database being developed

CUL DE SAC - The St. Maarten Guyanese Association (SMGA) has resumed its weekly meetings and is encouraging all nationals of Guyana to attend on Wednesday, October 18, 2017 at 7:30pm. The meeting will be held at its 158 B Back Street location in Philipsburg.

The SMGA held its first post-Hurricane Irma meeting last Thursday (October 12, 2017), where persons were updated on matters of concern and interim board members selected. The association is currently asking all persons to attend Wednesday night's meeting in order to provide information to begin developing a database of Guyanese and their descendants living on the island.

This information is needed in order to have a true reflection of the size of the Guyanese community so that in times of disaster, persons can be easily contacted and marked as safe. Additionally, the association wants to be able to assist where it can in all aspects, as outlined in its constitution.


Labour Inspection increases number of extraordinary police officers

SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS - On Thursday, October 12th the Chief of Police Mr. J. Rosales swore in Mr. D. Frans BSc and Mr. L. de Jong as Extraordinary Police Officer [Buitengewoon agent van politie, also known as Bavpoller] for the Caribbean Netherlands.

As result, the number of Labour Inspection inspectors who also are extraordinary police officers has doubled. The doubling of the number of Extraordinary Police Officers at the Labour Inspection is consistent with the service's policy which is aimed at further professionalisation. This professionalisation focuses on three points:

Efforts are made within the inspection organisation to increase expert knowledge;

Professionalisation of the inspector's actions by training enforcement skills. Taking action requires tact, mutual respect and where necessary the use of coercive instruments. Inspectors need legal knowledge for this. The Extraordinary Police Officer training is part of the process to acquire this knowledge. Apart from acquiring general legal knowledge, the inspector also learns how to prepare an official report.


In order to provide a clear picture of what the Labour Inspection does, it is important to inform the general public about how the Labour Inspection enforces.

The Labour Inspection enforces laws concerning labour and social schemes which are implemented by the SZW Unit. This concerns laws on occupational safety, working hours and rest times, work performed by foreign nationals, loss of income, minimum wage and termination of employment.

The government's general guiding principle is: faith in citizens and companies. Companies and citizens want to act socially responsible and comply with laws and regulations. When they do not do this, the Labour Inspection takes enforcement action. The Labour Inspection has several instruments which can be used to enforce the law.

Warning: is used when it concerns a minor violation in the field of occupational safety, working hours, minimum wage and other employment conditions. The company will be given the opportunity to resolve the violation. The violation will be recorded in a warning letter and a period will be set within which the violation should be resolved.

Instruction: is issued in the field of occupational safety in those cases when there is no immediate serious danger to persons and which are not governed by concrete provisions in laws and regulations. A period will be set within which the violation should be resolved and it is specified what the employer should do to resolve the violation.

Order to halt work: is issued when the Labour Inspection assesses that resuming or continuing work will pose a serious danger to persons. Failure to comply with the issued order is considered an offence.

Revoke a work permit: this will happen in case of failure to respect the conditions of the permit or in case of misuse of the permit. The Labour Inspection may also advise the Head of the SZW Unit to temporarily refuse to grant a company a work permit because the company does not have its administration regarding work performed by foreign nationals in order. The purpose of suspending the granting of work permits is to give the company the opportunity to improve the permit application process.

Administrative fine: can be imposed if the employer does not comply with the so-called loss of income laws. The Labour Inspection will prepare a fine report, following which the SZW Unit Head will impose a fine on the employer on behalf of the Minister. This procedure is comparable to preparing an official report. The fine is processed under administrative law.

Official report: is issued in case of specific criminal offences and repeated violations. This concerns, among others, illegal employment pursuant to the Wet arbeid vreemdelingen BES [BES Labour Law Foreigners]. Grave accidents pursuant to the Arbeidsveiligheidswet BES [BES Occupational Safety Act] such as: fatal accidents, very serious offences or accidents resulting in permanent injury. An official report is also issued when an employer fails to act on a previous warning or instruction. Ignoring an order to halt work will also result in the issuance of an official report. The official report is processed by the Public Prosecution's Office. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)



Division Public Education to be closed on Wednesday

PHILIPSBURG -- Due to the relocation of the Division Public Education (DPE) from the Brooks Tower to the new Government Administration Building, the office will be closed to the public from Wednesday October 18th, and will resume regular hours of operation on Monday, October 23rd, 2017.

The Division Public Education will now be housed on the 3rd floor of the new Government Administration Building.

The Management and staff sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused by the closure, Head of Division Public Education Glenderlin Holiday said in a notice from the ministry.


Fire at WIB Branch on Bush road

CUL DE SAC - On Sunday October 15th at approximately 12.30 p.m. police patrols were directed to the branch of the Windward Island Bank (WIB) located in the Grand Marche complex on Bush road where a fire was reported.

On the scene the patrols realized that the Fire Department was already on the scene and had extinguished the fire.

According to the fire department the cause of the fire was still unknown and had yet been established. No one was injured. (Sint Maarten Police Force)



PHILIPSBURG - SZV would like to invite all registered employers to visit the Employer desk to report their post Irma status before Wednesday October 18th.

Payments and declarations of premiums for the months of August and September should be paid and submitted before October 31, 2017.

Employers will have the opportunity to fill in the post-Irma survey that SZV is conducting currently in order to gain information of employer’s current financial situation.

The payment of the social premiums is still mandatory, however considering the post hurricane circumstances SZV is prepared to work together with the employers towards meeting feasible solutions.

As per the month of November 2017, the monthly declarations and payments deadlines remain the 15th of each month.

The SZV Employer desk and cashier are open Monday - Thursday from 7:30 am - 3:30 pm and Friday until 3:00 pm.


UTS waives September Chippie subscriptions

PHILIPSBURG - UTS recently confirmed to its Chippie postpaid customers that it has waived the September 2017 subscription fees. These are the charges for the bundle of minutes, SMS and data that customers receive for their chosen monthly plan.

These charges have been waived for the entire month of September and the reduction applies to postpaid Chippie customers of St. Maarten, Saint Martin, Saba and St. Eustatius. No action is needed from customers to qualify for this reduction.

This will be automatically applied on the September 2017 bill. “Hurricane Irma has left no-one on our islands untouched and we want to support our customers in efforts to repair and rebuild,” says UTS Marketing & Communication Officer, Ivy Lambert.

“This is the one of various moves by UTS to offer relief. We will be reaching out soon to those that use our other products and services as well. If each company does its part, we will bounce back as a community that much quicker.”

Online bills tool

With the recurring subscription fee waived, only overages such as minutes, SMS and data used outside the bundle and international and roaming charges used in September 2017 will still be due.

The easiest way to verify if these charges apply to you is to use UTS’ online tool to check your bills: “After a one-time registration on the website, you will have access to your past and future mobile bills.

We are all very busy getting back on track and this is an easy way to get the information you need instantly. No waiting on the mail or visit to our store needed,” Lambert continues.

“We’ve also considered that some customers may not have a working computer or internet access at the moment. To accommodate them, we have set up a special terminal in our Philipsburg store, dedicated specifically to registrations and access to For those registering at home, our call center agents will gladly assist you by phone at +1 721 5881010, by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on Facebook at UTS EC.

Payment leniency

The tumultuous month has caused many to veer off-track where it comes to expenses and making any bill payments. Hurricane damages caused unplanned expenses and curfews and other obstacles made bill payments a challenge as well. Based on that situation, UTS decided to suspend disconnections for service so far.

This was decided upon to give customers the opportunity to take care of any pre-Irma outstanding’s. To further assist its customers in getting back on track, payment arrangements will also be possible, splitting the total amount due over several smaller payments.

This will be available to some, based on a set pre-defined requirements. “Don’t get overwhelmed and let bills accumulate further. We’re here to work with you to get back on track,” Lambert states. For inquiries or further information on payment arrangements, customers can contact the billing department of UTS at +1 721 588 1010 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

“We thank our customers for their continued business and hope that the steps we have taken will help them to bring life as we know it back to normal. Together we'll bounce back to make our islands stronger than ever! We are available to assist with any service inquiries and also to assist with registration on,” states Lambert.


Trinidadian Bevil Wooding appointed as ARIN Caribbean Outreach Liaison

SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN - A Trinidad and Tobago national, and one of the region’s most prominent technology advocates, Bevil Wooding, has been appointed as Caribbean Outreach Liaison at the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), one of five registries that coordinate Internet number resources worldwide.

“We could think of no better man for the job than Bevil Wooding. He is one of the most knowledgeable, well-respected and experienced people in the Internet community in the Caribbean,” said John Curran, CEO of ARIN.

The organisation serves the United States, Canada and more than half of the Caribbean. Its decision to engage Wooding falls into a broader strategy to strengthen support for its member community in the region and to broaden understanding of its policies.

“We recognise that our policy development process can only benefit from the inclusion of more voices and perspectives from our constituents in the Caribbean. With Mr. Wooding’s support, we expect to expand the number and range of participants in ARIN’s policy development from the Caribbean,” Curran said.

Wooding will focus on engaging those Caribbean states and encouraging local communities to help shape Internet policy in a way that is more relevant to their development needs and goals.

“The needs and priorities of the Caribbean can be very different to those of the USA and Canada. Caribbean networks and the technicians that manage them face challenges that their North American counterparts cannot always relate to. Therefore, if major Internet number policy decisions are being made without Caribbean participation, then those decisions may not reflect Caribbean priorities or perspectives.”

For now, Wooding’s most pressing priority may be to direct ARIN’s efforts and resources towards the regional network recovery and resiliency efforts, after recent hurricanes devastated communities across several Caribbean nations. Among those hardest hit are Anguilla, Barbuda, Dominica, Turks and Caicos, Sint Maarten, Puerto Rico and both the US and British Virgin Islands, all of which are served by ARIN.

“It is to our benefit that we have Bevil Wooding, a virtual Caribbean ambassador, as our Caribbean Outreach Liaison. He will be our focal point for coordinating our activities, engaging our partners, such as the Caribbean Telecommunications Union, and supporting our growing member community in the Caribbean,” said Nate Davis, Chief Operating Officer of ARIN.

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