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Stakeholders meet board of directors to discuss NIPA

PHILIPSBURG - The stakeholders, represented on the board of The Advancement for Vocational Education (AVE) Foundation, namely SVOBE, FAVE, Windward Island Chamber of Labour Unions, St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Ministry of VSA (absent) and Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth & Sport met with the board of directors of the AVE Foundation on June 16th 2017.

Stakeholders were given the opportunity to address published reports and therein outlined supposed issues at the National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA). Candid discussions were undertaken, detailed and well substantiated responses were provided on questions posted by the stakeholders. Full clarity was obtained by the Stakeholders and with a proper understanding of matters the portrayed issues in published reports could be placed in proper context and verified on validity.

In addition, thereto the AVE board provided full and unfiltered insight into the realities, the strengths and the weaknesses which the NIPA faces as a learning institution. The AVE Board in a well-structured manner outlined the way forward as they continue to put first the study opportunities for students and means for students to obtain excellence.

Planned and impending initiatives, including:

1] an extensive marketing campaign to be launched within short, through which the general public, future students -locally and internationally-, will be provided with more information on the type of institution NIPA is, the current programs offered, as well as future programs to be offered at the institution);

2] NIPA partnering with other internationally known institutions, to offer students an opportunity to pursue their studies at higher levels in their field of study;

3] Collaborations with Secondary school boards FAVE and SVOBE as NIPA offers further programs for graduates from schools presided over by these entities;

The Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Ms. Silveria Jacobs, who requested the Inspectorate to investigate the issues published in reports, received from the Inspectorate a report with recommendations, which recommendations have immediately been adopted and included in the action plans of the AVE board.

The Stakeholders, having verified that principles of good governance are being applied, and tasks are executed in accordance with the Articles of Incorporation of the AVE Foundation, are content with the functioning of the current board of directors.

Stakeholders, being kept abreast by their representatives of the strives made and the developments at the NIPA Institute, are pleased and satisfy with their representation on the board and have pledged their continued support to the Institute. Stakeholders, Boards of FAVE-SVOBE and COCI have confirmed that incorporate actions within their respective planning to attain and safeguard study and career opportunities for NIPA graduates.

The Windward Island Chamber of Labour Unions expressed its satisfaction with the functioning of the AVE board, having a full understanding and a complete picture of the institution and the undertakings of the AVE board.

As stakeholders, with the board of AVE Foundation, management and staff of NIPA one joint goal is served and that is the continued development of the institution and its offerings to students including adults attending the evening programs; all with the ultimate aim to offer to the workforce in St. Maarten well-rounded, knowledgeable, practically trained and experienced workers.

The Stakeholders collectively reaffirmed their support of the AVE Board and pledged to move forward, to ensure that current- and future programs will continue to be offered at the institution, so its students may attain excellence in study and career, and in doing so fundamentally contribute towards the further socio-economic development of our people and country.

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Marco London brings St. Maarten's Pro Muay Thai Kickboxers to Aruba

COLE BAY -  Sityodtong St Maarten Foundation Head Sensei Marco London will be traveling to Aruba with two of St Maarten's best Muay Thai Kickboxing fighters, Akeem Lewis and Charlie "Ohmz" Marsham.

Both fighters will compete in pro (A-class) bouts sanctioned under the WKA (World Kickboxing Association) for the SCKBS Federation. The fights will take place at Centro Deportivo Betico Croes in Aruba on Saturday, July 1st, 2017.

Akeem Lewis will face Oscar Sosa at 85 kg and Ohmz Marsham will face Joshua Karsters at 79 kg. 

Marco London is a veteran fighter and coach who has been teaching Muay Thai Kickboxing in St Maarten for two decades. He was recognized by the Sports Department Brown Pelican Awards as 'Sports Icon' of 2016.

Fighter Akeem Lewis is the head Muay Thai Instructor at Renzo Gracie St Maarten (SXM BJJ) in Cole Bay.

For more information on kids, teens and adults Muay Thai Kickboxing program in Cole Bay contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

OmarMarshamKickMay2015

AkeemPowerKickMay2015

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Corporate Governance Council presents Year Report 2016 to Prime Minister Marlin

POND ISLAND - On June 20th, representatives of the Corporate Governance Council met with Prime Minister the Honorable William Marlin at his office to deliver the Year Report 2016.

Chairman of the CGC Mr. Perry Wilson handed over the report, which summarized the activities of Corporate Governance Council for the year 2016.

Also present in the meeting were Vice Chairman Charles Smith and Board Member Madelon Dijkhoffz.

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Port St. Maarten delegation learns Caribbean cruise market share likely to increase

PORT ST. MAARTEN – The Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) and cruise stakeholders showed interest in increasing cruise calls to destination St. Maarten in the coming seasons as the vessels are getting larger with limited Ports in the region that can accommodate these vessels.

The Port St. Maarten delegation who recently returned from Aruba was informed of the aforementioned while attending the FCCA PAMAC (Platinum Associate Membership Advisory Council) Conference. 

There are immense opportunities for the Caribbean, but destinations must increase their marque value and appeal, Port St. Maarten reps were informed.  The strength in regional development also ties in with the satisfaction of various destinations in the itinerary chain.  If a key destination lags behind industry development, it can also be a threat to destination St. Maarten.  The Caribbean must step up their game to better compete against other emerging markets such as Asia, said Port St. Maarten reps on Thursday.

PAMAC brought together over 200 Platinum Members of the FCCA and key cruise tourism stakeholders who met with 20 senior executives from the FCCA Member Line as part of a relationship and business building process.

Cruise executives presented industry developments and reiterated about the importance of having a strong social media presence as a destination.

The port delegation that travelled to Aruba had a series of meetings with cruise stakeholders.

MSC Cruises announced that they will be penetrating the Caribbean market and St. Maarten is one of the destinations that they showed interest in. MSC Cruises will have its inaugural call for their first Seaside class vessel in St. Maarten later this year.  

The seaside class vessels is considered as game changers and are making further investments for Future Larger Vessels (FLV). Their FLV vessels announced earlier this month is slated to have more passenger’s occupancy of Oasis of the Seas totaling 6850 passengers.

President of the FCCA Michele Paige in an invited comment stated: "The Caribbean continues to impress cruise lines and passengers, which has led to the industry’s planned capacity share increase next season. Destinations like St. Maarten have helped this boost through attention to products, service and infrastructure, but though more passengers and bigger ships bring immense opportunities, they also bring new challenges. So it is crucial for the overall region and individual destinations to maintain their focus on constant improvement in order to take advantage of this industry’s bright future.”

Port management said that they are actively engaging with the stakeholders to assure that the Port and destination is prepared for this new wave of vessels. Port management also agreed to participate in the upcoming BREA (Business Research Economic Advisors) survey cycle for 2018 which compares more than 30 destinations worldwide based on passenger and crew spending and economic contributions.

Port St. Maarten uses the BREA report as an analytical tool to better understand the cruise industry movement and product development.  BREA is a public document that can be retrieved on the FCCA website, and Port St. Maarten encourages local tour operators and retailers to study the aforementioned in order to better understand the customer, demands and ratings.

Port management said that they are continuing to develop the country’s product in order to main the destinations competitive edge in the Caribbean.  St. Maarten is still one of the top-rated destinations which is frequently benchmarked by other Ports.

Business intelligence shows that the cruise industry is still in the infancy stage and more than 40 new build ocean going vessels is slated to be delivered between 2017 and 2023.

The evolving cruise industry estimates that nearly 26 million passengers will cruise globally in 2017. The Caribbean basin still accounts for the largest market share at 34% followed by the Mediterranean at 19%.

Port St. Maarten is following global cruise trends in order to better cater to their business to business and business to consumer customers focusing on customer centricity and operational excellence.

Representing the Port were Bertrand Peters, General and Government Affairs, and Ichel Moeslikan, Sales and Marketing, and Alexander Gumbs, Business Development Officer as well as a representative from the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, Cherinah Franken, Product Development Officer. 

The PAMAC event is one of many that the FCCA coordinates for its Platinum Members and Member Lines to stay at the forefront of information about both the industry and destinations while finding ways to maximize the benefits for all.

The FCCA is a not-for-profit trade organization composed of 19 Member Lines operating over 100 vessels in Floridian, Caribbean and Latin American waters. Created in 1972, the FCCA’s mandate is to provide a forum for discussion on tourism development, ports, safety, security, and other cruise industry issue and to develop bilateral relationships with destinations’ private and public sectors.

By fostering an understanding of the cruise industry and its operating practices, the FCCA works with governments, ports and private sector representatives to maximize cruise passenger, crew and cruise line spending, as well as enhance the destination experience and increase the amount of cruise passengers returning as stay-over visitors.

The PAMAC conference took place in Aruba at the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino. 

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MPs participates in Tripartite and Inter-Parliamentary Kingdom Consultations

SINT MAARTEN/THE HAGUE - From June 14-16, 2017 delegations from the Parliaments of the Netherlands, Curaçao, Aruba and Sint Maarten met in The Hague, the Netherlands for the Inter-Parliamentary Kingdom Consultations (IPKO).

Topics such as climate change and energy, youth, education, economic opportunities within the Kingdom, health care, discrimination and integrity were discussed and information was exchanged on these topics by the four parliamentary delegations.

Furthermore, the delegations informed one another about the state of affairs of the execution of the Paris Agreement and the latest developments surrounding the fast ferry connections between the islands.

The delegations also agreed that they would request their Governments to organize a conference on Education similar to the Health Care Conference organized in 2015 and 2017 in Aruba to discuss several issues in the educational systems of the countries within the Kingdom. 

The delegations expressed their concerns about the situation in Venezuela and the tangible consequences that are already being felt in especially Aruba and Curaçao but also Bonaire in the form of the increase in migration flow, crime and prostitution. The delegations agreed to keep a close eye on the situation and to request an update from the Governments and Kingdom Government.

The Dispute regulation was also on the agenda of the IPKO. It is expected that the Kingdom Council of State will give its advice soon on the draft Dispute regulation as submitted by the Kingdom Government.

Once the Kingdom Government officially submits the draft to the Second Chamber, the Parliaments of the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom will have the opportunity to give their input on the draft by making use of the rights as provided by the Kingdom Charter.

The topic Ideal Kingdom 2040 is a relatively new topic on the IPKO agenda. It was first introduced in January 2017 and was further elaborated on in this last IPKO. The delegations concluded that there are strengths such as rule of law, joint history, mutual cooperation and Kingdom Charter but also weakness such as difference in size, cultural differences and insufficient mutual understanding, within the Kingdom.

The delegations identified threats such as disintegration and Kingdom structure as well as opportunities such as mutual cooperation and exchange of expertise, within the Kingdom.

The program included a meeting with representatives of the BES islands (Bonaire, Statia and Saba) on the matter of embedding these islands in the Dutch Constitution amongst others as well as several work visits.

The Inter-parliamentary consultations concluded on Friday June 16, 2017 with the adoption and signing of the Agreement List and a joint press conference of the four delegations.

Prior to the start of the Inter-parliamentary consultations, on June 12, 2017, the delegation of Sint Maarten participated in the Tripartite meeting along with delegations from sister islands of Curaçao and Aruba. Among the topics that were discussed were Integrity Chamber, Academy for Legislation, Security, Ministerial Cooperation as well as several IPKO topics.

The goal of the meeting was to prepare for the Inter-parliamentary consultation as well as discuss topics of mutual interest.

The Sint Maarten delegation that took part in the IPKO and Tripartite meetings consisted of the following members:

Mrs. Sarah A. Wescot-Williams, President of Parliament and delegation leader;

Mr. drs. Rodolphe E. Samuel, Chairman Committee Kingdom Affairs and Inter-parliamentary Relations;

Mr. Frans G. Richardson;

MP Perry F.M. Geerlings;

Mrs. Nancy R. Guishard-Joubert, LL.M., Secretary General;

Mr. Garrick J. Richardson, LL.M., 2nd Acting Secretary General;

Mr. mr Ralph R.H. Richardson, Advisor.

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SMHDF Housing Foundation continues with public forums about mosquitos, pets, rodents and hurricane season

BELVEDERE - The “Common Good in the Public Square”, public forums and listening sessions have been a remarkable success thus far. These sessions are a collaborative effort of the Community Police Officers (CPOs) and the Health Department Section Collective Prevention Services (CPS), the St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation (SMHDF) said in a press statement on Thursday.

The SMHDF, Community Police Officer and the Health Department lead the discussion of various aspects of the issue like the community's preventative measure for burglars, pets, mosquitos, potential problems and the prevention thereof.

In last night’s session, The Department of Public Health section CPS focused on the dangers within our communities which affect residents, children and the community as large. Several modest preventative measures against the dangers of mosquito breeding, rats, cockroaches & dogs can be taken.

Mosquitos

Residents are urged to eliminate standing water around their homes to reduce mosquito populations. It has been said that mosquitoes cause more human suffering than any other organism — over one million people worldwide die from mosquito-borne diseases every year.

Not only can they carry some of the most feared diseases known to humankind, they also transmit several diseases and parasites that dogs are very susceptible to. There are more than 3,000 species of mosquitoes, but the members of three bear primary responsibility for the spread of human diseases are: Anopheles, Culex and Aedes.

Residents were provided limited number of parasitic and viral diseases that humans can contract from a bite, such as Malaria, Dengue fever, Chikungunya, Zika fever. The Zika virus is also transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, the same mosquitoes that spread dengue and chikungunya viruses. If symptomatic, symptoms are generally mild–fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes. Severe cases require prolonged hospitalization with potentially deadly complication, birth and other health related defects.  

Pets

Residents are urged to clean up after their pets to prevent highly contagious skin parasites. Children should not be allowed to play where animals have passed feces. Maintaining the good health of your pets is important to preventing diseases as they have frequent contact with other dogs and humans who are susceptible as scabies which is easily transferable.

Individuals who have direct contact with soil that may have been contaminated by cat or dog feces should wear gloves or wash their hands immediately. The mites burrow into the skin and cause severe itching, which can result in the formation of scabs and hair loss for humans and pets. It is a non-seasonal parasite that can be found in dogs of all ages and breeds.

While the symptoms of scabies look very similar to those of allergic dermatitis (skin allergy), the treatments are quite different. The CPO elaborated that the SMHDF allowed pets through the years, however when your pet becomes a nuisance and the police is called, then it becomes a problem.  Pet owners are urged to provide safe and clean environment for their pets, who should not be a nuisance to their neighbors. The community cannot life in fear because of a few negligent pet owners, who are nowhere to be found when damages are to be claimed.

In a small community like our, pets which qualify under the world most dangerous dogs in a heavily residential area cannot roam freely. Measures will be taken to discontinue this threat to the community, if pet owners remain negligent, with no regards for their neighbors.

Rodents:

Diseases transmitted by rats fall into one of two categories: diseases transmitted directly from exposure to rat-infected feces, urine or bites and diseases indirectly transmitted to people by an intermediate arthropod vector such as fleas, ticks or mites. The following transmittable diseases can be prevented by a clean surrounding. Residents should pay special attention to left over dog food which is a primary cause of rodent breeding. 

  • Plague. This disease is carried by rats and transmitted by fleas in the process of taking a blood meal. Domestic rats are the most common reservoir of plague.
  • Colorado Tick Fever. This is a viral disease that is transmitted by the bite of a tick that has taken a blood meal from a bushy-tailed woodrat.
  • Cutaneous Leishmaniasis. This disease is a parasite that is transmitted to a person by the bite of an infected sand fly that has fed on a wild woodrat.

Preventative measures

As the hurricane season has come to a start and we will experience lots of rain, we are expected to see increased mosquito activity. One mosquito breeds over 200 eggs, these eggs take an estimated two weeks to become adult, but they can only do so in stagnant water. Tenants should dump out containers, old tires, cars and anything that hold standing water in and around their homes. Removing water will help reduce overall mosquito numbers and protect family members and neighbors from mosquito bites and mosquito-borne diseases.

Mosquitoes breed in very small amounts of water. To help keep their numbers down, tenants should frequently check for, and eliminate, water-filled containers, clean and scrub bird baths and pet watering dishes, and dump water from dishes under potted plants. Residents are also urged to report unusual numbers of mosquitoes or day-biting mosquitoes to the local vector control agency.

With mosquito activity increasing during our hurricane season, tenants should also protect themselves from mosquito bites at home and while traveling to areas where the Zika and other viruses are present. To prevent bites, consistently use mosquito repellent when outside, wear long sleeves and pants, use air conditioning, and make sure window screens will keep mosquitoes out of your home. During this season tenants are urged to cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats. Use an appropriate insect repellent with a higher percentage of active ingredient “deed” which provide longer protection.

The session ended with an open floor where questions and concerns were posed to SMHDF as well as the Team from The Department of Public Health and CPO. The SMHDF briefed residents on its work in progress and subsequent activities to address issues and constraints in a structural manner.

Tenants applauded the SMHDF on the initiative taken in the interest of the Community as well as the very informative information provides by CPS. The SMHDF is continuing its weekly information sessions which started on June 12th, 2017 per area and will conclude on June 27th, 2017 from 6:30 to 8:30pm respectively.  If you have not attended one of these we urge you to come out.

It does not matter if you missed the session for your district, you are still welcome. Try to come out and be informational.  Team SMHDF appreciates all our tenants. We thank all of those that have made the effort to attend. As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not shown in promises but rather in the actions we take. And remember, together we achieve more. We look forward to seeing you there. After an assessment period of all the feedback received the SMHDF will inform residents of subsequent information sessions per quarter.

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Nature Foundation Hosts First Dutch Kingdom Shark Count

COLE BAY - As part of the Save our Sharks Project the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation organized the very first Kingdom Shark Count in cooperation with several local dive schools including Ocean Explorers, Dive Safaris and Dive Adventures.

The Shark Count was executed simultaneously on all six Dutch Caribbean island and in the Netherlands. The shark count contributes significantly to the Nature Foundation’s scientific research into the abundance and movement patterns of sharks in local waters.

The count also provides insight into the state of our shark population and seasonal and yearly patterns of sharks on valuable coral reefs. Sharks are very important to the health of coral reefs, oceans and fish stock; therefor this research has great value for the Nature Foundation and Sint Maarten.

About 60 scuba divers participated last weekend in order to see and count St Maarten’s shark population. Sharks are very important for tourism, since many divers come to the island to see marine life, with sharks being at the top of that list.

Different research has shown that a shark is worth approximately USD$250,000 over its lifetime to the local economy alive compared to just USD$50, - dollars dead for market price. 

The Kingdom Shark Count was part of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance ‘Save our Sharks’ project funded by the Dutch National Postcode Lottery.

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USM Graduation Count Down, three days to go! Students in the spotlight

POND ISLAND - The belle of the ball this weekend, Alexandria Nathanielle Baly-Stanford, who attended the University of St. Martin (USM) for two years from August 2015, followed one of the other degree paths at the school. She started out her education from 1998 at the Methodist Agogic Centre Early Stimulation, and in 2000 went to MAC, and then to St. Dominic High School in 2008, receiving her High School Diploma in 2013.

She followed the St. Dominic High School International Baccalaureate Program from 2013 to 2015, earning Certificates in Business Management, English Literature, College Mathematics, World History and American History, College Physics, and the Dutch Language.

At USM, she receives the Associates Degree in General Liberal Arts with a focus in Mathematics and Science this year, and is already accepted at the University of the Virgin Islands for August 2017, where she is to obtain the Bachelor of Arts in Social Science with a Minor in Political Science.

Alexandria chose the General Liberal Arts degree with a concentration in Mathematics and Science “to get a good foundation”, as her interests originally lay in Aerospace Engineering. She credits the USM Speech courses with having inspired her change in career choice to International Lawyer, a surprising turn, but primarily due to her discovery that she “love[s] the art of debate”.

She has lofty goals, “intend[ing] to help create the rules and regulations that will govern how we act and settle in Space.”  Having completed numerous academic subjects at USM and participated in the Ambassadors and Debate Competition, among other extracurricular activities, Alexandria has found greater confidence in herself and her abilities.

The most rewarding experiences at USM came from the students and staff, in the friendships and the experiences she has had with them. This has led to her growing as a person in her knowledge and her view of the world. She spoke of her gratefulness for the ways in which USM helped her explore herself and witness amazing moments in “startling new views of our island” and how the school “has unquestionably opened man doors” for her.

As with other students, Alexandria has “had to make several sacrifices to devote time to academics”. She could recall many instances in which she had to forgo extracurricular activities and chances at jobs, decisions aimed at managing her time effectively, which thankfully has resulted in her doing extremely well at USM. Alexandria asserts that she cannot truly regret those decisions “because I have been able to maintain the things that are important to me, [such as] time with family, friends and meeting new people through the work of the USM Ambassador club.”

She graduates with highest honours from the University of St. Martin at the end of this week, at the ceremony along with her fellow classmates. May they see success and positive personal growth in their future endeavours. Alexandria Nathanielle Baly-Stanford, Kharl Oliver, Rochana Richardson and students like them make St. Maarten proud. 

Their most rewarding experience at USM boiled down to accomplishing the end goal and getting their degrees. Kharl receives his BTEC HNC certificate this year, graduating next year. The “time put in was not wasted; all the stress and late nights and assignments were worth it because [he] can see the outcome”. He adds that persevering through a lot of deadlines and a lot of work, and overcoming the desire to give up, is extremely important.

For Rochana, it is very definitely “getting that paper”. She reminisced about “the struggle” and how she learned to stop procrastination, her enemy. The journey they went through as a class, and to see where they are now, made everything more rewarding for her. She also had to overcome the point of wanting to give up, being “persistent and consistent to really get where you have to go, self-motivating”.

The wake-up emails, of which Rochana says she received the harshest, but is very grateful for, helped push them into getting work done. Her internship in Holland, for example, had to be completed before the semester was over, without forgoing other requirements for classes. For both of them, USM “teaches you what’s out there” and gives insight into “a real world and how you cannot slack off”, essentially creating a well-needed “training ground”.

They acknowledge that USM gave them a lot of chances and support over the course of their studies. College life at USM brought a comfortable level of familiarity she had been used to, living on St. Maarten. Kharl has had a different reaction from his stint at the school.

Hospitality being a global industry with a wide range of opportunities and ultimately a lot to do and choose from, he said it provided him “a way in” for finding a specific part for himself in the job market.

Consequently, Kharl talked about his favorite course at USM, Developing Manager, where it was required that an event be put on. Calling it “very stressful”, he praised it for opening his eyes to what he could be dealing with in the future on the job, especially with learning how to deal with people. In the end, it was a course that contributed to career preparation.

Rochana did not have a course that would be her favorite, although she agreed with Kharl about his choice being valuable. For her, it taught about “things to look out for” when starting a business or hotel; it was “very creative” and familiarized her with the atmosphere of “high-class”, and what that could entail. Rochana gave the perspective of a more worldly person who would study at USM, in that her previous experience in the Netherlands had thrown her into a world that greatly helped her understand life better. 

For Rochana, after living and studying in the Netherlands, and enduring degree changes in which a major was dropped, she returned home to well-meaning threats from her parents to find a productive path for her life. At USM, Hospitality and Tourism Management was about to be accredited by BTEC, so she took the advisement of Division Head Wolthuis and completed pre-requisites for that degree programme during her first semester.

Although political science was her original goal in terms of studies, with no lab programme here, she had to be practical. Knowing St. Maarten is a touristy island, hospitality was a competitive, stable industry she wanted to have experience in, and a wise safety net for the future. On the other side of things, Kharl had still been deciding what to do. His hobby lay in the kitchen, and his dream was to become a pastry chef. 

The University of St. Martin will hold the 2017 graduation ceremony for degree students on Saturday, June 24th. Before then, some of their students sat down to discuss their experience at USM, now that they are about to close that chapter of their lives. Among them were Alexandria Nathanielle Baly-Stanford, who graduates summa cum laude, Kharl Oliver, and Rochana Richardson.

PHOTO CUTLINE: Alexandria Nathanielle Baly-Stanford.

usm inside wed

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Port St. Maarten attending Port Management Association of the Caribbean Meeting

PORT ST. MAARTEN – Port St. Maarten has a representative at the 20th Annual General Meeting of the Port Management Association of the Caribbean (PMAC) which is taking place in the Cayman Islands from June 21-23.

On Wednesday, the PMAC opened with an Executive Committee Meeting followed by a Strategic Session and Welcome Reception in the evening.  On Thursday, opening remarks will be delivered by the chairman followed by internal organizational business matters.  On Friday, there will be a number of technical sessions for the delegates attending the 20th Annual PMAC meeting.

Port Management Association of the Caribbean delegates will be reviewing the Strategic Plan 2013-2017 and creating an upcoming plan as it relates to 21st century continuous and sustainable growth for member ports in collaboration with cargo carriers with respect to better insight into growth perspectives.  More emphasis will be placed on discussions related to ‘big data’ for better, decisive and efficient decision-making.

Presentations will be given on the following subjects: Yacht Market Outlook; Correct planning, equipment, and the practice of safety protocols for mitigating the risks to life in ports.

Oil spills in ports – How to plan, prepare, mitigate, and react; From Vessel Traffic Service to Ship Traffic Control. Natural evolution of modern solutions; Improving warehouse operations through automation; Discussion on current trends in ferry service and blue sky vision for Caribbean routes; Dredging and Towing Service at Degrad Des Cannes.

The three-day annual general meeting will conclude with an awards dinner on Friday evening.

Port St. Maarten is looking forward to meeting with port executives and managers across the Caribbean to engage in topics of mutual interests that range from challenges faced by small ports in the Caribbean to best practices that can enhance the Ports operational efficiency and in turn increase growth potential, Port Management said on Wednesday.

“Port St. Maarten is busy preparing to roll out the port community system interconnecting all stakeholders using the already in-house terminal operating system GLS which is provided by IT Partners BV.

“Port St. Maarten has implemented since 2010 the IT Partner GLS system for its Cruise and Cargo activities.  The Port has an extensive real-time database which is nowadays referred to as ‘big data’. Utilization of the port community system will enhance business intelligence and strategic business decisions,” Port St. Maarten Management pointed out.

PMAC conducted its inaugural meeting in Antigua on 26 June 1998, having succeeded the Port Management Association of the Eastern Caribbean established on 16 May 1988.

The main objective of PMAC is to improve the proficiency of member ports and the quality of services offered to their users, specifically through the facilitation of relevant training designed to maximize human resources, and effectively meet the ever-increasing challenges of the global environment.

Moreover, amidst developments within the maritime industry, the Association strives to remain relevant by providing critical services to members, which entail the sharing of experience, information and ideas, as well as advocacy and representation at multilateral levels.

PMAC’s mission is to foster operational and financial efficiency, and to enhance the level of service to the mutual benefit of Caribbean Ports and their stakeholders, through the sharing of experience, training, information and ideas.

Current membership includes port organizations from the following islands, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Saint Martin, French Guyane, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, Cayman Islands, Sint Maarten, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Turks and Caicos Islands.  There are also a number of associate members.

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BTP hosting Regional ICT Forum in July

PHILIPSBURG - Bureau Telecommunications and Post St. Maarten (BTP) – in collaboration with Internet Society (ISOC) – will be hosting the 3rd Annual Caribbean Peering & Interconnection Forum (CarPIF), to take place in Sonesta Maho Beach Hotel on July 5th and 6th 2017.

The CarPIF is an initiative of the Packet Clearing House (PCH) and the Internet Society, and supported by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) and the Caribbean Network Operators’ Group (CaribNOG).

It’s a highly recognized forum in the region that offers a platform to acquire knowledge on Internet Development, content delivery & peering, Internet Exchange points and the digital infrastructure as a driver for innovation & economic growth in the Caribbean.

During the upcoming forum, several international speakers will give lectures on a large variety of internet topics such as; ICT infrastructure developments, Internet Exchange Points, local connectivity, E-commerce, digital payments and content delivery.

The Director of BTP, Mr. Anthony Carty, stated that it’s of great importance that regional Internet Exchange Points (IXP) - such as Sint Maarten’s OCIX - are being utilized to its full potential.

It allows users to exchange local traffic, and by keeping the internet traffic local, the overall quality will be better, and there will be less latency due to more efficient routing. Another big benefit is that it can also reduce the costs of bandwidth in our region.

IXP’s are instrumental in making the internet faster and cheaper, and we therefore give our full support to forums like CarPIF were these important matters will be discussed.

BTP is encouraging all stakeholders in the ICT industry to participate at the CarPIF Forum.  It offers a great opportunity to network, advance business and secure new opportunities for growth.

The event is free of charge, but registration at BTP is required. More information to be found on www.conntectedcaribbean.com

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