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CARILEC Corporate Communications, Human Resource and Customer Service Conference

SINT MAARTEN/ST. LUCIA - The Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corporation (CARILEC) will co-host the 2018 CARILEC Corporate Communications, Human Resource and Customer Service Conference under the theme: Redesigning Human Resource, Corporate Communications, and Customer Service Processes, 11-14th, March in Jamaica.

The conference is co-hosted by the Jamaica Public Service Company Limited (JPSCO). The annual event is a multi-disciplinary experience for utility practitioners, consultants, media experts and business professionals in the fields of Corporate Communications, Human Resources and Customer Service who seek a comprehensive education accompanied by innovative learning sessions, peer-to-peer learning  and exceptional networking and social opportunities.

Created by professionals who specialise in the electricity and energy industry, the CARILEC Corporate Communications, Human Resource and Customer Service Conference has been designed as a hub of rich content. It offers delegates a unique experience committed to their understanding of the trends, innovations and laws affecting the industry; furthering their professional development and enabling them to bring new ideas and approaches to their respective organisations.

This year’s Conference places a special focus on Disaster Management, Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery as the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season was one of the most active seasons within recent history, and many affected utilities and citizens are still recovering. Disaster management is vital to ensuring safety and sustainability during disasters and cannot be separated from human resource management as it plays an integral role in planning for and responding to disasters.

Additionally, some of the biggest operational challenges faced by a utility can occur after a disaster. When this happens, public relations and customer service teams assist with minimising the impact of disruptions to customers and employees and therefore play a key role in ensuring business continuity and disaster recovery.

The Conference will feature Joyce E. Brooks as the keynote speaker. Brooks is an author, facilitator, motivational speaker and engineer. Joyce is the owner and managing member of Brooks Consulting, LLC whose mission is to assist businesses and organisations gain a competitive advantage by focusing on leadership development, organizational strategy, and individual well-being. She is also the author of three books titled “Self-Inflicted Overload”, “Stress Less and Live More” and “It Ain’t Over!” Through her works, she encourages individuals to live a more balanced, stress free and fulfilling life.

After this Conference, public relations, human resource and customer service managers who are tasked with assisting in disaster management and recovery will be better prepared to execute these responsibilities.

Also in collaboration with JPSCO, CARILEC is scheduled to host its 2018 Occupational Health & Safety & Disaster Management Seminar concurrently with the Conference. The Seminar is sponsored by Emera Caribbean Incorporated, and will be held under the theme: “Safety by Design with Disaster in Mind.”

To register or learn more about the CARILEC 2018 Corporate Communication, Human Resource and Customer Service Conference email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , explore our website www.carilec.org , follow us on twitter https://twitter.com/carilecpower or like our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/carilecpower 

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 nine (113) members. This includes thirty four (34) Full Members that are electric utilities, seventy two (72) Associate Members that are companies involved in some aspect of servicing the electric utility business and seven (7) Affiliate Members.

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ICANN spearheads initiative to build Internet economy in the Caribbean

SINT MAARTEN/TRINIDAD & TOBAGO - A group of global and regional technology organisations are partnering to help Caribbean professionals get more out of the Internet economy.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) spearheaded the launch of the Virtual DNS Entrepreneurship Center of the Caribbean (VDECC). The term DNS refers to the domain name system, a core component of the technology behind the Internet. The DNS automatically translates human-readable website addresses into the numeric machine addresses that computers use. 

VDECC aims to open up new money-making opportunities in the DNS industry for Internet businesses and entrepreneurs across the region, including Internet service providers, web hosting companies, top-level domain operators, domain name registrars and resellers, web developers, digital marketers, e-commerce startups and Internet legal experts.

“With the right mindset, a wide range of Internet stakeholders can take advantage of emerging opportunities to offer their services. Entrepreneurs with the right vision taking the right action can create new and sustainable business ventures,” said Albert Daniels, Stakeholder Engagement Senior Manager for the Caribbean at ICANN.

The initiative was launched in Port of Spain on February 19, in partnership with the Latin American and Caribbean Country Code Top-Level Domain Association (LACTLD), CANTO, the Caribbean Telecommunications Union, and the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG), the volunteer-based community of computer network administrators from across the Caribbean. 

Daniels described VDECC as the fruit of ICANN’s collaboration with organisations such as CANTO, CTU and CaribNOG. Delivering opening remarks at the launch, representatives of those bodies also voiced a desire to build strategic partnerships with ICANN.

“The VDECC initiative represents a new wave of possibility for how the Caribbean region is represented on the global DNS marketplace. We have the chance to engage a new cadre of entrepreneurially minded computer engineers, who are interested in playing a part on the global scale but may not fully understand the pathway to getting there,” said Bevil Wooding, Caribbean Outreach Liaison at the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), and one of the founders of CaribNOG. 

Meeting sessions covered a range of topics, such as the domain name aftermarket, and how to become an ICANN-accredited registrar. Plenary question-and-answer sessions peppered the agenda, creating a rich atmosphere of free-flowing dialogue among an audience that included a mix of technical, policy, legal and business interests.

A number of online participants from across the Caribbean and Latin America also joined the dialogue through a live video stream. The open discussion identified a number of potentially lucrative business opportunities but also pinpointed specific hurdles that have to be overcome.

“We have a long road ahead, and this is just the first step,” said Daniel Fink, Stakeholder Engagement Senior Manager for Brazil at ICANN. Upcoming events are being planned for Belize, Guyana and Jamaica later this year. More information is available on the VDECC website: http://www.vdecc.online

BY GERARD BEST

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Drug companies are blackmailing us with expensive drugs: healthcare chief

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The Dutch healthcare institute Zorginstituut Nederland says insurers should stop paying for expensive drugs if pharmaceutical companies continue to refuse to say how they arrive at the price, the Financieele Dagblad said on Monday.

The institute, which assesses the efficacy of new drugs and advises the government on whether they should be included in the basic healthcare policy, says the drugs companies are effectively blackmailing officials by refusing to be transparent about their prices.

In particular, the ZN is angry about the drug Spinraza, which costs €250,000 per patient per year. It has recommended that the drug, used to treat spinal muscular atrophy, should not be covered by insurance unless the manufacturers chop 85% from the price.

ZN chairman Arnold Moerkamp told the FD he thinks officials should seriously consider not funding drugs, despite the impact on patients. ‘We are not only here for the patients who will use the new medicine but the 17 million people who have to pay the bill,’ he said.

‘If you decide to pay for one medicine, you won’t be able to pay for another’s treatment. You can only spend your budget once.’ Pharmaceutical companies say that the high development costs are the reason why new drugs can be so expensive. (DutchNews)

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Amnesty says police are using tasers too often, calls for trial to stop

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Amnesty International has called for Dutch police to abandon its trial of tasers after it emerged that the devices were used on suspects more than 100 times in 12 months.

Police forces in Rotterdam, Zwolle and Amersfoort have been using the electric shock weapons since last February. A report revealed last week that officers drew their tasers 300 times in total, but in two-thirds of cases did not fire them.

Tasers work by firing electric charges of around 50,000 volts at a suspect from a distance, temporarily disabling them. Police say the danger of serious or permanent injury is minimal, but experts disagree on the risk to the heart.

Amnesty pointed out that in 54 of the 119 cases where the electric charge was used, the officer pressed the taser against the suspect’s body, which gives them a painful electric shock but does not disable them.

The organisation also said that officers used tasers in situations where they were not appropriate, for example when suspects were already handcuffed or detained in cells or solitary confinement in a mental health institution.

‘The weapon should only be used in life-threatening situations or where there is a risk of serious injury, but what we see is that the police use tasers relatively often,’ Amnesty spokesman Gerbrig Klos told NOS.

Police said they took Amnesty’s criticism seriously and were constantly reviewing how tasers were used during the trial. ‘It’s an extremely unpleasant experience, but you need to look at the alternatives we have,’ said acting police chief Willem Woelders.

‘The consequences for a suspect can be far worse if we end up deploying a police dog or firearm.’ (DutchNews)

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Internet entrepreneurship centre to hold its first event in the Caribbean

SINT MAARTEN/TRINIDAD & TOBAGO - A new initiative is being launched this month to help Caribbean professionals get more out of the digital space.

The Virtual DNS Entrepreneurship Center of the Caribbean (VDECC) will hold its first event on February 19 at the Hilton, Port of Spain.

DNS is the domain name system, which automatically translates Internet addresses to the numeric machine addresses that computers use.

VDECC is a joint effort of the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG), the Caribbean Association of National Telecommunication Organisations (CANTO), the Latin American and Caribbean Country Code Top-Level Domain Association (LACTLD), and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

“We are getting together in Trinidad and Tobago to launch the center with our community and to conduct sessions on two fundamental aspects of digital presence: websites and domain names,” said a joint statement from Daniel Fink, Stakeholder Engagement Senior Manager (Brazil) at ICANN and Albert Daniels, Stakeholder Engagement Senior Manager (Caribbean) at ICANN.

Sessions will explore what makes a good domain name and what makes a good website. Topics covered will include the DNS ecosystem, website builders, how to resell domain names, and how to become ICANN accredited registrar.

Registration is now open for in-person and remote participation: http://www.vdecc.online/vdecc/event

BY GERARD BEST

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St. Maarten, St Croix moving forward with airport reconstruction efforts

SINT MAARTEN/COMMENTARY - Nearly six months after parts of the Caribbean were ravaged by Hurricanes Irma & Maria the situation remains far from normal. Or perhaps it should simply be accepted that there is a new normal in place. And that’s not a particularly good thing.

St. Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport was trashed by the storm. The main terminal building is no longer a viable operation. PJIA recently opened a temporary “pavilion” to handle passengers. That tented facility includes check-in counters and some concessions, major improvements to the prior post-storm work. And unlike the “temporary” facility at Dulles airport this one truly is intended to serve a short-term role.

The airport faces some $100mm in repair costs according to its COO Michel Hyman and getting those paid could prove interesting. The government-owned facility is insured but some on the island are questioning the remuneration process and just how much of the policy payout will ultimately be reinvested in the facility.

MP (Member of Parliament) Perry Geerlings in particular is challenging decisions made around the demolition and reconstruction process. In a recent Parliamentary hearing Geerlings questioned the need for three insurance adjusters to handle the claim. Each will take a significant chunk of the settlement funds as their fee, potentially leaving the government on the hook for funding more of the repair than expected.

Hyman suggests that the demolition and rebuild work could be completed in as little as a 9 months. Given the limited progress so far that seems a terribly optimistic outlook. The airport must also contend with passenger numbers down some 70% year over year on a similar capacity decline.

With much of the tourism infrastructure on the island still out of service those numbers should not come as much of a surprise. Even with the airport rebuilt those numbers are expected to remain depressed as the other recovery efforts languish.

Just over 100 miles to the west the St. Croix airport also moves towards recovery, though that work is more focused on the business jet side of the ledger. Bohlke International Airways is the sole service provider at St. Croix’s Henry E. Rohlsen Airport and its facilities were also trashed by the storms.

It operates today from another hangar at the field that remained in place after the hurricanes tore through. By next year Bohlke hopes to have a new, 20,000 square foot hangar in service. The new facility will allow Bohlke to serve larger aircraft than it could prior to the storm. The company hopes this will give it – and the island of St. Croix – a leg up on the neighboring competition. The fact that portions of the island are still without power or full tourism facilities suggests that it could be some time before that investment pays off with significant returns.

Aviation industry analyst Seth Miller of PaxEx.Aero.

COMMENTARY: The author is responsible for the contents of this editorial.

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Victorious Living Expands Leadercast to Three-Day Leadership Summit: Leaders Challenged to Lead themselves & be Leaders They’d Want to Follow

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - We live in a world of political upheaval, integrity breaches and disappointment with leadership in practically every sphere of society. Consequently, most of us want to see the world filled with better leaders. The truth is, filling the world with Leaders worth following starts with you and me—in our companies, organizations and communities.

Therefore as we have done over the past five years, Victorious Living Foundation (VLF) is hosting Leadercast on May 4, 2018, under the theme: Lead Yourself: Be the leader you’d want to follow. We are inviting leaders and aspiring leaders on St. Martin and beyond to join more than 100,000 leaders from around the globe at the world’s largest leadership event—Leadercast Live; broadcast live from Atlanta.

Leadercast Live brings together acclaimed global leaders to create a leadership experience unlike any other. And the more than 350 persons who have attended Leadercast on St. Martin over the past five years can attest to the value of their rich experience at Leadercast and how it has impacted their lives.

Among the speakers this year are: Dr. Mae Jemison, the first woman of colour in the world to go to space when she flew aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1992. She has broken many barriers as a leader (literally and figuratively!), and her career is a testament to the power of self-leadership. Her perseverance, fortitude, discipline, and self-advocacy put her in the position to lead groundbreaking research that benefits those in need around the world. Dr. Jemison will teach about the importance of self-leadership and give practical takeaways on how to be individually fit to lead. 

VLF has partnered with Ann De Vere aka “The Global Visibility Catalyst”, Executive Producer of “Access To Experts TV” and “Meet The Press LIVE,” out of Hollywood California, to help our leaders, executives and aspiring entrepreneurs to be able to effectively share their expertise and the value they bring to the market place. This critical training available to youth and adults will equip our local leaders to showcase their capabilities, increase their influence and financial returns in their businesses and organizations. Persons may register now at http://lightscamerainterview.com/.

Ann Devere has trained and interviewed hundreds of experts who are appearing on Network Television as Guest Experts, Hosting their own TV Shows and creating videos for their websites, blogs, social media presence etc. Persons who register now, have access to the free live follow up training on May 3rd at VLF’s Leadership Summit.

This Sunday Ann De Vere will be featured on the popular radio show Love and Inspiration, hosted by Roy Cotton Jr. from 3-5p.m. on 102.7FM or http://pjd2radio.com/  along with Nelson Els, entrepreneur, teacher & speaker of the John Maxwell Team.

Els, a new board member of VLF will be teaching “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth” by John Maxwell at the Summit. More exciting speakers will be released in the coming days. To register for the Summit call 1-721-524-8731 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.victoriouslivingsxm.org

PHOTO CUTLINE: Nelson Els

Nelson Els

Ann de Vere write

PHOTO CUTLINE: Ann de Vere

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Member of Parliament and another person arrested in relation to Emerald investigation on fraud and corruption

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The anti-corruption team TBO executed two searches in homes and one in a company on Sint Maarten, a joint press release from the Public Prosecution Service (OM) and the Anti-Corruption Unit said on Wednesday.

“Two suspects were arrested. One home was seized. The arrest of F.G. R. (1968) is the result of the research "Emerald", an investigation into fraud and corruption in the port of Sint Maarten. In that case, 7 suspects were still in session last week. In two of those cases the judge pronounces judgment on 22 February 2018.

“The other cases will be discussed further in the month of March of this year. The accused suspect is a member of the parliament on Sint Maarten, just like the suspect C.E. B., one of the seven suspects who were at court last week. F.G. R. is suspected of accepting bribes and tax fraud. F.G.R. is also suspected of participating in a criminal organization aimed at recruiting votes for itself.

“This investigation is run by the National Detective Agency of Sint Maarten (Landsrecherche Sint Maarten) under the direction of the Public Prosecutor's Office of Sint Maarten. On February 13, 2018 a search was conducted against him at an address in the Sucker Garden district and today 14 February 2018 at addresses on the French part, Saint Martin, including at the address of the defendant himself.

“Data carriers and administration were seized during the search. The second arrest concerns J.H. B. (1964) and emerged from the research "Larimar", an investigation into, among other things, the bribery of civil servants, (political) authorities and persons in the construction sector.

“Previous actions, including a search on January 24, 2018 at a construction company on Sint Maarten, led to this arrest. The defendant is the director of the construction company. In addition to these arrests, the TBO has also searched a company building in the same investigation today.

“The TBO has special attention on Sint Maarten after the destruction after hurricane Irma and regarding the reconstruction of Sint Maarten. TBO is alert to signs of corruption and fraud in both the public sector and the construction sector. The Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM) of Sint Maarten will be extra alert during the period up to the elections on signals of buying and selling votes ('vote buying'),” the joint press statement concludes.

Persons who have information about this are asked to contact the National Detective Agency (Landsrecherche Sint Maarten) - if necessary anonymously. This is possible via the telephone number: +1721-5225810.

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Minister Wuite signs off on repairs for Melford Hazel Sports Center and basketball courts

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – In line with the vision of recovery, Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Jorien Wuite informs that repairs to the Melford Hazel Sports Center along with several basketball courts in various districts on the island have been signed off on to be executed within the coming weeks.

The National Sports Institute (NSI) will be the executing agency to oversee the repairs with funds made available through the approval of a subsidy by the Government of St. Maarten

The Melford Hazel Sports Center, an indoor and outdoor sports facility, suffered major damage after the passing of hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017. After a damage assessment was performed by the NSI it was reported that the roof of the facility had several holes, the basketball and tennis fields on the property were destroyed as well as the on-site playground.

Iron gates and fencing surrounding the property were also destroyed. The first phase of repairs to the complex will concentrate on the main building making it available for use. A second phase to start at a later date will cover the repair of the outside gazebo used by the general public for sports and other events.

Six basketball courts are also slated for repairs. They are the courts located in Cole Bay at the Leonard Connor School, Dutch Quarter at the Martin Luther King School, Middle Region at the Sister Marie Laurence School, St. Peters at the Rupert Maynard Community Center, Simpson Bay at the Sister Regina School and Belvedere by the sports field.

These six courts provide a location for youth to engage in play within their local communities. With the repairs of these basketball courts, as well as the Melford Hazel Sports Center, Minister Wuite looks forward to these communities being one step closer to returning to our “new normal”.

“Once children are safe and engaged in school, sports and after school activities it encourages family life to return to normal; parents and guardians can then turn their attention to other critical priorities” the Minister explained. 

The Minister also complements the NSI, Sports Department and private volunteers for their proactive and committed efforts as additional repairs to the island’s sports facilities have already commenced. Major damage was reported at the majority of the sporting facilities on the island after the passage of the two hurricanes.

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UPDATED: Minister of Finance Ferrier travels to Holland to thank Dutch Government for Assistance

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - Finance Minister Michael "Mike" Ferrier along with three civil servants left the country for the Netherlands on Tuesday, via Curacao.

Ferrier, a pilot, will fly a privately owned aircraft from Princess Juliana International Airport to Hato International to connect to Royal Dutch Airline KLM.

"This is the quickest and cheapest and most cost effective way to Holland,” Ferrier said before departure.

The plane belongs to a company owned by pilot friend of Ferrier, and comes with no cost to government. “We use each other’s airplane and have an ongoing agreement that calls for the pickup of direct cost such as fuel and airport expenses by he who flies which ever airplane. I fly, so I pay,” said Ferrier adding, “…besides saving Government money, I get to pursue my favorite hobby and at the same time contribute to trying to dig St. Maarten out of the hole created by a natural disaster on one hand and the subsequent mismanagement of the recovery by the previous Government on the other hand.

"This trip to Holland is to make sure St. Maarten gets all the possible funds it can for the recovery process. And in getting to Europe, I have ensured there is no unnecessary expense for government," said Ferrier.

Out of Curaçao the minister is flying “in the back of the bus” with the civil servants. It has been customary for ministers to fly business class on official trips.

Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin will join Ferrier in the Netherlands for the continued discussions on how best to access the promised Dutch recovery aid. She is travelling to The Hague via the United States using American Airlines. She did not make the trip together with Ferrier because her schedule did not permit the same travel itinerary.

The trip is also "to thank the government and people of Holland for their continued support," said Ferrier.

After their joint meetings in The Hague, Ferrier returns home on Sunday and Romeo-Marlin will go on to Brussels, Belgium, for meetings with European Union (EU) to attend the 16th EU O.C.T. conference where she will chair the CARIBBEAN Regional Ministerial meeting plus participate in other meetings at the conference.

"The prime minister's meetings in Brussels are not related to my portfolio, so I am coming back home as soon as possible. There is work to be done here," said Ferrier.

PHOTO CUTLINE: A copy of the commercial pilot's license of Michael Ferrier from the United States Federal Aviation Authority (FAA).

commer pilots license

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