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Nature Foundation Manager Returns from Ocean Conservation Leadership Exchange

COLE BAY - Managing Director of the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation Tadzio Bervoets Recently Returned from the prestigious IVLP Program, a three-week International Visitor Leadership Exchange Program cantered on Ocean Conservation and Sustainable Use and Management of Marine Resources.

The IVLP program is the United States State Department’s Premier Leadership Program designed to expose international Leaders in their field to the work done by their American Counterparts. Participants cannot apply to the program and Bervoets was nominated by the Consul General of the United States to the Dutch Caribbean the Honourable Margaret Hawthorne based on his work in the region.

The theme of the exchange was centred on the sustainable use and management of Ocean Resources and numerous meetings and information exchanges were held with various Governmental, Non-Governmental, and Industry partners all cantered on Marine Conservation and the Blue Economy.

Information Exchanges were held with the United States State Department, the Ocean Conservancy, the Department of the Interior, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, the Woods Hole Oceanography Institute, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Atmospheric and Oceanographic Administration, the Hart Research Institute, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and various other organizations and institutions in the United States.

“It was truly an honour to have been nominated by the Consul General and to have been accepted by the State Department to exchange and discuss cooperation on Marine Conservation opportunities for Sint Maarten and the wider Caribbean Region,” commented Bervoets.

“In traveling and meeting with various organizations and institutions in Washington D.C; San Diego, California; Corpus Christi, Texas; and Plymouth and Boston, Massachusetts we are now planning close collaboration and support for various conservation initiatives through the Nature Foundation and by extension the island and the region,” concluded Bervoets.

The various meetings also gave the opportunity to highlight some of the work the Nature Foundation and the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance have been doing with regards to marine conservation on the island and in the Dutch Caribbean, including the management of the Marine Park, the solid waste issues of the Philipsburg Landfill, the conservation of sharks, coral restoration initiatives and seagrass and wetland monitoring.

Bervoets was the only Caribbean Representative amongst conservation leaders from Japan, Spain, Nigeria, Vietnam, Thailand, Sierra Leone, China, Peru, Argentina, Mexico, Jordan, Tunisia, Egypt and the Philippines.

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Governor’s Symposium Address: Cornerstones for our 21st Century ICT Agenda – GOS 21.0 An Urgent Imperative

PHILIPSBURG – His Excellency Governor of Sint Maarten drs. Eugene B. Holiday delivered the following address at the 6th Annual Governor’s Symposium 2017, “ICT GOVERNANCE SHAPING OUR FUTURE.”

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Morning,

It is with great pleasure that I bid you welcome to the sixth annual Governor’s Symposium. I hereby, also on behalf of Marie-Louise, extend a special welcome to my Colleagues the Governor of Aruba, Mr. Alfonso Boekhoudt and the Governor of Curacao Mrs. Lucille George-Wout as well as to Her Husband Mr. Herman George. It is good to have you here participating in this Governor’s Symposium.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very pleased to see so many persons from a broad cross section of our community in attendance.

The goal of this sixth annual Governor’s Symposium is to increase awareness of the importance, and of the risks involved in, ICT. My intention is to contribute to the further development of an ICT-governance agenda towards the shaping of our nation’s future. At this symposium regional and national speakers and panelist will speak and interact with you on developments in ICT with a focus on infrastructure, innovations, threats, security and governance each from their own perspective. It is my hope that you will have an enjoyable and fruitful symposium.

I believe that this topic is important because of the potential of ICT actions today to affect and/or spur national growth tomorrow. The potential of ICT is embedded in the fact that increasingly ICT is everywhere, influencing everyone and everything and at the same time highly vulnerable. To put this into perspective it should be noted that it is not that long ago that ICT’s role in our life was hardly noticeable. I say this based on the following highlights in my personal experiences with ICT:

a) In 1982, during my first year in university, I used a computer for the first time, it was a cumbersome main frame computer; 

b) In 1987 I started working and used my first desktop computer. A quick glance shows us how different these devices were compared to today’s computer devices;

c) In 1994 I used my first mobile phone, which is a world removed from today’s mobile phone;  and

d) In 1997 I opened my first email account on my desktop computer.

e) Fast forward to today, I have multiple online accounts – an amazon account, a Netflix account, a Facebook account, to name a few, all connected to my mobile devices.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Over a span of 35 years, and primarily during the last 20 years, ICT has in effect transformed and continues to transform our lives. As I said, ICT is increasingly everywhere and influencing everyone and everything:

a) there are people who practically live online1;

b) our mobile phones have evolved into computers on the go.

c) our vehicles are increasingly computers on wheels;

d) our medical devices are software driven computers; and

e) these and other devices are becoming increasingly interconnected via the internet.

It is estimated that by 2020, 4 billion people will be connected, using more than 25 million applications, transmitting in excess of 50 trillion gigabytes of data, representing 4 trillion US dollars’ worth of business. In short the transition to the “Internet of Things” where everyone and everything will be interconnected, is upon us and we cannot afford to fall behind.

Our 21st century digital reality, has changed the way we interact and behave and, with that, our expectations. There is as a result a need for a National ICT Governance Agenda: GOS 21.0; which stands for 21st century Governance Operating System. GOS 21.0 is necessary to navigate the digital world we live in, to ensure a more effective management of our socio-economic development.

Considering the bandwidth allotted to me to communicate my message I shall, touch briefly on what I view as four cornerstones of the GOS 21.0 agenda.

First, the success of our GOS 21.0 agenda will depend on the establishment of a national governance structure, as an integral part of the agenda, anchored in legislation. Core elements of which should include a Chief Information Officer in government and a coordination mechanism with broad-based public – private participation to develop and oversee the implementation of the agenda. 

Second, to leverage the opportunities of ICT, it is imperative that mandatory ICT education is established as a focal point of the GOS 21.0 agenda. This to ensure that we, in addition to being consumers, become producers of ICT services. The need for this is to ensure that Sint Maarten become a “smart society” catering to the needs of our population and the visitors that drive our economy.  

Third, the digital society has changed the way we interact and behave and, with that, our expectations. As a tourist economy our ICT infrastructure must meet the same standards as our main tourist markets. This to ensure that we meet travelers’ expectations, anytime, anywhere and in real time. Access and the speed of transmission of data and information over the internet are key to this new, interconnected world. The growth of our tourism economy and thus our livelihood depends on it. GOS 21.0 therefore calls for a sound ICT Infrastructure Plan. Such a plan should facilitate continued upgrades and expansion, of for example our fiber optic network, to meet residents and tourists demand for high-speed broadband and wireless access.

And fourth, the numerous media reports, ranging from the hacking of bank accounts, to the disruption of elections or ransomware attacks on our government systems, underscore the need to protect our systems and data. As a result cybersecurity – in terms of awareness, preparedness, and response programs – must be one of the cornerstones of our GOS 21.0 agenda. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Former president Barack Obama in speaking about the importance of ICT stated and I quote: “The Internet is not a luxury, it is a necessity”. Unquote. It is therefore, in my opinion, an ongoing and urgent imperative to invest in an affordable, reliable and safe ICT infrastructure to power our community in the digital age.

Ladies and gentlemen,

By heeding this urgent imperative in a concerted public-private effort to develop and implement our GOS 21.0 Agenda we stand to participate and benefit in the vast educational, health care and socio-economic opportunities of the digital era.

On the flip side, we run the risk of being hacked and becoming disconnected from the rest of the world only to be plunged into cyber darkness.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I hereby, emphasizing the imperative of an ICT Governance agenda GOS 21.0 to shape our future, declare this symposium OPEN.

I experienced the evolution of our society into a more digital society. A society where we chat-on online, make friends online, bank online, shop online, study online, source our information online and store our data online in the cloud.

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Students take part in sports day activities organized by Police Cadets

CAY HILL - Police cadets presently undergoing the police training are doing exams in the subject “Organizing of events and Traffic Controls.” This module consists of a theoretical and a practical part and is scored by the instructors from the academy.

As part of the theoretical training the cadets chose to organize a sports day for primary school students. The sports day was organized involving approximately 40 students from the Sint Joseph Primary School.  

On Thursday June 22nd, the students were taken by bus to the Raoul Illidge Sports Complex to take part in the sports day.  At the sports, complex teams were formed among the students who competed against each other in several sports events.

All students actively competed in the events and had a fun filled day.  Refreshments and pizza from Domino’s were served after the events. Even the police cadets joined in and took part in the events.

The event was a complete success. (Police Force of Sint Maarten)

st. joseph 14 inside one

st. joseph 12 inside two

st. jospeh 10 inside three

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Local reps attending 42nd Annual Caribbean Studies Association Conference

SINT MAARTEN/THE BAHAMAS - The 42nd Annual Caribbean Studies Association (CSA) Annual Conference themed “Culture and Knowledge Economies: The Future of Caribbean Development?” was held at the Meliã Nassau Beach Resort in Nassau, Bahamas on June 5-10, 2017.

Department of Culture Policy Officer Sharine Allamby was amongst the 300 attendees and other St. Maarten representatives including Mrs. Okama Brook, Program Chair of the CSA’s Executive Council and academics Dr. Francio Guadeloupe and Dean Geneve Philips of the University of St. Martin (USM).

The main aim of this annual conference was for key players to examine opportunities and challenges facing the Caribbean, regionally and globally. Multi-disciplinary work was shared through plenary sessions and panel discussions, presentations, published journals, books, thesis papers and dissertations.

Informative sessions included “Building a Nation: Institutional Practices in the Dutch Caribbean” and a presentation was given on ‘Restricted Media Landscapes of Curaçao and St. Maarten’, by Ph.D. Candidate Sanne Rotmeijer of Leiden University. Geneve Philips-Durham presented on ‘Approaches to Governance in St. Maarten, Curaçao and Trinidad and Tobago.’

Other sessions highlighted ‘Creative and Cultural Industries: Challenges and Opportunities’, ‘Culture and Development Policy: Regional Perspectives’, ‘Constitutional Reform in the Contemporary Caribbean’, ‘Caribbean in/securities and the creative imagination and ‘The Politics of Development and Challenges in Participatory Public Policy Making’.

During the opening ceremony, the Bahamas Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Honorable Michael Pintard gave a superb keynote address and a local ‘Junkanoo’ performance took place. In addition, participants were treated to a myriad of cultural activities including a tribute to the late Caribbean Poet and Nobel laureate Derek Walcott and a stage play ‘Honorable Member’ by Bahamian Playwright Ian Strachan.

Bahamian heritage and culture tours were arranged throughout the week and the closing banquet and award ceremony recognized executives and members’ achievements and contributions. “CSA enables the most esteemed cultural/creative professionals and scholars throughout the Caribbean and within the diaspora to interact, exchange and acquire ideas, information and research.

Overall, this was a knowledge enhancing experience and more policymakers from across the Caribbean Region should take advantage of this conference and provide public policy paradigms and perspectives from our respective countries” Allamby stated. 

CSA’s President Dr. Woolward cited “the continuing absence of both national and regional policy frameworks where culture, heritage and creative industries are acknowledged as critical enablers and drivers of sustainable development.” The Department of Culture recognizes this trend and is actively seeking ways to increase capacity-building, perform more in- depth policy research and analysis and develop viable models that target the cultural sector and creative economy of St. Maarten.

As the Honorable Minister of ECYS Silveria Jacobs continues to support the Department of Culture , we will launch a cultural portal website, pursue the Cultural Mapping of St. Maarten Project, produce a National ICH Inventory and participate in the upcoming International Conference on Small Island States (SIS) and Sub-National Island Jurisdictions (SNIJ’s) hosted by the USM and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). For further information on the CSA Conference kindly contact us via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

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St. Maarten Lions Club inducts three new members

LITTLE BAY - While observing the 100th birthday celebration of Lions Club International, the St. Maarten Lions Club inducted three new members into the club.

The new Lions that were inducted are Lion Linnette Gibbs and Lion Kevin Mills both sponsored by Lion Jennifer Johnson.

The other new Lion is Lion John Schaminee who was sponsored by PDG Lion Claudius "Tony" Buncamper PMJF. Lion John is the widower of the late Lion Chantal Schaminee who passed away last July.

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NV GEBE staff attends Change Management Training and are now certified Prosci Change Practitioners

PHILIPSBURG - Five employees of NV GEBE namely Urla Granger, Lydia Carty, Sjadira Gaari, Edel Jansen and Yannick Hodge attended the “Prosci Change Management Certification Program,” and are now certified in Prosci Change Management. 

Prosci Change Management is a methodology that is used in a change management organization focused on helping employees and the organizations build change management capabilities.

Prosci has certified over 30,000 change leaders worldwide through this program.   

In an invited statement from one of the team members it was stated that “Organizations don't change, individuals do. No matter how large of a project you are taking on, the success of that project ultimately lies with each employee doing their work differently, multiplied across all of the employees impacted by the change.

“Effective change management requires an understanding for and appreciation of how one person makes a change successfully. Without an individual perspective, we are left with activities but no idea of the goal or outcome that we are trying to achieve”.

With this certification, the team is now able to drive and manage change within NV GEBE with the knowledge, skills and tools obtained during the training.

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Abuse of older people on the rise – 1 in 6 affected

SINT MAARTEN/INTERNATIONAL - Around 1 in 6 older people experience some form of abuse, a figure higher than previously estimated and predicted to rise as populations age worldwide.

A new study, supported by WHO and published in the Lancet Global Health, has found that almost 16% of people aged 60 years and older were subjected to either psychological abuse (11.6%), financial abuse (6.8%), neglect (4.2%), physical abuse (2.6%) or sexual abuse (0.9%). The research draws on the best available evidence from 52 studies in 28 countries from different regions, including 12 low- and middle-income countries.

"The abuse of older people is on the rise; for the 141 million older people worldwide this has serious individual and societal costs," says Alana Officer, Senior Health Adviser, Department of Ageing and Life Course at WHO. "We must do much more to prevent and respond to the increasing frequency of different forms of abuse."

Elder abuse and health

Awareness about elder abuse, still largely a taboo topic, has started to increase across the world. It is defined as actions or lack of appropriate action which can cause harm or distress to an older person, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust. All types of elder abuse can have an impact on the health and wellbeing of the older person.

Psychological abuse is the most pervasive and includes behaviours that harm an older person’s self-worth or wellbeing such as name calling, scaring, embarrassing, destroying property or preventing them from seeing friends and family.

Financial abuse includes illegally misusing an older person’s money, property or assets. Neglect includes the failure to meet an older person’s basic needs, such as food, housing, clothing and medical care.

Health effects of abuse include traumatic injury and pain, as well as depression, stress and anxiety. Elder abuse can lead to an increased risk of nursing home placement, use of emergency services, hospitalization and death.

"Despite the frequency and the serious health consequences, elder abuse remains one of the least investigated types of violence in national surveys, and one of the least addressed in national plans to prevent violence," Ms Officer adds.

By 2050 the number of people aged 60 and over will double to reach 2 billion globally, with the vast majority of older people living in low- and middle-income countries. If the proportion of elder abuse victims remains constant, the number of people affected will increase rapidly due to population ageing, growing to 320 million victims by 2050.

"Elder abuse is rarely discussed in policy circles, less prioritized for research and addressed by only a handful of organizations," notes Dr Etienne Krug, Director of the WHO Department for the Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention.

"Governments must protect all people from violence. We must work to shed light on this important societal challenge, understand how best to prevent it, and help put in place the measures needed."

Global strategy and action plan

In May 2016, Ministers of Health adopted the WHO Global Strategy and Action Plan on Ageing and Health at the World Health Assembly. The Strategy provides guidance for coordinated action in countries that aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Priority actions for elder abuse in the Strategy include:

Improving studies on the frequency of elder abuse particularly in low- and middle-income countries from South-East Asia, Middle East and Africa, for which there is little data

Collecting evidence and developing guidance on what works to effectively prevent and respond to elder abuse. As a first step, governments need to evaluate existing efforts, such as training for care givers and use of telephone helplines, and to publish these findings

Supporting countries to prevent and respond to elder abuse

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Inner Harmony introduces two new Health Care Professionals at Saturday Nutritional Event

SIMPSON BAY - This Saturday, June 24th from 10am-2pm, Inner Harmony located at Puerta del Sol in Simpson Bay is excited to introduce their two new Health Care Professionals who will be presenting their very affordable Organic Vitamins & Herbs, Organic Coconut Oil, fresh Kombucha, sampling Super Food Smoothies, offering Free Testing and will answer any questions you may have about your health!

Dr. Peter Amato launched his well-established Caribbean based St Maarten Wellness Center in 2013. Inner Harmony utilizes a patient-centered approach that focuses on whole-food nutrition, quantum-physics based Biofeedback, and organic nutraceuticals (rather than pharmaceuticals) to target & cure the root of disease as well as eliminating symptoms without the typical harsh side effects of pharmaceutical drugs.

Dr Amato has partnered with Dr. Cassandra Generlette, MD, from St Maarten, who has been trained in the Inner Harmony Approach to Natural Healthcare and blends her Functional Western Medicine background with Inner Harmony’s Integrative Medical Approach.

Also, Charlote Vives has joined the team, she is a lifestyle & wellness coach certified at IIN Institute for Integrative Nutrition & also certified in Sports & Exercise at Precision Nutrition. Charlote’s education has equipped her with extensive knowledge in holistic nutrition, health coaching, and preventive health. Drawing on these skills and her knowledge of different dietary theories, she works with clients to help them make lifestyle changes that produce real and lasting results.

Come out & meet the new team at Inner Harmony’s Open House Saturday, June 24th to better understand how this terrific wellness center can help you and your loved ones live a healthy lifestyle and learn about the exclusive organic whole-food nutritional products they distribute. Why guess on your health, get tested. It’s time to feel better! Please call +1721-581-2480 for more information.

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Flight disruptions due to Potential Tropical Cyclone

SINT MAARTEN/ANTIGUA & BARBUDA – LIAT wishes to advise passengers of the following changes in the schedule due to the passage of potential Tropical Cyclone Two.

Please note that the following flights have been cancelled for Monday:

LI 512 from Barbados to Guyana

LI 512 from Guyana to Barbados

LI 309 from St. Lucia to Port of Spain

LI 307 from Barbados to Grenada

LI 307 from Grenada to Trinidad

LI 393 from Barbados to Guyana

LI 737 from St. Vincent to Trinidad

LI 738 from Trinidad to St. Vincent

There may be further disruptions to LIAT’s schedule and any additional affected flights will be published in a subsequent advisory.

Passengers who have been affected will be allowed to rebook with the next two weeks with all change fees waived. We strongly advise our passengers to contact LIAT’s Call Centre for rebooking.

Reservations

1-888-844-LIAT (5428) Toll Free from destinations within the Caribbean Region Call Antigua 1-268-480-5601/2 from Other Countries 1-246 434 5428 from Barbados.

LIAT also wishes to advise that passengers who decide to travel but are unable to complete their journey due to disruption caused by weather conditions, will not be provided with meals, transportation, hotel accommodation etc. Passengers with onward connections are advised to contact the respective carriers.

LIAT regrets any inconvenience caused as a result of the passage of the storm.

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Traffic lights turned on at Philipsburg intersection

PHILIPSBURG - The traffic lights located at the intersection of the Walter Nisbeth Road-A.Th. Illidge road was finally turned on once again after being out of service for approximately eight months.

The system was severely damaged with the continuous on and off of the electricity. The repair was more difficult than anticipated. Experts were brought in from Aruba and still no suitable solution was found.

The Ministry of VROMI decided to work along with the local company Smart Innovations Caribbean which also allows young adults and students to do job training to gain hands on experience in the work field.

After some three months of getting approval and getting all items needed on island, the company rebuilt the complete traffic stop light control box and also ensured that the system can be protected from the undesirable electricity outages that can lead to serious damages of system elements.

The system was tested for a few days during the early morning hours and on Wednesday afternoon at around 4.00 pm the Minister of VROMI, the honorable Christophe Emmanuel put the Traffic Light Controller switch on and the lights went back into service.

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