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‘Training Together’ ABC Islands takes off

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The Ministry of OCW made a subsidy of no less than USD 380,000 available for the school year 2020-2021 for improving teacher training on the ABC Islands. Under the denominator ‘Samen Opleiden’ (Training Together) a first group of students shall be trained.

In the ‘Samen Opleiden’ context the training institutions and school boards are jointly responsible for the training of prospective teachers. Henceforth, a considerable part of the training shall take place at professional development schools where students will teach classes in order to gain practical knowledge and experience.

This way students are prepared optimally for the profession and the local context. The education context on our islands requires a Caribbean teacher of the 21st century: a teacher who disposes of 21st century skills as well as knowledge of the rich Caribbean culture.

The partnership Kibrahacha was set up to give substance to the cooperation between the training institutions and the school boards on the three islands. Various school boards of the ABC Islands are involved and the training institutions University of Curaçao, Instituto Pedagogico Arubano, University of Aruba and University of St. Martin are also part of the partnership.

‘Samen Opleiden’ is the result of an agreement, reached during the ‘Vierlandenoverleg’ (Four Countries Consultation). In February 2019, the Ministers of Curacao, Aruba, St. Maarten and the Netherlands signed a partnership protocol to strengthen teacher training in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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Casey Lopes from Statia signed by The Hague Royals

SINT EUSTATIUS (ORANJESTAD) - The Public Entity of St. Eustatius is very proud that Casey Lopes from St. Eustatius will play for The Hague Royals, the basketball institute in the Haaglanden, during the 2020-2021 season. “I can’t wait to step on the court and represent The Hague, but also the island of St. Eustatius. I’m very grateful for the chance to start my professional career and I will give everything to make a success out of it”, said 23-year-old Casey Lopes.

In the coming weeks several Statian youngsters are heading to The Netherlands to also pursue careers in basketball. According to Director of the Directorate of Social Affairs, Carol Jack-Roosberg, Casey is a role model for many youngsters in Statia. “His achievement will continue to guide him and will help to lead our youngsters to a brighter future through sports. We are very proud that he has been signed to play professional basketball in the Netherlands.”

Casey is looking forward to play for The Hague Royals. “I would like to thank The Hague Royals for giving me the opportunity to play this season with them. I am also thankful to my coach Miguel Merkman for helping me get the contacts to get the chance to try out. But I truly want to give thanks to my parents for always being there for me and helping me through this journey.

They have sacrificed so much to send me to the USA to play the game I love, and doing that has giving me the skills I need to play abroad. My father worked extra hard to support me while I was gone and my mother came to every practice after a long day of work just for “MY DREAM”. They really are the ones who should get the credit. I did the easy part. There are not enough words to let them know how thankful I truly am, said Casey Lopez after he signed with The Hague Royals.

Last week Casey left family and friends behind on St. Euststius to pursue a long awaited dream. He basketball in the United States for Western High School Auburn, until 2015. During the 2015-2016 season he redshirted for Broward College. After this season, he returned home where he played on the highest level possible on the island.

Last season, he played for Statia All Stars on St. Eustatius. Casey decided to pursue his studies in The Hague, which is why he participated in the tryouts for the team of The Hague Royals.

Positive development for Statia

According to his coach Miguel Merkman, everyone is blessed with a gift in life and so is Casey Lopes. “We are a small island and there will be many more success stories to come. Statian youth will stand out in other countries. Give them dreams, work on their dreams, and keep them going on the right path. This development can only bring positivity for our island Statia.”

Diamond in the rough

Coach Samson in The Hague is excited about working with Casey. “During the tryouts, Casey was very impressive as a team player. He is a very hard worker, who will do anything for the team to have success. He brings strength and mental toughness to the guard positions in The Hague, next season. I expect a lot from his leadership, and his versatility will be very useful to our team. He is a diamond in the rough.” The Public Entity of St. Eustatius joins in congratulating Casey Lopes and his support network in this great achievement. (Statia GIS)

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CONTROLLING THE SPREAD WITHOUT A LOCK DOWN

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY-AIRPORT - By the Director of the Commercial Division, Robert Brown) - Like the ocean finds the shore, the virus continues to find its way to human hosts world-wide. It ignores borders, lockdowns, aspirin as well as bush-tea. Statistics put the following into perspective: the virus thrives in countries such as the USA, where society, politics and scientists are divided. In Asian countries that have a history of outbreaks, the virus is much better contained.

For the evolution of the virus, it all doesn’t really matter. It has been with us for millions of years, for as long as life on earth existed. Unlike bacteria, viruses aren’t living organisms; they can’t reproduce on their own. Instead, they hijack cells to multiply, spread and cause disease.

The key to containing the virus is to prevent it from spreading to new hosts. Japan for example has been very successful in controlling the outbreak and has found a formula without lockdowns. The Japanese government ‘requested’ the public not to go out, if not necessary, and for bars and restaurants to suspend their business temporarily. The request to adhere to practices that minimize the risk slowed down the spread and helped to reduce it.

The other important factor was the national awareness and strict avoidance of the so called 3 C’s, namely: Closed spaces with poor ventilation; Crowded spaces open to the public and; Close contact which puts people in range of flying droplets from speaking, coughing and sneezing. Even when the 6-feet social distancing rule cannot be maintained, the proper use of facemasks will minimize the risk of infection and prevent an outbreak.

The government went even so far as not to make testing widely available for those who were not prone to falling seriously ill. Japan learned from previous outbreaks that when patients flocked to doctors and hospital lobbies to get tested, where the 3 C’s could not be maintained, other patients and many healthcare workers got infected, which compromised the entire healthcare system.

When someone still gets infected, the 3 C’s and facemasks provide another benefit. The so-called viral dose (the amount of virus someone breaths in) is far less, which seems to impact the way in which people become infected as well as the severity of the infection. The more intense the viral dose, the severer the illness becomes. Perhaps this explains why there are asymptomatic patients in contrast with severe cases leading to death.

With reference to the 3 C’s and the outbreaks in Sint Maarten, it is evident where the virus found its way to its hosts. This transpired at events of mass gatherings, and the most recent event at the nightclubs, all with large crowds in close proximity and without masks.

It all sounds so simple, we enforce a one-island policy based upon the 3 C’s, prohibit crowds in closed environments, limit public gatherings to a maximum of 20 people, order mandatory facemasks in public spaces and protect the elderly and the vulnerable. Actually, it is that simple if the one-island rules are implemented and acknowledged.

If we, one and all, change our behavior by adhering to the rules, it will be possible to live without a lockdown and without having to close our borders. In that light, we will be able to start with the recovery of our economy. Rather than focusing on elimination of the risk of infection, the objective should be to stop the spread of the disease and keep the number of patients to a minimum. Lock-down strategies are not sustainable and repeated implementation is affecting our society and economy to the core, causing an outcome that is worse by far.

On the positive end, the environment on Sint Maarten is conducive to minimizing the spread of the virus. Yes, we really might be living in one of the best places on earth because of our geographical location. Sint Maarten’s constantly stable temperature and steady humidity are the virus’s worst enemies.

Experimental studies on guinea pigs demonstrated that the transmission of influenza viruses is strongly modulated by temperature and humidity. A number of epidemiological studies have followed up on these findings and revealed robust associations between the occurrence of influenza in temperate regions and local conditions of humidity and temperature, and they offer a long-awaited explanation for the wintertime seasonality of influenza in these locales. Despite recent progress, important questions remain as to the mechanism(s) by which humidity and/or temperature affects transmission

Sint Maarten’s constantly stable temperature averaging 27 degrees and a humidity averaging 77% are the virus’s worst enemies.

Similar to Japan, and other Asian countries, if everyone does their part in strict and consistent adherence to the 3 C’s, and disciplined and proper use of facemasks in public and when around others, together we will be able to mitigate the spread of the virus and achieve a satisfactory level of control and containment before more drastic measures become necessary.

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Cft chairman Raymond Gradus visits Food Bank Curaçao

CURACAO - Raymond Gradus, chairman of the three Boards of financial supervision (Cft), recently visited the Food Bank Curaçao (Voedselbank). There he received from the foundation’s secretary Stacia Illidge information about the set-up of this social initiative, that has been providing aid to thousands of families on a monthly basis since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. The Food Bank has distributed more than 40,000 food bags since April 2020.

Gradus was also informed about the donors who make this form of assistance possible through their financial contribution. He received information as well about the involvement of all volunteers who work every week in various manners to complete all work that needs to be done.

Raymond Gradus is paying an informal visit to Curaçao, where he personally learns about local developments and has informal conversations with various authorities and people in the course of one week.

It was originally intended to also visit other Caribbean countries within the Kingdom, but that turned out to be impossible. The regular visit of the full Board to the countries, which was planned for June, has also been canceled; the next trip is planned for October.

Foto Cft Voorzitter bij Voedselbank 3

 

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CBCS has a new president at the helm: Richard Doornbosch

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - On August 7, 2020, Mr. R.A. (Richard) Doornbosch was sworn in as President of the Centrale Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten (CBCS), as he took the oath of office before the Acting Governors of Sint Maarten and Curaçao.

The appointment of Mr. Doornbosch follows from the recommendation by the CBCS Board of Supervisory Directors to the Entitled Asset holders on March 11 this year, to nominate Mr. Doornbosch as president. Richard Doornbosch (1973) is an economist with more than 20 years of experience in the financial sector, international organizations, and public financial management.

Up until last month, he served as Alternate Executive Director at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington D.C., where he conjointly led the Dutch-Belgium constituency. For Mr. Doornbosch, supporting both governments in dealing with the COVID-19 economic impact, and mitigating the risks for the financial stability, will have immediate priority.

Intervention or restructuring measures should be applied with priority to problem institutions to guarantee an orderly resolution. Improvements should be made with regard to modernizing legislation and supervision of the financial sector, while the central bank itself is transforming, aiming to strengthen the internal governance and making the corporate culture proactive and more outward-looking.

Doornbosch looks forward to giving further guidance to this process: “The expertise of the CBCS-staff is indisputable, and the reliability of the central bank shall no longer be called into question”, according to the new president.

With Mr. Doornbosch being appointed, the Board of Directors of the CBCS is now complete. The Board of Supervisors looks forward to a successful cooperation.

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Wearing of a mask is mandatory on public transport in Saint-Martin

SAINT-MARTIN (MARIGOT) - The use of masks is mandatory in vehicles, intercity public transport (TCI Bus - 9 seats), public transport (BUS - 9 places) and Taxis de Saint-Martin (5 - 16 seats), the Collectivity of Saint-Martin said in a press statement.

The Collectivite of Saint-Martin has taken all useful measures by territorial decree,following national directives and in support of its territorial jurisdiction, in order to regulate the transport conditions of transit passengers and taxi customers, as part of the fight against the spread of the Covid-19 virus in the territory.

Following the government's decision to impose the widespread wearing of masks in enclosed areas from Monday 20 July 2020, the Collectivite is reminding users and operators of public transport and taxis, the obligation to wear a protective mask and to respect the distance in buses and taxis including in waiting areas (road station, stops and taxi station), in accordance with territorial decree A-2413/2020 of 28 July 2020, in order to combat the resurgence and spread of Covid-19.

  • Signage has already been put in different places at the Marigot bus station and the Front-de-Mer taxi station for the safety of passengers and operators. Posters detailing the current guidelines have been ordered and will be installed as early as next month.
  • Important : Il est rappelé aux opérateurs de transport de personnes (Bus, TCI et Taxis) qu'en raison des mesures de distanciation physique, le transport autorisé de passagers est effectué en capacité réduite de moitié (Bus/TCI maximum de 4 passagers, Bus/TCP maximum 7 ou 8 passagers selon la taille du véhicule de 15 ou 16 places, Bus/TCP maximum 17 passagers pour les véhicules de 35 places).  

The Collectivite of Saint-Martin is asking public transport users to follow these health guidelines to protect the population. The Collectivite's supervisory officers are responsible for reminding everyone of these instructions (users and carriers). Random checks may be carried out by law enforcement. Violators face a flat-rate fine of 135 euros.

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Local Blogger Lichtenberg to be Featured on Trinidadian #Digitalforeveryone

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Over the past months, and due to COVID- 19 the digital world has had a global boost. That includes the Caribbean region, that somehow was a bit behind due to different factors. However, we have seen that entrepreneurs and companies of every industry have had to step up their digital transformation strategy.

During his same period, collaborations and the exchanging of information between experts and relevant individuals with in varied industries have also increased. Your career, personal or entrepreneurial personalities have been given a chance to shine, network and connect with potential clients and great business relations.

This is exactly how Kenty Lichtenberg, is being featured in a conversation with Robert De Gannes, founder of Digital for Everyone (Instagram Live), a Trinidad based and digital outlet. The format of Robert De Gannes’ Digital for Everyone livestream series is deceptively simple.

The digital marketer hosts a selected guest for a casual chat about an aspect of digital business for 30 minutes on Instagram. Robert is a Digital Strategist with 10 years of experience running the gamut from Social media management all the way to Website design.

The concept digital for everyone came to me because "Digital" is massive, there is so much to know, no one marketer knows everything about it and often times, clients are only told what the person wants to tell them to make the sale.

So, Digital for everyone aims to breakdown complex aspects of digital marketing into easily understandable episodes. The ultimate objective is to grow the knowledge and confidence in all aspects of digital marketing regionally to help grow the sector for all, clients and agencies alike.

There are some many aspects of digital transformation, and daily we encounter new tools that we can use to help our clients with better analytics, projections and results for their core business. In this case, Kenty will speak about how blogging (a non – popular method in the Caribbean) can be used as a strategic tool to market your brand, your business and create a better market placement with in this intense and competitive digital world.

With over 15 years in the Marketing industry and almost 5 years of blogging, this promises to be a great conversation between her and Robert. Kenty is known for always having an unorthodox approach to marketing strategies and implementations and she is elated to share some of her best most effective practices and tips with the audience.

It goes without saying that in order to thrive currently, in any industry, you must have presence on the digital platforms. Of course not without knowing relevant strategies and creating an effective plan of action for your brand / business.

The Digital world means that your brand can reach an audience that you never thought you could, by using only traditional methods.

This Thursday, we invite you to log in on your Instagram account, and Join Kenty and Robert via: https://www.instagram.com/digitalforeveryone/ at 08.00 PM sharp!! Let’s take advantage of a session, where we can learn from each other and leave with valuable information that can help you with your business.

If you would like to keep up with Kenty, you can follow her via the following social media handles:

https://www.instagram.com/keraikreativestyle2016/

https://www.facebook.com/keraikreativestyle/

www.kentylichtenberg.com

www.keraikreativestyle.com (currently under construction)

Kenty info

 

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Nine students learn the basics of sail making

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - St. Maarten Sails & Canvas N.V. have once again coordinated with the local Marine Industry in helping to train the students from the ‘Zero to Hero’ (teens)/Kidz at Sea foundation, in developing their skills in the Marine Industry, the marine sector business said in a press statement on Tuesday. 

A fun and lively group of nine students along with John Westmoreland from the group of Zero to Hero/Kidz at Sea Foundation attended the sail loft of St. Maarten Sails & Canvas N.V. in Cole Bay for an introduction to the basic elements of sail making and also partook in some practical exercises. 

Sail Making is a profession as old as seafaring itself. A sailmaker is a person who specializes in producing sails for boats and providing advice on how to use, set, and care for sails. People in this field are often sailors themselves and learn the trade through an apprenticeship with an experienced sailmaker.

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Suspect arrested for a spree of robberies in the Cole Bay area

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - The Detectives of Sint Maarten Police Force (KPSM) arrested a man with the initials N.J.T., on July 31st for his alleged involvement in a spree of armed robberies that have been happening in the Cole Bay and surrounding areas, police said on Monday.

The suspect who lives in the district was arrested in the early morning hours by the detectives without incident. After the arrest, a search was conducted in the home of the suspected robber, during which several items were confiscated.

The suspect is being remanded pending further investigation.

The Police said on Monday: We would like to also remind the community that the more we come together to assist the police in the combat against these crimes the faster the robber(s) can be apprehended. (KPSM)

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Saba prepares phased implementation single-use plastics ban

SABA—The Public Entity Saba is preparing the phased implementation of the single-use plastic products ban in 2021. A legislation proposal has been drafted and sent to the Island Council for deliberation. An official public consultation on the draft ordinance has been initiated. The ban will start with a prohibition on plastic carrier bags per January 1, 2021.

Based on an island-wide consultation through interviews, a questionnaire and a think tank, the government has worked on a draft ordinance in the past half year to regulate the gradual prohibition of single-use plastics. The ordinance will prohibit the provision of a number of frequently used and/or easily replaceable kinds of single-use plastics, namely carrier bags, food containers, cups, plates, cutlery, straws, stirrers, cotton swabs, fresh produce bags and confetti.

The plan is to start the plastic ban with plastic carrier bags per January 1, 2021. This means that supermarkets, other stores and restaurants, but also other sellers (eg booth holders at events or markets) and service providers may not provide plastic bags to their customers as of that date. If environmentally friendly, single use alternatives for plastic bags are provided, a fee must be charged to the customer. This is done in order to encourage people to bring reusable bags, but also to help business owners save costs.

Single-use plastic cups, cutlery, plates, straws, stirrers and confetti should become prohibited by May 1, 2021. Food containers are the last product to be banned, on October 1, 2021. The reason for this is that similar quality alternatives are harder to find. Restaurant owners need sufficient time to test different products and find a proper solution before fully eliminating the plastic and Styrofoam containers.

Eco-friendly version

The idea to introduce the plastics ban in phases is based on the notion that it some products are easier to phase out or replace than others. A longer phase-out time will be implemented for products that are harder to replace by an eco-friendly version, especially in the case of food containers.

The ban targets all types of abovementioned products that are produced for single use and made out of any type of plastic. This includes Styrofoam, but also plant-based materials that were chemically altered to create plastics such as 'biodegradable plastics’ that only decompose in a commercial composting unit, which Saba does not have. The environmental damage of these bioplastics is similar to that of regular plastics if not processed properly. The ban also includes types of products that are non-recyclable or difficult to recycle because they are made of inferior plastics that cannot be exported off the island for processing abroad, and therefore end up in the solid waste burner on Saba.

The ordinance gives the possibility to request an exemption to the ban when certain banned single-use plastic products are necessary for medical purposes or in other contexts where hygiene cannot be sufficiently ensured otherwise. In order to guarantee as much as possible that the exemption only takes place in situations where there is no other option than using single use plastic products, conditions may apply to exemptions granted and exemptions may be valid only temporarily.

Reduce littering

The Public Entity Saba has the aim to reduce littering and burning of solid waste. On September 18, 2018, the Island Council unanimously adopted a motion urging for the implementation of a single- use plastics ban. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (IenW) supported this initiative by signing a Letter of Intent with the Public Entity on July 15, 2019.

Main stakeholders were consulted on a single-use plastics ban during the process, and an island- wide consultation was done via a questionnaire, which received over 200 responses. A think tank was set up to provide further input for the contents of a single use plastics ban. Together with the ministry of IenW, an ordinance was drafted for the reduction of the use of single use plastics. The phasing out of single-use plastic water bottles at the schools has been initiated.

Recycling workplace

Other (future) initiatives in relation to this ban and to reducing the use of plastics in general are: setting up a local plastic recycling workplace, which should be operational by the end of the year, signing a covenant with organizations on the island to terminate the use of balloons, and organizing contests at the schools: a poster contest was already held at the primary school, while a video contest at the secondary school should take place later this year.

The water bottling plant, scheduled to be ready before the end of the year, will also contribute to the reduction of single use plastics on the island.

Consultations so far have shown that there is a broad community support for a single use plastics ban. The official public consultation on the draft ordinance takes place until August 20. Responses can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. (Saba GIS)

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