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Republic Day Message to All Guyanese.

PHILIPSBURG:---The St. Maarten Guyanese Association (SMGA) would like to express warm wishes and congratulations to all Guyanese living in our adopted homeland a Happy Republic Day, which is celebrated each year on February 23.

It has been 48 years since our country attained the status of a "Republic" and despite the fact that we are living away from our homeland and have established new lives on the 'Friendly Island' of St. Maarten, let us not forget from whence we came - for a people who know where they came from, would always be appreciative of where they are today and what they have to offer.

Guyanese who have chosen St. Maarten as their home understand this and will continue to build this fledgling island-nation, as it is now our home. But in all of this, let us take time to reflect on what led us to leave our homeland and wish those left behind strength and wisdom to fulfill the dreams our political forefathers had when they fought for colonial independence from Britain.

As we reflect on the underpinning principles of our republican status, it is important that we continue in the spirit of cooperation upon which our country was founded. We have a lot to offer our St. Maarten counterparts and together we can build a successful nation here as we pool our myriad of skills, whether in the fields of education, health, construction engineering, or entrepreneurship.

We, the St. Maarten Guyanese community, believe that as St. Maarten prepares for a new political future this coming week, it is imperative that we become one people, one nation, striving for one destiny, in order to realize the island's motto, "Semper pro grediens" (Always for progressing).

PSS extends agreement with Moneygram.

PHILIPSBURG:--- Postal Services St.Maarten (PSS) Management and Moneygram Head of Caribbean Peter Smith met on Thursday morning.

The outcome of the meeting ended positively as PSS will resume Moneygram services until March 6th, 2018. During this time, the particulars of a new agreement will be further explored for the longevity of the service.

PSS Management is finalizing plans for securing a better flow of its operations at the original location by use of office containers.

“I am seeking the cooperation of the public at large to maintain good conduct while seeking to render the services of PSS especially Moneygram. We will be adding additional security and measures to ensure better efficiency of our services,” remarked Managing Director Antonia Wilson.

PSS counters will be closed on Monday at 11:00 a.m. allowing all employees sufficient time to vote in the parliamentary election.

Creative Industries Forum event to be hosted by Ministry of ECY.

PHILIPSBURG:--- The Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Jorien Wuite, has announced that the ministry will be hosting a Creative Industries Interactive Exchange Forum, CIIEF, on March 21st, 2018 with an aim to encourage and fuel sensitization of the arts as a valuable contributor to the socio-economic sphere as well as to recognize and stimulate the role of the arts in the healing process of the island- especially amongst its young people.

The forum, consisting of workshops, presentations, as well as a panel discussion, targets key stakeholders in the field to facilitate open communication between the involved ministries and those directly executing and involved in the creative industries. Through workshops, stakeholders will be given a platform to share their insights on the creative needs, the formation of an artists guild, and the establishment of a cultural prize on St. Maarten. The input and findings of the creative community will be presented to a representative of the ministry as a proposed channel in achieving the goals of the Ministry Resiliency Plan; to support artists as entrepreneurs, to develop the creative industries as a successful economic sector, and to recharge life-long contribution to the arts.

The Creative Industries Interactive Exchange Forum is the first project designed by the Intern Desk of MECYS, which began as a practical concept to the cabinet in January. Two interns, Iris Hakkens and Dwayne Griffith, were selected with an assignment of “Producing a proposal for and the planning and execution of an Entrepreneurial Creative Industries conference and panel discussion.” Both students devote ten hours a week to the project; Dwayne, a local student currently studying Entrepreneurship at Watson University in Colorado, USA works remotely while Iris, who is pursuing a propaedeutic degree in International Public Management at The Hague University of Applied Sciences is currently on island and works out of the Cabinet office.

The project/assignment-based internship provides students pursuing tertiary education in areas of public administration and/or management or political studies an opportunity to acquire work experience and gain insight into the workings of the government organization. The Intern Desk is a complement to the Business Outreach and Placement Program- BOPP- of the Department of Youth with a specific focus on the functions of the cabinet. “I believe in horizontal and vertical mobility within government organization, providing the space for young professionals and the opportunity for their professional growth. In other words, facilitating ministerial ‘Brain Gain.’ I champion the enablement of young people entering the work force through the provision of a training venue,” Minister Wuite said of the Intern Desk. “I thank both Iris and Dwayne for the commitment and hard work they have displayed. With their success I look forward to further facilitating the Intern Desk concept.”

Information session on housing opportunities for teachers organized.

PHILIPSBURG:--- Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Jorien Wuite invites all teachers, administrative and management staff desirous of exploring the possibility of owning their own home to an information session organized in collaboration with the General Pension Fund (APS) on Thursday, March 1st from 3-4: 30 pm at the Belair Community Center. APS will make a presentation on their latest housing development project aimed specifically for civil servants.

The session, organized by the Minister’s cabinet, is a follow-up to a recent meeting held between the Minister, President of the Windward Island Teachers Union President Claire Elshot-Aventurin and representatives of APS in which the need for affordable housing solutions was discussed. Also discussed was the possibility of supplemental pensions options for teachers that may need to boost their contributions.

“As I continue to meet with school boards and teachers one of the recurring grievances I hear is the high cost of rent. Teachers, management and administrators have the profound responsibility of training and guiding our children; our nation’s next generation.” Minister Wuite expressed. “Their psycho-social well-being is of utmost importance; this initiative attempts to address this need. I, therefore, urge all teachers desirous of owning their own homes to come to the information session to explore this opportunity.”

Invitation letters have been dispatched to all school boards to disseminate to their respective teachers and staff. As seating is limited interested persons are asked to rsvp to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

TelEm Group says material shortages causing slowdown in network restoration.

telemsupplies22022018Pond Island:--- TelEm Group says a chronic shortage of telecommunication material in the region is affecting restoration of services to St. Maarten customers following the passage of Hurricane Irma and Maria in September last year.

Five months after the passage of the storms, TelEm Group has restored services where possible using materials in stock and limited materials donated by other telecommunication companies in Holland and in the Caribbean, however much of these supplies have been spent, and the company anticipates it will be another two to three weeks before a bulk of cables and other restoration equipment arrives. Some of the materials needed for the overhead reconstruction will is also due to arrive in the coming days.

TelEm Group Chief Technical Officer, Mr. Eldert Louisa, says he understands the frustration of many TelEm Group customers in a number of areas around the island who have been waiting for many weeks for voice and data connections.

“Wherever we can assist with the limited resources we have we are assisting until our supply of materials come in,” said Mr. Louisa.

He said the company is already making arrangements to employ additional technicians and contractors so that outstanding installations and repairs can be carried out as soon as the necessary materials arrive on the island.

Mr. Louisa said one of the delays in receiving materials is the destruction of Puerto Rico’s infrastructure following the passage of Hurricanes late last year.

“Puerto Rico is a hub for materials coming to St. Maarten and other islands in the Caribbean. Because of the problems there and also because they have been using up the supplies themselves, we and the rest of the Caribbean are having difficulties with our regular transport routes,” explained Mr. Louisa.

He said at other times in the past, TelEm Group has been able to depend on other telecommunication companies on the island and on the nearby islands for spare materials and equipment, but this time around these companies and islands are in need of materials themselves.

“We are all affected by the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, and five months later, the shortage of materials is really starting to affect our early progress in restoring our networks,” said Mr. Louisa.

The CTO is appealing to customers to continue to be patient in the knowledge that the company and staff are doing everything in their power to restore their telecommunication networks to pre-hurricane Irma status as soon as possible.

“We are continuing to register the areas where customers are being affected and we are creating patch up solutions where we can until more permanent solutions can be provided, so customers should continue to report their status to our customer service staff who are keeping records,” said Mr. Louisa.

TelEm Group says it will continue to source materials from wherever it can when available to speed up the process. The company has also meantime taken steps to place more infrastructure underground to be better prepared for future storms.

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