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Tzu Chi helps distribute Mormon Church relief to 609 families.

tzuchidistributesmormonreliefitems20102017PHILIPSBURG:--- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon Church) assisted by the St. Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation helped donate hurricane relief items to a total of 609 families on Monday, October 9.

It is estimated that 1,827 persons from the 609 families would benefit from the relief.

The relief packages consisted of sugar, canned vegetable, non-fat milk powder, dehydrated potatoes and rice. Also distributed to those who needed it were water and tarpaulins. The relief items were donated by the Mormon Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints) and were distributed with the help of the Tzu Chi Foundation.

About 35 Tzu Chi volunteers along with 14 volunteers from the Mormon Church ensured that the relief packages were given out to those who needed it. The distribution began around 9:00am and continued throughout the day until the items were finished. Some volunteers also went house to house in some areas and distributed some packages to persons in need in Dutch Quarter and French Quarter.

Since it was a hot day volunteers who were assisting with the distribution, provided recipients with water while they were waiting to collect their relief items. Recipients were also asked to fill in forms to indicate their needs, whether it was food water or tarpaulins.

Many of the recipients said they were grateful for the relief items as they were needed at this time. Volunteers were equally grateful to be able to participate in the exercise.

Tzu Chi Foundation Commissioner Sandra Cheung said the foundation and its volunteers were happy to assist in the distribution of the relief items. She thanked the public for accepting the donation and is grateful for the generosity of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for making the relief items available for families that need them in St. Maarten.

Tzu Chi Press Release

Ambulance Department of Ministry VSA & RAV teaming up to provide much needed relief.

PHILIPSBURG:--- Following the devastation of hurricanes Irma and Maria, Minister Lee made a request to the Department of Foreign Affairs (BZK) in Den Haag to provide the ambulance personnel with much-needed relief staff.

“We’ve recently received the final approval from BZK on our request as part of the 3 and a half year cooperation agreement with our counterparts from the Regional Ambulance Organization (RAV) from Brabant Middle-West-North Holland.”, stated Department Head Ambulance Cylred Richardson. There is much content with the input from RAV and BZK and their decision to have ambulance team members from the Netherlands working as relief teams on St. Maarten. The teams will work alongside our hard-working ambulance professionals from Sunday, October 22 to November 7, 2017. This would allow our team members some much-needed downtime, as they have been working non-stop since the hurricanes affected the island.

The Ambulance Department teams have executed their tasks exceptionally well both pre, during, and post-hurricane Irma and Maria despite having to deal their own personal loses. Their efforts are to be highly commended by the entire population to which professional ambulance care that was provided 24/7 during and after the disasters.

Minister Lee says that he is proud of the work that ambulance staff has done especially their response in times of crisis.

Ministry of VROMI will resume electrical inspections as of Monday.

PHILIPSBURG:--- Electrical inspections that were scheduled before Hurricane Irma and Maria can be rescheduled as of Monday, October 23, 2017. The Inspection Department will also be scheduling new electrical inspection requests.

When applying for an electrical inspection, the following documents are needed;

  • Building permit
  • GEBE inspection card with diagram of electrical installation
  • Copy of an official address issued by the Permits Department
  • Copy of location plan from the Cadaster

A copy of a recent GEBE electricity bill and a copy of the owners’ identification is also necessary when requesting to adjoin units.

Electrical inspections that can be requested are Electrical installation upgrade and downgrade, utility meter connection, split installation connection, adjoining of units and minimum standards inspection.

The Inspection Department of the Ministry of VROMI is now located in the new Government building on Pond Island. Please visit the Inspection Department during morning hours to request an electrical inspection.

DCOMM Press Release

Port St. Maarten Welcomes FCCA Promotional Campaign to Stimulate Regional Economies.

PORT ST. MAARTEN:--- Port St. Maarten Management welcomes the news that the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), has committed to a multifaceted million-dollar campaign to display that the majority of Caribbean destinations are operating normally, unhindered by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and are ready to welcome visitors.
“The FCCA and our Member Lines have been working tirelessly toward hurricane relief efforts, and this initiative is also a vital tool to assisting the Caribbean by stimulating the economy,” said Michele Paige, President, FCCA in a statement.

“Many Caribbean destinations, fortunately, missed any impact from the hurricanes, and most affected destinations worked around the clock to reopen for tourism. We look forward to showcasing those actions and the friendly smiles awaiting visitors.”

The campaign, “The Caribbean is open for business and ready to welcome YOU with our warm and friendly smiles,” will target multiple media sources with destination footage, traveler testimonials, and a map showing that the majority of destinations are open and ready to welcome guests.

It is also planned to feature a special event and celebrity support, along with input and backing from destination leaders and travel industry titans.

The FCCA will also work directly with select destination partners to further tailor the message, as well as collaborating with destinations to create and distribute press materials that complement the campaign.

This week the FCCA launched, a landing site that is part of its campaign to generate awareness about regional destinations. The landing site is seen as an invaluable resource for destinations and cruise lines to spread information about the destinations.

Created in 1972, the FCCA is a not-for-profit trade organization that provides a forum for discussion on tourism development, ports, safety, security, and other cruise industry issue and builds 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.

Port St. Maarten Press Release

“One infrastructure” – the most efficient and cost effective way to restore Telecom in St. Maarten.

damagedcelltowers19102017PHILIPSBURG:--- On September 6th 2017, Sint Maarten got struck by a Category 5+ hurricane with wind gusts up to 221 mph. As a result, 13 major cell towers came down, over 30 microcell sites were severely damaged, and in total close to 65% of the Telecom networks on Sint Maarten were compromised. Due to these major infrastructural damages, phone-, internet-, broadcasting-, and trunking services were jeopardized or limited available in the Irma aftermath.

In rebuilding telecom infrastructure on Sint Maarten, major investments needs to be made, and Bureau Telecommunications and Post St. Maarten (BTP) have been proactively reaching out to Telecom operators and Service Providers to gather additional and find out where BTP can assist with restoration efforts.

Director of BTP Anthony Carty explained: “based on the magnitude of the disaster and the damage assessment that we’ve executed for the Telecom industry, we do not believe that doing all restoration efforts on your own as a communication provider is the best way to move forward. Now, more than ever we feel the need for far-reaching collaboration between the Government, Regulator & Communication Providers”.

BTP has always been a proponent of “Infrastructure sharing” in the Telecom industry, as also explained in an official publication by BTP on February 13th 2017. Infrastructure sharing is the mechanism of sharing passive and/or active telecom infrastructure amongst telecom service providers, to decrease costs (CAPEX and OPEX), improve the quality of service, increase coverage, and potentially resulting in lower retail prices, whilst having a positive environmental impact due to less duplication in infrastructure.

Carty continued: “to even take it one step further; we are still a strong advocate for the establishment of a neutral entity that operates and maintains a core fiber optic infrastructure on the island on which licensed network operators and service providers may render communication applications, services and content to residents and businesses”.
This is in line with the conclusion of the 2016 study “FttX Policy Outline”, carried out by BTP with the involvement of all large communication providers: “the better approach for the St. Maarten Society, Economy and the telecom market is to combine resources in a nationwide fiber network upon which all present and future network operators, service and content providers can deliver services to their customers in an indiscriminate fashion”.

Considering the re-building stage that we are in right now, we believe that this study even becomes more relevant if our intention is to restore communication services on Sint Maarten better and faster. In 2016 BTP presented a position paper to the previous Minister of TEATT, and reiterate its position on the “One Infrastructure Model” and the development of a National Broadband Policy (NBP), to the current administration.

Superfast internet, better coverage, more reliable (mobile) phone services, and state of the art TV solutions, against the most affordable rates are long overdue in our society. In closing Carty stated: “we do believe that we can achieve this, but only if all stakeholders are willing to work closely together, and make the interest of the country and the end-users the highest priority. ‘Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much’”.

BTP SXM Press Release

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