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WITU Expresses Deep Disappointment in Government's Handling of Public Education

PHILIPSBURG:--- Stuart Johnson, President of the Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU), has voiced profound disappointment in the Government of St Maarten regarding the handling of matters within Public Education and the broader education sector.

President Johnson had anticipated that the commitment made to sign an agreement with the Government of St Maarten would have been prioritized, reflecting the collaborative efforts necessary for the advancement of education in St.Maarten.

Johnson drafted the agreement and repeatedly sought to have it signed by the Government of St.Maarten in anticipation that the mutual understanding would have been adhered to.

The agreement highlights the electrical works, air-conditioning in all classrooms/offices, and other infrastructural works necessary for all public schools.

Moreover, Johnson has diligently pursued resolutions to several unresolved matters in education, utilizing platforms such as the Committee for Civil Servants Unions (CCSU) to address these issues.

President Johnson emphasized, "Some might perceive my approach as an immediate recourse to the media. However, when diligent efforts are consistently overlooked, it becomes imperative to apprise the wider community of St. Maarten of the challenges faced within our education system."

Johnson lamented the misalignment of his calls for a proactive approach with the current agenda or lack thereof by the Government of St Maarten.
He questioned, "When will education truly be prioritized in our country, and when will the rights of all teachers be respected?"

WITU remains committed to advocating for the rights and well-being of teachers, and President Johnson urges the Government of St Maarten to reevaluate its priorities, placing the future of education at the forefront of the national agenda.

"Our teachers and the next generation of our country deserves nothing less," Johnson concluded

 


Ending the HIV stigma with patient-centered care.

~An Introduction to SMMC’s Newest Internal Medicine Specialist~

sonjasmmc06122023CAY HILL:---December 1st was World AIDS Day and St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) recently welcomed a new permanent Internal Medicine Specialist, Dr. Sonja van Roeden to its Internal Medicine team. Dr. van Roeden trained in the Netherlands at the Diakonessenhuis Hospital and the University Medical Center in Utrecht. During her residency, she worked in Greece in a refugee camp and chose medicine because she enjoyed the connection with patients and helped them receive patient-centered care.

Dr. van Roeden’s specialty is internal medicine with a subspecialization in infectious diseases. “As an infectiologist, I specialize in the treatment of patients with hepatitis B/C, tuberculosis, and HIV, but also post-operative infections, tropical diseases, and infections in general. I also did my PhD in the treatment of chronic Q fever, a disease that leads to infections of the heart and large vessels. While the treatment of HIV-positive patients is one of my passions, my day-to-day tasks as an infectiologist encompass so much more”.

Transitioning from a large hospital in the Netherlands with over 12,000 employees and 1000 beds, Dr. van Roeden was excited to explore working in a smaller hospital in St. Maarten. “Who would not want to move to St Maarten? It is paradise in the Caribbean! What a beautiful island to live on. I love traveling, and this is a wonderful opportunity for me to work here and enjoy the Caribbean life. So far, I am very impressed by both the nursing and medical staff and the excellent care SMMC provides to our patients. Everyone is devoted to delivering high-quality patient-centered care”.
When asked about what she wishes to accomplish at SMMC, Dr. van Roeden responded, “I hope that I can provide the best possible care for all of my patients in good cooperation with my colleagues at SMMC and the general practitioners who do excellent work on the island. In addition to my typical internal medicine cases, I am very passionate about HIV care and I hope that I can help HIV-positive patients in the Dutch Caribbean region to receive the necessary care. Unfortunately, there is still a taboo surrounding HIV despite it being a very common, globally widespread, and well-treatable disease. I have found that patients are often scared to get tested and seek medical attention. HIV is treatable and patients on treatment can live a long and healthy life. I hope that we can diminish the taboo and burden of disease and that all patients feel safe and comfortable enough to get tested and treated accordingly”.
Patients who wish to make an appointment at the Internal Medicine Department can do so by calling + (721) 543-1111 ext 1300 from Monday through Friday from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm. Insured patients are required to have a referral letter from their House Doctor.

CBCS leaves pledging rate unchanged.

~In line with market expectations on the development of the US target policy rate~


Willemstad/Philipsburg – The Centrale Bank van Curaçao en Sint Maarten (CBCS) decided to pause its monetary policy tightening by leaving the pledging rate1 unchanged. This decision is predicated on the expectation that the Fed will leave its target policy rate unchanged as U.S.
inflation continues to decline. Furthermore, the development in the monetary union’s gross official reserves and import coverage are broadly in line with expectations. So far, the decline in both monetary policy indicators has been limited, but uncertainties remain.
According to the latest estimates, the deficit on the current account of the balance of payments of the monetary union dropped from 19.4% of GDP in 2022 to 13.7% of GDP in 2023. "The 2023 figure was revised up from the September estimate, due primarily to a higher projected current account deficit and a lower expected nominal GDP level for the monetary union. The higher current account deficit is attributed mainly to a lower improvement of the current transfers and
income balances, offset by a stronger net export of goods and services", explained CBCS executive director, Dr. José Jardim. The adjustment in the net export of goods and services reflects higher than- earlier expected exports, mitigated by higher imports. “The estimate for the export of goods and services has been adjusted upwards because of higher-than-initially projected foreign exchange earnings from tourism, bunkering, and transportation activities. Meanwhile, the higher
projected import bill is due mainly to a sharper increase in merchandise imports in the wholesale & retail trade and construction sectors”, he added.

Gross official reserves showed quite some volatility over the course of 2023 but towards the end of November practically reached the same level as at the end of 2022. This development was attributable mainly to the transfers of funds by the World Bank for the reconstruction of Sint Maarten and by pension funds from abroad, offset by the net purchase of foreign exchange and the withdrawal of dollar deposits by the commercial banks with the CBCS. For the entire year, a moderate decline in reserves is expected.
The import coverage declined from 4.6 months in December 2022 to 4.5 months in November 2023, driven by a higher projected demand for import of goods and services combined with a marginal decline in gross official reserves up to November. According to the latest estimates, the import coverage is expected to drop further in December 2023, reaching 4.4 months. This is still 1 The pledging rate is the rate at which commercial banks can borrow at the CBCS in case of a liquidity shortage.
well above the norm of three months. Meanwhile, the commercial banks’ liquidity remained fairly stable until the end of November 2023, following a downward trend in 2022.

  The U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) has paused hiking its target policy rate since September 2023, given the subdued outlook for U.S. inflation. The Fed’s future decisions are contingent on the development of U.S. inflation, employment, and banking stress. “A change of the Federal funds rate immediately affects the international money market rates and, subsequently, the interest rates in the money market of the monetary union of Curaçao and Sint Maarten as the NAf. is pegged to the US dollar. The market expectation is, however, that the Fed will leave its rate unchanged in December as the October inflation continued to move down”, Dr. Jardim explained.
“Against this background, the CBCS decided to leave the pledging rate unchanged at 5.75%, maintaining the 25 basis points spread above the Fed funds rate. Furthermore, the CBCS will continue to offer longer maturities (i.e., 12, 26, and 52 weeks) on its bi-weekly auctions of CDs with the aim to hold bank liquidity longer domestically to support the maintenance of a solid foreign exchange position”, Dr. Jardim concluded.

 


Willemstad December 6, 2023
CENTRALE BANK VAN CURACAO EN SINT MAARTEN

SGs of Government and Focus Group members on Employee Satisfaction join in workshop to enhance relationships.

workshopaz06122023PHILIPSBURG (DCOMM):--- On Friday, December 1, the Secretary Generals (SG) of the various Ministries and the Secretary-General to the Council of Ministers, joined members of the Focus Group on Employee Satisfaction in a 3.5-hour workshop with as the main focus ‘enhancing workplace relationships.

The workshop was conducted by Peter Rozemond, who has been temporarily employed with the ‘Tijdelijke Werk Organisatie’ (TWO) since February 2023.

During his tenure, Rozemond contributed to the development of a multi-annual plan for the Government of Sint Maarten aimed at increased effectiveness, efficiency, and quality of services.

He also co-facilitated the Focus Group and organized well-received training courses in project management for 41 civil servants from all the seven ministries within the Government.

Based on the premise that everyone possesses leadership qualities, Rozemond led the Friday morning workshop by guiding participants in cultivating inner qualities crucial for effective leadership.

Engaging in a series of enlightening and entertaining exercises, participants improved skills that encouraged more open and flexible communication while staying actively present in the moment.

Participants expressed positive feedback about the interactive nature of the workshop, appreciating the team-building opportunities that not only strengthened individual skills but also enhanced collective cooperation among the members of the SG Platform, which recently concluded their retreat, and the Focus Group.

The workshop marked the first in a series of upcoming workshops under the theme ‘living in a high-level stressful society and workplace’, initiated by the Prime Minister to address the needs of civil servants.

The Department of Personnel & Organization of the Ministry of General Affairs and the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers were responsible for the execution of this and future workshops.

A Microsoft Teams meeting for all civil servants has been scheduled for Friday, December 8, at 2:30 p.m. during which the Prime Minister and the Company Counsellor, Christel Horst, will provide civil servants with more information about the upcoming workshops.

 

SGs of Government and Focus Group members on Employee Satisfaction join in workshop to enhance relationships.

workshopaz06122023PHILIPSBURG (DCOMM):--- On Friday, December 1, the Secretary Generals (SG) of the various Ministries and the Secretary-General to the Council of Ministers, joined members of the Focus Group on Employee Satisfaction in a 3.5-hour workshop with as the main focus ‘enhancing workplace relationships.

The workshop was conducted by Peter Rozemond, who has been temporarily employed with the ‘Tijdelijke Werk Organisatie’ (TWO) since February 2023.

During his tenure, Rozemond contributed to the development of a multi-annual plan for the Government of Sint Maarten aimed at increased effectiveness, efficiency, and quality of services.

He also co-facilitated the Focus Group and organized well-received training courses in project management for 41 civil servants from all the seven ministries within the Government.

Based on the premise that everyone possesses leadership qualities, Rozemond led the Friday morning workshop by guiding participants in cultivating inner qualities crucial for effective leadership.

Engaging in a series of enlightening and entertaining exercises, participants improved skills that encouraged more open and flexible communication while staying actively present in the moment.

Participants expressed positive feedback about the interactive nature of the workshop, appreciating the team-building opportunities that not only strengthened individual skills but also enhanced collective cooperation among the members of the SG Platform, which recently concluded their retreat, and the Focus Group.

The workshop marked the first in a series of upcoming workshops under the theme ‘living in a high-level stressful society and workplace’, initiated by the Prime Minister to address the needs of civil servants.

The Department of Personnel & Organization of the Ministry of General Affairs and the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers were responsible for the execution of this and future workshops.

A Microsoft Teams meeting for all civil servants has been scheduled for Friday, December 8, at 2:30 p.m. during which the Prime Minister and the Company Counsellor, Christel Horst, will provide civil servants with more information about the upcoming workshops.

 


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