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Acting Minister of Education Announces 2024/2025 Study Financing Applicants.

lyndonlewis09052024PHILIPSBURG:---  The Acting Minister of Education, Lyndon Lewis, has announced that a total of 116 applications for study financing have been received for the 2024/2025 academic year. This represents a slight decrease of six applications compared to the previous year.
Out of the 116 applications, 94 have received positive designations, 14 were denied, and 8 are currently pending. The positive designations are distributed as follows: 24 for St. Maarten, 20 for the Netherlands, 33 for the USA, 10 for Canada, 1 for Bonaire, 2 for Curaçao, 1 for the Dominican Republic, 1 for Tobago, and 2 for the United Kingdom.
The Study Financing Committee has postponed issuing recommendations for the eight pending applications until the final exam results are available.
Minister Lewis highlighted that out of the total requests, 41 students applied for study financing in areas not included on the government's priority study list. Notably, St. Maarten, despite being a tourism-based island, has seen very few applications in the hospitality and service industries. Only one application was submitted for hospitality management, compared to ten for business administration/management, six for nursing, and five for psychology.

Minister Lewis expressed his concern regarding the disconnect between the tourism industry and young people's academic interests. "It is essential that we investigate why our country's primary economic pillar, tourism, is not attracting more academic interest," he said. "There seems to be a significant gap between the opportunities in tourism and the career aspirations of our youth. We need to understand and address this dynamic."
The Minister emphasized his commitment to supporting the future of St. Maarten's youth through educational opportunities. "I take enormous pride in being able to literally sign for the future," Minister Lewis stated. "Providing young people with the opportunity to excel at the tertiary education level and hopefully return to St. Maarten to apply the knowledge they have gained is a responsibility we hold dear. It is up to the government to ensure the country is ready for that influx of talent and expertise."
All applicants can lodge an appeal with the Minister. The appeal procedure can be viewed on the website of the Division for Study Financing:

Prime Minister Dr. Luc Mercelina Celebrates the 57th Anniversary of the Anguilla Revolution with Warm Wishes on Anguilla Day.

lucmercelina16052024PHILIPSBURG:--- As the nation of Anguilla approaches its celebration of the 57th Anniversary of the Anguilla Revolution, the Honorable Prime Minister of St. Maarten, Dr. Luc Mercelina, extends his heartfelt congratulations to the Government and people of Anguilla on this auspicious occasion, observed annually on May 30th.

"Tomorrow marks not just another anniversary; it signifies 57 years of Anguilla’s courage, unity, and relentless journey toward self-governance. It is with immense pride and joy that I, on behalf of the people and Government of St. Maarten, extend our heartfelt felicitations to every Anguillan on Anguilla Day," stated Prime Minister Mercelina.

Dr. Mercelina lauded the people of Anguilla for their steadfast dedication to nation-building and their impressive strides in fostering a sustainable and vibrant economy. "Your remarkable progress serves as an inspiration across the Caribbean. Anguilla’s spirit of resilience and communal strength continues to drive your nation forward, making this day a proud moment not only for Anguilla but for the entire region," he remarked.

PM Dr. Mercelina also emphasized the strong ties and shared aspirations between St. Maarten and Anguilla, expressing hope for continued collaboration and mutual growth. "As neighbors and partners, our bond is unwavering. Together, we share a vision of prosperity and peace that can only strengthen with time," PM Dr. Mercelina added.

In conclusion, the PM Dr. Mercelina stated, "On this significant day, as you celebrate your history and achievements, know that St. Maarten stands with you in spirit and cooperation. Wishing you a joyful and memorable Anguilla Day."

St. Maarten looks forward to further fostering a spirit of community and mutual support with Anguilla, reinforcing a partnership that benefits both nations and their people.


ILO expects global unemployment to drop slightly in 2024, but slow progress to reduce inequalities is “worrying.

Unequal access to employment opportunities remains a problem worldwide, even as new projections from the ILO show an improvement in global joblessness this year.

GENEVA (ILO News) - New projections indicate that global unemployment will fall modestly this year even as inequalities in labour markets persist, with women in low-income countries particularly affected, according to a new International Labour Organization (ILO) report.
The ILO’s World Employment and Social Outlook: May 2024 Update predicts that the 2024 global unemployment rate will stand at 4.9 per cent, down from 5.0 per cent in 2023. The figure revises downward the previous ILO projection of 5.2 per cent for this year. However, the downward trend for joblessness is expected to flatten in 2025, with unemployment remaining at 4.9 per cent, the report says.
Despite this outlook, the report underscores a persistent lack of employment opportunities. The ILO estimates that the ‘jobs gap’ - which measures the number of persons without a job but who want to work - stands at 402 million persons in 2024. This includes 183 million people who are counted as unemployed.
Despite our efforts to reduce global inequalities, the labour market remains an uneven playing field
ILO Director-General, Gilbert F. Houngbo
"Today’s report reveals critical employment challenges that we must still address. Despite our efforts to reduce global inequalities, the labour market remains an uneven playing field, especially for women," said ILO Director-General, Gilbert F. Houngbo. "To achieve a sustainable recovery whose benefits are shared by all, we must work towards inclusive policies that take into consideration the needs of all workers. We must place inclusion and social justice at the core of our policies and institutions. Unless we do we will fall short of our objective to ensure strong and inclusive development."
Detailed figures from the report show that women, especially in low-income countries, are disproportionately affected by the lack of opportunities. The jobs gap for women in low-income countries reaches a striking 22.8 per cent, versus 15.3 per cent for men. This contrasts with high-income countries, where the rate is 9.7 per cent for women and 7.3 per cent for men.
These differences are just the “tip of the iceberg”, as significantly more women than men are completely detached from the labour market. The report finds that family responsibilities can explain much of the difference seen in women’s and men’s employment rates. Globally, 45.6 per cent of working-age women are employed in 2024, compared to 69.2 per cent of men.
Even when women are employed, they tend to earn far less than men, particularly in low-income countries. While women in high-income countries earn seventy-three cents compared to a dollar earned by men, this figure drops to just forty-four cents in low-income countries.
More generally, despite the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015, progress in reducing poverty and informality has slowed down in comparison to the previous decade. The number of workers in informal employment has grown from approximately 1.7 billion in 2005 to 2.0 billion in 2024. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, "a comprehensive approach" to reducing poverty and inequality is urgently needed, the report concludes.

Advisory and Recommendations on Preventing Fraudulent Transactions.

Willemstad/Philipsburg:--- The Centrale Bank van Curaçao en Sint Maarten (CBCS) issues a vital advisory to all consumers and businesses regarding the risk of fraudulent activities in various digital transactions. These criminal activities pose a significant threat to the financial and economic stability of our communities by exploiting stolen data to make unauthorized transactions.
Fraudulent activities in digital transactions result in direct financial losses for consumers and cause increased transaction declines, high chargeback rates, and additional expenses for merchants. Such activities compromise the integrity of our financial systems and can disrupt legitimate business operations while eroding consumer trust in digital transactions.
Recommended Consumer Protection Measures
In response to the growing threat of fraud, the CBCS strongly advises consumers to adopt the following protective measures against fraudulent transactions:

Be alert

What might appear to be a legitimate call or e-mail from your financial institution asking you to disclose your personal (bank) information may be a fraudulent attempt from a hacker. Be aware that no financial institution will ever ask you to give sensitive information that way. Contact your financial institution if you are unsure about the legitimacy of a caller or e-mail.
Regularly Monitor your Financial Statements
Early detection is key to preventing further misuse of your financial information. Regularly review your (bank) statements to identify any unauthorized transactions. If you notice an unauthorized payment, contact your financial institution immediately.

Set Up Transaction Alerts

Enroll in your financial institution’s transaction alert service. Receiving real-time SMS or email notifications of any activity on your account can be crucial for the timely detection of fraudulent transactions.

Utilize Utilize Secure Payment Methods
Two-factor Authentication (2FA): Activate 2FA on all online accounts and shopping platforms. By implementing 2FA, you will need to comply with a second method of authentication to access your account besides your username and password. Examples include getting a verification code by e-mail or SMS, a fingerprint scan, or even a special app on your device.
HTTPS Protocols: Ensure that any website you make transactions on is secure by checking for 'HTTPS' in the website address (URL), which indicates an encrypted connection. For example,
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs): Use VPNs to protect your personal and financial information from cybercriminals when accessing the internet through public or unsecured Wi-Fi networks. A virtual private network is a mechanism that provides a secure connection between a device and a computer network or between two networks.

Recommended Measures for Businesses and Technology Partners

Merchants and payment service providers are urged to implement robust fraud detection and prevention mechanisms. Security features such as Address Verification Systems (AVS), velocity checks, and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance are essential to mitigate the risks associated with fraudulent activities.
Web developers must ensure that payment gateways are equipped with the latest fraud detection technologies, including a Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart (CAPTCHA) systems to prevent automated and manual fraudulent activities effectively.

Commitment to Secure Transactions
As the regulator and safeguard of financial stability, the CBCS emphasizes the importance of collaboration with all stakeholders in combating cybercrime. We remain committed to ensuring a secure transaction environment for our consumer and business community by promoting an efficient and effective payment system. To this end, separate legislation for Payment Service Providers (PSPs) has been developed and is in the legislative process to be enacted. The National Ordinance on the Supervision of Payment Service Providers (NOSPSP) will provide a stronger regulatory framework for PSPs.
The CBCS urges everyone to stay informed about the latest security threats and prevention techniques by regularly visiting theCBCS  websites and social media platformS, your local bank or service provider, and financial education platforms.

Willemstad, May 29, 2024

Gumbs, Arrindell prepare for Sint Maarten students -Housing remains critical issue.

gumbsarrindell29052024PHILIPSBURG:--- Minister Plenipotentiary Patrice Gumbs and Deputy Minister Gracita Arrindell met last week with the Head of Division Study Financing, Mr. Antonio Aventurin, on issues surrounding education, education financing, and particularly the status of students in the Netherlands. The Sint Maarten House, Office of the Minister Plenipotentiary-alongside its political function, is an integral part of the orientation program for newly arriving students from Sint Maarten. Out of the discussions, a key point was the limited housing options for Sint Maarten students and the difficulty in securing access to the limited available stock. In addition, the support for students in adjusting to life in the Netherlands and the mental impact of this transition were highlighted. “This is concerning for me, because while we don’t want to handhold, I believe that as Government we can do our part to support access to something as basic as housing for our students”, stated Minister Gumbs. “Working with the students forms part of my wider agenda for engagement with the Sint Maarten population and diaspora in the Netherlands and will form a core part of my and Deputy Arrindell’s program in the coming months. In the end, it's about how we can best harness the expertise of our people to advance the development of our country. In addition, we as Government have to ask what we can do to ensure that Sint Maarten in the Netherlands feel valued enough to contribute and feel connected to where they’re from. To be effective, the relationship has to be mutually beneficial.

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