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Governor ‘In Conversation with the Youth of Sint Maarten’.

governoryouth04102022PHILIPSBURG:--- On Friday, September 30, His Excellency, Governor Eugene Holiday had the opportunity to meet with a varied group of young St. Maarten students at the Government Administration Building as part of his farewell activities. The event ‘A Conversation with the Governor’ was organized by the Youth Parliament of Sint Maarten under the leadership of Mrs. Connie Gumbs-Francis. Throughout His 12 years of Governorship, the Youth has been a focal point, which resulted in His signature program ‘The Youth Awards for Excellence’ underpinning the motto instilled from his youth ‘to strive to the best of oneself in all that one does.’
A total of 19 students from various schools and organizations attended and each was able to raise a variety of questions to the Governor. These questions ranged from how the Governor dealt with the changes in Parliament, the unemployment of youth, drugs and alcohol abuse by the youth, to the economic effects to the mangrove removal in the Fresh Pond. The youth did not hesitate in posing their direct and frank questions to His Excellency. They freely exchanged ideas and thoughts on Sint Maarten’s current educational system, career opportunities, and possible incentives to return home once concluding their studies abroad.
Throughout the conversation the Governor provided general recommendations and advice, whilst sharing his experience as a student, and professionally. Highlighting the importance of balanced decision making and ensuring that proper analysis and research is present, forming the basis for responding to the (policy) questions posed, and ultimately encouraging the students to continue to strive for excellence, ‘by being an example to their peers, no matter the circumstance.’
The Governor took his time to answer all the questions posed while sharing in some laughter in between. The event concluded with a letter of appreciation presented by His Excellency to each individual and a group photo. Governor was inspired by the youngsters and left the Government Administration Building with the insurance that Sint Maarten has a bright future ahead. Ms. Angél Flanders, President of the Youth Parliament final words were: “the Governor listened, spoke and connected with us. He will be missed but not forgotten”.


Brison applauds implementation of new maternity leave and introduction of paternity leave.

~“MP Tamara Leondard’s amendment is finally in effect”~

rolandobrison22032020PHILIPSBURG:--- Member of Parliament and leader of the United Peoples Party Rolando Brison has noted with pleasure the new labor law that goes into effect in October that extends maternity leave from 12 to 16 weeks and introduces a new 7-day paternity leave. Brison agrees with labor law from both a social and legal perspective. “Socially, giving parents sufficient time to both prepare for the birth of their child and also be there for such a critical time of their development is a great thing for our society. Legally, this brings our local laws closer in line with the international standards as laid down in the International Labor Organization treaties.”

While it going into effect was spear-headed by United People’s Party Minister Omar Ottley, Brison also gives credit to former UP MP Tamara Leonard who started the path for an extension of the maternity leave and the introduction of Paternity leave in December of 2017. In introducing the amendment, Leonard stated at the time “Both partners are equally important in the development of a child. It is important that they also have the opportunity to be able to bond with the child. All of the burdens should not only come to the mother, but the partner should also get the opportunity to contribute,” stated Leonard at the time.

“It is always a good thing when there is continuity of amendments presented by former Members of Parliament that are good for our country. But I will admit it is especially proud that it came from a member of our party who championed these changes, which were finally carried out by Minister Ottley. We even do so across party lines, such as the amendment announced by Minister Ottley to finally provide a full resolution to the abuse of the short-term contract recently presented to Parliament. That initiative was one from the National alliance. When it’s good for St. Maarten, it matters much less which party it came from,” stated Brison.

Brison looks forward to continued improvements of our labor laws and the cooperation and input received from the business sector. “The UP Party is a pro-business party, and we recognize that business is nothing without labor. We will always aim to strike the right balance between the symbiosis of business and labor, as it is a founding principle of the party that St. Maarten’s economy has enough potential to create opportunities for everyone in St. Maarten to enjoy lucrative labor and/or business, whichever the citizen may aspire for. Social needs are covered by the success of business and labor, as without the business sector, the government has no means to provide for social initiatives. Our role is thus to maximize the opportunities for business and laborers in the Country, both of whom provide the government with all its means to provide for the most vulnerable in our society,” concluded Brison.

CPS: Resilience of Older Persons in a Changing World. Embrace Healthy Living.

PHILIPSBURG (DCOMM):--- On October 1, the world celebrated the United Nations International Day of Older Persons (UNIDOP). The theme for 2022 is “Resilience of Older Persons in a Changing World.”

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department within the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (Ministry VSA), as part of its annual calendar of observances, would like to commend Sint Maarten seniors for their resilience during these challenging times.

CPS calls on members of the community to promote healthy aging by embracing exercise and eating a healthy diet.

Physical inactivity has been firmly established as a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases CVD in both men and women at any age, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Physical inactivity doubles the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and stroke. Worldwide, physical inactivity is a major public health problem: it is estimated that around two-thirds of the global population are not sufficiently active.

Jointly, cardiovascular diseases and stroke are the main cause of death globally, with 17 million deaths worldwide annually-one in three of all deaths. Cardiovascular diseases are particularly prevalent in old age.

However, heart diseases and stroke are largely preventable. Physical activity also has an impact on other risk factors for CVD. It helps control weight, reduces stress, anxiety, and depression, and helps to control diabetes.

The older members of society are an essential part of the Sint Maarten community, and all concerned must continuously work together to improve their lives. Embrace healthy living today.

The United Nations (UN) General Assembly on 14 December 1990, adopted resolution 45/106 to designate the October 1 International Day of Older Persons.

This was preceded by initiatives such as the Vienna International Plan of Action on Ageing – which was adopted by the 1982 World Assembly on Ageing – and endorsed later that year by the UN General Assembly.

In 1991, the General Assembly (by resolution 46/91) adopted the United Nations Principles for Older Persons.

In 2002, the Second World Assembly on Ageing adopted the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, to respond to the opportunities and challenges of population ageing in the 21st century and to promote the development of a society for all ages.

Fire Dept. Inspected Building formerly known as the Bowling Alley. Does Not Meet Fire Safety Regulations.

PHILIPSBURG (DCOMM):---  The Fire Department after receiving several calls with questions pertaining to the building on Illidge Road previously known as the Bowling Alley, would like to inform the general public that it was unknown to the Fire Department that the building received a different designation.

Recently several inspectors from the Fire Department carried out a general inspection in said building and it was reported that the building does not meet the required fire safety regulations to guarantee the safety of all.

When a structure or building is changing its designation (usage /purpose) and making structural changes, it is necessary to submit new drawings so that the Fire Department can give advice on the fire safety based on the new designation of the building.

In this case the building was converted from a large, spaced area to several smaller areas where the building will be occupied 24 hours a day meaning that multiple persons will be in the building all day and all night (sleeping).

These are factors that changes the risk for the occupants and the fire safety regulations.

The Sint Maarten Fire Prevention regulation is based on the type of designation (usage /purpose), for example office, warehouse, apartment complex or hotel. This means that this building has to meet different fire safety requirements than in the previous advice.

Usually before a business starts operating, the Fire Department receives a request to advise and inspect where it concerns fire safety.

Once fire safety requirements applicable for the specific business are met, the Fire Department will provide an advice stating that the business meets the necessary requirements to operate safely at the specific location. This guarantees the safety of the occupants, visitors, emergency responders and the surrounding area in case of an incident, like a fire.

The Fire Department never received any (such request) nor drawings pertaining to the changes that would be or have been carried out on the inside of the building and therefore was unable to give any advice on the safety requirements the building would have to meet to pass the fire safety regulations based on the new designation of the building.

All fire safety prevention regulations can be found in the Besluit technische Brandpreventievoorschriften AB2013, GT nr.1.

IGT’s Coding and Robotics ‘Rocked’ Up Success and Heightened Interest.

robotics03102022PHILIPSBURG:--- With the successful second staging of the IGT Coding and Robotics Rock! Camp for its IGT After School Advantage (ASA) beneficiaries, Brendan Hames, Regional Director IGT-Caribbean, noted that more students have expressed a desire to be a part of the next training. IGT aims to meet these additional requests as best as possible, by continuing the programme which caters exclusively to students within IGT ASA Centres across the Caribbean – many of whom are either in state care (children’s home or place of safety) or are otherwise disadvantaged youth.

“The response to our introductory Level 1 training in 2021 was overwhelmingly positive,” Hames stated. “With the addition of the more advanced Level 2 component and focus on regional sustainability, there was an even greater demand for enrolment from our ASA student group across the region.”

Over 60 youth from IGT ASA Centres in Antigua and Barbuda; Barbados; Jamaica; St. Kitts and Nevis; St. Maarten; and Trinidad and Tobago participated in this year’s camp. It was delivered by the Mona GeoInformatics Institute (MGI) at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus. The MGI team received curriculum development guidance from Nalini Ramsawak-Jodha, Education Specialist and Lecturer from the School of Education at the UWI, St. Augustine Campus. The camp culminated in late August with more than 30 students completing introductory level training and over 30 additional students receiving intermediate training at Level 2 for the first time.

Pleased Participants

IGT ASA beneficiaries from the St. Maarten Youth Council who participated in the training indicated that the camp taught them useful skills and broadened their horizons in terms of future career options. In the post-camp evaluations, students identified a wide range of future endeavors that the experience had ignited in them, everything from e-commerce stores to gaming and game design to cybersecurity (“ethical hacking”). 

The IGT ASA Supervisors affirmed the high level of engagement among the students and had high praises for the MGI instructor team as well as Education Specialist, Nalini Ramsawak-Jodha.

MGI’s Acting Executive Director Dr. Ava Maxam said the Institute was gratified at the continuing success of the programme and was eager to renew the partnership with IGT to serve more youth across the region. 

“The value of this initiative cannot be overstated,” said Dr. Maxam. “We look forward to an even better offering as the programme grows and as we offer our youth a vital pathway to fulfilling their potential through information technology (IT).”

The programme’s curriculum advisor, Ramsawak-Jodha said it was inspirational to know that the students had gleaned as much as they had from the sessions. “We are proud to be associated with this experience, and we commend IGT for deepening its commitment to ensuring young people receive this critical and early exposure to IT.”

As Caribbean territories continue to strive to secure relevance and sustainability in this data-driven age, IGT has been graciously aiding the cause for the technological empowerment of the region’s youth. This has been witnessed through the company’s provision of fully equipped IGT ASA Centres for students in underserved communities since 2011. The company has also funded numerous IT training opportunities for young people, the most recent being the IGT Coding and Robotics Rock! Camp which has left anticipation on a high for the 

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