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Interim Director of Bureau Telecommunications and Post and SG of General Affairs attended high-level postal forum in Washington.

btpwashington23052024PHILIPSBURG:--- On May 14 & 15, 2024, the interim director of the Bureau Telecommunications and Post (BTP), Mrs. Judianne Labega-Hoeve, along with the Secretary General of General Affairs of the Government of Sint Maarten, Mrs. Emilia Connor-Thomas, participated in the UPU /UPAEP high-level postal forum for Central America, the Caribbean, and other strategic countries held in Washington, D.C.

The conference centered on the development of a governmental environment that fosters growth in the postal sector and regulatory reform. Key topics included postal regulation and sector modernization, focusing on strategies for digitalizing the postal sector, enhancing e-commerce capabilities, and adapting to rapid changes.

Regulatory reform was a major focus, addressing the need for updated regulations to keep pace with the evolving postal landscape. The conference encouraged free competition without undermining existing legal monopolies and stressed the importance of clearly defining responsibilities within the postal framework.

"The rapid evolution of the postal sector demands that we modernize the regulatory frameworks in Sint Maarten to not only keep up but to lead in efficiency and sustainability," said the interim director of BTP. "By promoting digitalization and supporting e-commerce, we are positioning Sint Maarten at the forefront of postal sector innovation. This conference has been instrumental in providing insights and strategies that will benefit our community and economy."

Inspiration from the Caribbean Diaspora

diaspora22052024The networking event ‘Diaspora Dialogues; Bou di Watapana’ successfully brought the Caribbean diaspora in the Netherlands together for the third time on May 16 to share experiences, knowledge, and insights. The inspiring gathering in Amsterdam, organized by Stichting WeConnect and Pakhuis de Zwijger, focused on the theme ‘Switching it up in the professional world’.
The central topic of the evening was code-switching: a phenomenon where people adapt their language, and sometimes their attitude and/or behavior, to match their surroundings. A panel of four Caribbean professionals from various fields shared their experiences with code-switching in the workplace. They addressed questions such as: when do you switch language or behavior and why do you do it? What happens if you don’t? How does it feel to hide part of yourself to be accepted at work?
For the attendees, code-switching is practically second nature. Depending on the situation and the people present, they choose the ‘appropriate’ language and behavior. “It sometimes feels like there are multiple versions of myself,” someone from the audience aptly expressed. In the work environment, Dutch is usually the main language, while privately, they often switch to English or Papiamento.
Aruba born dance teacher Eva Croes has integrated code-switching into her teaching method. “My students are used to me mixing languages. At the beginning of the year, I say: ‘I teach in four languages. Go with it!’ And it works fine. It actually adds something extra. My students also engage in code-switching themselves, so they are used to it.”
Switching between languages and behaviors like a chameleon can be tiring. Scientist Dylan van Arneman from Bonaire says: “It takes energy to switch and to constantly explain who you are because there are prejudices. But: it’s important to do so. Through my work as a scientist and my story, I try to change the stereotypical image that exists of Caribbean people.”
Technology lawyer and former teacher Gabriella Obispa from Curaçao also uses code-switching for a higher purpose: “I use it as a survival mechanism but also strategically. By adjusting my language, I feel I can achieve my goals more quickly. Multilingualism has its advantages and disadvantages. In my work, my language skills benefit me in international meetings. But I don’t always feel comfortable with my Dutch. In my field, the language use is very formal, and sometimes I feel pressured not to stand out.”
More and more Dutch companies are now implementing rules to promote diversity and inclusion. But more is needed, says Curaçao born Milangelo Maduro consultant: “It’s a start, but more people with diverse backgrounds need to come into higher positions to truly make a difference. Everyone has a role in this. I see it as my task to change the status quo. And we – Caribbean professionals – are uniquely suited to help make that change.”

Ombudsman attends IOI World Conference in The Hague.

2024ioiworldconferrence22052024PHILIPSBURG:---  The Ombudsman of Sint Maarten, Gwendolien Mossel, recently attended the International Ombudsman Institute’s 13th World Conference, which was held from 12-17 May, 2024 in The Hague. The host of the conference was the National Ombudsman of the Netherlands, Reinier van Zutphen. The main theme of the conference was: ‘Act together for our tomorrow’. Sub-themes were: climate change & living conditions, value dilemmas, outreach and future generations.
Ombudspersons, and accompanying staff, from the IOI’s global network of over 200 independent Ombudsman institutions were in attendance. The conference was successful in enriching the Ombuds institutions knowledge on the topics presented and offered new insights to enhance their impact moving forward. Prior to the conference, Ms. Mossel and her colleague from Curaçao, Ombudsman Keursly Concincion, were re-elected as Regional Directors for the Caribbean and Latin America. The previous Regional President, Nashieli Ramirez Hernandez, of the Human Rights Commission of Mexico City, was elected IOI President. She is the first IOI President from the Caribbean and Latin American Region since the establishment of the institution in 1978.
During the conference Ms. Mossel facilitated as a moderator in the break-out session regarding national approaches to loss and damage as a result of climate disasters, in which she shared some of her insights gleaned from the aftermath of Hurricanes Luis and Maria. As you may recall the Ombudsman published a report in 2019 entitled: ‘Home Repair. A revelation of a social crisis. This report was made as a result of an outreach campaign following the devastating 2017 hurricanes in which the community faced uncertainty about the recovery process, a major challenge being home/roof repair. Ms. Mossel took the opportunity once again to echo the call of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), by imploring the international community to work hard to help small island nations build resilience as the threat of destruction expands and the cost of seasonal storms becomes increasingly devastating for Small Island Developing States. Future disasters could worsen humanitarian crises and impair economic recovery.
Ms. Mossel also presented on the sub-theme future generations (the protection of children in an increasingly online world), specifically, on the subject of cyberbullying, in which she highlighted some of the challenges of this phenomenon on Sint Maarten, and what actions Ombuds institutions can take to hold government and other relevant organizations accountable in this regard.

Joost Meijs hands over chairmanship of the Dutch Caribbean Cooperation of Airports to Jonny Andersen.

joostandjohnny22052024WILLEMSTAD/ORANJESTAD:---  As Joost Meijs will be stepping down as CEO of Aruba Airport Authority N.V. in the summer of 2024, the six airports in the Dutch Caribbean have appointed Jonny Andersen, CEO of Curacao Airport Partners N.V., as the next chairperson of the Dutch Caribbean Cooperation of Airports (DCCA). This decision was taken unanimously in the DCCA’s collective meeting of March 11, 2024. Joost Meijs has served as chairperson since the establishment of the DCCA in 2021.

Since its establishment the six airports in the Dutch Caribbean are cooperating more intensively through exchanging knowledge, performing safety and security audits, and working closely with other stakeholders on an improved connectivity (affordable, efficient, and sustainable) between the Dutch Caribbean islands. DCCA serves as a central point of contact in the Dutch Caribbean for important aviation industry stakeholders. The DCCA wants to improve the connectivity between the islands and sees the Dutch Caribbean as perfectly positioned to become a front runner in the world of new sustainable ways of flying.

Every year the DCCA organizes with the help of the host airport the convention “A Flight to the Future”; In 2022 the convention was held for the first time in Aruba. During this edition the first electric aircraft ever took off into the Caribbean airspace. In 2023 Curacao Airport gave a follow up and organized the second edition of the convention with an impressive drone demonstration. On 18 and 19 November 2024 the third edition will be held in St Maarten. During these conventions the whole aviation eco-system in the Dutch Caribbean come together to discuss ambitions, actual topics and new trends and innovations in the (regional) aviation industry.

Joost Meijs, departing chairperson: “I would like to thank my colleague CEOs of all six islands and other stakeholders for the inspiring collaboration in the last years. It is great to see and entertain all the ambitions that the airports have, and I am sure that by an open collaboration we jointly can lift the airport sector in the Dutch Caribbean to new heights. Jonny Andersen is a seasoned international aviation professional, and I have all the confidence in the world that he will lead the DCCA with enthusiasm, energetically and with the highest level of professionalism”.

Jonny Andersen, the incoming chairperson, extends his heartfelt appreciation to Joost Meijs for his visionary and outstanding leadership of the Dutch Caribbean Cooperation of Airports



(DCCA). Under Joost's guidance, the DCCA has become the voice of the Dutch Caribbean airports, representing the common interests of the six airports to governments, island communities, airline partners, and other stakeholders.

"On behalf of all six Dutch Caribbean airports, I want to thank Joost for bringing us together and for his visionary leadership," Mr. Andersen said. "It is truly an honor to assume the role of Chair of the DCCA, and I am committed to continuing the work that Joost and the six DCCA airports have started. Together, we will further develop the Dutch Caribbean aviation sector, enhancing its safety, connectivity, ease of travel, sustainability, and relevance for the region.

Air connectivity, affordability, and ease of travel between the Dutch Caribbean islands will be among my highest priorities during my tenure as Chair of the DCCA. Currently, many find it too expensive and time-consuming to fly between islands, sometimes taking half a day or longer to travel between sister islands. This is a significant concern. We need to make air travel a viable option for our communities again. As a sector, we must do whatever we can to make inter-island travel more accessible, affordable, and convenient for the benefit of everyone in the Dutch Caribbean. As Chair of the DCCA, my goal is to make this a reality."


Armed Robbery and Attempted Chain Snatching Incident.

armedrobberyfillin13082012PHILIPSBURG:---- On the evening of Tuesday, May 21, 2024, at approximately 9:30 PM, the Central Police Dispatch of Sint Maarten received multiple calls reporting an armed robbery at a supermarket on Welfare Road. The suspects, described as young men on scooters and dressed in dark clothing, were armed with a firearm and last seen heading towards Philipsburg.

In response, police and detective personnel were immediately dispatched to the location and began a search for the suspects. During the operation, a detective patrolling the Sucker Garden area observed two scooters carrying four men. One of the scooters stopped, and an individual attempted to snatch a chain from a female pedestrian in the Upper Princes Quarter area.

The officers initiated a chase to apprehend the suspects on both scooters. Following a brief pursuit, officers successfully stopped and arrested two suspects, identified by their initials F.A.S.P. and E.F.E.B., from one of the scooters. During the arrest, one suspect resisted, repeatedly questioning the officers about the reason for his arrest and refusing to comply with instructions to place his hands behind his back.

He was subsequently subdued, handcuffed, and transported along with the other apprehended suspect to the police station for further investigation.

Additionally, the police have reviewed video footage showing the officers using force during the arrest of one suspect. This incident is currently being investigated by the relevant authorities.

The second scooter, carrying the other two suspects, fled the scene and remains at large. The police are actively seeking assistance from the public in identifying and locating these individuals.

The Special Unite Robberies (SUR) of KPSM are currently investigating these incidents.
KPSM commend the officers for apprehending these suspects, especially in light of the recent spate of robberies over the past few weeks.

Anyone with information about the suspects or the incidents is urged to contact the Sint Maarten Police Force immediately. Cooperation from the community is crucial in ensuring the safety and security of all residents.

The detectives are investigating these cases are asking anyone who has
information about these robberies to contact the Sint Maarten Police Force, at +1 721- 542
22 22 ext. 204 or 205 or the anonymous tip line on 9300
You can also leave a Private Message via our Facebook page (Police Force of Sint Maarten – Korps Politie Sint Maarten) if you know or suspect something.


KPSM Press Release.


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