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C&W Communications: CEO, Inge Smidts, underscores “Our People are our Greatest Asset” at CANTO’s Virtual Event.

cwflow30072021Miami, Florida:--- The 36th annual CANTO Trade and Virtual Exhibition kicked off on Wednesday, July 28th with Headline Sponsor, C&W Communications (CWC), hosting the first day of the three-day virtual event. Held under the theme, ‘The New Digital Reality – 2021 and Beyond’, the event was formally opened by David Cox, Senior Director, Regulatory, CWC and current Chairman of CANTO who welcomed participants and panelists to CANTO’s first-ever virtual trade event.

CWC put together an impressive line-up of discussion panels on the first day that focused on topical issues faced by the sector in the wake of an ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. In the first session of the day, CANTO Chairman David Cox spoke with CWC CEO, Inge Smidts, in a candid and insightful virtual fireside chat. Smidts detailed how the regional communications and entertainment provider has been able to navigate through the challenges of the pandemic and put a uniquely ‘human’ face on the company’s commitment to keep its employees working and its customers connected.

Smidts said passionately, “with the onset of COVID-19 we focused on our two (2) ‘Whys’: taking care of our people and keeping our customers connected. My philosophy is that our people are our biggest asset. Having the network capacity to meet the demands of our customers is important but having the right people to take care of our customers is even more important”. Smidts attributed the company’s ability to continue to meet those ‘whys’ on the resilience of its employees and their willingness to face the challenges head-on to ensure they continued to find ways to keep customers connected.

As the Region’s only female CEO running a full-service telecommunications company, she offered the virtual audience some personal insights into her management style and leadership approach during the pandemic. Smidts said, “the pandemic induced a period of ‘unlearning’, forcing companies, including CWC, to find new ways to meet the needs of their customers and employees, and to embrace change”.

Other virtual sessions held included:

The ‘Women in ICT Leadership Panel Discussion’ adeptly hosted by Wendy McDonald, C&W Senior Director – Communications and Stakeholder Relations for the Caribbean. McDonald’s guests included: Daysi Andrades, Advisor to the Chief Information Officer at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, DC; Monica Desai, Global Head, Connectivity and Access Policy at Facebook; and Vice President of People at CWC, Sonali Dighe. This panel took an intense look at how the pandemic brought unique challenges for women in the workplace, particularly in leadership roles. In host McDonald’s preamble, she spoke to the additional challenges imposed on women in the workplace who were forced to suddenly and unexpectedly manage competing and overlapping work and family commitments on a scale and with a level of urgency many women had never encountered before, a situation that in some cases is causing women to leave the workforce. CWC’s Sonali Dighe impressed upon the audience the need for companies in the region to focus on their leadership pipelines and to implement succession planning programs with a focus on moving more women into leadership positions.

Later in the program, ‘The Parenting and Education in the Digital Age’ discussion panel saw an equally impressive list of panelists which included: Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Education, Dr. the Honorable Nyan Gadsby-Dolly; Sherra Carrington-James, President of both the Caribbean Association of Principals of Secondary Schools and the Trinidad & Tobago Association of Principals of Secondary Schools. Also bringing a wealth of knowledge on human capital in the region was Dominic Boon, Vice President of Talent and Organizational Development at CWC’s parent company, Liberty Latin America. The panel was expertly moderated by Simone Martin-Sulgan, Vice President for CWC’s Operations in Trinidad and Tobago, who as a mother of two herself, was deeply connected to the panel’s in-depth look at how parents have been searching for new, engaging, and innovative means to support their children through this new normal of the COVID-19 pandemic. The panelists sought to address the issues facing the education sector and in keeping with the overall conference theme, using our “New Digital Reality” to determine where the opportunities for intelligent collective collaboration exist and do our best to exploit them to our and our children’s advantage.

C&W Communications has been a long-standing partner of CANTO and through its Corporate Social Responsibility programs, and the work of its C&W Charitable Foundation, continues to invest in and advocate for greater digital access for the region’s children. CWC is committed to working with governments and industry stakeholders towards this goal.

Nature Foundation Sint Maarten Partners with Community Members to Host First In-No-Plastic Beach Clean-ups around St. Maarten.

aucnaturefoundation30072021PHILIPSBURG:--- This past week, the Nature Foundation partnered with the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC) and the St. Maarten Tourism Bureau alongside the Real Madrid Foundation to organize two beach clean-ups. These two clean-ups were a part of the Nature Foundation’s newest project In-No-Plastic and took place on Mullet Bay Beach and Belair Beach. Participants collected a total of 446 kilograms (984 pounds) of debris from the shoreline.

“AUC and Real Madrid students went above and beyond with picking up the trash. We are thankful for their help and commitment to keeping St. Maarten’s beaches clean. The Real Madrid students were very competitive, with some groups digging out a boat hull from the sand, weighing 30 kilograms (66 pounds),” stated Alice Manley, project coordinator for In-No-Plastic on St. Maarten.

The clean-up with AUC on Saturday, July 24th at Mullet Bay Beach, was a part of their Community Action Day, organized by the Phi Chi Medical Fraternity. Community Action Day takes place every semester, and the clean-ups are an essential contribution to St. Maarten. The AUC students used the Nature Foundation’s reusable burlap sacks to collect the litter, picking up a total of 223 kilograms (492 pounds) of trash alongside the road and on Mullet Bay. The litter picked up including plastics, paper, wood, aluminum, and various other items. The prizes gifted to the teams who picked up the most trash included reef-friendly Raw Elements Sunscreen products donated by the Agrinature Caribbean.

The clean-up partnered with Real Madrid on Wednesday, July 28th, was located at Belair Beach during World Nature Conservation Day. Real Madrid has collaborated with the St. Maarten Tourism Bureau, the Sports Department, and Flames United Football Club SXM to give back to the island’s youth. Several young students participated in games and competitions while cleaning up the garbage on and around the beach with the Nature Foundation. Collectively, the students picked up an astounding 223 kilograms (492 pounds) of garbage. The litter picked up included car parts, boat parts, plastics, paper, wood, aluminium and various other items. Teams that picked up the most garbage received Nature Foundation prize packs.

“We would like to thank AUC, Real Madrid, and the Tourism Bureau for their commitment to helping keep our beaches clean. The In-No-Plastic project will be hosting more events like this around the island. If you are a teacher or a group leader, do not hesitate to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to organize clean-ups with your students,” continued Alice Manley.

In-No-Plastic is a three-year EU funded project within the Horizon 2020 framework programme, with the goal to develop and demonstrate nano-, micro-, and macro- plastic clean-up technologies in the aquatic ecosystems. This project will incorporate technical and social strategies on St. Maarten’s lagoons, shores, and shallow sea water. Within this project, the Nature Foundation will bi-annually test the water for micro plastics, host more beach clean-ups around the island, and incorporate a blue economy using an App on Sint Maarten. An association of 17 partners and 10 different countries in Europe and the Caribbean. The Nature Foundation will work alongside the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA), a participating partner with In-No-Plastic.


“Love & Inspiration with Roy Cotton Jr.” Returns to Airwaves This Sunday August 1st.

roycotton30072021PHILIPSBURG:--- Devoted listeners and the general public who have been anticipating the return of the sensational and inspiring live Sunday afternoon show, Love & Inspiration with Roy Cotton Jr. may tune in this Sunday, August 1st from 3:00 pm-5:00 pm on The Voice of Sint Maarten PJD3 102.7FM.
Roy Cotton Jr. the host of Love & Inspiration, states, "I would like to thank all my listeners and well-wishers for all their support and commitment towards my radio show, Love & Inspiration since its premiere in August 2011 on Youth Radio 92.5FM on Sint Maarten.
Love and Inspiration aired on Youth Radio 92.5FM between 2011 and 2014, and on 102.7FM since March 2015.
Love and Inspiration premiered on February 11, 2007, on the University of Hertfordshire’s former student radio station Crush Radio 1278AM, broadcasting to a student population of 23,000 students and to online listeners around the world. Cotton was nominated at the annual Student Radio Awards, supported by BBC Radio 1 and British media company Global in July 2008 in the categories of Best Male Presenter, Best Interview, and Best Entertainment.
From the start, Love and Inspiration was a force to be reckoned with. Approximately 1.3 million people listened to the program in April 2019, its first month on Bshani Radio in New York. This ranked fourth among the station’s programs. Its fan base steadily grew, netting 1.6 million in June up to its current apex position of nearly two million.
Bshani Radio’s founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Bennie Randall Jr., also listens to Love and Inspiration and described it as “a hot show.”
Cotton states to his fans, ''It has been my pleasure in presenting to you a top quality Sunday afternoon radio show during the past ten years on St. Martin.”
Love & Inspiration radio show has been receiving great reviews and extensive exposure; with local, regional, and international listenership. The radio show has a listenership as far as Dubai. The demographics of my Love & Inspiration’s Global community comprise persons aged 19 to over 65 who range from bargain hunters to serious investors; the adventurous to the tranquility seekers.
Love and Inspiration focus on building stronger relationships and inspiring lives through various interviews on topics which “enable listeners to experience more meaningful relationships in their lives.” The show is known for its musical selection of contemporary gospel, easy-listening, and love songs.
Love and Inspiration are aired on Sunday afternoons LIVE on 102.7FM or online at from 3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. AST. Additionally, Love and Inspiration is rebroadcast on Sundays from 8:00-10:00 p.m. and on Mondays from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. on and streamed on Bshani Radio from New York City on Mondays at 3:00 pm AST on various podcast platforms such as Spotify, iTunes, iHeart Radio and Radio Public.
Roy Cotton Jr. is ready to take Love & Inspiration to another dimension. Therefore committed listeners and first-time listeners are sure to be in for an awesome treat with his re-launch.
Love & Inspiration will continue with the segment Health Inspiration, a segment on the show that brings you the best in health education. Health Inspiration is brought to you in collaboration with, the health arm of Victorious Living Foundation. Other new segments such as Travel Inspiration with Roy Cotton Jr will bring you the best in retreats, hotels, resorts, destinations, and vacations for couples and families. In addition, the Fine Dining segment will highlight the best restaurants; their special offers; delicious cuisines, and special amenities especially for those couples who are seeking the ideal restaurant to have a romantic dinner.
Furthermore, the Love & Inspiration Birthday segment will highlight the best restaurants, SPAs, and businesses, where the birthday celebrants can celebrate their birthdays in style and receive the best in birthday, treats at significant discounts.
Roy Cotton Jr. encourages his committed listeners and lovers of smooth love grooves and inspirational hits, to tune into Love and Inspiration this Sunday from 3-5 p.m. on The Voice of Sint Maarten PJD3 1027.FM or online on For more information or to be featured in an exclusive interview, contact Roy Cotton, Jr. at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., on Facebook: Roy Cotton Jr; Love & Inspiration with Roy Cotton Jr. Tel/Whatsapp: +1721-522-20-84.



~Multiannual plan crucial for restoring a balanced budget~

Willemstad/Philipsburg:--- As in most countries in the world, the public finances in Curaçao and Sint Maarten deteriorated considerably in 2020 on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic. President of the Centrale Bank van Curaçao en Sint Maarten (CBCS) Richard Doornbosch stated in the CBCS 2020 Annual Report that in both countries the current budget deficit widened significantly in 2020 compared to 2019, due to a decline in government revenues combined with an increase in expenditures. In addition, the debt-to-GDP ratio rose significantly in both countries. Therefore, according to Doornbosch, having a multiannual plan to achieve a balanced budget is crucial for both countries to achieve sound public finances.
“In 2020, tax revenues dropped sharply in both Curaçao and Sint Maarten, while cyclical expenditures, including unemployment benefits, increased as economic activities shrank considerably. At the same time, both countries implemented discretionary measures including a payroll subsidy and other social transfers to vulnerable groups in society amid the coronavirus crisis,” Doornbosch explained. “The increase in expenditures in Curaçao also reflected transfers by the government related to the takeover of the preferential claim of the CBCS on Girobank N.V. At the end of 2020, the current budget deficit amounted to 14.0% of GDP in Curaçao and 10.9% of GDP in Sint Maarten.”
Doornbosch added that the debt-to-GDP ratio rose rapidly in 2020 due to a sharp increase in the public debt, driven primarily by the liquidity support that the two countries received from the Netherlands, combined with a deep contraction in nominal GDP. It is expected that, as the economies of Curaçao and Sint Maarten will not reach their pre-pandemic levels until 2024, high fiscal deficits will persist over the medium-term making additional liquidity support from the Netherlands indispensable. However, this poses a risk to debt sustainability.
“Against this background, fiscal consolidation is crucial for both countries to achieve sound public finances,” Doornbosch stated. The path towards sound public finances should be designed carefully to prevent fiscal measures, especially when they are pro-cyclical, from hampering economic recovery. Over-optimistic assumptions should be avoided. “Hence, the countries should develop a plan to achieve a balanced budget over a period of about four years. This plan should include a multiannual

budget with operational targets for the current budget balance, the primary balance, and the debt-to- GDP ratio as a long-term anchors. In addition, public financial management must be strengthened while tax reforms are needed to broaden the tax base to raise revenue in the least growth-distorting way,” Doornbosch said.
The Netherlands has tied additional liquidity support to Curaçao and Sint Maarten to strict implementation of structural reforms and fiscal consolidation. The agreed-upon structural adjustment program (“landspakket”) should benefit both countries by improving their competitiveness, promoting sustainable and inclusive economic growth, and strengthening resilience. According to Doornbosch, the decades-long experience with structural adjustment programs by the International Monetary Fund shows that there are at least three critical success factors that should be taken into account when designing and implementing a reform program. “First of all, the program will only succeed if strong ownership is taken by the governments of both Curaçao and Sint Maarten. Second, over optimistic macro-economic assumptions should be avoided when designing the budgetary framework of the program. In the case of the landspakket of Curaçao and Sint Maarten, a multiannual budgetary framework is absent and should be established as soon as possible. Finally, the agenda should take into account the capacity constraints of both countries in setting the deadlines to achieve the agreed-upon actions and targets,” Doornbosch stated. He emphasizes the importance of the prioritization of program objectives and conditions. He concluded that constructive dialogue and cooperation between the Kingdom partners will prove the most effective way towards overcoming the COVID-19 crisis and embarking on a sustainable and inclusive growth path for Curaçao and Sint Maarten.
The complete text of the 2020 Annual Report can be viewed on the CBCS-website at under the Publications section.



Real GDP growth rate of 0.1% in Curaçao and 3.4% in Sint Maarten
Willemstad/Philipsburg - In 2020, the world economy was hit severely by the COVID-19 pandemic and measures implemented to contain the spread of the virus. As a result, real output dropped in both the advanced and emerging & developing economies. The monetary union of Curaçao and Sint Maarten also was deeply affected by the pandemic. “Even though both countries were relatively successful in containing the local spread of the coronavirus through stringent measures, this success came at high economic and social costs”, stated Richard Doornbosch, president of the Centrale Bank van Curaçao and Sint Maarten (CBCS) in the 2020 Annual Report.

Particularly during the second quarter of 2020, economic activity in both Curaçao and Sint Maarten came practically to a standstill as both countries implemented a border closure that lasted approximately three months and a total lockdown of approximately 6 weeks. “Despite the later easing of these measures, economic activity, particularly in the tourism industry, remained substantially lower than before the crisis. Consequently, real GDP dropped by an unprecedented 19.3% in Curaçao and 22.4% in Sint Maarten”, explained Doornbosch.








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An analysis by sector shows that real value added dropped in all sectors of the economies of Curaçao and Sint Maarten. According to Doornbosch, the decline was most pronounced in the manufacturing, restaurants & hotels, wholesale & retail trade, and transport, storage, & communication sectors. Real output dropped significantly in Curaçao’s manufacturing sector due to a decline in refining activities following the closure of the Isla refinery after the expiration of the lease contract with Venezuelan state-owned oil company, PDVSA, in December 2019. In addition, ship repair activities decreased.

The contraction in the manufacturing sector in Sint Maarten reflected a decline in yacht repair and service activities in line with the lower number of yachts that visited the island. The contraction in the restaurants & hotels sector was caused primarily by the containment measures that were imposed amid the pandemic. Furthermore, the demand for international travel dropped and the cruise industry was completely shut down after the first quarter of 2020. Hence, the number of stay-over visitors, the number of cruise tourists, the number of stay-over nights, and the hotel occupancy rate dropped significantly. In the wholesale & retail trade sector, real value-added fell considerably on the back of the drop in domestic demand and the decline in tourism spending. The negative outcome in the transport, storage, & communication sector reflected a decline in both airport-related and harbor activities. Airport-related activities shrank as a result of a sharp decline in total passenger traffic and the number of commercial landings while the contraction at the harbor was consistent with the decline in the number of ships piloted into the port and fewer container movements.

Economic recovery is projected to be moderate in 2021 with real GDP growth rates of 0.1% in Curaçao and 3.4% in Sint Maarten. The marginal recovery in Curacao is explained by another six-week lockdown during March-May. It is expected that the recovery will gain speed in 2022 with growth rates of 6.2% in Curaçao and 14.4% in Sint Maarten. “The path of economic recovery, however, is uncertain as it depends on how the virus develops and the speed of the vaccine roll-out. Therefore, it is important that both countries continue to make progress in their vaccination programs to be better protected against the virus allowing for less restrictions and facilitating a faster economic recovery”, Richard Doornbosch concluded.
The complete text of the 2020 Annual Report can be viewed on the CBCS-website at under the Publications section.



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