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CCRIF Welcomes Guatemala to the Facility.

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands:--- CCRIF SPC is pleased to welcome the Government of Guatemala to the Facility as its third Central American member. Guatemala has purchased parametric insurance cover for excess rainfall for the 2019/20 policy year. CCRIF’s membership now stands at 22 countries – 19 from the Caribbean and 3 from Central America.

CCRIF, established in 2007, provides parametric insurance coverage for tropical cyclones, earthquakes and excess rainfall to limit the financial impact of these catastrophes by quickly providing financial liquidity when a policy is triggered. The Facility was originally established for Caribbean governments, but in 2015, CCRIF signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Council of Ministers of Finance of Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic (COSEFIN) to enable Central American countries to join the Facility. Nicaragua was the first Central American country to join and has been a member of CCRIF since 2015. In its first year, the Government received two payouts totalling US$1.6 million on its earthquake and tropical cyclone policies. Guatemala joins Nicaragua and Panama as CCRIF’s three Central American members.

CCRIF provides parametric insurance coverage to the two regions through different segregated portfolios or cells. CCRIF aggregates disaster risks within the two regions but keep the risks segregated across regions, achieving the kind of risk diversification and spreading within each zone that members are not able to attain on their own and reducing costs by sharing operational services between both regions. Empirical evidence based on studies undertaken by the World Bank illustrates that insurance obtained through CCRIF could be as low as half the cost of coverage a member country could obtain by approaching the reinsurance market on its own.

Since 2007, CCRIF has made 41 payouts totalling US$152 million to 13 member governments. In September of this year, the Government of The Bahamas received a payout of US$12.8 million after Hurricane Dorian. Earlier this month, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago received a payout of US$362,982 on its excess rainfall policy for Tobago following an excess rainfall event associated with Tropical Cyclone Karen. Trinidad and Tobago has two separate excess rainfall policies – one for each island. All payouts were made within 14 days of the events – and in the case of The Bahamas, 50 per cent of the payout was made within 7 days to provide immediate funds for priority activities.

CCRIF CEO Mr. Isaac Anthony reiterates that “CCRIF was not designed to cover all losses on the ground, but rather to provide a quick injection of liquidity following a natural disaster for emergency relief and early recovery needs, thereby reducing post-disaster resource deficits and government budget volatility”. It is within this context that CCRIF remains committed to its goals of scaling up, which would allow for increasing membership as well as increasing the coverage level of existing members and the development of new products and services for its current and prospective members, thereby supporting countries’ overall objectives of advancing their sustainable development prospects. With respect to new products, in July of this year, CCRIF, in collaboration with the World Bank and the US State Department, introduced coverage for the fisheries sector for two member countries – Saint Lucia and Grenada. This product was developed under the Caribbean Oceans and Aquaculture Sustainability FaciliTy (COAST) initiative and provides coverage for fisherfolk and other players in the fisheries industry. The COAST product will be offered to other countries in the near future. Also, the Facility is developing products for drought, agriculture and public utilities – all with the goal of meeting the demand of current and prospective members in both the Caribbean and Central America.

CCRIF, through the catastrophe risk insurance that it provides, is a critical component of a country’s disaster risk financing strategy and climate change adaptation framework. CCRIF is pleased that the Government of Guatemala is including catastrophe risk insurance among the suite of disaster risk financing tools that it utilizes, which also includes an emergency fund and a Cat-DDO, among others.

CCRIF is able to make quick payments because it offers parametric insurance policies. Parametric insurance policies are insurance contracts that make payments based on the intensity of an event (for example, hurricane wind speed, earthquake intensity, volume of rainfall) and the amount of loss calculated in a pre-agreed model caused by these events. Therefore, payouts can be made very quickly and CCRIF is committed to making payments within 14 days of an event that triggers a country’s policy. This is different from traditional or indemnity insurance settlements that require an on-the-ground assessment of individual losses after an event before a payment can be made. CCRIF and the risk insurance it provides will play a key role in advancing Agenda 2030 sustainable development goals and generally development that “leaves no one behind”.

About CCRIF SPC: CCRIF SPC is a segregated portfolio company, owned, operated and registered in the Caribbean. It limits the financial impact of catastrophic hurricanes, earthquakes and excess rainfall events to Caribbean and – since 2015 – Central American governments by quickly providing short-term liquidity when a parametric insurance policy is triggered. It is the world’s first regional fund utilising parametric insurance, giving member governments the unique opportunity to purchase earthquake, hurricane and excess rainfall catastrophe coverage with lowest-possible pricing. CCRIF was developed under the technical leadership of the World Bank and with a grant from the Government of Japan. It was capitalized through contributions to a Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) by the Government of Canada, the European Union, the World Bank, the governments of the UK and France, the Caribbean Development Bank and the governments of Ireland and Bermuda, as well as through membership fees paid by participating governments. In 2014, an MDTF was established by the World Bank to support the development of CCRIF SPC’s new products for current and potential members, and facilitate the entry for Central American countries and additional Caribbean countries. The MDTF currently channels funds from various donors, including: Canada, through Global Affairs Canada; the United States, through the Department of the Treasury; the European Union, through the European Commission, and Germany, through the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and KfW. In 2017, the Caribbean Development Bank, with resources provided by Mexico, approved a grant to CCRIF SPC to provide enhanced insurance coverage to the Bank’s Borrowing Member Countries and in 2018, the Government of Ireland provided support to CCRIF.


Johnson rejects “false claims” regarding new casino license.

stuartj22032019PHILIPSBURG:---The claims that Minister of TEATT the honourable Stuart Johnson issued a license for the establishment of a Casino on Back Street in the former Super Plaza Building as Caretaker Minister, has been flatly refuted by Johnson as the license in question was issued since January 2019.

Reports hat the Casino License somehow contravened the rule of law as it pertains to the issuance of casino license, are also inaccurate. These claims have not taken into account the fact that the license was issued under several conditions including a restriction from the license holder creating access to the establishment from Cannegieter Street.

The allegations stem from the belief that the new casino if it commences operation, would be too close to the Sundial School and the Philipsburg Jubilee Library. However, this claim did not consider the fact that at least one other casino has for years operated within proximity of the supposed "sensitive establishments." When the license was issued, it was clear that the Library would also not be returning to the present location.

On Wednesday, Minister Johnson said he was shocked at those allegations. He said, "With the Country headed into yet another election following nine years of nine new governments I expect some rhetoric, but I had hoped that there would be some improvements to the level of discourse and the rhetoric would be less."

Johnson said, "This license considered the economic impact and the 50 local jobs it would create when it opens."
"We also considered the sensitive establishments, but we stipulated with the license holder that while we do not discourage new business, we were keen not to have these businesses form an impediment to our ability to protect the social wellbeing of our citizens," said Johnson.


He said that the fact that the property owner for the establishment and the license holder were in legal disputes over the terms of their agreement is no cause for the intervention of the Ministry of TEATT.

"I did not sign up to act as landlord and collect money from tenants, and if any Member of Parliament sees it fit to intervene in this regard, then I cannot stop them. However, my concern is the proper execution of a license I issued and the adherence to the rules and laws associated with that license. If there is a breach of these established terms, then the Ministry of TEATT will intervene as is stated when the license was issued," said Johnson.

Johnson said that the claims of tax evasion by the license holder or those of alleged failure to pay contractor are essential enough issues to be addressed. However, according to the Minister, these matters have their place in a court of law or can be settled by a mediator ", but as Minister, it is not our position to become involved in these matters."

Johnson has expressed hope that the matter is settled amicably and the new business can be adequately established. Several casinos are nearby the "sensitive establishments" both on Front Street and on the Cannegieter Street for many years. "The Ministry has reviewed this license thoroughly and found it to be in keeping with a clear respect for sensitive areas and aligned with my consistent drive to increase job opportunities for the people of this country, which I will continue to work on until my last day in office," said Johnson.

EXCLUSIVE: Staff of Domain Affairs sends protest letter to Minister Wever on the removal of acting head Reayhon Peterson.

~Peterson plans to file injunction as early as Friday.~

PHILIPSBURG:--- The staff of Domain Affairs has dispatched a protest letter to the Minister of VROMI Chris Wever about his decision to remove Raeyhon Peterson as the Acting Department Head. In the letter, the staff said they have stringent concerns such as the department being understaffed and that the department was unable to process all items adequately.
The staff in their letter highlighted a number of inadequacies based on the LIOL and to whom they should answer to. Details of the letter can be found under this article.
SMN News also understands that Peterson met with his attorney on Wednesday afternoon as he intends to file an injunction as early as Thursday against the Minister of VROMI who opted to remove him from the position he was holding.
Peterson is not the first civil servant that approached the court when they have been removed from acting positions. As a matter of fact, it is the purview of the Minister to appoint someone with his Ministry as Acting Head even though that civil servant may have a landsbesluit with his previous function.


Click here to read protest letter from the staff of Domain Affairs.

Port St. Maarten Maintenance & Cargo Personnel Complete Spreader Certification Further Enhancing Cargo Operation Skillsets.

porttraining16102019POINTE BLANCHE:--- Additional staff members working at Port St. Maarten Cargo Operations recently completed training with one hundred per cent passing grade in the maintenance and full-operations of the container crane spreader, an essential piece of equipment used for lifting shipping containers and unitized cargo at a ports freight handling operations.
The training was carried out by Bromma Engineer Neftaly Rodriquez. Brommer is the world leader in crane spreaders. In more than 50 years of continuous operations, Bromma has delivered crane spreaders to 500 terminals in 90 nations on six continents, and Bromma spreaders are in service today at 99 out of the world’s largest 100 container ports.
Following the announcement of the successful passing grade Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunication Stuart Johnson said he was delighted with the Port Management’s continued effort to improve the skills of its staff.
Port St. Maarten’s Cargo Operations maintenance team received certification in proactive maintenance of the spreaders. The training also included a number of crane operators to ensure that they have a full all-inclusive understanding of the spreader and its intricacies.
“As an educator for several years, I have always maintained that the only way for our people to become successful leaders is through education, training and retraining of the staff,” said Johnson.
He said the training of our human resources especially at our key Port of entry, Port St. Maarten, is essential in order for the country to maintain its hub function within the Northeastern Caribbean for container handling.
“A well-trained team lifts productivity and keeps us at the forefront. I commend Port St. Maarten Management for their foresight in ensuring that we remain innovative in our thinking in order to meet the needs and demands of our port stakeholders and customers,” Johnson said.
He said, “The quality of work and level of service St. Maarten produces will not only improve the bottom line for local companies, but it will be critical for St. Maarten as the Caribbean tourism market becomes more competitive."
"We must be able to say, not just that we can offer a certain service in any industry, but that we provide the best quality service as well," said Johnson.
Johnson also extended congratulations to the Team at Port St. Maarten and encouraged them to keep striving for excellence in their professions.
Port St. Maarten Management said that it is a known fact that spreaders due to their intensifying role in ensuring the safe and efficient loading and discharging of containers, require special care and a robust maintenance program that ensure and maintain a high performance level, and moves per hour for vessel operations at the cargo berths.
“As vessel turnaround time is one of the key KPI’s (Key Performance Indicator) in order to maintain relevance in the industry and ensuring our operational excellence platform is intact, a continued investment in the ports human resources will ensure the aforementioned especially as we expand our transshipment hub footprint.
“It also ensures an effective service to continue to aid in the rebuilding effort of our country with project cargo that will continue to arrive over the next two or more years as various hospitality properties and critical infrastructure projects commence with construction.
“The training is part of the ports phased human resource training and skillset development program leading to the launching of the training outpost for the Region. We are in the process of creating a pool of expertise who can train our own people here, but also train others from abroad.
“Over the years we have been having difficulty finding qualified maintenance support for our specialized Mobile Harbour Cranes. So, what we did is find individuals with principle skillsets in electrical and mechanical work but with the intention to train them from zero to hero where crane maintenance is concerned and to date, we have been very successful with this venture.
“We look at it as a human capital investment for the long haul and also upping the specialized skillsets of our locals in this field. We take this opportunity once again to congratulate our staff who took part with a 100 per cent passing grade,” Port St. Maarten Management said on Wednesday.
Port St. Maarten’s ongoing mission is to improve the port’s operations excellence platform. This has always been the mantra of Port St. Maarten and is a key component leading to the training outpost activities.
The training outpost will lead to the certification of persons working in the logistics field such as heavy equipment operators, stevedoring activities, and other port-container related operations, and will also be used as a catalyst to use St. Maarten as a centralized training hub on a regional and international level.

Police asking community to provide information on armed robbery.

PHILIPSBURG:--- The special Unit Robbery is pursuing the case which took place on the evening of Wednesday, October the 15th 2019 approximately10.00pm on the pendent Cactus drive. According to the victims, a man who was dressed in dark clothing entered the establishment and threatened the cashier with a knife. After receiving an undisclosed amount of cash from the cashier he fled the scene in the direction of Sucker Garden. The detective department is investigating this armed robbery case and asking anyone who has information, please contact the Sint Maarten Police Force. They can call the police station on +1 721- 542 22 22 ext. 204 or 205; or the anonymous tip line on 9300, visit the police website at or Facebook page and leave a message.


KPSM Press Release.

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