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cpeterson07052019For the past months, we have had meetings in Parliament to try to address the laws pertaining to the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) guidelines.

We even had members of the Caribbean FATF come to parliament and explain these guidelines as well the urgency of living up to these guidelines.

Yet many times no quorum was achieved in order to handle such important legislation which at the end of the day is unfortunate and could have major consequences for our island.

To me it has always been very clear that while some of these laws are clearly being pushed by the more powerful countries of the World to regulate the flow of money, it is the new reality we have to deal with in this online digital world where we are now dependent on credit card and debit card transactions.

In many ways, our economy is still a cash-based economy but more and more this is changing as people shop online and travel the World.

Yet the persons who now fuel our economy via the tourism and business industry are now dependent on digital transactions. Our tourists expect to use their debit cards and credit cards when visiting our island.

We live in an ONLINE WORLD and SXM will be no exception. As a matter of fact, the entire Caribbean is confronted with these guidelines.

These are some of the potential consequences of being BLACKLISTED which really concerns me:

1. SXM could face even more negative international press as it is put on the blacklist. Unfortunately, the average person who may want to visit SXM and reads about this would probably think twice and choose another island to visit.

While it is easy to get on the Blacklist, it is much harder to clean up the negative image it leaves behind.

The word BLACKLIST is one understood across languages as something negative.

2. Our local banks could be denied access to corresponding Banks.

As a result, visitors on Sint Maarten would not be able to use their internationally accepted debit and credit cards, because our banks can no longer clear these transactions without corresponding banking.

3. The local Merchants and businesses could be impacted as they will have to find other ways to pay for the merchandise and imports.

They would have to rely on cash transactions which would surely not be feasible for the great majority of businesses since it would also mean having to travel with large sums of cash which is not only dangerous but is also illegal if limits are surpassed.

This would potentially cripple our businesses which rely primarily on imports.

This could increase even more the cost of goods as the companies struggle to keep supplies coming and shelves stocked.

4. Serious investors could stay away from SXM as they would realize the difficulties and negative image of doing business on an island which is blacklisted.

5. Our Government-owned companies could be affected as they struggle to pay their international suppliers.

In the case of TELEM, this could have an impact on our connectivity with the world, as internet and telephone will become local only when no international telecommunications company will make agreements with TELEM to allow connectivity with international networks if they cannot clear the payment online. TELEM will not be able to do so because our banks will no longer be able to support such transactions due to lack of correspondent banking.

6. SXM HUB FUNCTION of our Harbor and Airport which is something we have bragged about for years and which is a key factor in the success of our economy will be negatively impacted as investors, businesses and tourists look to other islands.

7. Our society would have to become one dependent solely on cash with bigger risks of crime as people and businesses will have to deal in cash.

As our local banks are all branches of international banks, we could see the closing of these branches as these banks cannot build a sustainable and viable business based only on cash transactions.

8. Our local banks would not be able to leverage their deposits on the capital market to allow for debt financing, mortgages, etc on the island. Businesses and people will suffer as a consequence and those services will no longer be available.

9. Our Hotels could be directly impacted as they will not be able to secure reservations and conference bookings via credit card and online transactions.

The Air Bnb market which SXM is very much reliant on post-Irma while so many of our hotels strive to rebuild will be crippled as local owners are unable to process transactions because of the lack of corresponding banking.

10. Our Car rentals could be seriously affected as they presently rely almost entirely on online reservations in which credit card financial transactions not only secure reservations but also pay for the rental cost of the vehicles as well as cover any damages incurred to the vehicle.

11. Our ability as an island to refer our patients abroad could be affected by the unavailability of corresponding banking in order to execute online payments to the countries providing the care to our people.

13. Our people would no longer be able to shop online as the local banks lose corresponding banking facilities.

As the SMCP Member of Parliament, I believe it is incumbent on us to make sure we protect our island against the consequences created by our failure to live up to international standards such as those of the FATF.

I see it as our new reality as we have chosen for Status Aparte. Whether we like it or not we are now, more than ever, part of the International community and will be held to those standards. Therefore, we must protect our image on an international stage when it comes to combating money laundering and terrorism funding.

We should not wait to be blacklisted or receive conditions from the Dutch before we move.

These laws will be brought to the floor of parliament once more on Wednesday, May 8 and I hope, as a parliament, we will pass them in the interest of our Island’s economy and people as we seek to rebuild from Irma.

MP Claude CHACHO Peterson

Adtalem Global Education Institutions Make Community Investments Across the Caribbean.

Medical schools and veterinary medicine school support healthcare, education, and well-being.

  Two medical schools and the veterinary medicine school operated in the Caribbean by Adtalem Global Education are leading a dedicated community investment program to support the island nations in which they teach. These community programs include a variety of activities and volunteer support, as well as financial contributions and the donation of computer equipment and other assets to community organizations whose missions align with Adtalem’s focus on healthcare, education, and well-being. Adtalem is a global educator and workforce solutions provider that operates with a sense of purpose focused on academic quality and making a tangible impact on the global community.
Adtalem institutions include American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC) in Sint Maarten, Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) in Barbados and Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (RUSVM) in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.

AUC has a robust and established network of community partners on the island and medical students and faculty regularly participate in Community Action Days, where they volunteer at various community organizations. Today, AUC presents its annual Community Commitment grants to 11 foundations: Artcraft Café Foundation/The Waste Factory, Community Outreach Mentorship & Empowerment Foundation (C.O.M.E.), Diabetes Foundation of Sint Maarten, I Can Foundation, K1 Britannia Foundation, Mental Health Foundation – St. Maarten, Positive Foundation, Safe Haven Foundation, St. Maarten AIDS Foundation, St. Maarten Nature Foundation and Windward Island Emergency Medical Services. Checks were presented in a ceremony on campus by AUC leaders, including Heidi Chumley, MD, MBA and Executive Dean of AUC.
“We are pleased to continue our support for these valuable organizations, who, in addition to serving the people of Sint Maarten, also contribute to the education of aspiring physicians through their partnerships with AUC,” said Dr. Chumley. “At AUC, we believe a key skill for any physician is the ability to engage the community as a partner, and we are proud of the experiences that shape our students, which are made possible because of our community partnerships.”
“American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine’s contributions to the advancement of tertiary education on Sint Maarten is commendable. The school has extended its resources to other institutions as well, unselfishly building up the overall caliber of the Sint Maarten medical and care training programmes,” said Honourable Wycliffe Smith, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport.

RUSM established its campus in Barbados in January of 2019 and is pleased to grant funds to 11 organizations that are dedicated to health and medical care, research and youth education: Barbados Cancer Society, The Barbados Breast Screening Program, Caribbean Ophthalmology Research Alliance, The Diabetes Association of Barbados, Eden Lodge Youth Charitable Trust, The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados, K9 Friends, Precious Touch Foundation, Sir George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Center, Step by Step Diabetes Foot Care Program and The Type 1 Diabetes Registry. RUSM has a history of supporting education, culture and healthcare organizations in the Caribbean with both financial contributions and volunteer commitments.
“An important component of the medical education experience is to engage with the community to further develop each student’s awareness of the interrelation between a person’s environment and their health,” said William Owen, MD, FACP, and Dean and Chancellor for RUSM. “As a diverse medical school, there are intrinsic benefits to both our students and the community because of these connections and activities.”
“Ross University School of Medicine continues to demonstrate that its commitment to Barbados is not only financial but also an investment in the island’s social capital. Each of these non-governmental organizations plays a pivotal role in educating and caring for our citizens, and these donations will no doubt go a long way toward supporting their efforts as well as supplementing the work of the Government of Barbados,” said Honourable Santia Bradshaw, Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training.

In the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, RUSVM has been a long-standing community partner with organizations fostering education, healthcare and security and safety. Additionally, RUSVM students and faculty are active in an assortment of projects to support animal, marine and environmental health in the region. On May 8, the veterinary medicine school will donate computers and other equipment to ten primary schools, to enhance the learning of young students. In partnership with the government and civic-minded actors, RUSVM is refurbishing and rehabilitating information technology laboratories at the following primary schools: Joshua Obadiah Williams Primary, Cayon Primary, Deane Glasford Primary, Edgar T. Morris Primary, Violet Petty Primary, Estridge Primary, Sandy Point Primary, Newton Ground Primary, Dieppe Bay Primary and Bronte Welsh Primary.
“We are proud to have once again partnered with the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis as it continues to encourage young people in our community to embrace technology as they pursue excellence in education,” said Sean Callanan MVB, MRCVS, CertVR, PhD, DipECVP, FRCPath and Dean of RUSVM.” The use of technology is prominent on our campus at RUSVM. As we prepare our students to be globally competitive veterinarians, we want to encourage young students to embrace their education in science and technology.”

“The Ministry of Education is pleased to collaborate with the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in the upgrade of primary school information technology spaces. This partnership aligns well with the Ministry’s strategies to integrate information and communication technologies in teaching and learning to enhance student success and equip learners with key 21st century competencies,” said Honourable Shawn Richards, Minister of Education.
AUC, RUSM and RUSVM are part of Adtalem Global Education, which also includes Chamberlain University, the largest nursing school in the United States. Adtalem is active with corporate charitable contributions and volunteer activities in locations around the United States and globally, including donations made by the Adtalem Global Education Foundation.


New opportunities for Caribbean tourism industry discussed at ECLAC meeting.

elac06052019Caribbean countries have taken important steps toward upgrading and diversifying their tourism sector. Efforts have also focused on diversification, with the development of new product niches in areas such as eco and nature tourism, health, sports, and culinary tourism, while new opportunities have been sought by penetrating markets in Latin America and even China. These are some of the main findings that emerged during an expert group meeting organized and hosted by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) subregional headquarters for the Caribbean.

Held at ECLAC Caribbean headquarters in Port of Spain on 3 May 2019, the meeting brought together key experts from the Ministries of Tourism, Tourism Boards, Chambers of Industry and Commerce, as well as hoteliers. Discussions during the meeting centred on the findings of an upcoming study by ECLAC Caribbean. Entitled “Industrial Upgrading and diversification to address the competitiveness challenges in the Caribbean: the case of tourism”, the study analyzed upgrading and diversification of tourism products and services in The Bahamas, Belize and Saint Kitts and Nevis.

The three countries were chosen because they span the profile of the industry in the region; The Bahamas being a well-established mature destination. Belize, a relatively new destination, boasts a wider product mix, including eco-tourism and nature tourism alongside sun, sea, and sand, while Saint Kitts and Nevis is a small twin-island destination that recently won the World Trade Organization’s prize as the world’s best destination for sustainable tourism.

The experts recognized efforts at upgrading undertaken by these countries, including investment in better-quality rooms at hotels and a wider array of amenities such as spa and wellness treatments. Nevertheless, it was argued that the countries still have a long way to go in optimizing the use of disruptive technologies such as Big data and Artificial Intelligence, which are proving transformative in this sector.

In a similar vein, product diversification will require better research on what product bundles are best suited for each country to invest in and what would be required to deliver a high-quality experience in these areas. It was also suggested that market diversification will require targeted investments in language training, facilitating airlift and establishing business to business contacts with leading marketing firms in prospective new destinations.

The experts concluded that the tourism landscape in the Caribbean is one of both opportunity and challenge, and with carefully crafted strategy and targeted actions, these countries could significantly enhance their tourism product, bringing increased economic benefit and improved living conditions for their people.

Committee of Parlatino Matters to meet, on election of chairperson and the way forward for participation in Parlatino.

PHILIPSBURG:--- The Committee of Parlatino Matters, will meet in a session on Tuesday, May 7, 2019.
The Committee meeting which was scheduled for Monday, February 4, 2019, but was not continued due to a lack of quorum has been rescheduled for Tuesday at 10.00 hrs. in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg.

The agenda points are:
1. Confirmation of Decision lists previous Parlatino Committee meetings
2. Appointment of a chairman of the committee
3. A discussion among members on the way forward for participation in Parlatino and recommendations of the committee to the Central Committee of Parliament (IS/497/18-19 dated January 16, 2019)

Members of the public are invited to the House of Parliament to attend parliamentary deliberations.

The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House in Philipsburg.

The parliamentary session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 115, via SXM GOV radio FM 107.9, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet, and Parliament’s Facebook page: Parliament of Sint Maarten.


Plenary Session of Parliament about Draft National Ordinance to amend the National Ordinance Administrative Jurisdiction.

PHILIPSBURG:--- The House of Parliament will sit in a Plenary Public meeting on Monday, May 06, 2019.
The Plenary Public meeting is scheduled for 11.00 hrs. in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg. The Minister of Justice will be present.

The agenda is:

Ontwerp van Landsverordening tot wijziging van de Landsverordening administratieve rechtspraak (IS/597/2014-2015 d.d. 2 april 2015) (ZJ 2014-2015-062)

(Draft National Ordinance to amend the National Ordinance
Administrative Jurisdiction)

Members of the public are invited to the House of Parliament to attend parliamentary deliberations.

The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House in Philipsburg.

The parliamentary session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 115, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, SXMGOV Radio 107.9 FM, video live stream via the internet, and also Parliament FB page: Parliament of Sint Maarten.


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