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Minister Doran announces commencement of car wreck cleanup.

carwrecks20092020PHILIPSBURG:--- The Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment & Infrastructure (VROMI), the Honorable Egbert J. Doran, announces that an island-wide cleanup of the car wrecks will begin on Monday, September 21st.
Car wrecks are an eyesore and negatively effects the Country’s environmental well-being. Since taking office, Minister Doran embarked on a project along with the Department of Infrastructure Management to continue with the cleanup of the car wrecks.
Minister Doran stated that the project is in collaboration with the Community Police Officers and the designated contractors. Some of the abandoned wrecks have been tagged and this will continue throughout the coming days.
The Minister urges residents to remove their wrecked vehicles from public areas to avoid it being taken away, as all wrecks are being tagged and subsequently removed.
This project should be completed within approximately two weeks.


Conferences will change; opportunity for the Caribbean.

caribavia20092020“Under the current circumstances, conferences will change. We have seen that a large number of major conferences and conventions had to be canceled. Disappointment is one thing, at what expense, is another,” says Cdr. Bud Slabbaert, Chairman and Coordinator of the Caribbean Aviation Meetup conference, or CARIBAVIA for short. “There is much talk about a ‘New Normal’. Even the ‘New Normal’ will not be forever. Yet, new conference models may be developed that will stay with us for quite a while, because they make sense, are more flexible and more targeted. The traditional major international events will return, but a lesson will be learned from the advantages that the new model conferences will bring.”

The Caribbean Aviation conference (CARIBAVIA) also had to be canceled this year, as most other events. But the need for communication in the industry remains and it just asks for another appropriate platform. Worldwide, quick fixes and changes were made by organizing virtual conferences and webinars. It is just not the same.

Currently, it has become clear that the planning of large major events is risky. The planning of participation either as attendee or exhibitor has become just as difficult. It does have an effect on budget preparation and spending, as well as on calendar issues for those attending or presenting. One may say that things have become confusing. Confusion and insecurity are not appreciated in business. However, the industry cannot stop communicating with existing and potential clients. Smaller events have a better chance in that regard. Smaller doesn’t necessarily mean becoming regional. It could be international, yet more targeted. It is very much up to the industry to assist in shaping the smaller events into an effective communication platform for them.

“After our own event had to be canceled, I have decided to make the beginning of a new communication platform in addition,” says Slabbaert. “I consider it a communication platform without limitations. It’s a logical development, not an innovation. It is just doing things differently that make sense. We can now have the presentations in a conference setting, yet the meeting can be recorded and put online. And I don’t mean lifestreaming. The presentation will be available online as video-on-demand. That means anyone in the world, at any suitable time, can watch a conference presentation.”

The interesting thing of the model is that conference and video-on-demand platforms go hand in hand. Communication will continue one way or another; conference cancelations or not. It can be done without any subscription or registration. However, it will require sponsorships to realize this. Yet, since the channel is wide open to watch, the sponsors will be exposed to audiences that are larger than the attendees of any major conference. Even if there is no conference going on, other presentations can be recorded and put online at any time. So now there will be a communication platform beyond set dates, beyond any audience size, and beyond geographic borders. Sponsors may get more out of a combined sponsorship.

Regardless of possible new event concepts, the CARIBAVIA conference will return next year June on St.Maarten. From the beginning, five years ago, it was already concepted to be different. Where major conferences have become events with industry palaces built in the exhibition areas with the intention to show off; where male representatives were all dressed up as lookalike penguins. They were held in convention halls or conference hotels that all similar. Rush, pressure, and tension. And at what expense? CARIBAVIA has developed a different concept.

“Let’s call it furthering the human effect in an inspiring comfortable environment. If participants feel well, they will communicate much easier, and in a less artificial, and a more friendly natural manner,” continues Commander Bud as many call him. “They will get a better impression of their potential business connection. They will recognize the difference between what is an act, and what is for real.”

Besides an increased informality, the Caribbean offers an environment that the region is famous for. Previous CARIBAVIA welcome dinners were held outdoors under a tropical night sky with a free view over the waters. A series of sessions were held in an open hangar at an airport with a free view of the aviation activities at the location. It was also possible that a participant would ask “Where were you today? I missed you.” And the response was “I participated in a mini-summit on the neighbor-island St.Barth.”

“Creating an event, where participants afterward say that they want to return next year because they loved it, is a high priority to me. There is quite a difference between ‘they loved it’ or ‘they had to’. It means that the investment to participate was worth it for attendees, speakers, and sponsors alike. What is wrong with an event that feels like a retreat? I could even arrange for conference sessions at the beach or swimming pool.” concludes Cdr. Bud Slabbaert.

The organizational advantage of a conference like CARIBAVIA being held on an island is that the local tourism offices, airport, and other stakeholders will do their best to support the event and go that extra ‘mile’ to provide a bit of a starry-eyed atmosphere because it promotes the island or region and is like an invitation for participants to return at some time for a vacation with their families or loved ones. Mind that for these Caribbean islands sometimes 80% of the economy revenue comes from tourism. Win-win opportunities!

Rotary Sunset Supports Online Learning With Tablet Donations.

Donationoftablets20092020PHILIPSBURG:--- On September 10th, 2020, members of the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset joined club President, Elisia Lake, and gathered at the Government Administration Building for the presentation of 67 tablet computers to various public schools on the island. Rotary Sunset launched its tablet/computer donation drive in August with hopes to provide the much-needed computer devices to students who were unable to attend online classes.

 Supporting basic education and literacy is one of Rotary’s primary areas of focus and Rotary Sunset strongly believes in the right to sound education for every child. The club has organized numerous projects to promote education and literacy with its annual “Reading Slumber Fun”, “Read A Book A Day” “Free Little Libraries” and “Teachers’ Appreciation” initiatives, among others. Given the challenges faced by many students on the island with logging in to their online classes, the club saw the opportunity to take action in addressing the needs of these students.

 “Providing a tablet for a student in need is like igniting a flame of endless opportunities. Although COVID-19 has presented our educational system with numerous challenges, it has also accelerated our educational system to embrace all the benefits of technology through virtual learning. As an educator and avid supporter of education, I am truly honored to be a part of an organization that takes action to create lasting change in our community, who made it possible for over 60 students to attend online classes,” President Elisia Lake stated.

 Various Rotarians, Rotaractors, and friends such as Temard Butterfield, Montgomery Penn, Akeem Lennard, Karl Isaac, Lakeia Lewis, Jerrell George, Julie Ramchandani, Lorenzo Scotland, the Rotary Club of Randolph Sunrise in Vermont, Corinne Laville, Kenneth Vandermark, David Palmer, Alvin Parker and Arlene Standford from Turks & Caicos, Bahamas, Virgin Gorda, Jamaica, USA, and St. Thomas shipped their donated tablet to the island as a contribution towards this initiative. Local contributors such as TamLeo, Digital Gumbs, West Tech Shipping, Rissa Productions, Consider It Solved by Roosburg & Partners, PSB Bank N.V., Kalaboom Events, Mr. Fries & Tingz SXM, SXM Promotionz, Auto Depot, Manek Imports, Tony’s Airconditioning, Tyrone Yates, Shiela Vie, Joanne Marie Lake Corrick, Shaunette Wilson, Jocelyn Levenstone, Deborah Richards, Tracey Thewet, Marie Boasman, Gracias Maccow, Tarnive Pemberton, Erica Woodley, Tameka Lambert, Ayanna Guy, Goslinga Aukje Johanna, Aswayan Cocks, Rotarians Elisia Lake, Roylyka Roache, Louis Wever, and Aernout Kraaijeveld also made significant contributions toward the much-needed tablets.

 The tablets were distributed to the students through the school managers of the Marie Genevieve de Weever, Leonald Connor, Oranje, Prins Willem Alexander, Ruby Labega, and Martin Luther King Jr. Primary Schools. The students were selected base on a thorough data analysis conducted by the various Student Care Coordinators. The Honorable Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Drs. Rodolphe Samuel, gave words of encouragement and gratitude, towards the club for carrying out this initiative and vowed that the ministry would do its part to ensure that no child is left behind. During the brief ceremony, schools had the opportunity to win additional tablets, a MAC Book Pro, and school supplies. President Elisia encouraged the schools to adopt a loan system, where the tablets can be loaned to each student in need with the understanding that it will be returned to the school at the end of the pandemic in good condition. This would ensure future use for other students that may be in need.

 The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset would like to extend its heartfelt gratitude to the general population of St. Maarten and Rotarians across the globe for their kind contributions towards this initiative. There are still 133 students from various public schools who lack an electronic device to be able to attend classes. Persons who are still interested in contributing can do so by making a deposit to the club’s WIB USD Account number- 82173909, WIB NAF Account number-82173806.

 For additional information, contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our social media pages; facebook.com/rotarysxmsunset or call +1 721 587-4193 / +1 721 586-5241

APS and Government to host webinar on impact of pension reform September 29.

PHILIPSBURG:--- On September 29th, Algemeen Pensioenfonds Sint Maarten (APS) and the Government will facilitate its third webinar to inform APS participants about the pension reform, which became effective July 1, 2020. During a ZOOM video meeting, the most important changes will be addressed and subsequently, attendees are welcome to ask any questions they may have. All persons interested can register for the webinar via https://www.apsxm.org/webinars/ until September 25th. Registration is required to attend the session.

Changes to the pension scheme that became effective in July 2020 include increasing the retirement age from 62 to 65, calculating pensions based on average pay instead of final pay, pension accrual from age 18 instead of 25, and conditions for indexation. APS and Government jointly prepared a video presentation about the pension reform in which these changes are explained. Major adjustments are also clarified on the APS website at https://www.apsxm.org/pensionreform2020/.

U.S. Consulate General Curacao Sponsored English Language Curriculum Assessment.

drchristinejernigan16092020WILLEMSTAD:--- Together with the Curacao Chamber of Commerce & Industry and in partnership with the Government of Curacao, schoolboards, and various local school officials and educators, the U.S. Consulate is proud to be supporting a program to study the development English language curriculum for Curacao schools.

Earlier this year, the Curacao Chamber of Commerce & Industry approached the U.S. Consulate General for support in developing an English language curriculum for all school systems in Curacao. The U.S. Department of State agreed to fund an assessment of the current situation on Curacao and worked with Georgetown University to evaluate specialists suited to the task.

In a competitive process, stakeholders, selected Dr. Christine Jernigan (photo), who has a PhD specialized in teaching English to speakers of other languages and who has extensive experience developing English language programs throughout the world. Dr. Jernigan starts this week with a three-week virtual assessment of the current English language curriculum for schools on Curacao.

The first phase, a needs assessment process will require the Specialist to evaluate the current primary and secondary schools' English language curriculum and make recommendations on how best to improve the curriculum based on the needs of the population, the culture, and economic/academic goals of Curacao.

The Specialist will meet with various stakeholders, including Ministry of Education officials, local company representatives, school officials, students, the Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and others involved in the educational system to acquire a deeper understanding of the current system so as to develop recommendations for changing the curriculum to better meet Curacao’s academic objectives.

Consul General Allen Greenberg applauded the initiative and stated that “enhancing English language capabilities, particularly in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, will better prepare young people to become innovators and entrepreneurs in these fields and therefore can provide future economic benefits to Curacao.”

The long-term goal is to continue with a U.S. government sponsored curriculum development program for elementary and high schools to provide a broad range of opportunities for children and improve the results of graduates. Proficiency in the English language will enable them to access more resources and to be competitive in a wider range of professional disciplines.


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