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Landmark research report on Legislative Function in Sint Maarten approved.

PHILIPSBURG:--- The Prime Minister and Minister of General Affairs are pleased to announce the approval of the comprehensive research report titled, “Legislative function in Sint Maarten.” This landmark report was given the green light by the Council of Ministers at the end of July.
The research was conducted in collaboration with the Caribbean Centre for Leadership (CCL) and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, as stipulated in the Country Package. The primary objective of this ambitious project was to conduct a thorough analysis of the legislative function in Sint Maarten. This involved an in-depth examination of the structure, processes, and organization of the legislative function with the aim of assessing whether they contribute sufficiently to the timely and adequate implementation of the legislation required in Sint Maarten.
The report, a culmination of extensive research and analysis, contains a wealth of valuable insights and recommendations to enhance and fortify the legislative function in our beloved nation. The recommendations provided in the report are intended to serve as a guiding light for policymakers, administrators, and stakeholders, as we collectively endeavor to strengthen and improve the legislative process in Sint Maarten.
Importantly, the report underscores the need for external expertise and assistance to facilitate the proposed changes. Recognizing the significance of this, the Ministry of General Affairs is actively exploring avenues for collaboration with external organizations and experts to ensure the successful implementation of these recommendations.
“I firmly believe that the publication of this report represents a significant step toward a more efficient and effective legislative function in Sint Maarten. The transparency and accountability inherent in this endeavor are a testament to our government's unwavering commitment to the betterment of our nation,” stated Prime Minister Jacobs.
In the spirit of transparency and accessibility, the “Legislative function in Sint Maarten,” report will be made available to the public on the Government's official website. This will provide citizens, scholars, and stakeholders with the opportunity to engage with the findings and recommendations outlined in the report.
The Prime Minister continued, “The Ministry of General Affairs extends its gratitude to all those involved in the research process, including the Caribbean Centre for Leadership (CCL) and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, for their dedicated efforts in producing this invaluable report. It also expresses appreciation to the public for their ongoing support and commitment to the progress of Sint Maarten.”

CIBC FirstCaribbean A Leader In Supporting Financing of Sustainable Infrastructure.

cibcfl22092023Miami, Florida:--- Advancing its dedication to maintaining strong environmental standards and promoting its commitment to financing sustainable infrastructure and environmentally friendly projects throughout the Caribbean, CIBC FirstCaribbean served as co-title sponsor for one of the region’s most pivotal conferences focused on the further development of green and sustainable infrastructure.
Speaking at the 7th Caribbean Infrastructure Forum, hosted by New Energy Events, CIBC FirstCaribbean Executive Director of Corporate Banking & Sustainable Finance, Gillian Charles-Gollop said the bank remains committed to facilitating sustainable financing for infrastructure projects that are climate resilient and will bode well for the region.
“We were one of the first regional banks that actually financed renewable energy,” Charles-Gollop said.
“We started with the 30-megawatt windfarm in Curacao, which has since been further developed. We’ve done renewable energy in Jamaica and Cayman Islands. So, it’s always been a commitment for us, in terms of investing in the region in a positive way. What we’re doing now is in line with some of the things we’ve been doing for the last 30 years,” she said.
“For example, we would use the equator principles as well, which really deals with sustainability and the environment. Part of our strategy is turning our buildings into more ‘green buildings’ and making them more energy efficient, in terms of conservation. We recently installed some of the electric chargers for vehicles and we have been encouraging our leaders to convert their vehicles to electric,” she added.
CIBC FirstCaribbean has remained at the forefront of financing sustainable and renewable energy projects, having invested in transactions totaling over $150 million in wind and solar projects across the region, according to the company’s Annual Report for 2022.
Through its Blue loan financing, the bank has co-arranged $146M in financing with $73M in committed funding for the Government of Barbados in relation to Marine Conservation.
“Blue Financing is really about how we in the region can protect our marine environment and best use the resources that we have to sustainably develop and drive the economy,” Charles-Gollop said.
“You not only have the marine environment for tourism, but the fisheries that supports our food industry. So, it is really about how we can really protect our marine environment but also be able to identify the areas where we can also use it for economic development, whether it be for tourism or the fisheries industry.”
According to Charles-Gollop, governments make up the lion share of applicants for Blue financing, keeping in line with countries’ global environmental commitments and targets.
CIBC FirstCaribbean’s parent company, CIBC Canada, has been a signatory on the UN Principles for Responsible Investment since 2018 and is a founding signatory on the 2050 Net Zero Banking Alliance. The bank remains actively engaged in supporting a number of causes across the business footprint through its charitable arm, the FirstCaribbean ComTrust Foundation.
During CARIF 2023, government leaders, as well as executives from the private and public sectors throughout the Caribbean engaged in active discussion centered around sustainable infrastructure for the region. Topics included meeting the infrastructure needs of the cruise tourism and shipping industry, building grid infrastructure for the future of Caribbean power, mobilizing capital for food security, and improving distribution networks.

Celebrating Reading Success with Five Enthusiastic Readers at Five Day Care Centers.

reading22092023PHILIPSBURG:--- Five dedicated individuals sparked reading success at five different Day Care Centers as part of the Read to Me Book Start Campaign 2023, aiming to promote early literacy and instill a love for reading among young children.

During the weeklong event, Five Readers engaged enthusiastic children in interactive and captivating reading sessions led by dedicated volunteers and staff members.

The readers came from various backgrounds, including educators and community members who are passionate about literature and early childhood development. Each reader visited a different daycare center, where they read stories, encouraged discussions, and introduced children to the enchanting world of books.

The readers focused on age-appropriate books, sparking creativity, imagination, and early language development in both of the country's language of instruction, Dutch and English.

The readers were:
Marilyn Clark-Waterfort, reader at Ideal Pre-School, reading the story titled Waar zijn Joko’s vriendjes? written by Ruth Brown,
Remi Prinsen, reader at Brighter Child, reading the story titled “Welterusten Sam” written by Marie – Louise Gay;
Sabrina Vrutaal, reader at Ingrid’s Home Care, reading the story titled “Kleine Huppel Groot versjesboek “written by Suelens Clara;
Jennifer Oduber, reader at Children’s World, reading the story titled “Een goed idee written by Peta Coplans.
Merlyn Joseph reader at Kids World, reading “Belle Beer: een hart voor mama” written by An Melis

One reader’s testimony stated that it was an absolute joy to read to the wide –eyed youngsters. Their fascination and unwavering focus warmed his heart as they embarked together on a literacy adventure about Sam, who could not sleep without his dog called Fred. Surprisingly, the children grasped the story, effortlessly, even picking up some Dutch words like “ Welterusten” (goodnight). The reader went on to express that personally, he found immense satisfaction in sharing the magic of storytelling with them. He was deeply grateful to the Sint Maarten Library for granting him this wonderful opportunity to nurture young minds with the enchanting world of books in the country’s official language.
Another reader’s testimony expressed that the children listened in amazement as they heard new and familiar Dutch words while listening to the stories from “ Kleine Huppel Groot Versjesboek”. The story reader mentioned that the illustrations from the book were used to quickly convey the story in the English language. Afterward, they asked the children about their experiences with regard to the storyline. It was easy for the children ages 1 to 5 years to understand and relate to Huppel’s adventures.
The collaborative effort of the day care centers and the readers, along with their testimonials to promote reading, is evidence that the Sint Maarten community believes in the importance of early childhood literacy.
Sint Maarten Library’s goal is to make reading fun, interactive and accessible to all children. We will expand our reach in the future to inspire even more young readers.

Minister Ottley, NSI and CDFHA jointly work to repair and restore the backboards and basketball nets in Dutch St. Maarten communities.

omarottley22092023PHILIPSBURG:--- On Thursday, September 21st, the Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor, Omar Ottley, the National Sports Institute (NSI), and Community Development, Family & Humanitarian Affairs (CDFHA), proudly announced the next phase to their island-wide community basketball court enhancement project.

The purpose of the project is to repair and restore the backboards and basketball nets on the outdoor basketball courts in Dutch St. Maarten communities. Areas such as St. Peters, Middle Region, Dutch Quarter, Melford Hazel, Simpson Bay, Belvedere, and Cay Bay will benefit from this motive.

The initiation of this project stems from a request made by the community members of Belvedere to repair their outdoor basketball court backboards. However, after the discussions with the National Sports Institute (NSI), it was determined that addressing the needs of multiple communities would be a more comprehensive and impactful approach. Consequently, the project became much more extensive by reflecting a broader commitment to enhancing sports facilities across the Dutch side of the island.

“The decision to undertake this project is rooted in its significant social implications.” Said Minister Ottley. NSI, CDFHA division head Mrs. Chantale George Groeneveldt, and Minister Ottley recognize the vital role that outdoor basketball courts play in fostering community engagement, promoting physical activity, and providing a safe and constructive recreational space for residents.
“By restoring and improving these facilities, we aim to enhance the overall well-being and quality of life of our citizens.” Said Ottley


Push for More Sustainable Airports Across the Caribbean at CARIF 2023.

airports22092023Miami, Florida:--- Building, expanding, and retrofitting airports in line with sustainability objectives took center stage during day two of the Caribbean Infrastructure Forum (CARIF) on Tuesday, as government and private sector executives shared their plans and made a push for more sustainable airports throughout the Caribbean.
Best approaches to mitigate increasing climate risk in transaction design, improving impact measuring and reporting as a means to stimulate investment appetite; as well as discussion around how governments can create policy and regulatory environments that stimulate the flow of private finance to sustainability, resilience, and growth initiatives were key parts of the conversations emerging from the two-day conference in Miami, Florida.
Dr. Rafael Echevarne, Airports Council International Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, said there is an opportunity for the region to lead the way in sustainable and climate-resilient airports.
“There are a lot of things that airports can do to reduce their impact on the environment, in relation to the emission of co2,” Echevarne said. “One of the great opportunities, from my point of view, is that the smaller airports in the Caribbean have a huge opportunity to generate electricity with solar. There are many airports, which we know, that can be self-sustainable when it comes to power being generated from solar. It’s a question of just doing the studies and allowing these airports to not only install solar, but sell the excess power to the grid. That is actually in the works for several airports within the region already.”
He continued, “The airports in the Caribbean can be the pioneers in this aspect. If there is something we are sure of in the Caribbean, there is sun and wind. There are definitely huge opportunities. Right now, the cost of installing solar panels has come down dramatically, and considering the cost of energy, I don’t think it’s a difficult decision to make.”
Leveraging private capital in blue/green bond issuances in island economies and how to incorporate technology to maximize functionality were also topics of discussion.
Filipe Pereira dos Reis, Regional Director of Airport Passenger, Cargo and Security of the Americas, said there needs to be short and long-term plans for the airports and projects to adequately address sustainable infrastructure.
“The challenge with short-term and long-term is that governments typically have a mandate of four to six years, depending on their term,” he said. “But we have to realize that our business [aviation] is a long-term business. So, it’s an infrastructural investment business that typically gets depreciated in 30, 40, 50 years. So, there needs to be a balance. We understand the needs of the government in looking for funding in the short-term, but at the same time we would wish that governments would look into the longer term. Why? Because we are a firm believer that the spin-off effects, economically speaking, of the businesses that we have, pay way more than looking at the short-term.”
Deputy Director General in The Bahamas’ Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation Dr. Kenneth Romer said the archipelagic nation has made a serious commitment over the past few years to building climate resilient and environmentally friendly airports.
“Environmental concerns top our list at the moment, as it relates to the intensity of hurricanes and natural disasters and the threat they pose,” he said. “But, I think we have an opportunity to demonstrate to the rest of the region how serious and committed we are to supporting the message of sustainability that our prime minister has really been taking around the world. So, it’s time to put our money and our plans where our mouth is.”
In 2019 Grand Bahama, often called The Bahamas’ second city, took a major economic blow after communities and its international airport sustained major damage during the passage of Hurricane Dorian. Romer called the experience an “opportunity” to change they way airports are built throughout the country, becoming a ‘green’ airport pioneer.
“We need to look at solar power for our airports,” Dr. Romer said. “We need to look at green energy, we need to look at green airfields, we need to look at reducing the size of our physical infrastructure, while taking advantage of the kinds of assistance the international community can give us when we model what sustainable airports look like in the region.”
CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank and KPMG served as the title sponsors for New Energy’s CARIF 2023.

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