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Chairman Raymond Gradus: ”Aruba has accomplished the CAft recommendations for the 2018 budget; important to shortly draw up a new legal standards framework aimed at sustainable finance”.

cftaruba22062018Oranjestad:--- With the purpose to speedily reach the path towards sustainable public finance, the Board of financial supervisoion for Aruba (CAft) has made three recommendations. During its visit the CAft observed that these recommendations have sufficiently been carried out. For now this gives the CAft sufficient trust. Considering the worrisome state the public finance is in, the CAft has again referred to the necessity to attain as soon as possible a new legal standards framework. In order to accomplish a sustainable improvement of the public finance and a decrease of the debt position, it is required to obtain as soon as possible a surplus on the budget.

Recommendations sufficiently accomplished
In anticipation of agreements between Aruba and the Netherlands on a legal standards framework for 2018-2021, the CAft has made three recommendations in June in response to the adopted budget. Firstly, it is recommended that the financing deficit in 2018 be lower than the deficit in 2017. In recent weeks, Aruba has provided information and with that has indicated that the non-tax revenues of 17,5 million guilders from Refineria di Aruba (RdA) are sufficiently realistic. An amount of 9.9 million guilders has already been transferred in 2018. In addition, it is recommended that the multi-year personnel costs should show a downward trend. With regard to staff expenses, Aruba has presented a personnel plan in which it is aimed to reduce the nominal multi-year staff costs. For 2018, measures will be taken to reduce staff costs by 12 million guilders. Herewith the request of the CAft to not raise the personnel costs compared with 2017 is also met. It is however important that Parliament adopts the related budget amendment as quickly as possible. Finally, the CAft recommended that the maximum debt ratio of 90% GDP should not be exceeded. Aruba has promised that it will not take out more (short-term) loans in 2018 and 2019 than necessary, as a result of which the debt ratio will remain below 90% GDP.

New standards framework
The CAft has already concluded that the deficit compensation over 2017 cannot be realized in 2018 as prescribed by the National Ordinance Aruba for temporary financial supervision (LAft), and that the LAft norm of a surplus of 0.5% GDP for 2018 is therefore out of reach. In order to arrive at a path towards sustainable public finances within the foreseeable future, a new legal standards framework is needed. Talks about this subject between Aruba and the Netherlands are ongoing, yet the CAft has once again insisted on a legal standards framework for 2018-2021 and, as soon as possible, a surplus on the budget, so that the steps on the path towards sustainable public finances can be made.

Last visit Board members Sybilla Dekker and Robert Croes
Apart from discussing the results of the first quarter, this visit was also marked by the departure of the Board members Sybilla Dekker (member upon the proposal of the Netherlands) and Robert Croes (member upon the proposal of Aruba). Both departing members have been involved, as from the start of the CAft on August 1st, 2015 and both membes look back on a increasingly improving cooperation with Aruba. Sybilla Dekker about her period at the CAft: "By maintaining a steady conversation with each other, Aruba and the CAft have been able to take the necessary steps in the further development of financial supervision for the benefit of sustainable public finances". Robert Croes confirms this and adds: "It was an honor to be able to be a member of the Board upon the proposal of my country. I have always acted in good faith".

Work visits CAft
As usually during the visits of the Board to Aruba, meetings were held with the Governor, the Minister of Finance, the Council of Ministers and the Parliamentary Committee of Finance, Economic Affairs and Government Organization.

Governor receives final report Theodore Heyliger.

heligerholiday22062018Harbour View:--- On June 22, 2018, His Excellency the Governor of Sint Maarten, drs. E.B. Holiday, received the final report from formateur Theodore Heyliger.
The formateur has accepted the commission to form a new government supported by as broad a majority in Parliament as possible. Based on the coalition agreement signed on April 5, 2018 the new government is supported by the UD-fraction and the SMPC-fraction in parliament and consists of Ministers who are committed to the promotion of the wellbeing of Sint Maarten. The new government will in its governing program entitled: “Building a sustainable Sint Maarten” focus on rebuilding a vibrant economy, restoring a strong social fabric and promoting a resilient sense of community through the finalization and implementation of the national recovery and resilience plan in cooperation with the Netherlands and the World Bank. This includes giving priority to amongst others: employment, home repairs, the sanitary landfill, safety and security, disaster management and Kingdom relations.
Candidates for the various portfolios have been vetted based on the pertinent regulations regulating the pre-screening of candidates before nomination (National Decree Appointment procedure candidate Ministers and candidate Minister Plenipotentiary, May 22, 2013, No. LB-13/0442). The formateur has nominated the following persons for appointment:

1. Mrs. Leona Marlin-Romeo, Prime Minister and Minister of General Affairs;
2. Mr. Cornelius de Weever, Minister of Justice;
3. Mr. Perry Geerlings, Minister of Finance;
4. Mr. Stuart Johnson; Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication;
5. Mr. Wycliffe Smith, Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports;
6. Mr. Miklos Giterson, Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure;
7. Mr. Emil Lee, Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour;
8. Ms. Jorien Wuite, Minister Plenipotentiary; and
9. Mr. Michael Somersall, deputy Minister Plenipotentiary.

The Governor has scheduled the appointment and swearing in of the Ministers on Monday, June 25th, 10:00 hours, at the Governor’s Office. After the ceremony, the Governor and the newly appointed Ministers will have the constituting meeting at the Government Administration Building.

Ministry of ECYS introduces Safety and Emergency Response Guidelines for Schools

PHILIPSBURG:--- The official ‘Safety and Emergency Response Guidelines for Schools’ (SERG) was dispatched this week by The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport to all schools as one policy within the larger MECYS Resilience Plan. The Resilience plan was created after Hurricane Irma to ensure that the education sector will be more effectively prepared to respond to and recover from disasters and crises.
Developed in collaboration with various school boards, community stakeholders like the Fire Department and Red Cross and with technical support from UNICEF Netherlands, the SERG lays out a number of quality standards and procedures for safety preparedness and emergency response within St. Maarten’s schools. Although schools are not traditional response organizations, when an emergency occurs, school personnel and students must respond immediately. In addition to natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes and hurricanes, a school’s environment is also relatively hazard and threat-prone. Threats such as gang violence or technological hazards such as an explosions or gas leaks may occur within a school at any time. This is why it is imperative that in each educational institution on St. Maarten, its staff and students, are fully aware of the steps involved in dealing effectively with an emergency and are always prepared to respond accordingly, contact the relevant authorities and take safety measures when necessary.
Each school will be required, in addition to developing their own personalized School Safety and Emergency Plan, to establish a school Safety and Emergency Team (SET). The SET is responsible for establishing a warning system in the school, creating awareness of safety within the school, keeping updated contact lists for medical support professionals and ensuring that first aid equipment is available and maintained.
The SERG was also created to foster an improved culture of safety in schools as well as act as the first step towards the development of a larger comprehensive school safety plan that will take into account long term issues related to building standards, disaster risk reduction education and sustainable approaches to sector development.

Mobile Operators Agree to Network Sharing in case of a Crisis.

mobilecarriers22062018PHILIPSBURG:--- On June 20th 2018, Bureau Telecommunications and Post St. Maarten (BTP) – the Telecom Regulator of country St. Maarten - met with Management of the Telem Group of Companies and UTS to coordinate telecom recovery efforts in the event St. Maarten get hit by a hurricane or any other natural disaster.

During the meeting in-depth discussions took place on preparatory work on the Telecom infrastructure, network resilience and the availability of communication services in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. While it’s clear that there are often many challenges to provide stable telecom services in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, it’s to the belief of all stakeholders involved that the chance of service continuity is greater by working together.

In order to achieve such, it’s to the belief of the Regulator that “Internal Roaming” is one of the most important things to enable in the aftermath of a storm to guarantee availability of communication services to all. When the internal roaming is activated, it means that when the network of one mobile operator is down, their customers will still be able to make use of mobile services by connecting to the network of another mobile provider.

In Sint Maartens’ case; in the event the Telcell mobile network is compromised, their mobile customers would still able to connect via the Chippie network, and in the event the Chippie network is compromised, their mobile customers would be still to connect via the Telcell network.

In the unfortunate event that Sint Maarten again gets hit by a hurricane, and it has been determined by BTP that island wide mobile coverage is no longer guaranteed to the residents of Sint Maarten due to damages on the Telecom networks, BTP will advise the Prime Minister via the EOC-Structure to effectuate a Ministerial Decree that allows for internal roaming. The internal roaming will then remain in effect as long as the country is in a state of emergency. Confirmed article 8 of “rampenbestijding” and Article 40 through 42 of the “Landsveroderning Telecommunicatie.

The director of BTP Mr. Anthony Carty stated: “Even though BTP has the legal tools to execute the sharing of networks when the country is in a state of emergency, collaboration between parties is preferred whereby there is no room for competing at that particular point. In an emergency situation all stakeholders in the industry need to come together and work together to provide services to the end users, and making sure that they are connected and be able to communicate with emergency responders and their love-ones on- and off the island. Carty continued: “we do not have any control over when the next major hurricane will hit us, but we do have control over the preparation process. That’s why BTP will continue to make efforts to get all stakeholders in the Telecom industry to the table, and continue to work in the best interest of the island”.

“We have a common goal and BTP will continue to develop and update policies, implement service standards and provide guidance to the industry and ministry to further improve telecommunication services on St. Maarten”.

Annual hurricane season clean-up underway.

GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- Ministry of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Development and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI), hereby informs the community that the annual hurricane season clean-up has started by the various waste haulage companies throughout the residential districts in the country.

Several of the waste haulage companies have published their schedules in the newspaper with respect to the picking up of bulk and other yard items.

The responsible waste haulage company, district and schedule is as follows for those who missed it:

All Waste In Place N.V.
PHILIPSBURG: July, 18th to July 24th, 2018
SIMPSONBAY: July, 25th to July 31st, 2018
BEACON HILL: August, 1st to August 7th, 2018
CUPECOY: August 8th, to August 14th, 2018

DEFIANCE: June 18th to June 22nd, 2018
MIDDLE REGION (until Madame Estate by the bakery): June 25th to June 29th, 2018
DAWN BEACH: July 2nd to July 6th , 2018

S.M. Green Diamond N.V.
Point Blanche Area/Sucker Garden Area: June 23rd to June 24th, 2018
Guana Bay/Hope Estate Area/Madame Estate/ Over the Pond Areas: June 30th to July 1st, 2018
Dutch Quarter/Union Farm/Nazareth: July 7th to July 8th, 2018
Belvedere Area/Bishop Hill: July 14th to July 15th, 2018

Leonard Enterprises N.V.
Dr. Tjon Sie Fat Drive, Narrow Road, Union Road, Fahrenheit Street, Water Rock Lane, Arlet Peters Road, Cashew Tree Road: June 16th, 2016
Well Road, Wellington Road, Orange Grove Road, Waterfront Road, Diamond Estate, Welfare Road, Windsor Road, Cay Bay Road: June 23rd, 2016
Pelican and Billy Folly Road: July 7th, 2018

Robelto & Sons N.V.
St. Peters: Saturday July 07th, 2018
St. Peters: Sunday July 08th, 2018
South Reward: Saturday July 14th, 2018
Saunders – Betty Estate – Ebenezer – St. Johns Estate: Sunday July 15th, 2018
Cay Hill - Bush Road: Saturday July 21st, 2018
Fort Willem – Coralita Road: Sunday July 22nd, 2018
Some of the waste haulage companies have been busy moving through certain districts since June 16.

Ministry VROMI is requesting residents to take note of the above schedule for their respective district and to take the opportunity to clean-up and around their yards and get rid of items that they no longer need.

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