Sint Maarten – National Development Plan

Sint Maarten – National Development Plan

The Government of Sint Maarten has embarked on a process for collective national visioning and national development planning entitled “Building a Nation: Sint Maarten National Development Plan and

Institutional Strenghening“.

Elaborated with the support of UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), the National Development Plan will provide a strategic vision for Sint Maarten, a

“shared national vision” and a document outlining future national development that will concentrate on development areas that will improve and advance

the social, economic, cultural and environmental situation.

The elaboration of the Plan depends on pending consultations with civil servants, then with the public and private sectors and civil society.

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The Westin St. Maarten Goes Solar

The Westin St. Maarten Goes Solar

The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa, St. Maarten has utilized solar panels to increase sustainability and replace its energy consumption throughout the resort. The Westin Dawn Beach is the first St. Maarten resort, the first Westin hotel or resort in the world, and the only major resort in the Caribbean to implement the use of solar power. The resort began taking advantage of the island’s abundance of sunshine in 2007 with the installation of solar panels to heat the water used in the property’s guest rooms. Now, the Westin St. Maarten is completing a solar installation that allows the resort to produce six to eight hours of its own power during peak times.

The resort’s owner, Columbia Sussex Corporation, working with OneWorld Sustainable, has completed the installation of 2,602 Lightway solar panels for a total system capacity of 755 kilowatts. The completed solar system will produce approximately 1,223,000 Kilowatt hours per year. This is enough electricity to power 111 average sized American homes. The system will avoid 1.9 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions or the equivalent of CO2 emissions from energy used by 43 homes annually, or 707 acres of forest preserved from deforestation by carbon sequestering.

To install the panels and mounting hardware, OneWorld Sustainable worked with a local St. Maarten company whose employees provided valuable assistance during the three month-long project. OneWorld Sustainable’s President, Tim Blackwell, states, “In very few places around the world does it make better sense to utilize the power of the sun to generate electricity than in the Caribbean.”

Dan Szydlowski, Regional Director, states, “With sunshine nearly guaranteed year round, we saw only positive attributes to making this capital and environmental investment.”

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Regional Innovation Workshop in Sint Maarten, 5-7 October

Regional Innovation Workshop in Sint Maarten, 5-7 October

Caribbean regional workshop will take place 5-7 October 2015 at Sint Maarten. The main aim of the activity is to improve OCTs and OCTA’s capacities and ensure better exchange of experience and expertise in Innovation by gathering the IMs and other relevant stakeholders in regional workshops and a project conference, which would contribute to facilitate the development, access and update of an effective innovation network.

Sint Maarten workshop will be attended by Innovation Managers and stakeholders from 15 OCTs (Anguilla, Aruba, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Falkland Islands, Greenland, Montserrat, Saba, Saint-Barthélemy, Saint Helena, Ascension, Tristan da Cunha Islands, Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten and Turks and Caicos Islands), and regional stakeholders from Trinidad, Barbados, Guyana as well as from the European Union.

Emphasis should be done on the entrepreneurship, especially on the Micro and Small enterprises active in blue and green economy; on biodiversity protection and on the creation of the set of the policy measures to support economic growth driven by the knowledge and innovation at the OCTs.

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The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approves US$100 million for Caribbean energy facility

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approves US$100 million for Caribbean energy facility

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has said it will support a proposal by Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to establish a multi-donor energy facility for Caribbean sustainability.

The prime minister made the announcement on Monday night at a political meeting of her United National Congress (UNC) party.

She said the bank has agreed to provide US$100 million to co-finance projects in the energy sector over the next six years.

“This will enable promotion of energy diversification, energy efficiency and a reliable supply of alternative fuels at a reduced cost in the Caribbean. It is very exciting because it will bring stability, security and sustainability to our region,” Persad-Bissessar said.

She added that it would help Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean.

“Recently CARICOM declared its unequivocal support for the initiative. So you see with my government, Trinidad and Tobago is leading and energising the region,” she said.

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Minister of Justice Richardson Welcomes Colleague Ministers from Curaçao and Aruba

Minister of Justice Richardson Welcomes Colleague Ministers from Curaçao and Aruba

(Phlipsburg, Sint Maarten) On 8 June 2015, Minister of Justice Hon. Dennis Richardson on Friday welcomed at the Princess Juliana International Airport colleague Ministers of Justice from Curaçao and Aruba, Nelson Navarro and Arthur Dowers.

Dutch Minister of Security and Justice Hon. Ard van der Steur arrived on Sunday. The ministers arrived for a Kingdom Judicial Top Consultation that is being hosted by Sint Maarten.

Source (Soualiga Newsday, Sint Maarten)

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St. Maarten: Regional Authorising Officer (RAO) for the 11th EDF

St. Maarten: Regional Authorising Officer (RAO) for the 11th EDF

[PHILIPSBURG] St. Maarten is the Regional Authorising Officer (RAO) for the 11th EDF Regional Program. The announcement was made at the Annual Overseas Countries and Territories Association (OCTA) Ministerial Conference and the 13th Annual OCTA/EU Forum from February 25 to 27 in Tortola. Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs signed the ratification document formalising this status.

This is the result of a nomination proposed by Montserrat in 2014 and ratified by the remaining 11 Caribbean OCTs in a vote by consensus. In this function St. Maarten will be responsible for the coordination, cooperation, programming, implementation and closing of the projects selected within the area of Sustainable Energy and Marine Biodiversity that will benefit all Caribbean OCTs as well as the wider Caribbean region.

A delegation from St. Maarten attended a series of events at the conference, namely, the Regional Conference for Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories, Trilateral Consultations, OCTA Ministerial Conference and the OCT-EU Forum. These meetings are a yearly requirement for the Overseas Countries and Territories.

The St. Maarten Delegation comprised of five (5) persons namely Prime Minister Gumbs who is also the and Territorial Authorising Officer (TAO) of Sint Maarten, he was accompanied by Mr. Marc Arnold, Deputy Territorial Authorizing Officer and Department Head Interior and Kingdom Relations, Ms. Khalilah Peters, Department Head of Foreign Relations, Ms. Olivia Lake, Policy Advisor Donor Coordination and EU Relations and Ms. Carol Voges, St. Maarten Representative in the Netherlands for EU Relations/OCTA Treasurer.

The Regional Conference
The European Commission, in cooperation with the Chairman of the Association of Overseas Countries and Territories (ОСТА) and Premier of British Virgin Islands hosted the Regional Conference for Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories, on February 23 and 24, 2015.

The outcome of the meeting delivered the topics for the 11th EDF OCT Regional Program which were Sustainable Energy and Marine Biodiversity. The regional program will mobilize a grant envelope of € 40 million over the coming six years.

Trilateral Consultations
Each OCT, also attended their required Trilateral Consultation with the European Commission, the member state, in this case the Netherlands and the OCT i.e. Sint Maarten. These dialogues are required at the minimum of four (4) times per year. The consultations concerned mainly the the aspects that relate to the European financial partnerships such as the recently completed 9th EDF, ongoing 10th EDF and future 11th EDF Programmes but also the French Dutch Cooperation program, OP-ETC and the upcoming RAO function that Sint Maarten will represent during the 11th EDF Regional Programme.

Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories Council Meeting
The core objective of this Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories Council is to promote wider regional cooperation within the OCTs. It is presently a political platform to discuss on areas of regional cooperation.

During the meeting, a presentation was given by the Regional Council of Martinique to present the upcoming Caribbean Consultative meeting in preparation for the COP21 meeting to be held in Paris in December 2015. The regional council of Martinique also made use of this opportunity to propose the organization of a forum to allow OCTs and ORs concerns to be better channelled to international organizations.

Further to this, the new Chair, Secretary and Vice Chair were elected. The British Virgin Islands will be the Chair of the COCTC Council as well as Secretary and the Vice Chair is Saba for the period 2015 and thus incoming Chair for 2016.

During this meeting, formal ratification of St. Maarten as the RAO was done through the signing of the ratification document by the heads of the countries represented in the council. This document was later presented to the European Commission.

Ministerial Conference

The Ministerial Conference held on February 26th, 2015 is OCTA’s highest body, composed of representatives of each member government in the persons of the heads of government or designated members of the governments of OCTs accompanied by their delegations. The objective of the conference is to define policies, approve budgets and elects the chair of the ministerial conference as well as members and the president of the executive committee. The ministerial conference has all powers necessary to fulfil the association’s objectives.

During the Ministerial Conference in BVI, the most noteworthy aspects of the conference included the election of the new OCTA Chair, Prime Minister of Curacao, the Honourable Ivar Asjes, and the OCTA Vice Chair, Prime Minister of Aruba, the Honourable Mike Eman.
The Ministerial Conference also initiated the process of formulating an OCTA strategy for the 2016-2020 period to be adopted at the next OCTA Ministerial Conference. The Executive Committee will consolidate the main conclusions of these discussions and finalize the OCTA strategy by the end of May 2015.
OCT-EU Forum
The core objective of the OCT-EU Forum is to bring together the OCT Authorities with the Member State, members from the EU Commission, members from the European Parliament, the European Investment Bank (EIB), and when appropriate as in this case, member of the Outermost Regions for dialogue. It is an annual requirement as described in the legal basis for OCT-EU partnership, the Overseas Association Decision.

A part of the forum included two round table events with the topics Regional Cooperation: unlocking the potential of OCTs and Sustainable Use of Natural Resources: Thematic Cooperation in the Context of the 11th EDF for OCTs.

The outcome of the meeting delivered the final topics for the 11th EDF OCT Thematic Program, proposed during the OCTA Ministerial Conference which were Sustainable Energy and Climate Change with Focus on Disaster Risk Reduction. The RAO for the Thematic Programme was also elected and will be executed by OCTA due to the global nature of the programme i.e. all of the world’s OCTs will be engaged in this programme.

During the forum, the draft Political Declaration and Administrative Resolution proposed during the OCTA Ministerial were approved and signed by each Delegation present. Finally, the draft conclusions of the plenary sessions held during the Ministerial were also finalized and distributed.

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