We thank to Bren Romney and to his team for great cooperation for having well organised, successful OCTA Innovation Thematic Workshop in Anguilla on 11-12 of October 2018.
Anguilla two days thematic workshop was held in line with OCTA Innovation’s mission which is to strengthen sustainable development through innovation for economic development and diversification, to improve regional and global competitiveness of the European Union’s Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs).
In most OCTs, tourism is a major opportunity for development and growth. But not any type nor visitor volume respond to the goals of the OCTs and their populations. Innovative and creative tourism activities, facilities and services as an effective way to compete in the larger international tourism marketplace have been discussed. Workshop initiated and highlighted relevance of tailored innovative solutions, creative attractions and visitor services to be more successful in securing constant growth and overcoming geopolitical issues and natural disasters.
Sint Maarten is currently finding solutions to the waste management as part of the recovery efforts. Debris management project has started. With financial support through the World Bank trust fund, paid for by the Netherlands, a study is done to get a good overview of the situation. Finding an innovative, sustainable solution is part of this endeavor.
The project would focus on managing the debris in the country and reducing the associated environmental, health and social risks.
Sint Maarten is recognized as regional air transport hub and is a major destination for large cruise ships in the Caribbean. It is known for its casinos, exotic drinks, jewelry and nightlife and largely depends on tourism. The Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Jorien Wuite organized a Creative Industries Interactive Exchange Forum, CIIEF, on March 21st, 2018 with an aim to encourage and fuel sensitization of the arts as a valuable contributor to the socio-economic sphere as well as to recognize and stimulate the role of the arts in the healing process of the island- especially amongst its young people. Innovation manager Jude Huston confirmed high interest in enhancing creative industry.
Trade and export incentives for entrepreneurs of the Caribbean Netherlands and the Caribbean countries within the Kingdom.
As of 1 January 2018, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has opened up the instruments for trade and export promotion to all entrepreneurs in the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom. Entrepreneurs with export ambitions from Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, St. Eustatius and Sint Maarten can now take part in these instruments.
WeConnect , Dutch educational foundation in cooperation with Wageningen University & Research (WUR), is organising the meet-up ‘Sustainable Caribbean’ on Friday January 12, 2018.
The focus is on green and sustainable initiatives on the Caribbean islands and on how to liaise Antillean and Aruban students and young professionals with these projects. It is one of WeConnect’s initiatives to turn the brain drain on the islands into a brain gain and thus reinforcing the local employment market with homegrown talents.Read more
This letter from the European Parliament (EP) is requesting the European Commission (EC) to treat both Sint Maarten and Saint Martin equally with regards to the EU funding they can access for the reconstruction of the entire island. The French side due to its status as a European OR has access to many EU funding sources such as the solidarity fund and the newly adopted natural disaster fund that offer financial assistance for reconstruction after natural disasters. Last Wednesday during a debate at the EP many Dutch and French MEPs reiterated the need for the equal treatment of both sides of the island. The message being that we are all EU citizens and should therefore in times of dire need be treated equally and not abandoned by the EU. The Commissioner present promised after the debate to do all within his power to help. Although this will be a long process, it is a battle worth fighting, not only for Sint Maarten, but for islands, such as, Anguilla, St. Barths, Saba, Statia, BVI and TCI that have the same status as we do on the Dutch side. We have all been hit by hurricane Irma and need to do all within our power to acquire external assistance in order to rebuild our countries in a more sustainable manner to the paradises they have always been.
It is the cost of the region’s unimaginable natural beauty that, by the caprice of fate, there is the periodic risk of ruin. There is nothing to be said of this past week’s tragedies that has not yet been said, and our hearts go out to the people who died.What needs to be said is this: the Caribbean will rebuild. Caribbean people: they cannot be defeated. They rebuild, they restore and they live again.
It will not be easy, it may not be quick, but it will happen.
Missions to BVI and St. Martin were very short but very engaging and promising. Two meetings with the Premier of British Virgin Islands, honourable Dr. Orlando Smith, and a meeting with the Prime Minister of St. Maarten, honourable William Marlin as well as multiple meetings with innovation directors and key stakeholders, were very fruitful due to the progress of moving from consultations and innovation strategies to actual implementation of the strategies.
Particularly meetings with head of governments and extensive discussions on how to how to implement innovation as well as to make innovation sustainable during and especially after the end of the project. Establishing innovation ecosystem and developing different innovation supporting instruments and enhancing public private partnership have been recognized as priorities.
Mission of Milan Jezic von Gesseneck, OCTA Innovation Team Leader to Sint-Maarten on 10th and 11th August 2017 assisted in progressing on different innovation issues on the island. The key innovation person in Sint-Maarten is Jude Houston, Innovation Director for Sint-Maarten. All meetings and actions have been developed and coordinated by Jude Houston.
Very key meeting was with Prime Minister Honourable William Marlin and his collaborators Marc Arnold, Cassandra Janssen and Jude Houston. Prime Minister Honourable William Marlin confirmed enthusiasm and optimism for accelerating implementation Innovation for sustainable growth in Sint-Maarten. Innovation is now regarded as the vehicle towards improvement of this country’s economic competitiveness.
The Secretary General H.G.A. Plantijn LL.M. shown keen interest in systemic innovation and in the manner how to progress with systemic innovation implementation.
Marc Arnold and his team from the department of the Interior and Government relations, Olivia Lake and Thijn Laurensse, evaluated opportunities to move towards innovation in several aspects: internal restructuring, innovation board reestablishment and developing different instruments for propelling innovation. There was discussion on regional experience and practice, as well as exchange of information and how to enhance having more synergy.
Dr. Francio Guadeloupe, Dean of the University has highlighted high engagement of the university in promoting academic tourism as one of the ways where OCT has benefit in synergy of capacity-building, education, training and attractive locations of the OCTs. Furthermore was discussed cooperation based on exclusive academic experience of Dr. Francio Guadeloupe in several OCTs.
During his stay in Sint-Maarten, OCTA Innovation Team leader also had the opportunity to meet Mervyn Butcher, from the Permits and licences & Economic control department to discuss about the fishery issues including regional cooperation with Anguilla and Saint-Martin.