PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - As a Member of Parliament, I would like to commend the Minister of Education for the tough measures taken against NIPA Board for not cooperating with Government and submitting their audited financial reports.
 
I have been very critical in Parliament in the previous public meetings that if the NIPA Board did not cooperate the only way to get their attention would be to put their subsidy on hold and have SOAB audit them, until Government makes the necessary changes in its policy for subsidized institutions. An audit by SOAB would bring a lot to light of the Institution in which the students, staff and Management have been complaining for months.

I have never expect certain individuals to act this way on the current Board of NIPA. There is already the unlawful dismissal of the Director and so many other issues such as clarity to the staff's pension. Do the worker's pension payments go towards the St. Maarten Pension Fund APS?
 
This is a serious issue which needs to be looked into among Foundations and School Boards. A Government subsidy should not be used for paying court cases because that money is earmarked for the school programs and payment of operational expenses. Legal expenses are only a part of the operational expenses and cannot be used because of inefficiency by Management to usurp the rights of the personnel.

The NIPA crises is a proper wake up call for Government and board members at other foundations and government owned companies, who feel once appointed by Government they can do as they please and that they can't be held accountable for their actions. The type of steps taken by Minister Jacobs makes the board members behave more responsibly in carrying out their duties instead of playing politics with their appointments. Some of them are not working in the general interest of the institution and St. Maarten

I am looking forward to the Minister of Education presenting Parliament with her written updated report about NIPA. I am also looking forward for Parliament to start addressing the structure and changes of the articles of incorporation for Foundations and Government Owned Companies.  I am also not too impressed on how the current Supervisory Board of two members without a Chairperson is handling the affairs of Cadastre, and not adhering to Government’s request to present their financials and other requested documents to the Ombudsman.  Government needs to restructure these Boards and Foundations to better serve the general interest of the foundation and St. Maarten. 
 
This phenomena is happening not only at NIPA, but at the St. Maarten Housing Foundation, Cadastre, but also on other Boards.  We can't continue using the same old articles and policies. Government needs to restructure the monster they have created with these Foundations giving them the full arm’s length authority and by doing so allowing the Board Members to feel like they are their own little Government and are untouchable and subsequently not adhering to the rules set by Government to receive subsidy.
 
Government also has to understand they can't use Boards for political decisions and that there needs to be checks and balances set within these institutions to prevent wasteful spending.  Government needs to enforce the law and put the proper checks and balances in place in these foundations and government owned companies. They have to be updated and held accountable, since integrity, transparency, screening and accountability are at the forefront of Government.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten A letter was sent on February 2nd 2016 to the President of Parliament requesting an urgent meeting with the Minister of Education Youth Affairs and Sports on the issues related to the National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA).

Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Cornelius De Weever and MP Tamara Leonard, supported the request for an urgent meeting taken into consideration the press releases and recent newspaper articles that highlight the management, financial dilemma, court cases, lack of payment to the staff of NIPA.

The responsible minister is being requested to give an account on the ongoing issues as the reputation, the continuity of NIPA and the quality of education is at stake.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Minister Emil Lee of Public Health, Social Development & Labor would like to applaud and congratulate Mr. Cylred Richardson, Head of the Ambulance Department for taking the initiative to empower his staff to participate in the certification and recertification of an EMD course.

The constantly evolving Priority Dispatch System (PDS) will help provide the highest standard of care to the community, allowing Emergency Medical Dispatchers, to better manage limited resources and increase the accuracy and efficiency of the dispatching process.

Ambulance Department Dispatchers took part in a three day certification and recertification training course from Monday February 1st through Wednesday February 3rd 2016 in the Medical Priority Dispatch System™ (MPDS®) to better serve the citizens of St. Maarten in emergency situations. Several Police Dispatchers were also in attendance.

Dispatchers were trained in using the Medical Priority Dispatch System™ which: follow internationally recognized standards, give universal, consistent care and service to every caller, gather critical emergency call information for responders, identify life-threatening situations, safely prioritize calls for appropriate and fast response and provide “Zero Minute” Dispatch Life Support using Pre-Arrival and Post-Dispatch Instructions.

Using the Medical protocol enables dispatchers to accurately assess each emergency situation and increases safety for both citizens and responders. One key benefit of the Ambulance Department dispatchers is to provide a constant stream of crucial and updated scene information to field responder’s en-route to an emergency call. This information will better prepare responders to give precise assistance when they arrive at the scene.

The Priority Dispatch System™ (PDS™) includes cardsets, a three-day certification training course for emergency dispatchers, and continual quality improvement (QI) benchmarks and training. All dispatchers who work within the system are certified by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch® (IAED) and must recertify every two years, completing 24 hours of continuing dispatch education (CDE) and passing all requirements for IAED recertification.

The certification and recertification training class covered protocol layout, function and use. The dispatchers received instruction on each of the protocols in the Medical Priority Dispatch System™ to include how and why questions are asked in gathering information to assist patients and responders.

Dispatchers receive instruction on using Pre-Arrival and Post-Dispatch Instructions to deliver care to patients before arrival of responders. Further, during the instructional time dispatchers also review call management techniques.

Use of the PDS allows communications centers to assess the quality of the care they are providing their communities, allowing them to make positive adjustments to training and staff in response to these assessments. The training was executed by national quality coordinator Mr. Iggi Dulzaides of Priority Dispatch Corporation from USA.

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago - Cancers are the second leading cause of death in the Caribbean region. 

Breast cancer is the main cause of death among females, followed by cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable, yet it claims the lives of a large number of women in the Caribbean each year.

The majority of cancer deaths in Caribbean men are due to prostate cancer, followed by lung cancer. Lung cancer also contributes to a high number of deaths among women.  Colon and rectum cancer is the third leading cause of death in the region.     

Dr. Joy St. John, CARPHA Director of Surveillance, Disease Prevention and Control said “Cancer cases in the Region are on the rise and also affecting younger persons. 

The large number of deaths from breast and cervical cancer in the Caribbean is very alarming, since cervical cancer is largely preventable, and breast cancer can be detected early and treated successfully. Participation in screening programs is strongly encouraged for prevention of cervical cancer and early detection of breast and colon and rectum cancers.”

Tobacco use, unhealthy diets, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol are common modifiable risk factors that contribute to the development of cancers. “Research has shown that a reduction in the modifiable risk factors in the population will contribute to a reduction of cancer cases and as a consequence deaths and costs from the disease in our region, stated Dr. St John.    

World Cancer Day observances for 2016, as well as 2017 and 2018 will share the same theme: "We can. I can."We can”, collectively, inspire action, create healthy environments, build a quality workforce and shape policy change. As an individual "I can" understand that early detection saves lives. I can support others, and work to make healthy lifestyle choices.

CARPHA continues to support member countries as they address the growing epidemic of non-communicable diseases (including cancer) in the population.  The Agency provides support and advice to countries in the identification of suitable interventions for impacting behavior change in the population, thereby reducing the risks for cancer.    

The Caribbean Cancer Registry Hub will be launched this year at CARPHA’s Annual Research Conference scheduled for June this year, in Turks and Caicos.  This Hub will facilitate the strengthening of the surveillance of cancers and provide much needed data to support cancer prevention and control in our Region.

CARPHA encourages persons to adopt healthier lifestyles by avoiding the use of tobacco, reducing the harmful use of alcohol including binge drinking, increasing daily intake of fruits and vegetables and becoming physically active to reduce the high levels of overweight and obesity seen in our countries.  Increased use of screening services available for cervical cancer, breast cancer and cancer of the colon is also recommended.  In addition, vaccines for Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Hepatitis B are important tools to prevent cervical cancer and liver cancer, respectively.  For those persons already affected by cancer, countries need to work towards improving patient management and facilitating access to quality medications which will improve the quality of life for cancer patients.   

Let us all act now to make the lifestyle changes which will result in reducing our lifetime risk of contracting cancer “We can…I can”!!

ST. JOHNS, Antigua - In the rapidly changing world of Telecommunications the Government of Antigua & Barbuda has “changed the game” by implementing a telecommunications management system which now allows their regulatory authority, the Antigua & Barbuda Telecommunications Division (ABTD), to automate the oversight required in the constantly evolving telecommunications sector.

 

The innovative software, manages the myriad of operational duties, simultaneously, that ABTD is mandated to perform when protecting and enforcing the licensed use of spectrum across the nation. The integrated Telecommunications Management System (iTMS), is a crucial step forward.

 

Mr. Daryl Jackson, Telecommunications Officer, at the ABTD stated that the “iTMS now provides one version of the truth” and is “customized for ABTD’s requirements”.

Now the ABTD has the most advanced software available for managing the unique and complex challenges faced by regulatory authorities in the Caribbean.

 

Spectrum is the scarce resource that enables internet connectivity, mobile phones, aircraft and shipping communications plus broadcasters on AM, FM, and TV frequencies, along with a host of other telecommunications practices. The ABTD is responsible for managing all of the nation’s valuable spectrum resource, telecommunications licensing and the allocation of spectrum frequency.

Ms Joan Joseph, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information, Broadcasting, Telecommunications, Science & Technology reviewed the system during the implementation with both the ABTD and PW Consulting project teams on Wednesday January 28, 2016.

The Canadian company, that built and installed the system celebrated the milestone in a typically Canadian ice hockey fashion when Ms. Joseph "dropped the puck" to symbolize the accomplishment.

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