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PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - In May 2014, the incoming President of the Caribbean Development Bank, Dr. Warren Smith, asserted that “over the next 10 years, some US$30 billion will be required to modernize and enhance the efficiency of the power, transportation, telecommunications, and water and wastewater sectors”.

The need is real, but the challenges are significant. For many investors the Caribbean isn’t on the radar screen. And for those that are looking at the region, there are significant issues around viability, project risk and financing.

Against this backdrop CIBC FirstCaribbean recently announced that it has joined forces with IJGlobal, the infrastructure arm of Euromoney Institutional Investor, and New Energy Events, the host of the annual Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum (CREF), to launch the Caribbean Infrastructure Finance Forum (CARIF) in Nassau, The Bahamas in December, 2016.

PHILIPSBURG, St.Maarten It may well be the perfect opportunity to drive away in the car of your dreams for Christmas or the coming New Year!

The CIBC FirstCaribbean Auto Car Show to be held this Friday November 25th offers a great opportunity for customers to get the car of their dreams.The event features  three car dealers and offers attractive financing and quick responses on financing requests. 

The auto show will take place at the Sister Borgia Elementary School from 6.00p.m. until 10.00p.m. Motorworld, Sint Martin Cars and Real Auto will all be present offering cars with big discounts on the price tags. 

The CIBC FirstCaribbean Black Friday Auto Show promises to live up to the spirit of a Black Friday with cars at discount prices, customers will get quick approval of loan requests and financing will be available at a low rate interest rate.

CUL-DE-SAC, St. Maarten – The offices of the general pension fund, APS, were on Monday the venue for several presentations made to St. Maarten’s Minister of Finance, Richard Gibson Sr., by officials of the pension fund.

The presentations marked the minister’s first official visit to the APS offices, during which the latter was welcomed by APS Chairman of the board Franklyn Richards and Director Nadya van Putten. The finance minister subsequently met the remaining members of the board and personnel present.

Following a tour of the APS offices, located at Yogesh Commercial Center, minister Gibson was provided with in-depth information regarding many past, ongoing and future developments related to APS as St. Maarten’s general pension fund administrator.

The minister received confirmation that the 2015 APS budget and year report was submitted in a timely manner.

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago - Exposure to toxic chemicals found in household cleaning products, processed foods and even clothing can severely damage a person’s health.  Dr. Ahmad Khan, Director, Basel Convention Regional Centre for Training and Technology Transfer for the Caribbean (BCRC-Caribbean) stated that some pesticides, cleaning agents and industrial chemicals contain hazardous properties, which can cause cancer, developmental delays, dysfunction of the reproductive organs and reduce immunity.

Dr Khan explained that one particular group of these toxic chemicals is referred to as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPS).  He added that exposure to POPS can be through direct contact with the chemicals, consumption of contaminated foods or environmental exposure (by air, water and soil).  In light of this, Dr Khan emphasized the need for the Caribbean region to make the management of toxic chemicals to protect human health and the environment a priority.

GREAT BAY, St. Maarten – The St. Maarten Tourist Bureau (STB) reported on Friday that Jacinth Hunkins, a 15 year old student of the St. Maarten Academy School, placed first in the Senior Division of the Annual Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) essay contest.

This year’s essay competition theme was “If you were a cruise passenger, what would you like to see and do in your destination”.

As the winner in her age group, Jacinth was invited to accept her prize of a cash scholarship of US$ 3,000 and a plague from FCCA, at the FCCA Caribbean Cruise Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico with all travel expenses paid.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Emil Lee, Minister of Public Health, Social Development & Labor and representatives from the Ministry recently attended the 11th Annual Caribbean conference on National Health Financing Initiatives which took place in Bonaire. In addition to representatives of the Ministry of VSA, representatives from SZV and the SMMC were also present.

As Sint Maarten embarks on plans for National Health Insurance, the Ministry attended the conference as an important part of the research process. Minister Lee mentioned “Many other countries have launched National Health Insurance schemes. We believe that much can be learned from the successes, failures and challenges that others in the Caribbean have learned.

CARIBBEAN NETHERLANDS - On November 7th, the Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs (DUO) will inform the public about the repayment of student loans on (island). Former students who have studied with a student loan of DUO in the Netherlands, have been invited for an information session.

Students who have ended their education in the Netherlands in 2014, must start repaying their student loans as from January 1st, 2017. Is the income too low to pay the monthly amount? DUO can take this into account in many cases. DUO organizes for them an information session to explain what the reimbursement rules are and how payment problems can be prevented.

GEORGE TOWN, Grand Cayman – The head of Jamaica’s largest farmers’ association says the rest of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) can draw on his country’s experience as the region continues to battle with its US$5 billion annual food import bill.

Norman Grant, president of the Jamaica Agriculture Society (JAS), an umbrella association of farmers, noted that Jamaica, through its “Grow What We Eat and Eat What We Grow” Campaign has over the last decades made some progress in curbing the amount of money leaving the country to buy food overseas.

He told a session dubbed “Sustainable and Profitable Value Chains in the Caribbean” during Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA), taking place here this week, that developed countries celebrate the fact that they attained that status through agriculture.

Grant told regional stakeholders that the campaign, which was launched in 2003, appealed to Jamaica’s 2.7 million citizens and its more than 220,000 farmers.

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Barbados Culture Minister Stephen Lashley is urging local businesses to use the Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA) to be held here in 2017 as an opportunity to showcase their services and their goods to the world.

“I hope you’ve thought a lot about the creative sector. There are many opportunities, within the CARIFESTA experience…I want you to factor in how business and entrepreneurs will respond to the opportunity of CARIFESTA,” Lashley said as he addressed the media launch of the Global Entrepreneurship Week, held at the Cave Hill School of Business.

It is being held under the theme “Building Sustainable Businesses”.

Mr President Broekrs-Knol and members of the 1st Chamber, through this I draw your attention to note my previous letter dated October 18, 2016 addressed to your Chamber and the Minister on the bills 33131, 34341 Public Entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. Here we warn you that you are planning to; violating the self-determination rights, violating human rights, violating principles of rule of law and democracy of the peoples of Bonaire and St. Eustatius, who have rejected the current state structure in various referendums in 2014 and 2015.

You are expected to recognize the international recognition of the self-determination of the Bonerian peoples and that this right is not accessory to Dutch politicians and administrators and nevertheless to Bonairean politicians and administrators, but belong specifically to the people of Bonaire (and St. Eustatius).

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