St. Maarten

IATA Interested in SXM Aviation Training Academy

SIMPSON BAY, St. Maarten — The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is showing keen interest in partnering with the Princess Juliana International Airport, SXM, with its Aviation Training Academy. This was revealed at a recent meeting held between a delegation of SXM led by managing director Regina LaBega and representatives of IATA’s Training and Development Institute (ITDI) upon the latter’s invitation, at their regional office in Miami.
ITDI expressed great interest in exploring SXM’s needs, but more importantly wanted to determine how it could be part of SXM aviation training plans through a possible partnership. ITDI offers training in all areas related to the aviation industry except for the training of pilots.

L-R: Regina LaBega, SXM Managing Director, Suzy Kartokromo, SXM Acting Manager, Customer Service Department, Gurjit Gill, Manager, Training Partners and Business Development, Theresa Light,  Manager, Regional Training Center The Americas  (both of ITDI), and Lionel van der Walt, IATA Area Manager for the Caribbean. (SXM photo)
L-R: Regina LaBega, SXM Managing Director, Suzy Kartokromo, SXM Acting Manager, Customer Service Department, Gurjit Gill, Manager, Training Partners and Business Development, Theresa Light, Manager, Regional Training Center The Americas (both of ITDI), and Lionel van der Walt, IATA Area Manager for the Caribbean. (SXM photo)

According to LaBega, SXM Airport is interested in identifying training areas that would set it aside from the rest of the pack. The discussions therefore focused primarily on the excellent opportunity that presents itself due to the fact that the entire region is in need of an aviation training academy, especially in filling the void in training for the French Caribbean.
“As a multi-lingual destination, SXM can fill this void,” LaBega said.
The possible partnership with IATA in establishing the Aviation Training Academy would result in SXM Airport being fully endorsed by IATA and Airport Council International (ACI) as an IATA Regional Training Host. This in turn would mean that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) would certify SXM Aviation Training Academy.
As an IATA Regional Training Host, the SXM Aviation Training Academy would be authorized to host IATA classroom courses on its premises, and thus be included in the global IATA classroom schedule.
The Academy would also create high-skilled jobs for potential trainers and enhance business in a number of sectors, such as accommodation, car rentals, restaurants, supermarkets, etc. It would similarly attract business from the region, as trainees from all across the Caribbean would be able to make use of it.
“Some European countries have also indicated that they would consider training their staff at our Academy when established instead of having to do so in Miami and other areas that may be more expensive,” LaBega disclosed.
For all of this to happen, however, support and cooperation from the Civil Aviation Authority of St. Maarten would be critical, as would be the full cooperation of government.
“St. Maarten’s Civil Aviation Authority are completely on board with regards to this plan,” LaBega said.
ITDI, in its vision of becoming the global aviation-training provider of choice, offers top quality training solutions to aviation and travel professionals worldwide. Its approach is to offer practical and relevant training for professional development in areas such as Air Navigation Services, Ground Operations, Airport Planning, Management and Operations, Cargo, Safety, Dangerous Goods Regulations, and Aviation Law amongst others.
With over 430 Global Training Partners in over 90 countries, ITDI has trained more than 95,000 students through its highly sought after Classroom, Distance Learning, Virtual Classroom and Online training courses.

Photo caption:
L-R: Regina LaBega, SXM Managing Director, Suzy Kartokromo, SXM Acting Manager, Customer Service Department, Gurjit Gill, Manager, Training Partners and Business Development, Theresa Light, Manager, Regional Training Center The Americas (both of ITDI), and Lionel van der Walt, IATA Area Manager for the Caribbean. (SXM photo)

“Cuba has been open for a long time” says Airport Director

PhotoCaption: Regina LaBega (3rd R), at the Airports and Airport Executives Forum of the Airports  Conference of the Americas, held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, August 11 – 13, 2015. (SXM photo)
PhotoCaption: Regina LaBega (3rd R), at the Airports and Airport Executives Forum of the Airports
Conference of the Americas, held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, August 11 – 13, 2015. (SXM photo)

SIMPSON BAY, St. Maarten —“Cuba has been open for quite a long time, albeit to the European, Canadian and Latin American markets in particular. Even travelers from the US have been finding their way into Cuba, sometimes via Canada and other destinations.”

This was the opinion expressed by the managing director of the Princess Juliana International Airport, SXM, Regina LaBega at the Airport and Airport Executives Forum of the Airports Conference of the Americas, held in San Juan, Puerto Rico last Wednesday.

“Even before the historic thawing of relations between the US and Cuba, it was frequently predicted that the so-called re-opening of Cuba would adversely affect tourism in the rest of the Caribbean. However, the facts so far have not borne this out,” said LaBega.

She explained that “in the short term, the effects of the normalization of relations between the US and Cuba are not so visible especially because the process will take some time.” LaBega was an invited guest speaker at the forum of airport executives.

“The cruise sector may begin to feel the impact several months down the road, given the proximity of Cuba to the US and the expected ‘rush’ to see Cuba before it is transformed by the same US tourism which it had been loathe to embrace wholeheartedly in the past,” she said.

“In my opinion,” LaBega continued, “some of the predictions and expectations would seem exaggerated because there is no indication at the moment that the regime in Cuba would drastically change its policy in terms of tourism development. Besides, the infrastructural investments that would be needed to accommodate the influx that is forecast would take several years if not decades to build. These include modern airports.”

All of these, in her view, could as a matter of fact, open up opportunities for countries like Jamaica, which because of their proximity to Cuba, could become a hub for that country. The forum also addressed issues such as the possible expansion of the use of kiosks and programs such as Global Entry in Latin America and the Caribbean and the question of Government Expectations and Business Realities and Capital Improvement Limitations.

LaBega expressed doubts about the feasibility of the Trusted Traveler program in Latin America and the Caribbean “at the moment, given the international climate and the widespread concerns about illegal immigration.”

After listing reasons why she believed the program may not be well-received in the region at present, she added: “What, on the other hand, many Caribbean countries would look favorably on would be a US pre-clearance regime such as exists in Aruba for example.” “We in St. Maarten are very interested in this, as it offers an attractive incentive for US visitors who on returning to the US would not have to be cleared by the US CBP again,” said the SXM managing director.

Regarding government expectations and business realities, LaBega explained the corporate structure of the Princess Juliana International Airport Operating Company, PJIAE, which limits direct government intervention and offers the company the flexibility to raise its own funds.

“In my own experience,” she said, “the best way to deal with government involvement is to run a professional, profitable, and transparent operation which serves the needs of the community and which projects itself positively on the international scene. It means being a good corporate citizen, and allowing the result of your stewardship to speak for itself. Above all, it requires that one deals with delicate political sensitivities in a mature manner, but always keeping the interest of the company at the forefront.”

“It was a very interesting and quite interactive forum,” LaBega said this week, adding that several participants agreed with her positions, although there were those who held different views as well. Regina LaBega (3rd R), at the Airports and Airport Executives Forum of the Airports Conference of the Americas, held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, August 11 – 13, 2015. (SXM photo)

Victory Christian Academy hosts its first High School Graduation

Shervin Colastica is the first of his immediate family to graduate from high school and was determined to do so against all odds. An artist with special interests in photography, and interior design he attained a final G.P.A. of 3.43.
Shervin Colastica is the first of his immediate family to graduate from high school and was determined to do so against all odds. An artist with special interests in photography, and interior design he attained a final G.P.A. of 3.43.

WEYMOUTH HILLS, St. Maarten – This Friday morning two students will make history as the first high school graduating class from Victory Christian Academy. The alternative learning school which uses a personalized curriculum to support the various skill levels of students was founded by members of Victory Temple Church of God of Prophecy in Weymouth Hills, St. Peters.

Graduates from the 12th grade are Shervin Colastica and Nicholas Greenaway. Shervin is the first of his immediate family to graduate from high school and was determined to do so against all odds. An artist with special interests in photography, and interior design he attained a final G.P.A. of 3.43.

Nicholas is the son of the principal and had the longest tenure having enrolled since the inception of the school on January 9th 2006. He too loves art with specification in graphic design and a strong mathematician and earned a GPA of 3.94 at graduation.

Nicholas Greenaway is the son of the principal and had the longest tenure having enrolled since the inception of the school on January 9th 2006. He too loves art with specification in graphic design and a strong mathematician and earned a GPA of 3.94 at graduation.
Nicholas Greenaway is the son of the principal and had the longest tenure having enrolled since the inception of the school on January 9th 2006. He too loves art with specification in graphic design and a strong mathematician and earned a GPA of 3.94 at graduation.

The young men are now authors of their own photo-books (on sale at the school) which are collections of photos taken during their time at the school. Both are strong leaders and display character traits of kindness, and generosity – borne out by testimonials from their schoolmate, Sanasha Boodhoo.

“Shervin has helped me to grow as a person and I will miss him when he graduates. Nicholas has taught me what godliness looks like by the way he treats me with respect,” Boodhoo shared.

Both boys have intentions of going off to college; Shervin hopes to do so in Canada, and Nicholas is entertaining Boston or Atlanta.

Also graduating from sixth grade into the high school program is Claudia Morgan. Principal Dianne Greenaway calls Claudia the school’s poster child as she began the program disadvantaged in her reading and math skills and having a difficult time learning in the traditional classroom setting.

“The opportunity to learn at her own pace has seen an overwhelming improvement in her very attitude to her school work. She is an Honor student and the first recipient of the Chairman of the Board Award for achieving and maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA (held for two consecutive academic years,” Greenaway said.

“I am honored to see the day of the first Senior Graduation from this school. The school’s tenure is certainly strengthened as a result of this and we can only continue to hope for many more milestones to come. My pride in Claudia, Shervin, and Nicholas cannot be measured at this moment and my prayers are that they will become as successful as God would have them be. We’ve taught them diligently, we’ve shared many painful, and glorious moments, but they have succeeded against odds that said they wouldn’t. We continue to build the kingdom of God through them, one child at a time.”

The graduation ceremony takes place Friday, February 13 at 10am in the COGOP Fellowship Hall.

ENDS

Publicist: Nerissa Golden, Goldenmedia
www.goldenmedia.co
Email: nerissa@goldenmedia.co

10 Questions on Empowering our Girls with Life Coach Patricia Evers

Life Coach Patricia Evers is also the Editor of I Inspire, for girls.
Life Coach Patricia Evers is also the Editor of I Inspire, for girls.

Life coach Patricia Evers answers 10 Questions about her passion for empowering girls.

1. Who is Patricia Evers?

Answer: Patricia Y. Evers was born on the beautiful island of St.Maarten in the Caribbean; she is the CEO at Inspired Living consulting, she is a Life coach, Motivational speaker, Mentor, Author and Change Agent. A wife and mother of two teenage boys who is passionate about seeing people develop a positive way of thinking and speaking about their situations.

2. Why life coaching?

Answer: After 19 years at the Federal Tax department and many interactions with both adults and youth, I had developed a passion for seeing lives transformed, which prompted me to leave my job to pursue a career as a life and personal development coach. I also embarked on one of my dreams to start an online girl’s magazine. Through many experiences and hardships I learned how to recognize and respond to the changes in my life and to allow the power of God to transform me from the inside out. I am reaping the benefits today and that is the message of change which I offer to the world.

3. There is this push to hire coaches for different aspects of life. Why are coaches important?

Answer: A life coach I believe is the missing link for many in the successful advancement of their lives. A coach will challenge you to utilise and enhance the gifts and abilities you already possess to be able to live the life you want to. A coach will motivate you, encourage you and push to excel beyond what you believe you can achieve. A coach will teach you to set smart goals so you can achieve your dreams and your desired success.

4. Why focus on girls?

Answer: My focus is on girls and young women because I believe as women we are gifted with the power of influence and learning how to use this gift through understanding who they are and having a vision of what they want out of life is important to them having that impact on society.

5. How did your childhood prepare you to mentor young women?

Answer: My childhood was filled with adventures and what I believe was self-discovery. Yes we were taught early on to be responsible. I learned to believe in myself and also that I could do anything I put my mind to do. Back then it was just about competing with my brothers as I was the first girl after four boys. I quickly found my voice and knew very well how to speak up for myself to avoid getting undeserved punishment.

6. How important is faith in your goal to mentor and coach?

Answer: For me my faith is the key to my success, understanding that in myself I do not possess sufficient abilities to be able to assist anyone in their situation. God makes me sufficient. He gives me wisdom and knowledge and understanding of situations that I may not have experienced, but am still able to give wise counsel in them. When you understand also that you can’t take someone where you’ve never been before and having the necessary faith in my situations allowed me to trust God with the outcome.

7. Are our girls more prepared to handle adulthood than previous generations?

Answer: Some of our girls are very strong willed and determined to succeed and I believe they will be a force to be reckoned with in their adulthood; however there are some that need some extra guidance and an extra push in the right direction. Like I said earlier they need to better understand who they are and what they truly want out of life before they can make their mark and leave an indelible impact on society.

8. What will it take to change this?

Answer: I believe in education and personal development and this doesn’t necessarily have to come from a classroom. I believe our girls and young women need more positive role models that are willing to devote some of their time to speak life into this generation. I believe we spend more time talking about the problems with our youth and far too little time investing our time in them so we can take them from a place of perishing to flourishing and from death to life!

9. What are three things that each of us can do to mentor others?

Answer: Three things each of us can do to be a mentor to other is to simply (1) Be genuine and truthful about your intentions. (2) Be an example of what you speak and a positive role model. (3)  Being a mentor requires sacrifice, be ready and willing to make them.

10. How can we connect with you?

Answer: To connect with me visit www.facebook.com/inspire2life | Email me at inspire2life@gmail.com
To get a copy of my book visit: amazon.com/author/p.evers-inspire  | Twitter: @PatriciaEvers |  Skype: patricia.evers40

Rhoda Arrindell: Literacy is a right and responsibility

Rhoda Arrindell-Rotary_July 15_2014GREAT BAY, St. Martin —“What can we do to eradicate illiteracy from our midst?” asked linguist and educator Rhoda Arrindell at the recent meeting of the Rotary Club of St. Maarten Mid-Isle.
Businessman Louis Wever said that The Rotarians invited “a very good speaker, Dr. Arrindell, who updated us all about literacy in our country St. Maarten and where we stand now.” And Rhoda Arrindell had wasted no time in pointing to the club’s eagerness “to do something in this area” of “literacy as a right and a responsibility.”
“Given your track record, I am convinced that you too can make a huge difference in helping to combat illiteracy on our island,” said Dr. Arrindell in her speech. The Mid-Isle Rotary Club also brings together business and professional leaders for community service projects. July is the chapter’s Literacy Month.
“I would suggest … a pilot project that you could start in a district such as Cay Bay, Middle Region, St. Peters or Dutch Quarter, where I believe the problem may be most acute. I will be most willing to volunteer my assistance in designing such a program, should you need me,” said Dr. Arrindell, who has been active for nearly 30 years with volunteer and professional work in education, culture, conferencing, and sports organization.
While sharing World Bank and the territory’s Census figures with the Rotarians and their guests, Arrindell said that, “Statistics for St. Martin (South) are unfortunately hard to find, but my experience in the field points to the fact that illiteracy – both adult, that is over 25 years old, and youth, from 15 – 24 years old – is at an unacceptable level.”
“In fact, according to the 1992 Census figures for our half of the island, the number of illiterates at that time was 1,938 out of a total of 22,631 persons who were not attending school,” said Dr. Arrindell.
“In my opinion, even if that figure were to remain the same today, it would mean we have to close to 2,000 people who cannot read or write in our midst. That would account for almost three seats in Parliament if all of them were able to vote in the coming elections! I will allow you to draw your own conclusions from that,” said Dr. Arrindell.
Rotarian Wever said that Dr. Arrindell’s information, which went further than the usual definition on the subject, was “a very good update for everybody.”
According to Arrindell, “Literacy today is not limited to the ability to read and write alone. There are various other forms of literacy … foremost among them being digital or computer literacy. Add to that financial literacy, science literacy, health literacy and even emotional literacy and … low levels of literacy, and by extension, of education in general, constitute an impediment to the economic and social development of a country in this fast-changing Information Age, in which technology rules.”
Veronica Jansen-Webster, the Rotary chapter’s PR officer, said that, “Dr. Arrindell enlightened the club members and guests present about the state of literacy on the island. She also presented a copy of her latest book, Language, Culture, and Identity in St. Martin, to Mr. Wayne Wilkie, the president of the club and provided another copy, which was raffled amongst the members present” at the July 15 dinner meeting.
Following the meeting, Rhoda Arrindell asked her publisher, HNP, to contribute three sets of the pioneerseries booklets to the Mid-Isle Rotary for the club’s planned literacy presentations to schools and the mental health foundation. The junior scholastic booklets are about “non-traditional” nation builders of St. Martin, Saba, and St. Eustatius, said HNP president Jacqueline Sample.