Commissioner of Economic Affairs Maria Buncamper-Molanus, headed to Tallahassee to investigate the possibilities under the existing sister city agreement to seek assistance with the establishment of a reliable meteorology services on St. Maarten.
Under the November agreement signed last year by the political leaders of the Netherlands, Curacao and St. Maarten the responsibility for meteorological services will be transferred to St. Maarten on July 1st.
The preparation with respect to assuming the responsibility was started about a year ago, however the facilitating role of the Central Government has remained absent. This has made the exercise more difficult as the approach of Commissioner Buncamper-Molanus in this was to explore several options before making any recommendations to the Executive Council.
The obvious option available is the purchase of these services from the future Curacao Met office which over the years has been upgraded to a presumably up to par facility while the office in St. Maarten was neglected in both physical terms as well as in human resources.
Fortunately St. Maarten’s very own Joel Pierre is a student at FSU (Florida State University) and is expected to receive his bachelor degree in December of this year making him a meteorologist with the ability among to observe and forecast weather developments.
In a meeting at the University, Commissioner Buncamper-Molanus was able to secure the commitment from the FSU that willingness to assess the St. Maarten Meteo facility at the airport and make recommendations to bring it up to at least a minimal standard before the transfer of July 1st.
With the existing relationship between Professor Fuelberg, the cooperation of the National Weather Center will be sought as part of this exercise which is expected to provide St. Maarten with at least options before the deadline.
Understanding the importance for St. Maarten the university also committed to providing Joel with the opportunity for internship preparing him better for the task ahead.
Besides this internship for Joel, FSU also promised to cooperate with St. Maarten in setting up Tailor made training programs for the current staff of the St. Maarten Meteo department.