Situation at the Met Office Satisfactory

In response to the article appearing in Monday, January 28th edition of They Daily Herald, Minister Romeo Pantophlet, who holds the responsibility for the Meteorological Department of St. Maarten, would like to assure former UP Minister F. Meyers, and the general public, that the situation at the Meteorological Department St. Maarten is satisfactory, and has not been adversely impacted by the manpower problems on Curacao.

On January 1st, 2013, the Meteorological Department of St. Maarten (MDS) took control of all weather forecasting duties which had previously been performed by Curacao. The duties included aviation, marine, and public forecasts.


Curacao now only provides backup service to St. Maarten, and only for public forecasts, between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. And this service is relevant primarily during the hurricane season, when the weather systems need to be actively monitored. However, it is expected that by April 2013, before the start of our 2013 hurricane season, St. Maarten will have sufficient human resource capacity to cover those hours as well, such that the backup service from Curacao will no longer be necessary.


The forecasts section of our MDS provides aviation forecasts during the hours that the Airport (PJIA) is operational, or from 5 a.m. – 9 p.m., and our observation section is operational 24/7. Special arrangements have been made with PJIA to provide forecast for emergency flights outside of normal operating hours. However the usual hourly observations will be available 24/7.


At present we have on staff three forecasters and five observers, who have all been certified by the World Meteorological Organization, and we are actively seeking to increase the staffing to six forecasters and seven observers.


In summary, the Meteorological Department of St. Maarten is actively seeking to increase its human resources; however, at present we have significant capacity on St. Maarten to ensure that the present situation on Curacao in which their Met Office is experiencing staff shortages, will not significantly affect the operations on Sint Maarten.