PM Opens ICAO Seminar at Sonesta Maho Resorts


Encourages Participants to Come Up With Best Practices on the Management of Border and Migration Issues

The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honourable Sarah Wescot-Williams opened the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) conference yesterday at the Sonesta Maho resort when she delivered her remarks to more than one hundred and twenty delegates from more than two-dozen countries on St. Maarten to discuss matters related to Civil Aviation and Border Control Management and Civil Registries.

The Prime Minister in her opening remarks extended her welcome to the delegates on behalf of the Government and People of St. Maarten. "I extend on behalf of the Government and People of St. Maarten a very special welcome to those of you who have travelled from afar to be here for this seminar. I want to say a special word of appreciation to the ICAO Organization and in particular the MRTD Program and Program Officers for having selected St. Maarten as the venue for this seminar. I think it is appropriate and timely, and so St. Maarten is very pleased to host this seminar and to join ICAO in establishing this program. I also thank the local organizers for having collaborated in making this possible and I wish to mention our Civil Registry Head Misses Leona Marlin and Emilia Thomas from my Cabinet for their contribution in making this all possible.

"You might ask yourself why I emphasized that St. Maarten is the right place for this seminar at this time. I hope that you have been able to take note of St. Maarten’s unique situation as far as borders, border control, and travel documents are concerned. I am sure that many delegates bring with them the unique experiences of their own country and of their own island as well and so having said that it is extremely important and something I very much look forward is to receive a synopsis of the best practices arrived at to manage border issues as a result of this seminar. With the technology available to us, despite our limited resources globally, there is so much that can be done and that we can do together while simultaneously maintaining our own sovereignty as far as border management and travel documents are concerned," stated the Prime Minister.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations, created in 1944 to promote the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world. It sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency and regularity, as well as for aviation environmental protection. The Organization serves as the forum for cooperation in all fields of civil aviation among its 190 Contracting States.

The ICAO Machine Readable Travel Documents and biometrics Program develops and adopts international standards for international travel document (e.g. a passport, electronic passport, visa and ID cards used for travel) containing eye-and machine-readable data.

The MRTD Regional Seminar will assist Member States in implementing ICAO machine-readable travel document specifications and related ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices. The Seminar will specifically address the needs of States to further enhance the integrity of the passport issuance process and ensure robust identification management in order to maximize border security and facilitation benefits.

In particular, the Sint Maarten MRTD Regional Seminar will focus on the very foundation of travel document and border security: a robust national identification management system. Seminar presentations and discussions will explore in depth key components of identification management, including the role of civil registries, evidence of identification (EoI), social footprint and investigative methods of confirming it, manufacturing and personalization of national ID cards, data sharing between national agencies involved in identification management, and much more.

An industry exhibition will complement the Seminar with a broad range of products and services related to MRTDs, biometric identification, travel document security applications and border inspection systems. Seminar participants will have an opportunity to interact with ICAO industry partners and experts to discuss the latest available MRTD technologies.