TelEm Group hosts visit of CoM. Future telecommunications landscape discussed | SOUALIGA NEWSDAY

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - TelEm Group offices were honored by a visit from the Council of Ministers (CoM), Wednesday, June 19, 2024, meeting with the Group's Supervisory Board of Directors and Management Team.

The company hosted this crucial meeting to update the CoM on significant company matters, including recent service interruptions and the ongoing transition within the company, which has led to a considerable downsizing of personnel.

The meeting was introduced by Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Kendall Dupersoy, who emphasized the importance of addressing the CoM's questions throughout the session to ensure clarity and gain their approval of management’s actions.

The primary focus of the Wednesday presentation was TelEm Group’s strategic business plan for 2024 - 2028, with a key emphasis on digital transformation, organizational development, and financial projections. The plan outlined measures to tackle the company's outdated systems, high employee costs, and rapid telecom industry changes.

Mr. Dupersoy highlighted the transition of the company to become an Integrated Digital Service Provider (IDSP), with significant investments in customer-facing systems and commercial platforms intended to enhance overall service delivery.

Addressing recent service interruptions, the CEO discussed key challenges and the various steps being taken to resolve them, underscoring the need for government support in several critical areas in the process. The CoM also was provided with a comprehensive view of current and planned infrastructural improvements, highlighting the company’s unwavering commitment to service excellence and technological progress.

During the meeting, Honorable Prime Minister, Dr. Luc Mercelina delivered a passionate message to the management and board stating: “Telecom services are the lifeblood of our national infrastructure and resilience. We are not just committed but resolute in our determination to work hand-in-hand with TelEm Group to guarantee reliable, cutting-edge communications for every citizen. Our future depends on it, and we will spare no effort to make this a reality.”

The Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunication (TEATT), Grisha Heyliger-Marten, assured her support yet emphasizing that TelEm must address its internal issues to facilitate this assistance. "The government recognizes the challenges faced by TelEm Group and will take the necessary steps to support their transition and technological advancements," stated the Minister of TEATT.

Also present were Minister Public Health, Social Development and Labor (VSA)/Acting Minister Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (VROMI), Veronica Jansen-Webster, Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Stuart Johnson, and the Secretary General of the CoM, Cassandra Janssen with support staff.

Jansen-Webster expressed concern that a recent blackout of telecommunication service at TelEm Group could have been really disastrous if it had coincided with a hurricane. The incident highlighted the critical need for the company to provide the community with a reliable and dependable telecommunication service.

Mr. Dupersoy remarked that the company’s hosting of Wednesday’s meeting is a testament to management and board’s commitment to transparency and collaboration with government. “Our strategic plan is designed to navigate today’s challenges and prepare us for a digital future," said Mr. Dupersoy.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Mr. Randell Hato, along with financial adviser Ms. Marit Beishuizen, provided financial information to the government delegation noting that the company’s financial restructuring is crucial for sustainability. “With projected revenue increases and significant investments in technology, we aim to bring longevity and profitability to TelEm Group and within time dividends to the shareholder," Hato assured.

The meeting heard from Manager of People and Culture, Ms. Michelle Djodjodimedjo, about the transition process and the impact on personnel who have left and remain in the company, along with more detailed information about the various steps being taken in the transformation process now under way.

Both management and supervisory board made mutual affirmations to the CoM of their dedication to improving telecommunication services for St. Maarten, with emphasis placed on the necessity of resilient services, particularly during crises, and the importance of ongoing support from the government.

Wednesday’s meeting concluded with a brief tour of TelEm Group facilities, including a visit to the earth station to see how the company networks are connected and monitored from the Network Operation Center (NOC) located there.

The Prime Minister made an extra effort to spend additional time meeting and greeting the staff of TelEm during the tour.

Meeting TelEmEarth Station

Prime Minister, Dr. Luc. Mercelina and members of the CoM (right) visited the TelEm Group Network Operations Center (NOC) during a brief working visit, Wednesday.