TelEm Group CFO Helma Etnel addressing guests during Friday’s launch of St. Maarten’s first Camera Surveillance Centre.
Justice Minister Cornelius de Weever cuts the ribbon to declare the centre open.
POND ISLAND–The launch of the first Camera Surveillance Centre for St. Maarten last week Friday represents safety and security for residents and the start of a smart-city concept for the country, TelEm Group Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Helma Etnel said during a ceremony where the camera surveillance system went live.
She said something wonderful has been achieved for St. Maarten with the delivery of the camera surveillance project.
“As a telephone company, you usually think of a phone call, pleasure pictures and communication on WhatsApp, but we have shown that with fibre technology and with future technology we can now do much more for our communities,” Etnel said. “Government can continue to believe in their telecommunication company as TelEm continues to invest in the smart-city concept.”
The camera surveillance project was carried out over the past two years in collaboration with the police, Justice Minister Cornelius de Weever and TelEm.
“No stone was left unturned to get the best for the police, which caused some happy moments and also some tense moments, with a fight for only systems that are of the highest quality meeting the highest international standards,” Etnel said.
TelEm Group executive officers and technical staff have been personally praised for their part in delivering the telecommunication fibre infrastructure for the project. The infrastructure is the backbone of the surveillance, which went live after many months of preparation and interruption by Hurricane Irma in 2017, when some already installed equipment was damaged. TelEm Group technicians and engineers laid the telecommunication infrastructure required, and provided network connections for the project.
Speaking about all the elements that had come together to realise Friday’s historic launch, Police Chief Carl John said his own team could not have insisted on delivery of the best equipment and systems that meet international standards without others involved such as TelEm Group, the company C-3 and contractor Leonardo Bromet also delivering their best.
Etnel said she had been forced at certain moments to personally question the passion of those behind the project, but many months later, she has a different perspective.
“Today I am happy that my safety and security as a citizen is enhanced because the police and the gentlemen involved have shown that they don’t take anything but the best and only go for the best, even if their budget is limited. Despite our difference of opinion, I admire that you have fought to get the best that was on the market. Thanks to the police and TelEm Group for a job well done, and I am extremely proud as a citizen to have my safety in your hands,” she said.
She praised John and Benjamin Gout for their input, project contractor Security Concepts and Solutions that installed the equipment and TelEm Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kendall Dupersoy for supporting the project, which was started before he joined the company but in which he also played a part by approving the project as a TelEm Group board member at the time.
Others singled out for mention were De Weever, who was present at the opening ceremony and who cut the ribbon to officially open the Camera Surveillance Centre; members of the TelEm Group team of technicians and engineers, including Jed Carty, Ann Jeuken and others; Windell Hughes, Frank Carty, Elroy Hughes, Steve Simmons, Edsel Martina and Robert Webster.
The Camera Surveillance Centre is managed by the Emergency Dispatch Centre under the responsibility of the St. Maarten Police Force. Police say the system of monitoring will be used to maintain public order and safety within the community. It is required by law that the community be informed when they are in an area monitored by the Camera Surveillance Centre.