Published On: Tue, May 8th, 2018

Cyber Security defense force to set up camp at USM

Cybersecurity depiction image3

“Start a career in cyber security in St. Maarten” says Greg Arrindell

PHILIPSBURG — Local businessman and radio personality Greg Arrindell is encouraging people to get into the field of cyber security. The well-known awarded CACCI* Roving Ambassador for business development on St. Maarten is the liaison officer for CICCD, the Caribbean Israel Center for Cyber Defense organization. Arrindell is in charge of economic development for the region, particularly St. Maarten, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao and Anguilla, for CICCD. Arrindell was instrumental in brokering the deal between USM and the Mer Group.

CICCD, through their commercial division Caribbean Israel Ventures, Inc. (CIVI), took the initiative to set up a cyber security training course on St. Maarten under the auspices of the University of St. Martin, USM, which will be provided and certified internationally by the Mer Group, a publicly-traded global company specializing in telecommunications, network technology, security services and cyber solutions with over 1200 employees worldwide working out of four continents. The Mer Group is also active on St. Maarten.

In an invited comment, TelEm CEO Kendall Dupersoy confirmed that the Mer Group – “high on security and based in Israel” – is the main contractor in charge of the ‘Fiber to Home’ project TelEm is undertaking to implement an island-wide fiber-optic cable connectivity on Dutch St. Maarten.  Unfortunately, the project has been delayed due to the passing of hurricane Irma. Nevertheless, Dupersoy confirmed that TelEm will gladly send any staff that wants to take the cyber security training course at USM.

Greg Arrindell

StMaartenNews.com met with Greg Arrindell to talk about this latest venture. “This is about the economic empowerment of the people.” Arrindell says right off the bat. “Back in the day, in the hotel time-share industry – which today dominates 85-90% of the island’s economy – people ran away from the industry because of the work being done solely on commission basis.” Arrindell continued. “People wanted the security of a fixed salary income. This forced the time-share properties to bring in people from abroad to sell time-shares. Today many of these people are well-off or wealthy.”

“The consequence for the locals who did not participate in this industry was the loss of economic freedom and the ability to determine their own destiny based on their performance.” Arrindell pointed out. “The lack of knowledge in this area of sales is a direct result of a lack of curriculum in the education that was offered at the time. A good comparison is the lack of construction courses and practical training within our education curriculum on the island while we are living in a hurricane zone. We even have to send people abroad to get training in this field. Why? Because here are no trade schools on the island.” It is obvious from our interview that Arrindell has a passion for this new venture and speaks eloquently about the possibilities.

“Any country that has a vision for the future must have facilities to train its people. That is why we want to bring back the university by raising the bar to the next level in order to better prepare our people to handle the critical jobs and roles to lead the island, especially in the field of cybersecurity.”
– Greg Arrindell

“Here comes now the biggest economic explosion on a global level and St. Maarten has the opportunity to take the lead and prepare its people in this global economy with greater economic freedom – way passed the minimum wage – with a chance for economic growth and development in this country.” Arrindell stated, referring to the Cyber Security industry and the opportunities it has in store for St. Maarten.

“USM has being identified as an institution for the people of St. Maarten – young and old – to prepare and develop themselves for this global opportunity with a signed agreement to provide cyber security training – right here at home with people having direct access to it.” Arrindell said.

“If people do not understand what cyber security is and why there is a need for it, just look at the recent attacks on the IT network of the Government Administration Building. For the third time in a row, the government’s IT infrastructure has been crippled by hackers hacking the system and bringing the government apparatus to such a halt that they had to close down the whole building and send staff home. No government services could be provided. The explanation was that the system was exposed because no payments were being made to renew critical software licenses to protect the IT network.” Arrindell explained.

Cybersecurity depiction image1

What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity refers to a set of techniques used to protect the integrity of networks, programs and data from attack, damage or unauthorized access. According to Cisco Systems, the American multinational technology conglomerate headquartered in San Jose, California, in the center of Silicon Valley, that develops, manufactures and sells networking hardware, telecommunications equipment and other high-technology services and products, these attacks are usually aimed at accessing, changing, or destroying sensitive information; extorting money from users (ransomware); or interrupting normal business processes.

CICCD’s goal, as a cyber security defense force, is to provide courses, develop cyber security services and defense solutions for the Caribbean in the areas of law enforcement and security agencies, focusing on financial and other critical infrastructure, in governments and in the private sector, thereby helping their clients fight cybercrime on any platform. According to CICCD four out of five countries in the region do not have any form of cyber security defense. St. Maarten will be the staging ground for CICCD starting with cyber security courses at USM. (See photo signing ceremony below.)

USM MOU signing Cyber Security Training

So what exactly is the USM and the Mer Group offering?

The Mer Group recently held a free webinar that is now available online as a Youtube video recording. In this 45-minute session the presenter went in depth into what exactly will be offered, namely four level of courses, starting with a Basic Cyber Security Course over a 4-day training period for a total of 32 hours. Readers and interested students can view this Youtube video online here: https://youtu.be/9oSpCUGs6-g.

Cybersecurity depiction imageStudents who have successfully completed this basic training course will be certified to take on entry level jobs in the field of cybersecurity defense. Basically, any graduate can work from anywhere in the world on their computer in any market. Based on the knowledge and interest, a student can rise to the top (level 4) where they can even work for the secret service and the military. With almost 800,000 jobs available in the cyber security industry, a mere investment of $2500 per student for a job with a starting salary of 50 to 60,000 US Dollars a year.

Classes will start once USM has a minimum of 25 students (maximum 30) in a class. While speaking with StMaartenNews.com, USM Coordinator for the Cyber Security Courses Catherine Burns indicated that they are pushing for a start in June during the summer months. The Mer Group will be sending trainers to give the course. So they need a certain amount of participating students to cover the costs of travel and lodging.

The course is open to participants from St. Maarten, the entire Caribbean and internationally. Persons participating are encouraged to make a 50% deposit via international bankwire transfer to USM in order to show their commitment to the course. Foreign students can then easily take a week vacation to come to St. Maarten and take the 4-day training course in this program to get their Basic Cyber Security certificate. Students, upon successful completion of the course, will receive an internationally recognized diploma and certification in cyber security, having being trained by one of the world’s most recognized names in cyber security—The Mer Group. The certificates will also have a certified seal from USM, which also provides regional and international mileage for the university.

Interested persons can view the resources listed below for more information. Persons can also email Catherine Burns at Catherine.burns@usm.sx for details and enrollment. Additional information can be found online at www.caribbeancyberdefense.com as well.



Note: * CACCI is the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Greg Arrindell is the Awarded Roving Ambassador for the Dutch Caribbean.

Online resources:

Webinar video: https://youtu.be/9oSpCUGs6-g

Mer Group: https://mer-group.com/about/

Cisco Systems: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cisco_Systems

Basic Cyber Training Course Syllabus:

Cybersecurity depiction image4

Related articles:

USM, CIVI sign MOU to offer Cyber Security Training with The Mer Group

Expired anti-virus license made cyber attack possible

Another cyber attack: government building closed down

Ministry of Justice participated in the Hemispheric Forum on International Cooperation against Cybercrime

Cyber security


Death of the password

Arrindell: Partnership with Israel a good opportunity for SXM

Has Petya arrived here?

Lack of digital expertise puts countries at risk