SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) -During the Press Briefing of November 21st, Prime Minister Leona Romeo Marlin announced her visit to Washington DC to participate in the joint IMF-World Bank-IDB High Level Conference on “Building Resilience to Disasters and Climate Change in the Caribbean” at the IMF Headquarters on November 26th2018.
During the conference Prime Minister Romeo Marlin will present on the topic “furthering existing and developing new instruments to transfer risk” in the context of “Financial Solutions for Disaster Risk Management”.
“As the responsible Minister for the cooperation between Sint Maarten and the World Bank, I would like to update you on the recovery projects that are being financed by the Trust Fund. As of today, the Netherlands has made 134.4 million US dollars available to the Sint Maarten Trust Fund.
“The Parliament of the Netherlands has recently also approved a second tranche of 175.5 million US dollars. This tranche will bring the amount of available funding in the Trust Fund to 310 million US dollars. In total, the Netherlands has pledged to donate 470 million Euros to the Trust Fund, which is approximately 580 million dollars. This funding will be used in the next seven years to build Sint Maarten back better!” said Prime Minister Romeo Marlin during the Press Briefing
Three large projects are being implemented currently, Emergency Recovery Project I, the Emergency Income Support and Training Project and the Hospital Resilience project.
The Emergency Recovery Project I repair existing public shelters, supports the repairs of severely damaged houses and strengthens the emergency response capacities of our fire department and other first responders. The project also supports the Sint Maarten Housing Development Foundation and NV GEBE, and repairs a number of critical public buildings, including the Police Stations, the Fire Department and a number of damaged public schools.
Over the past months, the Interim Recovery Committee, the World Bank and the Ministries within Government have been working very hard to prepare the technical documents for the first tenders of this project.
The Prime Minister also stated, “I already reported the publication of the tender for the urgently needed repairs of the Police Stations in Philipsburg and Simpson Bay. I’m happy to announce today that the IRC has also published the tender for the first phase of the roof repair program that will be financed by the Trust Fund. This program will support the repairs of severely damaged houses of low-income families and supplements the existing roof repair programs of the Sint Maarten Development Foundation, VROMI and UNDP.”
More tenders are expected to be launched by the IRC in the coming weeks. I would again like to encourage all interested parties to keep a close eye on the announcements of tenders. The necessary information can be found on the Government’s website under the National Recovery tab and on the Facebook page of the National Recovery Program Bureau. Tenders are also published on the Government’s Information page in the Daily Herald.
The Government of Sint Maarten and the Sint Maarten Training Foundation are implementing the Emergency Income Support and Training Project, which serves to help hospitality, construction, and maritime workers who are unemployed or underemployed. Through the Training program, participants are provided with certification opportunities, income support and health insurance.
In addition to the projects that are being implemented right now, the Steering Committee of the Trust Fund has approved the preparation of four other projects in the areas of Emergency Debris Management, Enterprise Recovery, Solid Waste and airport reconstruction.
“On the Reconstruction of the airport, there has been a lot of rumors in the past week because of unsubstantiated reports by some media outlets. As Prime Minister, I cannot respond to fake news and false accusations. What I would like to stress is that this Government treats the reconstruction of the airport as a matter of the highest importance for the country and the region. In the coming period, the Minister TEATT, the airport company and myself will continue to work with the World Bank and the European Investment Bank to secure the necessary funding for the full recovery and strengthening of the airport” said Prime Minister Leona Romeo Marlin.
During the last meeting of the Steering Committee two weeks ago, the Netherlands, Sint Maarten and the World Bank agreed to move forward on the preparation of the Airport Reconstruction Project for an amount of 50 million US dollars. Co-financing for another 50 million US dollars is expected to come from the European Investment Bank. The Steering Committee also endorsed an assessment by the World Bank of the airport’s corporate governance, which is expected to generate recommendations on the strengthening of the governance of the airport.
Prime Minister Romeo Marlin concluded the Press Briefing by saying, “Our goal has and will continue to be that the airport is fully up and running as soon as possible. This Government remains focused and determined to work with the World Bank in searching for ways to speed up the projects that are financed by the Trust Fund, as the Trust Fund is and will continue to be our main source of funding for the recovery process.”