Steering Committee Representatives Weekers and Gumbs Meet to discuss trust fund and priorities for the recovery of St. Maarten.

PHILIPSBURG:— Frans Weekers, the representative of the Netherlands to the Steering Committee of the World Bank Trust Fund and Hans Leijtens, Director-General for the Windward Islands Reconstruction Programme, arrived on last Sunday on Sint Maarten, for a week-long working visit.

Together with Marcel Gumbs, who was officially named representative of Sint Maarten to the Steering Committee on Monday, the delegation discussed the progress and the priorities for the recovery of Sint Maarten. The program also included visits to various areas and facilities on the island, during which the delegation could get a first-hand look at these primary concerns.

Tours of the Pointe Blanche Prison, GEBE, Princess Juliana Airport were all scheduled, as well as meetings with the Sint Maarten Interim Recovery Committee and the Council Of Ministers.

“This week has been a great step towards strengthening the relationship of the Steering Committee. I look forward to working together in the coming years, doing our part to ensure that Sint Maarten is rebuilt in a stronger and more resilient manner,” commented Gumbs.

The Dutch government has earmarked €550 million for St. Maarten’s recovery. A significant part of this amount will be put in a Trust Fund (470 million euros), which will be managed by the World Bank. Under the Trust Fund, decisions on the financing of recovery and resilience projects are made by the Steering Committee, in which Sint Maarten, the Netherlands, and the World Bank, are equally represented.

The amount of €470 million will be released in installments. The first part (€112 million), has been made available to finance urgent projects and programs. This includes clearing debris, making the island and its vital infrastructure hurricane resistant, and training programs for the socio-economically important tourism sector.

Future projects will continue to be selected by agreement from the Steering Committee based on the needs identified in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP). On June 12th, Weekers and Gumbs will travel to Washington to meet with World Bank representative Tahseen Sayed to discuss current and planned objectives related to the first two tranches of funding.

“There are many urgent matters that need to be addressed, which is not going to be an easy process. However, I have great confidence in the abilities of Mr. Gumbs, the Council of Ministers, the Interim Recovery Committee, and many others involved in the recovery of Sint Maarten, whom I met this week. On June 12th, I look forward to helping this process further along within the Steering Committee,” said Weekers at the end of his visit.

Source: St. Martin News Network