PHILIPSBURG–Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin announced on Wednesday that the Council of Ministers had decided during Tuesday’s meeting that international expertise to fill positions in the management of Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) and in its holding company should be for a maximum period of two years. The government of St. Maarten decided to accept the Dutch Government’s conditions set for receiving funds for the reconstruction of PJIA.
The Dutch Government wants Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport experts to be placed on the boards of PJIA’s holding and operating companies as part of the conditions for the loan.
The government has worked closely with the Netherlands, the World Bank and the European Investment Bank (EIB) to secure the necessary funding for the full recovery and strengthening of PJIA. The government has initiated this process based on a request from the airport for financial assistance.
The discussions with the Netherlands, the World Bank and EIB have resulted in a financing proposal of US $100 million for the reconstruction of the terminal and related facilitates. Under this proposal, US $50 million will be provided as a grant to the Government of St. Maarten from the Trust Fund managed by the World Bank. An additional US $50 million will be available as a loan through the European Investment Bank under favourable conditions.
Romeo-Marlin said, “During the Council of Ministers meeting, the proposal for financial assistance to the airport by the World Bank and the European Investment Bank under the conditions set by the Netherlands was discussed. In its discussion on this matter, the Council of Ministers took note of the requested update from the holding company on alternative financing options.
“In this update of December 28, the holding company informed the Council of Ministers that the airport was not able at that time to provide any detailed information or a recommendation to the Council of Ministers on the preparation of an alternative option for the financing of the reconstruction of the airport terminal.
“Based on the information received from the Netherlands and the update of the holding company, the Council of Ministers has decided to express its support for airport financing through the World Bank and the European Investment Bank under the conditions set by the Government of the Netherlands.”
In an invited comment, Dutch State Secretary for Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops said on Wednesday, “The government of St. Maarten has made an important decision on financing the reconstruction of the Princess Juliana International Airport.”
By accepting the financing proposal of the Dutch government and EIB of US $100 million for the reconstruction of the airport “an important step is taken towards improving the local economy,” Knops said on learning of the decision. He thanked Prime Minister Romeo-Marlin and her cabinet for the constructive talks and for showing leadership that will greatly benefit the recovery of St Maarten and strengthen the local economy.
The prime minister added that the approval of the Council of Ministers is an important step in securing the necessary funding and formalising the funds for the reconstruction of the airport through the World Bank and EIB, including a much-needed bridge loan to address the airport’s pressing liquidity situation.