First 112M-euro tranche for St. Maarten completed

THE HAGUE–Dutch State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops informed the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Thursday about the first 112-million-euro tranche that has been made available for St. Maarten’s reconstruction.

The 112 million euros, which have been deposited in the Trust Fund managed by the World Bank, will come from an incidental additional budget of 119.982 million euros which will be transferred from the Dutch Ministry of Finance to the Kingdom Relations budget of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK.

The Second Chamber still must give its formal approval to the law proposal to make additional funds available for St. Maarten, but Knops announced that the transfer to the World Bank has already taken place, considering the importance to start St. Maarten’s reconstruction. The law proposal was sent to the Second Chamber on April 17.

Part of the close to 120-million-euro law proposal, namely 7.982 million euros, will be invested in St. Maarten’s law enforcement sector to strengthen border control. The strengthening of border control, which will take place per May 1, is a precondition of the Dutch Government in the facilitating of the reconstruction funds.

The project to strengthen border control will, in principle, last two years. The financial contribution to the St. Maarten Police Force KPSM, 2.7 million euros in 2018 and 5.282 million euros in 2019, will come from the Kingdom Relations budget, Knops informed the Second Chamber by letter.

The strengthening of St. Maarten’s border supervision not only involves a contribution to KPSM, but also to the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard and the Dutch Customs. The additional funds to increase the Coast Guard operations will come from the Dutch Defence budget, while the cost to expand the input of Customs in St. Maarten will be covered by the Finance Ministry’s budget.

Knops also informed the Parliament of the signing of the agreement with the World Bank in Washington DC on April 16. The agreement, signed in the presence of St. Maarten’s Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin, signified the formal start of the St. Maarten Reconstruction Trust Fund.

The World Bank subsequently requested a first deposit of 112 million euros for the Trust Fund, a request the Dutch Government facilitated. The first tranche will be used to continue the clearing of debris on the island, to finance projects to make the infrastructure more hurricane-proof and to invest in the water and electricity facilities.

Source: The Daily Herald