MARIGOT–President Daniel Gibbs said Tuesday he was “astonished” to see that the State had mixed the cost of emergency intervention directly after Irma (in keeping with national solidarity) with reconstruction funds in its figures when the emergency response had nothing to do with reconstruction aid.
Gibbs was responding to local and national journalists who asked for his reaction to the meeting on Monday where the State presented its final amounts for reconstruction aid for St. Martin and St. Barths.
The Collectivité quoted Gibbs as saying he was disappointed to note that out of the 200-million euros in reconstruction funds provided in the Investment Plan, the State is allocating 21-million euros of exceptional appropriations to St. Martin.
While the State had nevertheless pledged to fully finance the new secondary school and the Emile Larmonie School following their destruction by Irma, the Collectivité of St. Martin will receive only 15 million out of the 33 million expected.
“The President notes the State allows the Collectivité of St. Martin to have access to nearly 40-million euros in ordinary grants to which all local authorities are entitled and to which St. Martin was eligible before Irma.
“On the other hand, he is delighted to be able to obtain the full amount of the European Union Solidarity Fund, i.e. 46 million euros. The President is disappointed but not discouraged. He is not giving up and that reconstruction will be funded and carried out under the conditions laid down so far: schools, roads and infrastructure will be renovated.”
Gibbs comments on Tuesday precede a press conference where he will give a more detailed reaction.