Knops on recovery process: ‘Things have to speed up’ | THE DAILY HERALD

POND ISLAND–“I see progress. I see a lot of improvement. I see commitment, but things have to speed up,” said Dutch State Secretary Raymond Knops about the recovery process days short of the one-year mark since monster Hurricane Irma caused widespread devastation in the country.

However, Knops pointed out that the process sometimes appears to be bogged down with bureaucracy. “Yes, sometimes it looks like bureaucracy, but it is about a lot of money and very complex challenges and that road we have to go together.” The lot of money to which he referred is the 550-million-euro World Bank-administered St. Maarten Recovery Trust Fund financed by the Dutch government.

Progress is a dire need in parts of the justice system, especially in relation to the Pointe Blanche prison. This is one of the places on which Knops focused during his one-day working visit to the country Tuesday.

He also highlighted the constantly-burning dump. “It is a shame it is still there. It is the result of 30-40 years of ignoring the problem. I am happy that also this government takes this very seriously and is committed to solve it together with us and the World Bank, and that exactly the reason that we brought in, together, the World Bank,” he said.

To solve the problem with the dump sustainably, “you have to do it in the right way. … You can do it once. We want to do it in a good way and … not quick solutions. This takes a long breath and at the same time we are committed and we are aware of the fact that we need results very quickly. I am confident that we will succeed,” Knops said.

He hopes Parliament is also committed to the process of solving the dump issue by speeding up the process, if the procedures allow, when it comes to tackling the issue from a legislative point of view. It is important that the government and Parliament “take the lead” and “we [the Dutch government – Ed.] will support St. Maarten.”

“The people have to see that St. Maarten has become more resilient and stronger than it was before the hurricane,” Knops said in the joint press conference with St. Maarten Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin.

Source: The Daily Herald