Parliament to be briefed on reconstruction Dec. 21


THE HAGUE–The Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament will receive an update on December 21 on the financial aspects of the recovery of the Windward Islands paid for by the Netherlands.

  The technical briefing will be facilitated by Windward Islands Reconstruction Director-General Hans Leijtens, Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK Deputy Director Kingdom Relations Henk Brons and BZK’s Acting Director of Financial-Economic Affairs Nol Hendriks.

  Also present to provide information will be Executive Director at the Board of the World Bank Group Frank Heemskerk. Heemskerk represents the Netherlands at the World Bank, which has its headquarters in Washington DC. The World Bank will very likely be charged with the execution of the Dutch Reconstruction Fund.

  Dutch State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops confirmed the participation of the three civil servants and Heemskerk in a letter to the Second Chamber’s Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations a few days ago.

  The meeting on December 21 will take place behind closed doors and will not be open to the press and the public. The meeting was specifically requested by the Committee for Kingdom Relations which wants to be informed on the financial details of the Windward Islands reconstruction.

  The 550-million-euro Reconstruction Fund for St. Maarten and the 67-million-euro Reconstruction Fund for St. Eustatius and Saba are part of a new article in the Kingdom Relations budget of the Dutch Government. Article 8 also deals with the 55-million-euro emergency assistance provided by the Netherlands after Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

  In preparation of the process to amend the 2017 Kingdom Relations budget to facilitate the payment of these amounts, Parliament’s Committee for Kingdom Relations has submitted a number of questions to the Dutch Government.

  The Committee inquired why the funds for St. Maarten and for St. Eustatius and Saba were placed under the 2017 expenditures while the actual spending would take place in tranches in the coming years, up to 2021. The Committee asked whether there was already an estimated timeframe for the tranches of disbursement.

  The Committee wanted to know how the 550-million-euro fund for St. Maarten was composed, what part would go towards loans, grants and assistance in kind. It was further asked what projects St. Maarten would finance from the 10.3-million-euro loan facilitated by the Netherlands. The original intention of this loan, which dates back to August this year, was to make capital investments in, among other things, the Tax Office and the Pointe Blanche prison.

Source: The Daily Herald