Trust fund webinar draws some 300 participants | THE DAILY HERALD

Attendees at the interactive Trust Fund webinar.

SIMPSON BAY–Some 300 persons from the business communities in St. Maarten, Curaçao, Aruba, and Bonaire attended an interactive “webinar” focused on getting more Dutch Kingdom businesses involved in activities and contracts connected to the Dutch-financed, World Bank-administered St. Maarten Trust Fund.

The National Recovery Programme Bureau, World Bank and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO provided information about tenders and procurement rules of the World Bank. The webinar, held in Simpson Bay Resort, was hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (COCI) in close cooperation with the Dutch Representation Offices of the four participating islands.

St. Maarten COCI President Benjamin Ortega spoke about the importance of working together: “Aligning with the right network of companies, whether local, regional or even internationally, will help build back a better and stronger St. Maarten.”

Aruba Chamber of Commerce Director Sonja Velthuizen said of the webinar: “There was a lot of interest of the private sector in the tenders of the World Bank.”

The webinar was also well received in Curaçao: “The webinar exceeded our expectations in terms of attendance. We even had to move to a different, larger location to be able to facilitate all interested parties,” said the Curaçao Chamber of Commerce director.

The presentations held by the World Bank and RVO focused on “working with the World Bank”, including the general tender process and procurement rules. The recovery bureau focused on specific situations regarding the reconstruction of St. Maarten – the current and short-term projects that are being carried out connected to the Trust Fund via the World Bank.

“The private sector is a key partner in building resilience in Sint Maarten. The attendance and level of interest at all locations was impressive. This seminar was a promising step in engaging private businesses and other partners to deliver recovery projects on the ground,” said Doekle Wielinga, Senior Liaison Officer for the World Bank in St. Maarten.

Recovery Bureau Director Claret Connor encouraged stakeholders to join in on upcoming sessions connected to the Trust Fund.

“I feel very content with the participation, quality of information presented by the World Bank and perspective given by RVO. I look forward to the individual island meetings where we can delve into specific points and further clarify on questions posed by the various audiences. This is the first of many of these types of outreaches that can benefit stakeholders, including the business community, NGOs [non-governmental organisations – Ed.], community organisations and others,” he said.

The webinar was concluded with a question-and-answer session. Several questions from participants that could not be answered during the webinar will be answered in writing and addressed at the upcoming live sessions.

COCI St. Maarten also gave attendees the option to send any additional questions to

The dates of upcoming sessions will be announced soon. For more information on the Trust Fund, current tenders and NRPB: or

Source: The Daily Herald