World Bank support at programme bureau | THE DAILY HERALD

THE HAGUE–The World Bank will support the St. Maarten government in strengthening the National Reconstruction Programme Bureau in the area of recruitment of personnel, tendering of projects and financial management.

Dutch State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops stated this in a letter he sent to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Friday regarding his visit to Washington D.C. in late April 2019. Knops attended a meeting of the Steering Committee of the St. Maarten Recovery Trust Fund at the World Bank.

Knops explained that more intensive input by the St. Maarten government was needed in the Steering Group to achieve a quicker pace of repairing homes in St. Maarten and to prepare the island for the next hurricane season.

“That is why the World Bank will support the St. Maarten programme bureau for the reconstruction in [speeding up – Ed.] the recruitment process of project management and technical staff in order to increase St. Maarten’s coordination function and implementation strength,” stated Knops.

The World Bank will also temporarily strengthen the Programme Bureau by deploying personnel who will assist with tendering, financial management and engineering. The Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK will temporarily station a housing expert in St. Maarten to monitor and support the process of home repairs and cooperation with the World Bank.

Knops explained that he and St. Maarten Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin had paid a visit to the World Bank on the occasion of the first anniversary of the Trust Fund, and had attended a meeting with the Steering Group during which the tripartite cooperation for St. Maarten’s reconstruction was reaffirmed.

“In the message to the Steering Group, the prime minister and I urged speeding up implementation of certain reconstruction projects, especially where it concerns projects with a high and visible impact for the people – for example, the repairing of homes or the construction of shelters in light of the coming hurricane season,” Knops stated.

On the request of Romeo-Marlin and Knops, it was agreed in the Steering Group that all ongoing and future projects and programmes have to be assessed on effective and efficient execution. This counts for public and private execution, or a combination of the two, with local and/or international organisations.

According to the three-prong policy that Knops follows, not only St. Maarten’s government and the World Bank can use financing from the Trust Fund for the execution of recovery projects, but also non-governmental organisations (NGOs). A special facility will be equipped within the Trust Fund for direct financing of NGOs and international organisations.

“Strengthening of the capacity and the use of synergy possibilities for mutual cooperation at NGOs and international organisations is necessary to book more and faster results; for example, where it concerns the repairing of homes and other smaller projects that increase the community’s resilience against natural disasters,” Knops said.

While in Washington D.C., Knops also had meetings at various US departments to talk about the crisis in Venezuela and its impact on the Dutch Caribbean. “I specifically sought attention for the implications of US oil sanctions against Venezuelan state oil company PdVSA and its impact on the islands,” he stated.

Knops further highlighted the importance of a continuous fuel supply for the production of water and electricity in Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire.

US authorities expressed gratitude for the assistance in the establishing of a hub for humanitarian aid in Curaçao.

Source: The Daily Herald