PHILIPSBURG:--- With the new hospital project back on track, Minister Emil Lee traveled to the Netherlands last week and met with various members of the Dutch government. While there, Minister Lee met with Minister Plasterk, Secretary General of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Kingdom Relations Richard van Zwol, Raymond Gradus (incoming chairman of CFT), Andre Bosman (member of parliament for VVD), and Joba van den Berg-Jansen (member of parliament for CDA). These discussions included providing updates on the ongoing hospital project, exploring the possibility of financial support from the Netherlands and legislative assistance.
Local funds are being used to begin the new hospital project. The reason for the discussions exploring the possibility of Dutch funding stem from the fact that the lower interest rates and the different payment terms will result in yearly savings. Access to this funding will save the country between Naf 3 - 5 million a year in operational costs. “Anything that we can do to save money operationally is money that can be better spent on healthcare instead of paying into financing charges”, said Minister Lee.
The discussions regarding the possibility of Dutch funding for the new hospital project began a year ago. Since then, a fairly positive evaluation of the business plan, as requested by APS, has been received. Prior to leaving, Minister Lee also had conversations with the CFT. The CFT’s advice is critical to the approval process and they are supportive of the project. Their recommendation to the Kingdom Council of Ministers will be to have the funding for the hospital project considered outside of the normal lending procedures due to it being a special “one off” project.
Ministry of Public Health, Social Development, and Labor has many projects underway simultaneously. Ranging from National Health Insurance, National Health Reform, changes to our civil code and labor market. More legislative capacity is needed in order to make continued progress on these projects. This brought about discussions regarding methods to utilize available resources in terms of legislative assistance.
“I must say that all of our discussions, while not conclusive, were extremely positive”, said Minister Emil Lee.
Press Release Lee cabinet.