PHILIPSBURG:--- The Sint Maarten Trust Fund Steering Committee members are currently in Sint Maarten for a working visit. The Honorable Prime Minister Silveria E. Jacobs hereby extends a warm welcome to the Steering Committee as they return to Sint Maarten to discuss the implementation of Trust Fund initiatives, opportunities for improvement, as well as plans of action for potential upcoming projects.
The Steering Committee is made up of former Sint Maarten Prime Minister, Mr. Marcel Gumbs (representing the Government of Sint Maarten), former Dutch State Secretary, Mr. Frans Weekers (representing the Government of the Netherlands), and World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean Countries, Ms. Lilia Burunciuc (representing the World Bank).
“The Trust Fund is assisting Sint Maarten to recover after the destruction of hurricanes Irma and Maria and has invested in the country’s long-term development and sustainability. While this government is happy to see progress with the work that has been completed thus far, there is still a lot to be done and this week’s meeting of the Steering Committee gives us the opportunity to, as the local idiom says, ‘hold one head’ on the path forward,” stated Prime Minister Jacobs.
The official Steering Committee meeting starts tomorrow, Tuesday, June 14. The Honorable Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of VROMI Egbert J. Doran will open the meeting on behalf of the Government of Sint Maarten. The Steering Committee will discuss the status of the portfolio, including the financial and operational outlook of the 10 projects currently under implementation. The Steering Committee will also discuss the projects under preparation, such as improving mental health care and wastewater treatment, as well as a housing project to increase the number of affordable homes in Sint Maarten.
The formal meeting will be followed by a grant agreement signing for the Fostering Resilient Learning Project (FRLP). This project will finance the reconstruction of Sister Marie Laurence Primary School, Charles Leopold Bell Primary School, and the Philipsburg Jubilee Library, as well as the embedding of (digital) programs within the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (ECYS) to improve the provision of education, particularly for students with special behavioral and learning needs. In collaboration with Ministry of ECYS, preparatory work has already started with this project, including important stakeholder consultation sessions.
During the visit, the Steering Committee will also interact with entrepreneurs who are beneficiaries of the Enterprise Support Project (ESP) and visit six multi-story apartment buildings of the Sint Maarten Housing Development Foundation (SMHDF). These buildings – locally known as “the towers” - are currently being repaired through the Emergency Recovery Project (ERP-1).
“I look forward to constructive discussions with the members of the Steering Committee, with the goal of continuing our fruitful cooperation in order to fully recover from Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria, and the COVID-19 pandemic,” concluded Prime Minister Jacobs.