PHILIPSBURG:--- The Steering Committee (SC) of the Sint Maarten Trust Fund for Reconstruction, Recovery, and Resilience met in Philipsburg today to discuss the allocation of remaining funds to activities prioritized by the Government of Sint Maarten. To date, the trust fund has committed US$311M to 10 existing projects and US$30M for projects under preparation. The SC discussed the allocation of additional financing to existing projects and of remaining trust fund resources available (around US$55M). The SC meeting was chaired by the incoming Country Director for the Caribbean at the World Bank, Lilia Burunciuc, and attended in person by Mr. Marcel Gumbs, SC representative for Sint Maarten, and Mr. Frans Weekers, a representative for the Government of the Netherlands.
The SC noted the implementation progress achieved since March 2020, with a tripling of disbursements in 2020 compared to 2021 and the completion of major procurement processes, including for the reconstruction of the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) Terminal in 2020 and 2021. The SC also took note of significant increases in constraints and costs due to the pandemic, the disruption of value chains, and international shipping costs. In discussing remaining funding, the SC gave priority to fully funding existing projects to ensure their successful completion, prior to turning its attention to the allocation of remaining funds to new projects. “I was very pleased to observe consensus between the parties on the use of remaining funds”, said Lilia Burunciuc, World Bank member of the SC and chair, adding “The World Bank looks forward to pursuing its close collaboration with the Government of Sint Maarten and the NRPB with the support of the Netherlands, to develop and implement the priorities the SC have agreed upon.”
In this context, the SC awarded additional funds to the Airport Terminal Reconstruction Project in the amount of US$20 million. “The awarding of this contract and the start of reconstruction at PJIA in an improved governance environment is deeply encouraging, still work has to be done”, said Frans Weekers, the SC member for NL, “Trust Fund resources will be used to rehabilitate the airport with state of the art equipment and greater resilience, while the airport companies’ improved governance can serve as a solid foundation from which to address the current economic challenges. Construction is expected to start in the fall.” The SC also requested the World Bank to support the Government of Sint Maarten.
The SC allocated financing to priority investments identified by Sint Maarten. These included US$20M for a potential housing project, subject to an assessment of its impact and timeframe for implementation; US$8M in support of a Mental Health Project carried out in partnership with the Mental Health Foundation; and up to US$15M to the Emergency Recovery Project 1, which would include among others the rehabilitation of sports facilities, additional infrastructure for the meteorological department, and possible support to conservation and environmental protection activities. “I am very pleased. The SC committed funds to support all of the priorities set by the Government of Sint Maarten” said Marcel Gumbs, the SC Member for Sint Maarten, “these are all important to Sint Maarten’s future resilience and will contribute real benefits to the people of Sint Maarten”. The SC also requested that the World Bank support the Government of Sint Maarten in establish a disaster relief fund, capitalized by Trust Fund resources flowing back from PJIAE. In keeping with the Trust Fund agreements, the SC’s allocations will be subject to the standard World Bank appraisal processes and procedures and to the effective transfer of the Trust Fund’s fourth tranche of financing from the Netherlands to the World Bank.
The Sint Maarten Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience Trust is financed by the Government of the Netherlands, managed by The World Bank, and implemented by Sint Maarten’s National Recovery Program Bureau.