Today, Thursday, July 15th, new World Bank Country Director for Caribbean Countries Lilia Burunciuc and World Bank Program Manager for the Sint Maarten Trust Fund Michelle Keane paid a courtesy visit to Prime Minister and Minister of General Affairs Silveria Jacobs. During the discussion, Burunciuc pledged her commitment to the progress and finalization of the projects under execution via the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB).
Prime Minister Jacobs stated, “This is Burunciuc’s first official visit to St. Maarten in her new post as Country Director and her first visit to the Caribbean. I know our representatives for these projects at the World Bank have St. Maarten’s best interest at heart and fight for us in every discussion.”
“The full involvement and commitment of government to the projects will ensure their success in the interest of St. Maarten. St. Maarten is committed to get as much as possible out of these recovery funds. Besides the projects themselves, at the end of this, the human capacity and expertise to handle international procurement, planning and execution of projects and programs on St. Maarten would also have improved considerably. Building St. Maarten’s most important resource ‘our human capital’ is the best return on investment for us all,” she continued.
Prime Minister Jacobs and Burunciuc will engage in regular meetings over the coming months in preparation for the next Trust Fund Steering Committee meeting scheduled to take place near the end of the year. They both look forward to a successful working relationship and will remain in constant communication to ensure the development and progress of the St. Maarten Trust Fund.
US $120 million in remaining Trust Fund has been allocated for the activities prioritized by the Government of St. Maarten. This includes $15 million towards government’s financial management; $20 million for additional airport funding; $20 million for a potential sustainable housing project subject to an assessment of its impact and timeframe for implementation; $8 million in support of a Mental Health Project carried out in partnership with Mental Health Foundation (MHF); and up to $15 million for new projects Emergency Recovery Project 1 (ERP-1), which would include the rehabilitation of sports facilities, additional infrastructure for the Meteorological Department, and possible support to conservation and environmental protection activities.
Buruncius and NRPB Director Claret Connor, who received the mandate from the Council of Ministers, signed the Additional Financing Agreement allocating $45 million in additional financing to the ERP-1 on July 13th. This will contribute to the continuation and completion of the wide range of existing activities, including repairs to homes, schools and critical government buildings damaged during Hurricane Irma in 2017.