COHO BZK

Knops 1: €352 MILLION Deposited In Trust Fund, 9 Projects Underway. 2 Being Prepared Worth $419 Million. 2000+ Participants Income Support/Training. 1300+ Roofs Repaired

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We have currently deposited €352m into the trust fund. Nine projects are in progress and two are in preparation, worth $419 million. We have successfully completed an income support and training project with 2,000 participants, who are therefore more employable in the labour market. More than 1,300 roofs have been repaired. More than 100 shipwrecks in the Simpson Bay Lagoon have been cleared. The new building of the hospital has started. The tender for the reconstruction of the airport is currently underway. The tenders have just been received and are currently being assessed. Many local NGOs and international organisations carry out these projects together with the World Bank. That’s what we did to create local ownership. Qredits, for example, is also very active for companies that saw their incomes fall away and that can be helped with a microcredit. So it is as much local ownership as possible and the dollars flow back into the Sint-Maarten economy.
As far as we are concerned, it is not an option now to take that part of reconstruction away from the World Bank, because there is also an entire organisation set up for it. The funny thing is, the run-up was complicated. This had to do with all kinds of arrangements that had to be concluded, for example an establishment agreement that the government of Sint Maarten had to conclude, so that the World Bank can legally work well on Sint Maarten. That’s taken way too long. Covid got over it, so people weren’t allowed to fly in and out. That made it complicated, too. But now those projects are finally gaining steam. It would not make sense to remove it from the World Bank now. The measures taken under the Consensus RichNess Act are also more structural measures, not just reconstruction, but much more sustainable public finances and the balance between revenue and expenditure. So I understand the question, but at the moment, while the trust fund is largely invested in concrete projects and expectations have also been raised, it would not make sense to take it away from there.

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