Prime Minister Returns From Chairing EU Regional Aids Meeting in Aruba

St. Maarten Will Be Formally Joining the Pan American Health Organization Within Short

The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams returned from Aruba on Saturday where she attended the ECOCT Steering Committee and Planning Meeting. The Prime Minister is the Territorial Authorizing Officer for the Project Steering Committee (SC) and as chaired the meeting.


The meeting was coordinated by the Pan American Health Organization/ World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), with financial support from the European Community (EC).  Participants included focal points and steering committee members from the British and Dutch Overseas Caribbean Territories and community advocates from St. Maarten, the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica and Venezuela.  

The Prime Minister stated that after two days of meetings the Dutch and British OCT’s reviewed two important instances with regards to the approach of controlling the HIV/ AIDS epidemic in the region.  "We reviewed the mid-term evaluation report as well as the report of the monitoring mission, both of these having been undertaken as part of the EC sponsored program "Strengthening the integration of the British and Dutch OCTs in the Regional Response to HIV/AIDS within the PANCAP Framework", commented the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister also stated that during the 2 day event, participants participated in several plenary and break out sessions; "one of the main events took place on Friday morning when the programs Steering Committee met to review the above mentioned reports as well as the concluded activities of year three and the work plan for year four," continued the Prime Minister. The last time that a steering committee meeting was held for this project in 2010, St. Maarten was still part of the Netherlands Antilles.

Critical issues debated during the meeting were the sustainability of the program and the HIV/AIDS responses in the territories, the integration of national HIV/AIDS programs and regional collaboration in the face of limited human and financial resources. Special sessions such as those on Human Rights and health information systems were also conducted.

PAHO is the agency responsible for the program’s execution. St. Maarten will be formally joining the Pan American Health Organization within short.

The Prime Minister, as the Regional Territorial Authorizing Officer for this program, which is a function required by the EC for these types of programs, chaired the SC meeting. Secretary General for VSA Ms. Jorien Wuite also participated on behalf of St. Maarten as well as the Countrys HIV/AIDS Program Focal Point, Mrs. Suzette Moses-Burton.