Council of Ministers participates in Crisis Leadership Training

As part of the recovery project in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, a week of trainings was organised by the International Cooperation Agency of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG International). VNG International supports the Government of St Maarten in both strengthening its disaster preparedness to anticipate, adapt, provide safety and response in future disasters, as well as the process of building back better to mitigate future disaster risk.

On Thursday, August 23, the Council of Ministers participated in a strategic dilemma training, discussing experiences and international insights when it comes to crisis management on the top level. According to Mayor Rob Metz, Chair of the international committee of VNG, who participated in the training session, people from abroad are impressed by the work that has been done since the hurricane struck Sint Maarten: “I believe the people of Sint Maarten and the government can be proud of all the work that has been done in terms of disaster management, although we realize that there is still a road ahead to continue our efforts to further improve the readiness of the island.” Also, the Emergency Operations Center was involved in work-group sessions, in order to implement the findings smoothly in existing disaster plans. As Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin concluded: “All experiences shared will be valuable in preparing at the strategic level for any disaster in the future, whether hurricane or any other disastrous event.”

Over the course of the week, VNG International organized crisis management and crisis communication trainings for the Communication Department and Public Prosecutor Office as well.

For the coming months, the Government of SintMaarten and VNG International will continue to work on the revision of the current disaster management structure and legislation, and improve access to information for disaster management.

Following the hurricane that struck Sint Maarten, Saba and Sint Eustatius on September 6, 2017, Dutch municipalities contacted VNG to define a common response to support the islands within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. VNG called upon its members to donate to the fundraising campaign of the Netherlands Red Cross (NLRC). 50% of the funds donated by Dutch municipalities will be available for recovery support activities to be developed and implemented by VNG International.