Prime Minister Jacobs profiles Trust Fund financial allocations

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The Prime Minister of Sint Maarten Hon. Silveria Jacobs in the House of Parliament on Wednesday provided information to Members of Parliament (MPs) during the parliamentary session that is handling the draft 2022 national budget about the Trust Fund portfolio which comprises ten (10) projects that are currently in implementation as well as three (3) projects under preparation.The prime minister stated that the Government of Sint Maarten has strategically prioritized these projects geared at recovery, reconstruction and building resilience of the country’s institutions.

In 2018, the Government of the Netherlands committed an amount of US$554 million to the Trust Fund program, which was aimed at: The recovery and reconstruction of Sint Maarten following the devastation caused by the September 2017 Atlantic hurricanes; and Strengthening the country’s resilience to future natural disasters.

The Government of the Netherlands had previously transferred US$515.35 million to the World Bank and in December 2021, the Netherlands transferred the final tranche of US$139 million.

As a summary of the Trust Fund projects, the prime minister informed the MPs as follows:  

•         US$515.36 million has been transferred to the Trust Fund, this amounts to the total to be transferred figures.     

•         10 projects are under implementation for US$311.3 million, of which US$146.3 million has been disbursed to date, and US$122.2 million spent.

For the overview of the Trust Fund program, the prime minister added: 

•         That the Investment income to date is approximately US$13.7 million, which reflows to the Trust Fund for projects.

•         At this moment the entire Trust Fund has been allocated to existing or future projects by the Steering Committee.

The final remaining finances of the Trust Fund have been allotted by the Steering Committee in July 2021. On the initiative of the Government of Sint Maarten, the remaining finances will go to the exploration of a Mental Health Project and a Housing Project. 

The Steering Committee has allocated eight million US dollars to a mental health project. The Proposal is already in development with the Mental Health Foundation and focuses on long-term care for chronic patients.

Project preparation is scheduled to begin later this month. In the preparation phase, the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB) and the World Bank, with the support of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA) are investigating the possible inclusion of a component aimed at substance abuse prevention care, and mitigation.

The Steering Committee has also reserved 20 million US dollars for a sustainable housing project, which seeks to provide solutions for affordable housing. The proposal is still under development but will focus on co-funding options.

Funds are to be allocated for the extension of the Emergency Recovery Project (ERP-1) US$15 million which would cover the upgrading of sports facilities, schools; a building for the Meteorological Department; additional works at the Police Stations; and environmental conservation activities.

The World Bank and the NRPB are working to draft a feasible concept note to present for discussion with all stakeholders.

“There is plenty being done and there is still plenty to do. What I have presented today (Wednesday) are just some highlights of Government’s priorities,” Prime Minister Hon. Silveria Jacobs stated.