Perception is everything

Perception is everything

Dutch State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops when answering questions from the Second Chamber of Parliament in The Hague (see related story) said progress is being made in the St. Maarten post-Hurricane Irma reconstruction process with money from the World Bank-administered Trust Fund sponsored by the Netherlands, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Elected representatives had expressed the need to speed things up.

He acknowledged that sometimes getting concrete results takes too long and mentioned waste management as example. All parties involved have been asked to take a forceful, effective and pragmatic approach in this matter.

The state secretary mentioned repairs to the police station, hurricane shelters and private homes. However, few details were provided pending a semi-annual World Bank report.

That is too bad, because specifics help put things in proper perspective. For instance, the Enterprise Support Project was called successful, but lacking figures that cannot be objectively confirmed.

Perhaps publishing the names of all recipients as was done with the coronavirus-related payroll subsidy is not desirable. However, it would be nice to know how many businesses in what sectors are involved, the number of persons they employ, etc.

The same thing goes for the R4CR programme funding local non-government organisations that do work on behalf of society. Here too, transparency and accountability regarding use of such means also to the public are important.

In general, a better job can probably be done in keeping the community regularly informed and updated on developments regarding these projects. And as they say, perception is everything.