Trust Fund Steering Committee on working visit to St. Maarten

Trust Fund Steering Committee  on working visit to St. Maarten

Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs attending a Trust Fund Steering Committee meeting in Washington DC on March 7. (File photo)

PHILIPSBURG--The St. Maarten Trust Fund Steering Committee members are currently in St. Maarten for a working visit.

  Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs extended a warm welcome to the Steering Committee as they discuss the implementation of Trust Fund initiatives, opportunities for improvement and plans of action for potential upcoming projects.

  The Steering Committee is made up of former St. Maarten Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs (representing the government of St Maarten), former Dutch State Secretary Frans Weekers (representing the government of the Netherlands), and World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean Countries Lilia Burunciuc (representing the World Bank).

  “The Trust Fund is assisting St. Maarten to recover after the destruction of Hurricanes Irma and Maria and has invested in the country’s long-term development and sustainability. While this government is happy to see progress with the work that has been completed thus far, there is still a lot to be done and this week’s meeting of the Steering Committee gives us the opportunity to, as the local idiom says, ‘hold one head’ on the path forward,” stated Jacobs.

  The official Steering Committee meeting began on Tuesday, June 14.

  Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI Egbert Doran will open the meeting on behalf of the Government of St. Maarten. The Steering Committee will discuss the status of the portfolio, including the financial and operational outlook of the 10 projects currently under implementation. It will also discuss projects under preparation such as improving mental health care, wastewater treatment and a housing project to increase the number of affordable homes in St. Maarten.

  The formal meeting will be followed by a grant agreement signing for the Fostering Resilient Learning Project (FRLP). This project will finance the reconstruction of Sister Marie Laurence Primary School, Charles Leopold Bell Primary School, and Philipsburg Jubilee Library, as well as the embedding of (digital) programmes within the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (ECYS) to improve the provision of education, particularly for students with special behavioural and learning needs.

  In collaboration with the ECYS Ministry, preparatory work has already started with this project, including important stakeholder consultation sessions, it was stated in a press release.

  During the visit, the Steering Committee will also interact with entrepreneurs who are beneficiaries of the Enterprise Support Project (ESP) and visit six St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation (SMHDF) multi-story apartment buildings. These buildings – locally known as “the towers” – are currently being repaired through the Emergency Recovery Project (ERP-1).

  “I look forward to constructive discussions with the members of the Steering Committee, with the goal of continuing our fruitful cooperation in order to fully recover from Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria and the COVID-19 pandemic,” Jacobs said.

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