Prime Minister Romeo-Marlin gives update on World Bank as hurricane season 2018 approaches

Prime Minister of Sint Maarten Leona Romeo Marlin


PHILIPSBURG – On Wednesday May16th, during the Council of Minister Press Briefing, Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin give an update on the plans and activities of the World Bank.

The Prime Minister stated, “In anticipation of the first tranche from the Trust Fund, the World Bank and the ministries have been working hard during the past months on the final damage and loss assessment and the preparation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. I am happy to report that this plan is in its final stages and has been sent to the Council of Ministers, Parliament and stakeholders for vetting. Once completed the NRRP will be sent to the steering committee responsible for the final decision making on all future projects to be funded by the Trust Fund.”

With the support of the World Bank and the Netherlands, the Government of Sint Maarten has identified a number of emergency projects that should start as soon as possible once the 1st tranche has been disbursed. These first projects aim to address the most urgent needs of the people of Sint Maarten and to prepare Sint Maarten for the peak of the hurricane season.

“If you may ask what is happening now, of course, we would like for these projects to have started yesterday but the reality is that the preparation of these projects and especially the internal procedures of the World Bank take much more time than we, as Council of Ministers has anticipated. Please note 470 million euros is a lot of money, and this Government must ensure that every cent is accounted for,” said Prime Minister Romeo-Marlin.

Both the civil servants of Sint Maarten and a team from the World Bank of more than 25 people are on the ground right now to help finalize the preparation of these projects. This is necessary to ensure that the formal grant agreements on these projects can be signed between the World Bank and Sint Maarten as soon as possible. The expected timeline right now is that the first emergency projects can start in the course of June.

These are projects that specifically serve to address the most urgent needs of the people of Sint Maarten and to prepare the country as much as possible for the peak of the hurricane season.

There are three major emergency projects:

(1)          A first project on emergency repairs, disaster preparedness and public utilities with a budget of 55 million US dollars.

–             Repairs Police Stations

–             Repairs and equipment Fire Station

–             Repairs and equipment shelters

–             Urgent school repairs

–             New location and equipment Meteorological Department

–             Roof Repair for vulnerable groups (500 roofs)

–             New ambulances

–             Emergency Communication Equipment

–             Emergency repairs electricity and trenching lines

–             Water storage tanks

–             Repair street lights

(2)          A second project that provides income support and targeted skills trainings to under- or unemployed people in different sectors. This project has a budget of about 19 million

–              Existing hospitality training program (700 participants)

–              The emergency project opens the program to other sectors (2600 participants)

–              Income support is provided to under- and unemployed people who participate in a training program to enhance skills

(3)          And finally, a crucial third project focusses on debris removal and assistance with solid waste management, which currently has a budget of about 15 million US dollars.

–              Cash for work program to clean the island

–              Clearance and management of hurricane debris (‘The baby dump’)

–              Clean-up of ship wrecks

–              Assistance with preventing new fires

–              Assistance with plan for sustainable solid waste management (‘the big dump’)

During this phase we are also finalizing or finalized the following;

The legal requirements to establish the Recovery Bureau and the advertising of the positions to staff the Bureau and the financial management provisions and procurement procedures to ensure the start of the projects previously stated.