PHILIPSBURG – Over the past months, the Government of Sint Maarten has worked closely with the Netherlands, the World Bank and the European Investment Bank to secure the necessary funding for the full recovery and strengthening of Princess Juliana International Airport. The Government has initiated this process based on a request for financial assistance by the airport.
The discussions with the Netherlands, the World Bank and the European Investment Bank have resulted in a financing proposal of a 100 million US dollars for the reconstruction of the terminal and related facilitates. Under this proposal, 50 million US dollars will be provided as a grant from the World Bank Trust Fund to the Government of Sint Maarten, which will be loaned to the airport under favorable conditions. An additional 50 million US dollars will be become available as a loan through the European Investment Bank.
As reported in the media, the Netherlands as the donor of the World Bank Trust Fund, has made the approval of the airport financing by the Steering Committee conditional on the completion of an integrity check of the airport, a corporate governance risk assessment and on attracting international expertise to fill a temporary position in the supervisory board of the Holding Company and a position in the management of PJIAE.
During the Council of Ministers meeting of January 8th, the proposal for financial assistance to the airport by the World Bank and the European Investment Bank under the conditions set by the Netherlands was discussed. In its discussion on this matter, the Council of Ministers took note of the requested update from the Holding Company on alternative financing options. In this update of December 28th, the Holding Company informed the Council of Ministers that the airport was not able at that time to provide any detailed information or a recommendation to the Council of Ministers on the preparation of an alternative option for the financing of the reconstruction of the airport terminal.
Based on the information received from the Netherlands and the update of the Holding Company, the Council of Ministers has decided to express its support for airport financing through the World Bank and the European Investment Bank under the conditions set by the Government of the Netherlands. In approving these conditions, the Council of Ministers underlined that international expertise to fill positions in the holding and in the management of the airport should be attracted for a maximum period of two years.
In conclusion, the approval of the Council of Ministers is an important step in securing the necessary funding and formalizing the 100 million US dollars for the reconstruction of the airport through the World Bank and the European Investment Bank, including a much-needed bridge loan to address the pressing liquidity situation of the airport.