Sarah questions the concerns expressed by  the RIVM regarding follow-up to its Covid-19 advices to Sint Maarten.



Philipsburg, St. Maarten, – It  was rather disturbing to read recent reports coming from  the Dutch RIVM (National Institute for Public Health) that cautions and precautions issued to St. Maarten regarding the corona pandemic have often gone unheeded, despite repeated requests from this advisory body.

The Dutch RIVM is the body advising the Dutch Government regarding assistance to the Caribbean countries during the pandemic and has been advising St. Maarten since the onslaught of the covid-19 pandemic. Until recently it seemed that the relationship with St. Maarten was a good one, only to read that St. Maarten has disregarded advices coming from this same body.

That the RIVM has sounded this alarm publicly, makes one wonder what consequences the disregard for the advices from this public health body has for the wellbeing of the St. Maarten people. Is it really that serious or is it nothing to worry about? The Government of St. Maarten acts as if there is nothing to it.

But of course there are always at least two sides to every story and I look forward to the Minister’s explanation.

The reports have prompted me to formally ask the following questions to the minister of Public Health, Mr. O. Ottley:

  • Is the Minster aware of these statements by the RIVM?
  • Does the Minster agree with these statements?
  • What recommendations has the Government of St. Maarten not followed?
  • What consequences has this had for combatting the corona pandemic on the island?
  • What was the Government’s reason for not complying with the recommendations of the RIVM?
  • Has anything been done to rectify this situation?
  • Kindly provide all communication pertaining to the above between the Ministry and the RIVM .