Honorable Prime Minister Dr. Luc Mercelina Concludes Urgent Work Visit to Washington, DC

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Honorable Prime Minister Dr. Luc Mercelina (center), World Bank Executive Director of the Kingdom of The Netherlands, Eugene Rhuggenaath (left), Minister Plenipotentiary Patrice Gumbs (left), Sharmilla Bihari board member World Bank (far-left), Stuart Johnson Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister (Right) and St. Maarten steering committee representative Ronald Holman (far-right).

 

Washington, DC – The Honorable Prime Minister Dr. Luc Mercelina has successfully concluded his urgent work visit to Washington, DC, marking a pivotal moment in the ongoing efforts to secure support for St. Maarten’s development initiatives. During this urgent work visit,  PM Dr. Mercelina’s presence at the high-level meetings proved to be a game changer, highlighting his commitment to both the international community and St. Maarten’s pressing needs.

In his fourth day of meetings, Prime Minister Dr. Mercelina underscored the gravity of the current energy crisis facing St. Maarten. “My country is passing through an energy crisis but my people in this crisis need all the support now,” he stated emphatically. “We cannot continue as business as usual.” PM Dr. Mercelina made an urgent plea to address the immediate reality, “My people are in darkness,” and called for prompt adjustments to address the critical issues his country is facing today.

To mitigate the current crisis with GEBE, one of the proposed solutions is to rent the necessary capacity to stabilize the energy supply. PM Dr. Mercelina emphasized, “We need to realize what is going on in our country, as it is very emotional. A state-of-the-art airport or even a hospital will mean nothing if we do not have a stable and reliable energy supply.”

Addressing the broader implications for nation-building, Dr. Mercelina declared, “If we want to talk about nation-building, then we need to talk about addressing the energy crisis facing our country now.”

It became evident that the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment, and Infrastructure (VROMI) has faced challenges over the past four years in ensuring the sustainability of projects under the Trust Fund. PM Dr. Mercelina stressed the urgent need to improve the capacity of the Ministry of VROMI, with immediate actions already underway to address these deficiencies.

Amid a series of intense meetings, Prime Minister Dr. Mercelina also met with the World Bank Executive Director of the Kingdom of The Netherlands, Eugene Rhuggenaath, to discuss how the World Bank and the Netherlands will continue to support Sint Maarten as a small island developing state with major climate vulnerabilities.

Further discussions took place on the Child Resilience and Protection Project and the Civil Society Partnership Facility for Resilience/Resources for Community Resilience Project. These discussions further reinforced his commitment to enhancing community resilience and protection.

Prime Minister Dr. Mercelina wrapped up his extremely busy work visit by being dubbed a “game changer,” invoking a strong commitment to the actual realization of all projects under the Trust Fund. His leadership and proactive stance have set a new course for addressing St. Maarten’s urgent needs and securing a brighter more impactful future for all its citizens.