Published On: Wed, Oct 3rd, 2018

Dutch Parliament asks about recovery funds

Dutch ParliamentTHE HAGUE - The Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament has submitted a number of questions regarding St. Maarten’s reconstruction in anticipation of the 2019 budget handling later this month.

The Committee members wanted to know how the reconstruction is progressing, and how many people have been assisted with the repairs of their homes that were damaged by Hurricane Irma last year September. They asked about the allocation on the 2019 budget of the 550 million euros that the Dutch government has reserved for St. Maarten’s recovery.

Clarity was sought on the conditions of the World Bank to make the tranches of the St. Maarten Recovery Trust Fund available. There was a question when the Second Chamber would be informed about the effects of the monies that have been spent on projects from the Trust Fund, managed by the World Bank. “What is the status of the resources in the Trust Fund, and does it concern a grant or a loan?”

The law enforcement system on St. Maarten also resulted in a few questions. “How is the strengthening of the law enforcement system progressing, especially the detention facilities and the St. Maarten Police Force? To what extent are the prison facilities being financed from the Recovery Trust Fund?”

The strengthening of St. Maarten’s border control, one of the preconditions of the Dutch government, also has the attention of the Second Chamber. “Where has the strengthening of the border control taken place? Is this supervision now on a desired level? Are there figures about the size of the influx of undocumented persons?”

The Committee members asked about the St. Maarten Integrity Chamber, the other precondition of the Dutch government to establish the Trust Fund. The Integrity Chamber is not a fact as yet, but should be before the end of this year. Nonetheless, the Committee wanted to know how the Integrity Chamber is functioning and what its tasks entailed.

Regarding St. Eustatius, the Committee wanted to know about the status of the tasks that had been neglected by the local government before the Dutch intervention in February this year. “Which tasks that were neglected are being carried out now?”

There was a question about the investments in public infrastructure in Statia. “Considering the responsibilities of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, and the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations, what concrete actions have been taken to repair schools, roads, airport, harbour, social housing and the Fort Oranje cliff?”

As for finances, the Committee inquired whether any figures were available for revenues from local levies in Statia for the years 2015 until 2018. Also, there was a question about the structural decrease of levies collected in Saba since 2014.

Finally, the Committee asked which projects the Netherlands supported in Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten to promote social and economic development as well as financial management. “What is the result of these projects?”

The list of in total 44 questions was sent to State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops in preparation for the handling of the 2019 Kingdom Relations budget and the BES Fund for the Caribbean Netherlands. The handling of the budget will take place later this month.

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