The first 55 Million Euro from the 470 Million Euro Trust Fund, was signed off By the Minister of General affairs and Prime Minister of St. Maarten Leona Marlin Romeo and the World Bank in the month of July 2018. But a statement coming from the State secretary for Kingdom relations Mr. Knops,” seems clear, they are the ones to determine what exactly the money will be used for. In a press Release from the World Bank, they listed the following as emergency projects for the released funds: Repair Public shelters, support rebuilding severely damaged homes of low income families and support and strengthening resilience of emergency response capacities. The role St. Maarten government is playing here is nothing more than an endorsement by the St. Maarten Trust Fund Steering committee.
One needs to take note of the regular visit of Dutch officials to the Island and the amount of Dutch civil servants working here, all of which seem to suggest they are in complete control of what goes on in Government at various levels. The question of taking over was put to State Secretary Knops while speaking to Reporters in the Netherlands and published in the Daily Herald of Saturday July 14th 2018. He is quoted again as saying “We are definitely not taking over. St. Maarten is a sovereign Country. But St. Maarten cannot do it on its own in certain areas, and if St. Maarten ask for assistance we (the Dutch Government) are willing to look at that seriously. But the request must come from St. Maarten”.
Minister of TEATT Mr. Stewart Johnson tweeted a picture of a delegation of Dutch Members of Parliament on a working visit to St. Maarten. Johnson did not say what exactly is the details of the working visit but our Ministers certainly are not in control of the recovery program when the Dutch and the World Bank are the ones in control of the released funds and how it is to be spent. Tweeting about the working visit is not telling us how much of what we are doing other than to show who is in control of the spending of the recovery funds. The Dutch wants to look over how their money will be spent.