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FEATURE STORY April 26, 2019

Sint Maarten Recovery and Resilience Trust Fund Update

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WASHINGTON D.C. April 26, 2019 – The steering committee of the Sint Maarten Recovery and Resilience Trust Fund met in Washington D.C. to take stock of progress, accelerate implementation and agree to prepare new projects. Main highlights include:

  • The Sint Maarten Trust Fund was established just a year ago for up to EUR470 million (currently US$553 million equivalent). The SXM TF has received US$305 million from the Netherlands of which US$128 million – have been committed to 4 projects: the Emergency Recovery project focused on home and shelters repairs; the Emergency Income Support and Training project; the SXM Hospital resilience and preparedness project; and the Emergency debris removal project.
  • Advance preparation for four additional projects for the total amount of US$150 million is under the airport reconstruction, support to small businesses, waste management and a budget support operation.

Progress

  • 900 jobless people received income support, training and certifications to improve their skills. The project aims to reach 1800 workers in the hospitality and construction sectors.
  • Repairs of the Hospital roof were completed with new alarm and fire detection systems.
  • Two police stations were repaired with category 5 doors and windows and a temporary roof
  • Trust Fund financed Sint Maarten’s insurance premium against tropical cyclones, earthquakes, and excess rainfall under the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF).
  • Equipment and material for management and safety of the landfill has been procured.
  • 13 Shelters will be repaired before the peak of the hurricane season.
  • The National Recovery Program Bureau, which manages and implements the TF-financed projects, was established and staffing is being scaled up by June.
  • Good progress has been made to help the most vulnerable people in low income housing: 109 social home repairs will be completed by the Sint Maarten Housing Development Foundation (SMHDF) by end May 2019; and 160 units already repaired are being reviewed to assess eligibility for retroactive financing.
  • Door to door social screening of the private homes of 135 households has been completed and technical assessments to determine repair needs of these homes are about to start. Construction will follow.

Airport Reconstruction

  • The Government has adopted the recommendations of a corporate governance assessment of the airport conducted by the World Bank and will appoint a Task Force to implement these recommendations. The objective is to strengthen the institutional capacity of the airport and its corporate governance.
  • A co-financing package from the Sint Maarten Trust Fund (US$51 million) and the European Investment Bank (US$50 million) has been mobilized to rebuild the Airport passenger terminal. The financing package is being discussed with key stakeholders, including with the Airport’s current bondholders. Construction is currently expected to start in the fall of 2019.

Budget Support

  • The Steering Committee approved US$30 million for a series of two Development Policy Operations (DPOs) - budget support operations - to strengthen public financial management, improve social insurance sustainability, and support fiscal resilience.

New Initiatives:

Preparation of new projects

  • Road connectivity on the island, including key emergency road from the South Reward area to Dutch Quarter (Link 6).
  • Digital Government project to enhance the efficiency of public services for citizens and businesses.

Assessment for large hotels

  • Assessment of the financial situation and of credit access for large hotels.

A next ad hoc meeting of the Steering Committee will take place in Sint Maarten on May 16, 2019 to ensure the acceleration of the home repair program and other key activities of the Trust Fund.

For more information on the Sint Maarten Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience Trust Fund: https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/sintmaarten


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