POND ISLAND–The local Government is yet to file a request for aid or budgetary assistance from the Dutch Government to cope with the economic ramifications of monster Hurricane Irma. The administration will wait for the completion of the National Recovery Plan (NPR) before making a formal request.
Prime Minister William Marlin told Members of Parliament on Thursday morning: “We were not able to put in a formal request for aid.”
Government has to ascertain what is needed to be able to give a structured request. Any aid received has “to be based on a plan,” he said.
While a plan needs to come before a request goes to the Dutch Government, international donors were advised to deposit aid to Government into two bank accounts made public in an advertisement in Thursday’s edition of The Daily Herald.
The ad was placed by Finance Minister Richard Gibson and calls on “international donors that are seeking to give financial aid to the Government of St. Maarten” to make use of an account set up with Standard Chartered Bank in the United States and ING Belgium SA/NV in the Netherlands. The beneficiary name is “Government of Sint Maarten govt. aid Irma.”
The preliminary NRP report is expected from the committee headed by long-time civil servant and former Island Secretary Joana Dovale-Meit by the beginning of October and a definitive report by yearend.
Marlin is confident the aid will come. “We have a commitment” from the Dutch, he said, referring to talks with King Willem-Alexander and Dutch Kingdom Affairs Minister Ronald Plasterk.
He compared the request for aid without a plan or figures to going to the bank and asking for a loan without details.
“It’s like you go to the bank and say: ‘I need a loan.’ What do you need a loan for? ´I want to build a house.’ How much money you need? ‘A lot.’ What kind of house you going to build? ‘A big one.’ How much do I need to give you? ‘A lot,’” Marlin said.
Marlin was in Parliament for the continuation of an urgent sitting called about the state of the country following Hurricane Irma on September 6. The session opened on Monday and was suspended until Thursday. The discussion will continue on Monday at 10:00am.
Bron: Daily Herald