10th European Development Fund disbursement goes to St. Maarten infrastructure upgrades

POSTED: 02/2/12 12:41 PM

St. Maarten – The government of St. Maarten is still waiting for final approval of will a 4.75 million euro grant under the 10th disbursement from the European Development Fund (EDF). The money will be used to do major upgrading of the infrastructure in Dutch Quarter and on work in Middle Region.
The request was filed under the urban infrastructure heading. The government used that same heading in the 9th EDF disbursement in order to finance the major upgrades in Middle Region that Vice Prime Minister Theodore Heyliger recently asserted should become the standard for infrastructure development going forward.
The process to acquire the funding under this 10th disbursement is stalled at a discussion over how the government of St. Maarten offers a guarantee that it will take responsibility for the management of the funds and the execution of the projects agreed to in the project dossier.
“Formerly that used be done by the Kingdom Government for the Netherlands Antilles is concerned and now the discussion is taking place as to what the islands – the new countries – would have to do in order to give that same level of comfort. We’re investigating exactly what is required especially to see if it must be reflected in the budget. What it should read and what sort of guarantee must be clarified,” Prime Minister Wescot-Williams said on Wednesday.

The government is also a response from the European Commission on regional project that will focus on small and medium enterprises in the Dutch and English Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs). A total of €15 million has been set aside for all of the islands put together. The project has been in planning for some time already but assurances have been given that the final approval will come soon.
“These types of programs, E.U. programs in general, and the preparation of projects for funding takes quite some time and in the case of a regional project shared by two or more countries in the region it takes even more time. It is a very meticulous process before these projects are in at the EU and when they are in at the EU it also takes some time. They need to be assessed in terms of the SME program. We went through the matter of an evaluation. We received technical assistance we being the Dutch and British OCTs. But finally the program is there where the next action is the final approval for the execution to start,” Wescot-Williams said.

The new projects will stand beside other ongoing projects like the EU funded project for combating HIV and AIDS and the Risk Reduction Initiative (RRI). The grants to the region total €6 million and €4 million respectively.

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