Bute: Dutch forsaking island for others

POSTED: 03/1/13 12:33 PM

St. Maarten – The St. Maarten United Non-governmental Federation (Sunfed) is challenging the Dutch government to explain why developmental funds are being made available to other Caribbean countries and not St. Maarten. Sunfed President Alberto Bute told Today that many local social organizations have set their sights externally for international assistance in wake of the closure of Amfo, but are often rejected because they are seen as part of a donor country, the Netherlands.
“Many local social organizations seek funding abroad on the international market, only to hear that because of being part of a donor country, they do not qualify. How is it that we are in need, seeking funding and the Netherlands is giving funding to other countries in the region and the world?” the social activist asked.

Bute added that while St. Maarten may not be at the same level as other third world countries who regularly receive international aid, it is still in need of assistance as a developing country that needs to build its capacity.
“They say we don’t qualify for it because we are a part of a donor country but neither are we at the level where we don’t need that funding. It is a perception that we are of a developed and yet there is a double whammy on the other side because we don’t have access because the perception is that we are part of a donor country. We have gone too long under the Netherlands Antilles that we are hearing this thing, it is either that we are or that we are not part of eligibility for funding. It is clear that the standards are two different standards; one, that we are on our own and conversely that we are the property of the Netherlands,” an irate Bute said.

He cited the example of a renewable energy project that locals initiated and approached the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for funding for but was rejected.
“But St. Kitts, Jamaica and everybody else are qualifying for loans and technical assistance.”
Bute said that he hopes that parliamentarians will bring these matters up for discussion when they visit The Hague next week.

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