Small allocation to start social funding for development fund

POSTED: 06/27/13 3:22 PM

GREAT BAY-The St. Maarten Development Fund has acquired a small advance payment from the government as it awaits its budgetary allocation for 2013. The money is to assist the fund in its operations and also ensure that payments are made to foundations, which are in dire need of social funding to continue their programs. The announcement was made by Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams under whose ministry the fund falls. The SMDF is the successor of Antillean co-financing agency Amfo, whose departure on December 31 has created a void in the seamless funding of local non-governmental organizations. To cushion Amfo’s effect, the government created the SMDF which was allocated some 3 million guilders in the 2013 budget to be disbursed for social funding. However the 2013 budget is still to be passed into law, leaving many foundations like Safe Haven to suspend several critical services because of the lack of finances.

Following a series of articles on the precarious position foundations now find themselves in published by Today, the prime minister last Friday said that she would have intervened in the situation. Yesterday, she reported that money would be released to the SMDF but did not disclose the amount.

“I have also been informed by Safe Haven that they will be using this time to reevaluate their whole organization and see if any refocusing regarding their activities is necessary at this time,” the prime minister added.

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