St. Maarten Prime Minister on European funding “It’s a totally different ballgame”

POSTED: 02/13/14 12:10 PM

St. Maarten – Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams updated the public at yesterday’s Council of Minister’s press briefing on the upgrading of Dutch Quarter through funds from the European Union. She said that funding had been secured at the last minute due to an issue between the European Development Fund (EDF) and USONA. Nevertheless, the funding has been secured, and the enhancements to the neighborhood will go ahead shortly.

“After very intense deliberations and negotiations we were able to get the project, get the approval for the funding of the project, but at the same time we took it upon us, the responsibility to report on the project, to make sure that the project takes place in accordance with the applicable rules and regulations,” the Prime Minister explained. “It’s a huge responsibility that the country has taken upon itself. Make sure that it is done within the timeframe.”

The Prime Minister felt that while “it’s no small task by any means, I believe then, when we defended this in Brussels late last year, and I still believe that St. Maarten can do it. We just need to put our forces together.”

Up until the 9th EDF conference, the Prime Minister explained, funding for such projects had been done through USONA. At that conference “it actually came about when we were still part of the Netherlands Antilles, so you had that kind of a buffer in dealing with the European Commission as far as funding is concerned. We don’t have that anymore,” Wescot-Williams said, “So St. Maarten really needs to find a way to make sure that the project takes place according to European guidelines. We just need to make sure that we continue to cross the Ts and dot the Is.”

The Prime Minister explained that government will be outlining details of the project and providing information to the public on the European guidelines “just to highlight the fact that it’s a totally different ballgame when we talk about European Development Funds.” She explained how the difference came up with USONA. “The feeling of the European Commission, they have told them that they can no longer manage, administrate projects for us again St. Maarten needs to be on its Ps and Qs.”

Created in 1957 by the Treaty of Rome, and first launched in 1959, the European Development Fund (EDF) is the main instrument for providing community development aid in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and the overseas countries and territories (OCTs). St. Maarten would fall under the OCTs.

 

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Comments (1)

 

  1. anonymous says:

    It’s great that Sint Maarten is getting European Funds from the European Citizens taxes.
    It would also be good that those European Citizens could go to Sint Maarten to invest if they would be considered Citizens too.

    I guest that Sint Maarten just wants the European Citizen’s tax money, but they don’t want them in their country.