Boasman asks Dutch to start releasing aid
PHILIPSBURG – Caretaker Prime Minister Rafael Boasman has asked the Dutch Government to start releasing hurricane recovery aid now, as St. Maarten has complied with both conditions for release: acceptance of more border control by the Dutch and the establishment of the law to bring about an Integrity Chamber.
Dutch State Secretary Raymond Knops is expected to announce today, Thursday, the approval of bridging projects to tide the country over until the bulk of the 550 million euros can be disbursed via the World Bank.
The law related to the Integrity Chamber was passed by Parliament a week ago and has been co-signed by Boasman and Governor Eugene Holiday. The law now goes to the Ombudsman for review against the Constitution.
Boasman said he has asked The Hague to not wait for the completion of the Ombudsman’s review, which can take up to six weeks. Rather, he said, the funds should be released as soon as possible because the two firm conditions were adhered to.
The funds are needed to “get the economy going,” he said. “A lot of hidden damage is there. One of this is the economy.”
World Bank representatives were in the country last week to work out aspects of the recovery process with senior civil servants.
Meanwhile, the Council of Ministers has approved a formal structure to handle recovery process and projects.
Of the waiting for a new government to take office, Boasman said, “The situation under which we are working now is not a desirable one. We are a caretaker government confronted by a lot of important things to do and decisions to make, working on a day-to-day basis.”