World Bank Country Director for Caribbean Countries Lilia Burunciuc and NRPB Director Claret Connor on Tuesday afternoon signed a grant agreement allocating US $45 million in additional financing to the Emergency Recovery Project (ERP-1).
ERP-1 is one of the flagship projects of the Sint Maarten Recovery and Resilience Trust Fund, which is financed by the Government of the Netherlands, managed by the World Bank, and implemented by the NRPB.
The signing took place in the presence of Sint Maarten Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs directly after a meeting with the Council of Ministers, World Bank representatives, and NRPB officials at the Government Administration Building.
The additional funding is necessary to complete the wide range of activities under ERP-1, which include repairs to homes, schools, and critical Government buildings that were damaged during Hurricane Irma in 2017. In the time since the project was designed by the Government of Sint Maarten, the activities have encountered financial challenges due to necessary changes in scope.
“ERP-1 was the first project awarded under the Trust Fund, responding to the country’s immediate recovery needs following the destruction of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season,” said Director Connor after the signing. “The success of this project is integral for the rebuilding of our country and provides support for the recovery and reconstruction of Sint Maarten and long-term development priorities to strengthen the country’s resilience to disasters using the principles of building back better and sustainability within our institutions and communities.”
World Bank Country Director Burunciuc is currently in Sint Maarten on a high-level official visit, which will be concluded on Thursday, July 15, 2021. She is accompanied on the trip by Tahseen Sayed, former World Bank Country Director for Caribbean Countries.
Burunciuc assumed the position of Country Director on July 1, 2021, taking over from Sayed who held the position since 2017.
The purpose of the visit is to introduce Burunciuc to the Government of Sint Maarten, the Trust Fund Steering Committee, and the NRPB. The trip also gives Burunciuc the opportunity to observe some of the Trust Fund projects under implementation and interact with key stakeholders and beneficiaries.
Guided by NRPB management and staff, Burunciuc and Sayed visited a home that had been repaired under the ERP-1 on Tuesday morning, July 13.
This was followed by stops at Leonald Conner Primary School and Sr. Regina Primary School, which are two schools repaired through ERP-1. The repairs to Sr. Regina School were completed in June 2021, while the repairs to Leonald Conner School are slated to finish at the end of July 2021. The delegation also visited the Simpson Bay Community Center, one of 11 emergency shelters repaired under ERP-1.
On Tuesday afternoon, Burunciuc and Sayed toured the landfill, as well as a playground and satellite library financed by the Trust Fund through the Resources for Community Resilience (R4CR) project. They also visited social homes of the Sint Maarten Housing Development Foundation (SMHDF) that are slated for repairs.
A Steering Committee meeting is scheduled for Wednesday morning, July 14, 2021, during which the Committee will discuss the allocation of remaining finances of the Trust Fund.
The Steering Committee meeting will be followed by site visits in the afternoon, where Burunciuc and Sayed will get a first-hand look at shipwrecks being salvaged out of Simpson Bay Lagoon under the Emergency Debris Management Project (EDMP). The World Bank representatives will also speak to the owners of a hair salon and architectural firm, two recipients of financing from the Enterprise Support Project (ESP).
On Wednesday evening, there will be an official dinner to bid farewell to departing Country Director Sayed.
The final segment of the World Bank visit is a tour of Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) terminal building on Thursday morning, July 15.