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St. Maarten government meets with Sona on maximizing remaining funds


PHILIPSBURG–Maximizing the remaining Dutch development funds administered by Foundation Development Netherlands Antilles SONA was the key focus when the Council of Ministers and representatives of the foundation met Tuesday. Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams told the press during Wednesday’s Council of Ministers Press Conference that government “doesn’t at this moment foresee any underspending of the funds. Of course we keep a close tab on these funds… St. Maarten if we can help it will not have a cent of that money not spent.”

“We have already sent to the Dutch Government our desire as to what we believe should happen [with the funds] or where potential remaining funds can be allocated.” If the funds allocated to various development projects are not fully utilized soon, they will revert back to the Netherlands.

St. Maarten has “maintained” the amount of some NAf. 3 million in the budget for St. Maarten Development Fund to support non-governmental organisations in spite of the current budget constraints. This will also ensure that with finalisation of funds from the Antillean Co-Financing Organisation AMFO. NGOs will not be left without the funding necessary for their activities. Also on the projects front, government is working on two pilot projects to address two topics the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for the country: poverty eradication and ensuring environmental sustainability.

Meanwhile, Wescot-Williams has taken note of an agreement on continuation of the good cooperation signed by Dutch Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk and Prime Minister of Curaçao Ivar Asjes this week. Government has also sent a letter to the Dutch Government about making a similar agreement “some time ago” to Plasterk. “We have not had a response on it as yet.”

Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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