PM satisfied with capacity building of local institutions

June 21, 2023  -PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten—Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs has expressed satisfaction with the capacity being built in local institutions during her tenure at the head of the Council of Ministers.

This is especially evident in the fields of development and project management, as seen in a recent visit of a delegation from the Government of Suriname to understand the benefits of a centralized project implementation unit (PIU) based on the experiences of the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB) and its role in the successful ongoing implementation of the Sint Maarten Trust Fund.

“Building local capacity in our institutions has been a top priority during my tenure and I am delighted by the progress we have made. The recent visit by the Government of Suriname delegation has been instrumental in highlighting our expertise and success,” said Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs.

The visit focused on the NRPB’s design and operations, including its institutional and legal framework. Through presentations and frank, open dialogue, the NRPB team also gave the visiting officials a detailed review of NRPB’s internal structure and processes, as well as its coordination with key stakeholders to deliver mandated objectives. The visit also featured site visits to several Trust Fund projects, such as the (re)construction of the airport and hospital, and repairs to homes and schools. The Surinamese delegation was accompanied by representatives from the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.

Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs is also confident that the knowledge and best practices shared by the NRPB will be of support for Suriname, as well as for the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.

Since its establishment in early 2019, the NRPB has acted as a centralized project agency to implement the Sint Maarten Trust Fund on behalf of the Government of Sint Maarten.

Set up to help Sint Maarten recover from the destruction of Hurricanes Irma and Maria and improve the country’s resilience to future natural disasters, the Trust Fund is managed by the World Bank and has been financed by the Government of the Netherlands to the tune of US $519.4 million.

The World Bank recently disclosed that the Sint Maarten Trust Fund is one of the fastest disbursing portfolios in the Latin American and Caribbean region. This highlights the efficiency and effectiveness with which the NRPB and the other local PIUs are implementing the various Trust Fund projects.

“We are very impressed with the institutional model that the NRPB has built. There is demonstrable, coordinated support through all levels of project implementation, from project management to human resources, from finance to procurement, and from environmental and social standards to communication. There is also a high level of transparency woven into the layers between the NRPB and its stakeholders,” said Sagita Jaggan, Deputy Director of Suriname’s Ministry of Finance and Planning and head of the visiting delegation. “The NRPB makes a compelling case for Caribbean countries to have a permanent and centralized PIU, which leverages the smaller scale of our bureaucracies and human resource capacities for maximum effectiveness.”

NRPB Director Claret Connor is happy that the NRPB has been able to execute its mandate with exemplary outcomes and can now share this expertise with others in the region.

“The work that the NRPB does, and the capacity that this institution has built, is done on behalf of the Government of Sint Maarten, for the benefit of the people of Sint Maarten. We will continue to implement these projects using the knowledge and experience that we have acquired through diligent and accountable implementation of the key projects under our care. At the same time, we are continuing to build local capacity to ensure that Sint Maarten is more resilient and ready for a future natural disaster,” said NRPB Director Connor.

“I am proud that Sint Maarten has improved our local capacity to implement large-scale development projects with funds from multilateral agencies, like the World Bank. As a young country, we will continue to develop our economy, society, and infrastructure through various projects. It makes it that much easier now that we have also developed our home-grown capabilities to carry out these projects in financially responsible and sustainable ways. I am happy to share our experiences and lessons learned with the Government and People of Suriname, our neighbors to the South, with whom we share many important historic and cultural ties,” said Prime Minister Jacobs.

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