The Director of the NRPB Mr. Claret Connor sat down with Wendell Moore on the Popular Sunday morning Program “Peoples Voice” on Radio, to answer to the critical views often expressed by the public about the National Recovery Program Bureau as bureaucratic, Loaded with more than 500 Million US $ and none of it is impacting the lives and communities of St. Maarten after the Hurricane. He was asked, how he can prove such a concept as wrong when so many people are expressing that feeling.
Mr. Conner labored to explain that the focus of the NRPB is to concentrate on restoring the damage done to the country by the Hurricane and when evaluated often turns out to be way more drastic and required more work and money than what was budgeted for as damages to repair, because they were poorly maintained in the first place. The Police Station was given as an example of such cases but he stressed that in order to structurally restore some of the projects Identified that needed assistance, the Planning must be carefully assessed and not to be treated in a way that later on it creates yet another problem.
For the average person on St. Maarten however, what they are looking for to judge the work of the NRPB the World Bank and the Trust Fund money, is tangible structures and projects to which reference can be made, to show what you see and are experiencing are, as a result of the Trust Fund money which was placed there by the Dutch Government to reconstruct the resilience and restoration of the Island after Hurricane Irma. Until now, that is certainly not what they are seeing. Connor explained that projects such as cleaning up of the lagoon the reconstruction of the Airport, and other key developments to be financed by the Trust Fund, are in the bidding and evaluating stages and these bids are to be through and address every detail before awarded to any company to carry out the work; but it all seem to be taking an eternity.
Connor sees this process as much deeper than politicians carrying out pet projects but rather the financing of a resilience program that is great for the country and should be treated for what it is. It’s a much higher level of participation, financing and work he hopes that our government and people can take full advantage of so the Island can have a much needed structure to deal with certain crisis situations in the future. He noted, the expiration of the NRPB will come at some point, but what will we have to show for the help which was made available through the Trust Fund. Although we are hurting from Capacity Issues the public is waiting to see results like Shelters, School Buildings rebuilt, the Land Fill regulated, and the lagoon cleaned up as evidence of NRPB efforts to utilize the 550 Plus Trust Fund Money.