BZK, BAK and TWO team up on National Development Vision
(PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten) –The first steps towards developing Sint Maarten’s National Development Plan under the current National Development Vision began on Friday, July 22, during a meeting between The Department of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BAK), Ms. Angelique Gumbs (Manager of BAK), Mrs. Andrea Ortega-Oudhoff (Senior advisor BAK) and the Temporary Working Organization (TWO). Currently, an inclusive launch of the National Development Vision is being organized to ensure stakeholders and public are continuously involved.
The Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK), in The Hague, recently invited representatives from Sint Maarten, Curacao, and Aruba to evaluate the technical cooperation and implementation process of the country reform measures. The delegation from Sint Maarten consisted of the Chair of the Monitoring Committee, Ms. Candia Joseph; the Secretary General (SG) of the Ministry of General Affairs, Mr. Hensley Plantijn; and member of the MC, Senior Advisor of the Department of The Interior and Kingdom Relations (BAK); and member of the Secretariat of the SG Platform, Mrs. Andrea Ortega-Oudhoff. During these counterpart days, lessons learned were shared and feedback was provided on how to improve the cooperation and make the reforms a success.
Sint Maarten’s focus was to re-evaluate the Country Package with the objective to develop an overall National Development Plan under the current National Development Vision (NDV) of Sint Maarten. The country package that holds measures for structural reforms for the improvement and restructuring of government are in the areas of: Financial Control, Cost and Effectiveness of the Public Sector, Taxes, Financial Sector, Economic Reforms, Health, Education and Strengthening Rule of Law.
Since 2021, these measures have been part of a mutual agreement with the Netherlands in exchange for financial support. From the beginning, the Government has stressed the importance of the NDV as instructions for all of Sint Maarten development, including these reform measures. The areas for reforms as framed in the Country Package mostly resemble the development themes in Sint Maarten’s Vision. The formulation and prioritization of the specific measures needed to be adjusted to fit the Sint Maarten context, as well as further advise as to establish how best to reach the objectives of the measures with the resources available.
This exercise of defining realistic action points to reach objectives is structurally ongoing. Action points are formulated in quarterly Implementation Agenda’s that are agreed on between Sint Maarten and the Dutch Temporary Working Organization (TWO). The proposed agreements are then presented to the Council of Ministers for review and decision-making. To which, the same happens on the side of the Netherlands. When both governments agree on the content, the Implementation Agenda is signed by the Prime Minister of St. Maarten and the State Secretary.
During the counterpart days in The Hague, Sint Maarten highlighted the National Development Vision and restated that structural reforms can only be successful and beneficial if a long-term strategic plan is developed (NDP) that is in-line with the NDV. To which, with financial- and capacity support through the mutual agreement between the Netherlands and Sint Maarten on priority reform measures, this is the opportune moment for this development. The TWO agreed that anchoring all ongoing projects under the umbrella of the NDV, resulting in a NDP, would improve Sint Maarten’s chances of anchoring a sustainable future.
Photo Caption: (From left to right Angelique Gumbs (Head BAK), Andrea Ortega-Oudhoff (Sr. Advisor BAK), Arjen Alberts (TWO), Tjandra Lake (TWO).