PHILIPSBURG - On Tuesday the Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams signed the Fund Management Agreement between the St. Maarten Development Fund and the Government of St. Maarten for the funding of crucial NGO’s in the community.
The St. Maarten Development Fund (SMDF) was established to ensure that Foundations that were funded by Dutch Funding Organization AMFO continued to receive necessary funds. AMFO ceased funding and left many NGO’s at the risk of loosing the necessary funding.
Prime Minister Wescot-Williams stated that through the hard work and cooperation of all entities the Foundations, including After School Activity Organizations and Foster Home and Orphanages Organizations, are now able to receive the necessary funding to continue with their respective mandates; “When we learned of the cessation of the AMFO programs and funding there was a slight consternation due to many NGO’s having come to rely on that funding coming from the Dutch Government.
“At that time the Government needed to very urgently establish the organization to fill the gap from which AMFO left off in order to ensure that there would be continuity in their programs. In order to fulfill this there was established the St. Maarten Development Fund Foundation chaired by Richelda Rodrigues-Emmanuel. Richelda, who comes from a background well suited for the SMDF having served on the Reda Social Foundation that funded many projects on island is joined by Joy Arnell and Marinka Gumbs as Board Members of the SMDF. The management of the SMDF is done through Keith Franca, who comes with a long list of management skills,” stated Prime Minister Wescot-Williams.
The Prime Minister also stated that there was some urgency with regards to the establishing of the Fund Management Agreement; “The fund got started and needed to hit the ground running because NGO’s were wondering how they would continue their work. The Foundation developed a social development program which resulted in a ten year plan for the development of St. Maarten indicating target groups, organizations and individuals who needed to be a part of the plan moving forward and ensuring that NGO’s receive the funding that they so deserve. Many of the NGO’s are able to continue their work due to the funding made available through the SMDF via funding from Government. The transition was almost seamless and NGO’s are now able to receive the funding necessary to continue with their work after AMFO stopped their funding.
“We also thought it necessary to come to a fund management agreement where the various responsibilities will be laid out between Government and the St. Maarten Development Fund of St. Maarten. We are therefore going to move forward and formalize the fund through the signing of this agreement here this evening,” commented Prime Minister Wescot-Williams. (Contributed by the Cabinet of the Prime Minister)