That the World Bank and its counterparts recognise the valuable contribution of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and non-profit organisations (NPOs) made since the passing of Hurricane Irma (see related story) is to be applauded. The same can be said about the idea to support these so they can better help with the continued recovery process.
However, one can’t help but wonder whether there is an absolute need to have a whole study on the feasibility of a grant-making scheme for these entities done by the Association of Netherlands Municipalities VNG and NPOwer in St. Maarten. After all, many local NGOs and foundations have already shown that they can handle such responsibilities successfully with at first direct early emergency aid from the Dutch government and later means from the Reconstruction Trust Fund.
White and Yellow Cross Care Foundation (WYCCF), the local Red Cross, St. Maarten Training Foundation (SMTF) and many more, as well as semi-governmental entities such as St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation (SMHDF), St. Maarten Development Fund (SMDF), GEBE and others, performed crucial tasks to help the country get back on its feet. Do they really need to prove themselves again?
While VNG is not a commercial business looking to make money, these kinds of operations tend to anyhow imply expenses for experts travelling back and forth, accommodations, etc. What’s worse, the word “research” alone in the ears of many is starting to sound like nothing but additional, seemingly endless delay before things finally happen on the ground.
Who can blame them? Take, for example, work on urgent projects to suppress smouldering underground dump fires and to remove boat wrecks as well as remaining storm debris, which is yet to begin in earnest.
So, there is understandably a general desire to – if at all possible – keep things simple and actually get them done, rather than just discussed in detail over and over.