St. Maarten Government thanks company for its vision to invest in St. Maarten

POSTED: 09/5/11 12:46 PM

Windward Roads celebrates 25th anniversary

PORT-DE-PLAISANCE, St. Maarten — “In 25 years we have come a long way as St. Maarten and Windward Roads have played a big part in the development of the island,” said Prime Minister of St. Maarten Sarah Wescot-Willams on congratulated Windward Roads on their 25th Anniversary on behalf of the present and past governments at a cocktail reception at the Port-de-Plaisance Resort and Casino on Friday evening. “May you continue to be part of St. Maarten as the island continues to grow from stage to stage and move as a country from strength to strength.
In reminiscing on the days when it was much easier to get things done on St. Maarten they could have gone to the General Manager of Windward Roads Jan Aben and explain the issues that they were faced with on the island as government to get things done they would come up with ideas and ensure that whatever they wanted was done. “The pendulum has indeed swung and sometimes it is too much on the other side but even in this case we will cope with it and get things done,” she said.
She noted that the present Director of Windward Roads Janhendrik Boekaar has listened to the statements made by the Deputy Prime Minister Theodore Heyliger since he spoke of the “red card and the yellow card.” She confirmed that even though they will be issuing cards for their performance, the red one she indicated is for when they should “hold up a moment and a green one for them to move forward with the projects on St. Maarten.
She thanked the company not only for the projects it executed but also for the ways that they have assisted government to get other things done. She mentioned that in reading the newspaper on the events that are taking place in the Sucker Garden district and spoke of Janhendrik Boekaar who asked Jan Aben about getting employment for some people and even though there was not much work they employed them anyway.
She also thanked the company for its confidence in St. Maarten, the government, the people of St. Maarten and the future of the country. “We are facing challenging times but I believe that with everybody on St. Maarten putting in their contribution in terms of making it happen, we can make this island what we want it to be in the future. We have come a long way over 25 years and I believe in the next 25 years because of the confidence that this company and other have shown,” she said.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister responsible for the Infrastructure Theo Heyliger spoke about the vision of Windward Roads in investing in St. Maarten for 25 years. “All of the fruits and the benefits that the company enjoys now were well thought out since you had the vision of investing in the country some 25 years ago.”
He singled out Jan Aben with regard to the fights that went on between the government and the company. He remembered the many disagreements with Jan Aben about the Boardwalk project.
“I believe that St. Maarten owes you a lot of gratitude where you kicked the road because of the potholes.” Although he believed that had he learnt everything that he knows through schooling, he recalled that he was taught about contracting work by Jan Aben.
He said in jest that over the last 16 years he had known Windward Roads he learnt about “deviation from the contracts, AKA which only means that the bottom line keeps changing.” Heyliger said Windward Roads is one of the Dutch companies that has a vision for St. Maarten and said that he appreciates that.
The minister called on the company to continue “looking ahead in the future.” Windward Road has helped with many projects such as building roads, resurfacing of the runway at the Princess Juliana International Airport and building the piers. Sometimes when the banks did not believe in the country and the projects, Windward Roads came the rescue. “A substantial amount of the money that was allotted to the payback to the Dutch Funding institutions will be paid back to Windward Roads,” said Heyliger.
He mentioned that with Jan Aben it was easier to get some sponsoring for some projects, however with Janhendrik Boekaar it is much more difficult. He noted that even though this was the case Windward Roads has been very charitable to the different organizations on the island and that he looks forward to the company’s 50th anniversary.
Director Janhendrik Boekaar spoke of how far the company has come in the 25 years it has been operating on St. Maarten. “St. Maarten has been good to our company and for that we thank you. Windward Roads has never shun or hid from its social responsibilities towards this community and we are proud to be good corporate citizens.” He notes that Windward Roads is not alone in the market and that he welcomes the competition. “That keeps us awake and on our toes.”
Since the constitutional change there are new challenges because of the new red and yellow card system that was implemented by government to keep track of the company’s performance. “There are rats that keep eating at the concrete and asphalt road which in turn causes drainage problems and uneven settlement of the pavement.”
Boekaar spoke also of the involvement of Democratic Party founder Dr. Claude Wathey who secured the funding through the Dutch Funding agency for resurfacing the main roads of the island. He said that it was Roy Markes who convinced the director of Curacaose Wegenbouw Jan Willem van Beek to travel to St. Maarten to explore the possibilities and make a bid for the project.
He recognized the dedicated employees and their loyalty to the company who go beyond the call of duty. He also expressed his gratitude to the company’s clients and particularly the government for their confidence in Windward Roads and called on the sub-contractors to continue building together for the future of St. Maarten.

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