Windward Roads assigned to Dutch Quarter sewage project under Larimar case penalty

July 19, 2023  -The Daily Herald News  -PHILIPSBURG–The St. Maarten Prosecutor’s Office agreed to allow construction company Windward Roads Infrastructure WWR to upgrade the sewerage line in Dutch Quarter as part of the company’s role in the Larimar case. In this case WWR was ordered to deliver works to the St. Maarten community to the tune of US $2 million. Infrastructural repairs will commence on Monday, August 7, 2023, the Prosecutor’s Office said in a press release.

The assignment to WWR was decided on after the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI had approached the Prosecutor’s Office with a request for deployment of WWR in Dutch Quarter. After lengthy negotiations, the Prosecutor’s Office gave its permission.

The US $2 million fine is a form of restitution to compensate St. Maarten for the company’s role, via its former director and chief financial officer (CFO), in the “Larimar” case. This case was concluded in March 2020, when the judge found former Member of Parliament Theo Heyliger guilty of accepting bribes from Dutch consultant Ronald Maasdam and former director of construction company Windward Roads Jan-Hendrik Boekaar.

Heyliger was also found guilty of laundering nearly $4 million at taxpayer expense. He was sentenced to 60 months in prison, but would not be jailed immediately, as requested by the prosecutor.

The court said that with their actions, the suspects shamed the confidence of the citizens of St. Maarten. “Bribes made the projects [the Causeway Bridge among others – Ed.] unnecessarily expensive. This money should have come back to the taxpayer,” the court said.

Part of the $2 million fine has already been “worked off” by the company with the construction of the Foga Sewage Pump Station. The remaining work, in lieu of a monetary fine payment, will be executed in the Dutch Quarter Sewage Project, the Prosecutor’s Office informed.

The remaining works of the new sewerage pumping station and upgrading of the sewerage network in Lot 1 will recommence on A.Th. Illidge Road, in the vicinity of the Dutch Quarter. The new pumping station will aid in the movement of sewage from the Dutch Quarter and the surrounding area to the Illidge Road wastewater treatment plant.

The works consist of the completion of the new pumping station, completion of the small section of the main sewerage in A.Th. Illidge Road, dismantling of the existing pumping stations, reconnecting the pressure lines, installing a new sewerage system in Hodges Lane to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School and house connections in the main road and Hodges Lane.

The remaining works will primarily focus on “Section 1” which consists of the new pumping station, removal of the substations and house connections on A.Th. Illidge Road leading to the wastewater treatment plant. These works entail the excavation and placement of sewerage lines under A.Th. Illidge Road.

The works in Dutch Quarter are scheduled to take six months. WWR will provide all labour, materials and other project-related items at no financial cost to the government of St. Maarten.

The VROMI Ministry will hold an information meeting for residents at the Dutch Quarter Community Center on Monday, August 1, 2023. More details on the information session will be issued by VROMI in a subsequent statement.

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