Published On: Sun, May 2nd, 2021

Sewage system to be updated via Windward Roads $2M USD fine

FOGA, Sucker Garden – The construction of a new sewerage pumping station at Foga with a pressure line to the A. Th. Illidge Road wastewater treatment plant is one of three major projects to directly benefit the people of St. Maarten via a US $2 million fine levied against construction company Windward Roads Infrastructure N.V. by the Prosecutor’s Office OM SXM.

Construction of the new sewerage pumping station, behind Melford Hazel Sports Complex, starts Monday, May 3, 2021. The new pumping station will move sewerage from Sucker Garden neighborhood to the wastewater treatment plant.

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 conducted by the Anti-corruption Taskforce TBO of the Attorney-General’s Office of Curacao, St. Maarten, Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. This case uncovered a major bribery, money laundering and forgery scheme that saw the sentencing of a prominent politician, the WWR former director and CFO, and three others.

WWR has accepted responsibility for its part in the scheme, via the actions of its former director, and has agreed to revamp its work procedures and compliance to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

In addition, the company has agreed to conduct projects totaling a net worth of US $2 million that will directly impact the daily lives of the people of St. Maarten. This means for the Foga project, and the two others to come, WWR will provide all labor, materials and other project-related items at no financial cost to the Government of St. Maarten. The project(s) were selected in consultation with the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI. The Ministry will also oversee the execution of the project(s).

OM SXM was instrumental in getting the US $2 million fine from WWR for the country. Instead of pursuing court proceedings against WWR that would take time and expend more taxpayers’ dollars, OM SXM tagged an amount considered suitable as a fine for the criminal behavior of WWR and the repayment of the losses faced by the country. That amount is now deliverable in the three projects.

It is not possible to put a company behind bars. Therefore, punishing a company where it has the most severe and lasting impact – its financial bottom line – was deemed the best course of action in these circumstances. WWR will not make any profit on these projects.

The first of the restitution projects – the construction of the Foga pumping station – was originally to start in October 2020. However, logistical issues did not allow this timeline. This first project now starts May 3 and should be completed by Wednesday, June 9.

The Foga project will cost WWR a total of US $677,256.

OM SXM will monitor this project and the two other pending ones (once they have come online) to ensure the US $2 million is exactly what is spent by WWR. The revamping of WWR’s work procedures to prevent punishable acts of this nature in the now and future will also be monitored by OM SXM.

Foga logistics

The Foga works will primarily focus on the construction of a new pumping station and pressure line that will lead to the wastewater treatment plant on A. Th. Illidge Road. The scope also entails the excavation and placement of sewer lines under Soualuiga Road.

There will be no road closure as the works will be in the area designated for the pumping station and the sewer lines will be placed on the far side of the road not to obstruct oncoming traffic.

The project will be executed in three phases: the construction of the pumping station, the installation of the pressure line, and the operation phase.

Motorists are urged by VROMI to drive with caution during the execution of works.