Official ceremony marks opening of Theodore A.M. Pandt Road Phase 1

Official ceremony marks opening of  Theodore A.M. Pandt Road Phase 1

Island Commissioner Arlene Spanner-Schmidt (at podium) speaking at Tuesday’s ceremony.

Andre Brissett, policy advisor to the St. Eustatius government’s Directorate of Economy, Nature and Infrastructure (ENI), said the government had started the so-called St. Eustatius Road Programme in 2019, which aimed to improve the island’s infrastructure through a phased approach.


Island Commissioner Arlene Spanner-Schmidt (fourth right) cutting the ribbon to mark the opening of Phase One of Theodore A.M. Pandt Road.

page12c148A bird’s-eye view of Theodore A.M. Pandt Road.

ST. EUSTATIUS--With government officials and invited guests in attendance, a ceremony on Tuesday marked the official opening of Phase One of Theodore A.M. Pandt Road. The works to upgrade this section of road took almost a year to complete.

Theodore A.M. Pandt Road was selected in this programme because it is part of the route connecting the airport and the harbour, Brissett said. He added that Oranjebaaiweg is also part of the programme and it is expected to be completed in 2024.

“A showcase of these infrastructure projects is that they are locally developed and use local knowledge and expertise,” Brissett said. The projects are financed by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and the Dutch Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations.

The first phase of works to Theodore A.M. Pandt Road consists of 1.1 kilometres (km) of poured concrete roadway, plus a roundabout, a kiss-and-go area, 94 visitor and staff parking spaces, a rainwater management system to prevent flooding, and the installation of streetlights and sidewalks.

The project’s contractor was Statia Roads and Construction.

“The project was developed in such a manner that our ancestral African enslaved burial ground and village would be protected during the execution of the project and make it possible for future generations to benefit from our rich and diverse history,” Brissett said.

A historical marker in the shape of an obelisk was placed at the location of the enslaved African village last month, on Statia Day, to commemorate their struggles and fight for freedom.

St. Eustatius Heritage Inspector Raimie Richardson fitted a QR code on the monument to allow persons visiting the site to read about the island’s history.

In his address, Brissett also paid homage to his recently deceased colleague, the late Austin van Heynnigen.

“Van Heynnigen was influential in the development of this project and I would like to extend my condolences to his family and friends. You have departed from us, but you will not be forgotten. So, we dedicate this one to you, Aussie,” said Brissett.

Project Manager Elvin Henriquez led attendees in a moment of silence for Van Heynigen. He also thanked each member of the ENI team by name, as well as other stakeholders.

Island Commissioner Arlene Spanner-Schmidt congratulated the government’s ENI and

Programme and Project Management Office (PPMO) teams for jointly managing the project and successfully reaching this milestone.

“It is through their commitment and hard work that we stand here today, celebrating another completed project that will help shape the future of the island,” Spanner-Schmidt said. “The project will improve the connectivity, accessibility, safety and organisation of the island.”

She thanked all stakeholders who played a direct or indirect role in the project. She also thanked the St. Eustatius community for their patience while works were being done.

“Let us take care of our investment, knowing that it holds one of the keys to securing our economy, preserving our social lives and the future of our children, protecting and building the very essence of St. Eustatius,” she said.

Spanner-Schmidt cut the ribbon to officially open Theodore A.M. Pandt Road. Afterwards, the barricades blocking the road were moved and vehicles started to travel on the newly-opened street.

The mistress of ceremonies at the event was Teena Lopes. Also present at the ceremony were Government Commissioner Alida Francis and Island Commissioner Reuben Merkman.

Musical entertainment was provided by DJ RunnThings.

The Daily Herald

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