Building and renovating on Sint Maarten
Liccom, the Leeward Island Construction Company, was established in 1996 on the island of Sint Maarten in the Dutch Caribbean. Its current Managing Director, André Sneep, joined the company in 1998 and together with Henk van den Heuvel took over the company in that year. Both partners had extensive experience in the general construction field in Europe and on St. Maarten. Sneep served as Liccom’s Architect-Engineer, and van den Heuvel was the Site Manager. According to Liccom’s Project Manager, Hans Hootsmans, the pair took on projects as they came through the door – hotel renovations, school construction, sports venues, office buildings, commercial establishments, community centers, apartments, warehouses, government buildings, and more.
“We move around in all different sectors,” says Hootsmans, “we’re not bound to any type of construction”. Our strategy is that we do the management of small, middle, and middle-large projects. And we do them together with small, local companies and small, local sub-contractors brought to various projects. We organize everything for the investor – from the idea to the realization of the project; we can colonize all items that are needed from design to build to handing over the project to the investor.” Liccom builds principally on Sint Maarten, and has a satellite office on St. Eustatius, another small island in the Leeward portion of the Netherlands Antilles.
When the company starts a project, Hootsmans says that it imports the great majority of its supplies from Europe and/or the United States. “It is purely to do with cost,” he explains. “If you buy everything local, you spend a lot more money than if you procure your materials from outside the island. If you’re in a bidding process, you need to be low. So most of our materials – we import ourselves.”
According to Hootsmans, business has been sluggish on Sint Maarten over the last few years, mainly due to a slack economy and the instability of Sint Maarten’s government. Indeed, since the island became a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 2010, it has never had a balanced budget and is mired in debt. “We just had two very slow years behind us,” Hootsmans says, ruefully. “The government doesn’t have enough possibilities to invest and investors from outside the islands are very cautious; they’re very slow to start something. But now, slowly, slowly, the projects are starting again.”
Upcoming potential projects for Liccom include a new hospital and plans for a new hotel. The company is also working on the Rockland Rainforest Adventure Park project on the Emilio Wilson Estate. Approximately $13 million is going to be invested for the development of a tourist-focused amusement park while the estate’s historical buildings are going to be restored as close as possible to their original state.
Hootsmans believes that Liccom’s success on Sint Maarten is due to the quality of its work and its strong relationships over the years with principals, financiers, consultants, local sub-contractors, and suppliers. “We deliver a complete project for the client,” he states. “We try to achieve the highest possible quality that you can get on the island. And we do a lot of service, afterwards. Many colleagues do construction and then you never see them back. But if our client has a problem or needs extra service, then we’re always there.”
AT A GLANCE
WHO: Liccom (Leeward Island Construction Company)
WHAT: A versatile construction and renovation company
WHERE: Sint Maarten, Dutch Caribbean
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