photo: Tim van Dijk

ORANJESTAD – Thanks to a Dutch couple, Statia will get 70 plots of land on the former Cherry Parc sugar cane plantation. This will benefit mostly young women, a lot of whom are single parents. They usually can’t afford plots due to the high price of the land.

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by Tim van Dijk [English subtitles]

Due to the current land prices it is nearly impossible to purchase a plot of land to build a house on. Statians rarely qualify for a mortgage because of the strict requirements set by the banks.

The Bouwman’s wanted to change that. Nearly thirty years ago Dutch dentist Henriette Bouwman moved to Statia with her husband, company doctor and economist, Cees Bouwman. Due to their love for the island, they purchased the old sugar cane plantation in the valley of the island in 2008.

American heirs
Faced with an exodus of young Statians and situations in which they were forced to live with their parents, the Bouwman family wanted to help find a solution to the problem. However there was a small problem, when they bought the old plantation one of the clauses the American heirs stipulated was that the property could not be developed for either housing or industry.

The Dutch couple travelled to Kentucky and Arizona to convince the last heirs of their plans to help Statians with a new neighborhood. They succeeded and now the 70 plots have been sold.

If it’s up to the couple the new neighborhood will get a European look and strong, hurricane-proof houses. The houses have to be completed within seven years. There’s space for a supermarket and a nursing home for the elderly and those with disabilities. The land for roads and light fixtures has been donated to the government so that it can lay down roads and maintain them.