CWM From Runway to Driveway

February 1, 2023

In his 33 years with the company, Wendell Bonafacio has become the face of Curaçaose Wegenbouw Maatschappij (CWM), but he will be retiring in 2023. In 2019, he became cluster director for the Janssen de Jong companies on Curaçao and Bonaire. The transition to his successor Pierre Montesant as the brand-new director of CWM and BWM (Bonaire) has started this year. Just like Bonafacio, Montesant has worked his way up within the company and partly because of this, he knows the ins & outs of the company. Both shed light on the wide spectrum of services and products of CWM, which shows how open they are to customers, large and small, and are not averse to thinking and acting unconventionally.

Bonafacio had already made his mark in the construction industry, including in St. Maarten, when he returned to his island and joined CWM in 1989. “People speak curtly of ‘Road construction’, because that has become a concept,” Bonafacio laughs. From 2011 he acted as director of CWM (and BWM/Bonaire). In those early years there was still a kind of bonanza for construction. Major land development plans were drawn up (6 to 7 per year) and the government was renovating roads, which meant that there was constant work to be done. This gradually declined, partly because the economy has not been prospering for decades. Allotment plans were divided into parts and implemented sparsely. To keep afloat in an increasingly shrinking infrastructure market, it was necessary to diversify.

Artificial Grass

Even after 14 years in the service of CWM, a lack of enthusiasm for his work is the last that can be blamed on Pierre Montesant. As the brand-new CWM director, which was officially completed on 1 January this year, he looks to the future of the 69-year-old company with confidence. He sees countless opportunities ahead to do more, in a more innovative and sustainable way. Born in Curaçao, like so many others, he went to the Netherlands after high school to study. He studied Civil Engineering at the HTS in Den Bosch, after which he supervised the construction of roads and tunnels for Rijkswaterstaat and a large road builder. After 19 years in the Netherlands, he itched and in 2006 he returned to Curaçao to be charged with calculation and work preparation for CWM and its sister company BWM (Bonaire) – and more along the way. “95 men and women, from pipe fitters and asphalt processors to civil engineers, work here in various fields, from the construction of roads to synthetic turf fields”. From 2019, Montesant led the sister companies Windward Roads & Construction with approximately 125 employees on St. Maarten, St. Eustatius and Saba and Anguilla Roads & Construction for Janssen de Jong Caribbean. For the time being, he is still supervising these companies until a suitable successor has been found.

Landing strip

CWM – and consequently its sister companies as well – is mainly known to the public as the executor of large infrastructural projects, often on behalf of the government and for which a lot of publicity is often involved. The fact is that the road network is largely in the hands of the government. CWM participates in public tenders for projects that governments want to see carried out, whereby market rates are invariably charged with the guarantee of a high-quality result.

Yet that is too limited a view of what the company can and does, because CWM is not just a road builder. The company also does work for the construction of underground cables (power and fiber-optic casing pipes), (water) pipes, rainwater drainage, sewers, etc. The company provides complete allotment plans with all facilities, including electricity meter boxes and street lighting. That is why private companies, including utilities, hotels, offices, project developers and brokers, have been knocking on CWM for more than just paving (asphalt or clinker bricks) for years. Incidentally, CWM obtains the required asphalt from its own asphalt plant and clinkers in all kinds of shapes and colors from sister company Beton Industrie Brievengat (BIB).

The motto within the Janssen de Jong Caribbean is therefore ‘Let’s Build Happiness Together’, Montesant says. This group not only has skilled personnel at its disposal, but also has its own equipment, such as asphalt finishers, asphalt rollers, excavators, loaders, and milling machines, such as for the project to provide the runway of the international airport in Anguilla with a new layer of asphalt. The strength of this cluster is that these autonomous business units, although they have their own pricing and purchasing policies, complement each other so that the customer receives attractive offers – without an accumulation of OB! Being a partner in a larger company has many advantages. For example, the parts of Janssen de Jong Caribbean have put their heads together to share knowledge and expertise for the benefit of the customer.

Residential driveway

Precisely because CWM is involved in large-scale projects, the impression is that the company will be expensive and has no interest in serving private individuals. Nothing is less true; even gladly, Montesant assures! Like no other, CWM can relieve the customer of many headaches by taking care of the supply of materials (sand, stones, cement, concrete, asphalt, clinker bricks, etc.). What about a residential driveway, tiling (part of) the garden, a patio in or around the house? It will soon become apparent that the rates are very competitive. As for the larger projects, a cost estimate is made for the customer at a rapid pace. In short, CWM is also approachable for those so-called ‘small assignments’. If CWM can install athletics tracks and artificial grass pitches for sports facilities, then there is no need to install artificial grass in private gardens.


Pierre Montesant wants to make the company even more sustainable. After the closure of the Isla refinery and because Venezuela is no longer an option, the cleaner bitumen to produce asphalt has to come from elsewhere. CWM can perform quality checks on the asphalt in its own lab to ensure the customer gets value for money. During road construction, tests are carried out and analyzes are made of the work delivered. No wonder that CWM offers a three-year warranty for completed roads.

In addition to diversification, CWM also looks at how new technological developments can be applied. For example, CWM has worked as a pilot project on the use of bitfoam (= bitumen, tar as a raw material to make asphalt, mixed with foam) in road construction. In addition, when milling roads to be renovated, the scraped asphalt is mixed with bitumen, which can be used as a substrate instead of the traditional and less durable diabase. A thinner layer of asphalt will then suffice. This form of recycling saves a lot of asphalt and therefore costs. It has already been used with great success. After a thorough inspection, it turned out to be in perfect condition.

On to 100 years

Wendell Bonafacio looks back on moments of peaks, but also of troughs in which the company had to hold its own. After having worked under 12 directors himself, Bonafacio will soon leave behind a healthy company after almost 12 years at the top – CWM will be 70 years old next year and BWM 60 years, with many employees who have found employment there from father to son. He will soon leave with the firm conviction that the companies will at least reach their 100th anniversary. For the time being, the journey to there, rests on the shoulders of Pierre Montesant, but like Wendell Bonafacio, he is assured of the full cooperation and support of the entire company and the Group.