Published On: Mon, Jan 28th, 2013

I see no target group that will be the worse for this

WILLEMSTAD – Jan de Wit, one of the co-owners of Zorg en Zon BV, which is setting up the project ZenCity for senior citizens on Curaçao, together with Vredenburg City Management NV, stated that the project most certainly meets the requirements for the care facilitating permits. De Wit, who was Care manager with the BZV for years, stated this following a radio interview and a newspaper article titled ‘A strange permit’, whereby the Inspector of Health, Jan Huurman queried this publicly.

“With regard to the contents of the article I am very surprised that the Inspection presents itself as if it operates outside the government. As far as I know the Inspection observes the rules made by their colleagues. Perhaps it would be a better idea to check with the same colleagues, who do understand the intended aim of ZenCity so that the permit is complete. The national health service on Curaçao is in process and the numerous questions lack technical and judicial answers.”

To illustrate that practice, De Wit stated: “If we purchase medical care with a local intramural institution, for example Hugenholtz, specialized in psycho-geriatrics, the latter must change its zoning and a new application must be submitted, as per the National Regulation Health Institutions. However, this is also the case if Hugenholtz considers new development at another location. Considering they are discussing this with BZV, they have no other option than to request a change of zoning.”

De Wit still regrets that many people aren’t aware of the chances offered with this project; chances necessary for economic growth.

“When private persons want to invest money, for example 90 million guilders, in a park with bungalows and apartments, we must think economical,” said De Wit, adding “if a local party with a permit from the government finds an allocation that is advantageous for everyone on Curaçao, this must be taken seriously. I can’t believe there are people who don’t see this, certainly these days, with our economy.”

According to De Wit, one cannot keep what one has now without considering economic growth. “The medical tourism, our upcoming sector, is one possibility. Many researches were done. The last one I worked with was by order of Mr. Ruggenaath, whereby Mike Franco had led the research team. Nothing much was done with those recommendations as yet.”

For that matter, De Wit said the Inspection of Health is very important. “I must say that the role of the Inspection is clear to me and is necessary. What’s more, if we want to offer medical care on the island to international clients, there’s still a lot to be done about the quality of the local medical service. We are already working on the quality criterion for Dutch medical insurers in offering service to their clients. We take this seriously because it’s a sensitive business where a fatal mistake, and the personal grief, means the end of your activities and could mean the loss of your investments. One of the advantages of offering medical care locally at international level is that the level of the care to local clients will also increase. We will arrange this with local medical institutions.”

Eventually, that is the target: purchase local medical care and help upgrade the local offer so that clients will enjoy an even better care. That’s what ZenCity advocates, said De Wit.

“Considering I’m a very positive person I prefer to see the positive reactions. These mainly are the individual, often oral, reactions from people living on Curaçao, who view ZenCity as a possibility to boost economic growth. Let’s not forget the people who wish to return to the island. The pensioned Antilleans in the Netherlands, who ask when they can come and if the coffee is brewing.”

De Wit will not let himself be discouraged by the negative opinion of people. He thinks the resistance will eventually fade away because there is really no target group that will be the worse for this project.

The ZenCity group has decided to invite the media and several administrators involved for an information session and a tour, to remove all confusion. This session will take place in the first week of February.

“However, after that we hope to put all our energy in attracting clients and making agreements with medical institutions. After all, it’s more efficient to put our energy in the business itself,” De Wit concluded.

ZenCity is a park in Vredenburg in a safe environment with bungalows and apartments suitable for senior people. An environment where acute medical questions can be answered immediately via the emergency room in the medical center.

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