SAINT-MARTIN (MARIGOT) - "Since the Treaty of 1648 was in existence, the people of St. Martin have lived on a binational territory with symbolic borders, with a precept of unity dear to them: One Island - One People - One Destiny!,” President of the Collectivite Daniel Gibbs said in a statement on Tuesday.
The statement by President Gibbs was translated from French to English:
For the first time in 372 years, physical boundaries have materialized between north and south because of the Covid virus19.
Border control occurred for the first time as part of an agreement between the Sint Maarten government and the local state representative, at the specific time of joint confinement in April 2020. It was then taken over by France alone, in August when the epidemic resumed and Sint-Maarten opened up to American tourism.
The decision of the State to continue these traffic restrictions throughout September, on the recommendation of the Regional Health Agency, leads to a strong misunderstanding of the people of St. Martin, a misunderstanding that I fully share.
Indeed, over the past month and a half, indicators show that border controls have failed to stop the circulation of the virus.
The initial argument, understood by many, of wanting to establish a protective dam of the French side against theCovid-19 no longer holds. Covid
On the contrary, thesecontrols have caused major difficulties for our companies and exacerbated a social malaise that must be taken into account in all its aspects.
After numerous appeals and warnings to the prefecture, the ARS and the ministries, Saint-Martin's request was unsuccessful..
I have decided to continue tirelessly to raise the voice of St. Martin and to support theposition of the Saint-Martinois by conspiring the State de to restore the free movement of goods and people between the two parts of the island. So is the survival of St. Martin.
The decision to maintain these controls instead of prioritizing cooperation between states and island-wide health management, is a mistake. It does not respect the intrinsic values of Saint-Martin and the way of life of The Saint-Martinois. Nor does it recognize the ability of Saint-Martinois to measure this pandemic and to observe appropriate behaviour and the recommended barrier gestures in the public space.
The event announced tomorrow could, once again, have been avoided. Ifour call had been taken into consideration,our island would not again beplagued by unnecessary tensions. I just hope it won't be a "PPRN bis repetita"
The health situation remains a concern and must be due. This responsibility must be established between the two parts of the island and their respective states through a genuine health cooperation plan. This cooperation is possible if everyone puts their own stamp on it! Economic survival depends on it. So is social cohesion.
As elected officials, returning to a favourable health situation throughout the island, as well as maintaining social peace, remain our top priority.
We will therefore make every effort to promote this joint health action plan to the size of the entire territory.
I have asked the State for diplomatic intervention to accompany this health cooperation between our health agencies..
I exchanged today with the Minister of Overseas Affairs Sébastien Lecornu, I listened to my request. I look back at his position and his proposals.
In the same vein, I will meet with the Prime Minister of Sint Maarten onThursday,September 17, to propose the same approach..
I am convinced that it is through dialogue and consultation that we will jointly find a favourable solution to this new ordeal."