GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – Prime Minister William Marlin sent a letter to the Prefete Deleguee of St. Barths and Saint Martin Mme. Anne Laubies, making a clear call for the following to be done post haste.
The removal of all barricades impeding access to Dutch controlled territory as agreed upon by the French authorities, i.e. the status quo. And if this is not done, Sint Maarten retains the right to have these unlawful barricades removed, the Prime Minister concluded.
He further called for the ceasing of any further unilateral judicial acts in the area of Oyster Pond by French authorities.
On Wednesday, October 26th French law enforcement authorities performed a unilateral raid at Captain Oliver’s Marina in Oyster Pond. Over the past few years the border at Oyster Pond has been a contentious issue and discussions on the matter have been taken up in the past three quadripartite meetings convened between the Governments of The French Republic, The Kingdom of the Netherlands, Sint Maarten, and Saint-Martin.
During these meetings it was agreed upon that the status quo would remain in place until the border dispute was resolved, i.e. restaurant and the marina continue to operate under Sint Maarten Laws and Regulations. Given this unique situation, if any action from law enforcement agencies would be needed in Oyster Pond, this should be done in good cooperation between both parties. This was confirmed in the first Quadripartite meeting of January 2014 as well as subsequent meetings between all parties.
The status quo is based on the fact that parcels of water rights as well as economic licenses were issued to Captain Oliver’s by Dutch authorities. Neither of these acts were ever contested by the French authorities until very recently.
Furthermore, Captain Oliver’s is a registered and compliant tax payer to the Government of Sint Maarten. The French have taken Captain Oliver’s hostage in ongoing discussions surrounding the border and in recent events have arrested and interrogated the proprietor and barricaded the docks, rendering the business inoperable.
As Prime Minister of Sint Maarten, I strongly condemn the actions of the French authorities and deem these actions by the French Republic as an aggressive and illegal act that not only undermines Sint Maarten’s judicial authority but is also a clear violation of the territorial sovereignty of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Marlin further wrote.
It is clear from these actions that the French authorities hold no regard for agreements made between us and have gone against what could be considered good neighborly conduct.
These activities do not reflect the spirit of cooperation as envisioned by the Treaty of Concordia and casts a dismal shadow over the upcoming St. Martin’s Day Celebrations.
The letter was copied to the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs.