The long-awaited signing of the agreement between France and the Kingdom of the Netherlands relating to the border delimiting Saint-Martin and Sint Maarten at Oyster Pond (oyster pond) was formalized on Friday May 26 in Belle Plaine by the Minister of Interior and Overseas, Gérald Darmanin and the Prime Minister of Sint Maarten, Silveria Jacobs.
The official ceremony took place at the Belle Plaine border monument in Quartier d'Orléans in the presence of the Minister Delegate for Overseas Territories, Jean-François Carenco, the President of the Collectivity of Saint-Martin, Louis Mussington, and elected officials, the autonomous government of Sint Maarten, the prefect of Guadeloupe, Xavier Lefort and the delegate prefect of Saint-Barthélemy and Saint-Martin, Vincent Berton.
"This historic agreement will help facilitate the process of rebuilding the island, very severely affected by Hurricane Irma in 2017. It specifies the course of the border while preserving the principle of free movement of goods and people established by the agreements. of Concordia of March 23, 1648. It also establishes a joint monitoring commission responsible for monitoring and maintaining the border", specified Gérald Darmanin, before adding "This signature illustrates the excellence of the relations of friendship uniting the France and the Netherlands, eager to strengthen their confident cooperation on the island of Saint-Martin, as the shared will of the Territorial Council of Saint-Martin and the autonomous government of Sint Maarten to continue to develop their close ties and joint cross-border cooperation projects".
In addition to the signing, the ceremony featured speeches that highlighted the importance of this event and the potential it represents for the advancement of bilateral relations.
Like the speech by the Prime Minister of Sint Maarten, Silveria Jacobs. “I am very pleased to announce the outcome of this border treaty. The result fills me with satisfaction and optimism for the future.
Through diplomatic dialogue and cooperation, we have reached a mutually beneficial agreement that strengthens peace, stability and cooperation with Saint Martin. The signing of this treaty is not a means of division or a bad symbolic gesture; it is a testimony of dialogue, compromise and unity. It is the beginning of an era of cooperation, in which the borders of the map no longer divide us”. For the president of the Collectivity of Saint-Martin, Louis Mussington “what matters most today is that this partition treaty strengthens over time, the already close ties between Saint-Martin and Sint Maarten.
This border issue and the friendship that binds the two parties have often led me to say that we are, whatever people say and think about it, Europe before Europe. We have since 1648 taken so many steps. We have learned to look our stories in the face”.
Concretely, the new line of the border stipulates that the marina and the restaurant of Captain Oliver's are now considered part of the French part of the island. Good news for the process of rebuilding the site, which was totally destroyed in 2017 after Hurricane Irma.
Before going to the ceremony, Gérald Darmanin, with Jean-François Carenco at his side, went to the Prefecture and then to the Collectivity in the presence of the prefects Xavier Lefort and Vincent Berton. Several subjects were discussed with President Louis Mussington and the 1st Vice-President, Alain Richardson: the question of cooperation with Sint Maarten in the distribution of drinking water, the structuring projects of the territory and the actions coming in support of youth, in particular the creation of an adapted military service regiment (RSMA).
We will come back in more detail to the follow-up to Gérald Darmanin's official visit to Saint-Martin (gendarmerie, Saint-Martin fire and rescue center, laying of the first stone of the Administrative and Judicial City of Saint-Martin) in our Thursday edition. _AF