President Gibbs challenges the Prefecture on Border control measures | SOUALIGA NEWSDAY

SAINT-MARTIN (MARIGOT) – The President of the Collectivite of St. Martin, Daniel Gibbs, the 1stère Vice-President Valérie Damaseau and the 4the Vice-President Steven Patrick, participated on Tuesday, September 1, 2020, in a meeting with the Prefecture regarding the COVID-19 health situation of the territory and the measures currently in force, according to a statement from the Collectivity on Wednesday.

The meeting was led by the Secretary General, the Prefect Mickael Doré, in the presence of the Director of the Saint-Martin Hospital Center, Marie Lampis, the local representative of the Regional Health Agency, Pascal Godefroy and the Commander of the Gendarmerie of the Northern islands, Stephan Basso.

President Gibbs once again sounded the alarm about the socio-economic consequences of extending border control measures.

First of all, the President alerted the State representatives to the situation of students attending school on the French side, currently stuck on the Dutch side. The President asked the Secretary-General to study the situation of the Saint-Martin families who have come forward to allow their children access to school.. The Secretary-General is committed to addressing these situations on a case-by-case basis.

On the economic side, the President recalled the typical position of the territory, which, unlike other islands in the French West Indies, lives 90% from tourism. The President asked the State representative to take into account the situation of socio-professionals and their employees, whose difficulties have increased since the establishment of border control between the north and south sides of the island.

The Chair requested that a date for the reopening of the border be communicated to them as soon as possible so that they could consider the upcoming tourism season and that reservations could be made by potential travelers to the destination.

In the medium term, the President asked the Secretary-General about the economic situation of Saint-Martin and the importance of planning for a wider reopening of the destination for the next tourist season.

President Gibbs also indicated that, in preparation for the upcoming season, the Collectivite will consider the possibility of requesting a waiver from the State in order to welcome American nationals (USA) on its soil, as well as the Collectivite of Saint-Barthélemy whose economy is also tourism dependent.

This waiver envisioned provides that a specific health protocol is established, to which the socio-professionals of the territory will have to contribute and fully adhere too.

Concerned about the recent deterioration of the health situation and aware of the need to protect the inhabitants, the Territorial Executive Government is seeking appropriate socio-economic solutions to enable Saint-Martin to recover from this unprecedented health crisis, while continuing to raise public awareness about the fight against the spread of COVID-19.

With this in mind, the Territorial elected representatives have called for tighter field controls. They agreed that the territorial police should join the gendarmerie’s arrangements in order to increase prevention and control, particularly at bars and leisure establishments. The aim is to limit gatherings and enforce social distancing guidelines.

President Gibbs and his executive are once again calling for joint health protocols to be put in place as soon as possible between the French State and the Government of Sint Maarten, the two parties who are responsible for health and border management -with joint health protocols to reopen the borders and gradually resume general functioning of socio-economic activities between both sides of the island. President Gibbs has been calling for this essential health cooperation for several months now, a Wednesday statement from the Collectivite said.

The prefecture has committed to study the proposals put forward by the Collectivite and its elected representatives.

Source: Souliga Newsday