Ladies and Gentlemen elected members of parliament and of the Territorial council of the Collectivité of SAINT – MARTIN,
Our territory over the past century and in a more significant manner over the last decades, has been entertaining the most inadequate relations with the Republic of which it is a part.
Long periods of abandonment and disengagement, have been followed by some periods of non- selfless attention, and an intention to make sure SAINT-MARTIN fitted into the French mold and was in line.
Our most notable particularities and characteristics:
• the existence of a common destiny between the two Siamese sides of the island based on the Treaty of Concordia,
• a territory with its own interests based on a linguistic and cultural heritage, an economy and a different monetary framework, opened to the world, with centers of attraction and interests primarily turned towards the Americas and the Caribbean and not towards France and Europe.
These realities are the reasons why, within the French Republic, we area treated and considered as an isolated and singular territory.
In February 2007 the law-maker gave a strong indication and took a major decision, as a result of the political will expressed democratically by our population in 2003, with the
adoption of the new status of our territory and the creation of the Overseas Community (Collectivité) of SAINT-MARTIN governed by article 74 of the Constitution. The regulation stipulates:
«Art.» LO 6311-1. -There is hereby established an Overseas Community, on the French side of the island of Saint-Martin and neighboring islets thereto attached, that overrides the commune of Saint-Martin, the Département of Guadeloupe and the Région of Guadeloupe.
«This Overseas Community, governed by article 74 of the Constitution, takes on the name of: “Community of Saint Martin.» It enjoys an autonomous status.
“The Community of Saint Martin is freely governed by its elected representatives and by means of the local referendum, according to the regulations stipulated by this code of law.
“The Republic guarantees the autonomy of Saint Martin, the respect of its own interests, taking into account its geographical, historical and cultural specificities…”. »
Yet the Constitutional Council has by its ruling of July 1, 2016
in response to the Constitutional Priority Question (CPQ) presented by the Overseas Community of SAINT-MARTIN, stated shamelessly that the financial interests of the State of France
are more important and take precedence over the rights and constitutional principles
of communities and in particular on those of the Overseas Community of SAINT-MARTIN. In a nutshell, this decision clearly affirms that the financial interests of the State take
precedence over those of the Nation (the Nation being the people, the local and territorial district that make up the Republic, and consequently over the interests of SAINT-MARTIN).
The SAINT-MARTIN Organic Law (operational regulation), which has been examined and found to comply
with the Constitution by the same Constitutional Council in 2007 states precisely:
«Art. LO 6371-4. -Any net increase in charges resulting from transfers of competences from the
State, the Region or the Department of Guadeloupe or the commune of Saint-Martin to the Overseas Community of
Saint Martin is accompanied by concomitant transfer to the community of Saint- Martin of the resources necessary for the normal exercise of these powers.
«Art. LO 6371-5. -The expenses mentioned in article LO-6371-4 are offset by the transfer of taxes, the overall operation allowance established by article L. 6364-3, the overall allocation for the construction and equipment of schools established by article l. 6364-
5 and for the balance, by the award of a total compensation allowance included in the State budget. The finance law, each year, states the amount of the grant.
In the first year, it evolves as the overall operating allowance under the conditions laid down in article L. 1613-1…. ».
It is therefore very clear that the intent of the operational regulations (Organic Law)
has been to ensure the
financial neutrality of the change of status and the creation of the new community in laying down as a founding principle of compensation for expenses resulting from transfers of competence made between the State, the Region and Department of Guadeloupe, the Commune of SAINT-MARTIN and the new Overseas Community of SAINT-MARTIN. As a further reminder, the operational Law and all its provisions has been validated in 2007 and reported as compliant with the Constitution
How then should the ruling of the Constitutional court dated July 1st, 2016 be explained and understood when it states that despite the annual loss by the Overseas Community of more than
20% of local revenues of the Commune, the principle of financial neutrality has indeed been respected and that there is an effective compensation for transferred expenses?
How should one interpret the fact that the only question raised by the members of the Constitutional Council on the hearing of June 21 was: » And all amounts to how much ? » Could this be an indication of the basis for the decision?
Robbing the Overseas Community of SAINT-MARTIN of more than 100 million
euros, is criminal when one knows the extent of the social and economic issues plaguing the community :
• About 40% of the population is under 20 years.
• Annual demographic growth rate + 3.2% (France + 0.55%)
• Approximately 11000 children enrolled in schools, junior and senior high schools on the territory.
• Among the highest rates of school failure for the entire nation (highest rate of school drop-outs, with no qualifications or diplomas)
• + 35% unemployment rate (for the 15-24 age group: + 55%)
• Gross domestic product (GDP) per capita 14 700 (France 38 575 per capita) St Barts 35
700 / capita; (Guadeloupe 19 950 per capita)
• Evolution of GDP per capita between 1999 and 2010: +
€200 (14500 in 1999 and 14700 since 2010).
• Approximately 25% of the prison population in Guadeloupe comes from Saint-Martin
(whereas we represent less than 9% of the total population).
• That the RSA is now more than 16 million and that the number of beneficiaries is in con stant progression,
Large number of young people, high rate of population growth, highest
school failure and unemployment rates, gross domestic product per inhabitant remained unchanged since 1999. (i.e. 18 years); record weight of social intervention in the budget, this all represents an explosive mixture. This is the conclusion. This is the reality. These
are the main elements of a time bomb.
To deprive SAINT-MARTIN of some 100 million euros, in such a dire situation is taking the responsibility for lighting the wick of the bomb.
Before such violation of rights, such denial of constitutional justice, before such unfounded expr ession of the prevalence and the supremacy of the financial interests of the State at the expense
of constitutional law, Ladies and Gentlemen elected parliamentary representatives and territorial councilors, the time is not called for sterile emotion or statements of disappointments and helplessness.
I invite you to show yourselves worthy of the task and the mission that should have been yours.
I invite you to take the only action that measures up with the severity and serious consequences that such denial of rights have on our territory. THE COLLECTIVE AND CONCERTED RESIGNATION OF ALL ELECTED OFFICIAL OF SAINT-MARTIN FROM THEIR MANDATE.
This Action, no matter how extreme it might appear to you, remains the only one able to assert
« the specific interests of SAINT-MARTIN within the Republic ». You will come out stronger because of such political action and personal sacrifice. But above all, the shock waves generated by such action will compel the French State to reconsider its refusal to compensate the transfers of operating expenses and the urgent need for the implementation of
a plan for overcoming the structural delays of our territory.
Ladies and Gentlemen elected parliamentary representatives and territorial Councilors of the Overseas Community of SAINT-MARTIN, the most appropriate response lies in your hands. Show yourselves up to the challenges and concerned about the future of SAINT-MARTIN. DO IT FOR THE LOVE OF SAINT-MARTIN.
Former President of the Collectivité.
Source: St. Martin News Network
Alain Richardson calls on elected to stand up in the interest of St. Martin. .