MARIGOT–A group of eight concerned citizens met with Secretary-General of the Préfecture Mickaél Dore on Monday afternoon to discuss finding solutions to end the border controls, specifically the blocking of parents taking their children to school on the French side. Senator Guillaume Arnell also attended part of the meeting and gave his opinion.
The past weekdays have seen the Gendarmerie checkpoint between Bellevue and the Cole Bay border being monitored and filmed, with videos appearing on Facebook on a daily basis. Well-known persons observing the controls every morning have included Aline Choisy, Victor Paines, Jules Charville, Carl Javois, and more
Parents have been attempting to defy the ban imposed by the Préfecture that stipulates French children residing on the Dutch side cannot attend school on the French side and must continue distance learning.
Radio St. Martin reported a French parent with her two children was turned back early Monday morning, one of several parents with children to have been denied access. The woman is married to a Dutch national, lives on the Dutch side, but also has a home on the French side.
She considered whether to send her bewildered children through the bush on foot to get to school, but was encouraged to try again and join the line. At her second attempt, with a different Gendarme, she was allowed to pass.
That and other incidents have underscored the inconsistency of the rules where some are allowed to pass and others not. Two French cyclists returning from a ride on the Dutch side were stopped even though they live on the French side.
“How can you be stopping me when I am already on the French side and I live on the French side?” protested one of the cyclists to the Gendarme. The checkpoint is on the French side, not on the border. The cyclists were eventually allowed to pass.
It was learnt the group of concerned citizens has launched a legal action to contest the legality of the decree implemented by the Préfète and to that end a marshal (huissier) on Friday took notes to have an official record of what was transpiring. The decree will be challenged in the administrative court with the hope a judge will order the controls to be lifted.
“The Secretary-General was very attentive to our concerns, but he is not able to make the decisions, that is up to the Préfète and her superiors,” said Jules Charville. “But I think by Wednesday there should be something new announced, whether the controls will be lifted altogether, or if they let the children go to school, we don’t know yet.”
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/delegation-granted-a-meeting-as-tension-escalates-at-border