Gendarmes conducting controls.
MARIGOT–As a national campaign swings into action to recruit operational reservists, head of the Gendarmerie in St. Martin and St. Barths Lt. Colonel Sebastien Manzoni has said it is an ideal opportunity for St. Martiners to enroll for a unique experience.
Currently both islands have just a dozen reservists working. It was a different story right after the hurricanes in September when the National Gendarmerie appealed for volunteers to assist the Gendarmerie in St. Martin in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
That appeal led to some 150 reservists working in St. Martin on different rotations, and all recounted an enriching and humane experience. They came from civil society, retired police officers, retired Gendarmes and so forth. Now all of them who were deployed to St. Martin have returned to France.
Manzoni says the national campaign is open to St. Martiners as well. Ideally, he would like to recruit 20 reservists to bring the total up to 30. Reservists can assist on regular Gendarmerie patrols or be dispatched to assist at local events such Fish Day, Carnival or Tuesdays in Grand Case.
“St. Martiners who understand the customs and culture of the island and speak different languages, can be of great benefit to the Gendarmerie, providing a link between gendarmes and the population, to facilitate social exchanges and defuse tension and misunderstandings where necessary,” he said. “It’s something that can instill confidence and legitimize the role of the Gendarmerie.”
Another objective is to create “Cellules de Prévention et de Proximité” (CPP), special units to meet the population in the districts.
Employed men and women from civil society, students, retired persons etcetera must be able to contribute 90 days of their time per year as a reservist. A recruiting day for reservists has been set for Friday, March 2, 2018. Candidates must be aged between 17 and 42 years and be of a good moral standing. Reservists receive training in Guadeloupe. It is paid job, not a voluntary position.
For more information visit the Gendarmerie headquarters in La Savane.