MARIGOT–President of the Territorial Council Aline Hanson said Tuesday, the zoning plan demonstration last Thursday could have been prevented with prior dialogue, and regretted the fact the entire population was held hostage due to blocked roads for around sixteen hours.
“I would first of all like to thank the population for its exemplary behaviour and patience given the upheaval the protest caused to their daily life,” she said in a statement. “I do believe in rights conferred upon us by democracy, but I do regret the entire population was taken hostage by some individuals and for political purposes. And, I am appalled the entire territory was blocked when it could have been possible to leave one relief road open for security and emergencies.
“I believe in promoting dialogue and I wonder about the actual motives of this collective; why they did not present their grievances to the Executive Council first,” she added. “A meeting with frank discussion could have prevented the blockade from happening.
“Nevertheless, the Collectivité took the situation in hand and I wish to commend the determination and commitment shown by my four Vice-Presidents Guillaume Arnell, Ramona Connor, Wendel Cocks and Rosette Gumbs-Lake, who did everything to resolve the crisis to the satisfaction of both parties. We stayed in contact throughout the day and I’m very pleased that an agreement was signed on the same day.
“My only concern was to remove the barricades for the sake of our citizens and our economy which suffered greatly that day, not to mention the terrible image the protest gave to our tourists and our destination.
“Negotiation has resulted in an agreement to cancel the public enquiry phase of the zoning plan PLU and to re-launch dialogue with the district councils. The goal now is to establish a concise zoning plan that will be better understood by the population. A territorial order halting the public enquiry was issued on October 26.
“We will do all in our power to ensure the territory has its proper zoning plan that will serve the general interest of St. Martin and St. Martiners, to advance our territory. Many economic projects, activities and jobs are at stake, and I count on everyone to help us in this process.”
Source: The Daily Herald Hanson regrets population ‘taken hostage’ by protest