Lieutenant Colonel Manzoni bids farewell to St. Martin | THE DAILY HERALD

President Daniel Gibbs presents Lt. Col. Sébastien Manzoni with a gift at the latter’s farewell party in Fort Louis Yacht Club on Friday. General Jean-Marc Descoux looks on at left. (Photo Robert Luckock)

MARIGOT–Commandant of the Gendarmerie in St. Martin and St. Barths, Lt. Colonel Sébastien Manzoni, is leaving St. Martin after a four-year tour of duty on the island. A farewell cocktail party was held at the Fort Louis Yacht Club on Friday evening with his Gendarme colleagues and many invited guests.

Lt. Col Manzoni (40) is taking up a new posting with the Direction Générale of the Gendarmerie in Paris. Also moving on after four years is Manzoni’s superior, Général Jean-Marc Descoux, Commandant of the Gendarmerie in Guadeloupe and St. Martin and St. Barths who takes a up a new posting on August 1, taking command of the Gendarmerie de L’Outre Mer in Arcueil.

The General and Manzoni both attended their final military ceremony in St. Martin at the compound in La Savane Friday morning where a congratulatory letter was presented to a detective for outstanding investigation work. At a cocktail afterwards, the General took the opportunity to thank the assembled military personnel for their professionalism with a special mention for the Republican Guard who were brought in during Hurricane Irma. He also recounted his own experience in the French Antilles over the past four years.

Among the guests at the Yacht Club Friday evening were General Jean-Marc Descoux, President Daniel Gibbs, Députée Claire Guion-Firmin and Secretary-General of the Préfecture, Mickaël Doré, standing in for Préfète Sylvie Feucher. Each gave a speech acknowledging Manzoni’s outstanding contribution to reducing crime in St. Martin.

The General noted under Manzoni’s watch between 2015 and 2018, physical violence dropped by 70 per cent (from 129 armed robberies down to 40) while burglaries also dropped by 58 per cent. “Remarkable results that mark a true break with past years where the situation had deteriorated,” he said. “It’s your actions and daily engagement, with all the Gendarmes under your command, that explains this exceptionally favourable turn around. St. Martin has a reputation for efficiency founded on tangible results.”

Gifts were presented to Manzoni by President Gibbs on behalf of the Collectivité while Doré also presented him with a Préfecture medal.

U.S. Embassy representative for French St. Martin, and President of the U.S. Navy League in the Eastern Caribbean Lloyd Tackling presented him with a plaque. “The U.S. Embassy is very pleased with the success you have had during your command. We have seen the changes and thank you for your efforts and tenacity.”

Manzoni, at the conclusion of his speech, said his departure is a bitter sweet moment mixed with “the excitement of discovering new horizons and new responsibilities but tinged with sadness for myself, my wife and family who have become so attached to this island.”

Source: The Daily Herald