Prime Minister William Marlin and Préfète Déléguée of Saint Barthelemy and Saint-Martin Anne Laubies shake hands after signing the Sea Border Demarcation Treaty on Wednesday, April 6.
PHILIPSBURG–Dutch St. Maarten and French St. Martin signed a Sea Border Demarcation Treaty at the conclusion of the third quadripartite meeting held in Philipsburg on Wednesday, April 6.
Negotiations on the sea border began in 1996 and concluded in 2015. The aim of the negotiations was to agree upon the western and eastern maritime borders, it was stated in a press release on Monday.
Prime Minister William Marlin signed the Treaty on behalf of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Préfète Déléguée of Saint Barthelemy and Saint-Martin Anne Laubies signed on behalf of the French Republic.
Wednesday’s meeting was formulated in 2014 as a forum for the Dutch and French to discuss issues of mutual interest. Participating in the meeting were representatives of the governments of the French Republic led by the Ambassador for Regional Cooperation for the Antilles-Guyana Veronique Bertile; the Kingdom of the Netherlands led by Director of the Western Hemisphere Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Joost Reintjes; French Saint Martin led by President of the Collectivité Aline Hanson and Dutch St. Maarten led by Prime Minister Marlin.
The agenda of the 50-delegate strong meeting touched on issues related to military cooperation between the French and Dutch state on the island and the Police Cooperation Treaty, which will regulate the manner in which armed forces exercise their authority in instances of transnational policing.
Matters related to ongoing cooperation in the areas of education, health and social welfare, were also discussed particularly where it relate to truancy, streamlining and correcting access to social premiums, pensions and documentation requirements for persons resident on one side, but employed on the other and the possible legal avenues for sharing of information between both sides of the island.
During the meeting, Health Minister Emil Lee made brief presentation on his vision for complementary specialised medical services on either side of the island. In so doing he hopes to minimise duplication, increase efficiency and improve the overall medical standards on both sides of the island.
Although it was high on the agenda, the pilot project that will see a joint sewage treatment plant servicing the communities of Marigot, Cole Bay and Simpson Bay was not as concretely discussed as a meeting to iron out a number of technical concerns was scheduled for the following day.
“Though representatives from both sides of the island meet regularly to discuss matters related to cooperation, the quadripartite meeting offers an opportunity to have political backing given to the work carried out by the technocrats,” the press release said.
Marlin lauded the work carried out by parties noting that opportunities such as these are ones to identify areas which still require added attention and to keep abreast with the progress being made in the spirit of continued dialogue and cooperation.
Marlin said a number of follow-up meetings will be held for continuity in the ongoing work and in preparations for the fourth annual meeting which will be held in Paris in the spring of 2017.