MARIGOT:--- Préfet Délégué Sylvie Feucher has decided to maintain the controls of the border between St. Maarten and St. Martin for the next two weeks as requested by the ARS. Feucher said that she is hopeful that she can really remove the controls in the next 15 days (October 1st) so long as the cases of COVID-19 decreases. She said two weeks more is needed to really monitor the active cases of COVID-19. At the moment there are 117 active cases on French Saint Martin. Feucher said that she cannot interfere with the decisions taken by the ARS, she explained that the director of the ARS Valerie Denux was on the island on Monday and a meeting was held at the COM with and herself as the State representative where the health situation regarding COVID-19 was discussed.
Feucher explained that she is hopeful that an agreement can be signed between the Dutch and French sides prior to removing the checkpoints in Bellevue and Belle Plaine. She said the idea is to get one command center in a place where testing for COVID-19 will take place. Another concern for the Préfet Délégué is the length of time the PCR tests take before results are made available. Her desire is to get a rapid test that is effective enough to give results in 30 minutes until the results of the PCR tests become available.
In light of the extension of the border controls the Soualiga United Movement and other groups are planning a major shutdown on the French side in order to have the border controls removed and free movement of people between Saint-Martin and St. Maarten.
The various groups have been making their intentions known through social media, and a press release that states if the Préfet Délégué decides that she will extend the closure of the symbolic borders for an indefinite period, in defiance of the spirit of the Treaty of Concordia which has guaranteed for 372 years the free movement of people and goods on the island.
This method is autocratic crisis management that has failed miserably and has proven disastrous for the country and the well-being of its people. Indeed, the number of COVID-19 infections has increased and the economic slump continues to gain ground. This observation, the Préfet seems to deliberately want to ignore the social, cultural, economic reality of St Martin, it is imperative to remember that the two parts of the island form a community of destiny.
The false pretext of protecting the population put forward by the Préfet is totally unfounded and was recently criticized by a group of doctors. In addition, France, a country of human rights, prohibits access to education for children in St Martin, by setting up checkpoints.
For all these reasons, the population of Saint-Martin (North and South) demands The immediate opening of borders, the dismantling of checkpoints, and the free movement of people and goods;
- Official recognition by the French Republic and Holland of the unity of the people of St Martin and respect for their common historical and cultural heritage,
- The establishment of a collaborative approach (North and South) for the management of current and future crises.
- Strengthening the application of health measures across the country in order to curb the upsurge in cases of coronavirus contamination,
- The establishment of a real awareness and prevention campaign around the coronavirus in all the districts of St Martin, in the languages spoken in St Martin.
To demand respect for unity and community of destiny, we invite you to join the movement from Wednesday, September 16, 2020. "