Community: President Gibbs welcomes the end of border controls with Sint Maarten


“After several weeks of discussions with the prefecture and the ARS, - in particular to anticipate the educational problem posed by the controls -;

… After having protested against the maintenance of these controls and opposed a set of legitimate arguments and proposals for solutions to the highest authorities of the State, attesting to the urgent socio-economic need to reopen traffic between the north and the south of the island;

... After the population took to the streets to support the challenge of these restrictions and make their voice heard, with the support of elected officials from both parts of the island;

We can only congratulate ourselves, collectively, that this unity has resulted in the end of border controls and the return to free movement between the north and the south. It is a relief for all of us.

However, the victory against Covid-19 is far from being won and it is everyone's responsibility to act individually and collectively, while respecting the barrier measures.

However, if this responsibility is incumbent on each of us, awareness, communication and control in health matters remain a duty of the State services, which have the competence and the human and financial resources. I cannot let the responsibilities of this mission rest on citizens alone, even if everyone can position themselves as an actor in the fight against this epidemic.

Despite the satisfaction for the people of Saint-Martin at having won their case, we can only wonder again about the way in which the State services today regard the local elected representatives of the Republic, and especially those of the Overseas.

Our duty as elected officials consists in alerting and advising the local representation of the State and the ministries on the need to recognize our specificities and to act to fight against the spread of Covid19; What we strive to do with unwavering commitment, while being more proactive.

We expect from these same services a respect for local political representation which aims to protect citizens and prevent demonstrations of discontent that should not take place.

According to the statements of the prefect, the decision to free the borders was taken in response to the threat of disturbances to public order expressed by members of an association.

What a lack of consideration for the mobilization and commitment of the local political class! What a reduction for Saint-Martin and its population.

But our priority today is to make our arguments heard and to establish an island-wide health protocol to protect the Saint-Martinois. Today I will travel to Sint-Maarten with my Vice-Presidents, at the invitation of Prime Minister Sylveria Jacobs, to discuss the possibilities of joint actions. The Prefect was invited, at my request.

As I have been insisting for several months, it is on the scale of this small island that we must act to fight this virus in the long term, and we will put all our energy to ensure that devices such as the Joint Screening and Surveillance Center Saint-Martin / Sint Maarten, quickly emerge. ".

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