Prefect Vincent Berton: “Never will so much have been done in 2023 and at the dawn of 2024”


As tradition dictates, the delegated prefect of Saint-Barthélemy and Saint-Martin, Vincent Berton, organized his 18 greetings ceremony on January 2024, with a nod to the year 2023.

By way of introduction, Vincent Berton wanted to greet and pay tribute to the students of the Daniella Jeffry vocational high school who had prepared the ceremony: “These young people represent the future of Saint-Martin”. Recalling his pleasure in serving the French State in Saint-Martin, the prefect said he was proud of the progress made in 2023, mentioning three essential subjects, namely regional cooperation, reconstruction and public services. On the first part, the prefect mentioned several events such as the historic common border agreement of May 26, 2023, the distribution of drinking water by Sint Maarten, the Fisheries Conference or even the synchronization of cyclone sirens, concrete examples of cross-border cooperation that Vincent Berton hopes to maintain with the next government of the Dutch side. Regarding reconstruction, the politician welcomes the acceleration in part French with current and future projects which strengthen the links between the State and the Community. For public services, Vincent Berton of course mentioned the important and historic decision of the French government for a full-fledged prefecture: “It thereby recognizes the autonomy and singularity of Saint-Martin and puts an end to a long history of under -administration of the island. A page is definitively turning, it was wanted by the president (Emmanuel Macron editor's note) after the passage of Irma. This means more resources, more autonomy and more efficiency. There is no contradiction in having a strong state alongside a strong and autonomous community. (…) It is on this path that we move forward with you, Louis Mussington.” By way of conclusion, Vincent Berton wanted to hide behind the words of the sacred monster that was the Belgian singer Jacques Brel by reciting his wishes from January 1968 while adding his personal touch: “In 2024, I form the wish that we never give up.” _VX


Before toasting the glass of friendship, the prefect of the Northern Islands, Vincent Berton, presented medals to seven personalities from the territory, in recognition of their commitment and dedication:

Maggie Gumbs, medalist knight of the national order of merit, is an emblematic figure of Saint-Martin. Former director of the CCISM and the Local Mission, Maggy is known for her action in favor of the guidance and training of young Saint-Martin residents.

Sabrina Placidoux, distinguished by the medal of honor for overseas engagement, is a model of success. The first female engineer in the Saint-Martin Community and today, director of the urban development and housing department, she played a key role in urban development and the innovative project of a territorial surveillance application in terms of town planning.

Sonia Roy-Belleplaine, awarded the medal for youth and sport and community life, is an artist, painter, poet, and state civil servant. His journey and his artistic and associative commitment are a source of inspiration.

Christian Climent-Pons received the Medal of Honor for Overseas Commitment for his commitment to rebuilding the education system after Irma. His role as state administrator is crucial for the revival of school and extracurricular buildings.

Maxime Wintzer-Wehekind, first commander of the gendarmerie of Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy, was awarded the same medal for his commitment to security in Saint-Barthélemy and Saint-Martin.

Evelyne Fleming is recipient of the medal of honor for overseas commitment for his investment in the youth of the Northern Islands, particularly in access to culture and sport.

Peggy Oulerich, former director of Cobraced and medalist for overseas commitment, was praised for her commitment to the integration of young Saint-Martin residents.


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