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You are here: Islands Islands News Gibbs writes open letter to Minister Hortefeux

Gibbs writes open letter to Minister Hortefeux

MARIGOT--First Vice-President Gibbs has written a letter to Minister of the Interior, Overseas and Territorial Collectivités Brice Hortefeux to express his concern about the security situation in St. Martin following the murder of Pascal Delalosa.

"The notorious absence of security and the no-less-troubling increase of delinquency and crime appear in the forefront. Criminal acts follow each other at a particularly disquieting pace. Aggressions on persons (sometimes armed) and burglaries are skyrocketing," Gibbs wrote.

"I am more concerned about a 'sleeping' Collectivité which is leaving the State with the entire responsibility of maintaining order in St. Martin. I don't subscribe to that theory and have already requested that the number and intervention areas of the Territorial Police be increased.

"I nevertheless believe the State has its share of responsibility in the matter. St. Martin is part of the Republic and must be respected and treated like any other national territory in terms of security and public order.

"Since the beginning of 2009 President Frantz Gumbs has promised a video surveillance system for sensitive areas. Nearly two years later we still do not have this system installed. We should not overlook that St. Martin lives only from tourism. In this respect we cannot afford to be an unsafe destination blacklisted in the American blogs and chat forums.

"The palpable atmosphere of anxiety and fear emerging from this situation and the media repercussions on the markets are truly a disaster for our economy.

"The socio-professionals have drawn the attention of the State authorities for years. They took initiatives, proposed actions, participated in all the work sessions on the topic without the successive State authorities in St. Martin seriously considering the true measure of this question.

"It is true we only had a Sous-Préfet when we were a Commune and today as a Collectivité only a Préfet Délégué who does not enjoy the full authority of a Préfet of a region. Yet we are repeatedly told that those means are sufficient. It seems obvious they are not. It is a denial of reality, I have already said, shared by Territorial authorities.

"Minister, this letter is a cry of distress! I solemnly request that you give special attention to the state of St. Martin to prevent the insecurity on the island pulling us down into a permanent economic and institutional collapse."

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