The Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, Minister of Justice Egbert Doran, Minister of (Tourism, Economic Affairs, Telecommunications and Transport (TEATT) Mellissa Arrindell-Doncher, along with the Police, Immigration department and senior staff of the relevant ministries held an emergency meeting to deal with the consequences of the effects of the current demonstrations and road blocks happening on the French of St. Martin over the last 3 days.
“We are in solidarity with the people of French St. Martin and their struggle, and pray that dialogue will resolve the current impasse in the interest of all concerned. Our priority at this time is that our community remains safe,” Prime Minster Jacobs stated.
The government with all its Emergency Services Departments and departments are doing all in their power to keep the St. Maarten residents and visitors to our island absolutely safe and sound. There is open communication between the Government of St. Maarten and the representatives of the Collectivité of St. Martin as well as the Préfecture regarding updates concerning the protests and the blockades.
There will be heightened Police presence on the Dutch side, including vigilance around our shared borders to ensure the population’s safety, which does not indicate that we are in any way blocking the borders. Residents and visitors alike are asked to follow all directions and to please cooperate fully with the police.
While the blockades of the roads on the French side have remained in place, the French authorities have assured that traffic is still possible via the Cole Bay/Bellevue border. However anyone choosing to do so will be doing so at their own risk.
The French authorities have issued a statement advising visitors to change their travel plans, or remain on Dutch St. Maarten instead. Prime Minister Jacobs reiterated that all stakeholders are currently doing all that we can to accommodate those that have opted to leave the French side and finalize their stay on Dutch St. Maarten.
The community and the tourists can rest assured knowing that everything is being done to secure their safety. Secondly, everyone should remain calm, stay on the Dutch side and not venture onto the Northern side of the island unless strictly necessary. St. Maarten remains open for business, and citizens are reminded that we are ambassadors who welcome others daily to our shores.
As government of St. Maarten and a united St. Martin people we wish our counterparts in the North a quick resolution to the impasse and hope that life can return to normal as soon as possible. The lines of communication between the two governments remain open as we continue to monitor any changes and provide updates periodically. We will continue to facilitate arrangements being made for persons and tourists going to and leaving from the French side.