November 19, 2004 - #32
The American Consul General Visits Saint Barth
Robert L. Fretz, the American Consul General in Barbados, visited Saint Barth on Monday, November 8. The main topics discussed during a meeting with the mayor in the morning included the re-paving of the airport runway, the change in the island’s political status, and the evolution of the economy and tourism in Saint Barth. After 2:30pm he meet with American citizens loving on the island (there are about 50 as per a recent census), as well as anyone else who wanted to meet with him. This professional diplomat first came to Saint Bath 18 years ago as a tourist. Last year he came unannounced for some private meetings with Bruno Magras. This year, his visit was announced in the newspapers so that those who wished to meet him could do so. His trip to Saint Barth was part of a tour of the Northern Islands, including two days in Anguilla before coming to Saint Barth, then he went on to Saint Martin on Tuesday, November 9, where he meet with the public at the Beach Plaza hotel. On Wednesday November 10, a meeting with sub-prefect Maurice Michaud was on the schedule before the diplomat headed back to the American Consulate in Barbados.
Baby sea turtles found on the beach in Saint Jean
On Thursday and Friday, October 28 and 29, the agents of the marine park were alerted by the directors of the windsurfing club on Saint Jean beach, as well as by the staff of several neighboring hotels, that some small sea turtles were stranded on the beach. Fifteen young turtles of the species Eretmochelys imbricata were collected and put in a small plastic basin, in the shade. The discovery of the animals attracted numerous children who were worried about the future of these little creatures that were hardly able to move. The marine park staff eventually released the turtles late in the afternoon when the water in the bay was calm. The young turtles quickly sought refuge in the layer of seaweed floating on the water. Their natural instinct is to hide in the seaweed as camouflage from their predators and to find the food they need to survive. Following the discovery of the young turtles, both children and adults searched unsuccessfully for signs of other turtles hatching on the beach in Saint Jean.
New diving passes available
Anyone who dives in the waters protected by the marine park is asked to contribute one euro per dive to the park: a modest sum intended to pay for the maintenance of the moorings made available to boats that want to tie up in these protected waters. For those who dive on a regular basis, a pass is available for 15 euros. Good for one year, this card allows divers to try and “find Nemo” as frequently as they so desire. This unlimited “diving pass,” which is valid from November 1, 2204 through October 31, 2005, is available at the marine park office in Gustavia.
Plans to build a cultural center
Good news for all the cultural organizations on the island: the cultural center included in the master plan for the sports complex in Saint Jean will eventually be built. At least in principal, everyone agreed that the project should move forward. This decision was made at a meeting organized on Tuesday, November 9 by the president of the association, St B’Art. Representatives of numerous cultural organizations, as well as the deputy mayor responsible for non-profit associations, the director of the technical services office at Town Hall, and the architect for the building. The architectural plans call for a two-story covered structure with forced-air cooling, and a footprint of approximately 6500 square feet, with a stage area, flexible seating for 400, and a projection booth so that the venue could also be used for film screenings. On the ground floor, the idea is to have small studios for art, dance, music, and video editing as well as offices, to meet the needs of the various cultural associations. The funds necessary to build this cultural center should be included in a future municipal budget. And if a completion date has not yet been established, the cultural leaders hope that the work can get underway by 2007.
More to come