August 3, 2007 - #79
Bruno Magras Elected President of the COM
A large number of Saint Barth residents were on hand July 15 at the Hotel de la Collectivité for the first meeting of the island’s new territorial council. The first order of the day was the election of the council’s president and members of the executive committee— former mayor Bruno Magras was unanimously elected as president by the 19 council members.
He then went to the airport to welcome the French Overseas secretary of state, Christian Estrosi. There was a crowd at the airport as well, with a lot of small tri-color French flags waving in a flurry of blue, white and red. Christian Estrosi congratulated the island’s politicians and the population, offering his wishes for success. The morning concluded on a musical note, with the Marseillaise—the French national anthem—then the Hymn of Saint Barth. Estrosi went on to lunch at the Sereno Hotel, where the guests included Laurence Parisot, president of Medef (a French business group). He then flew back to Saint Martin in the mid-afternoon.
After Estrosi left, the territorial council got back to business and elected the six members of its executive council. The majority list, St. Barth d’Abord, presented a list of six candidates, including Maxime Desouches, a member of the opposition list who had negotiated his participation on the executive council in spite of the fact that St. Barth d’Abord holds 16 of the 19 places on the overall territorial council. Once the four vice-presidents and two executive council members were elected, the day’s work was over.
In fact, that Sunday, July 15, was the day that Saint Barth officially became a COM—Overseas Collectivity—with its new governing body. There will be a transitional period of six months, yet some changes can already be seen, such as the new name on the front of the former City Hall, the police station, and gendarmerie, as municipal services gave way to territorial ones.
The executive council met for the first time on July 27 to define the missions for each of its members. The next meeting of the full territorial council will be held in September, when the various commissions will be divided amongst the 19 members and the real work of running the COM begins in earnest!
Composition of the executive committee:
First vice president: Yves Gréaux
Second vice president: Nicole Gréaux
Third vice president: Michel Magras
Fourth vice president: Marie-Thérèse Weber
Members of the executive council: Jean-Pierre Magras and Maxime Desouches