May 13, 2008 - #90
The first edition of the Saint Barth Book Festival, held on April 17-21, was a double event combining the Guadeloupe/Saint Barth Poetry Week, organized by Monique Pignet, and the book day launched a few years ago.
Monique Pignet, director of the Hotel Claret in Paris and sponsor of the Prix Apollinaire, invited poets Luis Mizon and Jean-Pierre Siméon to this year’s event. Their travel was made possible thanks to an agreement with Air France. Jean-Pierre Siméon, the 1994 winner of the Prix Apollinaire (considered the Goncourt Prize for poetry, honoring poetic work for its originality and modernity), is a poet, novelist, critic, dramaturge, and artistic director for the national event “Springtime for Poets” in France. On the Thursday evening of the poetry week in Saint Barth, he was joined by Luis Mizon for a round-table about contemporary poetry. On Friday and Saturday, Mizon, who is also the president of the Poetic Confluences association and editor in chief of a magazine by the same name, participated in a writing workshop
Luis Mizon held at the weather station above Gustavia—a workshop held in collaboration with Céline Zitte-Questel, a Saint Barth author who has assembled Creole stories in a collection called “The Roots of Saint Barth.” Friday evening, an event was held at the Comptoir du Cigare with an exhibition of rare poetry editions and books for collectors. The next day, a special evening was held starting at 7pm at The Tamarin restaurant, with readings under the trees following by dinner. The event closed on Sunday with the book day activities, including a book exchange and the awarding of the prizes in the adult short story contest organized by the association Saint B’Art.
St-Barth Film Festival 2008
Organized by Joshua Harrison, Ellen Lampert-Gréaux and Rosemond Gréaux, the St Barth Film Festival is an annual event highly anticipated by the island’s film fans. For its 13th edition in 2008, the Festival held a design contest at the junior high and the winner was sixth grade student Wendy Garnier, whose artwork was used as the Festival poster. The list of films this year St Barthélemy: la Belle et l’avion, an advance screening of the new documentary by Pierre Brouwers, The Mozart Noir in Cuba, by Stéphanie & Steve James, The Japanese Village by Isabelle Fauchet Collier, Persepolis, written and directed by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, and winner of the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2007, Haïti Chérie by Claudio del Punto, screened at the festival a month before its opening in France, The Year My Family Went On Vacation, Cao Hamburger, El Bonarense by Pablo Trapero, and Made in Jamaica by Jérôme Laperrousaz—a documentary on the roots of reggae which was the closing night film. The screenings drew a large audience to the “tennis court cinema” at AJOE as well as the Captainerie. New this year was an outdoor screening on the Saturday night of the Festival, right on the beach in Flam ands, with the screen and projector provided by the itinerant film association, Ciné Woulé, and its president Jean-Marc Césaire (grandson of the great poet Aimé Césaire from Martinique who had just passed away), who organizes outdoor screenings from town to town in Guadeloupe “to bring the cinema to those who don’t go to the cinema.” Filmmakers Steve and Stéphanie James, Isabelle Fauchet Collier, Claudio Del Punto, Pablo Trapero, and Pierre Brouwers were on hand to present their films, while Jerry Carlson, of the New York cable channel CUNY TV, and Jerry Rudes of Laser Titre Video, joined the festival jury in selecting the first annual Prix de la Guadeloupe. Jerry Carlson also moderated a round table and discussions after some of the films.
New Taxes Paid to the COM
Almost two million euros were collected between January 31 and March 31 as new local taxes were instituted for businesses and vehicles (scooters, motorcycles, Four-Trax, cars, vans, trucks, and construction vehicles).
7,154 owners of two and four wheel vehicles purchased the tax stickers, with about 500 instances where the amount of the tax still needs to be decided before it can be paid. Those who tried to pay before March 31 now have until June 30 to sort out their situation. As of that date, if the tax can be paid but has not been as yet, there will be an 80% fine added to the amount plus monthly interest as spelled out in the new tax code for the Collectivity of Saint Barth.
Another 952,000 euros were collected in business taxes, with 2,160 companies having paid. As for the new tourist tax based on numbers of nights spent in a hotel or villa, a total of 1.5 million euros was collected in the first three months of 2008, a sum much lower than the 2.5 euros budgeted for the year by the territorial council. Bruno Magras announced his intention to follow up with villa owners who rent directly through web sites rather through an agency to make sure they pay the 5% tax as due.
More to come