Keeping the Golden Goose Alive
Everyone I meet tells me that the scene of their childhood is now less agreeable that it was when they were a kid.
The older they are, the more emphatic they are about it.
There is a temptation to remember the past as being a simpler time, a time of ethical certainties, a time when one ambled - rather than scrambled - forward towards the future.
For the last twenty years, much of the unique appeal that St. Barths offered to its visitors was the degree to which it resembled the lost world of their youth.
Things here moved slowly. Choices were few. Local life appeared to be straightforward and uncomplicated.
In St. Barths, however briefly, one could escape from the traffic jams, the insurance requirements, and the specter of growing crime statistics.
Most of all, visitors embraced a community where people had figured out how to live happily in peace, prosperity, and beauty: a community reminiscent of the past.
This remains true today, but the handwriting on the wall is not encouraging.
The treadmill of tourism is expanding exponentially, and the French government, awakened by the prosperity of the place, is sticking its nose into places previously undisturbed.
Can the languid spirit that has endeared St. Barths to so many be preserved?
Probably, but we can no longer rely upon the accident of circumstances.
It will have to be done deliberately.
And the upcoming change of political status is a golden opportunity to begin.
More to come,