From the Editor:   Your editor first came to St. Barths in 1968, and has been a permanent resident for more than twenty years. He lives with his Franco-American family on a hillside overlooking Lorient from which he gazes fascinated by the unfolding panorama of a halcyon and unique way of life.
  November 2003
space
  The Chance of a Lifetime
space
    On the 7th of December 2003, the electorate of St. Barths will go to the polls and express their will on the subject of a revision of the island's political relationship with France.
space
    The fact that they have been invited to do so is a miracle in itself.
space
    Their choice will be between keeping things the way they are - according to France's definition of the way they are - and shifting the position of St. Barths in the outline of the government of France is such a way that more local autonomy will be gained and a number of perennially contentious issues - especially regarding the fiscal obligations of the citizenry - will be resolved.
space
    For the uninitiated, it must be noted that France's definition of the way things are has been kept at arm's length for decades by the adroitness of successive local administrators, but the last lines of defence are now crumbling, and, should Paris have its way, the full weight of distant control and exploitation would descend upon the place.
space
    The better choice seems obvious, but it would be foolhardy to underestimate the blind loyalty of many recent immigrants from France to their Motherland, and the inclination of many local folk to automatically object to whatever the Mayor thinks is a good idea.
space
    Here, on the hill, we can only hope that the growing number of newcomers from France will exhibit the political apathy characteristic of those they've left behind, and that local folk will do what they've always done in a crisis: forget their personal differences, roll up their sleeves, and pull heartily together.

    More to come,
    Peter O'Keefe
  News & Comment   |   Editorial Archive   |   A Visitor's Guide