St. Barths Online

Yves Bourel

Yves Bourel has been living in St. Barts for more than 10 years. He is an experienced journalist and has been the editor-in-chief for local newspapers. Currently, he is one of the radio announcers at Radio St. Barth for whom he covers political news and is presenting the local news once or twice a month for St. Barths Online!

[May 22, 2003] Island officials unanimously vote to adopt new island status

Island officials unanimously vote to adopt new island status If island officials have their way, St. Barthelemy will soon be steering its own course. Mayor Bruno Magras recently asked his municipal council to vote on the COM, the statute that would convert St. Barth into a French overseas coll...

[May 22, 2003] Environmental Awareness Project spotlights ocean

Environmental Awareness Project spotlights ocean The path toward environmental awareness may sometimes have been hidden, but the most recent project underwritten by the islandÕs most fervent and efficient environmental defenders, the Natural Marine Reserve and Sub-protect illustrates the pro...

[Apr 19, 2003] Radio Saint Barth on the Net

Radio Saint Barth on the Net Good news if you like your music and news St. Barth style. You can now go on the net and tune in to Radio St. Barth by going to their new website, www.radiostbarth.com. Yves Bourel

[Apr 19, 2003] End of the season

End of the season For island tourists, coming to St. Barth after April 15, the official start of low season, is synonymous with bargains that can shave as much as 30% off high season rental rates. For local businesses, the low season is the start of a trek across an economic desert where income...

[Apr 19, 2003] Camping

Camping Now a tradition, Easter weekend camping has become de rigueur for many island families, specially teenagers, who enjoy pitching their tents on the local beaches and 'roughing it.' The long holiday weekend is the only time that camping is allowed on the island. Among the favorite campin...

[Apr 19, 2003] Status soon goes into referendum vote

Status soon goes into referendum vote. As summer approaches, so does the referendum which will ask the island's eligible voters whether or not they support the island's push for independence. Surprisingly, though, there has been no real effort on behalf of municipal leaders to provide informat...

[Mar 31, 2003] Getting personal about garbage

Getting personal about garbage In St. Barth, the sanitation trucks come around every day except Sundays and holidays to pick up household refuse. For this service, islanders are asked to pay less than $100 per household per year, yet certain residents, considering that the service should be fr...

[Mar 31, 2003] Advertising has its limits

Advertising has its limits In order to control the chaotic display of signs and advertising, elected officials have decided to set some limits. A newly-created set of regulations determines where commercially-based signs can and cannot appear, and also specifies billboard or sign dimensions a...

[Mar 31, 2003] New road to be closed ?

New road to be closed ? It took three years to rebuild the 220 meters of road, extending from St. Jean airport to Gustavia, that was damaged during hurricane Lenny. Only a few weeks after being opened, islanders may be deprived of their brand new road once again. No hurricane to blame this ti...

[Mar 31, 2003] Stadium

Stadium The island's stadium area, located in St. Jean, should begin to transform now that monies, nearly one million dollars, have been cleared. The future sports complex, that is currently bookended by the stadium and the municipal pool is a series of undeveloped lots that will eventually b...

[Mar 31, 2003] Municipal budget yields no surprises

Municipal budget yields no surprises Municipal council members voted in the new budget on March 14 for the community, the harbor and the airport. As expected, Mayor Magras did not request his council to vote in any new major community projects. Monies will be appropriated to sustain or further...

[Mar 18, 2003] Peace Vigil held in St. Barts

Peace Vigil held in St. Barts Like thousands of other organizations and groups throughout the world, people gathered in St. Barts to hold a peace vigil on Sunday night. The evening began with a meditation for peace, followed by a candle-lighting ceremony scheduled at 7 pm. In all, it is estima...

[Mar 18, 2003] Airport Security to be tightened

Airport Security to be tightened Airport officials have decided to invest in security measures that should facilitate travel for passengers. In the near future, outbound passengers will be screened, and their bags electronically scanned to make sure that they provide no security threats. Until...

[Mar 18, 2003] New island status : the buzz

New island status : the buzz Island residents were invited to an open debate on a topic that is of particular residents in St. Barts : a new status for the island. Sponsored by a local newspaper, the debate featured three speakers, legal experts from Guadeloupe population, who were called in t...

[Mar 18, 2003] No outpatient surgery in Gustavia hospital this year

No outpatient surgery in Gustavia hospital this year Patience, patience. The surgical unit that was expected to be set up in Gustavia's Hopital de Bruyn won't be happening any time this year. As with all things concerning the hospital, mounting the dossier is taking more time than expected, an...

[Feb 24, 2003] Happy Hundred!

Happy Hundred! The de Bruyn Hospital in St. Barth recently pulled out the red carpet to celebrate an occasion that doesn't happen every day. Three of its permanent elderly residents are now over 100 years old. Though it might sound like a record, at least for the region, one hospital staff memb...

[Feb 24, 2003] Saint Barth adds some newcomers to its business economy

Saint Barth adds some newcomers to its business economy Some new businesses have been added to the St. Barth landscape this season, making for buzz among locals and tourists alike. Nikki Beach, already familiar to many travelers because of its Miami Beach and St. Tropez businesses, is a restau...

[Feb 24, 2003] Conservative budget

Conservative budget The island's council members will soon be voting on the municipal budget. With the major political issue- St. Barth's bid for independence from Guadeloupe-still unresolved, elected officials will play it safe and concentrate on paying off the debts incurred from the two ra...

[Feb 24, 2003] EDF urges island to be more energy-conscious

EDF urges island to be more energy-conscious Island political and business leaders recently met with the regional management team of EDF, the nationally owned Electricity Company. The Guadeloupe directors cut to the chase and warned their audience that if the island did not cut back on its en...

[Feb 3, 2003] The State council stops Nordleing Magras

The State council stops Nordleing Magras Regional councilman, Nordleing Magras, who filed a civil party law suit against the island's mayor, Bruno Magras, for cheating the community out of import tax revenue, recently learned that the state council threw out the case stating that the councilma...

[Feb 3, 2003] More public parking, please

More public parking, please If you've ever tried navigating the narrow streets of St. Barth during the Christmas holidays, you may know that traffic has become a problem. Aside from the fact that there are more cars and motorists sharing the roads, there is also a critical lack of parking. Whe...

[Feb 3, 2003] Firemen go on strike

Firemen go on strike To protest charges of involuntary battery brought against one of their colleagues, local firemen, supported by family members and friends, took to the streets with picket signs. On January 28, Patrick Blanchard, a 24-year old professional firefighter, was summoned to appear...

[Jan 16, 2003] Tourism minister makes friends

Tourism minister makes friends As part of his official state visit to the French West Indies, the state secretary of tourism, Leon Bertrand, spent a few hours in St. Barths. Aside from pledging his support to mayor Bruno Magras for the push to become independent from Guadeloupe, Mr. Betrand co...

[Jan 16, 2003] The Music Festival

The Music Festival The 19th Music Festival opened on January 14 and will run for ten days with a program that will feature more than sixty professional performing artists, mostly American. Performances will be held in two of the island's churches, at the Anglican Church in Gustavia and at the ...

[Jan 16, 2003] The business community mobilizes

The business community mobilizes The year 2003 could signal big changes in the administration of the island. Currently considered as part of the Guadeloupe administrative department, St. Barths might change its status to that of an overseas French territory, thereby breaking away from its depe...

[Jan 16, 2003] La fête

La fête The beautiful motor yachts and sailing boats arrived in number for the holidays, creating a floating garland of twinkling lights that seemed to string from here to St. Martin. On land, the mood was just as festive. Holiday travelers poured into St. Barths, more than doubling the islan...

[Dec 8, 2002] Making life a little sweeter

Making life a little sweeter The mission statement of the local service clubs in St. Barth, the not-for-profit volunteer groups that represent local chapters of worldwide associations, is to improve the quality of community life. It's work that both the Lion's Club and the Rotary Club take ser...

[Nov 22, 2002] Local politics heats up

Local politics heats up If there is one area in which St. Barthélemy does not differentiate itself from the mainland, it is that of political scandals. For the second time in the space of one month, the justice system has made its presence felt within the local municipal council by way of tw...

[Nov 12, 2002] Controlling development

Controlling development Managing land development has been one of the principal concerns of local government for the past two decades. Understandably, on an island as small as St. Barth, land has become a precious commodity. The quality of life here, appreciated by visitors and residents ali...

[Oct 17, 2002] Local taxes are for everyone!

Local taxes are for everyone! The post 9/11 tourism industry has learned one thing over the past year: whatever marketing efforts seemed adequate just yesterday no longer meet the standard. As a favorite Caribbean up-market travel destination, St. Barths still enjoys some immunity. Neverthele...

[Sep 26, 2002] Sweet September

Sweet September Tropical heat, cloudless skies, and not a ripple in the sea. Beaches are practically deserted, and most of St. Barth's hotels, restaurants and boutiques are boarded up. With the exceptional of school hours, there is no traffic to speak of. Natural catastrophe? Hardly. It's Sep...

[Sep 4, 2002] A forceful speech

A forceful speech The island's top ranking public servant, Bruno Magras, delivered the mayoral address, part and parcel of the fare that is served every August 24, which in these parts, is St. Barthélemy Day. Though the speech was expected (traditionally, the mayor uses the occasion to transm...

[Jul 29, 2002] The French West Indian sense of time

The French West Indian sense of time Taking time, living at a leisurely pace, these could be the mottoes that govern life in the French West Indies. The island's tourists are pleased to find the lazy Caribbean pace that still presides here, to revel in the relaxing, soothing, safe atmosphere. ...

[Jul 11, 2002] Summer vacation is for kids

Summer vacation is for kids Like everywhere, St. Barth school kids have shed the recent school year like an old skin and turned their full attention to the what summer is really about : vacation. For the lucky, that includes travel and may mean a trip to France or to the USA to show doting gra...

[Jun 22, 2002] A promising summer

A promising summer The weakest link in St. Barth’s travel industry is its local airport, notably, its inability to accommodate major air carriers. Because of the airport’s unusual disposition, its lack of lighting, and its limited size, inbound travelers are confined to a forced dependency on...

[Jun 6, 2002] The Marine Reserve: a selling point for St. Barths

The Marine Reserve: a selling point for St. Barths Because of the development of tourism and the increase in the resident population, environmental protection has progressively edged its way to priority status in St. Barths. Concrete steps have been taken not only to keep the island clean, not...

[May 17, 2002] The season ends in fanfare

The season ends in fanfare Once every 2 years, the ag2r transatlantic race infects the island with sailing fever, and islanders scan the horizon, waiting for the first boats to announce the conclusion of the race that has linked two distant ports - Lorient in Brittany and Gustavia in St. Barth...

[May 2, 2002] Specific fiscal regime petition signed by 3040

Specific fiscal regime petition signed by 3040 The petition prepared by the St. Barths Association of the Friends of Sweden (ASBAS) and co-sponsored by the island's elected leaders and various associations proved an outstanding success. The number of signatures, 3040, represents nearly half of...

[Apr 19, 2002] Transat, St-Barth is in the race

Transat: St-Barth is in the race We never seem to tire of the Lorient/St. Barth transatlantic race. It’s a sailing competition that has all the right ingredients for attracting public attention. The vehicle, identical for all teams, is a 30-foot Beneteau Figaro monohull. Each team is composed...

[Apr 3, 2002] The Caribbean Film festival

The Caribbean Film festival On April 2, the 2002 St. Barths Caribbean Film Festival hosted its traditional opening cocktail party among familiar faces this year, though the setting was the spacious new town hall building in Gustavia Pointe. Ellen Lampert-Greaux and Josh Harrison, festival coor...

[Mar 15, 2002] Ladies and Gentlemen, the treaty

Ladies and Gentlemen, the treaty… Ah. The Franco-Swedish treaty. We’ve been talking about it for decades now. Interpretations of the document are hardly lacking; there is one for just about any taste. For some, it is THE key document, the clincher, because it alone can provide the justificat...

[Feb 28, 2002] A new landscape

A new landscape The island's municipal budget for 2002 was approved last Friday, revealing much about where community investments will be made this year. After a flurry of building projects (the new incineration plant, the airport renovation and the new town hall building, or little Versailles,...

[Feb 18, 2002] Manna, ABC

Manna, ABC In the minds of locals, especially those with hotels and restaurants to fill, cars to rent, merchandise to sell, and services to render, the 15-minute editorial piece about St. Barthelemy that ran on the ABC network's popular morning show, "Good Morning America", came like manna f...

[Jan 29, 2002] Hope floats, even in dismal times

Hope floats, even in dismal times The tourist season in St. Barth has gotten off, predictably, to a gloomy start. It is no secret that this island depends almost exclusively, whether directly or indirectly on tourism, and that the US, notably the northeast, accounts for most of that tourism. W...

[Jan 11, 2002] St. Barths Music Festival opens its 18th edition

St. Barths Music Festival opens its 18th edition If Christmas has December with its roasted chestnuts and sleigh bells, January in St. Barths has the St. Barths Music Festival. It is as ever, a marvelous time, much anticipated and ushered in by the particular sensory signature that befits this...

[Dec 17, 2001] Long live the Holidays

Long live the Holidays The season's first yachts have already settled into their harbor slips, and by next week, hotels will be fully occupied. The newspaper ads for oysters and foie gras are running, and the Christmas decorations adorn the streets of Gustavia. If the island was ever looking f...

[Nov 7, 2001] Skål

Skål In Swedish, "Skål" is a toast, and one you'll hear a lot of during November, especially if you happen to visit the Select, the most popular bar in St. Barths. Indeed, November has become Swedish month in St. Barths. Visiting Scandinavians who brave the long trip to come to this corner...

[Oct 16, 2001] A cleaner island

A cleaner island This project is a vital one and will position St. Barth as an environmental leader throughout the Caribbean as far as waste treatment is concerned," said Michel Geoffrin, the council member who heads the environmental commission. During the inaugural ceremony for the island's ...

[Sep 27, 2001] Shock, grief and unanswered questions

Shock, grief and unanswered questions To tell you the truth, I didn't have it in me to write my article for this site in time for the mid-month due date. Like millions of people the world over, I was deeply shaken by the events that transpired in America on September 11. I was in New York when...

[Sep 5, 2001] A November referendum

A November referendum August is traditionally the time when islanders spend their weekends preparing for, and then attending the string of neighborhood feasts, or fairs, that are held annually. During this hot summer month, the community party relocates from neighborhood to neighborhood, givin...

[Aug 17, 2001] March 24 plane crash

March 24 plane crash The Accident Investigation Bureau publishes its preliminary report. If the preliminary report concerning the March 24 plane crash in St. Barth contains no revelations as to the causes of the catastrophe, still undetermined, it can nevertheless be credited with providing s...

[Jul 30, 2001] Hospital, The paths to progress

Hospital: The paths to progress Eleven years ago, in November of 1990, some 500 people gathered outside the Hospital de Bruyn's meeting room to protest the fact that the island's only maternity ward had been laid idle by administrative decision makers in distant shores. The demonstration was o...

[Jul 10, 2001] Saint-Barth heads toward autonomy

Saint-Barth heads toward autonomy For the past several years, the island's elected officials have been looking for ways to push the island toward greater financial autonomy. The municipal council meeting that was held on June 27, 2001 gave a more realistic base by which to achieve that objecti...

[Jun 21, 2001] Water, at last

Water, at last It seems that one of the island's most perennial-and bothersome- problems, has now been resolved. Since the beginning of June, potable water is once again flowing through the arteries of the island's water system. As a result, even residents in windward-side neighborhoods (Cul-d...


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