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By Cécile Lucot
    Cécile Lucot has lived in St. Barts for nine years. Originally from Bordeaux, this professional journalist was the editor-in-chief of St. Barts Magazine for six years. She is currently a reporter for the daily local mini-newspaper "Today" and writes regularly for regional magazines such as Mer Caraïbes and Tropical. Once or twice a month, she presents a recap of local news on St. Barts Online.
  June 16, 2005 - #44
   New Technology: High-Speed Internet Connection

Victorin Lurel, president of the Conseil Regional, was in St Barts on Thursday, June 2, to sign an agreement with mayor Bruno Magras confirming the participation of the municipality in the “digital Guadeloupe” project. Two years ago, the region started working with Global Caribbean Network on the installation and maintenance of an underwater cable that will link Guadeloupe to Puerto Rico via Saint-Martin and St Barts. In order to be part of this “digital” project, St Barts will contribute one million euros toward the overall cost of 21.9 million euros for the construction and installation of the cable. Other Caribbean islands, such as St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Grenada, St. Kitts, and Dominica have also expressed interest in this cable that will allow access to high-tech information and communication services. The residents of St Barts will also be able to connect to the Internet at a much higher speed than that which is currently available, as well as have access to the same services offered in Europe and the United States. A boat called the Cape Fear has navigated the waters of the Caribbean to study the floor of the ocean and trace a path where the cable will be laid. The fiber-optic cable will be made in Calais, then hand rolled into special containers that will be shipped by boat to Guadeloupe. Finally, a special boat will unroll the cable underwater along the prescribed path. The planned timeline is to lay the cable starting in late November for three or four weeks and be put into use by early 2006. In St Barts, the cable will arrive at Shell Beach and brought ashore and joined to a land cable, in a special waterproof concrete junction box. Each telecommunications company will be able to connect to the new high-speed cable and offer new services to its clients. According to the directors of Global Caribbean Network, the life of such a cable is usually 25 years. In the case of repairs, which would take two weeks, arrangements would be made with another operator to switch the telecommunications traffic to another cable while repairs were being made.

  Rescue at Sea: A S.N.S.M. station to open in St Barts

Ingenu Magras, president of the S.N.S.M. station in St Bartselemy, held its first meeting at the St Barts Yacht Club on Monday evening, June 6. The “National Society for Rescue At Sea” is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to provide a public service in the rescue of boats and people in difficulty out at sea. Every year, the rescue crew, all of whom are volunteers who work in sea-related jobs, includes an average of 10,000 people and 3,000 boats in all. There are 163 permanent stations and 58 seasonal stations along the coasts of France, as well as 13 permanent stations in overseas areas. Until now, St. Martin was the only of the two Northern Islands that had a S.N.S.M. station and a 9-meter rescue boat, the Contre-Amiral Noel. Thirty people attended the first meeting in St. Barts, who are ready to volunteer in the rescue of sailors and boats via the S.N. S. M. Co-financed by the municipality (110,000 euros) and by the S.N.S.M., a 10.5 meter motorboat will be built in 2005 and ready for use by 2006. The boat will be installed on a support out of the water along the south side of the commercial dock in Public. While waiting for this new boat, the St. Barts station will use the one currently in St. Martin as soon as the new one for St. Martin has been delivered.

  Drivers in St Barts: Seatbelts Must Be Worn!

For the past few weeks, the national police have been trying to get drivers to wear seatbelts, yet until now no one in St Barts buckled up! Through announcements in the press, the police has warned the population that in a few days they will start enforcing the seatbelt law. All drivers caught not wearing a seatbelt will be fined 90 euros and have three points taken from his driver’s license.

  More to come
  Cécile Lucot
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