Local News
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By Cécile Lucot
    Cécile Lucot has lived in St. Barths for ten years. Originally from Bordeaux, this professional journalist was the editor-in-chief of St. Barth Magazine for six years. She then participated in the daily local mini-newspaper "Today" and writes regularly for regional magazines. Once or twice a month, she presents a recap of local news on St. Barths Online.
November 22, 2006 - #65
Dimitri Ouvré, European surfing vice-champion

Dimitri Ouvré St-Barth is primarily known as a tourist attraction, but over the past several years the island has also been associated with some talented young champions in various sports. These include 17-year old tennis player Grégory Gumbs, one of the best French players of his generation, and 22 year-old Antoine Questel, who is among the top three professional windsurfers from France. Add to this list youngster Dimitri Ouvré, who at the age of 14 won the title of junior European vice-champion in November 2006. This young surfer from the Reefer Surf Club in Lorient has multiple victories under his belt: vice champion of France 2006, regional “open” champion for Guadeloupe 2005/2006, and champion in Saint Barth for the past three years. From November 11-19, French athletes participated in the 2006 Junior Eurogames held in Ferrol, Portugal, for surfing, body-board and long-board, competing against those from Spain, Portugal (which holds the European championship title), Germany, England, Ireland, Scotland, Norway, the Canary Islands, and Israel. The French team took the European “Young Hopefuls” title, far ahead of Portugal, Spain, and England, by winning four gold medals, and six silver ones, including that won by Dmitri Ouvré.

Antoine Questel is at www.antoinequestel.com
French Senate Adopts New Political Status For Saint Barth

A historic step was taken on October 31 when French senators voted for the project calling for a political evolution of Saint Barth into an Overseas Collectivity, and adopted the legal text with 354 amendments. Among these is the creation of two seats for senators; one for Saint Barth and the other for Saint Martin, in keeping with the constitutional principles of representation for territorial collectivities in the Senate. The notion of fiscal residence in Saint Barth was defined by an amendment stating, “in order to have their fiscal residence in Saint Barth, only those persons who have established their residence in Saint Barth for at least five years, and those who have established the seat of their enterprise which is controlled directly or indirectly by persons who have established their residence in Saint Barth for at least the past five years.” The next step is the adoption of the project by the National Assembly; then the process goes back to the internal commission for constitutional changes and the general administration of the French Republic. The suspense remains as to the exact date that the deputies in the assembly will examine the texts. The calendar has not yet been set by the presidents of the assembly, but one hopes for a vote before the end of the parliamentary session, which is shorted than usual this year die to the fact that France will hold presidential elections with the first primary at the end of April. The final steps require approval of the project by a commission with equal representation from the Senate and National Assembly; only then can it become law.

During his visit to Saint Barth in late May, French Overseas Minister François Baroin, concluded his speech by confirming that in “2007 at the latest…. your new status will give you the keys to your future as part of the French Republic. Rest assured that my desire, and that of the government, is to respect this choice and put it into effect.” The island’s request for a more autonomous political status dates back 40 years to the time of Rémy de Haenen, a predecessor of mayor Bruno Magras. In the name of his municipal council, de Haenen asked for a new status for the first time in 1964, when General de Gaulle visited the island.

Inaugurations and cocktail parties

Every year, the early days of November herald a busy schedule of boutique and restaurant openings. The first to celebrate this year, on Friday, October 27, was the Diamant, a new French-Creole restaurant near the pond in St Jean Carénage. The next day, Eddy’s invited friends and clients to its opening night, but the ambiance was saddened by the recent death of sailor Marc de Rosny on October 23rd. Late in the afternoon on Sunday, October 29, the friends of this free-thinking artist gathered on the beach in Public to pay tribute to his memory. On November 4, the Carré D’Or in Gustavia held a party to celebrate the opening of Caviar Island, formerly The Square. On November 15, this season’s Beaujolais Nouveau was de-canted in Saint Barth (before it was in France, thanks to the favorable time difference) in various wine cellars and restaurants, where connoisseurs declared it to be a good vintage, fresh and fruity, and more “supple” than in 2005. On November 17, Lolita Jaca inaugurated her newly redecorated boutique that features small squares of mosaic tiles, and the children’s magazine, Les Enfants de St. Barth, celebrated its first anniversary at the bar on the beach at the Guanahani hotel. The same evening, L’Agence, a real estate agency, organized a cocktail party under a white tent put up for the occasion in the parking lot of the Galeries du Commerce in St. Jean.

  More to come
  Cécile Lucot
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