April 14, 2008 - #89
New License Plates For Saint Barth
During a meeting on February 12, the territorial council voted to usher in a new series of license plates for the island, and those plates began to appear as of March 3.
Several reasons led to this decision: first is that the vehicle registration is now the responsibility of the collectivity. Secondly was that the series of license plates with ZYA 971—attributed to Saint Barth by the prefecture in Basse-Terre—had come to an end, so a new series had to begin. Only newly registered vehicles are concerning by the change, existing plates will not be changed. The format and color of the plates remains the same (white for the front and yellow for the back) but they now have the letters SBH on the left side. Then there are one to three numbers followed by a space, then one to three letters. The first new plate was marked “1 A,” and the second “2 A,” and they can go as high as 999 A to 999 ZZZ, allowing for 17 million possibilities. It was also voted to allow personalized plates such as those that are popular in the United States. This format has a combination of at least 10 numbers/letters with no spaces. All new vehicles are concerned, from cars and motorcycles to scooters, and even construction vehicles that are used on public roads. Even these are obliged to have a vignette, and they must request permission to drive on the island’s roads. As for motorcycles and scooters, the local officials felt that by their vehicles, the owners of these two-wheelers would be less likely to break the law, especially those who make noise at night to the displeasure of many residents Gustavia.
The tax for the plates (25 euros for the standard model or 50 euros for the personalized one) must be paid to the Collectivity at one of two places the treasury or the police stations. Armed with proof of paying the tax as well proper ID and paperwork for the new car, the owner can than go the vehicle registration office located at the prefecture (former sous-prefecture) in Gustavia. The form to register a car is available on the website for the COM: www.comst-barth.com
A Splendid St Barth Bucket
The last weekend in March drew some of the most beautiful sailboats in the world to the Port of Gustavia, for the most important sailing event of the year, the St Barth Bucket.
Three days of racing around the island are reserved primarily for sailboats over 100 feet for a nautical show that is hard to equal anywhere in the world. The Bucket committee includes yachtsmen Timothy Laughridge, Hank Halsted, and Ian Craddock, while Melanie Smith and a team of 20 people orchestrate the logistics on site. They work n collaboration with the Collectivity of Saint Barth, the Port of Gustavia, and the Saint Barth Yacht Club, as well as the St Barth Rescue At Sea station.
Sometimes described as too closed, and admired by many others, the Bucket has a large economic impact on the island: as many as 800 people come for the race, from boat builders and architects to international reporters and photographers, as well as owners, skippers, crew, and friends. Each year the organizers donate between 3,000 and 7,000 euros to the Saint Barth Yacht Club, in order to help sailing develop on the island. From mid-afternoon Thursday, March 27 through Sunday, March 30, the main dock was covered with elegant white tents, one of which was a VIP area, with theatrical lighting accenting the dock and the boats. A welcome cocktail after the initial briefing, captains’ meeting every morning before the race, an invitational boat-hop from 7pm-9pm Friday night, and a free concert by Jimmy Buffett on Saturday night, with the awards ceremony on Sunday evening: quite a lot of activity to bring the town alive. During the Saturday night concert, singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett, with members of his Coral Reefer band flown in for the occasion, had the crowd dancing to their favorite tunes. This 13th edition of the Bucket had a fleet of 29 boats, many of which had their owers at the helm. Five of these were by Perini Navi, one of the boatyards that sponsors the event, and the yard where the Maltese Falcon was built (absent from the race this year as the boat was cruising in the Pacific). These five were the 148’ Hélios, the 154’ Antara, the 154’ Andromeda La Dea, the 163’ Persues, and the 183’ Rosehearty, which belongs to Ruppert Murdoch.
After crossing the finish line in fifth place on Friday, second place on Saturday, and first place on Sunday, the overall winner was Windrose, a 152’ Holland Jachtbouw yacht, whose names has now been inscribed on the Bucket trophy for this just-for-fun race.
The regatta also provided the occasion to raise funds for FEMUS (Foundation for Emergency Medical Equipment), with $175,000 donated by many of the boat owners toward the purchase of state-of-the-art X-ray machine, which allowed the results to be read at a distance. It will be installed in the new building under construction at the De Bruyn Hospital.
More to come