October 6, 2008 - #95
Michel Magras, Senator
The “organic law” dated February 22, 2007, called for the Overseas Collectivity of St. Barthélemy to have representation in the French National Assembly. When the French Senate re-elected a third of its seats, the election of a senator from St Barth took place as well—on September 21, 2008. Only one candidate was on the slate: 54 year-old Michel Magras, brother of Bruno Magras, the president of the COM. Michel Magras is also the 3rd vice-president of the COM in charge of the port and sports, and the former representative from Saint Barth to the Conseil Général of Guadeloupe. Needless to say, his election as senator was not a surprise. The “grand electors,” or the 19 members of the island’s territorial council, and Victorin Lurel, president of the Conseil Général of Guadeloupe and Socialist deputy in the National Assembly, elected Michael Magras by a vote of 18 out of 20. He flew to Paris the next morning to visit the Palais du Luxembourg, home of the 343 French senators. Endorsed by Victorin Lurel, Magras joined the senate as a member of the UMP party and began his new role on a national level. After meeting with political figures such as the two candidates for the presidency of the senate, Jean-Pierre Raffarin and Gérard Larcher, the UMP mayor of Rambouillet, as well as Yves Jégo, overseas secretary of state, he took his place in the hallowed halls of the senate for the first time on October 1, the day that a new president of the senate was to be elected to replace Christian Poncelet. Michel Magras has taken a sabbatical from his post as a teacher at the Mireille Choisy junior high in order to fully attend to his new political career, and was expected back on the island as of October 8.
Election of the Members of the Multi-Professional Economic Chamber
President of the commission for the constitution of the new Multi-professional Economic Chamber, territorial council member Maxime Desouches announced that the members of this new institution would be held on November 8, 2008.
The creation of this Multi-professional Economic Chamber is intended to take the place of similar organizations that exist in Guadeloupe (Such as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other commercial groups that St Barth residents have belonged to in the past). The island’s politicians decided to create of the Multi-professional Economic Chamber of Saint Barth in a meeting held on December 20, 2007. Its principal mission is to “contribute to the economic development of the COM…. By creating an infrastructure for businesses, a welcome service, and a service for professional training.” The resources for this chamber will come from annual contributions made by businesses to the COM in the first part of 2008.
During a meeting on September 25, Desouches explained that after combined the information provided by various organizations that concern local businesses, 5,634 letters were sent out to the businesses enrolled in these organizations in order to create an electoral list: 39% of these letters were returned “address unknown,” and after certain addresses were corrected, 3,939 businesses making up the economic tissue of the island, were listed as operating in Saint Barth. At the end of the day, 803 companies returned the paperwork, which helped create the electoral list for the future chamber. Five different sectors were defined: commerce, industry, liberal professions, services, and professionals; from this base the commission calculated the weight of each category by counting the number of companies and the number of employees in each sector in order to determine how many seats for each: 4 for services, 3 for commerce, 3 for professionals, 1 for liberal professions, and 1 for industry.
On November 8, the 803 voting members will elect their representatives, or the first dozen members of the new Multi-professional Economic Chamber of St. Barthélemy.
More to come