On Sunday, December 7th, 2003, inhabitants of St. Barths went to the voting booth to voice their opinion in a special referendum that could permanently alter the island's political relationship with France.
The issue at hand is whether St. Barths should remain, as it is, a part of the Department of Guadeloupe, or whether it should receive a new political status: that of a Collectivités Territoriales d'Outre-Mer.
For many long years, a precise definition of St. Barths' political prerogatives and obligations has been in perennial contention, largely due to many unique aspects of the island's culture and history.
A "oui" vote, in favor of a new status, will mean greater autonomy for the local administration, and a recognition of the unique circimstances in which St. Barths citizens find themselves.
A "non" vote, in favor of remaining a commune of the Department of Guadeloupe, will mean that all of the existing laws that govern any typical French/Guadeloupean commune will be applied in St. Barths without argument.
The number of participants and the degree of a "oui" victory are both significant in that they will effect the degree of attention given to the matter by the French national admistration.
The results are of Sunday's election are below: