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  Yves Bourel has been living in St. Barts for more than 10 years. He is an experienced journalist and has been the editor-in-chief for local newspapers. Currently, he is one of the radio announcers at Radio St. Barth for whom he covers political news and is presenting the local news once or twice a month for St. Barths Online!
  May 22, 2003 - Issue # 35
   Environmental Awareness Project spotlights ocean
   The path toward environmental awareness may sometimes have been hidden, but the most recent project underwritten by the islandŐs most fervent and efficient environmental defenders, the Natural Marine Reserve and Sub-protect illustrates the progress that has been made over the past decade. On May 4, the two organized an environmental open house aimed at showing the public just how much has been accomplished and reminding visitors how much needs to be done to protect the islandŐs most precious natural resource, the ocean. Among the many activities offered, all of them educational in nature, two of the most successful were the free tours of the marine reserve, and the day long screening of films specifically focused on the marine environment and its inhabitants. Two of the youngest staff members of the marine reserve produced an educational film about the reserve, and there was also an underwater photo exhibit by photographer Sophie Olivaud.
   Island officials unanimously vote to adopt new island status
   If island officials have their way, St. Barthelemy will soon be steering its own course. Mayor Bruno Magras recently asked his municipal council to vote on the COM, the statute that would convert St. Barth into a French overseas collectivity. The municipal vote was unanimously in favor, clearing the way for the public referendum that will put the same question to St. Barth voters sometime this summer. The adoption of the COM would give St. Barth greater autonomy and allow it to rely far less heavily on Guadeloupe, currently, its administrative overseer in the region. If the statute gains acceptance on all levels of government, the islandŐs municipal council would be replaced with an island council. It would be the responsibility of the council to elect the governing 9-member executive commission whose functions would include the management of competencies previously held by the department and region. Major among the new local responsibilities would be the collection of taxes, irregardless of their nature, an area over which the state would no longer have jurisdiction.

  Yves Bourel

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