Overseas Collectivity of Saint Martin
Collectivite d'outre mer de Saint-Martin
(Part of France)
Joined United Nations:  24 October 1945
Human Rights as assured by their constitution
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Updated 20 February 2013
30,959 (July 2012 est.)
Alain Richardson
President of the Territorial Council  
since 1 April 2012
French president elected by popular vote to a five-year term;
prefect appointed by the French president on the advice of the
French Ministry of Interior; election last held on 22 April and 6 May

Next scheduled election: spring of 2017
President of the Territorial Council elected by the members of
the Council for a five-year term; election last held 1 April 2012

Next scheduled election:  2017
Creole (mulatto), black, Guadeloupe Mestizo (French-East Asia), white, East Indian
Roman Catholic, Jehovah's Witnesses, Protestant, Hindu
Overseas collectivity of France; French Government responsible for defense and foreign affairs; Legal system is based on French
civil law
Executive: French president elected by popular vote to a five-year term; prefect appointed by the French president on the advice
of the French Ministry of Interior; president of the Territorial Council elected by the members of the Council for a five-year term
election last held 1 April 2012 (Next scheduled election: 2017)
Legislative: Unicameral Territorial Council (23 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held on 18 and 25 March 2012 (next to be held in July 2017)
Judicial: Supreme Court of Appeals or Cour de Cassation (judges are appointed by the president from nominations of the High
Council of the Judiciary); Constitutional Council or Conseil Constitutionnel (three members appointed by the president, three
appointed by the president of the National Assembly, and three appointed by the president of the Senate); Council of State or
Conseil d'Etat
French (official), English, Dutch, French Patois, Spanish, Papiamento (dialect of Netherlands Antilles)
On Sint Maarten, Ancient relics date the island's first settlers, probably Ciboney Indians (a subgroup of Arawaks), back to 3,500
years ago. Then another group of Arawaks migrated from South America's Orinoco basin around 800 A.D. Because of St.
Martin's salt-pans they called it “Sualouiga,” or “Land of Salt.” Mainly a farming and fishing society, the Arawaks lived in villages of
straw-roofed buildings which were strong enough to resist hurricanes. Their tranquil civilization valued artistic and spiritual pursuits.
Their lives were turned upside-down, however, with the descent of the Carib Indians from the same region they had come from. A
warrior nation, the Caribs killed the Arawak men and enslaved the women. When Europeans began to explore the Caribbean,
Carib society had almost completely displaced the Arawaks. In 1493, Christopher Columbus embarked on his second voyage to
the New World. According to legend, Columbus sighted and perhaps anchored at the island of Saint Martin on November 11,
1493, the feast day of Saint Martin of Tours. In his honor, Columbus named the island San Martin. This name was translated to Sint
Maarten (Dutch), Saint-Martin (French) and "Saint Martin" in English. At Columbus's time, St. Martin was populated, if populated
at all, by Carib amerindians. The former Arawaks had been chased by the Caribs coming from the North coast of South America a
short time before the arrival of the Spaniards who followed in Columbus' wake. The English word cannibal is derived from the
Spanish pronunciation for Carib. The Arawaks were agricultural people who fashioned pottery and whose social organization was
headed by hereditary chieftains who derived their power from personal deities called zemis. The Caribs' territory was not
completely conquered until the mid-17th century when most of them perished in the struggle between the French, English, Dutch,
Danes and Spanish for control of the West Indies. The Dutch first began to ply the island's ponds for salt in the 1620s. Despite the
Dutch presence on the island, the Spaniards recaptured St. Martin in 1633 and, one year later, built a fort (now Ft. Amsterdam)
and another artillery battery at Pointe Blanche to assert their claim and control access to Great bay salt pond. The Spaniards
introduced the first African slaves to the area in the 16th century but the main influx of African slaves took place in the 18th century
with the development of Sugarcane plantations by the French Protestants and Dutch. Slavery was abolished in the first half of the
19th century, whereupon on some of their territories the British imported Chinese and East Indians to take the place of slaves. Thus,
St. Martin and the other islands are populated by a mixture of Amerindian, European, African, Indians and Asian peoples. West
Indian cultures such as in St. Martin are, consequently, exceedingly rich and varied. On March 23, 1648, France and the Dutch
Republic agreed to divide the island between their two nations, with the signing of the Treaty of Concordia. Folklore surrounds the
history of the once ever-changing border division between St. Martin and Sint Maarten, and a popular story among locals narrates
that "to divide the island in two sections, [in 1648] the inhabitants were told to choose two walkers, one chosen by the French-
dominated community and the other one by the Dutch-dominated community, who were put back to back in one extreme of the
island, making them walk in opposite directions while stuck to the litoral line, and not allowing them to run. The point where they
eventually met was set as the other extreme of the island, and the subsequently created line was chosen as the frontier, dividing
Saint-Martin from Sint Maarten. Seemingly, the French walker had walked more than his Dutch counterpart (each one earned his
land, respectively, 54 km² and 32 km²). As the first man chose wine as his stimulant prior to the race, while the latter chose Jenever
(Dutch Gin), the difference between such beverages' lightness was said to be the cause of the territorial differences by French locals,
while Dutch locals tended to blame the French walker for running." In 1994, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and France signed the
Franco-Dutch treaty on Saint Martin border controls, which allows for joint Franco-Dutch border controls on so-called "risk
flights". After some delay, the treaty was ratified in November 2006 in the Netherlands, and subsequently entered into force on 1
August 2007. Though the treaty is now in force, its provisions are not yet implemented as the working group specified in the treaty
is not yet installed. St. Martin received the ISO 3166-1 code MF in October 2007. The status of the Dutch side was due to change
to a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands in December 2008, but this has been postponed to 10 October 2010. It is
expected the Dutch part will also get its own ISO 3166-1 code when the status change goes into effect. The island's French side is
known for its nude beaches, clothes, shopping (including outdoor markets), and rich French and Indian Caribbean cuisine.
Source: Wikipedia: History of Saint Martin
The economy of Saint Martin centers around tourism with 85% of the labor force engaged in this sector. Over one million visitors
come to the island each year with most arriving through the Princess Juliana International Airport in Sint Maarten. No significant
agriculture and limited local fishing means that almost all food must be imported. Energy resources and manufactured goods are also
imported, primarily from Mexico and the United States. Saint Martin is reported to have the highest per capita income in the
Source: CIA World Factbook (select Saint Martin)
Saint Martin was for many years a French commune forming part of Guadeloupe, which is an overseas région and département of
France and is therefore in the European Union. In 2003 the population of the French part of the island voted in favour of secession
from Guadeloupe in order to form a separate overseas collectivity (COM) of France. On 9 February 2007, the French Parliament
passed a bill granting COM status to both the French part of Saint Martin and neighbouring Saint Barthélemy. The new status took
effect once the local assembly was elected on 15 February 2007. Saint Martin remains part of the European Union.

The new governance structure befitting an overseas collectivity took effect on 15 July 2007 with the first session of the Territorial
Council (French: Conseil territorial) and the election of Louis-Constant Fleming as president of the Territorial Council. On 25 July
2008 Fleming resigned after being sanctioned by the Conseil d'État for one year over problems with his 2007 election campaign.
On 7 August, Frantz Gumbs was elected as President of the Territorial Council. However, his election was declared invalid on 10
April 2009 and Daniel Gibbs appointed as Acting President of the Territorial Council on 14 April 2009. However, Gumbs was
reelected on 5 May 2009. Alain Richardson was elected President of the Territorial Council om 1 April 2012.
Source: Wikipedia: Politics of the Collectivity of Saint Martin
None reported.
U.S. State Department
United Nations Human
Rights Council
Amnesty International
Human Rights Watch
Freedom House
None reported.
Transshipment point for South American drugs bound for the US and Europe; money-laundering center
Ligue des Droits de l'Homme
2011 Human Rights Report: France (includes Saint Martin)
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
May 25, 2012

France is a multiparty constitutional democracy. The president of the republic is elected by popular vote for a five-year term. Nicolas
Sarkozy is the incumbent. The upper house (Senate) of the bicameral parliament is elected indirectly through an electoral college, while
the lower house (National Assembly) is elected directly. Elections for seats in the National Assembly and for the presidency in 2007 and
for seats in the Senate in 2011 were considered free and fair. The Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) is the majority party in
parliament. Security forces reported to civilian authorities.

Note: The country includes 11 overseas administrative divisions that are covered in this report. Four overseas territories in French
Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Reunion, have the same political status as the 22 metropolitan regions and 101 departments on the
mainland. Five divisions are overseas “collectivities”: French Polynesia, Saint-Barthelemy, Saint-Martin, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, and
Wallis and Futuna. New Caledonia is a special overseas collectivity with a unique, semiautonomous status between an independent
country and an overseas department. Mayotte became the 101st department on March 31, 2011. Citizens of these territories periodically
elect deputies and senators to represent them in parliament, like the other overseas regions and departments.
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16 December 2009
Seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth periodic reports of States parties due in 2008*

1.        On 28 July 1971, France ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
(hereinafter “the Convention”), which the United Nations General Assembly adopted in 1965.

2.        In accordance with the Guiding Principles, and as recommended by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
(hereinafter “the Committee”), the aim of the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth reports, which have been combined in this report, is
not to revisit all the information already provided, but to describe developments in domestic law and practice since the last periodic
report and update the data previously supplied.  On 13 February 2007, France provided an additional report containing information on the
implementation of several recommendations made by the Committee when considering France’s fifteenth and sixteenth reports.  This
report supplements the information already supplied and responds to the Committee’s observations and recommendations.

3.        This report brings together contributions from the ministries concerned with the application of the Convention. The Government
has also taken account of observations from the National Consultative Commission for Human Rights (CNCDH) and the High Authority
to Combat Discrimination and Promote Equality (HALDE).  A meeting was also held directly with the NGOs before the report was

128.        The Constitution also permits, with the consent of the electorate, transition from the status of an overseas département or
region to that of an overseas collectivity. On 7 December 2003, for example, the electorate of the municipalities of Saint-Barthélemy and
Saint-Martin voted in favour of separation from Guadeloupe.  On 15 July 2007, they became established as overseas collectivities.
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No Reports from Freedom House mentioning Saint Martin after exhaustive search of their database. Please forward any
information you may have regarding Freedom House efforts on behalf of Saint Martin to the Pax Gaea World Report editor at
the link below
Contact the editor »
No Reports from Amnesty International mentioning Saint Martin after exhaustive search of their database. Please forward
any information you may have regarding Amnesty International efforts on behalf of Saint Martin to the Pax Gaea World
Report editor at the link below
Contact the editor »
No Reports from Human Rights Watch mentioning Saint Martin after exhaustive search of their database. Please forward any
information you may have regarding Human Rights Watch efforts on behalf of Saint Martin to the Pax Gaea World Report
editor at the link below
Contact the editor »
Prefect Speech
July 14, 2012 - Saint-Martin

Firstly, I want to thank you for your presence here today for this commemoration of our national holiday that the community wanted
this place year under the theme of youth and excellence Because in this July 14, 223 years ago, fell the Bastille prison, and this date today
is the symbol of our commitment to the universal values ​​of liberty, equality and fraternity.

This is the date chosen July 6, 1880, that each year we gather to solemnly commemorate the end of the previous inequality regime and
remind our Republican ideals.

For it is on these principles, we can be proud of, that is built our democracy that inspires even today, many other countries. It is our
commitment to the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which is this base that we have in common and that we must
preserve and defend forcefully.

But if these words are now entered everyday language and their meaning has somewhat been trivialized or warped, it must be
remembered that more than two centuries, the terms of liberty, equality and fraternity had no sense and even less here in St. Martin has
been the abolition of slavery in 1848.

It is my role as Prefect of the Republic, to me the honor of ensure the protection of the very foundations of our society through integrity
republican institutions and that allow each citizen to exercise his rights and freedoms. But if men and women, young and old, have these
values municipalities that make France a great country, it remains true that can, in modern Western societies, to examine the scope and
immutable character of our symbols, especially with regard to youth Because despite our fierce determination, our youth are facing the
worst difficulties.

It is for these reasons that the President has placed Youth and education at the heart of its work for the next 5 years. Among 30
proposals for overseas youth figure prominently "I want to put the education and youth at the heart of public policy." Lack of education,
unemployment, crime, insecurity such are the evils which touch and against which we must act tirelessly When you know that nearly
40% of the population Martinoise Saint-less than 20 years now, it is obvious that the future of their island and the youth is a chance that
must rely.

This is helping the nonprofit sector, I thank to continue its work remarkable that we help our young It is a large network with fully adult
relay Saint-Martin which will play a role of mediator and factor of social peace that we will ensure solidarity between generations.
It is by contracting with the community on joint projects promoting development activities contributing to social cohesion and including
through the urban social cohesion contract that we will meet the challenges.

Our young people need to understand that these challenges facing the double insularity, they should be more motivated, more efficient,
more demanding with themselves. The state, the community are there to help them, guide but their future depends primarily on
themselves, their willingness and their ability to transcend and to strive for excellence so that the efforts of the public power and their
will be successful for themselves first and then to the interest of the community and our nation.

Finally, institutions can do nothing if the parents do not take full their responsibilities and play with their children for this role guard
deviant behavior.  I am convinced that it is our youth who are the actors of tomorrow St. Martin will an attractive place in which to live
safely.  They are the ones who participate in the economic development of the island full assets.
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Fellow citizens, dear friends, my people

Today marks a little less than two and a half months since my team and I took office with your massive support.  You give us a mandate
of 5 years in order :
- to govern the affairs of this Collectivité
- to work diligently to restore its financial situation
- to restore confidence in our institutions and in our administration
- to rekindle hope, while building a brighter future for this land, for you the people and for our youth in particular.   

Let me say to you today, that from day one, from minute one, that mission has been my sole preoccupation, my deepest concern and
my steadfast engagement. I wish to let you know that beyond the difficulties, the hurdles and even the stumbling blocks that could be
put in my way or the way of my government we will press on in order to meet your hopes and expectations.

I wish to thank the many thousands of you, who understand that this task is neither an easy one nor an overnight magical operation. I
wish to thank the praying community, the various Pastors and congregations who daily lift up this land, its people and its government, in
prayer. I thank you for constantly inquiring and praying for me and my family. I beg you not to cease doing so, because I realize that the
task before us demands more than our human knowledge and wisdom. I know, for I have experienced over and over in this short time
spent at the helm of this country that God is in the midst.

Yes, I would have liked to see things move faster, I would have liked to have a more robust and positive impact on your lives.  It is
important that you understand, however, that my government and I, have inherited of a broke and bankrupt Collectivité. It is important
that you know that it is with much difficulty that we have been able to meet some of our mandatory financial obligations. We have made
a commitment to do my utmost to secure the pay of the workers of the Collectivité and of the various entities that depend on it.  We
have also managed to secure the financial assistance that is a necessity to our senior citizens and disabled in order for them to make ends
meet.  But in the months to come we are unsure as to whether we will manage if we do not obtain the financial support of the State
government and its financial institutions.

I know and I hear the impatience growing.  There are those who feel that things are not going fast enough and that the change is not
visible enough. I beg your indulgence. I say to you, be patient, while considering the mess we have inherited.  Rest assured, I have not
forsaken you.  I have not strayed from my engagement.  I have never been as committed as I am now even in the face of these
profound difficulties.
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8 | December 2007: Migration, mobility and identity constructions Caribbean
Border and migration: the case of Saint-Martin


1 The sources for demographic data are the National Institute of Statistics and Study (...)

1 The small Caribbean island of Saint Martin (90 km ²) were approximately 25,000 inhabitants in the early 1980s, divided between the
French areas (just over 8000 in 1982) and the Netherlands (approximately 17,400 in the same year one ) . The population now stands at
nearly 70,000 island (estimated 38,000 inhabitants in 2007 on the French side and the Dutch side 30 600 in 2001) about 775 inhabitants /
km ², from over one hundred different nationalities. Intra-Caribbean migration is a constant phenomenon in these territories inseparable
from the history economic contingencies: plantation economy in the era of colonial exploitation and dependence of cities, but these flows
are greatly amplified and diversified over the last three decades. Immigrants from neighboring Haiti, Dominican Republic, Dominica,
Jamaica, Netherlands Antilles others but also from Europe, Latin America, China and India flock en masse and more or less legally to the

2 To clarify the reading, we denote by St. Martin across the island, Sint Maarten his p (...)

2 The main cause of this unprecedented immigration is only part of the population has a standard of living comparable to that of Western
Europe where it is statutorily bound, which makes it particularly attractive, as well as the Guadeloupe , Martinique Islands or
Sous-le-Vent, for the inhabitants of the neighboring islands less fortunate. Its geographical position also promotes the influx of Haitian
migrants, Dominican and Jamaican Saint-Martin lying north of the Lesser Antilles archipelago (see map) and then a few hundred
kilometers of the Greater Antilles, all lands of emigration . But the island also has the distinction of being divided by a political border
between the French side, St. Martin and Dutch side, Sint Maarten 2 - both being dependent territories of European states distinct from
the seventeenth century (partition in 1648, the Treaty of Mountains Agreements).

3 It is to question the causal link between the influx of non-native populations and the partition of the island, this last factor we seemed
crucial to the understanding of migration to St. Martin. The island is made more attractive by the existence of the border, on the one
hand, favors a particular economic dynamism and, on the other hand, makes the migration control more difficult because of the
differential between the two legislative parties. Faced with this profound demographic and social upheaval, local authorities require
greater autonomy to their respective city to better manage these flows of people and their local impacts. In addition to the centripetal
flow, the island also known phenomena commuting to both sides of the border that almost nothing materializes. These migrations are as
important as difficult to quantify, which is why we do without evoke the heart of the article.
I. Migratory cycles separate sides of the boundary

4 The division of the island has had an indirect impact on the phenomena of population influx and reflux. The history of settlement has
indeed been marked by some belonging to two separate cities but this dual then played in giving rhythms of economic dynamism and
therefore attractiveness differentiated both sides of the border saint- Martinoise.
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Francois Hollande
President of France since 15 May 2012
Represented by
Philippe Chopin
Prefect since 16 November 2011
None reported.