Many milestones to celebrate and
CELEBRATE we did! Actually the last two
weeks, with public Holidays thrown in, have been phenomenal. We celebrated being together for twenty magical years. And
we celebrated our 5th year in our Studio in Simpson Bay. An amazing place, that channels our love and
creative energy into our jewelry creations. There was a Birthday to celebrate. And finally a big event, that has been in
process for nearly three years. Yes, Anne became a Dutch National.
And so was or trip to the States. We had loads of fun and interesting
experiences. What bliss to be travelling on an open road…..3800 miles. Swallowing up those miles, as if they didn’t
exist. And our overall mission was successful too. We loved Delray Beach in Florida, very quaint and somehow a reminder
of the Simpson Bay village feel. Now we have to tackle the mountain of paperwork and visa applications in the next 6
Part of the celebrations was this gorgeous pendant doing double duty as a hairclip
Hans letting more artistic juices flow in these
A notable mention is this show stopper
collier made on commission
A fittings toast to acquiring the Dutch Nationality took place at Holland House
Hotel. Philipsburg is a charming place for having sundowner cocktails. The boardwalk made a big difference and added to
the enjoyment for all. We had memorable celebration meals at Mario’s Bistro and also Three Palms Restaurant.
On the political front it seems like 10 October 2010, or the nice
ringing 10-10-10 will be the date for the dismantling of the Netherlands Antilles. A lot of work still lies ahead,
especially making changes to the regulating laws. Basically, what this means for St Maarten is that it will operate
semi-autonomous with some supervision from The Netherlands. Pre-set goals and conditions are set out for the next five
years. Thereafter the situation will be re-assessed based on performance. A very important aspect is that all the taxes
generated in St Maarten will remain in St Maarten. The uneven distribution of taxes collected has been a thorn in St
Maarten’s side for decades. The flip side is that St Maarten will be responsible for the cost of their own ministries
and other government services like police and health care etc. This is proving to be rather difficult, as the 2010
budget has still not been balanced nor approved.
Being a small island, any political “change” brings new challenges to
the delicate balance between the French and Dutch side. The other day muscles were flexed about the “correct” border
division at Oyster Pond. Two interesting articles appeared in The Daily Herald, which in essence has the French side
claiming border rights in the pond placing Captain Oliver’s Restaurant and Marina on the French side. Yet the restaurant
has legally been operating as a Dutch Entity on Dutch Territory for many years.
Strange, how we’ve had a similar issue
in Kasane, Botswana, whilst living there. The Botswana / Namibia dispute took several years to resolve. Sedudu is an
island about 5 square kilometer situated in the flood plains of the Chobe River. It’s covered by water for part of the
year and can only be used as grazing for cattle. Eventually the International Court for Justice in The Hague ruled in favour of Botswana.
Photo from Flickr
– Elephants in the foreground and buffalo in the back on Sedudu Island. The
southern part of the Chobe channel is situated in front of the ridge. The northern part of the Chobe channel (from where
this photo was taken) was deemed by the International Court of Justice in The Hague to be the main channel, thereby
awarding Sedudu Island to Botswana. Botswana and Namibia reached a gentleman’s agreement of free passage on the
waterways surrounding Sedudu Island. Follow the link for the full history
It will be interesting to see how both
the French and Dutch side will find an agreeable solution. Many properties in St Maarten / St Martin suffer from
outdated Kadaster planning / zoning / deeds. Seemingly that is exactly what is holding up re-investment and development
of old La Belle Creole Property (before Sandy Ground). According to reports in the Daily Herald the
French Administration made changes to an incorrectly issued deed, which enables the
new investors to go ahead with the development. The project is slated to start in January 2011. This is the first major
investment into the French side in many years.
Another ruling which might be of interest to American Nationals, owning property in
St Maarten, is that the Court of First Instance ruled that American are entitled to equal treatment as is afforded to
Dutch Nationals citing the Dutch-American Friendship Treaty. That should make it a lot easier to stay for extended
periods although residence permits will still be a requirement / formality.
On a lighter side of the law. This article appeared in The Daily Herald.
Moving on to the cultural events. Dance Theatre of St
Maarten produced a captivating musical – The Wizard of Oz. The Director and Choreographer Susha Hien and her team, had
four short months since forming the new dance school, to put this musical together. Every one danced with such joy and
enthusiasm. The set design was spectacular. You should’ve seen the costumes and head-dress designs. The audience was
enthralled. Don’t you think these Munchkins are too adorable?
The Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz: Photo by Pete’s
Landscaping the studio garden is moving forward
at a rapid pace. We spoke to the contractors, who indicated that the lengthening of the runway has to be completed by
November this year. The road will be re-routed sooner but utilities have to be moved first. It will cause quite a
disturbance in front of our studio. We do apologize for the inconvenience in advance. Once the road is in place the
second phase of working on the runway will kick in. Work will be done at night. Plans to change the beginning of the
runway and “access restriction” at the world famous landing strip are on the cards. So, for those aircraft enthusiasts
and fence thrill-seekers it is a must stop on your next trip. These pictures were taken today showing the progress on
the runway extension.
|New road approach to our Studio
|The Airport Boulevard should be renamed the
Simpson Bay Scenic Route
|View over our landscaped garden
All in all things are pretty groovy in St
Maarten. Weather is hot, hot. We can’t wait for the 5 turtle nests on Simpson Bay beach to hatch.
Until next time.
Best wishes from
Hans and Anne
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