Collectivity of Saint Martin
Collectivité de Saint-Martin (French)
Location of the Collectivity of St Martin in the Leeward Islands
and largest city
|Ethnic groups |
• President of the
|Overseas collectivity of France|
• Divided between France and Netherlands
|23 March 1648|
• Separate collectivity
|15 July 2007|
|53.2 km2 (20.5 sq mi) (unranked)|
• Water (%)
• 2014 census
|682/km2 (1,766.4/sq mi) (unranked)|
|Currency||Euro (€) Dollar ($) (EUR)|
|ISO 3166 code||MF|
The Collectivity of Saint Martin (French: Collectivité de Saint-Martin), commonly known as simply Saint Martin (Saint-Martin), is an overseas collectivity of France in the West Indies in the Caribbean. With a population of 36,286 (as of January 2011) on an area of 53.2 square kilometres (20.5 sq mi), it encompasses the northern 60% of the divided island of Saint Martin, and some neighbouring islets, the largest of which is Île Tintamarre. The southern 40% of the island of Saint Martin constitutes Sint Maarten, since 2010 a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. This marks the only place in the world that France borders the Netherlands.
Before 2007, the French part of Saint Martin formed a part of the French overseas région and département of Guadeloupe. Saint Martin is separated from the island of Anguilla by the Anguilla Channel. Its capital is Marigot.
Hurricane Irma hit the island on 6 September 2017 with Category 5 winds causing widespread and significant damage to buildings and infrastructure. As of 10 September, reports indicated that ten deaths were attributed to the storm on this island and on Saint Barthelemy (combined) and that seven people were still missing.
Saint Martin was for many years a French commune, forming part of Guadeloupe, which is an overseas région and département of France. 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 (separately) the neighbouring Saint Barthélemy. The new status took effect on 15 July 2007, once the local assemblies were elected, with the second leg of the vote ultimately occurring on 15 July 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. Gumbs was reelected on 5 May 2009.
|Parties||1st round||2nd round||Seats|
|Union for Progress/UMP (Union pour le Progrès, Louis Constant-Fleming)||2,829||40.35||3,753||48.96||16|
|Rally Responsibility Success (Rassemblement responsabilité réussite, Alain Richardson)||2,237||31.90||3,231||42.15||6|
|Succeed Saint Martin (Réussir Saint-Martin, Jean-Luc Hamlet)||767||10.94||681||8.89||1|
|Alliance (Alliance, Dominique Riboud)||635||9.05||—||—||—|
|Democratic Alliance for Saint Martin (Alliance démocratique pour Saint-Martin, Wendel Cocks)||544||7.76||—||—||—|
|Source: RFO1, RFO2|
The coat of arms features a ship, a palm and a sun, and reads "Collectivité de Saint Martin". The commune that existed until 22 February 2007, used similar arms but with the legend "Ville de Saint Martin".
The French part of the island has a land area of 53.2 square kilometres (20.5 sq mi). A local English-based dialect is spoken in informal situations on both the French and Dutch sides of the island. At the January 2011 French census, the population in the French part of the island was 36,286 (up from only 8,072 inhabitants at the 1982 census), which means a population density of 682 inhabitants per square kilometre (1,770/sq mi) in 2011.
During the 1980s, the population more than tripled; at the time, the collectivity was administered as a part of Guadeloupe.
By 2000 the territory had over 7,000 Haitians, which reinforced the usage of French in Saint Martin.
|Official figures from French censuses.|
INSEE estimated that the total GDP of Saint Martin amounted to 421 million euros in 1999 (US$449 million at 1999 exchanges rates; US$599 million at Oct. 2007 exchange rates). In that same year the GDP per capita of Saint Martin was 14,500 euros (US$15,500 at 1999 exchanges rates; US$20,600 at Oct. 2007 exchange rates), which was 39% lower than the average GDP per capita of metropolitan France in 1999. In comparison, the GDP per capita on the Dutch side of the island, Sint Maarten, was 14,430 euros in 2004.
The collectivity has the following public preschool, primary, and elementary schools:
There are three junior high schools (collège) and one senior high school:
Hurricane Irma hit Saint Martin on 6 of September, 2017. France's Minister of the Interior said on 8 September that most of the schools were destroyed. In addition to damage caused by high winds, there were reports of serious flood damage to businesses in the village of Marigot. Looting was also a serious problem. France sent aid as well as additional police and emergency personnel to the island. 95% of the structures on the French side had been damaged or destroyed. Looting or "pillaging" was a problem initially; France was sending 240 gendarmes to help control the situation.
On 10 September, France announced that it was sending additional emergency supplies, including water and electrical equipment to help restore the power supply to St. Martin as an early step to helping the residents to survive and, later, to rebuild. By 11 September, President Emmanuel Macron was flying to the area to view the damage and to assure residents of support for relief efforts. At that time, only tourists and visitors from France (mainlanders) had been evacuated from St. Martin, leading to complaints by black and mixed-race residents that whites were being given priority. Macron arrived on 12 September with emergency supplies and said that by the weekend "many things will be reopened". He pledged 50 million euros of aid for the French islands and said the rebuilding will be done quickly but very well.
A status report in March 2018 indicated that daily flights were being accommodated at the airport. Some hotels had reopened and others had filed plans for reopening on specific later dates, approximately ten by year end. Of the 1,200 hotel rooms, 400 were operational. Many restaurants and bars had reopened. Most island residents were getting electricity, water and telecommunications, although cell phone service was not fully reliable yet.
However voters on the two tiny French dependencies of Saint-Barthelemy and Saint-Martin, which have been administratively attached to Guadeloupe, approved the referendum and are set to acquire the new status of "overseas collectivity".
Frantz Gumbs, formerly president of Union Pour le Progrès (UPP) party, swept into power as new president of the Collectivité at an extraordinary meeting of the Territorial Council on Thursday after winning the 23-councillor vote with a clear majority over Marthe Ogoundélé-Tessi.