Oyster Pond, Saint Martin/St Maarten, NL

I must admit, I have only spent just under one Calendar month here in Sint Maarten, but right away – from my arrival at the Princess Juliana Airport Immigration desk I detected a freshness that any proponent of TRUE
Caribbean Integration would readily appreciate. What follows is but by humble – and abbreviated – observations.

Sint Maarten is the ONLY Caribbean island where one hears English, Spanish, Dutch and French being spoken in equal measure in one’s wanderings about this stunningly beautiful island.

Enter any business place in Sint Maarten and you can easily find a Barbadian, Antiguan, Guyanese, Dominican, Kittian, Nevisian, Anguillan, Vincentian, Grenadian, Jamaican, St. Lucian, Trinidadian (with French, Dutch and Spanish Islanders in equal measure) – and the best part of it all is you never hear the prefix ‘Damned‘ before their respective nationalities when native Sint Maartiners are describing their neighbours (unlike in many a CARICOM country!).

Many Bajans used to flock here for Duty Free shopping, even with REDjet to ease intra-Caribbean travel... Will Bajans be flooding the region now, with VAT at 17.5% among other hardships?

No folks, the native Sint Maartiners can’t be bothered with the usual petty animosity, the ‘live and let live‘ philosophy prevails here, something the rest of us in ACTUAL CARICOM countries should take serious note of – for we are very fond of talking about ‘Regional Integration‘ and ‘Caribbean unity‘ – but if truth be told, deep down in our hearts most of us are just talking a load of crap when we say so.

Too many of us feel that ‘we are better‘ than all of our other Caribbean neighbors, and it is sad to say – but in my humble opinion ALL Caribbean Heads of State need to visit Sint Maarten WHICH IS NOT EVEN A CARICOM COUNTRY – to learn how to make this 50 year old dream of the late and great elder statesmen of CARICOM become a practical reality (instead of an empty theoretical topic of political platforms) but where TRUE Caribbean Integration is alive and well and evident for all to see and experience.

Just for the record, Sint Maarten is not even a fully Independent country – so why the hell can’t we who ARE get OUR political act together ?

Damon Gerard Corrie
On holiday in Sint Maarten

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