The Green Brigade: 20 hyper-motivated young people who are proud of their job

Some speak of “mountains” and others “walls” to describe the piles of seaweeds that were laying in Cul de Sac and Coralita a few months ago. Removing them entailed a huge task. And to do that job and clean the beaches, twenty young people were recruited last September; they, who all came from Quartier d’Orléans, formed the first Saint-Martin green brigade.


Thanks to State funds and the willpower of the Collectivité and the prefecture, they were hired via one-year renewable subsidized contracts by the Symphorien Insertion Center, an association chaired by Josiane Rousseau and headed by Marie-Paule Rousseau.


Four months later, they were invited to the hall of the Collectivité by the President Aline Hanson and the Prefect Anne Laubies to make an assessment of their efforts. And it was on this occasion that these twenty young people who are aged mostly between twenty and thirty, revealed their pleasure to work with a unanimous enthusiasm. They each took the floor each and all thanked the President and the Director of the Symphorien center for having given them this opportunity. "When I received the call, I was in Guadeloupe doing nothing... I left the same day", said one young person. "It’s better to work than do nothing and hang around in the street", acknowledged another. "I hope that it lasts a long time and really want to stay," said yet another.


"Even if it is not easy", they all said they were very pleased to work because they all feel like they are useful and have helped improve the image of Saint-Martin, which had been damaged after the seaweeds invasion. They all invited the population to go to Cul de Sac or Coralita to see the work accomplished. "Now, it is clean, our beaches are clean!", they said.


Furthermore, the young people stressed the human experience of the brigade. Indeed, many of them did not know each other and have therefore created new bonds of friendship.


The Prefecture and the Collectivité are currently in the process of thinking about how these contracts can be sustained in financial terms. The goal is to turn these brigadiers into sorting ambassadors and to offer them training so that they can find a job in this environmental field.


Estelle Gasnet