For A. Richardson, "The current plan for Marigot water front is a real threat"

"October 26th is the deadline for tendering bids to the public competition for the proposed development of the Marigot Bay.

In the setting of the absolute need and urgency to create sustainable economic activity on the territory, Marigot Bay, for decades is considered by all to be a tremendous asset with the potential for real and strategic development as having the ability to be an engine of economic and social growth.

It is clear therefore that in such a project, the essential objective if not the exclusive objective, ought to be to attract, cater and accommodate tourists and visitors with a strong buying and consumption power to our territory. Therefore, the implementation of the necessary infrastructures and the creation of the adequate maritime and port conditions to welcome and accommodate cruise ships and yachting business must be the 'raison d'etre' of any project.

Marigot Bay, in light of the constant growth in the Caribbean zone of cruise activity and of the boating tourism sector is undoubtedly our best chance for development and sustainable economic growth. Boating activity and cruise business are sectors with high added value and large jobs providers: economic growth and jobs creation, that is exactly what for more than a decade we are lacking here and what for me absolute priorities.

I wish here again to remind us all, that the dramatic challenge for St-Martin in order to meet the needs and requirements of its population growth is to double the level of its gross domestic product in the next 10 years, to prevent the down fall towards dangerous and increased impoverishment.

Tourism activity in and around the sea in our Caribbean basin, is and remains the most important vector of growth and employment.

-Average annual growth of the cruise industry in terms of number of cruise passengers 6.55% per year; (in the Caribbean more than 4% annual growth in 2014 and 2015.) ("Cruise Market Watch").

-42% of cruise passengers later visit the territories discovered during a cruise. -86% of cruise passengers plan another cruise within 3 years of their last cruise.

-On average every cruise passenger spends $565 for activities and shopping on and off board on the Territories visited.

It is evident therefore that any development project and or restructuring of the Marigot water front, must have as ' primary and essential objective ':

  • -  the creation of infrastructures destined to receive and accommodate cruise ships and cruise passengers;

  • -  the creation of infrastructures destined to cater and host the development of yachting activities.

  • -  the creation of infrastructures and the implementation of a holistic policy to revitalize Marigot.

    Everything else is secondary.

    The target markets for these 2 sectors (cruise and Marina) cannot be other than the high-end, because mass cruise and the Marina activities would only create excess pressure that would at the end jeopardize and even destroy the attractiveness and interest that from the start justified the development project itself.

    Yet after the "smoke screen" project of Daniel GibbsCanadian friends of 2012 (over 800 million euros of investment announced), the analysis of the bidding file for the concession contract launched by Aline Hanson, proves that in fact this project is purely an unrealistic and especially dangerous real estate development project. What should have been complementary in such a project (the real estate development) is in fact the essential (instead of the creation of the cruise and the marina’s infrastructures).

    In fact, hidden and covered under the idea of a cruise and Yachting facility is a huge speculative real estate development project destined to create a new city and to discard the present town of Marigot.

    Aline Hanson’s project consists in the creation of more than 26 hectares of new land (i.e. more than the current size of Marigot) to house a real estate development with more than 180 000 m2 of ground floor surface, which in fact means, that even if 25 000 m2 are reserved for potential hotels, it is more than 155,000 m2 left for housing and shops. Actually with such surface, this project would accommodate more than 1,500 apartments and more than 1,000 new shops spaces.

The study presented to justify the feasibility and profitability of the project is unfounded and absurd. The economics and structure of this project are unrealistic, disconcerting and completely bogus.

I remain convinced that no serious investor or group of investors, with the necessary financial surface, who respect what ought to be the primary objectives of such a project, would answer the bid and present an offer (not even Daniel Gibbs Canadian friends, who just a few years ago claimed to be willing to invest more than 800 million euros).

The risk then is that a real estate speculator and predator presents one of very few offers and eventually win the consultation.

But one certainty is that this much needed project, is not the one presented by Aline Hanson to the public bid. "