St. Maarten Government opens possibility for driver’s license renewal

POSTED: 07/14/11 12:22 PM

St. Maarten – People registered on the French side but who have a driver’s licenses from the Dutch side have just under a year to renew their driver’s license. The measure took effect as of June 1 and has been communicated to the President of the Collectivite of St. Martin.

“We have recently communicated to the President of the Collectivite the decision regarding the issue of the driver’s licenses and we have put forward to the President how and under what conditions he can now go over to referring persons who have registered or put down their name with the Collectivite for them to have their license renewed or extended if you wish,” Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams announced at Wednesday morning’s Council of Ministers press briefing.

The one year period is a temporary solution that will precede a more permanent solution that includes a change in the Law on Motor Vehicles and Licenses that will be presented by the Minister of Justice. The temporary procedure includes people presenting their old license and other documents necessary for the license to be renewed. The license will be granted for five years and in that time people will be required to either get a new one or to use it so that they can get one from the French side.

Wednesday’s announcement came two days ahead of a planned meeting on June 15 between the Government of St. Maarten and the Government of St. Martin and on the eve of Bastille Day celebrations. The majority of the Council of Ministers will join in the ceremonies.

“I wish extend congratulations to all French citizens on their day tomorrow – Bastille Day. A special word of congratulations goes out to our French neighbors on this day,” Wescot-Williams said.

The main point for the meeting, which will take place in the Dr. A.C. Wathey Legislative Hall is a mixed committee on cooperation that the French government is keen to see established. The government of St. Maarten also wants the committee to be installed but they want assurances that it will not lead to any “erosion of the authority of the government of Dutch St. Maarten.”

“Without any doubt there are many, many areas that the island of St. Maarten, both sides of the island, need to discuss in the benefit of the people from both sides of the island. However the authority for these different areas, especially in the French context, is on different levels. So while there might be some argument to have a formal committee with all of those authorities participating in that committee, from the side of Dutch St. Maarten it is extremely important that our authority as a country is not usurped in the context of these commissions, because the level of the Collectivite in terms of authority is not equal to country St. Maarten.  I understand the relationship between St. Maarten and the Hague and St. Martin and Paris,” Wescot-Williams said.

Friday’s meeting will also allow the two governments to compare notes and review matters of mutual interest.

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