The French Caribbean
islands of St. Barts and St. Martin officially broke away from
Guadeloupe on July 15, becoming Overseas Collectivities, which
separated them administratively from Guadeloupe.
St. Barts and St. Martin had been
dependencies of Guadeloupe, an overseas Department of France, since
Both islands still are considered French
territories, while Guadeloupe remains an overseas Department of
France. Residents of St. Barts and St. Martin approved their new
political status in a 2003 referendum, which was officially signed
into law on Feb. 21, 2007 by Jacques Chirac, then the president of
The two islands now have a freer hand in
managing their own affairs, which include creating or changing laws
related to local taxes, tourism, public transportation and other
issues, according to statements released by the French
St. Barts also gained jurisdiction over
housing, construction, environmental and energy affairs. St. Martin
will gain autonomy in these same areas by 2012.
Each island will be
run by a territorial council, headed by a president, and an
executive council. The territorial council replaces the municipal
council, which had run each island until now.
reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to[email protected].