St. Martin News Network

Oct 13th
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Drivers with Expired Dutch Driver's Licenses Blocked Roads Early Tuesday Morning --- Prefet and Collectivity working on solutions.

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Marigot:--- Several heavy equipments blocked the roundabout in the Agrement area early Tuesday morning to get the attention of the President of the Collectivity of St. Martin Alain Richardson and Prefet Philippe Chopin regarding their expired Dutch driver's licenses that were issued by the Dutch side for a period of one year after the former administration under the Union Pour les Progres leadership agreed to pass an ordinance in the Territorial Council that would allow the COM to exchange the Dutch Driver's license for French Driver's license.

According to information provided to SMN News, the former government headed by Frantz Gumbs could not deliver the French driver's licenses to the holders of the Dutch Driver's licenses that were renewed for a period of one year because the former Prefet Jacques Simonette and Acting Prosecutor Jacques Louvier intervened and conducted an investigation which showed that the licenses were actually obtained on Saba and not St. Maarten. The investigation showed that those persons who obtained their licenses in Saba years ago had an opportunity to exchange their Saba driver's license for a St. Maarten driver's license. The investigation also concluded that the holders of those licenses did not do the proper examinations to obtain their licenses. Therefore, the licenses they hold is not equivalent to a European Drivers License such as the French.

Due to the unclear situation, the holders of the Dutch expired licenses which is over 800 in total decided to block the roads so that the French administration could do something for them since they would be driving on the road with an expired drivers licenses and should they be involved in any accidents then their insurances will not cover them.

SMN News learnt that the Prefet Philippe Chopin and someone from the Collectivity of St. Martin approached the drivers who blocked the roads before 5am and made an agreed that the Collectivity will grant the holders of these licenses a letter permitting them to drive on the road until another agreement is reached with the Government on the Dutch side. A representative at the Prefecture of St. Martin confirmed to SMN News that Prefet Chopin is the one that intervened and managed to have the protesters move their vehicles until the Collectivity of St. Martin could come to an agreement with the Dutch side. According to well placed sources at the Collectivity of St. Martin, some of the holders of the Dutch driver's licenses got their licenses since 1983 and even though they knew that these licenses were not going to be renewed, they made no effort to obtain a French driver's license by following the regular procedures.
SMN News was also told that the Collectivity also agreed to send out a press release on the road blocking but up to press time no release was made available to the media.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 10 July 2012 18:11 )