Open letter concerning Mullet Bay

Greetings from Canada to the citizens, residents and people of the Friendly Island.

I have been meaning to write for some time with a suggestion to improve the beach experience in St. Maarten for both locals and tourists alike. I hope that my comments will be taken in the spirit of suggestion for the mutual benefit and enjoyment for all.

My wife and I have been coming annually to St. Maarten for over 35 years. We have made many good friends there and always look forward to returning to our favourite island in the sun. We had a time-share at Towers at Mullet Bay for many years, until Hurricane Luis combined with some questionable dealings to deprive us of this. What a shame. A loss to the timeshare owners of course, but also to the island community who are deprived of another important source of revenue. It breaks our hearts to see the building standing derelict and apparently soon to become a blight on the island like the rest of the Mullet Bay properties.

Nevertheless, that is not the reason that I am writing today. Instead, I wish to make a positive suggestion for improvement that could be made for maximum effect and at little cost. It would improve the island for all, both tourists and residents alike. I speak of coconut palm trees on the beaches, and their now-almost-complete loss from the beach experience.

When we first came to SXM we loved the swaying and scenic coconut trees that lined the beaches. They were everywhere and gave the beaches that perfect and idyllic Caribbean vibe. Look at any painted pictures by local artists, or any photographs from years gone by, and you see the beautiful effect they provided. Alas, they are no more, and I must say that the beaches look much worse for their loss.

I will point out Mullet Bay specifically for a good example, since this beach is so popular with both tourists, who come from around the world specifically for this magical experience, but also for the local people who come throughout the week, but most wonderfully, on family day. It is so much fun to see the families and the children playing with enthusiastic abandon, as children do everywhere.

I wonder if they even notice, or realize, that the beach does not have the same beautiful and mystical quality as it once had, when the coconut palms gave it that special touch? Does anyone even notice that that they are all dead and decaying now, and that the beach is so much poorer for it? What was once a magnificent venue is, at best, just another nice beach. At worst, if you compare it to similar beaches on other islands, it has become a bit of an eyesore. The tourists are certainly noticing.

What a pity, and yet, something so easy to rectify. Plant young trees! I am sure that the cost would be minimal when compared to the costs of more detailed man-made infrastructure that is designed to attract tourists. The return on this small effort would be stunning and would help to return St. Maarten to its former glory and most desired destination for tourists who, let’s not forget, can go anywhere to get the best vacation experience.

We hope that this letter will raise some awareness and come to the attention of the proper local improvement authorities who could so easily and cheaply restore all of the beaches to their former beauty with just a few simple plantings, while supporting local jobs and businesses to boot!

In just a few short years these swaying palms would rise to their former glory, needing no future costly maintenance, while helping to restore and maintain the tourist trade, and to make St. Maarten the paradise that it always was for the most important people of all, those who live there and are who are most entitled to enjoy and take pride in the island's maximum beauty and idyllic character.

We close those comments by offering our most sincere intentions, and best wishes to all.

Submitted with respect, and in eager anticipation of our future return.

Clare and Beverly Brunetta

Fort Frances, Ontario, Canada

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