I have been hearing rumors about a breakdown in law and order in Saint Martin/Sint Maarten for days coming from unsourced Twitter accounts and media blurbs. It appears that the islanders have turned on the unlucky tourists who were on the island and are attacking and robbing them:
Worrying reports of erupting violence have emerged from St Maarten, the southern half of the Caribbean Island it shares with St Martin, in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
Several people who are stranded on the island say looters have begun raiding hotel rooms and homes to profit from the natural disaster.
One woman claimed they attacked US and British tourists who became stranded when say some who have spoken to relatives on the island.
‘They are completely isolated and there are CRIMINALS carrying GUNS AND KNIVES SHOOTING and looting all over!! NOTHING IS WORKING, THERE ARE NO RULES, THERE IS NO LAW AND NO PROTECTION RIGHT NOW!!’ he said.
At the Simpson Bay Resort and Marina, looters went in to unoccupied rooms to steal TVs, one staff member said on Twitter.
She said that through the intermittent contact she has had with her sister, she learned that looting was a problem. ‘Many US citizens are being attacked and robbed,’ she told DailyMail.com.
I am glad the Daily Mail is reporting on this; I was afraid it might get ignored in the wave of panic about Irma hitting Florida.
In addition to the information in the above excerpt, I have heard other rumors as well. As many of you probably already know, the northern half of the island is St. Martin, owned by France, and the southern half is Sint Maarten, owned by the Dutch. The Daily Mail confirms the Dutch have sent troops to pacify the southern half of the islands (they even have pictures of said troops on patrol).
However, there are claims from Twitter that no such aid has been sent to Saint Martin in the north despite French claims of doing so. The claims go on to say there are only about 20 poorly equipped gendarmes struggling to maintain any semblance of order, that there are at least hundreds of looters, that the head of the government has fled the island, and that there are rapes of female tourists going on in addition to the looting and violence.
The media won’t be able to keep this situation quiet if it goes on for much longer and if the claims are true (which I am inclined to believe after reading the Daily Mail article about what’s going on in the south). That the French government has allowed it to go on this long is a total disgrace.