> I fear that things will get worse before they get
> better......sad to say!
> A friend who's been renting a particular villa in
> April for 5 yrs. asked me if I'd be interested in
> sharing the villa because the other 2 couples
> they've rented with for the past several years
> aren't returning. I told her I wasn't interested
> because I don't think we'll be doing 'ladies
> vacation' in SXM, next year. This morning she
> wrote me and said everyone else she offered this
> villa to weren't returning to SXM until things
> looked better. That's sad. It will be a very
> difficult time for tourism in the future. For
> every person who's returning, there are several
> that aren't.......not good!
You've had my brain cells pulsing since I read your post, as I try to decide what my future St. Maarten plans will be. No secret here that we're island old timers in that we've done 35 years every year of at least one trip to SXM per and many years more but I have truly wrestled with myself for the past few months as to what next year will bring and the latest problems of Bruce and Kim and Barbara have only served to exacerbate my personal qualms.
Preface my thoughts by saying I personally have never been a SXM crime victim - no car break-ins that we know of and certainly nothing worse - so then the question to me becomes have I been lucky and could a future trip be pressing it? I recall returning from our annual two week trip a few years ago and writing here about a problem that befell a fellow Towers guest - a mugging that caused him severe physical injuries and his personal resolve never to return to the island. And I also recall many personal messages and a few public comments as well stating that I was over-stating my concerns and worrying about things that could happen anywhere and the victims really should have been a lot smarter as to what they had done to bring the problem about. It bothered me at the time that so many took the island situation so lightly but then I started to really think about it and I thought about the changes in my personal level of vacation enjoyments.
I realized that I no longer felt comfortable being the last person on the beach at the end of the day awaiting the joy of that last ray of setting sun nor would I walk from my timeshare to Maho in the evening as we always used to do for our evening icecream cone and airplane watching, and for sure, we are no longer all that comfortable driving around the island at night either. But you know what, after a while I realized I've made similar changes in my life here at home, too. When I leave my home to go to the post office after dark, all of .75 miles of country roads from my home, I lock my doors and keep my car windows up.
Right here, in the staid and relatively 'safe' State of Ct., not 30 miles from my humble little country home, we're just getting over commemmorating the death of a mother and her two beautiful daughters who were brutally murdered in their own home but a year ago because our justice system granted an early release from prison to a couple of convicted felons. As I dress for work each morning I turn on the TV and I hear how many drive-by shootings have taken place in Bridgeport the night before and how many murders have been committed so far this year in our capitol city of Hartford and how the drug crack-downs in New Haven have to be taken more seriously and how the people of all these cities have to step up to the plate and be more pro-active in helping the police solve these problems.
The difference between St. Maarten/St. Martin and Connecticut, of course, is that we have better trained police and a lot more of them - both local and State and if a situation is really dire, we do have federal policing agencies for some situations - and they pretty much have unlimited budgets at their disposal to bring these dire problems under control. But you know what, as hard as they try, there are still drugs on our streets and criminals out there, too, just like on our beloved island.
Forgive me, please, if you've hung in this long and read this far, but having taken all these things into consideration, I've decided I'm going to go ahead with my current plans for my annual St. Maarten long weekend this Fall, and if it passes without issue, I'm going to proceed with my April plans as well.
This is not a decision I make lightly and I certainly hope time doesn't prove me to have erred in my decision. And it's not the position I would advocate for anyone else who wasn't comfortable with it. I think each and every one of us needs to act and react within the confines of our own personal comfort level. And yes, we need to be smart, we need to be aware and we need to take advantage of our room safes, door locks and our storm shutters, but we also have to live and enjoy our lives to the best of our ability.