Chantal in St-Martin

Chantal is a Saint-Martinoise confined in the French part of the island. Between telework and gardening she shares her daily life with us.

Interview of Gabrielle Buddoo


Can you give me a description of the current situation in St. Martin?

It is hard to give an accurate description of what is happening because I am in confinement myself. I think most people are abiding by the regulations. There is a mandatory detention where we should stay home and only go out for essential needs. Persons needing to leave their houses are required to have a paper stating the purpose, dated and signed. The paper defers based on the objective of travel. I have been at home where I have been confined since the 18th of March. My workplace is closed to the public but I go in occasionally to check emails and attend to certain administrative matters. They have implemented certain measures to avoid the spread of the infection: confined to your office space, only 7-8 persons are in office at the same time,
rigorous sanitisation exercises, etc.
That is the case for me but I have a friend who works at a bank and she goes to work everyday. They are closed to the public but she continues to work and keeps the same hours as if it were business as usual. I am supposed to start working remotely soon instead of having to return to the office.

You spend most of your time working. Aside from that, how do you pass the time?

I’m on the French side of the island and I actually don’t spend most of my time working since I’m at home in confinement. I’ve started a few new activities. I spend some time on social media or other online interests but not all day, read and in the morning, I go for a walk (I think that’s still allowed) avoids contact with anyone. You can walk up to 1 km from the house and in the early morning, there are not many people out. I watch videos mostly on creating businesses online or seminars. I’ve assisted with several online training through Zoom. I mostly pass my time by gardening especially in the afternoons.

How do you see the near future? Like how do you think things are going to be different?

I feel like a lot of things are going to change but I don’t know how. I try not to worry and
stress about it too much and try to, not really live day by day but keep my sanity. I know for a lot of people it is a really difficult time but it hasn’t been unbearable for me. But I think a lot about people from abusive houses, the homeless and people who are depressed and need to come out to have social interactions to get by. I have become more open to the idea of online classes and sports. I worry a little that there will be a mandatory vaccine, things like that.  I lived in Anguilla a few months ago and there were people operating businesses remotely. This was possible before but I think now that there isn’t much of a choice, more people will turn to this as an opportunity. I do think in recovering from all of this, more people from the Caribbean will be open to doing business online. So, I think more online businesses will
emerge.

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