Reader’s Letter to Editor: Final trip to St. MaartenPOSTED: 02/5/15 7:17 PM
It is with much genuine sadness that we inform you and all of our St. Maarten friends that our final trip to the island will take place in a few short months, only because our air travel had been paid for prior to receiving a poorly-written email from Alegria Real Estate B.V. telling us that our timeshare agreement had been nullified. But, we won’t be staying at the Caravanserai on this last trip. Our first time to the island was in 1996, and we have returned at least once – sometimes twice – every year since. We loved the island, appreciated the culture, and grew fond of its friendly people, and in 2003 we made a decision to become timeshare owners at the Caravanserai.
Over the years we have spent literally thousands and thousands of dollars on goods and services made available by business people from both the Dutch and French sides of the island. But, the debacle that has taken place at the now-called Alegria Hotel has left us totally devastated. There are approximately 2,200 timeshare families affected, all of whom had made a financial investment in timeshare ownership at the Caravanserai ranging from $10,000 to $200,000 per family. We are shocked that the government of St. Maarten has not taken an active role, not even a minimal active role, to assist in settling this dispute for the benefit of not only the owners who are directly involved like us, but for the benefit of all timeshare owners at all resorts on the island who will likely someday find themselves in the same mess we find ourselves in today.
The whole world is watching what happens next, and the final decision of this conflict will set a firm precedent. There will be a negative impact on all fronts, inasmuch as the economy of St. Maarten centers around tourism with more than four-fifths (83.7%) of the labor force engaged in this sector. [Source: 2014 CIA World Factbook, updated January 7, 2014] Furthermore, we are totally embarrassed to acknowledge that a fellow American and a neighbor, by the name of Raymond Sidhom, is the owner of the Alegria Hotel. He has ruthlessly and uncaringly disrupted many lives not only in the US but globally, including tarnishing the name of The Friendly Island for pure personal gain. Without a doubt we are quickly losing our faith in St. Maarten and its legal system. We find it difficult to want to return to a place where our voices are not heard and we are no longer welcome.
Wayne and Sandra Nuhn
North Haven CT