Two reports of a culinary nature capture the attention in today’s paper. One is the prestigious Gault & Millau awards ceremony at Hotel Anse Marcel Beach, where St. Martin was honoured in five main categories, including Chef of the Year.

This is the kind of thing that can help rekindle the island’s reputation as culinary capital of the Northeastern Caribbean. The continued revival of hotels and restaurants particularly in the Orient Bay and Grand Case areas is also key to that process.

On the Dutch side, Ocean Lounge Restaurant at Holland House received its fourth Award of Excellence from the Wine Spectator’s guide. Both the hotel’s and restaurant’s presence help keep Philipsburg alive especially during the evening hours.

These accolades show that in addition to remaining a physically attractive destination, “The Friendly Island” also still provides a quality wine-and-dine product, which is more important than many may realise. It also caters to the higher-end tourism segment; for example, on mega-yachts and private planes.

In that regard, concerns expressed by Member of Parliament (MP) Sidharth “Cookie” Bijlani (see related story) about implementing the amended law on the reporting obligation when transporting money and valuables are understandable. If indeed travelling with expensive jewellery, watches and other personal items is included, that could certainly have a negative impact on potential visitors who have the means to be big spenders.

On the other hand, combating money-laundering and the financing of international terrorism is important and if this is what needs to take place also in a regional context, then so be it. However, a sensible and reasonable approach to the execution would seem prudent, certainly at first.