France: the Minister of Overseas France in the West Indies to try to refocus the debate

French Overseas Minister Sébastien Lecornu arrives in Baie-Mahault, on the outskirts of Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe on November 28, 2021. © Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP

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The French Minister of Overseas, Sébastien Lecornu, landed this Sunday, November 28, 2021 in Guadeloupe.

He must also go to Martinique, in a particularly tense context on these two islands.

This trip comes after a controversy, sparked by Mr. Attal's comments about the status of the French West Indies.

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Arrived at Pointe-à-Pitre in the afternoon, Sébastien Lecornu's team greeted this Sunday " 

a notable return to calm

 " in Guadeloupe and Martinique, after more than a week of violence and riots in the two French Caribbean islands.

Against a backdrop of high unemployment, the movement gained momentum in the wake of protests against compulsory anti-Covid vaccination for caregivers and firefighters, then extending to political, but also social demands.

The Minister of Overseas Territories meets on Monday with local Guadeloupe officials, economic players and unions.

Ditto the next day, 120 kilometers away, in Fort-de-France.

After Martinique, Sébastien Lecornu should be back on Wednesday in Paris.

"No debate on the status"

Friday, during a televised address to Guadeloupe, Mr. Lecornu had created a sharp controversy in France, saying that the government was " 

ready 

" to talk about more autonomy in Guadeloupe.

Xavier Bertrand, Marine Le Pen, but also Anne Hidalgo or even Jean-Luc Mélenchon, to varying degrees, had fallen on him.

The question is " 

irrelevant

 ", even launched Elie Domota, spokesperson for the union collective LKP.

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal stepped up to the plate this Sunday for an update on the issue of autonomy.

Asked by the CNews television channel, "

 there is no debate on the status, 

" he told our colleagues.

There may be questions about a strengthening here or there of the dialogue, of certain responsibilities, but this is done in common law, in the current institutional framework.

Gabriel Attal, spokesperson for the French government

RFI

"The dialogue will continue"

Before flying to the West Indies, the entourage of Mr. Lecornu welcomed an "

 agreement of method (...) between the State, the local elected officials of Martinique and the intersyndicale, which will allow the opening of discussions on the main issues of the territory

 ”.

It is a question of evoking health, the price of fuel, youth or transport.

Some of these themes concern the State, others more the local authorities: everyone will play their part 

", explains the same source.

Social dialogue for unvaccinated hospital staff and firefighters will continue   

“ 

It is unacceptable that we are forced to be vaccinated.

This blackmail of a vaccine against our salary is unacceptable.

I am also fighting for my daughter.

Life here is three times more expensive than in mainland France.

The people say they have had enough,

 ”summarizes a Guadeloupean.

Questioned by Agence France-Presse, he is a firefighter, is 27 years old and the vaccination obligation does not pass, for him.

At a roadblock for nearly a week, he nevertheless deplores the violence and those who shoot " 

our brother police officers 

", he told AFP.

With agencies

►Reread: Sébastien Lecornu evokes more autonomy for the West Indies, the right is rebelling

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  • Overseas

  • Guadeloupe

  • Martinique

  • Vaccines

  • Social issues

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