In Guadeloupe, curfew extended after a brief meeting between unions and the Minister of Overseas

After brief discussions between the Minister of Overseas Affairs, Sébastien Lecornu, and the inter-union, the curfew imposed on Guadeloupe was extended on Monday, November 29, until December 2.

“Taking into account the installation of new roadblocks in various points of the territory, acts of aggression and racketeering against motorists, the prefect decided to extend the curfew. […] in order to guarantee the safety of persons and goods “, was it reported in a press release posted on Twitter.

The Minister for Overseas Territories also announced on Monday evening that 70 mobile gendarmes and ten additional GIGN soldiers would arrive on the island tomorrow for “Strengthen the security offer”. Mr. Lecornu called for one “Collective awareness” about the violence that “Target the police”. There are “Wounded police officers”. “When we shoot and water 9 millimeters in the streets”, it’s “A miracle that a child of 9 or 10 [ne se retrouve pas] under these bullets “, he insisted. “There are dams on which gas cylinders have been installed, it must be said”, also clarified Sébastien Lecornu.

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Arriving on the island on Sunday night, Mr. Lecornu will have met only briefly on Monday with the Guadeloupe unions, while the overseas region-department has been the scene of more than a week of violent violence. social crisis.

The Minister thus judged that no discussion was possible as long as the unions did not want “Not to condemn assassination attempts against police officers and gendarmes” , a “Prerequisite yet obvious and indispensable”. His meeting with four union representatives from the General Union of Workers of Guadeloupe (UGTG) and Force Ouvrière (FO) therefore amounted to a simple handing over of “Claim documents”.

“The father came to scold the son”, for a union

Maïté Hubert-M'Toumo, from the UGTG, during a demonstration in Pointe-à-Pitre, on November 29, 2021.

“That night on dams in Martinique [où la crise s’est diffusée], individuals were arrested because they asked for sexual favors, carried out sexual racketeering to be able to pass, there is no possible negotiation under these conditions ”, lashed out at Sébastien Lecornu on Franceinfo, regretting what the union leaders were doing “A lot of politics” instead of “Clearly condemn the violence”.

On the trade union side, the delegation believes that Mr Lecornu “Did not come to negotiate, but because he was forced by the balance of power that we have established”. Maïté Hubert-M’Toumo, from the UGTG, recalls their demands “Priority” like “The end of the suspensions of personnel and liberal professions” unvaccinated, the “Suspension of convictions of people for violence” and one “Emergency plan for the qualification of young people and the working conditions of Guadeloupe families”. The inter-union also demanded that thirty organizations be received, and not ten.

“You can’t negotiate in twenty-four hours. [Sébastien Lecornu], it is the father who has come to scold his son, who has come to give a lesson, but the lesson will not pass ”, for his part, said Jocelyn Zou, of FO-Pompiers.

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In the process, local Guadeloupe officials decided not to attend a meeting scheduled with Sébastien Lecornu, “Having regard to the attitude and the remarks made by the Minister for Overseas Territories”. But they say to each other “Fully prepared to work with all parties, in order to provide joint and relevant responses” union demands.

The minister expected in Martinique on Tuesday

Born out of the denial of the vaccination requirement for caregivers and firefighters, the movement has gradually seized on older political and social demands, especially against expensive living, in these islands with high unemployment rates, especially among young people. Mr. Lecornu reiterated that the vaccination requirement, postponed to December 31, would not be lifted because “The laws of the Republic are intended to apply” in the French Antilles.

The overseas minister also said “More than shocked” by the demand for the release of those convicted of violence, after several days of very strong tensions. Like the previous one, the night from Sunday to Monday was quieter in the two Caribbean islands. Only one “Small clash” was to be deplored in Guadeloupe, according to a police source. Some 300 people demonstrated in peace on Monday in front of the sub-prefecture of Guadeloupe while Mr Lecornu received the unions.

The minister is due to go to Martinique on Tuesday where he will also meet with the inter-union. The unions, the State and local elected representatives signed a “Method agreement” to try to get out of the crisis, the prefecture said. Seven themes (health, youth, cost of living – including fuel and gas prices -, transport, chlordeconomics, fishing, culture) must be discussed.

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More autonomy for Guadeloupe in question

In mainland France, the oppositions, especially on the right, continue to castigate the new position of the government, ” ready “, according to Mr. Lecornu, on Friday, to raise the issue of more autonomy for Guadeloupe. “It is the unity of the country that is in question”, in particular protested, Monday, Michel Barnier, candidate for the nomination Les Républicains for the presidential election. “It’s amateurism, diversion”, added his rival, Xavier Bertrand.

For the environmental candidate Yannick Jadot, it is also “A way to entertain the debate” while “The urgency, there, it is to make social, to invest in the public services in particular, the hospital, the CHU …”. The autonomy debate is “Obviously not the debate on independence”, temporized the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, citing the example of French Polynesia with reinforced autonomy since 1996.

For Mr. Darmanin:

The elected officials of Guadeloupe have asked for this debate on autonomy. We cannot both say that the government does not listen to elected officials and, when it listens to them, say “it listens too much to elected officials”.

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In a press release, elected Guadeloupe officials, however, felt that the “Current priority” was “The way out of the crisis” and “The local domicile of the decision-making power [était] a question that [devait] be approached on time ”.

The World with AFP