Saturday, April 1, 2017

Guyana: The State Announces One Billion Commitments

Interior ministers Matthias Fekl and Overseas France Ericka Bareigts announced on Saturday 1,085 billion euros of government commitments in Guyana to try to end nearly two weeks of a social movement.

These commitments concern security, justice, education or health, Matthias Fekl told the press.

"We know that the crisis is deep and affects an entire territory," he told a delegation of about fifty people, received at the regional prefecture in Cayenne. There is a "need for immediate answers, but also for long-term work", he continued.

The total of these commitments was estimated at 1.085 billion euros by Ericka Bareigts.

The executive had already validated a number of measures to meet popular demands, such as the creation of a Tribunal de Grande Instance and a penitentiary center in Saint-Laurent du Maroni, the second city in the territory, as well as the suspension Of the transfer of the medical center of Kourou.

The loyalty of a squadron of mobile gendarmes in Cayenne and an exceptional operating aid of 20 million euros for the hospital of Cayenne were also registered.

A "ministerial watch" had been set up in Paris to "reach arbitrations" in a short time, said Mr. Fekl on Thursday.

- Lifting of some dams -

In a very calm atmosphere, the Guyanese delegation appeared before the ministers at 10:00 (15:00 in Paris), in the prefecture, with a book of demands of over 400 pages, drafted by collectives supported by elected officials.
A few hundred people had previously massed in front of the building, including members of the collective "500 men against delinquency", the hood on the head, hand in hand, shouting "deter-half-born" enter. A few dozen Amerindians, dressed in traditional costumes and feathered headdresses, were also present.

According to Manuel Jean-Baptiste, a member of the delegation originally from Saint-Laurent, the dams erected in this city had been "lifted for the time of negotiations on Saturday, so that people could come to Cayenne" and listen to government proposals.

Dams remained in place in Cayenne, where, nevertheless, many more shops were opened in the center than in the previous days.

Air France and Air Caraïbes do not guarantee their flights between Paris-Orly and Cayenne on Saturday and Sunday, due to the conflict. But the Guyana-Antilles routes remain intact.

On Thursday, after discussions started in a frankly hostile atmosphere, Mrs. Bareigts, who was criticized for having delayed coming to Guyana, apologized to a delegation from Guyana.

Then, megaphone in hand, she had addressed the crowd from the balcony of the prefecture. "After so many years, it is up to me to say, beyond my little person, beyond my duties, my apologies to the Guyanese people," she References to the years of under-investment of Paris in this territory.

These words had instantly pacified the atmosphere. "We have found a certain dignity, a supplement of soul," analyzed Stéphane Lambert, president of the Medef of Guyana, who supports the movement.

Mickaël Mansé, a spokesman for the "500 brothers against delinquency", whose militants, always hooded, frame the social movement, praised "a lesson of humility and common sense". Ericka Bareigts "wounded the people", and then "had enough backing to apologize," he said.

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