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Guadeloupe: Union Activist killed by "delinquents", according to Fillon

Translated Thursday 26 February 2009, by Kristina Wischenkamper

Prime Minister François Fillon declared Thursday on RTL radio, the day after the death of a union activist by gunshot in Guadeloupe, that it was a "crime committed by delinquents" and accused certain parties of fuelling violence on the island.

"The security forces are not at all implicated" assured the head of government.

"The bullet found is one used for hunting wild boar. There were no security forces in the area. The enquiry will tell us things, but the security forces are not at all implicated in this situation" continued Mr Fillon.

Member of the "Collective against Exploitation" (LKP), Jacques Bino was killed by gunshot on Tuesday night in Guadeloupe as he was returning by car from a picketline.

"For several weeks now we have seen a social movement that has been seriously engaged, but legal, normal" observed Mr Fillon.

"But as soon as you block roads or step outside the legal framework you fuel the violence, you become responsible for the violence" he continued.

He singled out " those who block the roads, who prevent the movement of traffic, those who attack shopkeepers who want to open their shops.

When asked whether they were "responsible" the Prime Minister replied: "of course, and that is why for several days now I have been calling for a return to normal negotiations".

"Blocking roads, attacking shopkeepers, that’s not democracy" he added.

Mediators sent by the State to Guadeloupe, on strike against the high cost of living for a month now, will make proposals meeting the demands of the strikers, François Fillon announced on Thursday.

"Mediators have worked out a proposal that I will sign and submit to the employers and the labour unions", the Prime Minister said on RTL radio.

This proposal "is close to the financial demands made by the unions", that is to say an extra 200 euros for low-income workers, he added.

The Secretary-General at the Guadeloupe Prefecture, Hubert Vernet, last night gave the following version to Reuters press agency : the victim "found himself in front of a barricade and it seems that as he attempted to turn back he was beaten and shot at by youths manning the barricade".

Elie Domota, the leader of the strikers’ collective LKP that launched the general strike in Guadeloupe said it was sad that "each time" a death was necessary to help and solve the social problems in the island. After having called for a return to peace on the local radios, he observed that "Guadeloupe is starting to explode", calling for "urgent, immediate but also long-lasting solutions".

Apart from this fatality the Prefecture’s crisis unit compiled a report on the night’s clashes : 15 shops were looted, 7 buildings set alight, 21 vehicles burned, 13 people were arrested and some 60 or so firemen intervened.
The Minister of the Interior, Michèle Alliot-Marie, decided to hold a meeting on Wednesday at 16h00 in Paris on the theme of "public security in the Antilles".

Delegation of the French Communist Party (PCF)

The PCF has dispatched a delegation to the French West Indies, composed of Pierre Laurent, national coordinator of the Party, Jean-Louis Lemoing, member of the National Executive in charge of the Overseas Departments and Territories and Guy Fisher, Communist Senator. The Mission was in Martinique on Wednesday, and will visit Guadeloupe in the evening. "Nicolas Sarkozy and his government have a contemptuous and irresponsible attitude towards the Caribbean people. How many deaths will it take for Nicolas Sarkozy to regain his lucidity and finally give satisfaction to the claims of trade unions ? ", states the PCF in its press release. The delegation, which will remain until Friday evening, will meet with political trade union representatives from Martinique and Guadeloupe.

"One of the suburbs of France"

Malek Boutih (Socialist Party) said "there is almost something shocking to see squadrons of — let’s say it — white police confronting a black population", maintaining, also, that this overseas department is "one of the suburbs of France".

He pointed to a "very high risk of escalation" due to the "growing frustration of a social movement that has lasted almost a month now and the image of it given by the metropolis that is nevertheless an image of domination."

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