National Day speech given by the French Ambassador.
On the 14th of July 2015, The French Ambassador, Mrs. de LA MOUSSAYE, St Lucia’s Prime minister, the Deputy Governor General, minister officials, the Embassy’s staff and invited guest celebrated the French National Day at the French Residence. About 200 guest attended the event. In his speech, the ambassador highlighted the great expectations from the upcoming conference known as "COP21" about Climate Change. He also praised the excellent relationship and cooperation between St Lucia and France.
SPEECH OF 14th JULY 2015 - CASTRIES
Honorable Prime Minister,
Mr. Director General of the OECS,
Honorable Ministers and Members of Parliament,
Madam Leader of the Opposition,
Ladies and gentlemen Permanent Secretaries and Saint Lucian officials
Dear colleagues of the Diplomatic Corps,
Dear representatives of the regions Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana,
Dear Derek Walcott, dear artists and personalities from the Saint Lucian artistic and literary world who as friends do us the honor of being here tonight
Dear entrepreneurs and personalities of the economic environment
Dear Colleagues of the Embassy and of the Alliance Française
Ladies and gentlemen,
First, I would like to thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, for having been able to release some of your time that I know is precious to be with us tonight.
Beyond the conventional character that prevails in such circumstances, I always like to take this opportunity to highlight the specificities of the moment, but also to give an overview of the past year.
1/ European Union
Last year, you were there at my side, but also in the company of my colleague Barford, Delegate of the European Union, just after the baptism of the new hospital in Castries.
We then both praised the European Union.
Today, the European Union is still at the forefront of the news as it tries to preserve its currency unit, which, as everyone knows, has consequences on its precious political "unity", if only to preserve peace and humanitarian ideals, strict respect for human rights without any concession, and the democracy that it underlies.
As the only representative of a founding Member State of the European Union throughout the sub-region, I want to say today how important it was that France be involved and put all its weight, in conjunction with its privileged partner which is Germany, so that a solution to the Greek crisis could finally be found yesterday morning.
The attitude that inspires France in all circumstances is indeed inspired by European ideals, which, basically, are themselves inspired by our motto Liberty, equality, fraternity which was the motto of the revolutionaries of 1789 that we commemorate tonight.
This is what drives the French policy consistently: intervention under all latitudes and on all fronts, despite the sometimes hefty price to pay for our security, such as the horrific attacks of the beginning of the year in Paris, as long as freedom and human rights are threatened. We are even willing to give up some privileges such as the use of the right of veto in the United Nations Security Council, when it comes to the international community taking decisions relating to crimes against humanity.
2/ Climat change
Now I would like to talk about climate change and the Conference in Paris in December this year, which should lead to results. Caring about the climate is not new, it occupies number of congresses, symposia, conferences around the world, but, it must be recognized that even if progress, due in particular to an awareness of the problem, have been identified, nothing has been done in practice to take the necessary steps for the survival of our planet, because it is exactly what it is about.
These measures are first governmental: polluting States must agree to radically change their habits by limiting their energy consumption, and especially by intensifying the use of the so called “clean” energy. The major goal of the Paris Conference is accompanied by a new strategy: each country will contribute to the reduction in emissions of polluting gases, according to its possibilities. In other words, the agreement sought in Paris will be universal, but adapted to the resources of each State.
But the fight against climate change is not just a matter for politicians, but also for all of us, through our eco-responsible behavior: let’s pollute less, let’s consume differently closer to nature. This is the tone that we wanted to give the reception tonight by using a maximum of local products, by encouraging eco responsible initiatives.
I invite you, during this evening, to take the time to admire these beautiful posters and their very educational texts which explain well the situation in which the world is today and the major risks that it takes for future generations if nothing is being done.
Mr. Prime Minister, I know the value that your Government places in the success of the Paris conference, as you outlined during the Summit on the climate in which you participated on May 9, at the invitation of our President Francois Hollande. With the help of your Minister James Fletcher, I know about everything that you have prepared for the conference, not only for your country but also for all those in the Caribbean, since your Minister advises OECS on the subject, as well as CARICOM.
Finally, I wish to acknowledge the commitment of Dr Didacus Jules, Director General of the OECS Commission, who agreed to set up a joint working group with our embassy and who will make its findings known tomorrow during a symposium which will be held at the “alliance Française”. We hope that the findings of this work will be considered by the negotiating team in charge of preparing for the conference, as they will reflect the position and proposals of all Member States of the OECS. Small island states are indeed most sensitive to the consequences of climate change as they are among the least polluters: their opinion should definitely be considered and their interests defended. This embassy is working in this direction.
The ambition of French Government is huge : as far as I remember in my long career of diplomat, I have never seen such important mobilization for a so long period of time for any kind of topic.
3/ Relations between Saint Lucia and France
What assessment could we draw up of the past year pertaining to relations between Saint Lucia and France?
It is first the benefits that Saint Lucia already gained from the accession last February of Martinique in the OECS as an associate member, in many fields such as economy, tourism, education, Trade. No doubt, the proximity of the neighboring sister island (as you readily say Mr. Prime Minister) should start to bear fruit in the near future.
Because we have considered that the OECS countries-including Saint Lucia-non beneficiaries of the Schengen visa waiver, were now fulfilling the conditions to be exempted. For that reason, we lead negotiations with Brussels which resulted in the happy ending that we know at the end of May.
It is then:
The outcome of the negotiation announced here last year in legal matters: 2 texts of great importance for the progress of the security of our two countries, and even in the entire region, are ready to be signed;
Many police training to fight against drug trafficking provided by our training center - the CIFAD - based in Martinique;
Exchanges of troops between the French and the Saint Lucian soldiers giving each time a particular significance to our ceremonies, during celebrations of independence in February or on the occasion of Remembrance Day in November, for example;
The consolidation of the development project of the port of Castries, so important for your tourism, concerning the financing by the French Development Agency: studies to draft the project could begin before the end of the year;
The continuation of educational cooperation in the framework of an agreement whose renewal was signed by the Rector of the Academy of Martinique with the Minister Lewis;
The completion of the negotiation of health agreements in March. These texts which were long awaited on both sides, in order to improve the health coverage of Saint Lucian patients, must be coupled with a strong support for the opening, which we hope will be in the near future, of the new hospital baptized last year.
Finally, beyond the inauguration last April of the statue of the French admiral who bears the name of your capital, how can we forget the cultural and heritage project which is ours in the botanical garden, in partnership with the Directorate of Cultural Affairs of Martinique.
Different topics we could look about, in the fields of agriculture and energy, with a link with climate change, far example
But above all, Mr. Prime Minister, I would like to express how satisfied I am that you got to meet our President of the Republic François Hollande, on May 9. I strongly desired and obtained this bilateral meeting, the first for a long time at this level (If my memory serves me right, the last one was between Mr. Laurent Fabius, then Prime Minister and Sir John Compton in 1988). It was with the Prime Minister of Dominica, the only meeting of the whole Summit which had been kept. It seemed necessary and successful, in the image of the strong and privileged historic ties between our two countries.
I hope with all my heart, Mr. Prime Minister that all this beautiful construction and the new boost given by mutual agreement to our relationship lately can continue and even increase. Our two countries have to do their best to keep that goal.
4/ Our fellow citizens
One word before concluding for my fellow citizens. I wish to thank you for coming numerously this year again. As I told you last year, I would like to meet you more to talk with you about your activities here in Saint Lucia, as your knowledge of the economic environment is precious. Do not hesitate to come to me on this subject, I will always make myself available for you. I would also like to organize receptions emphasizing economic issues, as I did last December here. I will contact those of you who are interested in them.
5/ Thanks to the sponsors
I wish to extend my sincere thanks to all companies which, through their expertise, have enabled its realization. Thank you for your gracious contributions and for the work you have accomplished. You know that without your help we would not have reached such a result. I will quickly mention each of these companies which logo you saw at the entrance of the residence:
FIRST CARIBBEAN BANK
JACQUES WATERFRONT DINING
BAYWALK SHOPPING MALL
RHUM TROIS RIVIERES
JADE MOUNTAIN RESORT
ESMERALD ESTATE CHOCOLATE
TRANSPORT EXPRESS CARAIBES – CAPO ROSSO
6/ Thanks to the staff of the Embassy
Finally, I would like to warmly thank those who, under the guidance of my wife, contributed to the preparation of these festivities:
The colleagues from the embassy, each at his or her level
The staff of the residence and the extras.