3 Dec 2008

French Polynesia's Flosse says Paris hides withdrawal from overseas territories

5:16 pm on 3 December 2008

French Polynesia's Gaston Flosse has told the French senate that Paris is hiding the fact that it is disengaging from its commitment to its overseas territories.

In the French budget debate, Mr Flosse dismissed claims that the 2009 allocation will see a nine percent increase in disbursements overseas as this coincides with reforms that counter the transfers.

Although being part of the ruling bloc, Mr Flosse has announced that he will vote against the budget.

He says if France no longer wants to have French Polynesia it should say so and he wonders whether the time for the territory to assume responsibility for its own future.

Mr Flosse says Tahiti is no longer of interest to France's national defence but earlier the defence ministry didn't have to be asked to carry out its nuclear weapons tests in French Polynesia.

He says how can the territory accept that its prison remains the most overcrowded under French control.

And he says police posts are being closed in outer islands while the population grows and cannabis plantations now extend into practically every valley.