French Polynesia nuclear compo pledge met with cynicism
A former French PM seeking the presidency's promise to revisit French Polynesia nuclear compensation has been met with cynicism.
The chair of a nuclear veterans association in French Polynesia says the admission by France's former Prime Minister that nuclear testing had a detrimental effect is a welcome step.
However, Roland Oldham says he will wait to see if anything comes from it, as he's used to politicians not following through.
Last week, Alain Juppé, who was prime minister from 1995 to 1997 when nuclear testing was controversially resumed, conceded that the tests harmed the environment and peoples' health.
It took Paris until 2009 to admit that nuclear testing wasn't clean, which Mr Juppé says was wrong.
Mr Juppé, who is seeking the French presidency next year, promised to revisit compensation laws for those affected.
But Roland Oldham, who is the chair of Mururoa e Tatou, told Jamie Tahana that promise has been made before.
ROLAND OLDHAM: His visit is propaganda as a candidate for the next election of the president of the French Republic. Wanted to meet us to meet the entire nuclear organisation of the victims and for we have a meeting with him.
JAMIE TAHANA: I guess it is significant because he was the prime minister under Jacques Chirac when France resumed nuclear testing in the 1990s. What did he have to say about that? He had made quite a big admission to that it did have harmful effects.
RO: Yes I mean it is a little bit kind of a suicide operation as someone who had played an important role in the nuclear testing he recognised the mistake that they had made that is what he said. And he insist on the fact that we all know that he said that himself that the French nuclear test has not been clean as they were saying for many many years. But as far as we are concerned that is one thing that is great but that is not the most important thing to us. For us the most important thing is what are they going to do. What sort of action are they going to do. To solve the problem of compensation and we also said very clearly that it is important for us that they ask the Polynesian people the Maori people for forgiveness. Because as far as we are concerned the nuclear test in our country had been something that had been forced onto us and to us it is a terrorist act.
JT: Did he suggest that he would do that if elected? He did pledge to look at compensation?
RO: Well as far as compensation he made promise that there is going to be some compensation. Because once again as I say we don't stop on promises as we wait for real action. So that is where we stand.
JT: Francois Hollande the current President when he visited in February I think it was he pledged to revisit the compensation too and so far nothing has really happened. Now we have got Alain Juppe saying the same there probably will be other candidates who will come by. How much do you put in these promises they are making because they have been made before haven't they?
RO: Well the promises they made before, we have that experience Hollande is not the first one there have been some before. Sarkosy also had promised that he recognised the damage that had been done to this country but have done nothing. Hollande came around and for someone who had made promises to us and had not been able to keep his promise. I think that is very sad. We do not believe in promise we will only believe in act.
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