26 Aug 2013

French Polynesia's Temaru defies convention to go to Forum

5:19 pm on 26 August 2013

French Polynesia's pro-independence opposition politician, Oscar Temaru, is defying convention by going to the Pacific Islands Forum meeting despite not being in government.

This comes as the head of the French Polynesian government, Gaston Flosse, has confirmed his attendance at next week's gathering in the Marshall Islands.

Walter Zweifel asked Mr Temaru why he decided to travel to Majuro.

OSCAR TEMARU: Well, I'd like to tell to the people, to the media, to the leaders of the Pacific, what kind of government we have in this country, you know?

WALTER ZWEIFEL: How are you going to meet the leaders? You're not invited to the formal sessions, given that Gaston Flosse...

OT: Yeah, that's not a problem. Through the media it is possible.

WZ: And what is the message that you want to convey?

OT: Well, they have to know that the president of this country is the most corrupt elected person in the French parliament. And in the current government, three of them have been in jail. I know in the forum meetings, all the time we talk about those problems of corruption, embezzlement and bribery and all that. So the people of the Pacific and the leaders of the Pacific should know who is the president of the current government and the members of this government.

WZ:At the same time, you have to assume that the leaders are aware of Mr Flosse's record, given that it has been public for such a long time. Isn't it entering open doors?

OT: Well, we'll say that, you know? I had to tell the media the reality of this country and all the other problems, the economic problems like tourism. We need to have more visitors in this country. We have different kinds of problems, for example, the visas, you know? 120 different countries of the world need visas to come to this country and that's French competence, to talk about what kind of statute, law, we have in this country and to explain once again to everyone that this country is still a colonial power, you know? I tell you again, all those leaders should be informed who is that guy. He will be declared ineligible following the French rule. He won't be the president of this country in two months' time.

WZ: Given that the French judiciary seems to work at varying speed and given that some of the things that he's been convicted for happened a long time ago, how confident can you be that there will be a ruling, given that there's been such a huge delay?

OT: The French judiciary system sometimes works on normal speed and sometimes a very bizarre speed.