16 April 2018

Nuke veterans write to French Polynesia election candidates

A French Polynesian nuclear test veterans organisation has written an open letter to all election candidates urging them to stand up to France over the consequences of the tests.

Remnants of the testing infrastructure on Moruroa atoll Photo: AFP
The Association 193 has written to all candidates asking them to position themselves on four issues which center on getting France to assume full responsibility for the test legacy and the impact people's lives and the environment.

It called on all politicians to show the courage to challenge France as the health problems are widespread, with hundreds of new cancer cases being recorded each year.

The letter pointed to the last two presidents, Edouard Fritch and Gaston Flosse, who both said that they had told lied on behalf of France about the tests' risks.

It said it was not enough to concede to have lied.

This, it said, should be followed by an apology and concrete steps to make France honour its responsibilities.

France carried out 193 tests in Moruroa and Fangataufa between 1966 and 1996 - the last ones during the tenure of Flosse.



Minister Wiebes, according to his spokesperson, is not studying any changes to the fee structure laid down in the law regulating Electricity and Water on the BES-islands. 

By René Zwart © 

The Hague – Minister Eric Wiebes of Economic Affairs and Climate is not planning to make any adjustments to the law regulating electricity and water on the BES-islands, now that has become clear what negative effects the law will have on consumers in Bonaire.

The new fee structure for electricity, introduced on 1 April, 2018 will result in (much) higher bills for those who consume little electricity. The law that was actually meant to keep energy affordable, now appears to affect the poorest consumers the most. The culprit is the introduction of the fixed connection fee: even those who do not use any electricity, will now pay a fixed monthly amount just for having a connection to the electricity grid.

The new fees have led to much upheaval and criticism on the island. Thousands of citizens signed a petition, the Island Council announced an emergency visit to The Hague and the Executive Council protested by letter to the Dutch Government. The commotion also brought members of the House of Representatives of CDA and D66 into action, sending several written questions to Wiebes.

The protests however seem to have failed to impress Minister Wiebes so far. A question by news site Bonaire.Nu to Wiebes’ spokesman about whether an adaptation of the law is being studied, the answer was both clear and short: “That is not the case.” According to the spokesperson, extensive consultations were held on the islands, prior to the implementation of the new law.

Exco did not protest proposed fee structure

Official documents do show indeed that the Executive Council of Bonaire in 2014 did not raise any concerns about the negative effects that the new law would possibly have for the population. At the time, the Executive Council in Bonaire was mainly against the idea that citizens would be allowed to generate electricity themselves, because this would be at the expense of WEB’s turnover. Protests were also filed against the announcement that the subsidy of the state would be phased out.

Now that Minister Wiebes says he does not intend to do anything about the protests, it will depend on the Second Chamber to decide if the law will be “repaired.” This can be achieved by either increasing the subsidy by the Ministry of Economic affairs, or by reverting back to the old system where the bills to be paid are calculated exclusively based on consumption.