French Minister Heads to the Caribbean for Crisis Talks

A French minister flew to the protest-hit islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Caribbean on Sunday as the government looks to defuse tensions after more than a week of unrest stemming from its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I don’t think we will return to Paris necessarily having resolved the whole crisis, but if we take things bit by bit and methodically, it will calm things and open a constructive dialogue with all the actors,” an official close to Minister Sebastian Lecornu said.

Sebastien Lecornu, responsible for overseas French territories, said the government was ready to discuss giving the islands a degree of self-government in a bid to end more than ten days of protests and rioting sparked by Covid-19 restrictions.

The French government has proposed pushing back the deadline of vaccinations until December 31, in an attempt to defuse the anger over compulsory vaccinations.

A compulsory vaccination plan for health workers sparked protests and included longstanding grievances over living standards and the relationship with Paris. 

On Saturday, local officials and the state have agreed to begin talks on key issues related to health, energy prices, youth, and transportation.

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