The French Embassy to the OECS member states and Barbados wishes to issue the following statement in response to the Medias allegations regarding a so-called “French snub” of St Lucia’s 37th independence anniversary celebrations:
– France was represented throughout all the Independence ceremonies by the Ambassador H.E. Mr. Eric de la MOUSSAYE and his wife, Defense attaché Lt Colonel Damien VAUTERIN of the French Armed Forces in the Caribbean, as well as several diplomats of this Embassy.
France cherishes its bonds of friendship with St Lucia and the boycott of such an important and special moment for the government and people of St Lucia would have been inconceivable.
– French President François HOLLANDE sent a message of congratulations to Governor General Dame Pearlette LOUISY, highlighting the friendship between the people of St Lucia and France, and thanking St Lucia for its commitment to resolving the issue of climate change.
– Ambassador de la MOUSSAYE wished to give special emphasis to the naming of Owen King EU hospital by mentioning it during his Friday 19th interview on HTS, by attending the official ceremony on Sunday 21st and also by requesting that a mention of the importance of this project, supported by the EU, and the contribution of France towards its opening, be included in the speech pronounced on Monday 22nd by the Dean of the diplomatic corps, H.E. Ambassador Leiff ESCALONA.
– The Ambassador also requested that another mention be made in the Dean’s speech of the action of France towards helping Minister FLETCHER make the voice of the Caribbean be heard at the Paris COP 21.
The contribution of Minister FLETCHER on behalf of all island nations was decisive in securing a historical agreement on climate change.
– The presence of French soldiers from Martinique at the Independence celebrations is not automatic.
The agenda and the current implementation of the military cooperation programmes between St Lucia and France did not allow, this year, for the presence of a French Navy vessel and the participation of a French regiment in the Independence parade.
It would be totally wrong to conclude that the EU or any other international organisation or country had put any pressure in this sense on the French government.
Any bilateral cooperation is solely in the realm of a State’s sovereignty, and in this case of the French government.