Anger as Flosse sacks Mururoa expert | Pacific Beat

Anger as Flosse sacks Mururoa expert

Anger as Flosse sacks Mururoa expert

Updated 7 June 2013, 11:20 AEST

The nuclear test veterans association in French Polynesia says new President Gaston Flosse has sacked the head of the organisation concerned with the aftermath of the French nuclear weapons tests.

Moruroa e tatou says Bruno Barrillot has been pursued by a vengeful campaign of hatred that does no justice to the Flosse government.

Mr Barrillot is considered the most knowledgeable person about the French tests, and the opposition says the sacking may signal the end of efforts to help test victims who it claims are dying one after another.

Roland Oldham, President of the Nuclear Test Victims Association, says the decision is a sad day for democracy.

Presenter: Geraldine Coutts

Speaker: Roland Oldham, President, Nuclear Test Victims Association, Moruroa e tatou, French Polynesia

OLDHAM: The reason we haven't had a real reason for the sacking of Bruno Barrillot, but we're sure this is political because Bruno Barrillot met the Minister of Environment a few days ago and she was supposed to carry on, and then suddenly on Monday there was a decision the Minister of Environment have changed and decided that she will meet Bruno Barrillot today at half past four to end his working contract with the government. As far as we are concerned this is a political action to try to stop the work that Bruno Barrillot has done for so many years, meaning the work of giving information to the people and helping the victims of the nuclear tests to do their file and a whole lot of things and to us it's very sad because we don't have any experts anymore. And this decision the government of Gaston Flosse has taken I think is a real shame for our people, for democracy. I think that the French government supporting this kind of decision is not very surprising because the French government has always claimed for many, many years that the nuclear test is clean, and Gaston Flosse as well has claimed that the nuclear test is clean. And I suppose that Gaston Flosse wants to get really good contact with this new government to continue to use the money that the French government can allow for the projects of this new government here in Tahiti.
 
COUTTS: What will the impact be Mr Oldham? Does that mean that your organisation will become less effective and that the people will no longer get compensation from the nuclear tests?
 
OLDHAM: Yeah our organisation will be very affected, our organisation hasn't had enough money to take Bruno Barrillot as an expert. It is clear that it is an action for the government not to have Bruno Barrillot again here. So they will carry on with the policy of a clean nuclear test. For us it's also a big problem as far as the file of our victims in front of the tribunal. And we're told we have a lawyer in France but Bruno Barrillot is really the guy who is working in detail to put this file together and to be able to present it to the committee of compensation or to the tribunal. So this is real damage that has been done to the victims and also to this whole population of all the people of French Polynesia, because the information will not come out anymore. And Bruno Barrillot is ithe one who has pushed the French government to clean-up the atolls. He's the one who helped the local government, the Oscar Temaru government to do inquiries about the situation of the damage that was done by the French tests in the Pacific, especially in French Polynesia on the aspect of health and environment. So by the departure of Bruno Barrillot what the French government and the local government is trying to do is cut all this effort out and then carry on with as I say this philosophy of French nuclear tests being very, very clean. 
 
COUTTS: Well if this afternoon as you say Bruno Barrillot is sacked by President Gaston Flosse, what happens to the Nuclear Tests Veterans Association? Will it close and therefore compensation and all the needs of the victims of the testing will just go unheard now?
 
OLDHAM: First this afternoon we have told the people that are supporting Bruno Barrillot to come together at half past four, because at half past four we are meeting at the Minister of Environment, that's the first point. Second point, we also have many, many letters of support from France and from Holland and from all over the world writing to the French government to defer to the Flosse government and telling the Flosse government how disgusted they are about this decision. And I take this opportunity to call also on organisations in Australia that we have been working with to support Bruno Barrillot and send a letter to the local government, the government of Gaston Flosse. But as far as we're concerned we'll see this afternoon how things go. We ask our people to come up, to stand up and hopefully the action of Moruroa e tatou is not to stop, but I must admit that without Bruno Barrillot there's a lot of things missing because Bruno Barrillot is the real wheel behind all this. And so our action is not to stop but we have a lot of problems as far as losing an expert like Bruno Barrillot. And I hope that the people of this country will stand up because otherwise the shame of the people here because Bruno Barrillot is European French fully stood  up against the French nuclear tests helping our own people helping the victims. And the work of Bruno Barrillot has the recognition all over the world. In 2010 he was invited in New York to receive a prize by an international organisation on the work that he had done.
 

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