French Prime Minister, Jean Castex, has declared that mandatory vaccination as instituted by the government will remain in effect in Guadeloupe notwithstanding protests against that measure which have been taking place over several months in that French territory. At the same time, Castex has called on the unions in Guadeloupe to be calm and to act responsibly.
Castex made the announcement at a news conference which was held after a meeting on Monday November 22, in Paris, at the Prime Minister’s official residence, Le Matignon, with the elected Deputies of Guadeloupe to the French Parliament and other elected officials.
The Prime Minister said that the government would be announcing a ministerial delegation to meet with the fire and ambulance services to negotiate on the need to be vaccinated, as they are the ones who are in first contact with the sick and injured.
Prime Minister Castex also said that the government would be sending a reinforcement of police and gendarmes to deal with the breech of law and order in Guadeloupe, as the protests continue.
The Minister responsible for the Overseas Departments, Sébastien Lecornu, has promised to come to Guadeloupe at a date to be announced and will be organizing negotiations with local businesses, to promote economic recovery and employment.
While most of the parliamentarians and elected officials at the meeting were in support of the proposals made by the Prime Minister, the trade unions in Guadeloupe have categorically refused to back down on their demands. They are claiming that, while the French administration is inviting who it wants to its meetings, no one is yet to invite them at a round table discussion. Any decisions taken, they claim, should be taken with the involvement of the trade unions.
After Martinique joined in the protest against mandatory vaccination, Health Minister, Olivier Véran said, “We will be firm on our decisions, but we are open to dialogue.” He also said that the situation could trigger another rise in Covid cases, as mainland France is presently experiencing its fifth wave of Covid-19 infections, but this time with less people being hospitalized because of the fact that a majority of the population is vaccinated.
In Guadeloupe, the roadblocks continue in some strategic areas leading to the city of Pointe a Pitre, the international airport and Jarry, the main industrial area, while shops and petrol stations are beginning to run out of stock in areas that cannot access supplies.
One young man died Monday night, November 22, from a stabbing incident, which it is alleged, was not associated with the protests. There were less incidents of violence on Monday, but the law enforcement officers encountered gun fire in the capital city, Basse-Terre, Monday night.
The unions are threatening to intensify their action in the coming days if their demands are not met.
There are no official reports of any Dominican national involved in either protest action or vandalism and looting which occurred during the impasse in Guadeloupe during the weekend of November 20.