FRENCH POLYNESIA NEWS

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Thursday, September 9, 1999
PINA Nius Online

FRENCH POLYNESIAN GOVERNMENT COMPLETES FUTURE STATUS PLAN DRAFT

PAPE‘ETE, French Polynesia (September 9, 1999 - PINA Nius Online)---French Polynesia's government has completed a first draft of guidelines pertaining to changing French Polynesia from an "overseas territory" into an "overseas country" with greater political autonomy, RFO-radio reports.

The local government, headed by President Gaston Flosse, met most of last week and over the weekend to complete the first draft of the proposed change of status plan.

The change, which requires an amendment to the French constitution, was approved in Paris by the French National Assembly (upper house) last June, and is expected to be approved by the Senate in October.

In this proposed "organic law," the French Polynesian government decided to replace the word "territory" with "country."

Members of the local parliament, until now know as "territorial councilors," will become "deputies," and the French Polynesian Assembly will pass "country laws."

French would still be retained as the official language, but Tahitian (already widely used here) would be promoted to the rank of "country tongue."

French Polynesians born here or having resided for at least ten years in French Polynesia would acquire French Polynesian citizenship.

Land lease or property transfers to non-citizens would be closely monitored and would be subject to government approval.

The French state would financially compensate French Polynesia for the costs associated with the change of status, the local government also resolved in its draft.

Under the proposed change of status, the authorities of the French metropolitan state and French Polynesia (the latter taking care of such matters as labor, citizenship, foreign affairs, communication) would be shared.

The draft will be further discussed when Overseas Territories Assistant Minister Jean-Jack Queyranne visits here on September 17.

CABINET TO CONNECT EIGHT REMOTE VILLAGES TO RUNNING TAP WATER

PAPE‘ETE, French Polynesia (September 9, 1999 - PINA Nius Online)---The French Polynesian Council of Ministers on Thursday moved to connect some eight remote villages to drinkable tap water by the end of the year, a release from the government's press department said here on Thursday.

The announcement is part of a 14-village package, among which eight, located in remote parts of the archipelago, are to be connected "by the end of this year."

The move was made through joint commitments from the villages themselves (known as "communes"), the French Polynesian government and the French metropolitan state.

Meanwhile, the cabinet also approved a draft bill aimed at regulating minimum levels of quality for drinking water "for human consumption."

The bill also stipulates that "drinking water access to the population is a public utility," and that distribution network managers are compelled to ensure that water meets required standards.

Under the draft bill, a study and ranking of the quality of water distributed throughout French Polynesia is to be made each year and the general public is to be informed of the results.

This bulletin was produced by the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA). Editor: Patrick Antoine Decloitre For more information, contact Nina Ratulele, PINA Administrator, at pina@is.com.fj

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