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Gaston Flosse President of French Polynesia

December 28, 2001

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

You maybe have the feeling that time goes by too fast, because I do. Doubtless, it is due to my ever-increasing involvement, but yet so fascinating, in the life of our Country, as I wish to achieve so many things.

Many issues, often legitimate, have been raised, at all the places I went to; impatient to quickly find a solution to our problems. Just like you, I have to run after the time.

The year 2001 has come to an end. It will have been a year of Solidarity and Sharing, thanks to the booming development, that has taken place in the last three years.

It has indeed been a year of Solidarity and Sharing, as fruits of prosperity have been better allocated. Several thousand jobs have been created, several hundreds social housings have been handed over. Wages of the most deprived, the SMIG, have been increased; the RST has been strengthened; so many measures, with a positive outcome, definitely make of this year 2001, that of Solidarity and Sharing.

Solidarity and Sharing are also conveyed through this new and modern hospital that we are building. Once finished, a greater number of patients will be looked after in better conditions. I know what I am talking about. Along with Health Minister Mrs. Armelle Merceron, I have visited the Mamao Hospital, for three days. I met all the staff. Patients that are staying at this hospital and the working staff will understand me. It is, indeed, urgent, that this new hospital opens.

The year 2001 was also hit by the terrible New York events, last September 11th, which strongly affected our Tourism industry. The pearl industry, already in trouble, also declined. Unfortunately, today, we have to say that these two essential sectors of our economy are not going very well.

Nonetheless, the world crisis, however serious it is, should only be temporary. My Government has taken the appropriate measures to avoid the economic recession which strikes the rest of the world.

The 2002 Budget is voluntarist and will allow us to inject public money in our economy in order to compensate for the weakened sectors of the industry. Please know that the Budget of Investment of the year 2002 has reached an all-time amount of 50 billion Fcfp. However, it doesn’t mean that the year 2002 will be easy.

I am confident in the situation. The measures taken by my Government are appropriate. I trust in the strength and the clear-sightedness of our economic decision-makers. I am confident in the lucidity of our social partners, who know when it is necessary to see beyond selfishness, controversy, in order to make wise decisions.

Finally, I believe in You and in the virtues of Solidarity, which characterize the Polynesian society.

The Year 2002 will be that of Responsibility.

It is one of the strong symbols that we wish to perpetuate through the agreement of the new fiscal measures. They will provide for the special Funds in order to realize heavy works, improve the road network, the prevention and the Environment.

We must be responsible of our actions, responsible for ourselves and for our Country.

Believe you me, these measures were not easy to implement, particularly with the elections coming up.

However, I believe that each and every one of you are well aware that these measures are right and necessary.

President (John F.) Kennedy (of the United States of American) once said something I am very fond of, which I invite you to ponder over: "Do not ask yourself what the Country can do for you, but rather what you can do for your Country."

2002 will be another electoral year. As for the 2001 Territorial elections, I am sure that you will make the right choice, that you will mobilize to show your affection to France, in order to show your trust to the President of the Republic, once again.

You do know that we owe Jacques Chirac the creation of the Restructuring Fund, which followed the Nuclear Testing of the CEP, indispensable to our economic development. Hopefully, this Fund should be reconducted for another 10 years, so long as Jacques Chirac is re-elected President of the Republic.

If you are like me, attached to France, there are no other choices.

You will also have to make a choice, as we will elect our members of Parliament. They will represent French Polynesia at the National Parliament, in France.

In many respects, 2002 will thus be a dense and decisive year.

We shall cross it together, united and confident, as we always knew how to do it.

I know that, like me, you love our Country, deeply. Do show it. Prove your Country your affection by liking its symbols that are our flag and our anthem.

Prove it even more in being more respectful of the environment, and of nature. Show it, by giving evidence of a greater public-spiritedness, a greater respect to others, but also to the developments serving the community.

I also have a thought for the outer islands. I will put a sense of honor to come and visit, this year, the populations of the most remote islands. I will be in Rapa and in the Austral Islands in a couple of days. However, I am disappointed that the representativeness of our archipelagos was reduced this year by a bill that we wildly disputed.

How about elderly people, those who are sick or who are alone, sometimes in pain? We should have compassion between one another. We should give more of ourselves and of our time. Sometimes, a word, a gesture of friendship is enough and can do so much good.

Finally, I wish you, as well as those who are dear to you, a happy New Year for 2002. I wish each and every one of you a good health and happiness, success in your undertakings, and prosperity.

May God bless You and bless our Country as well.

Ia ora na i te Matahiti Api.

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