This EU President’s On A Caribbean Visit

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President François Hollande spoke at the inauguration of a memorial for slavery in Guadeloupe on Sunday. Reuters

News Americas, MARIGOT, St. Martin, Mon. May 11, 2015: French President, Francois Hollande is at the tail end of his Caribbean visit after promising residents in the Collectivité of St. Martin to help pay off their debt.

“I’m not here to write off your debt,” the Daily Herald quoted Hollande as saying Friday night in St. Martin, in reference to said the 30-million-euro debt owed to Caisse Allocation Familiale (CAF). “But we can make an easier extended-payment plan to pay this off.”

Hollande arrived in the French territory of St. Martin Friday afternoon and later departed for France’s other Caribbean territory, St. Barths. He then returned to St. Martin at 7 p.m. for a visit and speech.

It kicked off his five-day trip to the Caribbean.

On Saturday, Hollande travelled to another Caribbean territory, Martinique where he chaired the Caribbean Climate Summit. Hollande headlined the Summit, which drew about 40 leaders or top officials from regional nations including the Bahamas, Trinidad and Cuba.

The meeting came ahead of a global climate conference in Paris and Hollande said the Paris session would highlight the importance of the U.N. climate fund, which is struggling to find donors.

“Thanks to this fund, we will be able to find solutions to the problem of global warming,” the AP quoted him as saying.

On Sunday he was in Guadeloupe, yet another French Caribbean island, to open a center dedicated to the memory of the slave trade.

Called the Memorial ACTe, the site is described as “a Caribbean centre on the expression and memory of slavery and the slave trade” and is housed in a former sugar factory in the Guadeloupian city of Pointe-à-Pitre.

The museum holds hundreds of objects dating back several centuries that bear witness to France’s turbulent history — that included slavery from the 17th to 19th centuries — when black people were sold to work on the islands’ sprawling sugar plantations.

“We have to remember what happened, remember history of course, but also we must find hope, and we must fight on,” France 24 quoted Hollande as saying.

Last night, President Hollande arrived for an official visit to Cuba. He will spend all day there today before travelling to Haiti, a former French colony, for a visit there on May 12th.