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“Yellow Vests” protests in France touch Indian Ocean Vanilla Island of Reunion

Written by Alain St.Ange

Mr. Didier Robert, President of Reunion, last week addressed islanders through a statement diffused through every means available in a bid to see a return to normality.

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Mr. Didier Robert, President of Reunion, last week addressed islanders through a statement diffused through every means available in a bid to see a return to normality.

President Robert of the Regional Council of Reunion said:

Work collectively to return gradually to a normal life, for families, employees, companies…

On the 11th day of the events launched by the Yellow Vests, La Réunion’s economy is suffering from the blow of a paralysis of unprecedented level, with very heavy impacts, that each one has measured in his own way, and for which we must collectively bring solutions.

A quick return to “normality” must be found. It is imperative for dialogue and negotiation. The first meetings were initiated with the Prefect at the request of the Yellow Vests who have, from the outset, expressed the wish not to associate politics, trade union or religious representatives and to organize the next negotiations with the French Minister for Overseas Territories .

For my part, for 11 days I worked with the regional advisers, in connection with the actors in the field of vocational training, the associative world, economic actors in the same spirit of construction and in search of solutions. The Réunion Region will fully assume its responsibilities, as we have always done, in all circumstances and on all matters that fall within its direct competence and that, shared with the State and other local authorities.

Personally, as a politician, I have always acted with the concern of the general interest and in compliance with the law: support investment and support companies in the service of activity and employment ; and support also a policy for more equal opportunities.

But my actions will not have helped to respond to the distress of all Reunion. I recognize this in all humility. But today everyone will also have to know how to act at their level of responsibility.

For the time being, all of us must be ready to dialogue and plan reconstruction.

For our island, the answers must be strong on both the immediate issues of employment and purchasing power. The answers must inevitably result in new methods, a new model to ask and to build. A model that takes into account this popular Reunionais expression. A model that takes into account the mistakes of the past. A model that feeds on the strengths of our territory, the qualities and aspirations of all the women and men who make our Reunion Island.

The first acts and the first resolutions:


I welcome the first initiative of Annick GIRARDIN, Minister for Overseas Territories, on behalf of the State, on the announcement and the immediate implementation of the reduction in the price of fuel, effective since this morning by Order of the Prefet.

With regard to the region’s share of responsibility, I announced last week the freeze on the fuel tax increase for the next three years; a tax that I voted with a majority of those elected in Plenary Assembly because I also believe in the need to respond to the urgency of the energy transition.

I specify that for the implementation of the new freeze measures, we will of course take into account, the return to the tariff of 2017 to erase any increase in fuel tax for all Reunion.

I would also remind you that for the Region, this tax was earmarked for financing the maintenance and modernization of the road network throughout the island.

I would like to remind you that the revenue from this fuel tax is distributed among all the local authorities: Region 117 million, Communes 55.7 million, Department 42.9 million, EPCI 5.4 million. (digits 201).


I want to address today all those who are worried about the post-crisis, who are worried about the means of the reconstruction of Reunion and of our economy.

I have spent the last few days exchanging ideas, listening, meeting and sharing with artisans, small traders, members of the liberal professions, taxis, ambulances, physiotherapists, nurses, farmers, cultural actors, with representatives the main professional organizations, with mothers and fathers, agents and employees of the public and private sectors … We exchanged on this historic crisis for our island, on the consequences of the paralysis of our economy for 10 days and on the means that can be devoted to reconstruction. The repercussion is already heavy, and the figures will be communicated very quickly to the Minister for Overseas Territories. In particular, there are proposals initiated by small businesses to save their work tools and jobs which will have to be quickly examined.

I want to reassure the economic actors, the small and the very small entrepreneurs, the living forces of our territory, the associative leaders … I want to tell them of our total mobilization is by their side. We will have to face together, with the State of course, with all the local authorities, with all those who will be willing to mobilize, to this necessary effort which must be exceptional and immediate.


Finally, this appointment scheduled with the Minister for Overseas Territories from Wednesday must be an opportunity to put again on the table the emergency topics, but also the expression of all demands that we will all have heard these last days, on all subjects:

– sustainable employment; supported jobs

– Small pensions

– The revaluation of low wages

– Monopolies and price formation, taxation of businesses and individuals

– Exemption of expenses to companies and the cancellation of social and fiscal debts

The measures that will be proposed must meet the expectations and challenges for our island. In the end, it is the Reunionais who will have to choose their destiny.

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About the author

Alain St.Ange

Alain St Ange has been working in the tourism business since 2009. He was appointed as the Director of Marketing for Seychelles by President and Minister of Tourism James Michel.

He was appointed as the Director of Marketing for Seychelles by President and Minister of Tourism James Michel. After one year of

After one year of service, he was promoted to the position of CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board.

In 2012 the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands regional Organization was formed and St Ange was appointed as the first president of the organization.

In a 2012 cabinet re-shuffle, St Ange was appointed as Minister of Tourism and Culture which he resigned on 28 December 2016 in order to pursue a candidacy as Secretary General of the World Tourism Organisation.

At the UNWTO General Assembly in Chengdu in China, a person who was being sought after for the “Speakers Circuit” for tourism and sustainable development was Alain St.Ange.

St.Ange is the former Seychelles Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine who left office in December last year to run for the position of Secretary General of the UNWTO. When his candidature or document of endorsement was withdrawn by his country just a day before the elections in Madrid, Alain St.Ange showed his greatness as a speaker when he addressed the UNWTO gathering with grace, passion, and style.

His moving speech was recorded as the one on the best marking speeches at this UN international body.

African countries often remember his Uganda address for the East Africa Tourism Platform when he was a guest of honor.

As former Tourism Minister, St.Ange was a regular and popular speaker and was often seen addressing forums and conferences on behalf of his country. His ability to speak ‘off the cuff’ was always seen as a rare ability. He often said he speaks from the heart.

In Seychelles he is remembered for a marking address at the official opening of the island’s Carnaval International de Victoria when he reiterated the words of John Lennon famous song… ” you may say I am a dreamer, but I am not the only one. One day you will all join us and the world will be better as one”. The world press contingent gathered in Seychelles on the day ran with the words by St.Ange which made headlines everywhere.

St.Ange delivered the keynote address for the “Tourism & Business Conference in Canada”

Seychelles is a good example for sustainable tourism. This is therefore not surprising to see Alain St.Ange being sought after as a speaker on the international circuit.

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