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Old 15-02-2009, 13:01   #16
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Here's and excerpt from the latest Travel Alert from the U.S. State Department. You can sign up for these for specific countries at the State Department website...

Quote:
This Travel Alert is to alert U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Guadeloupe and Martinique, French West Indies (FWI), that ongoing labor strikes in the region may affect social, economic and tourist services. It is possible that these strikes will spread to other French overseas departments. This Travel Alert expires on May 13, 2009.
Due to ongoing labor strikes, riot police from mainland France are now stationed in Martinique and Guadeloupe. Most commercial activities have ceased, and there are mounting shortages of food, water, and power on both islands.
In Martinique, strikes and large-scale street protests continue. Gas stations, stores, the port, and banks remain closed. There are continuing interruptions in power and rapidly dwindling water and food supplies.
In Guadeloupe there are reports of increasing tensions, with armed gangs blockading routes and targeting residents and tourists. There have been no reports of U.S. citizens being specifically targeted. The government is reportedly mobilizing the police and armed forces to address the possibility of severe civil unrest...
Link: French West Indies Travel Alert
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Old 15-02-2009, 16:27   #17
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We're leaving St. Lucia for Martinique tomorrow. I'll let you know if anything has changed.
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Old 16-02-2009, 06:28   #18
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Thanks, Harriet. Stay safe!
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Old 16-02-2009, 06:44   #19
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I read all these news reports and I think the worst but then I e-mail a co-worker down there and he tells me he and his family are fine. It's getting hard to find gas and the food stores are starting to close but they are used to being pre-stocked for storms anyways. He hasn't seen any civil violence or gangs running about. He is still going to work at the airport too.

Hmmm, different parts of the island or different views on what "bad" is?
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Old 16-02-2009, 11:53   #20
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We left Point-a-Pitre last Friday. Some stores were still open including some food stores. Locals were talking of the fears of this spilling over into racial violence. We were in one food store when it was closed down by 'security'.

We're now in Dominica. Just 2 hours ago a neighbour came over to tell us a friend of his in Martinique had emailed him to say there had been muggings and dinghy slashings in Fort a France. The situation in the ports to the north was much better. This is third hand I know. We're due there in about 3 weeks. We hope things have settled down by then and in the meantime noone is hurt.
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Old 18-02-2009, 07:44   #21
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Union activist killed as strike in Guadeloupe escalates into deadly riot:

Union activist killed as strike in Guadeloupe escalates into deadly riot - Times Online
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Old 18-02-2009, 08:07   #22
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The French have a certain way of expressing themselves - which I kinda admire - apart from getting caught up in the odd blockade (Ports and Roads - no Riots, yet). Certainly have a habit of reminding their Govt now and again of who they work for......and it works, even if it looks untidy.

They are all still bloody revolutionaries at heart - man the barricades !
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Old 18-02-2009, 15:18   #23
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I'm not sure if it is related, but the fuel dock in Roseau, Dominica is out of fuel.
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Old 18-02-2009, 16:53   #24
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It's quite possibly related. Dominica is sandwiched between Guadeloupe and Martinique and is consequently receiving extra demand for fuel. We're sitting pretty in Portsmouth right now and were able to fill our tanks yesterday.
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Old 20-02-2009, 03:58   #25
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Many gasoline stations in Dominica are now empty. Portsmouth gas station was closed yesterday. We took the bus to Roseau and many along the way were also shut. Around Roseau there were long lines into the gas stations that had fuel. From what I can tell the fuel supply into the island has been interrupted coupled with some panic buying. I don't know if it's related to the French island strikes.
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Old 20-02-2009, 04:22   #26
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Here is a very helpful article on the tourist situation in Martinique : Martinique Tourism Update #2: Strike Having Little Impact on Vacations
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Old 20-02-2009, 06:00   #27
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ess105,

From the article you posted, it sounds like some of the warnings and articles about the situation may be overblown. It's good to hear different sides, since many of those who write for public consumption impart a "spin". The journalists like sensationalism, the travel writers like business as usual. My pick for accurate reporting would be a cruiser who's been there, like yourself. Thanks for keeping us informed.

Hud

p.s. if you see Indian River guide Martin Carriere ( VHF call sign "Providence"), tell him that "The Belle of Virginia" says "Hi". He was a good friend to us during our six or so visits to Dominica.
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Old 20-02-2009, 06:38   #28
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Hud,

We will be in Portsmouth next week (I think we will stay in Roseau for Carnival Monday and Tuesday) and will use Martin as a guide and will say hello for you too.

This is our first time in Dominica and we love it. What a beautiful island, great hikes and wonderful people.

The tour guides in Roseau are doing well as extra cruise ships, having skipped the French islands, are stopping here. I hope the gas shortage doesn't hurt them.
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Old 20-02-2009, 06:44   #29
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Apparently the problems and issues were nothing that US$730 million couldn't fix.

French say Guadeloupe calm after Sarkozy speech - World AP - MiamiHerald.com
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Old 21-02-2009, 09:47   #30
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Well I read that article from the travel writers and it just confirms what I thought about travel writing. It is just propaganda for the industry.

I was in Anse Mitan last week, it is a major tourist area in Martinique. All of the gas stations, supermarkets and government offices were closed. Most of the restaurants were closed. Those that tried to stay open were raided by gangs who closed them down. Twice I was in a restarant when this happened. THere was no violence, but extreme intimidation caused compliance. One major hotel was open but talking to locals they had about 3 days of food left and some things were coming off the menu. The grocery stores opened periodically, but the shelves were fairly empty. Could not get milk. Was told that the warehouse were enpty and food was rotting on ships in the harbour that could not be unloaded.

I yellowed flaged through Guadeloupe. First night just after we anchored a barricade was set up and a car was set on fire. Soon the lineup was over a mile long. Even an ambulance was held up for close to 10 minutes. They finally opened the blockade about 10:30.

At Deshais there were only a few small shops open. 1 restaurant opened for a couple of hours at lunch time. Nothing was open for dinner. Speaking to a local dive operator, he said he only had a few days fuel left and was not taking out small groups. Customs was closed. The police station was closed. Garbage was in the steets piling up and some places starting to smell pretty bad.

Hopefully, the strike is over, but talking to a local, said that even the hotels that were open were at less the 1/3rd capacity.
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