Mr. Prefect, Presidents of the Region and Department, Mayor of Cayenne, Dear friends,

I am particularly pleased to be able to come to Guyana at last
movement allows me to take stock with you about a potential
a region with cultural and linguistic diversity
unique for France and the European Union. Of a potential that has not been
fully exploited, since Guyana has long remained outside the
cultural development undertaken in the rest of France since
Malraux. It is time to fix it. To do so, I would like to speak with
a number of avenues open to us. The circumstances
current budget are, as we know, unfavourable:
that projects are bold in their cultural objectives
in their implementing rules.
The Overseas Action Plan
In line with the Estates General of the French Overseas Territories, initiated by the
President of the Republic and in application of the Interministerial Committee of
on November 6, 2009, I therefore decided to develop, after
had the situation of the French overseas countries studied in depth by Michel
COLARDELLE before he was named DRAC of Guyana, a «Plan
Overseas for Culture”. This Plan includes two actions
emblematic: a «Year of the Overseas Territories» in 2011 that will give a
strong legibility, particularly in mainland France, to ultra-marine cultures;
creation of an agency to promote the culture of the French overseas territories. One and
the other are currently being prepared.
My «Overseas Plan» which I will present in detail to the press tomorrow,
is based on the following principles:
It will support and accompany projects developed by communities
professionals and associations, with the aim of giving
the means for ultramarine populations to take charge of their own
development in the fields of culture;
It will aim to build and strengthen cultural capacities in a logical
It must be part of a long-term approach, a vision
Finally, it will make training its top priority.
It is urgent for the Government to implement these principles.
Valuing culture in ultra-marine territories is first and foremost about giving
the means of carrying out specific memory work on a story
singular and painful. It is also an ambition to
shared recognition of identities, otherness, and interbreeding.
This recognition is at the heart of my national culture priority
for everyone”, which aims to recreate the conditions for a reappropriation of
cultural practices by all audiences. Here in Guyana, I think everything
especially for young audiences.
The Guyanese context
The exceptional population growth of French Guiana
You know better than I do that there is considerable potential for the future.
Today it suffers from a lack of training,
in the school system first of course, but also in these real
second chance schools that can represent training and
cultural activities. And this despite the dynamism and voluntarism
of the municipalities and associations that organize them or
finance, and have to cope with perpetual demand
increase. Guyana lags behind in infrastructure
The European Union’s cultural policy
in which the local and regional authorities of
Guyana, constraints, I am well aware, to deal with the most urgent in
a climate of perpetual urgency. Endowed with a diversity of heritage
unique, anchored in a booming South American continent, the
culture in Guyana must be able to project itself towards a
wider international development. The State and the Regional Community
must share responsibility for this ambition.
Overseas Plan for Guyana
I have therefore decided to give real priority to Guyana, in
partnership with the two major territorial authorities that are the
Guyana Regional Council, chaired by Mr. Rodolphe ALEXANDRE, and the
General Council of Guyana, chaired by Mr. Alain TIEN-LIONG
partnership with other key ministerial departments
what is national education - including the Rector, Mrs Florence ROBINE,
is strongly involved in arts education and in the
development of plurilingualism -, Youth and Sports, Health, Justice and
The originality of Guyana must involve specific provisions. The
persistence of major social disparities in Guyanese society
moral obligation to give priority to a determined public action. This has
of course major implications in the areas covered by
my Ministry.
Another peculiarity of the national space is the linguistic diversity, which makes
coexist about twenty languages alongside French and Creole
Guyana. This diversity requires special treatment, not only
for its wealth of heritage, but also as a formidable tool
learning for other more international languages, in the first place
the French. It is in this perspective, to which I am very attached,
a dynamic enhancement of linguistic diversity that will be created
a pole of excellence in plurilingualism and that will be held in 2011, here in
Cayenne, the States General of Plurilingualism Overseas.
It is in this same perspective that I would like to see our
activities in the fields of intangible heritage. My Ministry
with the Wayana and Appalai communities, in
partnership with the Amazonian National Park of Guyana and with the expertise
researchers from the CNRS and the IRD, to present to
the candidature of the ritual of maraké to the Cultural Heritage
immaterial of humanity.
The Overseas Plan for Guyana is divided into four main components, including:
I’ll give you the highlights:
1/ Increasing the cultural offer - reading, performing, arts teaching -
with the design and implementation of a development plan
A multi annual convention on the development of culture in the context of multi partnership.
The historic Franconian library, now cramped, will be doubled,
as requested by the President of the General Council, Mr. Alain TIEN-LIONG, and
its role as a public reading library in Cayenne will be developed.
In addition, Marie-Laure PHILERA-HORTH, Mayor of
Cayenne, wish, a plan to strengthen public reading in
the quarters will be driven, in the form of bookshells.
A territory-reading contract, with the General Council and the municipalities of
less than 10,000 inhabitants, can also help consolidate the network
rural media libraries, a network that, although it is
still insufficient, constitutes today the basic framework of the culture in
The hypothesis of the creation of a national scene that will have to act in network
in order to better cover the territory will be studied with the Regional Council,
and I would like, in accordance with the law, a regional plan
and departmental arts education.
Finally, it would be important to study, always according to the same
partnership process, the creation of a Regional Fund for Contemporary Art,
so that regional creation, in the diversity of its inspirations and
its mixtures, can expose itself, make itself known, be placed in
The European Union must be prepared to face up to the challenges of neighbouring countries and other parts of the world.
Film and audiovisual creation will also be encouraged by
the upcoming signing of a tripartite agreement Guyana/Central Region
National Cinema/MCC creating a fund for the creation
film, allowing Guyanese authors and directors
with secure financial assistance, undertake high-quality
level of which the success of the feature film Orpailleurs by Marc Barrat,
salute here, for example showed the way.
2/ Endow Guyana with a large 'House of Cultures and Memories'
French Guiana”. This project, initiated by the Regional Council and the
will gather in the heart of the Cayenne metropolis, in the former
hospital Jean Martial saved from destruction and restored, the supports of
its past and present identity: the oral and linguistic heritage, the
material heritage, the written heritage of Guyana through all the
periods in its history, all the cultures that gave birth to it -
Native American, Bushinengé, Creole, European, Hmong or
This centre, created by combining complementary collections but
today divided between three institutions, plus
the State and recent collections, will shine across Guyana. It will offer
new possibilities for decentralised cultural actions,
like what was successfully initiated in Regina, where the beautiful
Approuague-Kaw ecomuseum, and what is being planned in Awala.
It will be able to host the Pole of plurilingualism currently in project according to the
conclusions of the cultural workshop of the Overseas States General in
Guyana. Through the allocation of exceptional appropriations, the studies of
architectural and cultural programming will be undertaken from this
year, under the terms of a memorandum of understanding that we will sign
with our two main partners, who will then
add more.
It will also be possible for this institution to participate in the
movement of temporary exhibitions, receiving works of art from
French and foreign museums that it is today technically
impossible to host in Guyana. The international readability of the Region
will be all the more so.
3/ Developing the scientific and technological heritage: Kourou and its
Space Centre, a flagship of European high technology, are
master strengths to develop the information and training of the
young people in science and technology. We are studying
currently the possibility, by renovating the Space Museum, which can
easily acquire the status of «Musée de France», to design a
Centre for Scientific, Technical and Industrial Culture. This Centre will be the
Again, this is a partnership with, of course, the Space Centre.
whose director, Joël Barre, is heavily involved, but
also with the Ministry of National Education and that of the
Research. I have entrusted a long-term mission to a
of my department, knowing that this approach will
the commitment of this essential project for young people
Guyana but also for the attractiveness and notoriety of Guyana
4/ Finally, it seems to me essential to enhance the value of heritage
testifying to the wounds of memory that are the remains of the prison and
planting. It is time that the Transportation Camp of
Saint-Laurent du Maroni, the prison of the Salvation Islands and their prisoners
of which Captain Dreyfus became the emblem, or the
Annamites Prison can go beyond the “Butterfly Effect” and
the prison anecdote. Further develop their potential to
testimony on the forms of organization of society, on confinement
and coercion, this could be the ambition of these historic monuments,
both for the Guyanese and metropolitan visitor, but also for a
more international audience.
The question of the memory of the conquest and relegation of
Indian peoples, those of slavery, the slave trade and
the plantation economy must be considered in the same way:
knowledge through archaeology and history; recognition, as
an integral part of the national historic building, a collective memory
which must not obscure anything: neither the glorious events, nor the sufferings suffered.
The protection of colonial, Creole and
vernacular, architectural creation, research, well
other subjects. In terms of culture, there is no secondary subject. But
I must conclude after these few broad strokes cast from an action already
started and will flourish in 2011, during the Year of the Overseas.
This national project for Guyana is a balanced project between memory and
creation. It is a measured but determined and ambitious project. It is a
project respectful of the Guyanese peculiarities seized as
building blocks of national and universal culture;
these are the principles we must keep in mind.
Many thanks to the artisans of this company: communities
public servants, associations and professionals of the
culture. I take even more these days the measure of their competence,
their commitment and enthusiasm.
I share this enthusiasm fully with you, and I care about you
renew today the full commitment of the State in the achievement of
this project for Guyana and Guyana.
Thank you.