6 Aug 2004

A decade before we're ready for independence, says Temaru

6:35 am on 6 August 2004

The President of French Polynesia, Oscar Temaru, says it will be ten years before the territory will be ready for a referendum of indpendence.

Mr Temaru is in Apia to accept Observer Status at the Pacific Islands Forum summit, which starts today.

He also wants the issue of French Polynesia's re-inscription on the UN List of Non Self Governing Territories to be on the agenda.

But he says with France ending a multi billion dollar support programme this year, there is a greater need to develop the territory's economy before it will be ready for independence.

Mr Temaru says they are eyeing a doubling of tourism numbers to half a million within ten years.

But he says first the education system needs to produce more English speakers.

"We have a lot to do. Our country's not ready to, to go ahead, in the area of developing tourism in our country. We have communication problems, that's why when visitors come to Tahiti, they cannot communicate with our people, because our people don't speak English, they speak French; it's not their fault."