26 Oct 2010

Demonstrators hamper French Polynesia hospital opening

4:11 pm on 26 October 2010

Disgruntled contractors demanding to be paid have asked the French Polynesian government to pay its bills for the Taaone hospital which is about to open.

Five companies have issued an ultimatum to be received by the government by this afternoon as plans are finalised to begin transferring patients to the new hospital in Papeete's outskirts.

Several workers have begun a peaceful demonstration outside the hospital.

One worker has told Tahitipresse that if the matter isn't settled, it is not certain that the patients can be moved in.

The Taaone complex cost more than 570 million US dollars to build and is expected to cost 16 million dollars a year to run.

The hospital, which is to serve the entire territory, was blessed in a ceremony yesterday attended by several government leaders and the French high commissioner.

The instigator of the project, Gaston Flosse, stayed away, saying that it was to be named after Jacques Chirac but the name was dropped to please Nicolas Sarkozy.