Pacific Islands Development Program/East-West Center
With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies/University of Hawai‘i

Adolph Colrat replaces Anne Boquet

PAPEÉTE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, July 7, 2008) - Adolph Colrat, French Polynesia’s new French high commissioner, arrived Saturday night, to officially take over on Monday from Anne Boquet, who left that post on June 29 after having served three years as Tahiti’s only woman high commissioner.

French Polynesia President Gaston Tong Sang and French High Commissioner Secretary General Eric Spitz led delegations in welcoming Colrat Saturday night at the Tahiti-Faa’a Airport. Spitz was joined by several other French state officials based in Tahiti. Tong Sang was joined by several members of the French Polynesia Assembly

While Tahiti’s two French National Assembly deputies -- Papeéte Mayor Michel Buillard and Papara Mayor Bruno Sandras -- were in Paris, Tahiti’s French senator and co-opposition political leader Gaston Flosse was not at the airport. Also absent were any other members of the opposition’s Union for Development, Stability and Peace (UDSP) coalition, including French Polynesia Assembly Speaker Oscar Temaru, who is UDSP co-leader along with Flosse.

However, Temaru is scheduled to meet Monday afternoon with the new high commissioner, according to next week’s agenda sent out Sunday afternoon by the speaker’s office.

A group of traditional Tahitian dancers and singers performed a welcome greeting for Colrat and his wife. Colrat said he was moved by his first Tahitian welcome, which he said would remain unforgettable. He said he wanted to enjoy "the moment of hospitality and friendship," declining to answer any media questions about his policies until after he officially takes office on Monday.

However, he did say his first thought was for the French Polynesian families who have one or more children studying in France or elsewhere in the world. He said that in taking up his new post in Tahiti, he and his wife left behind in Paris their two children, both of whom are studying.

President Tong Sang said his government and its pro-French, pro-Tahiti autonomy political majority coalition, To Tatou Ai’a, would continue to work with Colrat just as it had done with Ms. Boquet, because, Tong Sang said, there were results with this method.

Noting that he and the French government had signed a five-year development project contract in May in Paris, Tong Sang said, "We must proceed to its execution now."

Tahiti’s president wished for the new high commissioner to remove French Polynesia from its economic dependence on the French state by developing French Polynesia’s own resources.

Colrat, Tahiti’s newly appointed French high commissioner, has been working at the interior and overseas ministries for several years and is reportedly close to former Overseas Minister Estrosi, who is now mayor of Nice.

The 53-year-old Colrat worked since August 2006 as temporary director of political, administrative and financial affairs in the Overseas Ministry section of the French Interior Ministry.

He previously served twice in French overseas posts. He served from 1983 to 1985 as chief of staff for the French police commissioner in Réunion, a French overseas department in the Indian Ocean. Colrat also served in 1992 as the prefecture secretary general in Réunion.

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