February, 18, 2009 [2:00pm, Pacific Standard Time]
ICN 2009, ICONS 2009 and DBKDA 2009 conferences are relocated to Cancun, Mexico
We do appreciate your cooperation and understanding in these exceptional circumstances.
Conferences are relocated due to safety, health, and life threatening of all attendees, due to the last developments on the island of Guadeloupe [see the News below].
Reasons for choosing the location for relocating the conferences:
- AF and AA (the most used airlines) are serving or connecting those areas/locations
- AF adopted a flexible policy concerning the tickets (see below)
- All other Caribbean destinations are full
- The closest available location in the vicinity of the original location; same weather
- Easily reached from the CDG hub with AF (the same for the Guadeloupe direction)
- No other foreseeable constraints
Details on relocation:
- Period: the same period March 1-6, 2009
- Location: Cancun, Mexico
- AA flies from many USA cities directly to Cancun
- AF serves all main USA cities, with subsequent short connections to Cancun (e.g., Miami, Dallas)
- AF also has flights to Mexico City (needing an additional short connection to Cancun)
- Program: no changes (potential updates for special talks)
- Venue + Hotels; see the conference page
- Additional information, upon request:
(Conference) Hotel booking and/or shuttle reservation:
For those having the hotel booked via our contractors, the hotel will be guaranteed at the new location at better standards for the same arrival/departure period (the conferences are held during the same dates). Shuttle service already booked is also guaranteed.
Those who have booked hotel and/or reserved shuttle will be contacted via email with details. General information will be posted at “Hotel and Travel” on the conference site.
For those that want to make new reservations for hotel or shuttle, fill out a registration form and send to

Note that the hotel in Cancun is 4.5 stars, compared to the original one in Guadeloupe which was 3 stars. However, the costs for participants that already booked will be kept the same. For new bookings, check the new registration form.

!!! This is the final update of this page. Any additional items to be settled via email !!!

February 18, 2009 [10:20am Pacific Standard Time]
- One death
- Uncontrolled riots
- Safety, health, and life risks
- Air France adapts its policy
- American Airlines is expected to take a similar approach

- The IARIA Board will decide for a relocation place in the next two hours
  Potential locations offering the high standard services considered for relocation are Cancun/Mexico and Colmar/France. We are targetting the same dates (March 1-6, 2009).
Excepts form the articles below.
-- Month-long protests over consumer prices and wages in the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe turned deadly late on Tuesday night into Wednesday when a man was killed in the capital Pointe-a-Pitre.  “He was killed at a roadblock manned by youths,” Guadaloupe Prefect Nicolas Desforges told FRANCE 24, insisting that the casualty was not the result of “a clash with security forces.”  The victim, identified as Jacques Bino, was a union activist who was shot dead in his car after leaving a LKP (Collective Against Exploitation) meeting in Poite-a-Pitre. The LKP is a coalition of unions and leftist groups that launched the island’s general strike on January 20.  Bino’s car was near a roadblock manned by armed youths in the volatile Chanzy district when the youths opened fire, according to a local official. An inquiry into the incident is currently underway.  Alerted at 12:18am on Wednesday (4:18am GMT), "police and firefighters faced numerous difficulties in getting to the place where the car and the wounded man were located. They arrived at 2:50am, and found the victim dead with a wound to the thorax," Desforges said.
-- According to an Air France release, passengers who had intended to go to Pointe à-Pitre or Fort-de-France between now and March 15 can either postpone their trip at no extra cost up until March 15, 2010, in the same booking class or choose another destination on the Air France network, up until June 14, subject to payment of a fare supplement if applicable. These measures are applicable to all customers holding an Air France ticket, regardless of whether the ticket was bought from the airline, a travel agent or a tour operator.
-- Air France Taking Measures For All Clients to Guadeloupe, Martinique [full]
Feb 17, 2009 By: Joe Pike  TravelAgentCentral
-- Economic protests turn deadly in French Caribbean [full]

February 17, 2009 - part two
- The airport was closed on February 16 in the afternoon mostly because of ‘debris on the runway'
- The airport is opened now, February 17, afternoon
- Air France : MOST flights cancelled between February 12, 2009 and March 15, 2009
[information to be checked with your agency or directly with Air France ]
[to arraange your eventual flight reschedule, the phone to contact is +33 820 820 820 (Air France headquarters) or the agency that booked your flight]
[they can either postpone or re-route your tickets]
- e.g. of recent cancellations, Programmé [Scheduled]

   Note1: Observations En raison de mouvements sociaux, le vol AF624 est annulé
               [due to the strike, AF624 is cancelled]
  AF624 Annulé [Cancelled]
  Départ 15:00 le 17 Février Terminal W Paris, Orly (ORY) - France
  Arrivée 18:20 le 17 Février 2009 Pointe à Pitre, Pole Caraibes (PTP) - Guadeloupe
  AF is analyzing and cancelling flights, case by case; no a priori known agenda
- Some clashes, looting, absenteeism of the airport workforce,
- Garbage not collected
- Blocked roads
- Strike escalates into riot
-- Excerpts form the articles below:
-- Feb. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Guadeloupe airport crews worked to bring airline traffic back to normal today after four weeks of protests over rising prices turned violent in the French Caribbean island territory.
“We have some difficulties with trees and tires in the way,” Bieve said in a telephone interview from Point-a-Pitre. The airport, which handles about 10 international and 50 local flights a day, should be back to normal later today, Bieve said.
Flights were canceled in Guadeloupe late yesterday as protesters threw debris on the runway, said airport manager Alan Bieve.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has scheduled a meeting with lawmakers and leaders of local governments of the country’s overseas territories in Paris on Feb. 19 amid concerns that the protests may spill over to other regions.
“This can no longer continue,” said Laurent Darcon, a clerk at La Toubana, one of the few hotels open on the island. “It is difficult. They are blocking roads. There have been clashes with police.” La Toubana, which has 32 bungalows, is filled with tourists seeking rooms as hotels closed, he said.

-- POINTE-A-PITRE (AFP)-- Guadeloupe 's main airport was shut down on Tuesday after a night of looting and bonfires on the French Caribbean island which has been crippled by a four-week general strike.

Authorities in Pointe a Pitre cited security concerns for closing the airport in the capital after employees failed to turn up for work, including many baggage handlers.

Police overnight fired tear gas at protesters who set fire to roadblocks as gangs looted shops, smashed storefront windows, torched cars and set fire to two stores.”

-- POINTE-À-PITRE, Guadeloupe: Several hotels in Guadeloupe reported Monday that they could not accept guests because protesters were congregated outside and staff did not show up to work.
>> Guadeloupe Airport to Reopen After Latest Violence (Update2)
     By Thomas Black and Eric Sabo
    1:38 PM Tuesday, February 17, 2009 Standard Time -0400 UTC
>> Guadeloupe Airport Shut Down After Protests Turn Violent [on February 16, afternoon]
     Tuesday February 17th, 2009

>> Strike in Guadeloupe escalates into rioting
International Herald Tribune, Reuters, The Associated Press - Published: February 17, 2009

February 17, 2009
-- By February 18/19, a decision will be taken, leaving 10 days before the conferences start to better organize them, if relocation is the only solution
      - Relocation is the ultimate decision for this crisis; not intended to happen, at this point.
      - But, we have no control at all.
-- No bad news yet from those delivering our services
-- No confirmation yet that the Pointe-a-Pitre airport is closed.
-- However, services a getting slow
-- American Airlines, AA 5012, Febr 16, (8:30pm San Juan ) to (Point-à-Pitre 10:04pm)
     Cancelled: due to lack of labor force at the Point-à-Pitre airport
-- AA is preparing an official announcement in the coming days, on the service and flight situation.
-- Tomorrow, we will check with other airlines to evaluate their plans, as some cancellations may be related to low business rather than to an indication of a high risk.
-- Facts:
-  The strike continues
-  The police are in control, yet violent escalations were noticed
-  Big surface markets and gas stations reopened under police protection
-  There were light clashes in Gosier (where the conferences are supposed to be)
-  The movement leaders become verbally aggressive
-  A few aggressive facts were reported, when stones were used against the police.
-- Excerpts from the below articles :
“Police detained about 50 people after coming under a barrage of stones as they tried to take down barricades on the island of Guadeloupe, said Nicolas Desforges, the island's top government official.”

“Strikers were sprayed with tear gas and several, including union leader Alex Lollia, were injured, France 's leftist NPA party said in a statement. “
“French gendarmes block protestors during clashes in Gosier near the Guadeloupe Island capital of Point a Pitre, French Antilles, Monday, Feb. 16, 2009.”

“The spokesman and chief negotiator for the Lyanaj kont pwofitasyon - LKP, Elie Domota, said, the strike will not end until the French Government signs the agreement made by the Secretary of State for Overseas Department, Yves Jego, in the presence of the Presidents of the Regional and General Council and the LKP on Sunday, February 8.”

-- Clashes exacerbate strike in French Caribbean
By RODOLPHE LAMY, The Associated Press
12:58 p.m. February 16, 2009
-- Protesters block roads in Guadeloupe
-- Clashes exacerbate strike in French Caribbean
By RODOLPHE LAMY - 3 hours ago [aka, Febr. 16, 9:00pm]

February 16, 2009

-- Situation seems under control
Summary (distilled out of the ‘journalism reporting style’)
- Some supermarkets reopened
- More gas stations reopened
- Police is in control, "very strict in upholding the rule of law"
-- Excerpts from the posting bellow:
“On Saturday, some supermarkets and petrol stations reopened as police stood by to protect premises against potential protests.  While the government has said it wants to help the people in France 's far-flung territories, it will be "very strict in upholding the rule of law," Yves Jego, the overseas territories minister, said last week.”
“The government has offered measures to cushion the cost of living but steadfastly refused to give in to the strikers' central demand for a monthly EUR200 ($260) increase for low-wage earners.”

-- Strikers Block Roads on French Caribbean Island of Guadeloupe

February 15, 2009

- thanks for the emails sharing your support, solutions, and ...good news (see item C)

A. Conferences Hotel
- the general strike will probably continue
- there are movements for stopping the street demos and the general strike
- the conference hotel deliver 'at this date' 100% of promised services.

>> excerpt on Conference Hotel's position /from the hotel directors/:
"Selon les informations collectées sur place, nous avons le sentiment que le conflit est en train d'évoluer.
Face au blocage général des négociations, certains courants de Guadeloupéens qui veulent un déblocage de l'Ile se font de plus en plus entendre.
De notre côté, je suis en relation quotidienne avec le Directeur Général de notre site hôtelier de Gosier et avec la Direction Générale de la chaîne Karibéa.
A ce jour nous pensons être en mesure d'assumer la prestation pour votre manifestation.
Nous sommes parmi les derniers hôtels a assurer 100 % de nos services et nous ne désespérons pas de voir la situation s'améliorer la semaine prochaine."

B> Shuttle /and transportation, in general/
- The general strike continues
- Gas stations are closed, getting gas is difficult (some gas stations are obviously open; see the next statement)
- However, KARUKERA tours delivers all transfers and tour services (trips)
- Hotels are taking care for the best services (sure, in this situation)

>> excerpt on the Shuttle KARUKERA's position /from the tour operator representatives/
"La grève est encore active en Guadeloupe à ce jour ;
Les stations sont toujours fermées et l'approvisionnement en essence est toujours difficile;
Cependant Karukera tours assure à ce jour toutes ces prestations de transferts et d'excursions.
Les hôtels s' organisent afin que les clients reçoivent les meilleures prestations possibles.
Nous espérons vous accueillir dans de bonnes conditions ; mais vous pouvez compter sur notre présence à vos cotes.
Cordialement: Sandrine, Karukera tours, Tel : 0590 217174, Fax 0590217173"

C> from our colleagues, excerpt from a private email:
"I've just talked to a good friend of mine who comes from Guadeloupe and he ensured that there are no riots on the island! Only a general strike with very large demonstrations. As a result, access to gas is limited, big (but not the small) supermarkets are closed, mail services are slowed down and the schools are closed. However, the leitmotivs of the strikers is NO RIOTS.

Taking this into account, I think traveling to this island is of very limited risk, only the gas shortage seems to affect the tourists.

Hope this helps a little bit in this difficult situation. I fully understand the big load on your shoulders as an organizer.”

February 14, 2009

Guadeloupe Islands, Tourisms Committee

Press News (see News in French)

Visitor advise

>> Airport arrivals/departures
- Normal /check with airlines potential reschedules/
- Taxis/yes, some buses too
- Check 24h before your flight to confirm the booking

>> Transportation
- Normal
- Gas/ difficult || 20 gas stations are open
- Rental cars / yes + gas
- Naval transposition / yes, reschedules

>>  Hotels
- Normal
- Service quality /at best in these conditions
- only three big hotels closed /Pierre & Vacances, Club Med/Sainte-Anne, Paladien Club Mangano /Saint-Francois

>> Tourism
- Beaches and natural sites are open

>> Public services
- Schools are closed
- Only some administration services and banks are open
- Big surface markets and malls are closed
- Electricity & Water /normal
- Health, Hospitals, Emergencies, Pharmacies / normal
- Public security/ assured

>> Booking/Cancellations/
- Check with your tour agency

February 13, 2009

- To be updated this Saturday

- other news to be added...

- (French)

Summary from the French text  presented below

summary: situation is getting better

[42 gas stations start to open and serve the public]
[big waiting lanes, but the situation start to get better]
[no blocking is longer allowed]

POINTE-À-PITRE, 14 fév 2009 (AFP) - 23h22 (local date/hour)

Très longues files d'attente devant les stations-services réquisitionnées pour citoyens ordinaires
De très longues files d'attente se sont formées vendredi dans un rayon de trois kilomètres autour de Pointe-à-Pitre devant les stations-services réquisitionnées "pour permettre à la population de s'approvisionner en carburant", pour la première fois depuis le début de la grève générale, a constaté un correspondant de l'AFP.
La préfecture a fait ouvrir vendredi 42 stations-services, le plus grand nombre d'établissements jamais réquisitionnées depuis le début de la grève générale. Pour la première fois également, elles ne se limitaient pas au service des clients prioritaires (services de secours et de santé). Les automobilistes pouvaient y accéder à condition d'en avoir le temps et la patience.

Dans une stations-service de la banlieue de Pointe-à-Pitre, les forces de l'ordre sont intervenues, sans incident selon la préfecture, pour faire dégager la barricade de pneus qui en interdisait l'accès.

Dans un communiqué, le préfet Nicolas Desforges affirme qu'il a "donné instruction aux forces de l'ordre de faire respecter" sa décision de réquisition "et de lever toute entrave qui s'y opposerait". "En cas de blocage, les accès de tous les établissements réquisitionnés seront libérés", a-t-il précisé.

February 13, 2009

Sarkozy orders review of policy toward Martinique and Guadeloupe

French riot police arrive in Caribbean territory

French riot police arrive in Caribbean territory,4670,CBCaribbeanFranceUnrest,00.html

General strike paralyses French Caribbean island

A Nations-wide strike nobody is talking about

Club Med on Guadeloupe to shut down

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