“The administration wants to kill our traditions!” Towards a cancellation of the Saint-Pierre celebrations at Grau-du-Roi ?

“The administration wants to kill our traditions!” Towards a cancellation of the Saint-Pierre celebrations at Grau-du-Roi ?

Le nombre de personnes embarquées sur les bateaux, point de discorde insoluble pour les organisateurs. Midi Libre – Correspondant

Les organisateurs annoncent jeter l'éponge face aux normes qui se rajoutent chaque année. Si elle reçoit des soutiens politiques, la préfecture veut tempérer et préserver le dialogue. 

"Since 1991, in partnership with the commune, the Graulenne association of the Saint-Pierre Festivals and fishermen has worked to ensure the sustainability of the Saint-Pierre Festivals. It is important to note that no accident has been reported in almost 35 years of organization! Since 2019, we have been struggling and trying to adapt to very restrictive regulations imposed by maritime authorities. Today, the administrative, logistical and human obligations are impossible to meet for the organization of this event. Unable to honor our commitment to ensure and organize the Saint-Pierre Festival while respecting our traditions, we therefore made the sad choice not to organize the Saint-Pierre Festival. quot;. The sentence fell like an ax: the cancellation of the Saint-Pierre celebrations, a traditional gathering in Grau-du-Roi, now seems to have been confirmed.

"Saint-Pierre is not about aperitifs or spinning napkins!"

For organizers, it is better to have "no parties, rather than truncated parties". But for David Papy, president of the association, this decision sounds above all like an admission of failure: "It has been five years since the administration persists. Five years that, every year, additional regulations are added to us." Which made the steering committee decide to throw in the towel? The impossibility of transporting family and friends on their boat : "What we ask is that we can take on board 40  of the weight that the boat can support. We are on 25 meter trawlers, not small boats! That's forty people, who are surrounded with all the necessary security…hellip; Since this year, we have been asked to be at 25% of the weight or twelve passengers if we do not have a stability file. Enough…"

The sailor thus recalls the advances already made: "We are on the water all year round, plague David Grandpa. We have equipped all the boats with life jackets, we have worked on security, on training, but it’is never enough… I'm throwing in the towel." An annoyance all the more linked, he pleads, to what Saint-Pierre represents: " Saint-Pierre is not about aperitif or spinning napkins!, plague David Papy.It is above all a commemoration of our elders, a tribute to our dead lost at sea. This is the forgiveness of Saint-Pierre!" Thus recalling the importance, as it is possible to go to the cemetery to honor one's loved ones, "to be able to be together for the blessing of boats and families, to participate in mass on water".

Political support

The news of a possible cancellation quickly provoked multiple reactions, starting with those of the mayor of the town of Grau, Robert Crauste. Who, in a long letter addressed to the prefect, underlined "all the efforts that the shipowners have made to meet security requirements and I can testify to this". The first councilor thus indicates that in "solidarity, I must cancel the events scheduled by the city". And Robert Crauste highlights the emotional impact of this situation on the fishermen and their families who are so attached to these days of memories and sharing. The deputy Nicolas Meizonnet, for his part, challenged the Secretary of State to the Minister of Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion: "For to continue in its historic format, the annual nautical event of the Saint-Pierre and Grau-du-Roi fishermen's festivals needs the law to adapt to its specificity."

Faced with this situation, the prefecture does not close the door to discussion, recalling that a "exceptional framework for transporting 27 people during sea festivals& quot; was permitted. Adding that if "the association reverses its cancellation decision, the competent state services will be able to provide support". While waiting for all parties to perhaps return to the discussion table, this Saturday, April 13, on the occasion of the Graulinades, the fishermen will wear armbands and black t-shirts for, specifies David Grandpa, “denounce an administration that wants to kill our traditions".

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