In order to understand the Public health tragedy that struck the inhabitants of
this little Guadeloupean dependency in the French West Indies, we invite you to
notice few facts about the Desirade .
This little island of 24 square meters (9 square miles) is located 9 km ( 5 miles)
from Pointe des Chateaux, separated by a channel of the same name .
It is composed of 1610 inhabitants. Fishing is the main resource and the climate is dry and arid .
Nearly all the water is provided by Guadeloupe .
In february 1991, a 14km submarine pipe is installed, in order to move drinkable water from Guadeloupe
to Desirade . This project was financed with public funds and carried through by about 20 firms, all affiliated
with Generale des Eaux .
On october, the 22nd of 1991, the Mayor of Desirade, Max Mathurin, who refused to sign the receipt of the works,
was found assasinated on the only road along the south coast . His body was found riddled with bullets,
the tongue cut, head in the sand and his body burnt .
His murderers remain unfindable and the police concluded that it was a morals affair .
His brother in Law, Emmanuel Robin, became the new Mayor and signed the receipt of the works .
Keep in mind that,matter-of-factly, he was an employee of Generale des Eaux, which is illegal .
In september 1995, in the aftermath of two hurricanes (Luis and Marilyn),
the submarine pipe broke off.
Three weeks later, when drinkable water was provided again, began an health crisis .
In a cupple of mounths, more than half of the population suffered from abdominal ache
and skin disease . Besides, worms apeared in the Desiradians' tap water (three worms have been analysed) .
Between september 1995 and July 1996, 230 Desiradians and many tourists were operated of appendicitis,
70 of whom during the only mounth of June ! In early July 1996, the epidemic decreased sharply .
The reason why was that the only physician of the island, Dr Louis-Marie Le Cabellec, told the population
not to drink tap water .
Dr Jerome Manuceau, physician working at Pointe-a-Pitre, operated 80% of the appendicitis. He made histological
analysis of any removed appendicitis. EVERY appendicitis but one contained lesions . Comparably, we know
that a third of the removed appendicitis in France are healthy !
On August, the 11th of 1996, Dr Le Cabellec was nearly murdered .
A 16 inches dagger passed through one side to the other of his chest.
He miraculously survived . Lesser than a week after, the police concluded that it
was a "promotional-purpose suicide attempt in order to stand up for his cause" .
The forensic scientist who examined him, disagreed with that hypothesis .
When in February 1997, the prefectoral authorities organized a big media campaign
in order to promote the quality of provided water in Desirade, it launched a second crisis,
despite the absence of Dr Le Cabellec ( He no longer works beceause of the seriousness of
his relapses ) .
This second epidemic stoped by the time Dr Manuceau, using the media, told the Desiradians
not to drink tap water .
Health authorities were warned from the begining (october 1995) by Dr Le Cabellec,
and pretended that water could not be suspected .
The official explanation was that the Desiradians were undergoing a "Collective Psychosis"
provoked and fostered by Drs Le Cabellec and Manuceau, for mercantile goals .
This thesis was published in the Figaro, has been charged for libel by the Criminal Court of Paris
. This judgement was confirmed by the Appeal Court of Paris .
In 1999, a private institute, the Jean Daucet Institute was appointed to investigate
public health in Desirade .
We never knew who commissioned this investigation .
Pr. Camille Berchel, Desiradian himself, in charge of the
pediatric department of Pointe-a-Pitre's Hospital, was related in this investigation .
It was a honest man who never feared to tell what he thought .
On a 1999 december morning, his body was found burnt in his parked car,
quietly sat in the rear.
The police clearly concluded that it was a "suicide by self-firing, caused
by a breakdown", while he was obviously dead before the car was fired .
Autopsy results are still kept secret, and his body cremated .
After this death, and the population's hostility, Jean Daucet Institute finaly
gave up its investigation .
Thus, violences and violent caused deaths of personalities more or less linked
to Desirade's water or public health appear to be either suicides or unelucidated morals affairs .
In order to explain all this, we shall keep in mind many facts :
The 1995-1996 Guadeloupe's prefect brother was number three of
Generale des Eaux .
- The Mayor of Desirade was an employee of Generale des Eaux,
which was forbiden by the law .
He also was member of SIAEG and of the General Council .
His brother was in charge of water providing, his sister secretary,
thus they were both employees of Generale des Eaux .
His wife was an employee of DDASS, in charge of water sampling, then
analysed by Institut Pasteur .
Contrarily to what law allows, we never could have seen
any document concerning the planned works for water adduction to
Desirade, what have been done so far or their funding .
Visibly, the authorities have got things to hide .
the Health Ministry laid charges against Dr. Manuceau
for "Violences involving mayhem and permanent infirmity ".
Dr. Manuceau obtained easily a dismissal .
Ahead of this fact and the judgment of Le Figaro,
the Health Ministry gave up the juridical way and
prefered to sue Dr. Manuceau before the administrative
instances they controled, namely, the Sécurité Sociale and
the Ordre des Médecins . In a first time, he got a "blame",
for the Desirade affair .
This blame was confirmed by the Conseil d'Etat in 2003 .
Meanwhile, they sent a medical adviser in Guadeloupe, who
set up a file in 1997 about the medical pratices of Dr. Manuceau
and concluded to "Multiple unjustified operations, and numerous
administrative irregularities ".
Let's specify that no patient accepted to lay charges against
Dr. Manuceau, in spite they were asked to do so .
This second charge was laid before the Assurances Sociales section
of the Conseil National de l'Ordre des Medecins .
This instance is a wonderful State tool, which allows State
to get rid of any uncooperative practitioner .
Thus, in September 27th of 2005, Dr. Manuceau was condemned
and forbiden to heal any social insured patient during the year 2006.
In 1998, it was proved that not only Desirade's tap water
was poluted, but also Guadeloupe's : pesticids have been found
in very high amounts, perhaps beceause the great part of drinkable water piping
are made of bond-asbestos .
Could it explain the fact that Guadeloupe is France's region
which have the highest cancer rates ?
In march 2003,
consumer societies of Guadeloupe and Desirade pressed charges against
French State for water poisoning, failure to render assistance to a population in danger,
and disrespect of the care principle .