Atuona, 19 November, 1998
To M. Cotiche, Chief Gendarme of Atuona,
Hiva Oa, Marquesas
Dear M. Cotiche,
Following our numerous and difficult
conversations, I would like to:
- Recapitulate the events since our arrival in the Marquesas
- Enlighten you on certain judiciary laws in regard to the posting of the bond for cruising sailors.
10- 19 - 98, 11:00 am
I cleared into the Hiva Oa Gendarmerie as usual and required.
The Gendarmes stamped our passports as
having entered, and did not give us any visas. Achim does not
need a visa for three months; However I, as an American citizen,
was told I need a visa after one month , and this visa is
renewable only up to three months total. After that I must obtain
a further 3 months in Papeete only. They said it has never been
done to extend the visa from the Marquesas. In other words, my
husband is allowed to stay in French Polynesia for up to one
year, while I will have a very difficult time to get a visa
extension for the maximum of 6 months.
The police then informed us that, before receiving our visas, we would need to post a monetary bond each. They also said they did not know how much this bond would cost and I would have to go to the bank to find out.
At the bank Socredo, the teller said the price changes every day for the bond. The price would also be different for both Achim and I even though we have been married for seven years, mine for the United States and his for Europe. Supposedly this bond is the equivalent of a one way ticket back to your country of origin. The cost came out to the following:
(in French Polynesian Francs)
118.200 CFP for Germany
89.000 CFP for the United States
+ 5.000 CFP non refundable for process
This is the equivalent of $2210.50 US dollars, of which $ 52 is non refundable. The rest was to be reimbursed once we leave French Polynesia.
10- 26 - 98, 10:00 am
On this day both Achim and I went to the Gendarmerie to ask for help.We have saved up sufficiently to get by here in Polynesia during our stay, but we do not have the cash to post as bond.
You M. Cotiche, responded:
"You don't pay, you will have to leave, then."
Although I offered to pay for the visa, the French Officer explained that until we paid the bond, I would not be able to get my visa in order to stay. Therefore I will be here without a visa after 11/19/98.
M. Klemmt asked to see the law, and the policeman showed us an undated, glossy yachting brochure, "the Guide to Yachts," produced by the Port Authority of Papeete. No mentioning of the amount of the bond was specified, or what is the maximum time allowed to lapse before this bond would need to be paid.
When Achim asked to see the law and have it in writing, you refused and said there was nothing to write; this was the Polynesian law. You then proceeded to CONFISCATE our passports and acted very rudely to us. My immediate reaction was to leave this place immediately. This decision seemed to have caused you relief, since you gave the passports back to us, declaring, "so much the better, good riddance."
10- 29 - 98, 9:00 am
We were visited by you , M. Cotiche, with your powerboat. You did not approach our boat closely with and we had to scream in order to talk to you. He said that my husband Achim was "pas aimable" (not nice) in the police station and this is why he confiscated our passports.
You said we had a total of 15 days to pay the bonds and then you would be obliged to call the customs agents in Papeete to seize the boat and extradite us. We agreed to come to the gendarmerie office tomorrow morning.
After over two hours of consulting with you, and you could show us absolutely no official law indicating that we must post bond as members of the CEE, you continued to refuse to grant me my visa, and you warned us of the risks should we decide not to pay. You showed us a law from the Tahiti airport, several years old. You then insulted my husband, calling him "stupid," and asking him to be intelligent and pay the bond. You said we certainly have someone somewhere who could loan us this amount of money.
I would once again like to inform you that we are still ready to pay for our visa, but we do not at all agree with your interpretation of the law that this visa is linked to the bond payment.
Considering that the owner and captain of the boat, Mr. Klemmt, is a German citizen, he ought to be exempt from paying this bond and the visa following the terms and conditions of the international accords linking France to the Members of the European Community. His wife, being married to Mr. Klemmt for 7 years and having a permanent residency in Germany, should also be exempt from this bond.
Mr. Van Drunen, Dutch citizen, authorizes me to cite the decision of the Tribunale Administratif of Papeete, which judges his entry on the territory to have been legal without him having paid the bond; it suffices to satisfy the conditions of articles 6, 24 and 20 of the decree of April 1939, which is the same in our case.
If you would like to consult these documents, I would be happy to
furnish you with:
- Article 171 of the Maastricht treaty
- Decision of 12 December 1990 in the joint affaire c-100/89 and C-
101/89 of the Court of Justice of the European community
- The judgement of the Tribunale Administratif of Papeete, 26th October
- The amendment rejected by the national Assembly of April 25, 1996.
All these documents support the rights of CEE citizens in the territory. I hereby state, Mr. Cotiche, that you have tainted your behavior with a judiciary error. I once again ask you to deliver me the visa to which I have the right without condition.
Erika M. Ginsberg-Klemmt
Cc: Justice of the European Community
Cc: Germany Embassy in Paris
Cc: German Honorary Consulate, Papeete
Cc: High Commissioner, Papeete, Tahiti
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