The government of Quebec is giving up sending a delegation to the Games of the Francophonie in Kinshasa, because of the risks related to the safety and health of the athletes and artists who would have participated in the events, indicated to the Duty the Ministry of International Relations.
This decision was taken after doubt had been hovering for several weeks over Quebec’s participation in the event, which will be held from July 28 to August 6.
“This decision is not easy to make, but it is thoughtful and responsible,” ministry spokeswoman Sylvie Leclerc said by email, citing safety and health reasons.
The Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie, Martine Biron, had already expressed concerns two weeks ago about the safety, housing and food of the participants.
Last week, a representative of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), host country, went to Paris to reassure the members of the International Organization of La Francophonie, during a meeting of the Permanent Council of La Francophonie ( CPF), of which Quebec, New Brunswick and Canada are part.
The Quebec government had also carried out two security missions in the DRC in anticipation of the games, in January and May.
“Following these two missions and the conclusions presented by the OIF during the CPF on June 21, Quebec considers that the necessary conditions are not met to guarantee the safe participation of artists and athletes in these games,” said M.me Leclerc.
Quebec planned to send 14 athletes in basketball and 3 in table tennis.
The New Brunswick government, for its part, confirmed on Tuesday the sending of a dozen people to Kinshasa, including six athletes in wrestling, two coaches and two artists in painting and literature.
Nothing is perfect
Before the announcement of the Quebec cancellation, the director of the National Games Committee, Isidore Kwandja Ngembo, told the Duty that the event is “a wonderful springboard for young sporting talents from the French-speaking world”.
“Too bad for the countries that want to deprive their talented young people of such an opportunity which only arises once every four years, for ulterior reasons”, he already lamented on June 15.
After meeting with state and government representatives at the CPF, Mr. Kwandja Ngembo seemed confident last week.
“They have taken up some challenges that the host country must take up quickly, particularly in terms of infrastructure, health, safety and transport of athletes and official delegations, while confirming their participation in the IXare Francophone Games in Kinshasa. No human work is perfect, ”he wrote on social networks.
In an interview with TV5, the director then said that transport problems delayed the construction work.