Government of Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister's Office St. John's Antigua, W.I. PRESS RELEASE CARICOM CHAIRMAN LESTER BIRD PROTESTS AGAINST POSSIBLE NUCLEAR WASTE SHIPMENT THROUGH THE CARIBBEAN CARICOM Chairman, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister, Lester Bird, says that he is encouraging CARICOM Governments to make the strongest protest to the Governments of France, Japan and Britain over a shipment of highly radioactive plutonium waste planned over the next few weeks. Mr. Bird says that because of the secretive way in which the French and Japanese are dealing with the matter, it is not yet certain that the shipment from the French port of Cherbourg to Japan will be made through the Caribbean but he wants to ensure that it isn't. The CARICOM Chairman says that shipment is expected to be carried by a British ship operated by the firm, Pacific Nuclear Transport Limited, and the material is deadly. Mr. Bird says that a serious accident could result in significant radioactive contamination of the environment. In its worst case, the Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister says, "communities could face mass evacuations with fisheries, agriculture and tourism being seriously undermined." "This is an unacceptable risk," said Mr. Bird. He continued, "The people of the Caribbean must not be exposed to this serious threat to their environment and their lives.." The CARICOM Chairman is also calling the Government of the United States to take a firm stand on the issue. He says that the people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands would be as much at risk as other Caribbean countries. The CARICOM Chairman has written to his colleague Heads of Government and to U.S. President Bill Clinton calling on them to lodge protests with the French, Japanese and British Governments.
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