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Flag representing Martinique (Territorial Collectivity, France) in international culture and sports

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[Flag] image by Johnny Vigné, 10 April 2019

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Flag representing Martinique in international culture and sports events

The flag aimed at "representing Martinique in international culture and sports events" was inaugurated on 10 May 2019 at the Martinique Sports Institute in Le Lamentin by Alfred Marie-Jeanne, President of the Collectivité territoriale de la Martinique.
[La Martinique 1ere, 10 May 2019]

The flag was selected among three proposals short-listed by a jury among 170 submissions obtained in a "consultation", whose rules stirred controversy.
The flag (detailed presentation) was designed by Johnny Vigné aka Caly Design, who presents himself as "a graphic designer, 3D-modeller, motion designer, video maker, and web designer".
The designer recognizes Damso's song Ipséité as his source of inspiration. For him, Ipséité means "someone who remains authentic in spite of hazards of life".
Expected his design to be "an emblem of peace", Vigné feels "saddened" by the controversy stirred by the flag.
[Martinique La 1ere, 14 May 2019]

Short after having been hoisted, the flag was lowered, trampled and burned by supporters of the red-green-black flag [which had been, implicitly, excluded from the contest], claiming it was "in no way representative of Martinique" and was "a waste of money that could have been use in a better manner".
[Martinique La 1ere, 10 May 2019]

On 21 May 2019, Jean-Philippe Nilor (Péyi-a) tabled a motion at the Assembly of Martinique, arguing that the Assembly had not been consulted before the flag's adoption and that the flag was hoisted on the Martinique Territorial Collectivity while there was no sports or culture event organized. The motion was adopted (23 votes yes, 2 abstained, and none voted no).
Marcel Bourgade, an ecologist militant and a supporter of the red-green-black flag, denounced the "administrative procedure and selection" of the flag. The lawyer Georges-Emmanuel Germany tabled a request of cancelling the selection of the flag by Alfred Marie-Jeanne, President of the Martinique Territorial Collectivity. Supported by Councillor Fred Lordinot (PPM) and a turned down candidate to the contest, the request argues that the flag is of political nature due of its use out of sports and culture events.
[Martinique La 1ere, 22 May 2019]

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 17 May 2019

The flag was internationally released during the CONCACAF 2019 Gold Cup held in Mexico in June 23019.

Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, 14 September 2019

Final selection of the flag

Three designs were offered on 8 April 2019 to public vote on a dedicated website (but the President of the CTM was expected to make the final decision!). Anybody could vote. Votes were to be closed on 15 April.
The three designs were presented with the author's notice, divided into three sections:
- The author's intent;
- The creative choice;
- What Martinique shall say to the world.

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 10 April 2019



Ipséité proposal - Image by Johnny Vigné, 10 April 2019

Gyronny of eight blue and green triangles separated by thin white lines; all over a big white disk charged with a blue queen conch, 34 Amerindian stars in the border.

The author's intent
Singularity, fighting spirit, and union are the values the author wished to transmit when creating the flag.
"I wanted Martinique to own a beautiful image, a beautiful flag. I have listed Martinique's strongest assets. Here is the result."
Colors, shapes and symbols that represent the territory's diversity, the people's talents, Martinique's ipseity (character of what is unique and singular).
With the flag, the author intends to awake awareness to an uncommon heritage, which is s true booster for the future. With a strong message: being united and close-knit, Martinique shall carry on its ascension and express its pride to the international communities.

The creative choice
A strong, central symbolic: the queen conch.
Commonly called "lambi", the shell is named Strombus giga [renamed to Lobatus giga in 2008] by scientists. Featured in the heart of the flag, this shell was widely used by Amerindian peoples, as a tool, a hook and an artwork. It allowed communication from the hills [mornes] to announce the life's main events: birth, marriage, death and also revolts. It was used as radio, telephone and a musix instrument. Awaken from its earlier infancy by plurilingiusm, Martinique cries to the rest of the world the union of its people and its singularity.
The representatin of the Martinique diversity:
- 34 Amerindian stars symbolizing the 34 municipalities of the island;
- eight sectors symbolizing the eight different languages spoken all along the island's history: French, Creole, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Chinese, and Arab. As many oral proofs of an unprecedented Caribbean mix.
An original dual-tone.
- a deep blue color refering to the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean that border the coasts of Martinique;
- aa dense green color recalling the steep hills [mornes] and the luxuriant natural environment.

What Martinique shall say to the world
It is unique and singular, forged by the diversity of its origins and the fighting spirit the Martinique people had to express to adapt.
Today, the Martinique people, under this strong symbol, unite to keep and preserve its essence, its ingenuity and its singularity.

Ivan Sache, 10 April 2019



Acaéra proposal - Image by the proposal's designer, 10 April 2019

Vertically divided golden-yellow-green (1:3); at upper fly, a black rectangle covering 1/4 of the flag, its base cut by a small green triangle merging with the main green field; at lower fly, a golden yellow triangle whose upper point reaches the half of the black triangle and with a small, green and black indentation in the left side.

The author's intent
"Had the first inhabitants of Martinique to represent the island, which image would they have designed?" The author's thinking starts with this question. The flag's name then appeared as straightforward: "Acaéra", which means "an island" or "a country" in Cariban language. "Acaéra" was selected as an original reference to evoke the values of simplicity, natural environment, and universality. Acaéra is a call to Mother Nature, a recall of the origins to better face future.

The creative choice
Colors that make sense.
The graphical orientation of the flag is based on three colors with intense tones, as a symbol of the main forces of Martinique:
- the deep green colors of a luxurious natural environment:
- the intense blue color of the sea that surrounds Martinique;
- the golden yellow color that recalls both the sandy seashore and the sun that lights it.
A composition that enhances topography and tradition.
The composition of the flag is an assembly of simple geometric shapes providing a guaranteed impact.
- the yellow and green triangles recall Mount Pelée [Montagne Pelée, (1,397 m, Martinique's emblematic stratovolcano, whose eruption in 1902 destroyed the town of Saint-Pierre, killing more than 30,000 people] and the hills [mornes];
- the two indentations in the mountain are emblematic of the madras scarfs once used as a hair-dress; the number of points revealed the availability of the person who wore the scarf. If today's Martinique is already engaged, the island stills smiles to bold people who wish to settle there!
Nature and tradition are therefore subtly represented in the flag, which also evokes opening to the world.

What Martinique shall say to the world
Nature and tradition play a key role in the heart of the people from Martinique, without being a limit to opening to the world. Full of pride and dynamism, Martinique is open to future and turns to outside.

Ivan Sache, 10 April 2019

Le Flamboyant


Le Flamboyant proposal - Image by the proposal's designer, 10 April 2019

Blue flag crossed by a black diagonal strip bordered in yellow, running from lower hoist to upper flay and an other of the same design crossing it orthogonally; centered, a blue disk charged with a stylized flamboyant tree.

The author's intent
"To create the flag, I wanted to represent Martinique with a strong, positive, original and off the beaten track symbol. The flamboyant appeared to me as that symbol."
The author relies on the magnificence, the reddish blossoming and the strong root system of the tree, commonly found in the Martinique landscape, to express the identification of standing and proud people.

The creative choice
The flamboyant, as the central symbol of the composition.
The three red stars in the center of the composition reflect both the flamboyant's balance and blossoming. Beneath, the tree is evoked with freedom and originality: a strong root system and flame)shaped branches that increase the idea of dynamism and burst.
The flamboyant is placed inside an open circle, in the center of two diagonals. The yellow and black diagonals symbolizes cultural transcendence, the way that makes possible exchanges and opening to the world.
A color choice representing dynamism.
The intense blue color as the flag field highlights the diagonal lines' bright yellow color. Associated with the stars' red color, the colors of the flag emphasize the Martinique people's originality, force and dynamism.

What Martinique shall say to the world
With the iflag, Martinique shall express through the colors the values of intensity and forces. The flag will also show a shining Martinique, at the world's junction, anchored and stable to move forwards.
Shining Martinique shall dig a deep furrow during its trips and leave a lasting impression.

Ivan Sache, 10 April 2019

First round of the consultation

The call for proposals yielded 170 submissions for the flag and another 30 for the anthem.
Two commissions, one for the flag, the other for the anthem were going to begin their work mid-January, and supposed to work until the end of February to choose three finalist proposals, which would then be submitted to the inahabitants of Martinique through the CTM website.
[Martinique la 1ere, 9 January 2019]

Olivier Touzeau, 9 January 2019

Consultation rules

The CTM initiated on 30 November 2018 a "consultation for the adoption of an anthem and a flag representing Martinique in international culture and sports events".
Proposals had to be submitted from 30 November 2018 to 3 January 2019. Then a selection commission selected the three best proposals, to be assessed by the people of Martinique in a "on-line consultation" organized on the website of the CTM. The final decision will be freely taken by the selection commission. The "advice of the population" shall be taken into account.

The tortuous wording of this call for proposals was clearly set up to prevent the emergence of controversial issues, such as the "regional" or "national" character of the future symbols.
The proposed "consultation" is the result of increasing local pressure to drop the "snake flag", which was used in the colonial period, mostly by ships transporting slaves, and to replace it with the green-red-black flag, which is a symbol of aspiration to independence. Alfred Marie-Jeanne (b. 1936), President of the Executive Council of the CTM since 2015 and President of the Regional Council of Martinique from 1998 to 2010, founded in 1978 an independentist party, the Mouvement indépendantiste martiniquais (MIM), which no longer calls for independence in a short-term and, therefore, does not recognize the green-red-black flag as a potential symbol of Martinique.
Unsurprisingly, the supporters of the independentist flag have criticized the "consultation" as an oblique way to postpone independentist claims by finding an alternative to the green-red-black flag.

The official Rules of the contest includes a significant element conveniently omitted from the aforementioned summary: the final decision will not be taken by the selection commission, as stated above, but by the President of the CTM (Article 5 of the Rules). This was, here again, interpreted as an oblique means to turn down the independentist flag, even if it is selected by the commission and by the "advice of the population". The organization of the "people's consultation" is mentioned but not described in practice in the Rules, neither is the way the "advice of the population" will be taken into account by the commission.

The Rules of the "consultation" (CTM) are the following.

Article 1.
1.1. Objectives
The CTM initiates a "consultation" for the creation of the flag for the participation of Martinique to culture and sports events at the international level.
The objectives are mainly:
- to create a strong identity that symbolizes Martinique;
- to represent Martinique in diverse events;
- to foster the involvement of the people of Martinique through citizen's participation.
1.2. Eligibility
The "consultation" is open to persons of age [18 years] living in Martinique.
The deadline for proposal submission is 3 January 2019, 12:00.

Article 2.
Each applicant shall propose a single design; however, variants of the same flag are permitted (Article No. 58-I-2 of Decree No. 2016-360 of 25 March 2016 on public offers).
The proposals shall take into account the following items:
- to reflect the identity of Martinique;
- to permit a simple and easy-to-memorize identification, through the concept and the color(s) (no more than three);
- to impulse a dynamic image;
- to propose an excellent visual and esthetic quality (graphism, color, typeface, etc.)

Article 3. Criteria of the selection commission
Each flag shall be evaluated for the following criteria:
- highlighting of the image of Martinique;
- originality of the design;
- visual quality (graphism, esthetic, colors and typeface);
- research and differentiation;
- adaptability to different supports;
- explanation of the design.

Article 4. Composition of the selection commission
The commission, composed of noted persons and partners, shall be formed of:
- an artist;
- an art teacher;
- a communication specialist;
- a noted person from the civil society;
- the President of CESECEM [Conseil économique, social, environnemental, de la culture et de l'éducation de Martinique] [Patrick Lecurieux-Durival];
- three elected members of the CTM;
- the President of the Assembly of the CTM [Claude Lise, Rassemblement démocratique martiniquais - RDM];
- the President of the Executive Council of the CTM [Alfred Marie-Jeanne, MIM].

Article 5. Schedule
The proposals shall be anonymized before evaluation by the selection technical committee.
The committee shall select three flags among the submitted proposals on the base of the criteria defined in Article 3 of these Rules.
The CTM may want to negotiate with the three selected applicants.
The decision of the selection technical committee cannot be challenged and shall not be motivated.
The selection technical committee may decide to reject all proposals if none matches the criteria listed in Article 4.
The President of the Executive Council shall select the final flag, taking into account the recommendation by the selection technical committee on the three short-listed applicants.
The President shall freely make the final selection. The advice emitted by the population shall be included in the material for the recommendation.

Article 6.. Awards
First prize: 8,000 € (the prize includes, among others, the cession of rights, as defined in Article 7.1. of these Rules, and exclusivity.
Second prize: 3,000 €;
Third prize: 2,000 €.


Ivan Sache, 9 December 2018

Flag discontinued

On November 15, 2021, the administrative court of Fort-de-France ruled that this flag and the anthem chosen in 2019 by the former president of the executive council of the territorial collectivitty of Martinique, Alfred Marie-Jeanne, should no longer be used. The judges demonstrated that he had made this choice alone, ignoring the legal functioning of the community. "This decision therefore disregards the rules of jurisdiction between the different bodies of the territorial collectivity of Martinique and is therefore illegal", wrote the magistrates.

The territorial community of Martinique has launched, from November 7 to December 2, 2022, a popular consultation to choose an official flag and anthem of the island for sporting and cultural events. She called on all Martiniquais to make their proposals on these sites:
- for the anthem
- for the flag

Before submitting their proposals, participants must complete a questionnaire intended to guarantee that they are indeed Martinican, since they must have resided in Martinique for at least five years or exercise their main activity on the island. Or, failing that, have "a personal or family link with the territory". The form restricts postal addresses to the 34 municipalities on the island.

In a petition launched online at the end of October, a group of citizens is already demanding recognition of the red-green-black flag. Serge Letchimy, who currently chairs the executive council of Martinique, pleads for official recognition of this emblem. I am not in an extremist position, but I am for a specific color that everyone knows. I am for the recognition of the struggles that have taken place for decades. I am in favor of the red-green-black flag, he said on October 28.

Olivier Touzeau, 14 November 2022