The director of the polar secretariat, Rachid Touzani, has just been thanked by the secretary of state of scientific policy, Zuhal Demir (N-VA), reported Le Soir. The news was reported recently at a meeting of Belgian scientists and comes at a time when the state and the International Polar Foundation are still negotiating to resolve the conflict surrounding the management of the Princess Elisabeth Polar Station in Antarctica. Based on various sources, the newspaper also wrote on Monday that the five external experts, that were engaged some time ago, were also put out.
Four of them are former collaborators of Alain Hubert, and were later prosecuted by the President of the Polar Foundation, who accused them of having betrayed him.
Relating to the same case, a letter was sent to Zuhal Demir, the prime minister, Charles Michel, and the ministers of foreign affairs, the economy, defence and the environment and was signed by 32 scientists from the BNCAR, the national committee of the Belgian National Center for Antarctic Research. Their demand: the creation of a “scientific committee” within the Belgian Polar Secretariat. The signatories deplore, among other things, a lack of transparency, considering that some projects selected for the polar station are “not evaluated on the basis of scientific and institutional criteria”.