24 Sep 2008

Alcohol ban to be trialled in Noumea this weekend

4:07 pm on 24 September 2008

Alcohol sale and consumption will be restricted this weekend in New Caledonia's capital, Noumea, following drastic measures to curb a rising trend in alcohol-related crimes.

Oceania Flash reports the measure is being introduced from Friday evening 26 September, until Sunday 28 September at midnight, on an experimental basis but it could become permanent.

It is mainly aimed at assessing the effectiveness of such a ban in reducing the number of crimes committed in the capital and its suburbs, mostly as a result of open-air drinking sessions by youths.

Alcohol retailers have since strongly protested against the measure, saying it can be easily circumvented and does not target the sale of alcohol in eating establishments or bars.

Similar measures, in the form of a total ban of the sale of alcohol during weekends, were in force in New Caledonia in the 1980s and 1990s.

However, latest statistics show the consumption of alcohol has risen by 72 percent between 1985 and 2007 while the population has grown by 57 percent.