Ascension to the chairmanship of the Melanesian Spearhead Group comes at a critical time for New Caledonia's indigenous FLNKS movement..
A veteran leader in New Caledonia's indigenous Kanak Socialist National Liberation Front, or FLNKS, says the group's recent assumption of the Melanesian Spearhead Group chairmanship comes at a pivotal time in the territory's history.
New Caledonia is entering the final phase of the Noumea Accord which provides for a possible referendum on independence.
As a former MSG chair, Roch Wamytan, told Johnny Blades that assuming the MSG chairmanship is very important for the FLNKS.
ROCH WAMYTAN: Because we are in the process of the Noumea Accord, emancipation and decolonisation process. And I think it's very important, as well, to be supported by the MSG, by the Melanesian countries for us to achieve our independence in the few years coming.
JOHNNY BLADES: So will the role of MSG chair, will that significantly boost the bid for independence here?
RW: Yes. I think that it's a good opportunity for us. It's a good opportunity. We know that all the Melanesian countries within this sub-regional organisation continue to support us. So I think the help, the assistance, on the framework presented by the Noumea Accord, the framework will come to hand with independence.
JB: So this MSG chairmanship is really at a critical time for the FLNKS in terms of this decolonisation process?
RW: Yes, I think here in New Caledonia, when Kanaky heard about this question - to achieve or not the chairmanship of the MSG - we had a lot of discussion, internal discussion, within the political bureau of the FLNKS to know if we take it or not. It was a real issue for us, to know if it's the ideal time to take it or not. And when we decided this chairmanship could boost the process to assure our independence, maybe next year or in the years coming after between next year and 2018.
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