26 Jun 2009

New Caledonia ponders significance of June 26th

12:47 pm on 26 June 2009

There is a renewed debate in New Caledonia about how to mark today, June 26th, which was the date in 1988 when the Matignon Accords were signed between the loyalist leader, Jacques Lafleur, and the pro-independence leader, Jean-Marie Tjibaou.

The new president, Philippe Gomes of the Caledonia Together Party, has decided that this year New Caledonians will go to work on the day.

But according to Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes newspaper, he will consult leaders over whether to make June the 26th a public holiday next year.

Last year, the then government had declared it a holiday for public servants while the private sector did not follow the move.

The pro-independence camp would like June the 26th to become New Caledonia's national holiday.

It would replace September the 24th which is the day in 1853 when New Caledonia became a French possession.