News from New Caledonia

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August 12, 1999



NOUMEA---Police chiefs from the South Pacific are to hold their 28th annual conference next week in Noumea with a focus on young offenders, daily newspaper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reports.

The police chiefs, from 16 South Pacific Island states and territories, are to discuss both themes of young offenders and youths that are victims of offences.

"We have chosen this theme because it's a federating one which concerns all participating countries in the region," New Caledonia's senior officer in charge of public security Robert Kohl said.

"New Caledonia, for instance, does not have the same sort of delinquency that exists in metropolitan France. But for the last two years, there's been a clear upsurge in the numbers of teenage delinquents."

In 1998, some 17 percent of offenders in New Caledonia were under 18, up from 10 percent in 1997.

"Also, there are more and more minors who become recidivists, and sometimes even multi-recidivists. This proves, if anything, that the response we offer to this type of delinquency (in New Caledonia) is not the right one at present," Kohl said.

Gangs were also appearing in the French territory's capital.

The one-week conference will gather police chiefs from Australia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Guam, Cook islands, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Nauru, Niue, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, French Polynesia, American Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

Representatives from the South Pacific Forum, Interpol, American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) will also attend as observers.


NOUMEA---Respective approaches from France and Britain towards decolonization were addressed on Wednesday by French university professor Jean Martin, who is currently in New Caledonia, Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reports.

Martin, a specialist of overseas colonies at French University of Lille , specializes in comparing French and English decolonization processes of their former colonial empires.

"The two systems are totally different from legal, administrative and philosophical points of view. But paradoxically, they have both achieved the same goal: Neither the former, nor the latter have escaped problems of military coups, nepotism or corruption," Martin notes.

The differences between the French and the British approaches are "cultural historical."

"On one side, you have the British monarchy system, on the other the French who tend to assimilate."

"For the British, colonization was a means, for the French it was an end," the scholar adds.

"No doubt, the French were more humanistic. They saw their colonies as being integrally part of the national territory. But there was some utopia in this. This is what they usually referred to as their "civilizing mission."

In Britain, the attachment to the local populations was not as strong, and this is precisely why British decolonization processes, in some cases, was more harmonious," Martin said.

He has published a " Lexic of French Decolonization " (Lexique de la Decolonisation Française) (Dalloz publisher).

This bulletin was produced by the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA).

Editor: Patrick Antoine Decloitre

For more information, contact Nina Ratulele, PINA Administrator, at

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