French Pacific news in brief for 22 June 2024

New Caledonia’s Congress votes on emergency fund to salvage its Social Security system

New Caledonia’s Congress has on Thursday endorsed a special emergency fund to salvage its ailing social security system (the CAFAT) for a total of some $US54-million.

The special package aims at injecting sufficient cash to allow CAFAT to implement recently announced plans to assist persons who have lost their jobs, mostly due to destruction, looting, and arson of businesses as a result of riots that erupted in New Caledonia on May 13, 2024.

Beneficiaries will receive temporary allowances between seventy and one hundred percent of their previous salaries.

But the French assistance funds are regarded as insufficient and last week, President Louis Mapou wrote to Paris asking for a further $US280-million which, he said, would allow New Caledonia to have sufficient cash flow to operate just for the next two months.

Budget minister Yannick Slamet told the Congress that New Caledonia was on the verge of bankruptcy.

It was the first Congress meeting since New Caledonia’s civil unrest broke out over five weeks ago and before debates, all members observed a minute of silence in homage to the nine persons who died during the riots and clashes.

Court acquits father who treated his son with cannabis

A court in French Polynesia has acquitted 47-year-old Ariimatani Vairaaroa who was being prosecuted for treating his disabled son with cannabis.

A court in French Polynesia has acquitted a 47-year-old man who was being prosecuted for treating his disabled son with cannabis.

Following a police raid at his home, Ariimatani Vairaaroa was sued for cultivating about one hundred cannabis plants which he was using to produce oil.

Vairaaroa told the court last week this was to provide relief to his 10-year-old son, who is suffering from epilepsy.

He said he had been using this oil treatment successfully and that helped reduce his son’s seizures.

“I knew this was illegal, but I am ready to do anything for my son,” he said.

French Polynesia’s government is currently working on legalising the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes and at a later stage for recreational purposes.

Olympics surfing fan zone location changed due to delays

The Riri Point (Tahiti) location initially planned to host the 2024 Olympics surfing fan zone has been changed

The location initially planned to host the 2024 Olympics surfing fan zone at Riri Point (Tahiti) has been moved due to delays.

Works started last year and will not be completed in time to host the fan zone for Tahiti’s Olympics surfing events (late July 2024) at nearby Teahupoo (West coast of the main island of Tahiti).

The main cause of the delays was heavy rains earlier this year, architects said.

Olympic organisers then decided to move the Olympics fan zone to another location.

But locals will still benefit from the brand-new infrastructure which includes restaurants and a sports recreational park, the $US15-million project will be completed and handed over by the end of this year.

“Bula Paris 2024” to celebrate Pacific culture

“Bula Paris 2024” show to celebrate Pacific cultures during the Olympics

A music show dedicated to Pacific music will take place during the 2024 Olympics in Paris, the French Embassy in Suva (Fiji) said in a release.

The event is scheduled to take place on 26 July 2024 and coincide with the Olympics opening ceremony.

Artists to perform at the event include Ratu, Billy T, Lesi Fiji, Miles Manulevu, and Kylie Fisher in what is described as “a captivating blend of traditional Fijian music and contemporary island rhythms” with a “Fiji-style BBQ”, organisers said.

The paying event, held at the “Taki Bar” in Paris, is targeting those “many guests supporting the Pacific island teams competing in the Paris Olympics.”

Tahiti icon John Gabilou receives French medal

80-year-old Tahiti singer John Gabilou (L) has received the French medal as a Chevalier of Arts and Letters from French High Commissioner Eric Spitz in recognition of a career spanning over sixty years

80-year-old Tahiti singer John Gabilou has received the French medal as a Chevalier of Arts and Letters in recognition of a career spanning over sixty years.

The ceremony took place this week during a ceremony at the French High Commission in Papeete.

“I have been singing not only in Tahiti, but throughout the world. I feel honoured”, the crooner (whose real name is Gabriel Lewis Laughlin), told local media.

He was also France’s representative at the Eurovision contest in 1981 with the song “Humanahum” which finished third and sold about a million copies.

This year, Gabilou who specialises in Tahitian-style songs, is planning to release a new album called, Island Home.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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