19 May 2014

French HC in New Caledonia accused of defamation

1:37 pm on 19 May 2014

New Caledonia's outgoing vice-president has accused the French high commissioner, Jean-Jacques Brot, of defamation.

The local daily newspaper says that in an unprecedented move, Gilbert Tyuienon wants Mr Brot to be summoned in Noumea's criminal court.

The dispute goes back to February when Mr Brot cancelled a visit to Canala, whose mayor is Mr Tyueinon.

The visit was called off after Mr Brot was asked to lay a wreath on the grave of a Kanak pro-independence leader, Eloi Machoro, killed by a French anti-terror unit in 1985.

Shortly afterwards, Mr Brot walked out of a sitting of the territory's collegial government after allegedly being provoked by Mr Tyuienon.

In late February, Mr Brot suddenly cancelled public engagements for a week, prompting a storm on social media in his support as there was speculation he would be recalled to France.

At the time, Paris denied any plans to terminate his tenure.

However, a fresh report is circulating on social media that Mr Brot has now been recalled and could be replaced this month.