In the Pacific-island nation of Vanuatu, every 21 February is Father Lini Day. The day is meant to honour Walter Lini, who was not only an Anglican priest but also the first prime minister of the nation.
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Lini was the main leader who pushed for independence for Vanuatu, at a time when the country was ruled jointly by France and the U.K. Once independence was finally achieved in 1980, Walter Lini was elected the first prime minister. However, he retired from office when his own party split up in 1991, and he passed away on his sick bed on 21 February, 1999. The day of his death became the date of the holiday now held in his honour.
Walter Lini’s time in office created quite a bit of controversy. This was because he had friendly relations with certain socialistic nations and because he opposed nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific, which many Western nations felt was necessary. But despite these issues, he is remembered in a positive way in Vanuatu. Every 21 February, church services are held to remember him, and a wreath will be ceremonially laid at his grave site.