Your Excellency, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Dame Meg Taylor, Honorable Pacific Forum Leaders, Elected Representatives from around the Pacific, distinguished Guests and Friends, who are gathered in Apia this week.
As the Publisher of the Samoa Observer Newspaper, it is my pleasure to say Talofa to you all.
Indeed, it is my privilege to say, the Samoa Observer is duty-bound to join our Head of State, His Highness Tuimaleali'ifano Va'aletoa Sualauvi II, Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sai'lele Malielegaoi, our government, and the people of Samoa, in welcoming you all to our humble nation, our home, Samoa.
Today is a special day for us all, since it is not often that we play hosts to so many distinguished guests from around the region, let alone from elsewhere in the world.
In your official programme, we see that your series of meetings started yesterday, and they would then continue for the next three days, ending Friday evening, with dinner at the Taumeasina Island Resort.
But then I want you to keep in mind, that there are certain social events being planned, that are meant to entertain, one of which is the annual “Teuila Festival” that is taking place in Apia right now.
For those of you who are not aware, the “Teuila Festival” is a seven-day cultural Festival of traditional events, promoting the Miss Samoa Pageant, from where a “Miss Samoa” is picked annually and “crowned.”
The festival is in the middle of town, so go on down and be entertained the Samoan way. There should be enough fun there to keep you well occupied.
Let me assure you all, that our government is doing all it can to ensure your stay in Samoa, is both happy and memorable.
Indeed, as you can well see, there is freedom everywhere; there are happy smiles and laughter too.
You may go anywhere and feel free to ask; we can assure you that everyone is eager to help where one can.
And if you have the time to spare, rent a car and drive around the country, or island if you will.
You can start going west from Apia and return from the east or vice versa; you choose. Either way, you are most likely to find the trip hugely satisfying.
But whatever you decide to do, please don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked by unspoiled, mesmerizing Paradise.
Have a wonderful and memorable holiday in Samoa, and please feel free to return any time.
Muliaga Jean Malifa,