The flamboyant nature of Samoans gave Leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum one last laugh when Samoa bid them farewell at the scenic Taumeasina Island Resort last night.
A dancing Police brass band to the tune of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” provided just the light moment the leaders needed after a week of meetings – including yesterday’s Leaders Retreat, which went into over time last night.
But just as Samoa pulled out the red carpet to welcome her guests on Tuesday, last night’s closing ceremony was just as beautiful.
Indeed all is well that ended well. The Police dance was a highlight just as significant as was an 18-gun salute to say tofa soifua.
The Chairman of the 48th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting and Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, hailed the meeting a success.
The best part is that at the end of the meeting, each Leader will be returning home knowing they have a critical role to play in protecting the Blue Pacific ocean.
“I thank you all who joined the Pacific journey, learning and discovering the new ideas about who we are as a region and the potential of the new narrative around a one ocean continent,” Tuilaepa said.
The Prime Minister added that Pacific Leaders have looked at new possibilities to improve their exchanges.
He said these exchanges need to be inclusive and meaningful interaction with the stakeholders so they add value to informed decision making.
“We continue to emphasize not just to ourselves but also to our partners that without bolder actions, we will not have time to explain to our generations of the future the existence of climate change,” said Tuilaepa.
“We have acknowledge that security and stability are crucial to the prosperity of our Pacific island countries and that national security is linked to the security of our region as Pacific Island Forum Countries.
“We must work together to address the security challenges that we face and we have defined what the key security challenges are.
“We have prescribed for ourselves the mission by which we can further strengthen and build the capabilities of the institution that serve our countries and people towards sustainability.”
The Prime Minister said he is looking forward to working with each Leader over the next 12 months during Samoa’s tenure as the Forum’s Chair.
“It will not be a smooth journey but together we can make a beginning,” said Tuilaepa.
As the sun set over Taumeasina yesterday, the Forum’s flag was lowered and presented by Prime Minister Tuilaepa to the Secretary General of Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Dame Meg Taylor.
A communiqué and a final press conference was held last night.