“Unless the Lord builds the house, they who build it would labor in vain.” So reminded the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Agafili Tomaimano Shem Leo, on Wednesday.
He was speaking at the dedication of the new Pacific Immigration Directors Conference Secretariat relocated from Suva, Fiji to the 3rd floor of the Development Bank building in downtown Apia.
The Secretariat is co-funded by the governments of Australia and New Zealand at a cost of $230,000. And Ah Liki Construction won the tender to build it.
The government of Samoa provided assistance through the scoping mission for a suitable location, helping out with the tendering process and through signing the lease agreement which allows the Secretariat to operate rent free for three consecutive years.
In toasting the new secretariat, New Zealand’s High Commissioner in Samoa David Nicholson complimented the partnership and praised the crucial role of the P.I.D.C to the region.
“Regional cooperation – and working together – is integral to developing and maintaining a secure, peaceful and prosperous Pacific, and the relationships we share – as Pacific neighbors – is the glue that binds the conversations the processes and the practices and the outcomes of a conference such as this together,” he said.
“On this note it also further strengthens the impact and benefits of the P.A.C.E.R Plus agreement, as signed off on last week.”
The same sentiments were echoed by Australia’s High Commissioner in Samoa, Sue Langford.
“Australia and New Zealand have been pleased to support the P.I.D.C since its establishment 20 years ago,” she noted in her congratulatory speech.
“Since 1996, the Secretariat has been at the forefront of the Pacific region’s fight against immigration issues such as cybercrimes, drug and people smuggling, human trafficking, illegal fishing and organized crimes.
“I wish the Secretariat all the best and I am sure having this space, as your new base will ensure the P.I.D.C’s future as an important and effective regional organization to serve a safe, secure and prosperous future for the region.”
The dedication of the P.I.D.C Secretariat coincides with their 20th annual meeting which ended yesterday.