U.K. High Commissioner hosts cocktail
The Great British global reach cocktail was hosted by the U.K. High Commissioner to Samoa, Laura Clarke, at the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum.
Invited guests to the Thursday evening event included Samoa’s Head of State, Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II and his wife Fa’amausili Leinafo, Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and members of the diplomatic corps.
Ms. Clarke said that it was a great honour for her to represent the government and people of the United Kingdom (U.K.) in Samoa.
“This is my second time in Samoa, I presented my credentials in March this year, when I came I also visited Villa Vailima because I was told how beautiful it was.
“Although we were almost at opposite ends of the world we share a strong and historical connection and many similarities.
“We are both island nations built on shared values of democracy, we have a common legal tradition and we are both part of the commonwealth nations,” she said.
Ms. Clarke said Samoa and the U.K. also share a commitment to tackle the threat of climate change.
“Samoa is a leader in the Pacific, whether it is hosting SIDS or hosting the Pacific Islands Forum, or indeed hosting the Pacific games next year which we are all looking forward to.
“Part of my visit has been consulting widely across Samoan government, civil societies, business and diplomatic community on how the U.K. should focus its increased presence and where there is the greatest complementarity of interests and that is a consultation that will be ongoing.
“It is indeed a great privilege to meet many of you who are here tonight and to hear your thoughts,” she added.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said that with her Excellency’s return to Samoa, not long after she formally presented her credentials, it gives one a sense of optimism and cheer.
“I say this with all sincerity, it is very good to have the U.K. return to the Pacific and to Samoa and to strengthen its presence once more in the region that it is not or are familiar with.
“But relatedly, the visits of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to the Pacific, currently visiting our neighbor Fiji this week, as well as previous visits by the Royal Family to the Pacific and to Samoa.
“We enforce the special relations that Britain joins with the Pacific as you may well know Commissioner, Samoa’s association with the U.K. dates back to the colonial era,” he said.
Tuilaepa said in 1914, soon after the start of World War I, New Zealand then was a tiny dominion of the British Empire that was asked to undertake an urgent imperial service to occupy Western Samoa.
“Thank you for the decision to establish a diplomatic mission in Samoa and as the oldest in our families of Pacific nations.
“Today we are ready to engage proactively in every opportunity that comes our way, our priority is to maintain the stability of our country and to ensure that as related leaders we are ready and able to respond to our people’s needs.
“Amongst every other key areas of development as members of the Commonwealth we put values and support on aspirations of our people for democratic governance and tolerance of diversity respect for human rights,” added the Prime Minister.
He also expressed concerns at the safety and security of the Samoan people and used it in reference to climate change, as being one of the most pressing security challenges for not only Samoa, but also the world.
Tuilaepa added that he looks forward to the establishment of Britain’s diplomatic mission in Apia and for Ms. Clarke to consider Apia as her second home away from Wellington.