Messages of welcome and hope
Post cyclone Amos, and Samoa has been buzzing with just past, present and happening events.
They have all got something in common.
They have created opportunities in our business community and in many cases attracted visitors or participants to enjoy what is going on and enhance our tourism industry.
Yesterday delegates arrived for the 39th Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (A.D.F.I.A.P.) Annual meeting and we welcome them to our shores. For those delegates who are here for the first time, we hope you will see some of the reasons why we cannot imagine living anywhere else. Those delegates who have visited here before, will already know those reasons.
Last Friday, Apia’s roads were gridlocked for hours in a section of the town while celebrations of the long awaited re-opening of Aggie Greys’ Hotel in Apia took place. For the short term pain of experiencing big city traffic it was a small price to pay particularly when a considerable number of guests had flown in from overseas and the Grey family is well loved by all.
Also last week, saw an influx of overseas anglers arrive to try their skills at the 20th Samoa International Game Fishing tournament. This popular annual event which has grown each year is well sponsored, with all participants enjoying the casual camaraderie at the end of each day. And while the goal may be to catch the biggest fish, being out on the Pacific ocean for hours is not a bad second prize if you don’t get lucky.
Fans of other sports too were not forgotten in the events offered. The revival of the S.A.S.N.O.C. Sports Awards which was held last night, recognized the hours of unpaid work as well as the talents of athletes, administrators and officials. With the national sports organization operating according to best practice guidelines, it was certainly time for the Awards night to be reinstated.
Many of our people took the opportunity on Saturday night to attend the Annie Grace concert in front of the government building for more than one reason. Also featured was former boxer, To’aletai David Tua who added to the message of hope for those struggling by telling his own personal life story.
For our Prime Minister, the former Minister of Tourism, he too was a recipient of a message of hope from the visiting President of French Polynesia, the newly titled, Tagaloa Edouard Fritch.
However Tagaloa cautiously chose his words in response to our P.M.s enthusiasm to introduce regular flights between our two countries. He announced his intention to link with other Pacific countries as well.
And perhaps even more telling, were his remarks about the ownership and management of airlines.
When questioned on that topic, Tagaloa said from his experience, it’s been proven to be very difficult for a government to run an airline.
Interestingly we could have backed him on that comment and told a him few stories of our own to illustrate his point.
He then said “the private companies are always encouraged to come in while government is there to offer support”.
For all of us who are still paying for the mistakes our government made when running a bloated and unprofitable airline not too long ago, and for some of us who had personal knowledge of many dodgy and corrupt management decisions, our message of hope is that the P.M. will take heed of the words of Tagaloa.