Polynesian Leaders' Group meeting cancelled again
The Polynesian Leaders' Group (P.L.G.) meeting, slated to be held later this month in American Samoa, has been cancelled as a result of the measles epidemic.
This is the summit's second consecutive cancellation. It had been cancelled previously in July 2019 but held over for this month.
Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga conveyed news of the cancellation in a letter to the President of Wallis and Futuna, Atoloto Kolokilagi, last month.
The group, which was established in 2011, consists of independent or self-governing countries or territories within the geographical region of Polynesia. Samoa is a founding member.
“In light of the measles epidemic in the Pacific, with its pervasive impact on the Independent State of Samoa, there is great sensitivity that this health crisis may continue into January 2020, thus precipitating concern over the advisability of holding the P.L.G. scheduled for January, 2020.
"It is therefore deemed prudent to postpone the P.L.G. summit for January 28th and 29th until April 14-16, 2020. I apologize vehemently for any inconvenience that this cancellation might cause, but there is certainty that our common concern over the containment and preemption of the propagation of measles in the Pacific would engender support for this decision.”
Governor Lolo said that American Samoa is enthusiastically and excitedly looking forward to hosting the P.L.G. summit and they hope the cancellation will not dampen the enthusiasm of P.L.G. members to visit the U.S. territory.
The Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi, last year mentioned the upcoming P.L.G. meeting, when speaking about the importance of the new Manatua undersea fibre optic internet cable.
Tuilaepa said other Polynesian countries and islands — such as Tonga and Tuvalu — had shown interest in sharing the important developments associated with the Manatua cable and that some Melanesian nations had also inquired about it.
The Prime Minister said the Manatua cable had been expected to be discussed during the P.L.G. Summit in American Samoa.
The Government of American Samoa had received a grant of USD$350,000 to host the summit.