Prime Minister’s Address at the Celebration of Commonwealth Day 2022

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Address by the Hon Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa at the celebration of Commonwealth Day – Sheraton Aggies Apia.

It is indeed a pleasure for me to join all of you here to celebrate Commonwealth Day with its theme of ‘Delivering a Common Future’. As a small island developing state member of the Commonwealth, today allows us the opportunity to reflect and highlight how we as the Commonwealth  family are ‘innovating, connecting and transforming’ to help achieve our goals of fighting climate change, promoting good governance and boosting trade.

Currently with the invasion of peace through aggression and war, we look to our membership in the various cluster groups such as the Commonwealth Family to augment and further accentuate what our individual contributions can provide towards our common goals.

In this regard, we acknowledge with appreciation the United Kingdom’s Chairmanship of the Commonwealth that is ending. You have kept our ship steady as we waged our way through the turbulence of the pandemic. Similarly, we had benefited from the counsel and support of the Good Offices of the Secretary General during our difficulties post elections in 2021. Ultimately, Samoa was able to demonstrate its respect for and upholding the rule of law and the Commonwealth principles and values.

Samoa remains committed to hosting the next Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting following Rwanda’s turn as host, which had already been postponed. We continue to play an active role in the eight member Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group committee.

We have been a part of the Queen’s Commonwealth canopy program for a number of years now; signifying our contribution to the ecological restoration of degraded forests, building resilience against climate change and expanding the ‘Two Million Trees Campaign’

Recently we had welcomed the Queen’s baton ahead of the 2022 July-August Commonwealth Games. Despite the difficulties and uncertainties of COVID 19 I am sure there are keen sports bodies that have been preparing for months to send representatives to the event.

In closing I also acknowledge the collaboration and cooperation among Pacific island countries and their development partners in maritime surveillance of borders and in particular, IUU fishing which saw the British naval vessel HMS Spey dock in Apia Harbour to coincide with the celebration today, before it departs for her base in Wellington.  Hopefully this cooperation will be enhanced given the fact that Samoa no longer has a patrol boat.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Government and people of Samoa we wish to offer our congratulations for Her Majesty the Queen’s platinum jubilee, marking 70 years of service to the Commonwealth countries.

I wish you all a happy Commonwealth Day celebration – we look forward to again welcoming HMS Spey to our waters in the near future.

Soifua