Over 75 high level delegates of the Pacific Islands Law Officers Network are in Samoa this week to attend the 38th PILON Annual Meeting at the Taumeasina Island Resort.
PILON is a regional network of senior legal officers from 18 Pacific Island Member countries who collaborate to advance the legal infrastructure and address shared socio-economic development issues for their member countries. Tokelau became the 19th member with their application endorsed at this years Annual Meetings.
Speaking to Samoa Global News PILON Executive Secretary Sasae Walter said the 3 current issues which PILON and its members have placed at the core of its current work are Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), Cyber Crime and Corruption.
The Annual Meeting allows PILON Members to take note of the work by the various Working Committees in these areas of focus, and to discuss and agree on action to be taken.
The Prime Minister of Samoa Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi presented the keynote address to welcome participants and launch the PILON meetings arlier this week.
Tuilaepa acknowledged the special support towards PILON from the Attorney General’s Office of Australia and the Crown Law Office of New Zealand. Australia and New Zealand offer core support to the PILON Secretariat housed here in Samoa as well as fund PILON to host workshops and forums throughout the year.
“The Government of Samoa, continues to acknowledge and emphasise the significance of PILON as a forum for addressing law and justice issues common to countries within the Pacific region.” said the Prime Minister.
Having hosted this event in 2009 the Prime Minister and Minister overseeing the Office of the Attorney General, offered a warm welcome back to PILON delegates, participants and officials.
“I am therefore very pleased to note that many of our Pacific colleagues have made the effort to travel here to take part in this meeting. The success of this gathering is dependent on the collective contribution of all our Pacific members”.
“I trust that by the end of this week, much will be achieved in terms of dialogue and addressing the common challenges faced by many, if not all members within our region,” added the Prime Minister.
“This year all official members of PILON are represented including a high level delegation from Australia led by the Secretary of the Attorney General’s Department Chris Moraitis, the American Samoa delegation who recently became members in 2017, attending their first PILON AGM. ”
The Samoa Prime Minister spoke about the ongoing challenge faced by law enforcement in the region to protect citizens from criminal activities, and the importance of collaboration towards solutions.
“With the efforts of our law enforcement officers, such as the need for effective resourcing, technical skills, and where required, further changes to our laws, the continued collaboration between our countries is therefore important, to help ensure the effective promotion and maintenance of law enforcement within the Pacific”.
“Moving forward, it is imperative that we continue and encourage the joint efforts between our countries within PILON, in the face of increasing and progressive criminal activity within the region”.
“I therefore encourage your continued work to address issues such as Fighting Corruption, Cybercrime and Gender Violence in the Pacific region”.
The Prime Minister in closing reiterated the commitment of Samoa to be the current host country for the PILON Secretariat, and to support PILON members with the fight against criminal activity.
“Finally, I understand that you all have a busy week ahead of you. On behalf of the Government of Samoa, I sincerely wish you all the very best as you prepare for your agenda. On the same note, I trust and hope that you will be able to find some time to enjoy our beautiful island”.