Samoa’s Head of State, Afioga Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II, delivered his formal address to the nation on the occasion of its 60th Independence celebrations during the official flag raising ceremony held at Mulinuu in Apia.
The 60-Year Independence theme, to sail with faith, is a revelation and guidance to Samoa’s journey into the future, said the Head of State.
“The Bible declares that faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things unseen. It also ascertains, that we should walk by faith and not by sight.. May we continue to have fervent faith in the Lord, for he has promised that He will never leave, nor forsake us”.
The milestone of 60 years is a time to reflect on god’s mercy, guidance and protection over Samoa, stated Tuimaleali’ifano. “We reflect with thanksgiving and praise, for He has steered our course safely, through the fury of storms and life’s challenges”.
Afioga Tuimalealiifano honoured the sacrifices and far sighted vision of Samoa’s forefathers who fought for independence over many decades before it was achieved in 1962.
“Today is certainly a day to celebrate the success of our democracy. We remember the sacrifices and far sighted vision of our forefathers to strive for independence, however, on this occasion, we should also, with introspection, consider what remains to be done”.
The Head of State said Samoa can only say it has truly achieved independence, if hardship is addressed, and all citizens are able to benefit as Samoa develops.
“We achieve independence, in a true sense, only when we are able to banish hardship and ensure all citizens fully enjoy the fruits of national development while having full opportunities, to contribute to it”.
“This will be possible only when we learn from our failures, and build on our successes,” reiterated the Head of State.
The Head of State of Samoa acknowledged and thanked all sectors of Samoa society from its leaders to its children, its development partners and diaspora who have contributed immensely to Samoa’s social and economic growth.
“Our development partners, Samoa diaspora, our athletes, the special role of our clergy and prayer warriors, and in particular and children – a source of our strength – are acknowledged, with sincere gratitude”.
The Samoa Head of State, a born again Christian, thanked all churches and prayer groups in Samoa for continuing to dutifully uplift the country, its leaders and its people, in prayers and supplications before the Lord.
“I firmly believe that your commitment to seek the Lord’s direction for Samoa is central to why our country remains peaceful and harmonious”.
Afioga Tuimalealiifano thanked the Honorable Prime Minister and her Cabinet and said Samoa’s 60th independence celebrations is unique and historical, with Afioga Fiame Naomi Mataafa, being the first female Prime Minister for Samoa in 60 years.
“May you lead Samoa with wisdom, into the future.”
The Head of State acknowledged the Honorable Speaker of the House and Members of Parliament.
“It is my prayer that the love of God remains the rock and flagship of your calling as you seek to pursue the best for Samoa”.
The Head of State thanked his Honour the Chief Justice and all the Justices of the Court of Samoa, for continuing to uphold the integrity of the Judiciary.
Tuimalealiifano acknowledged the contribution of Samoa’s communities at all levels of its unique village governance structure – where Village Councils of matai are supported by Women’s Committees, village youth and church clergy within villages.
“Your joint efforts to help government to accomplish economic resilience and sustainability, health and good hygiene standards, and to uphold peace and harmony in your respective districts and villages, plays a prominent role in the successful implementation of our development aspirations and plans”.
Samoa’s international development partners were acknowledged for their continued assistance and support to Samoa’s development over its journey of 60 years. “Your contributions to Samoa in the spirit of genuine partnerships, has helped us respond to multiple challenges due to climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic”.
Samoa’s diaspora, spread across all nations of the globe with over 200k in the US, 180k in New Zealand and over 75k in Australia, were acknowledged by the Head of State. “To our Samoa diaspora, I thank you for supporting your families at home. Your talents and shared diverse experiences continue to benefit our country, in many ways”.
It was a day to mark the advancement of women’s leadership, for while the Hon Prime Minister raised the flag as Samoa’s first female PM, the Samoa Police were led by Acting Police Commissioner, Papalii Monalisa Tiai Keti.
“Come, let us build a nation in which our women are able to realize their full potential, from shaping the future of families, to shaping the future of the nation,” encouraged the Head of State, “It is our collective responsibility to empower them economically, socially, educationally and also politically”.
The Head of State reminded Samoa to keep national interests at the forefront of development priorities and initiatives.
“If our economy is not strong and if we are not self reliant in important matters of national security, then we cannot successfully face external challenges,” he cautioned.
The Head of State acknowledged the external challenges facing Samoa as the global economy recovers from the pandemic, and advised the nation to take the time to look within and address internal issues that are within Samoa’s control.
“While we cannot do much about conditions that remain outside our country, we must make every effort to resolve any problems inside our country so that our economic growth and the creation of employment opportunities in the country, are again positioned and poised for a sustainable and resilient recovery, post pandemic”.
Let us sail with faith, in God.
May God bless the celebration of our 60 years of Independence, Soifua.