By Unumoe Esera
APIA: FRIDAY 21 DECEMBER 2012: Samoa’s 50th Independence Anniversary celebrations may have been held in June earlier this year but the official closing was held this morning at the Parliament house at Tiafau, Mulinu’u.
The closing ceremony began with a prayer led by the Chairman of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa, Reverend Elder Tautiaga Senara.
The Prime Minister Tuilaepa Fatialofa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi delivered the keynote address.
“We are a Christian nation and at the end of all our endeavours we give thanks to God,” he said after Reverend Senara had finished his sermon and prayer.
He also acknowledged the late Heads of State Malietoa Tanumafili II and Tupua Tamasese Meaole and former Prime Minister, the late Mataafa Fiame Faumuina and their determination to gain independence for our small island nation.
“Samoa is able to strive forward thanks to the sacrifices made by our forefathers who strived for independence. Our country has achieved a lot in 50 years and have graduated on levels of prosperity such as becoming a member of the World Trade Organisation. These are just recent milestones,” said Tuilaepa.
In gaining independence, the Prime Minister says this symbolizes a lot of positive aspects of Samoa as a nation.
“We are the first Pacific island country to become independent which indicates political stability and strength of our governance. We bring peace to communities in conflict,” he said.
Tuilaepa expressed his deepest gratitude to Samoa’s development partners which are New Zealand, Australia, Japan, China, the United States of America, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.
As for the destruction caused by Cyclone Evan, Tuilaepa says “it is a tragic reminder of the catastrophic consequences of Climate Change which must be addressed, but we must not allow ourselves to fall into despair.”
The Prime Minister in looking ahead sees a bright future for Samoa in years to come.
“For the future and the next 50 years, what the country has achieved so far underlines confidence and there is every reason to be optimistic that future leaders will continue to make the right political decisions,” said Tuilaepa.
The Declaration by the Leaders of Samoa followed, led by his His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi.
The closing speech was delivered by Joint Chairperson of the 50th Independence Anniversary Committee 2012, Minister of Justice and Courts Administration Fiame Naomi Mataafa.
She said that the original official closing ceremony programme for the 50th Independence celebrations was to be divided into two parts. A dedication service in the morning and entertainment at night. But due to the damage caused by Cyclone Evan, the focus was now on getting the country back on its feet.
The ceremony was therefore concluded with a special musical performance entitled ‘A Christmas Gift’ by international opera trio Sol3 Mio (Sole Mio) and Malina Ott Devoe. Sol3 Mio is made up of two brothers Amitai and Pene Pati and their friend Moses McKay. All four artists are studying for their Masters at the prestigious Wales International Academy of Voice which has an intake of only 20 students per year.
The performance received a standing ovation from all who attended the closing ceremony.