British High Commissioner bids Samoa farewell
The United Kingdom’s outgoing High Commissioner to Samoa, His Excellency Jonathan Sinclair and the British Honorary Consul in Samoa, Taulapapa Brenda Heather-Latū
By Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA – THURSDAY 12 OCTOBER 2017: The British High Commissioner to Samoa, His Excellency Jonathan Sinclair is visiting Samoa for the last time, as his three and a half year term has come to an end.
His Excellency visit this week will be the eighth one so as a diplomat, and tonight, he is hosting a farewell cocktail at the Sheraton Hotel, before leaving for New Zealand where he is based to return to the UK in December 2017.
He met with the Head of State Tuimalealiifano Va’aleto’a Sualauvi 11, Acting Prime Minister Papalii Niko Lee Hang and other Cabinet Ministers, and he conveyed his best wishes for the Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi’s full and speedy recovery.
At his last press conference today, he talked warmly of how much he has enjoyed his role as High Commissioner to Samoa.
“I am struck by the warmth and friendliness of the country, the people and the relationship between the UK and Samoa,” said High Commissioner Sinclair.
“There are many issues that bind us together, such as people, sports, and people ties between the UK and Samoans who have studied in the UK, and I look forward to that continuing after I leave,” he said.
“I have very much enjoyed meeting Prime Minister Tuilaepa over the last three years, and I have witnessed his most skillful chairmanship of complex events such as the 2014 UN Conference on Small Island Developing States, and the 2017 Pacific Islands Forum.
He said Tuilaepa has forged a positive path globally for Samoa and other Pacific Islands on the critical issue of climate change and sustainability.
“Climate change is also a very important issue for the UK and I look forward to it being the theme of the Commonwealth Summit in April 2018 in UK,” said Sinclair.
While in Samoa, he discussed two issues relevant to both Samoa and the UK that would be in the Commonwealth agenda, which are sustainability and rule of law.
He and the Minister for Justice Fa’aolesa Kakopau Ainu’u discussed the importance of institutions, rule of law and culture in the successful rule of democracy.
He is also looking forward to the COP23 in Bonn, Germany where again Samoa and the UK share the notion of “protecting and promoting the values of sustainability, climate and resilience.”
He also value the partnership formed by the UK Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP) last year.
One of the projects he has taken great pride in is the “Active Citizen Program” which is funded and run by the British Council in Samoa and across the Pacific.
The program aims to support the development of Social Enterprises in the region, and representatives from across the region including Samoa, attended the Social Enterprise World Forum in Christchurch.
“We are delighted to fund this excellent program which has real potential to make a difference,” said the High Commissioner.
Asked if he feels he has achieved enough for Samoa in his brief tenure as High Commissioner, he said there are more issues he hoped to achieve, but it makes him proud to see some of the projects the UK was able to assist and enforce thriving in their own determination.
Of special mention is the Samoa Victim Support group (SVSG) which the UK was the first country to help.
“I have found Samoa to be wonderfully welcoming and hospitable, a beautiful country with lovely people, and I truly hope that over the next few years, as the UK charts a more global path, our two countries can continue to build on our mutual warmth and respect,” said High Commissioner Sinclair.