BRUSSEL1S: THURSDAY 12 DECEMBER 2013: The Prime Minister’s presence in Brussels this week provided a rare opportunity to meet with Samoa’s Honorary Counsel Generals in Europe . At a dinner hosted by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi at the Montgomery Hotel, Monday night, he reiterated his government’s broad development vision and outlined what he expects from them.
“First, I’d like to thank you for agreeing to represent the interests of Samoa in your respective countries,” said the Prime Minister.
“This visit provides a rare opportunity to see you in person.”
Since independence in 1962, Samoa, he said, has become a beacon of political and social stability in a region that has been growing in instability in recent years.
“It is an advantage we want to exploit. Tourism – as we are well aware – is not only a huge contributor to our GDP, but a mainstay of our economy. Samoa as a tourism destination has much to offer in terms of beautiful beaches, rivers and lakes, historical sites and other natural attractions. We are blessed with a warm climate, a pristine environment, clean and tidy villages and an authentic and welcoming Polynesian culture that is very much alive.
“Your contribution, therefore, is to put in a good word to potential visitors in Europe to come to Samoa.”
In addition, Tuilaepa pointed out Samoa’s passion for sports, particularly rugby.
“Samoans have always taken to rugby union and rugby league and now have made a start at cricket and soccer. We ask you to facilitate any assistance in your countries in terms of sporting tours here in Europe and your teams to Samoa, as well as assisting in recruiting professional players from Samoa to Europe. Any sports funding will also be much appreciated.”
Next September, the Prime Minister reminded, Apia will be hosting the United Nations Third Conference on Small Island Developing States.
“The consequences of climate change – in all its forms and manifestations – will be a central theme of this conference. Some 3000 delegates are expected to converge in Apia, providing a huge opportunity for Samoa to showcase what it has to offer the world. I expect any assistance you can provide in your respective countries to get that pertinent message across.
Other development issues raised by the Prime Minister include the relocation of the main wharf to Vaiusu Bay as well as upgrading Faleolo International Airport.
“We also recently ushered in friendly legislation to further attract and facilitate trade and investment in Samoa. All these developments are to align Samoa as not only an attractive place to visit but to trade with and invest in.”
The Counsel Generals presented a briefing paper to the Prime Minister outlining some of the sectors, plus recommendations Samoa can look at. They include renewable energy, agro-forestry, trade capacity building and ocean resource development.
Present were Samoa’s Honorary Counsel Generals in Italy, Papalii Giovanni Caffarelli; Dr Torben M. Roestorff in Austria; Dr Ascan Sylvester in Germany; Mrs Prunella Scarlett in the United Kingdom and Mr Anders Brostrom in Sweden.