Sick passenger turns back FAO boss’ flight

Picturesque Lefaga Beach where the classic Return to Paradise was filmed

Picturesque Lefaga Beach where the classic Return to Paradise was filmed

Alan Ah Mu

APIA: THURSDAY 11 APRIL 2013: The bestowal of a traditional matai title on Director General of FAO, José Graziano da Silva, has been postponed to tomorrow.

The Director General did not arrive last night as scheduled.

His Virgin Samoa flight turned around due to what Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi described as “unforeseen circumstances.”

Mr. da Silva was scheduled to arrive last night for the 10th Meeting of FAO South West Pacific Ministers of Agriculture which Samoa is hosting.

The meeting, which Prime Minister Tuilaepa opened, started this morning without the Director General.

Minister of Agriculture, Le Mamea Ropati did not know why the Director General’s plane turned around.

A local FAO official said a passenger on board Mr. da Silva’s flight experienced a medical problem and forced the plane to turn back.

It is Le Mamea’s village of Lefaga who wants to bestow a matai title on the FAO boss.

The bestowal ceremony takes place “Tomorrow … about 8 o’clock,” Le Mamea said.

Lefaga, where the ceremony will take place, is located on the south west coast of Upolu Island about half an hour’s drive from the capital Apia.

It is popular swimming spot because of its beaches and where the South Seas movie classic Return To Paradise which starred Gary Cooper was filmed in the late 1950s.

Le Mamea refused to reveal the name of the matai title that will be bestowed saying, “How can I tell you when the man hasn’t arrived?

“It’ll be revealed tomorrow.”

Mr. da Silva is due to arrive at 5pm today, the Minister of Agriculture said.

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