I'm fortunate to be spending New Year's in paradise. Being home at this time of year is part of the annual get away from the realities and responsibilities of work and life, and a great opportunity to relax, and catch up with friends and family.
While my friends are all outside entertaining guests (ma guests ma guests ma guests lol) I'm watching Tuilaepa's speech on TV, an address penned to reign in the New Year, to celebrate and reflect on the many achivements this small island country in the Pacific has made, and also to outline that Samoa will continue to grow, develop and prosper in the New Year by listing some very significant events taking place in Samoa in 2015.
Despite what you may feel personally about the man, Tuilaepa's leadership is formidable and has been a significant factor in Samoa's continuous evolution and development. This isn't a "I love Tuilaepa let's all vote for him and forget the missteps he has made" post. No. Rather it is an opportunity to reflect and celebrate the country's collective efforts and to be creative with our thinking in developing solutions to addressing both existing and new challenges and opportunities.
In the scheme of things, and on the scale of the international stage, the achievements of this small island developing state deserves recognition; real achievements which I feel are often overlooked, poorly understood or fail to involve some form of sports or entertainment.
Samoa's graduation from the United Nations list of Least Developed Countries (LDC) to Middle Income Country took place with little fanfare but deserves much congratulations. It hearlds in a series of new and exciting opporrunities but also challenges and it will be interesting to see how Samoa and the people of Samoa work to meet these.
Samoa also took on the mammoth task of hosting the Third International Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) Conference, the first time a major international conference of this kind was hosted by a Pacific country. You don't need to look far to see what the international community thought of Samoa's role as host.
I want to take this opportunity to thank and acknowledge all those who have worked hard and continue to work to develop our beautiful homeland.
Manuia le tausaga fou.
Check out his speech here.