Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka has congratulated the people of Samoa on the country’s 61st anniversary as an independent nation.
The head of Government was asked to speak on behalf of other Pacific Island leaders who were invited to join the celebrations to mark the end of a year-long 60th anniversary celebrations and heralding-in its 61st jubilee.
“I’ve been asked to speak on your behalf, I hope you don’t mind, in the Pacific way, we never mind. Honourable Prime Minister thank you very much for your very kind invitation for us to come and be part of the closing of your 60th anniversary of independence celebrations which ended yesterday and the onset of your 61st year of independence.”
Using his personal story as an analogy, Prime Minister Rabuka explained that he was always on the school rugby team’s reserve bench throughout high school.
When he expressed his desire to pursue a career in the military, he was told that those who join the army are usually the students who don’t succeed in getting to university.
“Now 61 years later, I’m back as Prime Minister. I was prime minister before this. I didn’t go on and just be a soldier, I became a commander of the Fiji army, I became a decorated soldier by the French Government and her Majesty the Queen. I did a lot of things that I didn’t know I would be able to do in 1962.”
“In your celebration I also saw many things that I could have celebrated, I didn’t foresee at the beginning but when you walk through the difficult periods, the difficult spells, the difficult international relationships that we had; I had (a difficult relationship) with my neighbours further away than Samoa. You realise that you had gone through all the difficult patches. You survived, but not only survived, you succeeded.
“I congratulate you for a successful completion of your diamond jubilee year and also as you begin this 61st year as an independent nation. I am sure that you have still greater things to come.
“Everybody in the world know where Samoa is, everybody in the world knows about Samoan sportsmen and women. Many people around the world want to come to Samoa, perhaps you did not foresee 61 years ago but you are here because if the hard-work tolerance and the strength of your society and the friendship of the community in the Pacific.”
Prime Minister Rabuka was a first-year student at Queen Victoria School when Samoa gained her independence in 1962.