Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka has addressed the appointment of former Nauru President Baron Waqa as the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum.
As the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting unfolded in Rarotonga, President David Adeang and Baron Waqa left the Cook Islands just 24 hours after Waqa’s unexpected exit from a plenary meeting.
Replying to media questions, Prime Minister Rabuka asserted, “Forum leaders are not judges.”
Responding to queries about the selection criteria, Prime Minister Rabuka challenged the idea of determining merit on an arbitrary scale. “Merit on whose scale?” he questioned.
“We’re looking at nations making submissions and recommendations rather than personal. So who are we to say that someone does not merit selection if his country has nominated him?”
The Pacific Islands Forum leaders, emerged from their retreat on Aitutaki on Thursday, 10 November, confirmed Baron Waqa as the new Secretary General.
Prime Minister Rabuka’s statement underscores the importance of respecting the nomination process and recognising the role of nations in making submissions.
As the region moves forward with its new leadership, Prime Minister Rabuka’s statement adds an important perspective to the ongoing dialogue surrounding the Pacific Islands Forum.