Vanuatu Prepares For Melanesian Spearhead Silver Jubilee

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Melanesian states to celebrate 25 years of solidarity, growth

By Jane Joshua

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Jan. 15, 2013) – The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Secretariat is liaising closely with the Vanuatu Government, key stakeholders including Foreign Affairs and the Vanuatu Police Force in advanced preparations for top Melanesian officials who are invited to the MSG Silver Jubilee celebrations two weeks away.

The high caliber guests who will grace the occasion comprises of current Prime Ministers, former prime ministers and instrumental leaders including surviving founding pioneers who are signatories in the Principles of Cooperation between Independent States of Melanesia in Vanuatu’s Constitution building 25 years ago on March 14, 1988.

This is the first agreement which gave give birth to the idea of strengthening Melanesian solidarity and cooperation and result in the body which exists today.

"The official launching of the MSG Silver Jubilee celebrations throughout Melanesia will be held in Port Vila on Monday, January 28,"Officer-in-Charge of the MSG Secretariat and Chairman for the MSG Silver Jubilee Organising and Planning Committee, Jean Pierre Nirua, announced when he revealed the above.

"In the absence of Commodore Frank Bainimarama, Vanuatu Prime Minister Sato Kilman will officiate the grand launching ceremony under the theme celebrating , ‘25 years of Melanesian solidarity and growth,’ to kick start the beginning of the celebrations throughout Melanesia.

"This is a day to remember for the people of Melanesia so we will invite our Leaders, MSG pioneers and founders and our friends of Melanesia near and far to join us in marking this special day not just to remember the hard work of our Leaders, Senior officials and Governments but also to continue to embrace and enjoy our solidarity and cooperation for the many more years to come."

Mr. Nirua explained an initiative by the organizing committee and endorsed by the Leaders’ Summit in 2012 that will enable all members to celebrate this Silver Jubilee in their respective countries as part of the regional celebration program.

"MSG members such as the FLNKS of Kanaky, New Caledonia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu will also, from February to June 2013, be hosting their one-week Melanesia celebrations," he said.

"Papua New Guinea will hold their Melanesia Week in February, Vanuatu in March, Solomon Islands in April, Fiji in May and the people of Kanaky in June 2013 when the Leaders’ Summit is scheduled to be hosted by FLNKS.

Vanuatu, the host country of the, MSG Secretariat in Port Vila will host its Melanesia Week in March –the anniversary date of the birth of the MSG which falls on March 14,2013.

This, he said, will mark 25 years of the signing of the Principles of Cooperation between Independent States of Melanesia, the first agreement to give birth to the idea of strengthening Melanesian solidarity and cooperation.

Mr. Nirua revealed as part of the launching ceremony in Vanuatu a symposium under the theme "Leaders’ Toktok-Tales from Our Founders and Pioneers" is being organized for founding leaders of the Melanesian Spearhead Group and current leaders of the MSG to share their perspectives on various key topics in Melanesia to highlight the history and future of Melanesian cooperation that began 25 years ago on 14 March 1988.

"This is an exciting time for our people and our leaders as the symposium will give opportunity to leaders of Melanesia to share with the people of Melanesia the vision and ideas that gave birth to the strong relationship and relations enjoyed by MSG member countries," he said.

"This will also give opportunity to leaders to share their perspectives on issues that are of common interest to the people and Governments of Melanesia."

The launching ceremony will see the official release of MSG souvenirs and memorabilia to mark 25 years of Melanesian solidarity and growth, the unveiling of the Melanesian carving by member country carvers and a public luncheon for all.

Nirua advised the official program will soon be circulated to all member countries, governments and the people of Melanesia.

He expressed his satisfaction that the committee for the special event, comprising of government officials and key stakeholders are planning to stage a memorable launching at the Independence Park.

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