Remarks: SG Puna opens RMI 44th Constitution Day event, May 1, 2023

Opening and Welcome remarks by PIF Secretary General Henry Puna,

on May 1, 2023, the Republic of the Marshall Islands 44th Constitution Day 
PIF Secretariat 10am – 11.00am

Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat FALE

• Iakwe, (Yokwe) Kia Orana, Bula Vinaka and warm Pacific greetings to you all.

• HE Junior Aini, Ambassador of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Suva Fiji.

• Excellencies, distinguished guests, colleagues, and friends.

• At the outset, allow me to offer my sincere congratulations on your recent appointment as the Ambassador of the Republic of the Marshall Islands in Suva, Fiji.

• Today, the 1st of May 2023, marks an important event for us at the Secretariat and more so for the Republic of the Marshall islands as we celebrate the 44th national Constitution Day, also known as Jemenei Day, of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

• It is more special for us here at the Secretariat to have you, Excellency, Ambassador Junior Aini and the staff of your Embassy to share this joyous occasion with me and our PIFS staff.

• As part of our organisational events, we recognise and celebrate with members the occasion of Members’ observance of their national days. And today is extra special to also welcome you to your new post in Suva!
• I wish to also extend my warm welcome to the Marshallese students studying at USP who have joined us today to celebrate this special occasion. Kommol tata for caring and showing pride in your country! I also want to recognise the outstanding activism and ownership of the students of the Marshall Islands in reminding us of the Pacific nuclear legacy—concerns over nuclear issues and stewardship of our ocean were a founding tenet of the Pacific Islands Forum more than five decades ago.

• May 1st also allows the people and governments of the Marshall Islands and the U.S.A. to celebrate their historic friendship and tied which have endured after the Islands secured independence from the USA.

• We must recognise, that gaining independence is not always an easy choice. It takes courage, will and real desire to be on one’s own two feet and I am proud the Marshallese voted for their independence by referendum and drafted a new constitution for themselves.

Respecting the new status of the Marshall Islands in the political sphere, the U.S.A also recognized the constitution of the Marshall Islands and the establishment of a new Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. We must never forget this, the will of the Marshallese people to attain their independence. This will and determination stands out across our Pacific history. It has seen the Marshall Islands delegations play key pivotal roles in multilateral negotiations on climate, on tuna, and on oceans, to name a few.

• Today as we remember the impact of your leaders across all spheres, past and present, we also recognise the sacrifices and resilience of the generations who withstood the horrific nuclear tests that harmed your islands and your people, and continue to threaten our shared ocean habitat, today. Your ability to remain standing and resilient, to raise your voice and ensure that history never repeats what happened to you, is an inspiration to all other members of the Forum within our Blue Pacific continent. Once again, my sincere congratulations on your 44th independence and it is my fervent wish that you have many more years of prosperity, security, and goof fortune ahead.

• And before I end, I wish to leave us with this quote by President David Kabua, “The true essence of the ‘Pacific Way’ is purposeful unifying action for the common good, building bridges of understanding, nurturing strong bonds of friendship and goodwill, and peaceful coexistence among people and nations

• It is my honour to invite you, Ambassador Aini to deliver the keynote address.

• Kommol tata, Meitaki mata, vinaka vakalevu and thank you all.

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