Pacific leaders welcome opportunity to discuss democratic institutions

Brisbane, Australia – Pacific leaders have welcomed “the space” provided through the Regional Workshop on Democratic Institutions held in Brisbane, Australia to discuss the challenges facing democracy in the Pacific.

A former President and three former Prime Ministers attended the Workshop jointly organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Brisbane, 27 – 29 February 2012.

“I support the idea of creating ‘this space’ for leaders in the region to discuss our common issues and challenges as a way of attempting to find solutions to our individual situations,” said Rt. Hon. Sir Mekere Morauta, a former Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea and current Minister of Public Enterprises. “PNG has the experience of implementing the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates and have experienced some challenges with that but by coming together at such occasions we are able to hear what other countries in the region are doing and may be create a hybrid that would create political stability in the region,” said Sir Mekere.

Hon. Dr Derek Sikua, a former Prime Minister of Solomon Islands and now Leader of Opposition endorsed the same sentiments.

“This is an excellent idea that leaders are given the opportunity to discuss pertinent issues affecting our political stability. So often we sit in our own space and wonder why things are happening the way they are and getting very frustrated. But when we get together like at this workshop we find we are not alone and are able to hear how other countries have been able to do to address the same problems.”

A former President of Kiribati and current MP, Hon. Sir Ieremia Tabai described the opportunity of the attending the workshop as a “learning experience in addressing some of the challenges facing our democratic institutions.”

“The solutions to these challenges lie within our own countries and within ourselves as leaders and such meetings as this give us the opportunity to bring these out and how the solutions could be implemented.”

Rt. Hon. Sir Kamuta Latasi, a former Prime Minister of Tuvalu and current Speaker of National Parliament described the Regional Workshop on Democratic Institutions as “a very worthwhile opportunity to share and hear the views of some of our prominent leaders in the region.”

“In my years in Parliament, this is my first time to attend such a meeting where leaders from the region discuss the challenges facing democratic institutions in the region and I urge the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat to consider convening similar meetings to address other leadership issues.”

ENDS.

For media enquiries, contact Mr Johnson Honimae, the Forum Secretariat Media Officer on phone: +679 9997998 or email: johnsonh@forumsec.org.fj