Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has this morning signed on the dotted line to officially launch a new era for the Pacific Immigration Directors Conference Secretariat.
Tuilaepa signed the Headquarters Agreement to mark the official relocation of the PIDC Secretariat from Suva to Apia.
The PIDC was established in 1996 and boasts a membership of 19 immigration agencies from the Pacific region.
Representing the PIDC at the ceremony was current Chair, Vaosa Epa and Vice Chair Damien Jacklick. The signing ceremony was held in Cabinet’s Chambers at the FMFM II Building in Apia.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa, who is also Minister of Immigration, said he had been following the developments relating to PIDC activities as a going concern.
“With the increase in illegal activities internationally relating to people movements, as well as drugs and arms smuggling, there is an imperative need for immigration authorities in the region to engage mutually to manage the Pacific gateways, to ensure the safety of borders thereby contributing to broader regional objectives of security, economic growth, sustainable development and good governance.”
Tuilaepa said Samoa’s bid to be the host of PIDC’s headquarters portrays our commitment to supporting PIDC’s vision of border integrity across the Pacific, as well as contributing to fostering multilateral cooperation within our respective territorial frontiers.
“The Government and people of Samoa welcome PIDC to our shores and as evident by the swift execution of the necessary documents to facilitate a smooth transition from Suva to Apia, we likewise will continue to render support and assistance necessary for the fostering of our mutual relationship.”
Tuilaepa also thanked the Governments of New Zealand and Australia for their enduring support from the inception of PIDC and acknowledged their commitment to working alongside Pacific countries.
“It is only by standing together, united and committed that ensures safe environments for our people,” said the Prime Minister.
PIDC Chair, Vaosa Epa said “today’s agreement is timely and comes at an important time, when our borders in the Pacific continue to be exposed and challenged by the forces of globalisation in the 21st century.
“It places the organization in a stronger position to address its members’ need in a region that is scattered in locations and characteristics but united towards the protection of our boarders and our people,” she said.
The ceremony also reflects PIDC’s vision of becoming the pre-eminent immigration agency in the Pacific region.
“We want to become the experts of immigration issues in the Pacific and this headquarters agreement marks the beginning of a journey that raises our standards and is symbolic of member’s expectation of the organisations role in the Pacific” added the Vice Chair Mr Jacklick.
The ceremony today was witnessed by PIDC Management Board members from Melanesia, Polynesia, Micronesia, the Small Island States and High Commissioners of New Zealand and Australia in Samoa.