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Our Dame of the Pacific
11:27 pm GMT+12, 16/02/2021, Papua New Guinea

A lot has been said about the current saga playing out in what was a unified Pacific Islands Forum just over a fortnight ago had washed down something we all should be very proud of.
 
Our editorial looked towards the issue at hand with Micronesia pretty much having backed out of the regional peak body and how we should intervene as a big brother in the region.
 
While the politics within the major regional membership has not been one to bring a happy end to our Dame of the Pacific, the achievement of our very own Dame Meg Taylor is not one to take lightly.
 
We have shared our daughter to the region for the last seven years with so much achieved under her leadership.
 
We last spoke to her during the 2019 Pacific Islands Forum meet in Tuvalu where we raised the issue on Papua New Guinea and its role in the Pacific.
 
We would like to revisit that vital conversation as we look at the question of how much influence PNG should have in the Pacific region as it now moves into the next decade amidst so much pressure as regional power plays are knocking at the door of all PIF members.
 
Dame Meg’s view, though two years before, is still pertinent today, especially considering our tendency to seclude ourselves when it comes to the bigger conversations when it comes to the issues most pressing in the region.
 
“I think the region is now facing a very critical time and the climate change is a major security issue, but it is also the geopolitics of the region and the interest of big superpowers in this region and what it means for our country and how we position ourselves as a group of all of the Pacific, but also how do we as Papua New Guinea and our relation to the rest of the Pacific,” she said then.
 
PNG has always asked the question of what it can take out of the region.
 
A question that has a tendency to blind our overall resolve, especially at times like this when the region needs intervention of the larger more experienced members.
 
“Often when I visit bigger countries they say well what we are going to get out of the Pacific, but I say but why don’t you think of it this way.
 
What can we offer? What can we give? What can we support?
 
What can we show and help others?
 
The PNG transition through its nationhood has always been one drenched in turmoil.
 
The Melanesian region boasts the largest members, the most controversy, the most resources, with the larger populations, and of course the most problems.
 
The move by the Micronesian brethren to step out of the grouping brings a lot to bear when it comes to equal representation in the region, and the opposing view to democracy principles as opposed to the customary values.
 
“What can we contribute there? What can we learn from other countries in the region?
 
And that is one of the things that I have been thinking a lot about lately is how we as Papua New Guineans build a sense of nationhood around that role,” Dame Meg said.
 
As she puts it, if we are to stand firm as a regional player, our standing grows, thus pushing our nationalism in a country just as fragmented as the region is now playing out to be.
 
The first female PIF Secretary General now bows out having set a bar that we hope our government and our people can learn greatly from, a notion she summarises so well.
 
“I’m Papua New Guinean, but I serve all the Pacific.
 
Papua New Guinea, I hope, is rather glad that I fly their flag, but I fly everybody else’s flag as well and my heart is always at home.
 
Well done, Dame Meg!.

SOURCE: POST COURIER EDITORIAL/PACNEWS


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