POHNPEI, FSM (September 8, 2016). The gods must have been watching over Pohnpei, the land of mystique ruins of Nan Madol, in the afternoon of Friday, September 8, 2016 when not a drop of rain fell during the opening ceremony of the 47th Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) at the PICS Track and Field and transfer of PIF chairmanship took place from Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neil to Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)’s President Peter Christian.
The ceremony did not start at 4pm as scheduled until all heads of States or representatives of all 16 member countries were dropped by black cars and taken to their seats at grand stand and followed by Pohnpei traditional leaders.
A sakau pounding and drinking ceremony followed and then the governor of Pohnpei, Marcelo Petersen, delivered welcoming remarks. Dame Meg Taylor, PIF Secretary General gave a speech about the work of the forum in past 12 months and what ‘s ahead. She was followed by outgoing chairman O’Neil and then the acceptance speech by President Christian. Iso Nanken Salvador Iriarte, the second highest traditional chief of Nett Kingdom where Kolonia is located, did the closing remarks.
A cultural show of dance by young boys was performed at the beating of drums and chanting by girls. The hudred’s of guests and observers and over 1,000 people who attended the ceremony to a lavish feast at PICS gym next to the Track and Field.
Before the late afternoon opening ceremony , the 6-member Palau delegation headed by Minister of State Billy Kuartei , met with Civil Society Organigations with other Troika members in the morning and attended African, Carrebean, Pacific (ACP) Leaders meeting and press conference in early afternoon.
Friday will be a full day for the plenary session of the 47th PIF with Saturday set aside for leaders retreat and Sunday for Post-Forum Dialogue with partners, over 20 larger countries outside the region with interests in the Pacific. Contributed by: M.Uludong [/restrict]