News 13 Sep 2019
Tongan Prime Minister Samiuela 'Akilisi Pōhiva would be remembered as a compelling advocate for democracy and freedom, and a kind man and principled man with great affection for Pacific people, said Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor.
"We at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat respectfully convey our condolences to the Kingdom of Tonga, her people, and to Prime Minster Pōhiva's family and friends on this very sad day.
"As one of the longest serving parliamentarians in our region, Prime Minister Pōhiva dedicated his life to the service and leadership of his country and people. During his political career we saw him transition from firebrand activist to an elder statesmen of the Blue Pacific always staying true to his strong ideals of democracy and human rights," said Dame Meg Taylor.
Prime Minister Pōhiva's last official overseas engagement was to attend the Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu, just four weeks ago.
"The Prime Minister showed great courage and resolve to attend the meeting while he was very unwell. I think in many ways he came to say goodbye, to show his respect and solidarity with the Forum Leaders and to make a final resounding stand on issues close to his heart.
"His attendance in Tuvalu was important for the outcomes we were able to reach, especially on climate change and West Papua, and all those who were there will fondly remember his heart-felt participation in discussions with Pacific civil society representatives and at the Leaders Retreat.
"I will remember him as a fighter until the very end. May his legacy stand true and be an inspiration to the people across the Blue Pacific." said Dame Meg Taylor.
Image: Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat