Samoa has welcomed sixteen new citizens.
Among them is former New Zealand High Commissioner to Samoa, David Campbell Nicholson, who told the Samoa Observer he feels honoured to have become a Samoan.
“It gives both my wife and I the privilege of living in here freely,” he said. “Obviously she is a Samoan citizen and I have attained my citizenship through my marriage.”
Mr. Nicholson, who is married to Debbie, said they will spend quite a lot of time in Samoa, which he can also contribute some of their skills to Samoa’s development.
“It was through my role as High Commissioner to Samoa that I spent two years in Samoa which has enabled me so committed to Samoa’s development and its future.”
Another newly sworn Samoan citizen is Soraya May who is originally from America but has been living in Samoa since 2006.
“I attained my citizenship through marriage,” she said. “I was married in 2011 but I have been so busy with my businesses that I finally got around to getting my citizenship."
“I am very happy that with my new citizenship, I am able to feel like I am one of the Samoan people.”
Soraya May is the Director of Operations at Le Vasa Resort.
Another new citizen is the Chinese Owner of the Coin Save chain of stores, Tuituioaiga Weijie Weng. The others are Adrian Russel Mcconell, Brent William Ross, Charlie Havea Liti, Gregorio Guillermo Recalde, Karleen Mary Rasmussen, Mahendra Kamalakant Mahimk, Mohammed Umar, Moneka Knight Tupua, Selina Lefao, Timothy Walkden-Brown, Shuangxiu Zend, Jie Xue and Dehui Lin.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi welcomed the new citizens yesterday.
“On behalf of our government and the people of Samoa, I congratulate you all, who have taken the oaths of allegiance, as citizens of Samoa before Cabinet this afternoon. We welcome you with open arms,” he said.
“Our citizenship defines our identity, inheritance and authority as Samoans. It is our God given right to live freely and harmoniously in this country; and to exercise our unique talents to contribute to the social and economic wellbeing of Samoa. Today you have been given that right; the right that must be treated with respect and truthfulness."
“I gathered that the majority of you have qualified for citizenship by virtue of your marriage to Samoan citizens, and by virtue of your permanent residency status. Central to the assessment of your eligibility, is solid evidence of your families’ stability for years, your good health and character, and your firm understanding of the responsibilities and privileges of being citizens of Samoa,” Tuilaepa said.
Tuilaepa thanked the new citizens for their years faithful service to Samoa, and encouraged them to press on and continue to contribute positively, to the country’s growth and prosperity which is their country now as from today after his speech.
“Central to our response is acceptance of our shared responsibility. We must respond collectively as a country to address these global challenges. We should not dwell on indifference and division. Unity is our strength, and the foundation of our culture and identity. Our collective responsibility is to ensure that our children and future generations will live comfortably, and are taught to be responsible custodians of our scarce resources."
“Government has formulated key strategies to enhance our resilience against the fury of natural disasters, strengthen our national security responses, manage alarming rates non-communicable diseases, and to generate new businesses and investments to provide more employment opportunities for our people. This is being done through meticulous integration of our national priorities with regional goals and sustainable development goals. This of course can be accomplished if all citizens take ownership of our national efforts and programmers.”