Intense lobbying is underway on the margins of the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting in Koror for the five candidates vying for the position of the Secretary General of the Suva-based Secretariat.
PACNEWS has been reliably informed that Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands are going out of their way to campaign for their candidates, Dame Meg Taylor and Dr Jimmie Rodgers, respectively.
The Foreign Ministers of the two countries are due to meet before their Leaders arrive for the official opening Tuesday evening.
Officials from one of the countries vying for the SG position told PACNEWS that the race will be ‘tight’ given the calibre and the number of candidates that have put up their hands for the top regional position.
Two of the candidates are already in Koror – Marshall Islands minister assisting in the President’s office, Tony De Brum and Dame Meg Taylor from PNG.
Of the five candidates, two are from Micronesia, de Brum from Marshall Islands and Fabian Nimea of the Federated States of Micronesia. The other three are Dr Jimmie Rodgers of Solomon Islands, Kaliopate Tavola of Fiji and Dame Taylor of Papua New Guinea.
One of the regional government official told PACNEWS that it may be time for Micronesia to provide leadership at the Forum Secretariat. The last Micronesian Secretary General was Ieremia Tabai of Kiribati.
Noel Levi of Papua New Guinea was the last Secretary General from Melanesia.
Forum Leaders will appoint a new Secretary General Thursday at the end of their Retreat on the island of Peleliu, near Koror.
By PACNEWS Editor, Makereta Komai in Palau