Issue No. 07/2020 – Tuesday, 08 December 2020 (Kitiona Tausi)
This morning, the Minister of Health, Social Welfare and Gender Affairs, Hon Isaia Taape opened the island leaders consultation at the Rt Hon Sir Dr Tomasi Puapua Convention Center.
The opening ceremony was attended by the Prime Minister, Hon Kausea Natano, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon Seve Paeniu, island community leaders, representatives from churches, ngos and the private sector. Leaders on the outer island also had access to the zoom technology to participate in the opening as well as in the 3-days consultation (8th-10th December 2020).
As usual and following our Tuvalu culture and customs, a worship service was conducted by a staff from the head office of the Ekalesia Kelisiano Tuvalu, ordinaton candidate, Mr. Amasia Amitai. He preached a message based on the Bible text from Genesis 35: 2, “So Jacob said to his family and to all who were with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods that you have; purify yourselves and put on clean clothes.”
The theme of his message: “Island communities to work together to protect your family to enjoy life”
“It is Jacob’s wish for his family to remove foreign gods which are the things that are problematic to our minds and those things that we are slave to in our life and that cause disturbance to our heart. We need to cleanse our heart and put on new clothes. It is a wish based on a hope.
“It means that we need to renew everything in our life journey to enable us fulfill our hope without things that create problems to our minds, things that handicap our vision in life and especially the state of peace , security and happiness in our family.
“As we are in the Christmas season, there is also a need to cleanse our hearts and remove those things that we are slave to in our minds.”
After the worship service, Hon Isaia Taape was invited to address the consultation and also to officially open the consultation.
He said, “this world that we are living in is changing and changes are very rapid. We confront many challenges in this year and some of our islands heavily destructed by TC Tino and currently the world is facing with the COVID-19 virus that create panic and uncertainties to all individuals, leaders and families.”
“However, government did response by introducing policies that protect our country from the coronavirus pandemic and also to ensure that Tuvalu would remain a free-COVID 19 virus. We are thankful that our daily life has not been seriously affected but we are unaware as to what would happen in the future.”
Hon. Taape thanked all the community and island leaders for their leadership in this time of the pandemic and especially their leadership that enabled our people to live peacefully.
He added that we have not come to the end and there are things that still need to be done as this is a pandemic that the whole world is suffering, and that we can also suffer. We are all in one boat and as Pacific people, we know very well how to steer our boat to safety in times of strong winds.
“It is important tow work together to ensure that our families are safe. Any challenges is an opportunity to utilize our culture and traditions and teach our children regarding good living. It is also an opportunity to utilize the new technologies that correspond the changes in the environment.”
Hon Taape in his address was really shocked to learn for himself the seriousness of the issue of domestic violence in Tuvalu. He stated that 4 out of 10 women are victims of domestic violence especially from their husbands. He recommended that something must be done to stop this violence as these women are not enjoying their lives.
“This is the purpose why such consultation is convened and for island leaders to participate to enable sharing of your experiences to solicit ways as to how we can end this violence to women and girls. We cannot say that our country is safe and in peace if one is subject to violence in her home.”
The Minister also thanked the Canadian and the Australian Governments for financing the consultation organized by the Gender Affairs Department.
The consultation is for three days from 08th – 10th December 2020.