JIMMY RODGERS – the Secretary to the Prime Minister (SPM) has lost his bid for the Pacific Forum Secretary General’s job – the Pacific Region’s highest-paid position in an overnight online vote.
A former Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, Henry Puna, got the job in an overnight vote by Pacific leaders in a marathon online meeting.
Puna beat Micronesia’s candidate, Marshall Islands Ambassador to the United States, Gerald Zackious by nine to eight, according to Radio New Zealand International.
He succeeds outgoing secretary-general, Papua New Guinea’s Dame Meg-Taylor who had been in the role for over six years.
With leaders unable to reach consensus in Wednesday night’s Special Leaders’ Retreat, the appointment process went to a vote. It resulted in three eliminations and a final vote after midnight.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was one of the only national leaders of the 18 Forum member states or territories not to attend the online meeting. Her country’s foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta logged on instead.
In a statement, Forum leaders commended Dame Meg’s “stellar leadership and guidance to the Pacific Islands Forum on regional issues over the past six years and wished her well in her future endeavours.
Regional divisions over who should replace her emerged last year.
Other contenders were Tongan economist Amelia Kinahoi Siamomua, Fiji’s former foreign minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola and Dr. Jimmy Rodger, formerly the director-general of the Pacific Community.
In addition to his being the SPM, Dr. Rodgers is also the Chairman of the 2023 Pacific Games National Hosting Authority (NHA). He has since being appointed Chairman of the Solomon Islands National Provident Fund (SINPF) Board.
It is unclear whether Dr. Rodgers’ candidacy was formally endorsed by the Government.
BY Alfred Sasako