Welcome to the October newsletter
Continuing my work with PACMAS, I travelled to Tonga to work with a group of media professionals on court reporting and how the law affects the work that they do. It was great to be back in Nuku’alofa for a few days, having last been there in 2010. There have been some very significant changes in that country in the last six years. In the political sphere, the whole society is coming to terms with what democracy means for them. In terms of the economy, there have been some very significant developments in the tourism sector, including cruise ship visits at a rate of two per month.
On arrival in Tonga, we were met with this banner to greet those attending the inaugural meeting of the Pacific-China Friendship Association. This is another example of how relationships between China and the Pacific islands are continuing to multiply and deepen in numerous sectors, including trade, diplomacy and people to people links.
This, in turn, forms part of a wider pattern of increased engagement with our region by the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) countries. Whilst I was in Tonga, the government of Vanuatu was hosting a high-level ministerial delegation from India, the first of its kind. This represents a significant development of India’s ‘Act East’ policy, which I presaged here last year.
TNC Pacific Consulting is ideally placed to support governments, think tanks and business groups from countries that are engaging with Pacific island countries for the first time. We provide current, nuanced and tailored research, analysis and strategy that can help you work in our region.
October has been largely about progressing ongoing projects and I also took part in this discussion on ‘Coffee and Controversy’ in which we looked at the impacts of seasonal labour migration schemes in Vanuatu.