The Pacific Islands Forum chair and Cook Islands Prime Minister, Mark Brown, is emerging as one of the more powerful Pacific leaders’ voices in projecting the region’s concerns and priorities to the world, writes Dr Shailendra Bahadur Singh.
Knowing that the international attention is focused on the Pacific Islands Forum meeting currently underway in Rarotonga, Brown was quick to emphasise that this year’s gathering should, and would be led by issues that concern Pacific leaders, rather than superpowers like the United States and its allies like Australia. Or their chief adversary, China.
Forum meetings have been described by one scribe in Rarotonga as “little more than an annual retreat for island leaders” and by another analyst as “largely a talkfest”.
That may have been the case in the past, but not anymore.