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Everyone here in Rarotonga is very excited about the news that another ‘high profile’ international guest is expected to visit the Cook Islands. Rumour is the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be attending the annual Pacific Forum to be held here in Rarotonga beginning August 27.
While the US Embassy in New Zealand declined to confirm the rumour, Cook Island officials are ‘preparing as if she is coming’. This preparation includes sourcing vehicles for her stay, in addition to the three SUVs owned by the government. In all there will be 16 cars, police vehicles, motorbikes and scout cars.
Local Police have asked drivers to be on alert for the ‘motorcade’ which will be transporting VIP leaders around Rarotonga. There will also be tighter security on the Island during the Forum, with New Zealand providing some extra police officers to assist the local police force.
You may wonder why such a powerful and influential US politician is attending the annual forum. Apparently her presence would ‘emphasize Washington’s policy shift on trade, humanitarian aid and military presence in the Region as it seeks to capitalize upon and counterbalance the rise of many Pacific and Asian nations.’ Translated I would say, the US needs as many ‘allies’ as possible in the current world economic and political environment.
If the rumour proves true, this will be the biggest dignitary to visit Rarotonga since Queen Elizabeth II came to stay with Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips - in 1974! Hopefully Hillary and her entourage will consider some much needed R&R at Rumours Luxury Villas and Spa!
The photograph above of Queen Elizabeth was taken by Bill Johnson and all credit for the photo goes to him.