Speech delivered by the Prime Minister Hon. Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama at the official commissioning of the Naitutu Electrification project at Namena village, Tailevu.
Hon. Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, CF(Mil), OSt.J, MSD, jssc, psc
Prime Minister of Fiji and Minister for I’Taukei Affairs & Sugar Industry
OFFICIAL COMMISSIONING OF THE NAITUTU ELECTRIFICATION PROJECT
Na Turaga na Tui Nawainovo;
Ladies, Gentlemen, Young People and Children of Namena.
Bula vinaka and a very good day to you all.
It gives me great pleasure to be with you today here in Namena to commission this new rural electrification project. Since the start of the New Year, I’ve had the privilege of spending time in the Western and Northern Divisions, opening new projects, expanding the reach of Government services and bringing new, modern infrastructure to every corner of Fiji.
I have also brought with me a message. A message that, no matter where in Fiji you call home, your hard work has made Fiji the country it is today. The developments my Government is creating are not gifts or handouts, they are developments for hard working Fijians. And the same goes for our Fijians here in Tailevu and the electrification project that is opening here today.
Not so long ago, Fiji was at a crossroads. Together, united as a people, we chose the good road and have walked a path that has brought many blessings to our people. Since then, Fiji has grown and achieved an unprecedented sustained economic success – success that is shared by every Fijian.
I will not tolerate a Fijian society comprised of the “haves” and “have-nots” or a society that rewards privilege over merit. My Government is committed to giving every Fijian an equal shot at life, no matter where in Fiji they call home. And that starts by bringing infrastructure and essential services to our rural and maritime communities.
My Government has a vision of a modern, dynamic Fiji – but to make that a reality, we need to set in place a foundation that is strong enough to support our future development. That foundation is built by installing telecommunications, providing clean and safe water, building new and better roads and, as is the case today, giving our people access to electricity.
This electrification project has been completed at a cost of $44,319 and will provide a reliable supply of electricity to nine families in the Naitutu settlement—24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Now your community can share in the many advantages that electricity can bring. Electricity means the difference between back-breaking labor and modern electrical appliances that help with community work. Electricity gives your children the ability to study late into the night and be better prepared for school. And electricity creates well-lit, safe homes and streets that everyone can feel comfortable in at any hour of the day.
These advantages will give you a step up in life and allow you to achieve even greater things for your families and for Fiji. When my Government invests in our people, it is because we believe that your hard work can bring even greater benefits for our country down the road. And I’m confident you will meet those expectations. You have the ability, and now, with the power of electricity on your side, there is no telling how great the Naitutu settlement can become.
When we provide Fijians with electricity, we also keep you connected to the rest of the country. Moving Fiji forward is a group effort, and we are better off every time another community is added to our national grid. That means one more community that is up-to-date on current events and able to contribute to the important conversations happening around Fiji.
Ladies and gentlemen,
One of those important national conversations is about finding a new national flag for Fiji. Every day, Fiji becomes a newer more distinct nation than we were at our independence. We are making our own future, determining what kind of nation we will be, what kind of people we will be. And that is why I am asking the people of Fiji to help us adopt a new flag.
I love our flag. I have served under it with pride as a military officer and your Prime Minister. But while that flag took us out of the past, I would like us to have a flag that takes us into the future—to where we are going rather than from where we have been. The new flag—always with our beloved Fiji blue—can stand for the kind of people we are, the kind of nation we aspire to be, and the kind of country we will leave with our children.
The deadline for new flag design submissions is rapidly approaching on February 29. In March, we will select five designs to put before the people. There will be a national consultation during which time you will be able to tell us which design you like best.
I believe we will love whichever design we choose as much as we have grown to love our current flag—because it stands for Fiji. It stands for us. The new flag will tell the world that Fiji is a modern country, a leader in the Pacific, and a country on the move.
Today, your community can celebrate the opening of this new electrification project, and I hope all of you are planning ways you can use this project to better your lives. Use this power to remain prosperous and productive and know that my Government will keep working hard to bring more development your way as soon as we can.
Below are the links to access footage and online photo gallery;
VIDEO OF THE COMMISSIONING: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64b_jYKBaAA