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PM Bainimaram - Speech at the opening of Fiji Day Celebrations 2010
Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, National Planning, Public Service, Peoples Charter for Change and Progress, Information, Sugar, iTaukei Affairs, and Multi-Ethnic Affairs and Provincial Development
SPEECH AT THE OPENING OF FIJI DAY CELEBRATIONS 2010
Albert ParkThurs. 7th Oct., 2010
Members of the Diplomatic Corps;
My Fellow Fijians;
Children of Fiji
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Bula Vinaka and a Good Morning
Today’s ceremony is part of the Celebrations to mark our Independence Day. For us Fijians, this year’s Celebration has a particular significance since it marks 40 years of our Independence.
Independence Day for any country is always of great importance. It marks the coming of age of any nation-state. It heralds a change in guard, a new political system. It is a manifestation of the desire of a people to stand up on their own feet. It signifies maturity. It signifies a vision.
Our post-Independence history has been dissimilar to some other countries. We have had events which we could have done without. We have had politics which we could have done without. These situations led to regression as opposed to progression. It led to stagnation as opposed to modernization.
Today, however, is not a day of condemnation or recrimination. Today is a day of celebration. A celebration that says that despite the colonial legacy, despite post 1987 Fiji, which resulted in the absence of true nation-hood and political and institutional systems that were replete with discrimination, prejudices, chauvinism and marginalisation, we Fijians today are able to overcome these challenges. We have tenacity and indeed we now have a vision. A vision to modernize and liberalize.
That vision that has been set out in the People’s Charter for Peace, Change and Progress and which underpins the guiding principles of the Strategic Framework for Change.
The Strategic Framework for Change sets out the path of legal, constitutional, economic and social change for a fair, just and modern Fiji - not just for tomorrow or the next year but for the years to come.
This vision has meant amongst other things, a common name for all, which the past politics could not deliver, an issue that really should not have been an issue, but which is a feature of, and imperative for any modern nation state. We today, the citizens of Fiji, must be all proud Fijians, bound in our common allegiance to our country.
We now have laws that have been modernized, bringing about gender parity and social parity. We have implemented comprehensive laws against domestic violence. We have child welfare laws which protect children against abuse. We are in the process of removing red tape that has led to inefficiencies and corruption. We have focused on infrastructure development and agricultural output and productivity. We are now providing direct assistance to the marginalized, the poor who have been neglected. We now provide tangible assistance to our school children, who are our future.
Internationally we now have more diplomatic relations than ever before. We have ratified a number of International Conventions and Treaties. We are working in collaboration with a number of countries with the aim of sustainable peace, substantive justice, dignity and respect for all.
In all of these reforms, what is remarkable is that the people of Fiji, you all have shown a willingness to embrace and support these initiatives. The people of Fiji have shown an open mindedness.
What this tells us is that we are all ready to embrace changes, in particular changes that are fair and just, changes that are inclusive, changes that assist the marginalized, changes that rid the politics of old.
This vision, ladies and gentlemen, we must carry, we must implement. It is not only a philosophical commitment but a practical application.
If the vision is implemented with wisdom and collaboration, it will bring actual and tangible benefits to all of us, to Fiji. If addressed, it will bring long term stability to the region. If addressed, it will mean good, just and fair leadership and governance. If addressed, it will give actual and true democracy.
Ladies and Gentlemen and my fellow citizens and children, I urge you all to continue to participate in and become an integral part of the vision of a modern and just Fiji. I urge you all to also celebrate our Independence Day, celebrate the new vision.
I wish you all a happy Fiji Independence Day.