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As Christians from across Fiji come together to celebrate Christmas, surrounded by the warmth of loved ones, I am reminded of the future that we are working to build for our children and grandchildren––both at home, bringing greater opportunity into the lives of ordinary Fijians, and abroad, with our leadership on the issues that matter most to our future.
As part of our national grid, your economic prospects are brimming like never before. But it is up to all of you to realise that opportunity. Access to power is an enormous advantage, it allows you to become more productive and accomplish far more on a daily basis. Don’t let this chance go to waste. Apply yourselves, continue making your valuable contributions to our national development, and together, let’s carry Fiji into an even brighter future.
No member of this Force can ever forget that being an officer does not place you above any in our society. As I serve the people as Prime Minister, you also serve them as officers of the law. Under my Government, we are setting new expectations for all Government employees to achieve new standards of excellence. That applies to our Police Officers as well. And we expect the best from all of you in your work to make Fiji a safe and inclusive nation.
My Government is committed to strengthening Fiji as a multiracial society. We strive to pay homage to the cultures and backgrounds that make Fiji a truly inclusive and welcome society, where we can all call ourselves Fijians. It is what makes our nation great.
Excellencies, if there is one thing we all know, it is that global financial markets respond to opportunity. And it is our job to seize this moment to accelerate the profound shift that is already taking place in global investment, away from the dirty economies of the past towards the new, better, smarter, cleaner economies of the future.
We need to develop innovative solutions to address climate change. We need to find better ways to finance adaptation and resilience. We welcome and encourage the expeditious transfer of climate-smart innovations and ideas that can assist vulnerable countries that are experiencing climate change on a daily basis.
As the rest of Fiji has cheered our march forward, as ordinary Fijians welcome the many benefits of our growing economy, our political opponents have found themselves clamouring for relevance. While we put our energy into better outcomes for ordinary Fijians, the Opposition has continued with their insults, the lies and their politics of division – all part of their desperate campaign to push Fiji back into the past. A past of provincialism, a path of ethnic consideration, a past of corruption, a past of petty point scoring, and a past that benefitted only the privileged.
We’ve put Fiji on a new course of prosperity, with eight straight years of economic growth. Together, we are building a society that is better educated and growing more capable every day, and we are rewarding merit and hard work. Together, we’ve put stock in ability and we’ve invested in the potential of all of our people, including our young Fijians. Together, we’ve emerged on the global and domestic stage as a champion for the causes affecting vulnerable people and their human rights.
Working side-by-side with our cane farmers and the Fiji Sugar Corporation, my Government has put this industry back on a path towards a resilient future – a future where sugar remains a bedrock of our economic growth and prosperity. As of 19 November, over the course of 25 weeks, our three mills crushed 1.61 million metric tonnes of cane, yielding 178.9 metric tonnes of sugar with a TCTS of 9.0. Compared to last year, these estimates mark a 19 per cent increase in cane production, a 30 per cent increase in sugar production and a nine per cent improvement in TCTS.
Right from the start, Fiji has endeavoured to use the power of the COP Presidency that you invested in us to put people first. We wanted to make a connection between these complex negotiations and the real, everyday concerns and aspirations of people the world over.
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