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His Excellency, Qian Bo, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China;
The Director General, Guangdong Foreign Affairs Office,
Mr Chen Qiuyam;
Ministry and Suva City Council teams;
Invited Guests, Members of the Media, Ladies & Gentlemen.

Bula vinaka and good afternoon to you all.

Today marks yet another historic moment in Fiji’s civic history – in particular that of our capital city - Suva.

A landmark moment in our friendship with the province of Guangdong in China.
It is a privilege to be present here today for the Handing-Over ceremony of the newly re-developed Suva Civic Centre Building.

Ladies and gentlemen, the history of Suva Civic Centre dates back to year 1967 when the foundation laying was done by the then Mayor of Suva, Mr C A Stinson on 15th July, 1967.

As Minister for Local Government, I am interested in and keep track of such history.

Ladies and gentlemen, and in particular for the benefit of our honoured guests from Guangdong, let me add a lit bit to the history of this building. The Suva Civic Centre was part of the wider then Colonial
Government’s partnership funding with local municipal councils to build Civic Centers.

This was combined with the building of administrative blocks for the Councils, as is evident in the history of such buildings from the same period – as you will find in Lautoka, Nadi and Ba.

The Suva Civic Centre, since it has been built has been the pride of the city and it has hosted an average of 650 events each year.

The newly refurbished and improvised Civic Centre demonstrates and is a tribute to friendship and partnership between the people and communities of Fiji and China and of Suva and Guangdong.

This facility is a welcome addition to the city of Suva and Fiji. This Centre will be of great benefit to all of the community.

While it was the pride of Suva, the Suva City event centre was in need of major repairs and maintenance for some time.
The Council in 2015 with facilitation from the Ministry of Local Government, commenced discussions with the Guangdong Province on the proposed redevelopment of the Suva City Civic Centre.

Sister city programs are highly effective and bring mutual benefits – be it economically, culturally or educationally. From promoting peace and friendship between peoples, today we see its material benefit in a landmark building to benefit all Fijians.

Sister City relationship between the Suva City Council and the Guangdong Province was initiated in 2010 through the timely facilitation from the Government of

The on-going discussion, visitation and exchange program for Pacific young Leaders has helped a lot in strengthening the friendship, cooperation and trust between Suva City Council and Guangdong Province and the two countries as a whole.

The Memorandum of Understanding for the Redevelopment of Suva Civic Centre was signed between Guangdong Province and Suva City Council on 10th March, 2017. In the history of Suva City Council, this has been the most significant MOU sister city arrangement entered.

The MOU has seen Guandong Province investing an estimated FJD$20million in the upgrade of the Suva Civic Centre Redevelopment works. The redevelopment included upgrading the outlook, provision of new seats, sound system and improved gallery area.

The sister city establishment between Guandong Province and Suva City Council has been made possible through a strong backing and support from the Fijian Government. The Fiji First Government through my Ministry has played a key role through the overall supervision and guidance provided to the Fijian
Municipal Councils in building sister city relationships.

His Excellency, Qian Bo, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, I acknowledge the input of work of your embassy and staff, in this refurbished Suva Civic Centre. His Excellency, this marks a testament of our lasting friendship between China and Fiji.

The project was undertaken by Guangdong’s Nam Yue
Group on 28th April, 2017 and completed on 28th August, 2018. Ladies and gentlemen, at this point, let me congratulate all the staff and workers associated with Guangdong’s Nam Yue Group for their wonderful and timely work on this project.

Ladies and gentlemen, the newly Re-developed Suva Civic Centre combines traditional culture and art as well as modern features with world class audio-visual technology. Truly a landmark for Suva and Fiji. I welcome all Fijians to come and see and enjoy this new benchmark in municipal facilities and amenities in Fiji.

Ladies and Gentlemen today we shall also witness the exchange of signed Memorandum of Understanding in between Guandong Province and Nasinu Town Council and Guandong Province and the Fijian Government Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Memorandum of
Understanding shall see Guandong Province developing Valelelvu Stadium and Sports Ground for the people of Nasinu. Government takes this opportunity to thank Guandong Province for the development initiative and considering our request positively. It was only last year, that I visited the Valelevu Grounds with Guandong Province officials and the positive consideration is appreciated.

The development shall see sporting activities promotion in the Nasinu corridor and allowing the Nasinu Citizens to witness local and national games at home turf.
It is expected that the development shall create wider benefits to Nasinu Town including increase economic reticulation.

On behalf of the Government, I wish to take this opportunity to thank Guandong province for the continued grant assistance given to the Fijian People in building public assets.

On behalf of the Government of Fiji, I would like to sincerely thank the Guangdong Province for their goodwill in funding this project on the Re-development of Suva Civic Centre. This further strengthens the friendship and cooperation between Suva City Council and Guangdong Province. And we look forward to many more such mutually beneficial projects.

Vinaka vakalevu and May God bless us all.

© 2018 Ministry of Communications