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Media Center > Speeches > HON PM BAINIMARAMA 2018 NEW YEAR MESSAGE

HON PM BAINIMARAMA 2018 NEW YEAR MESSAGE

1/1/2018
My Fellow Fijians, Bula vinaka and a very Happy New Year to you all.

What a year it has been for Fiji, and what a year to be a Fijian.

We began this past year with steadfast resolve and great ambition, as we prepared to take the lead on two global causes that are critical to our future: climate action and the preservation and protection of our oceans.

But we also knew that despite these global challenges, our work at home had to continue – we had to keep growing the Fijian economy, bringing greater opportunity into the lives of our people and caring for those Fijians who are most vulnerable in our society.

My fellow Fijians, in 2017, we have succeeded – at home and abroad – in meeting those great expectations.

During our co-chairing of the first-ever United Nations Conference on Oceans, the world made 1,400 voluntary commitments to help improve the health of our oceans and the sustainability of marine life and ecosystems. And then, during our Presidency of COP23, we made great progress confronting the root causes of climate change – the harmful emissions warming our atmosphere. Vulnerable nations also gained greater access to finance and frameworks to adapt to climate impacts – the rising seas, severe weather events and changing weather patterns that threaten our environment, our future development and our very wellbeing.

We believed when we took on these challenges, and we believe now, that Fiji’s leadership and moral authority on the global stage as a small island state, would help move humanity to rise up and take the action that we all know we must take. And our success has made 2017 a landmark year in Fijian history, all because we did not shrink from the challenge. We did not leave our fate in the hands of bigger and more powerful and developed nations. We showed once again that a small-island nation can provide mature and responsible leadership to drive the world to action.

But, my fellow Fijians, even in a year of unprecedented success abroad, I am most proud of what we have accomplished at home.

The Fijian economy has soared to its eighth straight year of economic growth--thanks to the winning recipe of consistent economic policies, bold and modern ideas, sound fiscal management, investment in infrastructure and the effort and energy of ordinary Fijians.

And I am happy to say that there are nothing but positive projections for our growth in the years ahead.

We must stick with that game plan in 2018 and beyond. My Government will continue to find innovative ways to ensure that every Fijian shares in our development and our economic growth--Fijians from all walks of life, all levels of society and every corner of the country. We will continue to make merit-based achievement the foundation of our development. And we will continue the programmes and initiatives that are the cornerstone of my Government’s agenda: free education; new and resilient infrastructure; access to clean water, electricity, telecommunications and Government services; support to our entrepreneurs; and special efforts to bring those on the margins into the economic fold, including our women, young people, the disabled and those in the remote maritime and rural areas.

As Prime Minister, what has stood out to me this past year, above all, is the tremendous good that we’ve achieved because we have been united in our vision for a better nation. We have shown our love for our country in our concern and respect for each other, in our inclusiveness and in our willingness to work with each other. As united fellow Fijians, we have shown there is nothing we cannot overcome.

I see that spirit in our peacekeepers, who sacrifice their own safety abroad in the defence of those who cannot defend themselves. I see it in our teachers, who dedicate themselves every day to preparing our young people to be tomorrow’s leaders, and tomorrow’s parents, employees and entrepreneurs. I see it in our doctors and nurses who dedicate themselves every day and night to ensure our health and well-being. And I see it in all of our hard-working people, supporting their families and helping to build the new Fiji.

I know that the next generation of Fijians will look back on this time in our history as the years we began to realise our potential as a nation. They will be proud of what we have achieved and they will be inspired by what we have set in motion. That legacy of work must continue in 2018. We must renew our commitment to the things that unite us as a people, to continue to make life better for the Fijian people, and to keep engaging and speaking out on the issues that matter to every Fijian.

In 2018, we will hold our second national elections under the truly democratic system set out in the Fijian Constitution. Again, you will need to make a choice: to remain united in our steady, unrelenting journey forward or risk all of the great progress we’ve made the last decade, and drag our nation backwards into the past.

As always, I stand ready to take Fiji into the future. I stand ready to keep Fiji atop the world, a leading nation among nations. And I stand ready to bring even greater opportunity and prosperity into the lives of every Fijian.

As we approach the elections, I ask that we focus on real issues that matter to real people, and rise above the personal attacks and pettiness. We must be wary of any who seek to divide us, on the basis of gender, ethnicity, religion, location or socio-economic status, or any who seek to exploit ordinary people for their own political gain. The elections should be conducted on the basis of honesty and facts and each party’s vision for the country. That is what the Fijian people demand, and that is what they deserve.

I urge every Fijian to vote on election day. Your vote is your voice, and an election is no time for complacency. It is the clearest way for you to shape your future and the future of Fiji.
Together, we will keep Fiji moving forward, as one nation and one people, united in our common purpose and our belief in what this great nation can achieve.

My fellow Fijians, I ask that you all remain safe and responsible in the New Year, and that we all make special efforts to care for all those who need a helping hand. So, together, we can help make for a more kind and compassionate society in Fiji.

I wish you all and your families a very healthy and happy 2018.

Vinaka Vakalevu, Thank You.
 
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