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Bula vinaka and a very good afternoon to you all.

• It’s my pleasure to be here in Bukuya today, just a few short hours after I was opening a new Legal Aid office in Nadroga-Navosa.

• There are six villages here in Magodro, and nearly 2,800 Fijians call the district their home.

• Meanwhile, these Fijians have felt isolated from something that those of us in larger towns and the city likely take for granted –– how to physically handle the death of a loved one by transporting their bodies to the nearest mortuary.

• In a time of great mourning and strife, this type of struggle is the last thing a family should have to shoulder. While your community has undoubtedly come together to assist each other in these trying times, the previous way of doing things –– transporting the dearly deceased from the Bukuya Health Centre to the Keiyasi Hospital Mortuary 40 kilometres away –– was a burdensome journey that, I’m happy to say, is a thing of the past.

• During a visit to Bukuya back in January of 2017, I spoke candidly with those who took the time to come from the surrounding villages and share their thoughts and concerns. I asked how I could share the progress that Fiji has made together as a nation with the people of Magodro, and through this personal connection between us, the need for a mortuary became loud and clear.

• As I’ve said before, with my Government, a promise made is a promise delivered.

• That’s why I personally committed to taking action, and it’s the reason that I’m proud to be back with you all today to mark this development for your people and your community.

• The new mortuary’s construction was quite the project –– these buildings require technical fittings, high construction standards, and appropriate equipment. It came at a total Government investment of nearly 450,000 dollars –– an investment that was funded by the Small Grant Scheme from my office. That’s why I took ownership over seeing this over the finish line, and it’s why I’m so happy to be among you all to celebrate its achievement here this afternoon.

• And know that with this new facility comes new responsibility for Bukuya. As individuals, you must take care of this mortuary, and not abuse its services. The law affords three days of fee-free holding of the deceased –– a generous period that gives more than enough time to get sorted and plan a burial. To ensure this is a sustainable facility that is always ready to serve those who need it most, you must pledge to take proper care and put your loved ones to rest before this period has passed.

• Ladies and gentlemen, filling the greatest needs of our people is a commitment that I am proud to live up to as your Prime Minister. Those needs vary from community to community; each is unique, and each demands a custom solution to a different problem. That’s no easy challenge, but it’s one that my Government has taken head-on time and again.

• And it’s what makes Fiji a truly special place to lead –– I am humbled by the fact that I have the ability to directly interact with the people I serve. That bond with each of you, and the real effect that projects like this have on your lives, is the most rewarding part of my job. It’s what drives me to work for you, my fellow Fijians, day in and day out. And it’s what will drive us forward together as a nation as we move into a brighter future in the months and years ahead.

• Thank you all for having me today, and for your warm hospitality. I look forward to returning yet again, and when I do come back, to witnessing your continued growth.

• And with that, it’s now my pleasure to officially open the new Bukuya Mortuary.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.

© 2018 Ministry of Communications