Commodore J. V. Bainimarama, CF(Mil), OSt.J, MSD, jssc, psc

Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Strategic Planning, National Development and Statistics, Public Service, Peoples Charter for Change and Progress, Information, iTaukei Affairs, Sugar Industry and Lands and Mineral Resources


Today, across the country Fijians will be lighting candles, setting off fireworks and meeting with friends, family and neighbours to commemorate Diwali, one of the most exciting and festive times of the year.

It is a day of national celebration as we join our Hindu brothers and sisters to observe the “festival of lights.”

Diwali marks the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness, happiness over sorrow. To me, Diwali has always been about Fiji coming together as one nation to rejoice and give thanks for the glory of God and the bonds of family and friendship.

It’s a time for each of us to shine light on that which is most important in our lives, which we can all too often lose sight of in the course of our day-to-day responsibilities. It’s also a time to find fellowship with our neighbours – to reach out to fellow Fijians with acts of kindness and hospitality.

This year’s Diwali celebrations also bear a special significance. It is the first of Fiji’s major religious festivals to be celebrated under our nation’s new Constitution, which protects the rights of all Fijians to practice their religion freely and publicly.

What has long been practice is now enshrined in the supreme law of our land.

It’s always been a matter of great personal pride how openly we embrace each other’s different religions and how ready we are to include those of different faiths in our observances.

Such acceptance and understanding is one of the brightest lights in our national life, and it is up to each of us to protect the spirit of peace and harmony that we gather today to celebrate.