1. PRESIDENT OF SINGAPORE SENDS CONGRATULATORY MESSAGE TO HIS FIJIAN COUNTERPART- On the occasion of the Fiji Day of the Republic of Fiji, it gives me great pleasure to convey on behalf of the people of Singapore, our warmest congratulation to Your Excellency and the people of the Republic of Fiji for the happiness and prosperity of your country and people.
2. Crowd gathers at Albert Park for Fiji Day – More than a thousand people gathered at Albert Park today for Fiji’s 43rd Independence Day celebrations
3.Retirees Cherish Fiji Day Celebrations – A good number of senior citizens took time out to witness the celebrations marking Fiji’s 43rd Independence anniversary at Albert Park today.
4.SMALL BUSINESSES TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FIJI DAY – Fifty-six year old snacks-seller, Satdewan Nair of Wainibuku was a happy man as he took advantage of the Fiji Day celebrations today to make a few more dollars for his small enterprise.
5.Senior citizens join in to commemorate Fiji’s Independence Day – As Fijians gathered to commemorate Fiji’s 43rd year of Independence, a number of elderly persons were present at Albert Park for the Fiji Day celebrations today reminiscing the past.
6. FIJIANS REMINDED TO REFLECT FIJI DAY THEME TO ENSURE A PROSPEROUS FIJI –Fijians present at the Fiji Day celebrations in Nausori were reminded to reflect on the theme “Moving together in Unity to ensure a prosperous Fiji” that will depend on everyone’s contribution towards achieving a prosperous Fiji.
1.PRESIDENT OF SINGAPORE SENDS CONGRATULATORY MESSAGE TO HIS FIJIAN COUNTERPART
On the occasion of the Fiji Day of the Republic of Fiji, it gives me great pleasure to convey on behalf of the people of Singapore, our warmest congratulation to Your Excellency and the people of the Republic of Fiji for the happiness and prosperity of your country and people.
Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam
President of the Republic of Singapore
2. Crowd gathers at Albert Park for Fiji Day
More than a thousand people gathered at Albert Park today for Fiji’s 43rd Independence Day celebrations.
The celebrations in the capital city began with a march-on by members of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces and the Fiji Navy.
His Excellency, the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau was chief guest at the celebrations and reviewed the military parade of more than 400 army and navy personnel which was followed by a 21-gun salute and the presidential salute.
Entertainment was also provided by the Fiji Police Jazz Band while organisations from both the public and private sector had set up booths displaying their products and services.
24 year old USA citizen, Emma Gold who is visiting Fiji on a school excursion said that she enjoyed the parade and the activities that were organised today.
“The military parade was great, it was so majestic and the marching was lovely,” Ms Gold said.
It was great to see how uniform everything was and this is the first time for me to witness military tradition.”
Similarly, Nausabd Ali said that he enjoyed the celebrations and seeing Fijians coming together.
“It was really great to see people coming together in unity and harmony today at the park,” Mr Ali said.
Celebrations continue this afternoon at the park.
3.Retirees Cherish Fiji Day Celebrations
A good number of senior citizens took time out to witness the celebrations marking Fiji’s 43rd Independence anniversary at Albert Park today.
Gau Islander 72 year old, Anitelu Mataisuva joined his granddaughters in waving the Fijian flag as the 21gun salute was accorded to His Excellency the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.
The retired secondary school teacher was overwhelmed with joy witnessing the parade as he remembered the first Fiji Day celebrations in 1970.
“I was teaching in Gau at the time of Fiji’s Independence and it was a proud moment for me. Every year I participate in the celebrations with my family and it is encouraging to see such unity amongst our people. We should love each other with no religious or racial boundary,” Mataisuva said.
He acknowledged the Bainimarama government as the best government in fulfilling people’s needs with the recent developments of road and infrastructure and said the next government should do the same for people of Fiji.
Meanwhile, for two friends who gathered at Albert Park today, it was an opportunity to obtain a copy of the vernacular version of Fiji’s Constitution.
Birendra Dutt, 60 year old of Kinoya and Ram Sundar, 76 year old from Caubati said a lot has progressed over the years in Fiji.
“We have a new Constitution and today we see all sectors of society taking part in the Fiji Day. This is a sign of good progress. I came here to get a copy of the Constitution to learn what new changes have been made,” Dutt said.
Mr Sundar who was a farmer in Labasa moved to Suva in 1970 to start a new life.
“I worked in many big companies like Burns Phillip and doing a taxi business before retiring. I would like to thank the government for the assistance to school, children in their education. This is good as during out time we had to struggle and hardly moved up in education but now we have support from government to assist poor children,” Sundar said.
The Fiji Day celebrations rounded up with the President inspecting the parade.
4. SMALL BUSINESSES TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FIJI DAY
Fifty-six year old snacks-seller, Satdewan Nair of Wainibuku was a happy man as he took advantage of the Fiji Day celebrations today to make a few more dollars for his small enterprise.
Mr Narayan has been selling peanut and bean snacks for a living for the past 40 years and was glad that a big crowd had gathered to mark Fiji’s 43rd independence anniversary at Albert Park.
He added that today was an opportune time for him to boost his sales.
“I came down at Albert Park at 7:30 in the morning today and will go home around 6pm. Whenever there is a big event at the grounds, I come down to sell my savoury and also mingle with the people. The celebrations today is very good as a lot of people have turned up. Children should take interest in this and learn what Fiji Day is all about,” Mr Nair said.
Government ministries and agencies have set up booths at the grounds providing services to the general public and another small business owner also took advantage of today’s event.
Thirty-three year old, Semaema Colati of Cunningham was browsing through pamphlets and forms at the Local Government Ministry booth to seek assistance for her piggery business.
“I came down to check what services are available for the small businesses. I have a piggery farm and today I got a quotation and some forms from Local Government on the requirements and other information. This has been very helpful to me. I started my business in 2009 with four piggery sheds,” Mrs Colati said.
Mrs Colati had been in the piggery business for nine years experiencing the ups and downs of business but never gave up.
“My pigs were stolen and I had to start again. I bought three pigs from Koronivia and bred a total of seven of which, two were sold. I am interested in rural housing assistance also and talked to relevant officials as to how government assists people like us. Government assists with grants for starting up small businesses and I am happy that I came here today.
“Coming down to the Albert Park every year for Fiji day celebrations is a norm for my family now. I can see that this year, more people have participated in the celebrations which shows the love Fijians have for our country,” Mrs Colati added.
5. Senior citizens join in to commemorate Fiji’s Independence Day
As Fijians gathered to commemorate Fiji’s 43rd year of Independence, a number of elderly persons were present at Albert Park for the Fiji Day celebrations today reminiscing the past.
War veteran of the World War II and also one of the first recruits of the Fiji Army, Mr Atonio Tuvai 93 years of age, from Tunuloa, Cakaudrove travelled from the islands to be part of the celebrations.
“I recall my years of service as I attended the war, and being in the army for 43 years – I am so proud and happy with the military parade that was staged today by the army and the navy officers.
“Watching the parade, I am filled with pride and joy to be here today and hope for the best for the nation of Fiji,” Mr Tuvai said.
Another senior citizen who was pleased to be part of celebrations was a farmer from Bua, Mr Bahendra Bal, 80 years of age.
Mr Bal shared a bit of his past as he remembered his father being a parliamentarian, the country’s state many years ago and how much Fiji has evolved.
“So much has changed in our beloved nation and I am privileged to still be alive to witness today’s occasion as it is positive sign for the country,” Mr Bal said.
A 77 year old retired teacher, Mr Sevanaia Koroiwasa of Kadavu was very pleased to join in today’s occasion.
“I have been away from the country for a few years now, and being here today has brought back many memories of Fiji in the past.
“I remember the good old days, and these nationwide gatherings has brought back a picture that use to be, united time for all races and families,” Mr Koroiwasa.
6. FIJIANS REMINDED TO REFLECT FIJI DAY THEME TO ENSURE A PROSPEROUS FIJI
Fijians present at the Fiji Day celebrations in Nausori were reminded to reflect on the theme “Moving together in Unity to ensure a prosperous Fiji” that will depend on everyone’s contribution towards achieving a prosperous Fiji.
Chief guest and Minister for Labour, Industrial relations and Employment Mr Jone Usamate highlighted that in order for the country to move forward all Fijians should be united.
“Our growth as a nation has always been slowed down when we see ourselves in our small groupings—–ethnic groupings, religious groupings or geographic or provincial groupings. A strong Fiji—a prosperous Fiji will ensure we all see ourselves as One Nation, One People,” Mr Usamate said.
“We now have a Constitution that will be able to provide the basis to achieve a just, vibrant, free and strong society. Strong economically and strong socially. A strong multi-cultural society,” Mr Usamate said.
“This constitution has addressed and removed many of the fears that were used in the past to create division amongst ourselves. Fears about land–they have been removed by this constitution. Fears about maintaining our different cultures—they have been addressed by the constitution,” he said.
He adds that for the first time, economic, social and human rights are recognized and written in our supreme law – including the access to education, access to economic opportunity, access to housing are just examples of what is protected and granted to all of us as a right.
Mr Usamate reminded fellow Fijians to remember those who lived in the past, toiled and sacrificed to build the country and their hardship hardship—the hardship of those who came to Fiji as Girmityas and those that were black bird—because they also helped build our country.
Meanwhile, retired army veteran 69 years old Saula Sucu of Tailevu shared his story on the day of Independence on 10th October 1970 at Albert Park.
“We marched from the Suva bus stand to Albert Park and it was one of memorable moments and today we are celebrating 43 years of being independent Fiji has come a long way,” Mr Sucu said.
Mr Sucu acknowledged governments’ efforts in moving the country forward and encouraged all Fijians to be part of this change.
57 year old Sainimere Lewai of Rewa was also part of the Fiji Day celebrations, she said this proud moment for all Fijians.
Students from around Nausori provided entertainment for the day and government departments setup stalls which coincided with the National Disaster week.