My Fellow Fijians,
Once again, the whole nation has come together to celebrate Fiji Day 2015 – the 45th anniversary of our Independence.
It is a time to put politics aside and celebrate the things that bind us together as Fijians – our love for our nation, our love of God and our love for each other.
This love ought not to be confined to our families and friends, or to those who come from the same part of Fiji or who share our interests and opinions. It should be for every Fijian. Because we are all members of one great family – the Fijian family. And we all belong.
The great test we must set for our nation as we move towards the 50th anniversary of our Independence is that no Fijian is left behind. We must take every citizen with us as we strive to build our nation, and especially the marginalised and most vulnerable. Because I am convinced that if we can take everyone with us on our journey forward, nothing can stop us from achieving greatness.
I urge every Fijian to embrace the concept of unity – of one nation – and to work as a team in the five years leading up to the anniversary of our half century of Independence in 2020.
I have just had the privilege to see Fijian teamwork up close as I lent my support to the Flying Fijians in their campaign for the Rugby World Cup. Our boys were up against the greatest teams in world rugby. And while they were beaten in some of the deciding games, their performance on and off the field was truly inspirational and a source of pride for every Fijian. They established once and for all that Fiji – a small island nation with none of the wealth of its principal competitors – is now one of the greats of world rugby. And I came away convinced that the Flying Fijians – and the nation they represent so well – have what it takes to make it to the top.
I appeal to the whole nation to learn from the teamwork we have seen on the rugby field in recent weeks. We can have our differences. We can have our disagreements. But let us all strive to play together as members of one team – Team Fiji – with the sole aim of making our nation great.
We have much to celebrate on Fiji Day 2015. And our future looks brighter than ever before.
So let us give thanks for being Fijian. And rededicate ourselves to working together hand-in-hand – in a spirit of love and inclusiveness – as we continue on our journey to greatness.
Toso Viti. Go Fiji. May God bless our beloved nation. May God bless us all.