HON PM BAINIMARAMA REMARKS AT THE COMMISSIONING OF THE QARANI JETTY, GAU

Vaka Turaga I Nadawa, vua na Turaga na Takalai Gau
• The Honourable Minister for Local Government, Housing and Environment, Infrastructure and Transport.
• Honourable Ministers,
• Representatives of the Fiji Roads Authority and Pacific Marine and Civil Solutions,
• Distinguished Guests
• My Fellow Fijians,

It gives me great pleasure to be here to officiate at the opening of the new Qarani Jetty – one of the three (3) projects that I will be commissioning today.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the completion of this jetty is another milestone delivered by my Government in unlocking the development potential of our rural and small island communities to enable ordinary Fijians to benefit economically.

And today, I’m proud as your Prime Minister to be here to unlock the development potential of Gau by officially opening this new strongly built jetty to transform the lives of all of you.

Fiji’s outer islands – such as Gau and its neighbours possess significant natural resources. There are many opportunities for forestry, fisheries and agriculture, as well as tourism.

But until now, the problem is access. These islands have been too isolated for that potential to be unleashed and they haven’t had the necessary infrastructure. Subsistence agriculture is the mainstay of their economies. What income people do earn is mainly generated from cash sales of copra, kava and fish – the same items that make up the trade with other islands.

This new jetty will help open up this remote area of Fiji. It will – for the first time – provide an adequate loading and unloading facility that will cut down on transportation costs; reduce the time it takes to handle cargo; increase the frequency of shipping services and, make travel to and from Gau much more convenient.

This jetty is future proofed for a berthing capacity of 10,000 tonne vessels at the front face and 2.000 tonne conventional berth. It spans 190 metres in length with a jetty head and landing area of 527 square meters. It can accommodate “Roll on – Roll Off” vessels just like the ones that ferry between Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. It also has provisions for smaller fibre boats to access the jetty.

All this means new opportunities for commerce and enterprise.

Products grown, caught or created here can now more easily be brought to market elsewhere in the country. And goods from elsewhere can be more easily be brought here.

Today, I am also opening a new ice plant to help local fishermen explore new fishing opportunities and expand their commercial activity.

It is infrastructure such as this that generates opportunities for your gain and I encourage you to take advantage of the trading opportunities not just for the local markets but also for overseas markets.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it has taken some time to provide you with a proper jetty and I want to thank you for your patience as you made the best of a challenging situation travelling to and from the island.

Today, I am also commissioning a district office here in Qarani and this will mean access by the people of Gau to the opportunities offered by my Government. These are opportunities to access services available to your fellow Fijians on mainland.

My fellow Fijians, these are major development projects in one of the remotest parts of Fiji and I believe this investment will bring huge benefits to all of you.

I hope to use this opportunity to further develop the local economy and bring yourselves closer to your fellow Fijians and the rest of the world.

I want to thank the Fiji Roads Authority and both the construction teams from Pacific Marine and Civil Solutions and the design engineers from MWH Fiji for constructing a jetty that will do so much more for the people of Gau and Lomaiviti.

With those few words, it is now my pleasure to declare the new Qarani jetty open.

Thank you, Vinaka Vakalevu.