Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s Speech at the Opening of Raiwaqa Rugby Club House

Bula vinaka and a very good morning to you.

Everyone knows that Fijians don’t like rugby (pause) – THEY LOVE IT.  Which is why the opening of a rugby club anywhere is a big event.

There are simply not enough of them.

So this is why it’s a special pleasure for me to be here today to open one, and especially in Raiwaqa.

We all know that this community has had its challenges and problems in the past.

Too many of our young people got into far too much trouble.  In fact, Raiwaqa became a by-word for trouble – drinking, drugs, theft and violence.

But Raiwaqa is turning itself around. There’s a new sense of community spirit.  And I’m delighted to say that this is being driven by young people.

They are taking the lead in forging a new community that is safer, stronger and – best of all – prouder.

Raiwaqa is back where it should be, once again a thriving community in the heart of Suva.

This rugby club is a symbol of that revival. It’s not just for rugby players but for the entire community.

It will be a gathering point for many of the residents of one of the most ambitious of my Government’s projects – to provide new housing worthy of the new Raiwaqa.

We will soon be seeing construction at two sites around this facility that set a new standard for affordable housing.

By this time next year, there will be 208 brand new homes for our people. Forty-six (46) of these will be available by the end of this year.

We are delivering on our commitment to raise the living standards of ordinary Fijians.  We are delivering on our promise to be a Government for the people.

Rugby is a wonderful game, not only for the spectacle and the unique way in which Fijians play it.  I know my game is pretty unique especially as I get older!

It is one of the best of games because success depends on team work and not just on the individual.

My fellow Fijians, this is true not only for rugby but when it comes to building a nation.

Only by each of us working together will Fiji achieve its true potential.

Only by hard work, persistence and determination can we build the new Fiji.

As your Prime Minister, I want to thank everyone who has made this wonderful project possible, including the club’s Executives and the team at the Public Rental Board.

But above all, I would like to pay tribute to this Community and the true Fijian spirit it has shown.

On a final note, you will all know that I demand value for money for the Fijian taxpayer.

When I asked how much this building cost, they came back and said one hundred and four thousand, four hundred and twenty four dollars and 62 cents [104,424.62].

On behalf of the taxpayer I am going to make the following demand:

Unless Raiwaqa produces a Flying Fijian within the next five years, I want the 62 cents back!   (pause)

I now have the greatest pleasure in declaring the Raiwaqa Rugby Club open.

Thank you, vinaka vakalevu.