Bula Vinaka and a Very Good Morning to you all.

I’m delighted to be with you this morning to open the new Classroom Block here at the Namosi Secondary School and to launch the electricity grid extension to the school and the Tikina of Namosi.

Thank you for the warm welcome extended to me and my delegation and it’s wonderful to see so many bright young faces in front of me – the future of our nation.

I know that most eligible voters here in Namosi have already cast your votes for the general election next week through the pre-polling arrangements of the Electoral Office.

So this isn’t a political speech so much as a call for national unity in the election lead-up and beyond so that we can maintain stability and keep Fiji prosperous and strong.

There are certain politicians trying to stir up division in the country for their own political purposes. There have even been threats to the safety of our fellow citizens if certain politicians don’t get the result they want. But I urge ordinary Fijians to reject that division and hatred.

I urge them to look to the future and not the past and decide for themselves what is best for them and their families. Because what’s important above all else is that this election lays the foundation for a better Fiji for all our young people, no matter who they are or where they come from. And that we embrace the politics of hope that the future offers and not the politics of fear and division that has held our nation back.

I keep saying that there has never been a better time to be a Fijian young person. I want you to think about the importance of caring for each other, of loving each other, and especially of taking care of other children who may not be as strong as you are.

One of the most important things I keep saying is that in the new Fiji, we must make sure that no-one is left behind. It is up to the strong to protect the weak and the vulnerable – young and old – and that’s what I’d like you all to do.

I also want to say that in the new Fiji, no-one is better than anyone else. It doesn’t matter who you are, what family you come from or whether you have more money or things than someone else. We are all equal and we need to work together and take everyone with us on our journey as a nation.

Nothing is more important than for us to be united, for everyone to work together, to join hands, to build the nation that we all love so much. We are all on the same team – Team Fiji – and everyone has their position on the team and part to play.

As a team, we must all turn our backs on anyone who tries to divide us, to tell us that we can never be truly united because we might be different from someone else. It doesn’t matter what your background is, what your religion is or what your parents do. We are all important members of Team Fiji. Everyone belongs.
Boys and Girls, you have been given a fantastic opportunity to get on in life – the best opportunity that any Fijian child has ever been given in the history of our nation. For the first time, my Government has been able to provide you with free schooling and I want you to seize that opportunity with both hands.

Namosi Secondary School is already doing well. I’m told that in the past two years, 2012 and 2013, the school has achieved a pass rate of well over a 50% for the first time in the Form 6 and Form 7 Examinations. Which means that your school is no longer classified as an underperforming school.

I am very proud of your achievement and want to congratulate both the student body and your teachers for all your hard work.
To ensure that all the children of Namosi have access to education, my Government is currently considering your submission for a new secondary school for the Tikina of Veivatuloa and will treat this as a matter of priority should the nation put its trust in us to continue in Government after the election.

Now that you have electricity in your homes and can study by electric light at night, I’m sure that your pass rates will continue to improve. Because we have now given you what you so desperately need – the electric power that so many people in Fiji take for granted but has now come to you in this part of Namosi for the first time.

It’s all about making sure that people in isolated parts of Fiji get the same level of services as those in the towns and cities. And it has been the defining characteristic of my Government’s term in office – providing ordinary Fijians with the things they need to empower themselves and improve their lives like free education, electricity, water, better health facilities, better roads and telecommunications.

I want you all to work as hard as you can on your studies here, and take advantage of the chance we are giving you to go further with our scholarships and tertiary loans – to become a doctor or a nurse, a farmer, carpenter, plumber, electrician or engineer. Or any number of other jobs that any country needs and that can provide a better living for you and your family.

As we enter this decisive period in the history of our nation, let us remember our sons, fathers and brothers, the 45 men of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces currently being detained by the militias in Syria.

We hope that our loves ones will soon be released and in the meantime, I urge every Fijian to continue to remember them, their families and their loved ones, in your prayers.

To finish, I want to urge pupils and parents alike to look to the future, not to the past, and to imagine where we can be as a nation if we all put our differences aside and work together. Because I think we will be champions. Team Fiji will be unbeatable.

I now have great pleasure in declaring your new classroom block open and inaugurate the extension of the Electricity Grid to the Tikina of Namosi and to the Namosi Secondary School.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.