Bula vinaka and a good afternoon to you all.
I’m delighted to be here with you all today on the second day of my Tour of the West. I’ll be travelling all over the Western region these next few days, visiting new projects and spreading essential Government services and programs.
One of my Government’s key priorities is building a healthier Fiji. While we are making the necessary investments in improving the quality and access of our healthcare, we also are doing what we can to get Fijians moving. Exercise is a key part of a healthy lifestyle — and one of the best, and most fun, ways to do that is through sport.
Anyone who knows me knows that when it comes to sports, rugby is my favorite. And the people of Nadroumai Village share that passion as was made clear by your village’s request for fitness and training equipment for your local club. So here I am today, happy to be able to hand-over this new gym equipment so that your ruggers in Nadroumai can train safely and more rigorously.
Our seven rugby team is the best in the world. That is something every Fijian can take pride in. But let me tell you, that didn’t happen overnight. There’s only one a way a nation as small as Fiji can dominate the world rugby scene – hard work and dedication.
The Wellington Sevens are just around the corner, and many of our stars who will lead Fiji on the field started right where our young players in Nadroumai are today. It was here, in villages just like yours, that they developed world-class skills and the iron will of champions.
Not everyone goes on to represent Fiji on the world stage of rugby. But that doesn’t make the sport, or the equipment provided to you today, any less important. The game is a great teacher in many ways. It teaches how to work together, how to use individual skills collectively for the benefit of a team. It teaches us how to persevere against great odds. And it teaches us how show respect, in victory and in defeat.
These are lessons that hallmark adulthood. They are lessons that will help you live fulfilling lives, even when things may not go your way. Even when the going gets tough.
Today, I am here to hand-over $12,380 worth of gym equipment that will let your club play safer and train harder. I’ve also been to the Noi Tonga and Blue Dolphin rugby clubs to deliver this same assistance, so I expect the level of play in the West to reach a new level.
You will no longer have the make the long journey to Sigatoka town to train with proper equipment. No you can trains right here, you can get moving and stay healthy in the convenience of your own Village.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I’d also like to take some time to discuss a national project of enormous importance. Our national flag is changing. By the 7th of September, Fiji will fly a new flag that captures the beautiful imagery of our country and symbolizes the bold vision of a new Fiji.
This flag will represent every Fijian, so it is vital that every Fijian is involved in the process. We have extended the deadline to submit flag designs until the 29th of February. Then in March, we will announce five final designs and consult the public on which design is best. After weighing everyone’s opinion, we will announce the new flag on Constitution Day, the 7th of September.
I urge you all to get involved in this process. Every additional voice in the discussion brings us closer to raising a new flag that truly shows our history and the beauty of Fiji and the Fijian people.
I hope you will use this new equipment well, play hard and stay safe. I wish you luck on the field and I wish your village and the people of Nadroumai a blessed 2016.
Thank you. Vinaka vakalevu.