SPEECH: HON PM BAINIMARAMA SPEECH AT THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE RURAL ELECTRIFICATION: HOLY CROSS GRID AND HOUSE WIRING PROJECT

Ni sa bula vinaka and good morning to you all.

It gives me great pleasure to be with you today at this official commissioning of the Holy Cross Grid and House Wiring Project.

Now that I’ve arrived at my last stop on my Tour of the North, I can tell you I’ve had the opportunity to oversee numerous new infrastructure projects and bring many new Government programs to our fellow Fijians here on Vanua Levu. It’s been a great week seeing our Fijian communities here celebrate these well-deserved milestones.

I’ve had the chance to speak with so many in the North and hear the challenges that face you and the solutions you’d like to see. And let me assure you, we hear your voices, we share your concerns and we will do whatever we can to continue driving progress for the Northern region.

This grid extension is a part of my vision of a North that enjoys the same services and infrastructure as can be found on Viti Levu. Because I believe that every Fijian is entitled to the same quality of life, regardless of where in our islands they call home.

This electrification project has been completed at a total cost of $178,842 and was funded by my Government.
This project extended about 1km of LV line to 16 classroom blocks and 14 staff quarters at the Holy Cross Secondary School, bringing the many advantages of electricity and gird connectivity to your students and staff.

Any effort to get us more connected as Fijians is a step in the right direction. Whether it is through telecommunications, water, roads or electricity — connectivity brings opportunity. And I am confident that when Fijians have opportunity in front of us, we take full advantage of it.

Every time another Fijian is connected to electricity in their homes, office or school we boost the collective potential of our people. We give those Fijians the chance to use new technologies, stay safe in the evening hours and become even more productive members of our society. And when we do well individually, Fiji does even better as a whole.

In the case of the Holy Cross Secondary School, students will be able to study late into the night, they will have access to computers, lab equipment and copiers and they will learn in a bright, welcoming environment instead of having to worry about access to electricity. By building better learning environments, we build a better Fiji. That’s because these children are our future and one day will be entrusted with running our businesses, schools and the nation itself.

On the subject of building a better Fiji, I would like to take a moment to discuss an issue I’ve been talking about all over the country. The issue of domestic violence and sexual assault. As I look out on the children gathered here today, I see so much potential. And that includes both our girls and boys.

Tragically, the crimes of domestic violence and sexual assault are threatening our women and children all over Fiji, forcing them to live life in fear. It’s destroying lives that otherwise would be happy and productive, and that is something I cannot accept.

As Fijians, it is our duty to condemn these crimes whenever we see them and keep our women and children safe from harm. We must not abuse or exploit them. We need to rid our society of these crimes and create a world where our women and children can focus on their futures instead of worrying about their everyday safety.

So please, join me in the fight against the crimes of domestic violence and sexual assault. When you see it, report it. Because if you allow it to go unpunished, you allow evil to persist, and I know we are better than that.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is up to all of us to continue working together to make Fiji more prosperous and more productive. It is up to our teacher’s to remain committed and to our students to work hard and apply themselves in the classroom. With the opening of this electrification project, that will become more achievable than ever before.

I now have great pleasure in declaring the Electrification Projects of Holy Cross Secondary School, Open.

Thank you. Vinaka Vakalevu.