STATEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTER ON THE FLAG

I believe the mood for change is strong. The challenge is to find a design that speaks to everyone. And that is what we will achieve in the coming weeks and months. To hone in on a flag design that we can all hoist with pride. That speaks to everyone. That embodies our nation and its values.

We have had feedback teams visiting a range of communities. Our feedback tells us that the Fijian people definitely agree on the need to change the existing flag. We also estimate that Fijians viewed the 23 existing designs more than 70-thousand times on the national flag website. That’s actual participation in the process.

Broadly speaking, what the Fijian people are saying is this: Yes, we agree on the need for a new national symbol. But show us a design we like. Give us more choices. Give us more time to consider them. And that is what they are going to get.

I passionately believe that we need a national flag with symbols that represent the Fijian spirit today and into the future. That speaks to us all as Fijians, not as a people once ruled by the British.

True leadership is having the courage to stand up and see the future. And the future I see is of a modern nation state with a national flag that represents the present and future, not the past.

As I announced last week, we now have until the end of the year – December 31st – to complete this process. So the Fijian people have the time to fully consider new alternatives.

We have listened.