Posts tagged Solomon Islands

Fiji presents Solomon Islands with plaque of friendship

Fijian Prime Minister Bainimarama Departs Solomon Island

Fijian PM arrive in the Solomon Island

Fijian PM Independence Statement at 35th Independence celebrations of Solomon Islands

Fijian PM meets Fijian Community

Fijian Prime Minister meets Solomon Islands Cabinet

“YOU CAN RELY ON US”, FIJI TELLS SOLOMON ISLANDS

The Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, has urged Solomon Islands to step up its engagement with Fiji, telling his Solomons counterpart that Fiji is more sympathetic and understanding than some of its other regional neighbours.

Commodore Bainimarama was speaking at a final meeting with the Solomons Prime Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo, at the end of his official visit to Honiara as Chief Guest for the country’s 35th Independence anniversary celebrations.

The Prime Minister said that while Fiji was already a strong partner of Solomon Islands, it was again offering the hand of friendship and assistance and the two countries were in a position to make that partnership even greater.

“As fellow Melanesians, Fijians are more sympathetic and understanding, better suited than some of your other neighbours to assist you in your development. And we are ready and willing to do so”.

The Prime Minister pointed to the many reforms that Fiji had made to improve the quality of governance and improve the lives of ordinary Fijians and suggested that Solomons Islands could learn from some of its experiences.

“We make the offer not from a position of arrogance, of thinking that our way is better. We do so with humility and in the knowledge that we have had to face many of the same challenges you confront. We believe that many of the lessons we have learned in Fiji can be passed on to a valued ally and friend”, he said.

The Prime Minister highlighted Fiji’s fight against corruption, public service reforms to improve efficiency and accountability, the delivery of basic services such as water and electricity, the provision of access to mobile phones and the internet and land reforms to make the distribution of lease monies more fair and free up more land for farming.

In thanking his Solomons counterpart for what he described as “a wonderful experience” for the Fijian delegation visiting the country, the Prime Minister said it had reinforced his optimism about the future of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

“We have begun to see ourselves as a cohesive, unified force that is truly independent. We are taking charge of our own destiny and carving out our own niche in the world. We don’t see ourselves as beholden to anyone. We will act in our own interests, not the interests of those who attempt to impose their will on us. The days of us being dictated to by outsiders are over”, the Prime Minister added.

FIJI OFFERS MORE PERSONNEL AND ASSISTANCE TO SOLOMON ISLANDS

The Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, has offered to send more Fijian personnel and assistance to Solomon Islands in a speech to mark the 35th anniversary of the country’s Independence.

The Prime Minister headed a Fijian contingent of around 200 people to the anniversary celebrations in Honiara today, including RFMF troops and members of the Fiji Police Force. Many of them had previously served in the Solomons as peacekeepers for RAMSI – the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands.

In a luncheon speech afterwards, the Prime Minister referred to the strong historical ties between Fiji and Solomon Islands, which saw 50 Fijian troops killed in the Solomons campaign against the advancing Japanese during World War Two.

He also spoke about the “Melanesian brotherhood” that now binds Fiji and the Solomons through the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) with Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and the Kanak people of New Caledonia.

The Prime Minister said the Melanesian countries shared a dream – a bold vision to create a common market between the MSG countries for the free flow of goods, service and labour.

“We also want to secure trade agreements with the rest of the world as a bloc, not as individual countries. And we want the Melanesian viewpoint to be taken much more seriously at the United Nations and in other global forums”, he said.

The Prime Minister pointed out that aside from Fiji’s historical links, Fijian troops had served as peacekeepers in RAMSI after the civil war in the Solomons and Fijian civilians were currently present at many levels in the country to assist with nation building.

“Be assured that Fiji stands willing and ready to take that assistance to another level with more personnel and resources, if that is the wish of the Government and people of Solomon Islands”, the Prime Minister added.

After the anniversary celebrations and official lunch, the Prime Minister was due to unveil a plaque commemorating the occasion and he and his Solomon’s counterpart, Gordon Darcy Lilo, were to be present as Fijian troops conduct the twilight ceremony of “Beating Retreat”.

“SOLOMONS GRATEFUL FOR FIJIAN ASSISTANCE”, PM IS TOLD ON FIRST DAY OF HONIARA VISIT

The Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, has begun his visit to Solomon Islands as chief guest for the celebrations to mark the 35th anniversary of the  country’s Independence.

He flew into rain-swept Honiara this morning to a full ceremonial welcome and inspected a guard of honour before leaving the airport to pay a courtesy call on the Governor-General, Sir Frank Kabui.

The Prime Minister briefed Sir Frank on progress towards the elections in Fiji next year and they discussed other areas of mutual interest, including developments in the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

Sir Frank told the Prime Minister that Solomon Islands was grateful for the assistance of Fijians living in the Solomon’s, who continued to contribute to the economic and social growth of the country.

“We have a very big Fijian community here in Honiara and we are happy with the contributions they have made to our country over many decades”, he said.

The Prime Minister then proceeded with a program that included a meeting with his Solomon’s counterpart, Gordon Darcy Lilo. After that, he laid a wreath at the memorial to Fijian troops who lost their lives in the Solomons campaign against the Japanese advance in World War Two. 50 Fijian soldiers died in the Solomons Campaign during World War Two. He was accompanied by two Fijian veterans of the campaign who are part of the official delegation.

Later in the day, the Prime Minister will attend a dinner in his honour hosted by the Solomon Islands Government. Tomorrow, he is due to attend a church service and then another gathering hosted by the Fijian community in Honiara.

The main Independence anniversary celebrations take place on Monday at Honiara’s Lawson Tama Stadium. They include a military parade in which both Solomon’s security personnel and visiting Fijian troops will take part.

PM Bainimarama’s Speech Commemorating Solomon Islands Independence Day

Halo Oloketa and a very good afternoon to you all.

I also say “bula vinaka” from the Government and people of Fiji. They send their congratulations and warmest regards as we celebrate the 35th anniversary of your Independence.

I bring you special greetings from the “Kai Solomoni” in Fiji, those who left your shores to live among us as Fijians.

Nothing can break the bonds between our two countries. We are all proud Melanesians, part of the brotherhood that also links us with the people of Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and the Kanak people of New Caledonia.

Prime Minister, I am deeply honoured by your invitation to be here today as Chief Guest to commemorate this wonderful occasion. And all Fijians are honoured that you have invited so many of us to come to Honiara, including a large detachment of our Fiji Military Forces and Fiji Police Force, most of whom served here in the Solomons with RAMSI.

Some 200 people have come from Fiji for this event, to join the large number of Fijians already here.

What we are celebrating today is more than just another anniversary. It is a celebration of the way in which Solomon Islands has faced up to its many challenges, survived as a unified nation, and has set its eyes on the future. A nation determined to improve the lives of its citizens and take its rightful place in the region and the world.

We look back at some very difficult times – the tragedy of a nation divided by civil war and the resulting loss of life, the many challenges of restoring peace with the assistance of your neighbours, the renewal of stability and the continuing effort to rebuild your institutions and your economy.

But we also look forward to better times, as Solomon Islands joins hands with its Melanesian neighbours to forge ahead – to give renewed hope to all our people that the dreams we all shared at Independence are finally realised.

The lesson for us all is that only through unity and a common sense of purpose can we fulfill that promise. It means putting hatred and prejudice aside, putting sectional and ethic interests aside, assisting the weak and the marginalised, building a sense of national purpose and working together as One Nation.

The Solomons is not alone. In Fiji, we have also struggled with the same challenges – individuals putting themselves and their narrow interests before the national interest, selfishness, corruption, prejudice, discrimination.

We have now removed outside influences so we can decide, for ourselves, our future – a future that will benefit our children and grandchildren.

It has taken us many years to smash the barriers between us, to think of ourselves not as members of individual ethnicities or communal groups but as Fijians, with common aspirations and a common future.

We are now building a new and better Fiji in which everyone is equal and everyone has the same chance. And next year, we will have the first genuine democratic parliamentary election in our nation’s history of equal votes of equal value.

Equally, we are now working with our Melanesian partners – including Solomon Islands – to build a new and better region in the South West Pacific, a stronger region with more economic clout and a louder voice in global affairs.

Both our countries treasure our membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group. Because we know that the principle of strength through unity doesn’t just apply in our individual countries. United, the people of Melanesia can also be a bigger force in the region and the world at large.

We have a dream – a bold vision that we believe is achievable. We’ve already smashed many of the barriers in the way of the free movement of trade and people between our countries. But we’re now working towards something more ambitious – a common market between the MSG countries for the free flow of goods, services and labour.

We also want to secure trade agreements with the rest of the world as a bloc, not as individual countries. And we want the Melanesian viewpoint to be taken much more seriously at the United Nations and in other global forums.

This especially applies to the things that are most dear to us all – the impact of climate change, fishing rights, the protection of our natural resources, the defence of our borders and the preservation of our unique Melanesian cultures and way of life.

Solomon Islands is an integral part of this plan, which is designed to benefit every Melanesian. And I want to pay tribute today to Solomon leaders, past and present, not only for their leadership of their own country but their contribution to our common regional cause.

I especially value the friendship and counsel of the current Prime Minister, who I thank today for his vision and leadership.

For Fiji’s part, we have a strong record of engagement in Solomon Islands.

Fijian troops spilt their blood here resisting the Japanese advance in World War Two.

Fifty Fijian troops died during the Solomons campaign and we remember their sacrifice with gratitude.

Seventy years on, I am especially proud that three Fijian veterans of that campaign came with me on this trip -Sergeant Major Eliki Vuniwawa, Lance Corporal Ilimotama Wave and Commando Watisoni Seru.

Fijian troops have also served in Solomon Islands in recent times in the cause of peace as member of RAMSI – the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon.

And we also have Fijian civilians present at many levels to assist your efforts at nation building.

Be assured that Fiji stands willing and ready to take that assistance to another level with more personnel and resources, if that is the wish of the Government and people of Solomon Islands.

Thank you again for bestowing me with the honour of being here today. Later this afternoon, I will unveil a plaque that reads: “From the Government and people of Fiji to the Government and people of Solomon islands on the 35th anniversary of your independence. In solidarity and friendship”.

That plaque will still be here long after we have all passed into history. But it will be a permanent reminder that Fijians have, and always will, extend the hand of solidarity and friendship to Solomon Islanders.

On this day, above all, may God Bless Solomon Islands and all its people.

I wish you all the very best.

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