Posts tagged Telecentre

SPEECH: PRIME MINISTER VOREQE BAINIMARAMA AT THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE LAMI HIGH SCHOOL TELECENTRE

Bula Vinaka and a very good afternoon to you all.

It’s a great pleasure to be in Lami today to officially open yet another Government Telecentre – the latest in our communications revolution.
You are joining more than 77-thousand Fijians from around the country who are already using these Telecentres to connect to the Internet and enter the digital age.

Like the 24 others currently up and running, it is for the use of students during school hours and the rest of the community in the evening and on weekends.

While our primary focus has been on installing these facilities in rural and maritime areas, I have made sure that larger towns and cities are not overlooked.

I’ve been told that 65 per cent of Lami High School’s 352 students don’t have access to a personal computer and Internet connection at home. That’s more than 225 students. And this doesn’t even take into account the 5,000 members of the local community.

That’s why it’s so important that the benefits of this initiative are spread evenly around the country, urban and rural alike.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
It’s not possible to overstate the power of the Internet. With the click of a mouse, you can access any piece of information ever known to mankind. You can connect with friends and family living halfway around the world just like they are sitting in your own living room. You can find out what’s happening in every corner of the globe and share your ideas and stories with people in other countries.

For some of you, this may all sound a bit intimidating at first; don’t feel bad if it doesn’t make sense straight away. There will be someone here to help you get the hang of it and I have no doubt that once you start exploring the Web, you’ll begin to understand how big the opportunities are.
Never before has technology had such an ability to end isolation and connect ordinary people to the wider world. The Internet is creating a community of global citizens and all you need for membership is access to a computer.

That’s why my Government is committed to giving every Fijian a passport to the digital world by making sure they have access to computers with an Internet connection.

Thanks to our Telecentres, thousands of people in Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Ovalau and Kadavu are connecting to the Web for the first time and I will not rest until Fijians everywhere have the same opportunity.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Never before in Fiji’s history have young Fijians had so much opportunity to get on in life, to carve out worthwhile, interesting careers that will give them the ability to look after themselves and their families.

There has never been a better time to be Fijian, to be a citizen of a nation that stands tall and proud in the world, punches above its weight and has a wonderful future ahead of it. Provided we stay united, work together as a team, and care for each other.

I know that most young people I meet share this vision, this dream. And not just for themselves but for Fiji – one nation working towards a prosperous and just future for every single Fijian.

A Fiji that stands tall and proud in the world and that punches above its weight. A Fiji that is a leader in the region – the hub for trade, investment and technology.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
As I travel around the country speaking with ordinary people, one of the things that I hear most often is the complaint that in the past politicians would make all sorts of promises but would fail to keep them.

Breaking this shameful practice has been one of my proudest accomplishments as your Prime Minister. Since day one, my Government has always been more interested in delivering results than making promises. This Telecentre is proof of that commitment.

Now with Fiji headed towards a national election in just a few months’ time, I have faith in Fijians’ common sense and their ability to separate false promises and outright lies from the truth.

I’d like to give you a recent example, which is related to today’s event. One party recently announced that, if elected, they would launch a National Broadband Policy. I wonder if this party knows that Fiji already has such a policy – put in place by my Government – that was praised as the first of its kind in the region?

The bottom line is that Fijians know when they are being empowered, when they are finally getting the services they deserve – real benefits like free education, better housing, better roads, better access to electricity and water. And as in today, the opportunity to be connected to the wider world.

And so I urge you to think very carefully about who you are going to vote for in the upcoming election. It’s a very important decision that comes down to whose vision for the country you believe in the most – a stable, united, prosperous future for all or a return to the divided Fiji of old.

It has become increasingly clear that some people want to throw the country into reverse and drag us all back to the past.

Their petty squabbling and division has brought Fiji to its knees before and yet now they are trying to convince you that they can work together. It’s nothing more than a coalition of hypocrites.

The whole country knows that the only thing these parties have in common is opposition to my Government’s reforms. They are united only by their determination to wind back the clock, to reject the advances of the past seven years and restore their own privileged positions at the expense of ordinary Fijians.

As a nation, we must say “no” to these tired old faces who are employing the same style of politics that we’ve experienced before. Now is the time to say “yes” to a new era of unity, stability and consistency.
With those words, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is now my pleasure to officially open the Lami High School Telecentre.

Vinaka Vakalevu. Thank you.

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama officially opens Kalabu Secondary School Telecentre

FIJIAN PRIME MINISTER VOREQE BAINIMARAMA – SPEECH AT THE OPENING OF THE KALABU SECONDARY SCHOOL TELECENTRE

Bula vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

I’m delighted to be here at the Kalabu Secondary School to open yet another of the Government’s Telecentres – the latest to be established as part of our communications revolution.
It’s the second day running that I’ve had the pleasure of seeing so many bright, shining faces of our young people, eager to join that revolution by gaining access to the Internet.

You are about to join the 55-thousand Fijians who already have access to Telecentres in Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Ovalau and Kadavu. And as I keep saying, I will not rest until every Fijian – wherever they live – has the same opportunity.

I want to tell you all what I told the students at the Sila Central High School yesterday; this is your chance to connect with the wider world. With the click of a mouse, you can get instant access to every piece of information known to mankind. Grab the opportunity to broaden your horizons and run with it.

Never before in Fiji’s history have our young people had so much opportunity to get on in life, to carve out worthwhile, interesting careers, to grow up with the ability to look after themselves and their families.

There has never been a better time to be Fijian, to be a citizen of a nation that stands tall and proud in the world, punches above its weight and has a wonderful future ahead of it. Provided we stay united, work together as a team, care for each other and always put Fiji first.

I know that most young people I meet share this vision, this dream. And not just for themselves but for Fiji – one nation working towards a prosperous and just future for every single Fijian.

As your Prime Minister, I urge you all to join me in this crusade. I’m relying on every one of you to do your part, to work as hard as you can so that we can all make Fiji great.

With this event and the opening of the Telecentre at Sila Central yesterday, the people of the Nasinu Corridor – the most densely populated area of Fiji – are being connected to the world.

As I said yesterday, you may be close physically to our nation’s capital. Many of you may have mobile phones. But I know that very few of you have had access to personal computers and internet connection. In the case of the Kalabu School, there hasn’t been a single personal computer in the entire school. Until now. And it’s a big reason for us all to celebrate.

This communications revolution goes hand in hand with my Government’s proudest achievement – the education revolution that is the biggest investment Fiji has ever made in the future of its young people.

Never before has even the poorest Fijian child been given such a leg-up. Because instead of the heartbreak of ordinary families unable to provide an education for their children, we have given them hope.

Every Fijian knows that education is the best way to break the cycle of poverty in any country. And we have started to break that cycle by giving every Fijian child the opportunity to get an education all the way up to tertiary level.

We are building a smarter country through our free primary and secondary schooling, plus the tertiary loans scheme to enable children from ordinary Fijian families to afford to go to technical colleges or universities. There is also our scholarship based on merit for the top 600 students for the selected courses that will propel our country forward. In addition we are continuing our scholarship for civil servants to further their skills and knowledge but now the selection is on a transparent basis.

Of course, education never stops, no matter how old you are. The Internet access here is not just for the students during school hours. As with every Telecentre in Fiji, the wider community, the adults, can come here out of hours and on weekends. And I want to encourage you all to do so to expand your knowledge of the world.

Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, as you all know, I am now a civilian Prime Minister and will soon begin the process of gaining the five thousand signatures I need to register the political movement I am forming to contest the general election. At that election, I will be calling on the Fijian people to make a clear choice between my vision of a better future in the new Fiji we are building together over any return to the Fiji of old. To look to the future and not the past.

I fundamentally believe in the good sense of the Fijian people, in their intelligence and their ability to separate false promises and outright lies from the truth. So today, I want to tell you a fundamental truth about what our Constitution really says about your right to practise your religion.

I have to admit that I was astonished by the suggestion by the older politicians that our new Constitution means that God is no longer at the centre of our national life. It is a lie and I ask every Fijian to reject the idea.

The truth is quite clearly laid out in the Constitution and I urge everyone to read it. In simple terms, the right of every Fijian to follow his or her own religious belief is protected. It is enshrined in our supreme law.

Every Fijian has the right to worship privately and publicly. And every school has the right to conduct religious instruction – both religious based schools and government schools.

In other words, there is no barrier to any school holding scripture classes or holding prayers, as some people have either mistakenly or deliberately mis-interpreted the law.

What the new Constitution requires all of us to do is to respect the religious beliefs of others. It requires us not to force our own particular beliefs on others, not force others to worship as we do, not to force others to pray to the supreme being in the manner we believe in. Because they may believe just as fervently in their belief, as we do in ours and we must respect our different ways. We must give people the choice to choose for themselves.

It is a question of common decency. It is a question of fairness. That we must all have the right in life to follow our own beliefs without interference from people of other religions, denominations, the wider community or the State.

That is why our Constitution provides for a secular state. It simply means that the State – the Government of the day, the lawmakers, the judges, everyone – cannot favour any one religion or denomination.

The State must be neutral, just as they are in democracies like United States of America, France, Australia and New Zealand. We are protecting everyone’s religious rights, upholding their right to their beliefs. And rejecting the bigotry of religious extremists whoever they may be.

God has always been present. God is with us now and God will be with us as we move forward.
The major religions and denominations share fundamental common values – our love of God, our love for our fellow human beings. I also believe that God stands for justice and truth. And God stands for love, compassion and tolerance, and that includes religious tolerance.

It also means that we all can pray together as a nation – to share our common belief in a supreme being greater than ourselves. And today, I would like to close by reciting the prayer that was given at the Presidential assent of our new Constitution last September. It’s a prayer that can be recited by every Fijian, irrespective of their individual beliefs – a prayer for Fiji.

Let us pray:
“Oh God, we ask you to bless us as we gather in your name.

Guide us in our prayers and thoughts and help us to do your will.

We pray for our country and our leaders and ask you to grant us wisdom.

We pray for every Fijian, both at home and abroad.

We pray for equality, justice and compassion in our national life.

Help us to assist each other and especially the vulnerable.

May we always strive for what is just and good.
In your name, Amen.”

Vinaka vakalevu, thank you.

PRIME MINISTER BAINIMARAMA’S SPEECH AT THE OPENING OF THE SILA CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL TELECENTRE

Bula vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

I’m delighted to be here at the Sila Central High School on this important occasion – the opening of yet another of the Government’s Telecentres.

This is number 22. And I’ll be launching the 23rd at the Kalabu Secondary School tomorrow.

It’s important because with the opening of these two centres, the people of the Nasinu Corridor – the most densely populated area of Fiji – are being connected to the world.

You may be close physically to our nation’s capital. Many of you may have mobile phones. But I know that very few of you have had access to personal computers and internet connection. Until now. And it’s a big reason to celebrate.

Through the computers at this Telecentre, my Government is giving you free access to one of the marvels of the modern age – the Internet. Your lives are about to be transformed. And you are going to be empowered in a way that anyone who has not used the Internet before could never have imagined.

This Telecentre will provide instant access to the World Wide Web, instant access to every piece of knowledge known to mankind, instant communication anywhere in the world.

You’ll have heard me talking about Fiji becoming a clever country. It isn’t just an empty slogan. We need to become smarter to be able to compete better in an ever-changing world. We need smarter Fijian workers to attract the investment we need to improve our living standards. Smarter farmers, smarter mariners, smarter tradespeople, teachers, health workers, all those things a nation needs to function at a more efficient level.

That’s why we are making such a big investment in the education of our children. Free primary and secondary schooling, a tertiary loans scheme to enable children from ordinary Fijian families to afford to go to technical colleges or university.

This education revolution goes hand in hand with the telecommunications revolution. My Government is thinking big. We have a vision of the way we want to see Fiji in five years’ time, in ten years, in fifty years. We don’t look backwards like our political opponents.

Our eyes are firmly fixed on the future. Building a prosperous and united Fiji. Working together as one nation. Empowering ordinary people by giving them the things they need to improve their lives and those of their families. Putting Fiji First. Making Fiji Great.

Today, you students are being empowered in a way that your parents would never have imagined. In their day, they saw their own parents struggling to come up with their school fees. And so many Fijians missed out on an education because they simply couldn’t afford one. I have seen countless heartbreaking stories over the years of ordinary, decent, hardworking Fijians unable to get their children into school.

So ever since we launched our revolution seven years ago, I had a dream that one day, we would be able to remove that burden on ordinary families. This year, we have finally done it. And I have to say that of all my Government’s achievements, free education is the one of which I am most proud. All of you students are now getting truly free education in high school. And under my Government you will all have your tertiary fees paid up front.

We have empowered ordinary Fijians and in doing so have empowered our nation. Smarter individuals, a smarter Fiji. Well educated people making quality products and providing quality services. Fiji as a byword for quality and dependability. Fijian workers prized the world over. Because that’s also part of the vision. More Fijians not only improving their own lives at home but fanning out across the world. An integral part of the global community.
I’m urging you all today to think big, to look beyond the horizon. Because today you have already become part of that wider world – the world of information that the Internet offers. Grab it. Run with it. Knowledge is power – as the old saying goes – and your ability to access information of every kind has just taken a giant leap forward.

By tomorrow, when I open the next centre at the Kalabu Secondary School, we will have 23 facilities like this already open across Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Ovalau and Kadavu. The numbers of Fijians using them has now reached almost 55-thousand. And that number is set to rise dramatically with the opening of these two centres.

Because of the dense population of the Nasinu corridor, we’re estimating that around six thousand people will have ready access to this Telecentre and ten thousand people are in the catchment area of the Kalabu Secondary School.

To give you an idea of how much of a difference this will make, there are currently only three personal computers for the 611 students here at Sila Central. And there is not a single one for the 122 pupils at Kalabu. So the transformation in access is sudden, dramatic and a cause for immense celebration. Of course, it’s not just for the students during school hours. As with every Telecentre in Fiji, the wider community, the adults, can come here out of hours and on weekends and I want to encourage you all to do so.

Ladies and Gentlemen, as you all know, I am now a civilian Prime Minister and will soon begin the process of gaining the five thousand signatures I need to register the political movement I am forming to contest the general election. At that election, you will have a clear choice – between my vision of a better future in the new Fiji we are building together or a return to the Fiji of old. The future versus the past.

It has become very clear in recent days that some people want to drag us all back to the past.

To reinstate the privileged elites in Fiji and take back the power I was determined to give to ordinary people. It is too late. Ordinary Fijians can see both the logic and the justice of everyone getting an equal and fair share.

Ordinary Fijians are smarter than that. They saw clearly what happened in the past, even if they didn’t feel free to speak out. They saw some elites abusing the process and enriching themselves. Giving back that power to the elites isn’t going to happen. People want their leaders to command respect because they have earned it. Because of the mana that comes with their high standards of personal conduct, their morality, and their care and love for their people.

I believe ordinary Fijians are a lot smarter than they are being given credit for by some politicians – smart enough to see through the hypocrisy, the power plays, smart enough to spot someone trying to take back something that doesn’t belong to them, that isn’t rightfully theirs. And smart enough to see the gulf between how some people conduct themselves in public and how they conduct themselves in their personal lives.

Fijians also know when they are being empowered, when they are finally getting the services they deserve, not just the empty promises of the past, the false promises, but real benefits – free education, better housing, better roads, better access to electricity and water. And as in today, the opportunity to be connected to the wider world.

When I eventually seek your trust to lead you in the new democracy we are building to create our new Fiji, I will be doing so believing firmly in the underlying good sense of the Fijian people. It has always been there, despite the attempts of some to manipulate them, to mislead them, to sow discord, suspicion and resentment. And I will be calling on that good sense as I ask you all to turn your backs on the past and join me in taking our nation forward – to put Fiji first.

Vinaka vakalevu, thank you.

PRIORITISE YOUR STUDIES

10/19/2013
PRIME Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has impressed upon students the importance of dedicating time and prioritizing their studies over other activities.

Speaking to students from military background at the closing of a seven week revision session organised by the Republic of Fiji Military Forces Wives and Mothers Club, Prime Minister Bainimarama said education was Government’s priority because it envisions a nation led by a smarter group of people in the future.

He said the 15 telecentres opened in schools around the country was a testimony of the priority and commitment Government had made towards education and it will continue to open more such centres for the benefit of the students living in rural areas.

The Prime Minister said Government not only wants more educated youth in the job market, it also wants to see youth who create employment whereby providing jobs for 10 to 15 more people.

“We don’t only want educated people who are looking for work, we want people who can create jobs and employ 10 to 15 people themselves. This is how we will grow our economy,” Prime Minister Bainimarama told the students, parents and teachers at Ratu Sukuna Memorial School.

He commended the students for sacrificing their Saturdays.

Fijian Prime Minister Bainimarama – Speech at the Opening of the Lomawai Telecentre

Bula vinaka and a very good afternoon to you all.

It’s a great pleasure to be with you in Lomawai for a Telecentre opening with a difference.

Unlike the others I opened recently in Vanua Levu, this Telecentre has been operational for almost 12 months.

My apologies to the people of Lomawai. I’ve been meaning to carry out this official opening since last November but one thing or another has obliged me to postpone.

Yet in many ways, the delay has made this an even more important occasion than usual.

Because this is a day not so much for launching a new Telecentre but celebrating the success of an existing one and the entire Telecentre program.

I’m delighted to announce that of all the 15 Telecentres so far operating in Fiji, this one here in Lomawai is the most successful.

Yes, the Lomawai Secondary School Telecentre is the most highly utilised of them all – with an average of nine users per opening hour.

That means nine users an hour – or around 600 a fortnight – have had a new world opened up to them.

It is a world of knowledge, of unprecedented access to information, a means of talking to family and friends around the world and of using the full range of telecommunications services that the Government is providing here.

Before this centre started eleven months ago, the number of people with ready and free access to a computer with internet in this area – and especially our schoolchildren – was virtually zero.

What a difference a year makes. What a difference our Telecentres have made for ordinary Fijians.

There are 380 students at this school and a total population in the surrounding area in excess of two-thousand.

It is a wonderful success story and I think we all owe it to ourselves to give the people of Lomawai a huge round of applause. Vinaka!

I also have the latest Telecentre access figures for the whole country. As of yesterday, Fijians have used these centres 38,451 times.

So we are fifteen hundred away from passing the 40-thousand mark. It’s another wonderful milestone and a remarkable testament to the way in which ordinary Fijians have embraced this initiative.

It’s certainly one of the things I’m most proud of as your Prime Minister. And I would like to pay tribute today to everyone who has been involved in making this initiative the success that it is.

As I say, there are now 15 of these centres around the country and I’ve made 15 opening speeches saying why they are so important.

But this is the first occasion on which ordinary people themselves can explain why they are so important.

I would certainly ask the media covering this event not to take my word for it. Ask the people themselves how their lives have been transformed.

How the Internet has made a difference in terms of acquiring knowledge. How chat services like Skype have made it easier to keep in touch with your loved ones within Fiji and overseas. How much easier it has been to copy or scan important documents.

All these things used to require a trip to Sigatoka or Nadi. And you would have to pay for them. Now the Government has brought these services to you for free.

And having given you the opportunity, you have seized it. You have embraced the digital age and all the possibilities that it offers. You have crossed the horizon into a new world of knowledge. And I promise that my Government will not rest until every Fijian – no matter where they live – has the same opportunity.

Because this is one of the main building blocks of the vision we have for a new and better Fiji.

You are going to hear a lot more from me in the coming weeks and months about the need for Fiji to become a smarter country.

We are going to invest a lot more in the education of our young people, who – as we all know – are the future of our great country and who carry our hopes on their shoulders for even better days ahead.

We have a vision of a smarter Fiji taking a leadership role in our region and being at the forefront of the effort to improve the lives of all the people in our region. And that means a smarter population, Fijians who are better educated and better informed.

Everything we do is designed to achieve that vision – whether it’s training our young people to be trades people or farmers, giving people better access to scholarships or in this instance, giving ordinary Fijians better access to information.

Our new Constitution specifically states that our young people are entitled to primary, secondary and tertiary education.

It’s an ambitious provision. But I don’t want any child in Fiji to be held back because his or her parents can’t afford a better education.

Fiji can never be judged to be a fair country, let alone a smart country, if even one child is left behind. That is why we have been reviewing our education funding programs to provide a helping hand to those Fijians who most need it.

We want to empower you by giving you things you need to improve your lives and those of your families. And that includes access to communications and a whole range of basic rights laid out in the new Constitution – the right to earn a proper living, to get adequate food and clean water – rights that can never be taken away.

It is the blueprint for our future – a future in which every Fijian finally gets an equal opportunity to get on in life and on which we will hold the first genuinely democratic election in our history next year. I urge all of you who are turning 18 before that election to register for it and have your say.

We are investing in you as young people with initiatives like this. I want you to dream of a better future for yourselves and your country.

Work hard at your studies. Take advantage of the opportunities you’re being given to acquire knowledge and skills. Together, we can all make a difference as we build a better Fiji

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.

Fijian PM Bainimarama – Opening of Telecentre at Labasa Muslim School

Bula vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

It’s a great pleasure to be with you today in Labasa on this, the final day of my current visit to Vanua Levu.

It’s been a wonderful experience to meet so many people in the North over the past three days.

The clear message I’ve been getting, especially in my talanoa sessions, is that the people of the North agree with me when I say that service delivery – meeting their needs for basic services – is my Government’s most important task.

Better access to electricity and water, better health services and education, better roads, better access to government agencies.

To the people of the North: I hear you, loud and clear. Years of neglect by previous governments cannot be rectified overnight. But we’re working on it.

You are already seeing some of the results of that work. But there’s a lot more to be done and my Government will not rest until it IS done. Because unlike previous governments, we don’t make empty promises. We deliver. We are genuinely here to serve.

It’s been a special pleasure on this visit to meet so many of our young people, who – as we all know- are the future of our great country and who carry our hopes on their shoulders for even better days ahead.

To all of you at the Labasa Muslim School I say: Everything my Government does is designed to be in your best interests, to give you a leg up in life.

We constantly look to the future, not the past, and imagine how much greater Fiji could be if we can give our young people a better start – better health, better education, better opportunities to get good jobs – satisfying jobs and not just menial work.

And, of course, better access to knowledge and the wider world, which is why we are all here today. Because that is what my Government’s Telecentres are ultimately all about.

This is Telecentre Number 14, after the three I’ve already launched in Vanua Levu this week – at Seaqaqa Central College, Nadogo Central College, and Shri Guru Khalsa College – and the ten previously opened, which are dotted around the rest of the country. Later today, I’ll be opening the 15th in Savusavu.

By the end of my Northern tour, more than 2,000 students and many more ordinary Fijians will have gained regular, affordable access to the Internet.

But this is just the start of what I regard as one of my Government’s most important programs.

We have a vision of a smarter Fiji taking a leadership role in our region and being at the forefront of the effort to improve the lives of all Pacific peoples. And that means a smarter population, Fijians who are better educated and better informed.

Everything we do is designed to achieve that vision – whether it’s training our young people to be trades people or farmers, giving people better access to scholarships or in this instance, giving ordinary Fijians better access to information.

Our new Constitution – that passed into law at the weekend – specifically states that our young people are entitled to primary, secondary and tertiary education. You can read it for yourself – as well as all the other provisions – in the copies that I’ve brought with me to distribute here today in English, I’Taukei or Hindi

It’s an ambitious clause. But I don’t want any smart child in Fiji to be held back because his or her parents can’t afford a better education.

We all know that it’s happened in the past and unfortunately it still happens now. But Fiji can never be judged to be a fair country, let alone a smart country, if even one child is left behind. That is why we are currently reviewing our education funding programs to provide a helping hand to those Fijians who most need it.

Similarly, every Fijian deserves better access to information, and that is why these Telecentres are so important.Because we can all be smarter if we make full use of them and the opportunities they provide.

All over the world, the Internet has transformed the way people access information. You need to be able, of course, to recognise what is accurate and what isn’t. Not everything on the Internet is useful or worthwhile. But the fact remains that in seconds, almost everything known to mankind can be within your reach.

And at these Telecentres, access is free. No need to go to town anymore and pay someone at a shop or cafe to use the Internet. The Government is paying for you to have access as part of its program of service delivery to ordinary Fijians.

We want to empower you by giving you things you need to improve your lives and those of your families. And that includes access to communications and a whole range of basic rights laid out in the new Constitution – the right to earn a proper living, to get adequate food and clean water – rights that can never be taken away.

I encourage you all to take a copy with you. Read it and talk about it. Because it’s the blueprint for our future, a future in which every Fijian finally gets an equal opportunity to get on in life.

It’s also the basis on which we will hold the first genuinely democratic election in our history next year. I urge all of you who are turning 18 before that election to registered for it and have your say in the future of our country.

So the future is bright and we now all have an equal place in it. As young people, I want you to dream, to reach for the stars. Work hard at your studies. Take advantage of the opportunities you’re being given to acquire knowledge and skills. Together, we can all make a difference as we build a better Fiji for you and the generations to come.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama Opens Telecentre at Seaqaqa Secondary School, Vanua Levu

Fijian PM Bainimarama – Opening Of Telecentre At Nadogo Secondary School

Bula vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

It’s a great pleasure to be in the North again and especially here in Nadogo as we open yet another of my Government’s Telecentres.

This is the second of five that I am launching in Vanua Levu this week. Yesterday, I opened a Telecentre  at Seaqaqa Central College for the use of its 570 students during school hours and the rest of the community in the evening and on weekends.

My Government’s Look North policy is one of the cornerstones of our reform agenda. We want to do more to develop Vanua Levu. And an important part of that is to give Northerners access to the telecommunications revolution that is transforming the lives of people across Fiji and across the world.

You all know that we’re doing a lot of work to improve the roads up here, and especially the highway between Nabouwalu and Dreketi to provide better access for people and goods across the top of the island.

Well this is a highway of another sort but just as important – giving ordinary Fijians  access to the information superhighway and empowering them in a way that previous generations would never have imagined.

The Internet is one of the miracles of the modern age. It is opening up new horizons for people across the world. It is providing them with knowledge and skills. And today, it has come to Nadogo.

It is a wonderful way to communicate. Because you can not only email anyone, anywhere in the world with an email address (and the people here can also show you how to get one of those) but you can also speak over the Internet.

Through one of the chat services like Skype, someone here in Nadogo can have a conversation with someone in Nadi or New York or wherever else they might be in the world. And unlike the telephone, it’s free.

And you can also keep up with the news during perhaps the most exciting time in Fiji’s history. You can find out for yourself what is happening, not rely on information that is second hand and may be wrong.

We already have ten Telecentres operating in various parts of the country. And as of last week, 31,500 people were using them. With this centre and the other four we are opening in Vanua Levu today and tomorrow, this number is steadily increasing.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As many of you know, Fiji’s new Constitution came into effect on Saturday after His Excellency our President gave his assent to it at a signing ceremony in Suva. It is the supreme law of the land and all other laws flow from it. And in a host of ways, it is fundamentally different to the three Constitutions Fiji has had since Independence.

For the first time, everyone is equal, everyone is called a Fijian and everyone will have a single vote – of equal value – when we go to the polls by no later than September next year.

Also for the first time, the constitution includes permanent rights to housing and sanitation, reasonable access to transportation, adequate food, clean water, a just minimum wage, social security schemes, health and sanitation. It protects the rights of land owners as well as the rights of tenants.

But personally, one of the parts I am most proud of is that it includes a Fijian’s right to education at all levels: primary, secondary and university. This means that any elected Government will have to do everything in its power to make education accessible to all Fijians, at all levels.

And in primary school, we’re also making the teaching of I’Taukei and Fiji Hindi compulsory under the new Constitution.

I’m proud to say, though, that in so many instances in the North, ordinary people already know both languages and have always communicated effectively. So I definitely regard the North as a beacon and role model for the rest of Fiji.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It’s important for you all to read the 2013 Constitution for yourselves. Today, I’ve brought copies to hand out to those who want to read it and I urge you all to do so. We have versions in English, i‘Taukei and Hindi for you to choose from. It is the way forward for every Fijian.

I have been struck by the enthusiasm ordinary Fijians are showing for the blueprint that will take us to the first genuine democratic election in our history next year.

On my visits to Nabouwalu and Seaqaqa yesterday, we distributed hundreds of copies and I signed many of them at the request of the local people. It’s obviously a document that Fijians already value and see as something they can treasure and pass down to their children.

As I said on Friday, the Constitution is the culmination of the revolution that the RFMF and I launched in December 2006 to put Fiji back on track after years of corruption and the rule of self interested politicians, who weren’t really interested in providing basic services to all Fijians.

The most important thing for me is for my Government to do what other governments didn’t – deliver services to all Fijians wherever they live. Better access to electricity, clean water, affordable housing, education and transport. Not just talk but action.

So with those words, it’s now my pleasure to declare Nadogo Secondary School telecentre open.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.

Voreqe Bainimarama -Opening Of Telecentre at Seaqaqa Secondary School

Bula vinaka and a very good afternoon.

It’s a great pleasure to be in the North again and especially here in Seaqaqa as we open yet another of my Government’s Telecentres.

This is the first of five that I’ll be launching in Vanua Levu this week for the use of students during school hours and the rest of the community in the evening and on weekends.

Our Look North policy is one of the cornerstones of my Government’s program. We want to do a lot more to develop Vanua Levu. And an important part of that is to give Northerners access to the telecommunications revolution that is transforming the lives of people across Fiji and across the world.

You all know that we’re doing a lot of work to improve the roads up here, and especially the highway between Nabouwalu and Dreketi to provide better access for people and goods across the top of the island.

Well this is a highway of another sort but just as important – giving ordinary Fijians access to the information superhighway and empowering them in a way that previous generations would never have imagined.

For all of you here today, this is the start of a wonderful journey of discovery. Some of you will already be familiar with the Internet by visiting Internet stores and cafes. Well, here that access is free and you can also perform a range of other tasks, such as scanning a document and attaching it to an email.

For others, the Internet will be a mystery and many of you may still be wondering what the fuss is all about. Please don’t be scared or apprehensive because it’s pretty easy to get the hang of it and there are people on hand to explain it all.

But essentially what it means is that with a click of a mouse, you can immediately get onto something called the Worldwide Web and get instant access to almost any information you want.

It’s one of the miracles of the modern age. It is opening up new horizons for people across the world. It is providing them with knowledge and skills. And today, it has come to Seaqaqa.

It is also a wonderful way to communicate. Because you can not only email anyone, anywhere in the world with an email address (and the people here can also show you how to get one of those) but you can also speak over the Internet.

Through one of the chat services like Skype, someone here in Seaqaqa can have a conversation with someone in Sydney or the Sinai or wherever else they might be in the world. And unlike the telephone, it’s free.

So a Fijian mother can talk to her son serving with the UN peacekeepers in the Golan Heights or a daughter working in Suva. It’s all part of the telecommunications revolution that is transforming lives the world over. And my Government has been determined that no Fijian is left behind.

We already have ten Telecentres operating in various parts of the country. And as of last week, 31,500 people were using them. With this centre and the other four we are opening in Vanua Levu tomorrow and on Wednesday, this number is steadily increasing.

So this is a wonderful initiative that is empowering ordinary Fijians by giving them access to the latest technology both to acquire knowledge and communicate more freely.

If you use your imagination, the opportunities are really endless. And you can also keep up with the news during perhaps the most exciting time in Fiji’s history. You can find out for yourself what is happening, not rely on information that is second hand and may be wrong.

As many of you know, on Saturday Fiji’s new Constitution came into effect. It is the supreme law of the land and all other laws flow from it. And in a host of ways, it is fundamentally different to the three Constitutions Fiji has had since Independence.

For the first time, everyone is equal, everyone is called a Fijian and everyone’s vote will have the same value when we go to the election before the end of September next year.

Also for the first time, the 2013 Constitution guarantees and protects the rights of every Fijian – the right to housing and sanitation, the right to health and education, reasonable access to transportation, adequate food, clean water and a just minimum wage. It protects land ownership and the rights of tenants.

It includes the right to economic participation, which means the Government must do everything in its power to help people achieve a decent living for themselves and their families, no matter what they do.

These rights cannot be tampered with or weakened in any way. So they provide important protections for ordinary Fijians as well as being a blueprint for the future of our nation.

It’s important for you all to read the 2013 Constitution for yourselves. So that’s why I’ve brought thousands of copies with me on this Northern tour. Whatever language you prefer – I’Taukei, Hindi or English – the Constitution is here for you to take home with you.

Read it and talk about. It is the way forward for every Fijian as we establish the first genuine democracy in our history.

As I said on Friday, the Constitution is the culmination of the revolution that the RFMF and I launched in December 2006 to put Fiji back on track after years of corruption and the rule of self interested politicians, who weren’t really interested in providing basic services to all Fijians.

The most important thing for me is for my Government to do what other governments didn’t – deliver services to all Fijians wherever they live. Better access to electricity, clean water, affordable housing, education and transport. Not just talk but action.

We empower ordinary Fijians. We give you the basic things you need to improve your lives and the lives of your families. This includes better access to telecommunications, which is why we are all here today.

So with those words, it’s now my pleasure to declare the Seaqaqa Central College telecentre open.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.