Government of the Republic of Fiji
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
A Better Fiji through Excellence in Foreign Service
My fellow Fijians, it is with much pleasure that I extend to all of you my warmest wishes as we begin this New Year.I also extend best wishes to all of our friends in the region and to all of you who are visiting our beautiful island nation.I look forward with anticipation to this coming year as a time of further progress.
My fellow Fijians we have been in the process of establishing a nation that truly empowers all Fijians. My Government has been and will continue to provide tools to improve our daily lives and fulfil your ambitions.It is also important that we have the tools to compete with our peers in the international community.Modernisation, the removal of institutionalised discrimination, addressing corruption and the ability to think outside traditional prejudices could not have taken place without your assistance and collaboration. The success of these policies is a testimony of your commitment to a modern, just and liberal Fiji.
All of us must continue to come together in this New Year to help our nation realise its great potential. We must all work in concert to improve the lives of all Fijians, at every level – the poor, the marginalised, the land owners, the farmers, the businessmen and women, the small traders, potential investors, employees, rural dwellers, city dwellers, those in the islands, women, the homeless, the disabled and our youth.
As I announced in my Budget address, with the tax reforms, Fijians will have $53.1 million more in their hands from 2012.You must use this additional money wisely. Think about the future. Think long term.Indeed the entire tax structure is also being reformed to stimulate foreign investment, small business growth, to create more jobs and look after those on the margins of our society.We will dedicate more funding to further improve our educational and social programmes. We will commit more funds to provide better health care facilities while creating awareness of the merits of healthy living.You will also see improved access in telecommunications, with more people being connected to mobile phones, internet and at affordable pricing.Our focus on infrastructure development will continue. Roads, bridges, airports, street lighting, access to water and electricity will continue to be built and improved.The private sector including small businesses will continue to get access to improved tools and a conducive environment to help grow our economy further.
My fellow Fijians I am painfully aware that for decades, Fiji was mismanaged and hindered by greed and selfishness. Fiji has changed.We must however, be vigilant. Corruption and prejudice must not be permitted in our modern nation.You and I must not allow a few to dictate the destiny of our country for their own selfish needs.Therefore, when the consultations for the new constitution commences in 2012 you must think responsibly.You must think of and for the future. There are certain features of the new constitution that will be non-negotiable.
The constitution must establish a government that is founded on an electoral system that guarantees equal suffrage – a truly democratic system based on the principle of one person, one vote, one value; We will not have a system that will classify Fijians based on ethnicity; and, Our young men and women, those 18 years old must have the right to vote.
I will in the next few weeks announce the nationwide consultation process which will commence in February 2012.To facilitate this consultation process, the Public Emergency Regulations will cease from 7 January 2012.We must all remember that public order, protecting the vulnerable and safeguarding the economy will always be paramount. We must also as a nation be intolerant of those that seek refuge and political power in religious, ethnic and communal divisions.
My fellow Fijians, we can only achieve success if all of us take part in the modernising of Fiji and if we think nationally.All Fijians are and must be one.
2012 is going to be a time of further empowerment.2012 is going to be a time for greater accomplishment for our nation and our people.
I wish all of you – citizens, friends and visitors – a happy and successful New Year.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs P. O. Box 2220 Government Buildings Suva, Fiji