The Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says we must choose progress over prejudice and dirty politics.
He said as we enter the New Year it was more important than ever that we continue to stand together – as one nation and one people – in building the new Fiji.
Mr Bainimarama was addressing, for the first time, the Ramleela Festival programme at Tuva Primary School in Sigatoka last night.
Elsewhere around the nation, Hindus are celebrating a festival which centres Lord Rama (the Hindu god) and his life as a mortal being on the earth.
“We will be holding our national elections later this year, and, as we have seen before, we will again be confronted with old forces that seek to divide us and hold us back from our journey into the future,” Mr Bainimarama said.
“Again, we must reject that backwards way of thinking. Again, we must choose progress over prejudice and dirty politics.
“And again, we must renew our commitment to one another, as Fijians and as men and women dedicated to the betterment of our nation.
“We must continue our work to make Fiji a better, safer and more inclusive nation. We must continue the sound financial management and planning that has carried our economy to such success.
“We must continue opening doors of opportunity for our young people, through free education, subsidised bus fares for school children, and record funding towards scholarship programmes.
“We must continue our work to create a more knowledge-based society, one that rewards on the basis of merit, and merit alone.
“And we must continue to hold our great belief in what this nation can accomplish, as we strive to make every year an even better year to be a Fijian.”
On the occasion of the Ramleela Festival, he said: “We are lucky to call home a nation so rich in different cultures and religions, and I am especially grateful that in Fijian society we so openly share in the traditions and celebration of our fellow Fijians, as we do so today in welcoming the Ramleela Festival.
“Every year, this festival brings colour, artistic expression and joy to communities across Fiji.
“Through the dramatic re-enactment of the life of the Hindu Lord Ram, poetry, singing and dancing, our Hindu brothers and sisters express the noble ideals lived out by Lord Ram, and the triumph over adversity that was the ultimate purpose of Rama’s incarnation on earth.
“The Story of Lord Ram is also a story of teamwork, unity and camaraderie. Values that have built the Fiji we know and love today.
“Values that bond us together in our great journey forward as a nation. And values that we have enshrined, for all time, in the Fijian Constitution.
“I would like to acknowledge the Tuva Sanatan Ram Leela Committee and our Hindu communities in Vulileka, Labasa and Navua that are also holding celebrations for the Ramleela festival.
“Lastly I’d like to give my thanks to the Sanatan Ram Leela Committee for continuing the tradition of Ramleela in the Sigatoka community.”
Edited by Ranoba Baoa
Source: Google news