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PM: My Role Not About politics

PM: My Role Not  About politics
Methodist Church president-elect Reverend Epineri Vakadewavosa (left), Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, and outgoing Methodist Church president Reverend Tevita Banivanua during the Methodist Church annual conference at the Methodist Centenary Church in Suva on August 23, 2017. Photo: Ronald Kumar
August 24
11:00 2017

The Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, yesterday categorically responded to queries from Methodists at the Bose Ko Viti about his role as COP23 President.

The PM was invited by the church to attend the meeting and talk about climate change.

He told a packed audience at the Methodist Centenary Church in Suva that his presidency role at COP23 in Bonn, Germany, in November was not about politics.

“Fiji’s position to fight against climate change is not about gaining a name for myself or the country,” the PM said while responding to questions from the audience who had asked him if such big world events were being used to gain political mileage.

“It is however about saving the world and giving a voice for small island nations and standing by what is right for the benefit of all Pacific Islands.

“Climate change should not be taken as a chance to gain political attributions, but it is about fighting for the people, for the sake of the next generation and generations to come.”

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama while speaking to Methodist Church members on COP23 during the Methodist Church annual conference in Suva on August 23, 2017.  Photo: Ronald Kumar

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama while speaking to Methodist Church members on COP23 during the Methodist Church annual conference in Suva on August 23, 2017. Photo: Ronald Kumar

The PM then requested the audience to leave aside questions about politics because he was invited to the meeting to talk about climate change and COP23.

Church leaders then asked the PM if he was shaken by the fact that United States President, Donald Trump, had withdrawn from the Paris Agreement.

Mr Bainimarama said: “If we wait for Trump we won’t gain anything. We have been waiting for him and inviting him to various events, but if he is not willing to stand with us then we will continue with COP23.

“We want him there, we want everyone around the world to talk about climate change. We don’t want him because he is America’s president, but because he needs to support this initiative and join others around the world.”

Mr Bainimarama also confirmed that climate change activist and top Hollywood actor, Leonardo DiCaprio, would attend the COP23 meeting.

“We have been bringing a lot of people in and now it has been confirmed that the actor Leonardo DiCaprio will be there,” the PM said.

“I also spoke to Arnold Schwarzenegger and he has said he cannot confirm but depending on his schedule, he will be at the COP23 meet in Germany. These are people we have been inviting to boost our discussions, especially with the top leaders from around the world.”

The PM said climate negotiator, Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan, was holding talks with various leaders from around the world and persuading them to join our fight against climate change.

The PM was also accompanied by Climate Change Champion, Inia Seruiratu.

Climate Change Champion Inia Seruiratu at the Methodist Church  annual conference in Suva on August 23, 2017.  Photo: Ronald Kumar

Climate Change Champion Inia Seruiratu at the Methodist Church
annual conference in Suva on August 23, 2017. Photo: Ronald Kumar

LEADING WITH GOD

Meanwhile, the Chaplain of Deaconess, Lorine Tevi, suggested to the PM yesterday to consider having a prayer and thanksgiving to God at the start of the COP23.

Mr Bainimarama said this was being organised by the sustainable development adviser for the University of the South Pacific and member of the COP23 Secretariat, Taholo Kami, who was currently gathering all interfaith groups to travel to Germany.

Mr Kami said yesterday that a climate week was being planned by the COP23 Secretariat from September 22 to 29.

He said on the weekend of that climate week they would have churches engaged in a weekend of prayer and the Methodist Church was asked to consider Sunday, September 24, as a day of prayer.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: losirene.lacanivalu@fijisun.com.fj

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