NATION

Inauguration Of The Colonel Of The Regiment: Brigadier-General Nailatikau Bestowed The Honour

He takes over the reins from the late Colonel Paul Manueli. As Colonel of the Regiment, he will play a significant role in fostering ‘espirit-de-corps’ and supporting the Regiment and its leadership...
22 Jul 2020 10:48
Inauguration Of The Colonel Of The Regiment: Brigadier-General Nailatikau Bestowed The Honour
Brigadier-General Ratu Epeli Nailatikau inspects the parade at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Nabua on July 21, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar

In a solemn ceremony yesterday, Brigadier-General (Retired) Ratu Epeli Nailatikau was bestowed the position as ‘The Colonel of the Regiment’ with the Republic of Fiji Military Forces.

This means that the former RFMF Commander and President is the ceremonial head of the Fiji Infantry Regiment. The Regiment has eight battalions. 1FIR (1st Battalion) is based in the Golan Heights and Iraq. 2FIR (2nd Battalion) is in Sinai while the 3FIR is the home guard.

The 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th battalions are territorial force units.

According to the military customs of the Commonwealth, the Colonel of the Regiment is an honour conferred upon a retired senior officer who has served in the Regiment during his time of active service.

Brigadier-General (Retired) Nailatikau, who is also the Speaker of the House, said he was honoured to be bestowed the position.

He takes over the reins from the late Colonel Paul Manueli.

As Colonel of the Regiment, he will play a significant role in fostering ‘espirit-de-corps’ and supporting the Regiment and its leadership. In the RFMF custom, he will be revered as the Qase ni Vuvale – Head of the Family.

The military ethos of vanua (tradition), lotu (religion) and matanitu (State) was observed in yesterday’s ceremonies at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Nabua.

The event was witnessed by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, Cabinet ministers, Commander of the RFMF Rear-Admiral Viliame Naupoto, Police Commissioner Brigadier-Gen Sitiveni Qiliho, former Permanent Secretary for iTaukei Affairs Brigadier-General Apakuki Kurusiga, senior members of the RFMF, chargé d’affaires for Australia and New Zealand and ex-service men and women.

Brigadier-General Ratu Epeli Nailatikau (front/left), with Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Nabua on July 21, 2020. Photo: Office of the Prime Minister

Brigadier-General Ratu Epeli Nailatikau (front/left), with Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Nabua
on July 21, 2020. Photo: Office of the Prime Minister

Brigadier-General (Retired) Nailatikau inspected a regimental guard of honour, before being blessed by RFMF Chaplain, Reverend Major Ilaitia Tuwere.

In an iTaukei tradition of the ceremonial installation, Brigadier-General (Ret’d) Nailatikau, while accepting the tabua (whale’s tooth) as the formal request from the Regiment, emphasised on being the light of the world.

He said every Fijian should continue to work together in this time of global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: ilaijia.ravuwai@fijisun.com.fj

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