NEWS

Sydney Fijians Greet PM

More than 400 Hindu devotees gave a standing ovation and a very warm welcome to Fiji Prime Minster Voreqe Bainimarama and his wife Mary at the Shri Sanatan Dharm Sabha
25 Aug 2014 20:27
Sydney Fijians Greet PM
Republic of Fiji Military Forces troops with New Zealand Defence Force troops on pre-depolyment training for Peacekeeping duties. Photo: Mereleki Nai FIJI SUN | TUESDAY, JULY 2, 2019 | FIJISUN.COM.FJ 20 NATION NZ High Commissioner to Fiji Jonathan Curr delivering the training opening address at the Black Rock Camp in Nadi on July

More than 400 Hindu devotees gave a standing ovation and a very warm welcome to Fiji Prime Minster Voreqe Bainimarama and his wife Mary at the Shri Sanatan Dharm Sabha of New South Wales Temple in South West Sydney.

The Bainimaramas were given a Hindu welcome with garlanding, sandalwood tika and placing of shawl on their shoulders amid the sounds of the Fijian national anthem.

Mr Bainimarama said he had never seen a larger crowd of proud Fijians in Sydney. He was on a campaign to gather support for his party for the forthcoming September 17 general election.

The crowd was thrilled and applauded when he addressed people as fellow Fijians.

Many were overcome with strong emotions as they felt valued by Fiji for the first time and were always used to being second class citizens and being labelled only as Indo- Fijians, Kai-India and Vulangis, etc.

The PM said, “My Government has also empowered ordinary Fijians by giving them things they need to improve their own lives and those of their families.

“For the first time in Fiji’s history you will be able to stand in one line and vote for your preferred candidate instead of standing in separate racial lines.”

Showing a copy of Fiji’s Constitution he said, “Our nation’s new 2013 Constitution protects the rights of all Fijians, including unprecedented levels of protection of i’Taukei land in the Bill of Rights. It is even available in Braille for the visually handicapped. Even the Australian constitution is not written in Braille,” he remarked.

“The remarkable economic turnaround that Fiji is currently experiencing hasn’t been based on words, but on the smart and consistent policies put in place by my Government, which we will continue.”

He said that many former Fijians were now proudly taking up Fijian citizenship as well.

The PM and his wife mixed freely with adults and children alike and shared jokes with everyone.

He invited questions from the audience but no one came forward.

Mr Bainimarama joked that he was getting tired with the political campaigning and wished that it would be over soon as he ended up consuming too much of the national drink, kava.

The PM had many happy fans among the audience and he gladly gave of his time trying his best not to disappoint anyone.

He had time to sign autographs and allowed himself being happily photo-snapped by smartphones and to share precious moments with his admirers.

This was his first visit to Australia since the government lifted all travel bans — which previously locked out members of the military regime and their families on March 31.

A spokesperson for the Fijian High Commission in Canberra said about 4000 Fijians have registered to vote in Australia.

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