NEWS

Safer Schools Target: PM

  Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday stressed why Government could not rebuild schools to the old standard. He said it would not only be costly to be rebuilding year after
09 Aug 2017 11:01
Safer Schools Target: PM
Students and teachers of Vatulaulau Sanatan Dharam Primary School help Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama cut the cake in Ba on August 8, 2017. Photo: Charles Chambers

 

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday stressed why Government could not rebuild schools to the old standard.

He said it would not only be costly to be rebuilding year after year after cyclones but also it would put the lives of students at risk.

He made the comments while opening two new school buildings in Ba yesterday.

The $243,000 new Koronubu Sangam School buildings were funded by the Japanese government, while the $999,000 Vatulaulau Sanatan Dharam School was funded by the Government.

Mr Bainimarama thanked the Japanese Government for their commitment to aid the students of Koronubu Sangam School.

“Ba also saw the full brunt of the destructive force of Cyclone Winston last year, and the students of Koronubu Sangam School along with countless other young people throughout our islands were on the frontlines of the brutal winds and torrential rains that devastated vast stretches of Fiji,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“So I know I don’t need to remind anyone here of the heartbreak and misery that the cyclone brought to our shores, because your community experienced that first-hand,” he said.

“In the wake of the cyclone, I was in villages and communities all over Fiji, leading relief teams and assessing the extent of the damage and destruction.

“It was a trying time for the Fijian people, as we mourned those we lost to the storm and began to pick up the pieces of communities that had been brought to their knees.

“But even in the midst of that suffering and tragedy, I could still see that the resilience of the Fijian spirit was undiminished.

“I saw it in the smiles and optimism on the faces of affected Fijians, some of whom had lost everything.

“And I saw it in the actions of our countrymen who ran to the aid of those who needed it most, and gave their time, energy and resources to help their neighbours get back on their feet.

“That spirit of resilience inspired me then, and continues to inspire me to this day as it has been the driving force behind our massive efforts to reclaim what we lost to Cyclone Winston.”

Mr Bainimarama said his Government knew that they needed to get this right on the first go and build back better because building to the same standard as before would spell disaster for Fiji when the next cyclone reached our shores.

He said 95 per cent of the schools that were being rebuilt by Government were built with no structurally approved plans, leaving our students vulnerable to climate-related catastrophes.

“I’m not prepared to let that happen. My Government isn’t just rebuilding, we are building back better. Every school we reconstruct is being built to code to withstand severe weather events. Yes, it has taken time but, yes, it is well worth it.”

“My Government isn’t taking the easy road. We aren’t hurrying to put up schools that will only stand for a year or for a single term in office.”

Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

 



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