Opinion

EDITORIAL: Our country’s achievements in the real Fijian spirit While some people have criticised

Perception is what fuels debate on a number of issues. Right now there is discussion on whether the traditional ceremony to welcome home Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama  and Team Fiji
25 Nov 2017 11:07
EDITORIAL: Our country’s achievements in the real Fijian spirit While some people have criticised
Prime Minister and COP23 President, Voreqe Bainimarama with Vaturova villagers during traditional welcome ceremony of Fijian contingent from COP23 in Bonn, Germany at Draiba on November 24, 2017. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Perception is what fuels debate on a number of issues. Right now there is discussion on whether the traditional ceremony to welcome home Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama  and Team Fiji COP23 group  is justified in terms of cost.

Many of the views, for and against, are based on perception.

The Oxford Dictionary defines perception as the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses.It can be intuitive understanding.

It is usually based on the prevailing circumstances at the time. In this case, the cost has been used as the bone of contention, even if it had been previously budgeted and had followed the normal budgetary procedures or paid for by a COP23 funding allocation.

What is missing from this argument is how Fiji will benefit from COP23. It’s difficult to quantify but it will run into millions when you take into consideration the finance that will come through for climate change adaptation and remedial work.

Talk to any Team Fiji member from the Police band to the artists, cultural entertainers, the negotiators and the leaders, the COP23 summit was hard work. It was not your usual expo or roadshow as some critics made it out out to be.

Team Fiji members will tell you that in Bonn at COP23 you got to have your wits around you in the fast changing events otherwise you can be lost in the maze of lobbying from the different country positions. From our standpoint the benefits from COP23 will be felt many years to come. Climate change may have been on the top of the agenda but trade and tourism piggybacked on it.

The anticipated benefits will  also boost our Fijian economy through the industry stakeholders.

So the cost of organising this traditional welcome pales into insignificance when you compare it with the huge potential  benefits  that will flow from Bonn.

So let’s put things into their proper perspective.

The welcome yesterday was not extravagant but it did show our appreciation for the work accomplished in Bonn. The leader of the Fijian delegation, Attorney-General and Minister Responsible for Climate Change Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has eloquently outlined our achievements at COP23 moving forward.

While some people have criticised the cost of the welcome ceremony they conveniently forget the reasons behind it. It was in recognition of a wonderful achievement at Bonn.

More people who previously did not know Fiji or knew very little about it, now know Fiji better. That’s great for our tourism and trade, something we can build on for future developments.

The people who organised the welcome felt something in their hearts. They are patriots who take pride in our international achievements in the same way as we celebrated our first 7s gold medal victory in the Rio Olympics.

If some felt differently about it and it’s their perception, so be it. We cannot take away the fact that Mr Bainimarama (COP23 president) and Team Fiji did exceptionally well. And we must recognise them.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj



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