Yavusa o Nadi – Vanua o Nadi, Tikotiko Vakaturaga o
Yavusa Levu o Ra – Ulu ni Wai kei Ra, Tikotiko
Vakaturaga o Nakurati;
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Bula Vinaka and good afternoon to you all.
I have come here today to commission the Faith Bridge, a vital crossing that your community has built for yourselves. But really, I am here to do much more than that. I am here mostly to pay tribute to this Village and to congratulate you on the way you have taken your destiny into your own hands. Through your initiative, your spirit of co-operation and your hard work, you are accomplishing great things in the village. The Faith Bridge is just one important example.
The Faith Bridge is one of many projects the Nasolo Development Trust has undertaken here. Some are financed through soli, and some generate revenue. But all are carried out with your own muscle and sweat and your own tools—and with your own brain power and organizational skills.
The Village farming project has generated enough income to finance the purchase of a truck, and you have yaqona plants to produce for years to come. Through your different committees, you have built a fuelling centre, a yaqona nursery and a village store, and you now host the Nasolo 7s Rugby Tournament for the first time, taking it out of Labasa.
I have often said that development in Fiji is not the job of the Government alone. The Government must create an environment that encourages initiative and rewards responsible risk-taking. It must provide sound infrastructure, education, public safety and health care. It must enforce the laws equally, provide a safety net for the poor and make sure everyone pays their fair share of taxes to support the country.
But in the end, we depend on the people. Especially in times of crisis, like COVID-19, we depend on communities to stand together and work together to seize on new opportunities.
The people choose their government to do what only government, with the resources at its disposal, can do. But the country is really built through the efforts of scores of communities like Nasolo—scores of villages, scores of committees, scores of volunteer organizations, scores of schools—all working to create a better life for themselves and their neighbours.
And that is what you have done here. You built this bridge in only three short weeks. And I want to especially congratulate the young people of this Village, who started this project and raised $3,000 to defray the costs.
The Nasolo Development Trust contributed some $13,000 of its hard-earned cash, and then I understand some Good Samaritans kicked in another $2,000. God bless them.
With the funding secured, you all got to work and built it, and neighbouring villages even brought food while it was under construction. That is the Fijian spirit, a spirit of generosity, co-operation and good will. It is one of the things that makes our country great.
I understand that the first vehicle crossed on Thursday 17th September, less than a fortnight ago. I expect this bridge to last many years and to serve the people of this area well into the future. A bridge is not just a structure; it represents opportunity by making transportation of goods and people easier. It links you with your neighbours. And it takes you into a more prosperous future.
Faith Bridge is an appropriate name for this crossing. You built it through your faith in God and your faith in each other. And you show that faith every day in the work the Nasolo Development Trust is doing to bring sound development to this community. I know the Trust has big plans for the future, and I have no doubt that you will fulfil them all.
So I would like to declare this crossing open. But I would also like once more to congratulate you and pay tribute to all of you for everything you have accomplished and everything you will accomplish from now on.
Thank you – Vinaka vakalevu.