Turaga na Ratu Waimaro Levulevu;
Na i liuliu ni Yavusa Nawaibuta;
Turaga Komai Nailega;
Turaga Komai Navunisole;
Turaga Taukei Tanuca;
The Pundit, Mr. Durga Prasad;
Pastor Peni and the District Advisory Councillors for
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Bula Vinaka and a very good morning to you all.
I’m very happy to be here to celebrate another promise made and promise delivered for your community as we officially open this new crematorium in Korovou.
Your community made the request to build a new crematorium to me directly when I was here in 2017 opening new classrooms at Tailevu North College, as the previous facility was destroyed by category five Cyclone Winston. Today, I am proud to officially open this new facility, funded to the tune of over 95,000 Dollars by my Government.
Your community was not alone in enduring the wrath of Winston. As the most powerful storm to ever strike in our hemisphere, it’s brutal winds levelled homes, schools and laid waste to Fijian communities across the country.
The unprecedented scale of storms like Winston is a reality of our changing climate and something that we – as a nation – must prepare ourselves to withstand in the years ahead.
Since enduring Winston’s devastation, we’ve been rebuilding our national infrastructure back better; to a standard that is more resilient to the worsening impacts of climate change. And this new crematorium is a small part of that larger national effort to build a stronger and more resilient Fiji.
Building resilience takes more time and it demands more resources, but – as a community in the path of Winston’s devastation – I know you’ll agree, it is worth it.
Friends, saying goodbye to those we love is never easy. In those difficult moments, as a family is left grappling with grief, there is consolation to be found in bidding their loved one a dignified farewell.
Those next steps shouldn’t be a challenge: They must be clear and easy as possible.
By opening this newly rebuilt crematorium, I’m proud to help bring your community the level of comfort and convenience every family needs to lay their dearly departed to rest with dignity.
I know these past two years have not been easy for the families who have had to conduct their final funeral rites here at Korovou Cemetery outdoors – rain or shine – while this facility was being rebuilt. By re-opening these doors, we’re ending that struggle for the over 3,000 members of your communities.
I’ve always been proud to lead a government that doesn’t make all of its decisions sitting in offices in Suva, but who goes out to communities, listens and works with our people to find solutions. What have begun as personal conversations between myself and community members, are now boreholes, roads, school facilities, teacher’s quarters, solar panelling and other life-changing developments that extend across the country.
Last week, it was a new bus I drove onto the grounds of the St Christopher’s Home to serve their boys and girls. Today, it is a new crematorium for Korovou.
We cannot fund and develop everything our nation needs overnight. But, friends, I will always listen. I will always give your concerns my total attention and I will always do what can be done to help make life better and more fulfilling for more of our people.
The Korovou Cemetery has been a resting place for members of your community for nearly a century. May families continue to find peace and solace on these grounds and may this new facility serve you well through the years to come.
Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.