Honourable Sitiveni Rabuka, OBE, MSD, OStJ
Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Climate Change and Environment, Civil Service, Information and Public Enterprises
New Year’s Message for 2023
A Message of Hope and Unity
To my fellow citizens at home and abroad,
Ni sa Bula Vina’a and a very good evening to you all.
I offer you greetings for the year 2023.
As we bid adieu to 2022, we must give thanks to the Almighty God for his endless blessing to each of us and the nation as a whole.
We must continue to have hope and trust each other that 2023 will be a year of revival, awakening and renewed spirit.
We, as a nation, must stay positive despite the challenges that we are going to face this year.
The uncertainty we are experiencing in the geopolitical environment cannot be swept under the carpet.
At the home front, we have our own socio-economic
challenges and deep-rooted mistrust among our different communities.
Some of these events are beyond our control and there continues to be uncertainty.
We must all commit ourselves in working together to address these enormous challenges.
Together, we can find solutions if we are willing to trust and have faith in each other.
Self-sacrifice must be made so we can re-discover the spirit of togetherness as a family, community and as a nation.
I am positive and absolutely confident that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, God’s grace and our collective demeanor, we will come back stronger together than ever before.
It was the same, at the start of last year. In my New Year message then, as a newly registered Political Party Leader, I took inspiration for what lay ahead from some lines of a favourite poem.
These lines keep coming back to me when preparing my 2023 New Year message.
The poem was written by Minnie Louise Haskins-Whiteballoon and was quoted by the late King George the sixth (VI) in his broadcast in December 1939, while the Empire was at War with Germany in the Second World War;
“I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.” UNQUOTE
Something else stayed with me from that address.
Whilst, I was helping to distribute food to the needy in Lautoka, I came across a tired looking woman washing her family’s clothes at a public tap in the park.
We spoke and she told me they were homeless. I offered her a ration pack.
This woman, enveloped by her weariness and poverty, politely declined, explaining that she had eaten earlier. She said she was okay.
That meant I had a food parcel for someone else in need. I wonder how she fared in the last 12 months, and what this New Year will mean for her?
I’m very conscious of our Government’s commitment to helping the poorest of the poor.
Despite uncertainties and problems, we pledge to continue welfare and development assistance already in place, and to bring in new ones.
Our overriding goal is to increase the national wealth so that EVERYONE benefits – the homeless and all the poor, housewives, children and young people, villagers and farmers, workers, civil servants and professionals, business owners and investors.
I may also add, the elderly, the sick, the prisoners and our veterans.
If I’ve left anyone out, I apologise.
It is more than possible to achieve the change to higher living standards and a better quality of life.
I know we have it within us to rise from adversity, to construct a new homeland of prosperity, secured by peace and goodwill.
My fellow countrymen, for this to happen to its fullest extent a special ingredient must be released totally from the nation’s heart.
I’m speaking of unity – the harmonious coming together of our diverse communities with their different origins, cultures and languages.
I believe we are making progress in this.
But we have not yet completely overcome the separateness imposed on us; the suspicions and tensions that have weighed us down.
History placed us together. It is for us now to create another history, one of friendship and shared purpose and dreams.
Standing with you at the beginning of this year, I ask you to think about what I have just said because from that comes a New Year resolution for Fiji.
We resolve as citizens of this country to see beyond those things that have kept us apart; to put behind us the hurt, the sorrow, and the tragedies.
We resolve to be proud of our differences, to celebrate and accept them as part of a national identity that gives us the foundation and strength for remaking Fiji.
My countrymen, we can complement the principles and ideals of this resolution by following the powerful yet simple eloquence of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. I QUOTE
“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” UNQUOTE
If we listen to the man at the gate, if we can follow the New Year Resolution I have offered, if we live in accordance with John Wesley’s words, then we are on course for where we need to be.
I see a new Fiji of limitless promise, with poverty removed and opportunities for all.
It may not be very far away – even for the woman at the tap.
One of my favourite Bible verses is from Psalm 133, a Psalm of David, Verse 1; I QUOTE
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” UNQUOTE
I wish you and your families a very happy New Year.
And may the Almighty Hand of God guide and uphold us all.
God Bless you and God Bless Fiji.