The Minister for Health & Medical Services, Honourable
Turaga na Matanimudu;
Turaga na Tui Nako, kei na Vanua Vaka-Bau
kei Na Vanua Vaka-Batiki;
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Bula Vinaka and good morning to you all.
I have come to Koro today not just to commission new buildings and to officially hand over new boats and freezers to this community. I am certainly doing that, and with great joy. But more importantly, today marks another phase in the rebirth of Koro Island, four and a half years after Tropical Cyclone Winston flattened nearly every structure on the island and laid waste to most of what the people of Koro had built through years of hard work.
It takes a long time to rebuild when you build back better, and build back better we have. We are building back stronger. We are building back with the determination to be fully prepared for whatever nature may bring us—and not just to prevail after the next storm, but to emerge from it stronger than ever.
Fijians are no strangers to hard times and adversity. We are strong people by nature and by necessity. I see that strength in the people of Koro. Despite the brutal impacts of Cyclone Winston, you are still here. Winston did not destroy Koro and it did not destroy Fiji; it made us stronger, and smarter, and even more resilient than ever.
And so today we dedicate the new buildings and the reconstruction that are the physical representations of this rebirth and of the invincible spirit of the Fijian people and the people of Koro:
The infrastructure is now in place to ensure that these communities have the Police protection, education, health services and agricultural extension services that they require and deserve. We are more than reborn; we are thriving.
Nakodu Mudu Primary School was destroyed by TC Winston, and since then the 112 children who attend this School have had their lessons in Mudu village. But now you have your new school, and it is built to withstand whatever another Winston may deliver.
We pray to God that we never see another cyclone like Winston again—not here on Koro and not anywhere else in Fiji. But if it comes, we know that this School will be standing the next day, when the winds die down and the morning sun shines. Your children will have their classes and be with their teachers and friends. The cost was more than Three-and-a-Half Million Dollars—a small price to pay for the future of our children.
The Police Post and Health Centre sustained serious structural damage. Staff quarters at both places were destroyed. And the Agricultural and District Offices were completely destroyed. But like the Nakodu Mudu Primary School, they are back—and they will stay. These are not just buildings; they house services that a community cannot live without.
No matter what comes, the Police must be able to provide protection. The nurses must be able to tend to the sick and hurt and help care for the children. The farms must continue to produce. So, it is up to Government to make sure that we deliver the services the people need. And that means we need modern, well-built, permanent facilities. And when we make an investment in a new and better district office, like this one, that investment comes with the expectation of a higher quality of services delivered to the public.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am also pleased to hand over two new fiberglass boats with engines for the fishermen in the communities of Navaga and Namacu, and solar-powered freezers to allow them to store their fish.
Reliable storage will mean less waste, and less waste means more money in your pockets, greater food security and less stress on our fisheries.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to commission your School, your Police Post and all these facilities, and to hand over these boats and freezers to the fishing communities who need them. But more importantly, I am very happy to be here in this spirit of optimism and hope for the future. I thank God for the strength of the people of Koro and I pray for a safe and prosperous future for this community and this island.