Na Vanua o Dawasamu, Vua na Gone Turaga na Ratu;
Talatala Qase ni Tabacakacaka O Namena;
The Minister for Defence, National Security and Policing,
Hon. Inia Seruiratu;
The Commissioner of Police;
Chair of the Board and Special Administrators;
Chairman, Tailevu Provincial Council;
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Bula Vinaka and good morning to you all.
It is a joy to be here to dedicate this new Police Post to serve and protect the people of the Dawasamu District.
I remember very well the way the previous Police Post was swept away by Tropical Cyclone Winston. I remember very well that two Officers who were inside the post had to run for their lives to take shelter 300 metres away at the school. And as they ran, they faced the danger of being struck by flying debris. The winds were so strong that when they got to the school, the people who had taken shelter there were pressed against the door to keep the wind from tearing it down.
But I am proud to say that we built this Police Post back quickly, on schedule and within budget. And what is most important, we built it back better and stronger. This Post was built according to the new Fiji National Building Code that Government established after Winston, and it can withstand a Category 5 cyclone.
This is critical, because a community needs its Police. It needs its Police during normal times and especially during times of hardship. If the Police can’t live with security, they can’t serve the community.
And if their headquarters are destroyed, they can’t serve the community. We cannot control nature, but we are a modern nation, and we can control how we respond to nature and how we protect ourselves when nature sends hardship our way. We pray to God that we never have to endure what we endured with Winston, but we know that the Police will always be able to serve this community.
Ladies and Gentlemen, policing is important work, and we as a people show how important it is to us by building Police facilities that are strong, modern and functional. The condition of our Police facilities is a reflection on us as a society and of the value we place on work we call on our Police to do.
We count on our Police to protect us from crime and to keep our roads and towns safe. We count on them to help us when we have accidents or when a child is missing. We count on them when we are threatened or afraid.
We ask them to stand up to dangerous criminals, to resolve disputes and to keep a watchful eye on our communities, our children and our property.
And lately, we have asked them to do much more. We have asked them to enforce a very strict curfew that Government established to protect Fiji from a large-scale corona-virus outbreak. And we have defeated the corona-virus in Fiji because of the brave co-operation of the citizens of this country and because of the professional way our Police have done their duty to enforce the stay-at-home order, when it was in effect.
So today is a celebration for the people of Dawasamu as we dedicate this building to the future of this community. And it is a celebration of the professionalism of our Police and of the resilience of the Fijian people. Because we are determined not to be defeated. Not by a raging cyclone. And not by a deadly virus.
And although I know that you have been using this Police Post for a while now, I’m grateful you’ve insisted on having me here today to celebrate this achievement as I am proud to officially declare it open.