Addressing the Bose ni Yasana o Ba today, Prime Minister Hon. Sitiveni Ligamamada Rabuka highlighted the importance of cultural preservation and development for the province.
Held at Soso village on Naviti Island in the Yasawa Group, 21 representatives from the province including government officials attended the meeting.
Prime Minister Rabuka reminded attendees about the pivotal role the church plays in shaping the nation.
Drawing on personal anecdotes, he shared his experience as a student of a former headteacher who hails from Yasawa at Bucalevu Secondary School in Taveuni, as well as his journey as a Member of Parliament (MP) and ‘lifelong learner’.
The Prime Minister also highlighted the government’s ongoing efforts and recent achievements like the successful presentation of the budget last week.
“I however acknowledge the challenges faced during its formulation, including the burden of existing debt and the impact of global economic conditions, such as the Russia-Ukraine war, which has driven up the cost of living.”
Drawing inspiration from former British Prime Minister the late Winston Churchill’s famous words; “Never let a good crisis go to waste,” the PM encouraged Fijians to appreciate the lessons learned during the past two challenging years.
“We need to live within our means, reduce dependence on processed and imported food, and embrace the opportunity for personal growth through experience.”
The Prime Minister also stressed the government’s focus on improving healthcare, highlighting India’s commitment to building a 100-bed hospital in Fiji that would also serve the Pacific region.
Additionally, the PM announced the abolition of certain laws and promoting freedom of the press.
In a move aimed at alleviating the financial burden, the Prime Minister announced the removal of provincial levy and the gradual removal of church levies by the Methodist Church.
“This decision will enable churches to utilize their resources more effectively and generate income for its respective operations and obligations.”
Touching upon law and governance, the PM discussed ongoing efforts to review Fiji’s judiciary and modernize archaic laws inherited from British colonial rule.
He emphasized the importance of aligning legal frameworks with indigenous customs and traditions while being guided by English common law principles.
Expressing gratitude to those serving in the province, the Prime Minister acknowledged the contributions of doctors, nurses, and civil servants.
“Despite the occasional negative sentiments, I as your Prime Minister praise your perseverance and dedication to public service.”
Addressing the urgent issue of climate change, the Prime Minister urged the people of Ba to heed the advice of relevant authorities and emphasized the responsibility of traditional leaders within the province in making informed decisions to combat this global challenge.
In closing, the Prime Minister encouraged attendees to embrace their faith and fulfill their purpose.