The vanua o Lalagavesi converged on the chiefly grounds at Somosomo Village in Taveuni to accord its paramount chief and Speaker of the Fiji Parliament, Honourable Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu with the traditional vakasenuqanuqa today.
Chiefs and representatives from the 14 districts in Cakaudrove gathered in numbers to show their appreciation in the traditional way to the first-ever Speaker hailing from the province.
Hon.Ratu Naiqama, however, invited the other Members of Parliament from Cakaudrove, including the Prime Minister Honourable Sitiveni Rabuka to be part of the auspicious occasion.
Speaking in the Cakaudrove dialect, Honourable Ratu Naiqama highlighted that never before in the history of our democracy has seven sons of Cakaudrove served in parliament at the same time.
The Speaker of Parliament also made special mention about the other Members of Parliament who have maternal links to Cakaudrove and they are Honourable Lynda Tabuya and Honourable Alitia Cirikiyasawa.
He also acknowledged the sole Member of Opposition Brigadier-General (Retired) Iowane Naivalurua who is also from the province.
On behalf of the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, Assistant Ministers, and parliamentarians present at the event, Hon. Ratu Naiqama thanked the vanua for celebrating with them.
He said the leadership may be new with this new term of four years but the hands at the helms is an old one.
“The Prime Minister has retired but I requested him to stand in the election and this was reciprocated with him requesting me to also stand,” he added.
“Like our Prime Minister, I too have served before in Parliament, and with our young parliamentarians from the province we have set the bar for the province.
“This celebration also recognises my appointment as Speaker of Parliament and this is something new but our family’s participation in politics has been in our bloodline for a very long time.
“We live a life to serve and we will do so till the very end and I thank God for his blessings.”
Prime Minister Rabuka shared similar sentiments and acknowledged the support of the vanua.
He assured the people of Cakaudrove that they will do their utmost best to serve Fiji with diligence.
Also in attendance at the vakasenuqanuqa ceremony was the Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources, Hon. Filimoni Vosarogo, Minister for Health and Medical Services Hon. Ratu Atonio Lalabalavu, Assistant Minister for Home Affair Hon. Ratu Rakuita Solesole Sauramaeva Vakalalabure, Assistant Minister for Rural, Maritime Development and Disaster Management Hon. Jovesa Vocea, Assistant Minister for Education Hon. Iliesa Vanawalu and Opposition Member of Parliament Hon. Naivalurua.