Delivered by Dame Meg Taylor
10 October 2020
Ni Sa Bula Vinaka; Namaste and warm greetings from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva.
It gives me immense pleasure to wish the people and Government of the Republic of Fiji a joyous Independence Day. I congratulate Fijians here and across the globe on this significant milestone. Independence Days are special to all countries, but the commemoration of 50 is particularly special.
50 years ago, Fiji turned a new chapter in its history reclaiming its sovereign right to be governed for and by its own people. As a young officer serving with the Chief Minister of Papua New Guinea Michael Somare I fondly recall a visit of Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara Prime Minster of Fiji, who provided council to our Chief Minister in preparation towards the independence of Papua New Guinea in 1975.
Fiji has occupied a special place in the hearts of many. As a home to a number of regional and international organisations, Fiji has been a home away from home for so many citizens of our Blue Pacific community. With open arms, Fiji has hosted students, professionals and many others for as long as I can remember, testament to Fiji’s commitment to the Blue Pacific family. I am deeply indebted to Fiji for providing the venue for the Pacific Islands Forum and for being such a generous and hospitable host.
In 2021, the Pacific Islands Forum too will celebrate its 50-year anniversary, and it is especially fitting that Fiji will be the Chair. We look forward to supporting Fiji.
In closing, I again reiterate my deepest congratulations to the people of Fiji on this momentous occasion, and wish you all a safe, harmonious, productive and joyful 50 more years.
Vinaka Vaka Levu. Dhanyavaad. God Bless Fiji.