The Minister for Sugar Charan Jeath Singh says that as we commemorate and celebrate Girmit Day, one must remember that there is so much rich history that needs to be learnt.
Speaking at the Jhankaar Beats -2023 Girmit Day Celebrations, Singh said that this year, for the first time since 1979, has seen the declaration of a public holiday to mark Girmit Day.
Singh said despite this being a historical first, marked by an annual public holiday, “It saddens me as I reflect on why it was not recognised earlier.”
“An absence of 44 years is far too long. 2023, marks the 144th year since the arrival of the first shipment of indentured labourers or Girmitiyas from British India to Fiji in 1879 on board the Leonidas.”
He added that 2023 Fiji Girmit Day event is a show of respect for the tolerance and reliance of the Girmitiyas.
The Minister said that not only that they tried to survive the horror of working in harsh working conditions– but also contributed immensely to the growth of Fiji in almost every respect.
The Government has planned an extensive program for this weekend and on Monday to celebrate and commemorate the great contribution of Girmitiyas to Fiji as a whole.