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NFP played a big role in shaping our nation: PM

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka says as Fiji began to move away from colonialism, the country’s oldest political party; the National Federation Party played a critical role in the momentous and complex negotiations with the United Kingdom which led to the birth of a new nation.

As the Party celebrated its diamond jubilee in Rakiraki, Rabuka in his congratulatory message paid homage to NFP for gifting Fiji great leaders like A D Patel, S M Koya, and Harish Sharma.

He said the NFP, Fiji’s first organized political party, always championed the descendants of the Girmitiyas.

“Those settlers from India did so much, even in their bondage, to create a rural industry that was for generations the centerpiece of Fiji’s economy.”

“The NFP voice rang out in great parliamentary debates, especially for the creation of the ALTA legislation and many other initiatives, including the formation of the Fiji National Provident Fund. The NFP made its mark also in sugar industry Master Award deliberations.”

“I can never forget, in my first service as Prime Minister in the ‘90s, the intense and often difficult Joint Parliamentary discussions with the NFP for new constitutional arrangements. But both sides persisted and prevailed.”

“We came together and reached consensus; the result was the internationally acclaimed 1997 Constitution.”

“It was during this time that I forged a relationship with then then leader of the NFP, Mr Jai Ram Reddy. I was impressed by Mr Reddy’s eloquence, intelligence and sincerity.”

“When I arranged for him to address the Great Council of Chiefs in 1997, I was hopeful that the outcome would become a landmark in our joint efforts to unite a divided nation.”

Rabuka said what the late Reddy said on the day deeply impressed the chiefs and resounded throughout Fiji.

“It was one of the greatest speeches the nation had heard, a gift to us all from the NFP.”

“In 2022, my party, the People’s Alliance formed a partnership with the NFP led by Professor Biman Prasad. Our mission was to fight that year’s election and form Fiji’s government. We carried with us the hopes and dreams of many who yearned for change.”

“It was a close-run race, but we came through, negotiated a tripartite coalition with SODELPA, and occupied the government benches.”

“And now I am proud to have the intellectually gifted and academically accomplished Professor Biman Prasad as one of my Deputy Prime Ministers.”

“Professor Biman is tackling, with vision and determination, the mighty challenge of rebuilding the nation’s finances and creating a national balance sheet that will help us reach prosperity.”

He added that under Professor Prasad’s leadership, the NFP remains a pillar of the nation, sixty years after it came into being.

“Above all, the NFP has endured, it has stayed on course. Even when the party was torn by strife, the mango tree did not fall; its roots were deep.”

Reginald Chandar
Reginald Chandar
Head of News & Sports | news@fijilive.com

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