The decision, to mark the life and works of Fiji’s first statesman, Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna, as a public holiday, is a slap on the face of Opposition Leader Voreqe Bainimarama whose regime abolished this holiday, says Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Professor Biman Prasad.
In his response to the President’s address, Prof Prasad also stated that the declaration of a public holiday for Girmit Day is to honour and pay tribute to our forefathers whose blood, sweat and tears, is the fulfilment of a promise made by the Leaders of the Coalition Government.
“To honour those who laid the foundations of a modern and progressive nation with their bare hands is poles apart from the outright rejection by the former Prime Minister on this very same floor of my Adjournment Motion almost 7 years ago in April 2016 to declare 11th November 2016, as a public holiday.”
He said the Girmit Day holiday will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the last ship carrying the Girmitiya or Indentured Indians.
“Yet the former Prime Minister and now the honourable Leader of the Opposition, obviously through his now sin-binned side-kick has the propensity to make wild and baseless accusations under privilege accorded in this House.”
“To dis-honour Fiji’s first statesman, whose political tutelage shaped the political ideologies of many great leaders like our first Prime Minister Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau, Ratu Sir George Cakobau and Ratu Sir Edward Cakobau, was an assault on the values of embodiment and chiefly wisdom by a regime that only believed in ‘My Way or the Highway’ rule.”