Investiture Ceremony for the 2018 Honour Roll Recipients
November 29, 2019 State House, Suva
The Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, National Security and Foreign Affairs, Honourable Inia Seruiratu;
The Honourable Chief Justice and Senior Honourable Judges of The Judiciary;
Honourable Cabinet Ministers;
Honourable Leader of the Opposition and Mrs Rabuka;
Honourable Members of Parliament;
The Chairperson of the Fiji College of Honour, Dr. Akanisi Kedrayate and the Members of the College of Honour;
Your Excellencies, Heads of Missions – High Commissioners, Ambassadors and members of the Diplomatic Corps;
Permanent Secretaries and Chief Executive Officers of Corporate Entities;
The Chaplain of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, Reverend Ilaitia Tuwere;
Recipients of the 2018 Honours and Awards, and Members of your Respective Families and Friends;
Ladies and gentlemen.
Ni sa bula Vinaka, Namaste, Aslaam Alaykum, Ni Hao, Noa’ia ‘e mauri, and a very good morning to you all.
At the outset, I believe it prudent and proper that we acknowledge and commend the good Reverend Tuwere for his short and inspirational Divine presentation.
As your President and Chancellor of the Order of Fiji, my wife Sarote and I are very pleased and indeed honoured that we are gathered here today, to once again acknowledge and appropriately reward recipients of the 2018 Honour Roll and most importantly, to continue to promote and uphold the ‘Culture of Appreciation’ which I intend to nurture and hopefully inculcate into the psyche of every citizen of our beloved nation.
Ladies and gentlemen, at this juncture of my formal address, please allow me to acknowledge and commend with great respect, appreciation and gratitude the work and contribution of the Late Mr. Dixon Seeto, OF, who was a very dedicated and active member of the Fiji College of Honour.
As Chancellor of The Order, I value very much his invaluable input during the Councils’ deliberations, and we all miss his intellect, wisdom, wit and great sense of humour – important personal traits for someone who had served his country for so long and well. He had left an enviable legacy of selfless service which should be an inspiration to all of us.
He is sorely missed and we are all the poorer with his passing and in this regard may I kindly invite us all to be upstanding and let us observe a Minute of Silence, to remember the ‘Late Mr. Dixon Seeto, for all his many and varied contributions to our beloved Fiji. (Bow for a minute of silence) Thank you ladies and gentlemen.
Ladies and gentlemen, today’s investiture ceremony is similar to those that had been conducted within this precinct over the years since the Government of the Day instituted the Order in 1995.
Today’s Investiture Ceremony is another important milestone in the history of the Order whereby Government and we, as Fijians, continue to acknowledge, but more importantly, honour and reward those deserving members of our Society for their selfless contributions to Nation Building and on one or two occasions, for acts of Bravery during extreme and dangerous situations.
The Recipients of Today’s awards, in my humble opinion may be referred to, or classed as ‘extraordinary individuals’ who should be justifiably proud of their individual or collective actions in serving humanity either here at home or overseas (in the case of our Servicemen/Women on Peacekeeping/Peacesupport Operations) in some of the World’s most volatile and dangerous conflict zones.
Ladies and gentlemen, as you know, today’s world has now sadly evolved into a global community whose values and ethics have changed dramatically. In fact, we now take a lot of things for granted, some of us have unfortunately become less tolerant towards one another and have become very ungrateful, hence my commitment as Your President and Head of State to continue to advocate for all Fijians to be more mindful, loving and caring and develop our national sense of Oneness and a Culture of Appreciation – by appropriately and timely rewarding deserving members of our communities for their contributions and service.
In view of this, Ladies and gentlemen, may I humbly request that you as Parents, Politicians, Church Leaders, Chiefs of the Vanua or ordinary citizens, please be more forthcoming with your nominations to the College of Honour for deserving Fijians whom you consider to be worthy of recognition and be rewarded with an award from the Order of Fiji.
Very soon we will be launching this Office’s official website which should ease the processes by which individuals or groups could nominate personnel for the College of Honour’s consideration for awards as it deems appropriate. Please take advantage of this new development in our attempt to improve service delivery by ensuring that deserving cases are promptly and adequately addressed. This can now be done On Line.
Let us continue to show all Fijians that as Leaders we do care for their courage, commitment, passion, patriotism and pride in serving our beloved nation well in whatever sector or field of work they are employed in.
Ladies and gentlemen in furthering my attempts to improve national morale and our present sense of appreciation, I have asked the Chairperson and Members of the College of Honour to review the present Honours and Awards Act with a proposal to amend some of its provisions to allow us to honour the memories of some of Fiji’s past citizens who had served our beloved nation equally well, with posthumous awards. I hope that this would be considered favourably?
Ladies and gentlemen, to our ‘Special Guests’ today, the Recipients of the 2018 Awards – Congratulations and well done – You have every right to be presented with your Awards and on behalf of all Fijians, I wish you well and every success in your future endeavours. It would be remiss of me if I do not acknowledge and thank your Spouses, Family members, Colleagues and Friends for their invaluable support and encouragement during your journey of achievement culminating in today’s Awards Ceremony.
In conclusion, I would like to commend and thank Dr. Akanisi Kedrayate, Mr. Nesbitt Hazelman, Brigadier-General Apakuki Kurusiga, The Honourable Premila Kumar for her short, but valuable work with the College – and welcome its newly appointed members, Mr. Michael Yee Joy and Mrs Sabita Lal Gandhi - Ladies and gentlemen – Thank you all too for gracing the occasion with your attendance in great numbers this morning!
Thank you all, Vinaka Vakalevu, Dhanyavaad and may Almighty God bless us all.