Ru­ral tours un­der­score PM’s com­mit­ment to touch base with grass­roots peo­ple

Fiji Sun - - NATION - Ne­mani De­laibatiki

Prime Min­is­ter Voreqe Bain­i­marama has re­it­er­ated his com­mit­ment to ru­ral de­vel­op­ment in three re­cent tours. Yes­ter­day he re­turned to Suva af­ter a few days in Ovalau. Be­fore that he was in Vanua Levu af­ter a tour of the Ya­sawas. These vis­its gave him the op­por­tu­nity to touch base with them and to hear their voices. This is the Prime Min­is­ter they know, sit­ting down with them and dis­cussing their griev­ances, hopes and as­pi­ra­tions. They should thank COVID-19 which has kept PM at home to fo­cus on do­mes­tic is­sues. Mr Bain­i­marama stands shoul­der to shoul­der with other world lead­ers in a num­ber of in­ter­na­tional fo­rums, no­tably in cli­mate change.

He is widely pop­u­lar and gets in­vited to at­tend a se­ries of in­ter­na­tional meet­ings. He is also Sugar and For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter and these are full-on re­spon­si­bil­i­ties that re­quire him to travel over­seas for meet­ings.

Some­times it may cre­ate the im­pres­sion that he is spend­ing more time over­seas. That’s fac­tu­ally in­cor­rect be­cause he still spends more time here.

When he is here Mr Bain­i­marama is much sought af­ter as a guest of hon­our in com­mu­nity events such as open­ing or break­ing ground for a new school build­ing, teach­ers quar­ters, health cen­tre etc. The list goes on. He can only at­tend some and del­e­gates oth­ers to his Cab­i­net Min­is­ters or per­ma­nent sec­re­taries.

In the re­cent tours he was ac­com­pa­nied by Ru­ral, Mar­itime De­vel­op­ment and Disas­ter Man­age­ment Min­is­ter Inia Seruiratu who re­in­forced that Gov­ern­ment took ru­ral de­vel­op­ment se­ri­ously. Other min­is­ters who joined Mr Bain­i­marama and Mr Seruiratu at var­i­ous stages of the tour in­cluded Health and Med­i­cal Ser­vices Min­is­ter Dr Ifer­eimi Waqain­a­bete, In­fra­struc­ture, Me­te­o­rol­ogy, Lands and Min­eral Re­sources Min­is­ter Jone Usa­mate, Min­is­ter for Women, Chil­dren and Poverty Al­le­vi­a­tion Mere­seini Vu­ni­waqa, Fish­eries Min­is­ter Semi Koroilaves­au and Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Ma­hen­dra Reddy.

The big team is a show of sup­port for the peo­ple. It shows that Mr Baina­ma­rama val­ues all Fi­jians in the ru­ral and mar­itime ar­eas – even though some of them did not vote for him in the 2018 Gen­eral Elec­tion.

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