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