RFMF ENGINEERS CARRY ON LEGACY OUT IN ROTUMA
Building our Nation
The military is not just about guns. At Fiji’s independence on 10 October 1970, the then Prime Minister, the late Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara said that we did not only take on the responsibility of independence for ourselves but we took it on for each other. Almost 47 years down the line the nation building role of the RFMF’s Engineer Regiment has gone largely unnoticed. MaiLife got a glimpse of their work when we were invited to travel with the Rural Development Squadron to Rotuma to see the beginning of the second phase in construction of the island’s much anticipated hospital. It took 33 hours to reach Rotuma 646 kilometres to the north. An island 13 kilometres long and 4 kilometres wide with a land area of approximately 43 square kilometres, Rotuma is dependent on Fiji and considered the 12th largest island of the group. With a current population of 2002, many more Rotumans live on mainland Fiji islands – about 10,000. Rotuma is often described as a ‘hidden paradise’ with lush green vegetation, beautiful blue sea with white sandy beaches and swaying coconut trees. But there are flaws in such a remote paradise. Rotuma has remained without a proper hospital. Patients who need urgent medical treatment have had to charter flights to Suva – an expensive affair. Last month Patterson Shipping’s Spirit of Love vessel carried 54 men belonging to the RD Sqn who were being deployed to the island for 13 months to complete the construction of the hospital. The RFMF Engineer Regiment has since completed 20 projects all over Fiji as part of its nation building programme. Serving the people in the maritime
Members of the RFMF Engineer’s Rural Development Squadron begin their task of building the hospital in Rotuma.
Handle with care. Soldiers get to work in Rotuma.