The long wait for news about Fiji’s long-delayed plans to change its flag is over. Yesterday Prime Minister JV Bainimarama cancelled any such plans “for the foreseeable future”.
He released the following short statement:
It has been deeply moving for me as Prime Minister to witness the way Fijians have rallied around the national flag as our Rugby Sevens team brought home Olympic Gold for Fiji. And I know this sentiment is shared by most Fijians.
While I remain convinced personally that we need to replace some of the flag’s colonial symbols with a genuinely indigenous expression of our present and our future, it has been apparent to the Government since February that the flag should not be changed for the foreseeable future.
It is a question of resetting national priorities as our people continue to recover from Tropical Cyclone Winston. The cost of any flag change is better spent at the present time assisting Fijians back on their feet.
I urge every Fijian to display our flag when our victorious Sevens team returns to Fiji on Sunday and during our special national holiday on Monday. It is a time to celebrate not only their remarkable achievement but our collective unity and national sense of purpose.
Tropical Cyclone Winston, the strongest and costliest storm in Southern Pacific history, hit Fiji last February killing 44 and causing $1.4 billion in damage.
This month Fiji won its first Olympic gold medal ever by beating its former colonial master Great Britain 43 to 7 in Men’s Rugby Sevens. There was dancing in the streets – and much flag waving.