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Bainimarama salutes Girmityas

As Fiji reflects on the indenture period of Fiji, the pain and suffering of the Girmityas cannot be ignored.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama while closing the celebrations of 130 years of Girmit in Fiji (in 2009) said that Fiji cannot discount the immense contribution made by the descendants of these indentured labourers in Fiji socio-economic and political development.
“The Girmit brought new cultures, new languages and new religion and were joined by other Indians who came to Fiji as free agents,” he said.

Mr Bainimarama said that the landscape of the nation was forever changed where Fiji became a multi-racial and multicultural country with major ethnic’s groups- indigenous Fijians and the Indo-Fijians.

When the indentured system ended, the institutionalised racial divisions in this country continued.
Mr Bainimarama said that that the result has been a past riddled with conflicts and tension between our two major ethnic groups, much to the detriment to our future and progress as an emerging developing country.

Mr Bainimarama assured the Girmityas that the current Government is firmly committed to ensuring that we do not allow ourselves to be continually entrapped by the deep-rooted institutionalized and complex racial divisions that have dominated our national character for generations.

He said with the theme Anniversary Celebration has been most appropriate and relevant to the people of Fiji today.

He said as Fiji is going through a process of change in moving forward to build a better Fiji, we have an ideal opportunity to remember those that have gone before us.

The above report appeared in Fiji Sun issue dated August 1, 2009

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