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Wednesday 19th October 2016

Nuku’alofa Times - Page 02


Be good ambassadors, Fijians told

NUKU’ALOFA (Nuku’alofa Times): The Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Vainga Tone, has reminded Fijians here Tonga to remain good ambassadors for their country. Speaking at the Kubuna Community organised Fiji Day celebrations here in Nuku’alofa on Saturday, October 15, Mr Tone said Fiji Day, which is celebrated on October 10 annually, is a day of celebration. But he added that it is also a day of reflection where Fijians need to ask themselves whether they have been good ambassadors. “Fijians here need to remember that, while they are in Tonga, they represent their beautiful country, Fiji -- and they need to be good ambassadors in whatever they do here in the Kingdom

of Tonga,” he told members of the Fijian community and guests at the St Paul’s Anglican Church hall. “Likewise, the Tongans who are overseas for one reason or another; they, too, need to remember the country they come from and to be good ambassadors of their country.” Mr Tone said that there are around 300 Fijians in Tonga, with a high number who do not have proper documentation or visa. “Around 60 percent of that number do not have proper documentation or visas,” he said. “The majority are Fijian women who work as caregivers, housemaids or domestic staff.” He added that although there is no Fiji Community committee he was thankful

that the Kubuna Confederacy had stepped in to organize the Fiji Day for the whole community. “So the Fiji Day -- organized by the Kubuna Confederacy -- for the Fijian community is a day of celebration. The organizers have taken the first step to unite Fijians in Tonga by hosting the event this year -- in the absence of a Fiji Community Committee, mind you,” he said. “The Kubuna Confederacy have done a sterling job and maybe it is time for a Fiji Community Committee to be set up to organize Fijians in Tonga. “It is rather fortunate that we also have some church elders from the different Christian, Hindu and Muslim faith -- who help in keeping the Fijian commu-

nity together.” In regards to the diplomatic relations between Fiji and Tonga, Mr Tone said “it is going on very well”. “This year marked the official acceptance by Tonga of Fiji’s Roving Ambassador to Tonga -- Mrs Litia Mawi -- when she presented her credentials to the Hon. Prime Minister of Tonga on 21st July 2016 – an event I happen to have attended and witnessed,” he said. “This year also marks the beginning of works – at government to government level – between Tonga and Fiji – to try and find solutions to work issues as well as consular issues that have affected Fijians here over the years. With continuing consultations and discussions, we hope to find solutions. It is my sincere hope

that Tongans and Fijians alike, in their dealings and interactions, will treat each other with respect, dignity, justice and fairness as good neighbours, whether they are in Fiji or in Tonga.” This year’s Fiji Day celebrated the 46th anniversary of the country’s independence. Kubuna Community President Iliesa Tora said Fiji has come through a challenging year this year. “We had Cyclone Winston which, unfortunately, claimed a lot of lives – the majority being from the island of Koro in the Lomaiviti Group, where some of us are from,” he said. But the sorrow and heartaches turned to joy when Fiji won the men’s sevens rugby gold medal at the Rio Olympics in early August

this year. Furthermore, the fact that the Fijian Government have decided to keep the Fiji Flag following the Rio Gold Medal win called for a double celebration on Fiji Day. Meanwhile, Mr Tora said they would like to thank all those who helped make the event a success. The following communities, organizations and businesses are being acknowledged here for their support: 1. The members of the Kubuna community and committee for their support 2. The members of the CBM, Rewa, Kadavu, Nadroga, Rotuman, Lakeba, Tongan and Indo Fijian communities for accepting invitations to be part of the event 3. Ofa ki Tonga Company for the donation of bottled water 4. Tuckers/Molisi Tonga for the donation of icecream and cones 5. Punjas for the donation of juice and snacks 6. Lomaiviti Village here in Tonga for their sponsorship 7. Fofoanga Kava Kalapu for hosting kava kalapu 8. St Paul’s Anglican Church for the use of the hall

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