Each day, stories and reports of the extent of the damages sustained by our people and properties indicates that some have lost everything they own and will have to start again from scratch.
The Social Democratic Liberal Party assures the people of Fiji that it is with them in thought and spirit as we all struggle together to rebuild our Fiji.
Party President Gone Turaga Bale na Tui Cakau Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu in a statement said that the party was very appreciative to each and every tax payer in this nation for their commitment over the years towards fulfilling their civic responsibility of paying their taxes which comes into use at such times as this, allowing governments to commit these necessary funds for necessary rebuilding and rehabilitation.
He stated that many times, people tend to forget that the tax paid into government coffers allows government to amongst other things, carry out its development plans for the benefit of the nation and its people, and Ratu Naiqama thus reminded that it was imperative for government policies to reflect the will and the need of the people.
He called on Government to ensure transparent and equal assistance was directed to victims of cyclone Winston in all devastated areas from the cane belts of Ba and Rakiraki, Nadi and surrounding affected areas to the outlying maritime islands, as well as other areas of Naitasiri, Tailevu North and Vanua Levu for example.
Ratu Naiqama stated that a significant number of communities had yet to receive any government assistance and all efforts must be now exercised by Government to ensure they receive immediate relief supplies urgently.
He has also called on communities to build their resilience against such storms in the future, and called on village heads for example to put in place proper building guidelines for homes within what the people can at least afford, so as to protect their families from a repeat of the devastations such as that experienced during Winston.
Meanwhile Ratu Naiqama also acknowledged Government’s announcement that it was allowing concessions for building material importations into the country, and he stated that he was optimistic Government in the meantime would vigilantly review and monitor the trickle-down effect of these concessions to businesses, to ensure consumers would benefit through cheaper building materials needed urgently during these difficult times. He also cautioned the need for prudent monitoring of items that had been brought in by businesses prior to the cyclone and how those prices would be reflected against the new concessional items which is expected to be cheaper.
In the meantime, Ratu Naiqama has applauded the efforts of all those involved in the rehabilitation works of Winston, and he especially thanked the overseas countries who have donated generously of their time, human resources and personnel and wealth which is an indication of their respective foreign policies that is outward looking and inclusive towards fellow human beings in times of great need such as these. Ratu Naiqama equally applauded the work of all Government officials, NGO’s and the religious and charity organization’s and the thousands of volunteers all getting behind our affected communities to assist rebuild our nation and people.
Ratu Naiqama ended by saying that he wished to acknowledge all citizens of Fiji and wish them well in their rebuilding efforts. He stated that his prayers and that of the nation no doubt was with each and every family that has suffered the loss of life and properties.
Ratu Naiqama ended by saying that he wished to leave every citizen of Fiji with the words of the great former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in one of his famous words to the British House of Parliament in which he said; “I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this Government, I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many long months of toil and struggle. You ask what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory. Victory at all costs. Victory in spite of all terror. Victory however long and hard the road may be. For without victory there is no survival."
Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu