May Truth Triumph Over Evil
November 2, 2021
Don’t lose hope
Deepavali or Diwali is the Festival of Lights. It is a time of rejoicing with family and friends. It is also a time for prayer and reflection about those less fortunate.
The lighting of the traditional lamp, Diya, symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance and most importantly, truth over evil.
The light from the Diya re-commits all of us to bring light to any place facing darkness. Hindus are very resilient and draw strength from their faith and a sense of solidarity in times of adversity. The return of Lord Rama after 14 years in exile is a triumphant occasion.
Lord Rama is the embodiment of truth, justice, righteousness, honesty, integrity, good governance and humility. The virtues of Lord Rama and the significance of Diwali are extremely relevant in a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural country like Fiji and New Zealand.
2020 and 2021 have been a difficult year for many of us. Covid-19 has spread in the community and we have had more than 1000 deaths already.
The economy has been ravaged and thousands of families have lost their livelihood and income. Many are struggling to make ends meet.
Without the help from our partners such as Australia and New Zealand who not only assisted in providing direct financial support to help our people but also provided almost all the vaccines, families would have been in dire straits.
Additionally, many families have been helped by their friends and families living overseas through direct remittances. Fiji received almost $652 million dollars in remittances in 2020 and it is likely to be more in 2021.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those families and friends living overseas who have been helping their friends and families. Your contribution has help families feed themselves here in Fiji.
A year before 2022 General Election, it is now dawning upon our people in Fiji that there are serious economic and social challenges facing them. The high cost of living, the decline of the sugar industry, and loss of jobs and income is having a disastrous impact on the quality of life our people.
The poverty rate before Covid-19 hit us was about 30%. It is probably easily now over 50% after the onslaught of the pandemic. More than 1,200 people have needlessly lost their lives. 674 cases were classified as Covid deaths while 559 were Covid-related deaths.
Our cane growers will have a bleak Diwali after deductions of 2021 harvesting season expenses from their final 2020 season cane payment have left hundreds of them with no income at all. Common and equal citizenry alone do not guarantee fundamental freedoms like freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of the media.
It does not guarantee job opportunities based on meritocracy, Above all it does not guarantee good governance, transparency and accountability. And the lack of transparency and accountability has seen Fiji lose its reputation as a symbol of unity and beacon of hope. All is not lost. I am calling on our people not to lose hope.
Together we can once again illuminate the lives of our people and restore pride and patriotism. Let us therefore use the light of the Diya, which conquers the darkest night of the year, to once again brighten our future.
As a party born out of the struggle for dignity and justice of all our people, the NFP will continue the struggle for the triumph of truth over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance so that our beloved nation once again becomes a beacon of hope and trust.
May the blessings of Lord Ram be with you and your families. Please take all precaution and adhere to covid-19 protocols and keep safe. We wish you a blessed Deepavali.