Fiji’s President Ratu Wiliame Katonivere opened the 2024 Sessions of Parliament Monday with a call for unity and progress, emphasising the importance of representing the diverse voices of the people.

“It is an honour for me to be here today, to open this new Parliamentary Session.

“As democratically elected representatives, I ask you to listen to the voices of our people, not only those who elected you, but to all our citizens young and old, men and women.”

“I urge you all to faithfully embrace with resolve the principles of democracy and humanity as enshrined in our Constitution,” President Katonivere said.

He also stressed the need to respect the integrity and dignity of Parliament.

“We must acknowledge and recognise our differences; however, we must be united with one common goal to ensure that we live in a progressive and prosperous nation,” he urged, stressing the importance of unity.

President Katonivere shared personal experiences from his youth spent with Indo-Fijian farming families in Macuata, highlighting the lessons learned about hard work, respect for elders, and family unity.

“It is unfortunate that some unscrupulous politicians continue to instigate mistrust among our communities for their own political ends,” he said

He also called on Members of Parliament to promote harmony and embrace diversity.

Financial literacy and empowerment were also key themes in President Katonivere’s address.

“I always believe that financial literacy will empower our people with financial security and self-reliance,” he said.

He also emphasised the positive impact of encouraging a culture of financial responsibility.

President Katonivere outlined the Coalition Government’s progressive agenda, including the formulation of a new National Development Plan, economic recovery post-pandemic, and a commitment to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

He stressed the importance of peaceful solutions in the face of global geopolitical tensions, emphasising Fiji’s commitment to the concept of the ‘Ocean of Peace’ for the Blue Pacific.

The President also addressed issues related to health, tourism, education, and the revitalisation of various sectors, expressing the government’s commitment to accountability, transparency, and good governance.

President Katonivere also challenged Parliamentarians to work together.

“I challenge our Parliamentarians to work across the aisle, find common ground on critical issues facing our nation, and put the people first, above petty political interest and personal ambition.”

“I wish you all great success for this year,” President Katonivere declared, officially opening the 2024 Parliamentary Session.