Fiji has strengthened democracy, parliamentary
Fiji has strengthened democracy and parliamentary process
Though the Fiji Islands has on several occasions throughout her history struggled with maintaining parliamentary democracy, it has in the last few years taken steps to develop and strengthen the institution of Parliament and other democratic processes.
Speaking at the opening of the 51st CPA conference yesterday, President of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau said the fact that people have come to Fiji in large numbers is a tangible sign that Fiji's endeavors towards establishing a culture of acceptance is not in vain.
Fiji he said was in turn grateful to the Commonwealth for their continuing support and encouragement towards Fiji's efforts in reinvigorating its endeavors.
Ratu Epeli said when Fiji last hosted the CPA in 1981, just over 250 delegates and observers attended. But this year the number had increase three times over.
"Advances made in the civil aviation and good intentions by delegates to meet with colleagues and participate in discussions on important current issues confronting commonwealth countries has been an attributing factor to the record attendance."
Fiji, he said is immensely honoured that so many have chosen to attend the 51st Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference.
To this he added that delegates should take advantage of Fiji's hospitality and have fun in Fiji.
"It is our sincere hope that your short stay in Fiji will be as memorable to you as it would be to all of us Fiji Islanders," he said.
Vice President of Fiji and Acting Vice Chair of the CPA, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi was chief guest at the opening ceremonies held at the Golf & Racquet Club Lawn at Sheraton Fiji.
Dressed in traditional dress Sheraton Denarau landowners and recent hosts of the 2005 Fiji Methodist Church Conference, Narewa welcomed the Vice President on behalf of Fiji Parliament.
Over 500 delegates are currently converging at the Sheraton Fiji to deliberate and strategise on issues of concern to the Commonwealth.