FIJI’S Prime Minister, J.B. Bainimarama, has announced that the South Pacific nation will keep its current national flag, a reversal of a long-running proposal of his.
A statement by Mr Bainimarama’s said the money that would have been used to change the current flag, flown by Fiji since its independence from the United Kingdom in 1970, would be redirected to the Tropical Cyclone Winston recovery effort. Winston claimed 43 Fijian’s lives and left tens of thousands homeless in February.
“While I remain convinced personally that we need to replace some of the flag’s colonial symbols with a genuinely indigenous expression of our present and our future, it has been apparent to the Government since February that the flag should not be changed for the foreseeable future.
“The cost of any flag change is better spent at the present time assisting Fijians back on their feet.”
But the success of Fiji’s men in the inaugural Olympic Rugby Sevens tournament has also been a factor in this U-turn. Fiji defeated Great Britain 43-7 in the Gold Medal Match of the men’s competition to win the nation’s first ever Olympic medal during the current Rio Games.
The PM hopes his compatriots will ‘proudly display their flag to welcome [back] the Fijian Rugby Sevens team on Sunday [21st August].’