QARASE HAS BIG PLANS FOR FIJI

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (January 2, 2001 – Sun)---Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase has assured the nation that his Government will be guided by whatever the courts decide on its legality.

In his New Year message, Mr. Qarase said in the past 12 months, Fiji had successfully dealt with formidable challenges.

"When other less resilient nations might have faltered, we came through, we got stronger and now we can enter 2002 with greater confidence about the future.

"Survey the state of the world today and we can surely conclude that Fiji has much to be thankful for," he said.

Mr. Qarase said the August General Election "had brought out the differences between us and the racial struggle for power."

This, he said, was a time of trial and increased tension while Fiji was subjected to the close scrutiny of the international community.

He said the judgment of those who observed the election was that it was free and fair and reflected the wishes of the people.

On the country’s economy, Mr. Qarase said the implementation of a record F$ 283 million (US$ 122,114,500) worth of capital investment by the Government was just part of its contribution to priming the economy for growth, providing more jobs and income.

"We want to see as many people as possible in the workforce and earning a decent income," he emphasized.

He said if all the capital projects could be implemented in 2001, the growth rate could be boosted while the private sector projects had the capacity to give the country added expansion.

"This is not just about statistics and growth for the sake of it. It is about you, ladies and gentlemen, about improving your standards of living, defeating poverty, opening up opportunities and promoting the greatest happiness among the most people.

"The cause we serve and the mission we have set ourselves is the betterment of Fiji. We are a government for all the people. Let there be no doubt about that. Watch as we govern and you will see the proof," he assured.

For additional reports from the Fiji Sun, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Fiji Sun.

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