PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare has paid tribute to Solomon Islanders who have contributed in Fiji’s nation building during the black-birding days.
Speaking during Fiji’s 50th Independence Anniversary celebrations in Honiara, the Prime Minister said Solomon Islands descendants that helped in the development of Fiji should be proud of themselves for their small but worthwhile contributions.
The Prime Minister said the friendship between Solomon Islands and Fiji is rooted in common history.
“During the black-birding days Solomon Islanders were brought to work in the sugar cane plantations in Fiji. I am proud of the Solomon Islanders who toil hard and contributed in Fiji’s nation building in a small way. Some of these Solomon Islanders decided to remain in Fiji and have since become part of the Fijian society,” he said.
Prime Minister Sogavare also thanked the Fijian government and its people for acknowledging the descendants of Solomon Islands, which will always remain a testament to the strong bond of friendship and people-to-people relations.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister also paid tribute and acknowledge the contributions by the people of Fiji to Solomon Islands nation building.
Prime Minister Sogavare said when Christianity arrived in Solomon Islands; Fijian missionaries were some of the first pacific islanders that came with European Missionaries bringing the gospel to Solomon Islands.
“Their legacies still live on and in the hymns that were sung and the nuances of practices in some of our main church denominations,” he said.
The Prime Minister said during the Second World War, Solomon Islanders also provided hospitality and care to Fijian soldiers who fought alongside allied forces in Solomon Islands.
“These are great tales of the common values and history shared between our two countries,” he said.
Prime Minister Sogavare also acknowledged the many naturalised Solomon Islanders, who have since called Solomon Islands their home.
“That is how strong we are connected as brothers and sisters,” he said.