20 years on … Speaker Ratu Naiqama: Change will promote and strengthen vernacular

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Father and son … Fiji Parliament Speaker Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu and son Minister for Health and Medical Services Ratu Atonio Lalabalavu during their vakasenuqanuqa at Albert Park in Suva on Saturday, February 4, 2023. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Speaker of Parliament gone turaga bale na Tui Cakau Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu says parliamentarians will again be able to speak in their vernacular languages in the Parliament after two decades.

During a traditional welcoming ceremony held at Suva’s Albert Park yesterday, he said this would further promote and strengthen the use of vernacular languages in the country.

Ratu Naiqama and his son, Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ratu Atonio Lalabalavu, were accorded the traditional ‘vakasenuqanuqa’ by the Lalabalavu family in Suva. He lauded the people’s coalition Government’s decision to allow members of Parliament to speak in their own language, Hindi and iTaukei while delivering their speeches in Parliament.

Ratu Naiqama said the use of iTaukei and Hindi language in Parliament was last spoken 20 years ago and it was sad that it was never allowed to be reused.

Hundreds of people were gathered to witness the ceremony where a church service was also organised to bless the father and son.

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