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Fiji Time: 7:33 PM on Wednesday 17 September

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Fiji leads the way

Ana Madigibuli
Sunday, April 27, 2014

PRIME Minister Rear Admiral Voreqe Bainimarama says they do not see the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) as a competitor for the existing Pacific Islands Forum.

The Prime Minister in opening the new PIDF building in Suva said it was not a question of governments having to choose between the two forums but that Fiji no longer believed that the Pacific Islands Forum, in its existing form, adequately served the interests of all Pacific Islanders.

"We also believe that the forum has become overly bureaucratic, moreover the fact that membership of the Pacific Islands Forum is confined to governments means that the agendas and priorities of important segments of Pacific societies have been ignored," Rear Admiral Bainimarama said.

"Governments do not have a monopoly on wisdom when it comes to solving the complex social, economic and environmental questions we face as islanders.

"Regional leaders cannot merely prescribe solutions to the challenges we all face, we badly needed to cast the net wider and with the PIDF we have."

He said with the partnership between governments, civil society and business, they were in a much better position to listen to its people and their common sense to problem solving.

"We are in a much better position to tap into the knowledge of our business communities, who generate the jobs we all need to raise living standards and improve the lives of our people," he said.

"For its part, Fiji wants a fundamental realignment of the Pacific Islands Forum before it considers rejoining that organisation but in the meantime, we see our future firmly planted in the PIDF."

He said they were encouraging all Pacific countries and territories along with their civil society groups and business leaders to join them.