18 August, 2006

Opening of the new Rewa Bridge

The new Rewa Bridge at Nausori, near Suva, was opened by the President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, yesterday. The bridge, being and longest and widest in Fiji, replaces the old bridge which was built in 1937. Ratu Iloilo was joined by thousands of people huddled under umbrellas. Nausori town came to a standstill as businessmen, school children and residents watched the opening formalities which included traditional Fijian ceremonies accorded to the President by the people of Rewa. The rain failed to dampen the spirit of the crowd, many of whom were no doubt anxious to walk across the F$30 million structure. For them, the moments of waiting finally ended when Ratu Iloilo unveiled a plaque at the Suva end of the bridge, followed moments later by the shattering boom of a Fiji Military Forces cannon, fired in honour of the engineering feat. To the accompaniment of the Military Band, the lively crowd, which included dignitaries from the European Commission in Fiji and government officials, started to cross the bridge. Policemen were present in numbers to control the crowd though the push provided too much for some. The bridge, which was jointly funded by the European Union and the Fiji Government, is testament to Fiji's good working relationships with the EU.

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