Monday 21 September 2020: The Minister for Local Government, Hon. Premila Kumar during her visit to Levuka on 18-19 September said that every effort must be made to return Levuka Town to its former glory.
The delegation was led by the Attorney General and the Minister for Economy. The objective of the visit was to showcase the heritage of Levuka Town and to encourage the donor partners to assist in the renewal of our heritage site.
“Levuka is known for its natural beauty and heritage. Here we find the kind of houses in the old colonial style that we remember from our childhood days in Suva. Some of these houses in Suva are not there anymore but it is heartening to see that such wonderful structures in Levuka still exist,” said Hon. Kumar.
The Minister confirmed that Council plans to preserve and maintain the original heritage buildings and sites owned by Levuka Town Council.
“One such site is the magnificent Town Hall. The government provided funds last year and again this year to paint the internals of the building. Council through appropriate consultation, assured that the right colors were chosen to reflect its heritage.”
“There are other buildings that we would like to restore. One is the Governor’s House. We would like to turn that into a public gallery, with a coffee shop and a restaurant so that visitors to Levuka can experience the atmosphere of the original home. I hope the residents of Levuka will respond to this wonderful opportunity and start their catering business from that site, when it is advertised for rental,” stated Hon. Kumar.
The Minister further stated that UN Women was assisting Levuka Town Council to rebuild the Levuka Market.
“There is a very urgent need to rebuild the market which was destroyed in Cyclone Winston, so that all these vendors can move into a restored market which is much safer and secure for them.”
“In the rebuilt market, there will be a women’s accommodation area, washroom and a cafeteria. Most women come from Motoriki very early in the morning, and they don’t have a place to sleep. We’ll be able to provide the accommodation they need,” said Hon. Kumar.
The Minister also thanked the Chair, Chief Executive of the Pacific Fishing Company Limited (PAFCO) and Special Administrators of Levuka Town Council for organizing the tour at the PAFCO factory for the delegation.
“I want to thank the Chair, as well as the CEO and the Special Administrators and all those who helped in making our visit to PAFCO a memorable one. Seeing how the fish is processed and canned was a great experience to the whole delegation.”
“We know that the PAFCO’s contribution to our economy is very important, and particularly so for Levuka. PAFCO provides much needed employment to the people of Levuka and contributes to our economy”, Hon. Kumar stated.
The Minister also encouraged residents of Levuka to continue reviving their homes, the shop fronts and historical sites to promote local tourism and attract more visitors to Levuka.
“I know that there are tourists who travel from country to country visiting historical places because of their deep interest in heritage. Levuka has been certified as a UNESCO Heritage Site and as we continue restoring Levuka to its former glory, there will be a lot more people coming to Levuka,” said Hon. Kumar.
The Heads of Missions in Fiji who were part of the visit to Levuka were the British High Commissioner, His Excellency George Edgar and his wife, Mrs Edgar; New Zealand High Commissioner, His Excellency Jonathan Curr and his wife, Mrs Curr; United States Ambassador His Excellency Joseph Cella; European Union Ambassador, His Excellency Sujiro Seam and his wife, Mrs Seam; Australian Deputy High Commissioner Ms. Anna Dorney and the Head of Economic Cooperation from the Japanese Embassy Mr. Iowano Taisuke.