Fiji will not change its national flag: PM

Fiji will not go ahead with a proposal to change its flag, Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said Thursday, meaning Britain's Union Jack will stay.

Fiji's national flag, like those of some other former British territories such as Australia and New Zealand, features the Union Jack in the top-left corner.

"While I remain convinced personally that we need to replace some of the flag's colonial symbols with a genuinely indigenous expression of our present and our future, it has been apparent to the government since February that the flag should not be changed for the foreseeable future," Bainimarama said in a statement.

The cost of changing the flag was too high, and money would be better spent on cyclone recovery efforts, Bainimarama said.

Tropical Cyclone Winston killed more than 40 people and left thousands of Fijians homeless in February.

Bainimarama said he had been moved to see Fijians rallying around their flag as they celebrated the country's first ever Olympic medal when the rugby sevens team won gold in Rio last week.

"I urge every Fijian to display our flag when our victorious sevens team returns to Fiji on Sunday and during our special national holiday on Monday," he said.

In February Bainimarama announced plans to change the flag which has been in place since the country was granted independence from Britain in 1970.

Last update: Thu, 18/08/2016 - 10:27
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