By Delly Bagu – EM TV, Port Moresby
Fiji is to remove the United Kingdom’s union jack from its flag, according to Fiji Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama.
Mr Bainimarama, a former coup leader who was elected last year in Fiji’s first elections in eight years, said it was “time to dispense with the colonial symbols”.
The Commonwealth Pacific nation gained independence from Britain in 1970.
The current Fiji flag is light blue with the union jack – also known as the union flag – and a shield with the cross of St George and a lion. It also features a sugar cane, bananas, a palm tree and a dove of peace.
“We need to replace the symbols on our existing flag that are out of date and no longer relevant, including some anchored to our colonial past,” Mr Bainimarama said.
“The new flag should reflect Fiji’s position in the world today as a modern and truly independent nation state.”
After a national competition, the new design will be unveiled on 10 October, the 45th anniversary of independence, Mr Bainimarama said.
He pointed to the fact that only four sovereign states which were once British colonies still retain the union jack as a national symbol: Australia, New Zealand, Tuvalu and Fiji.