- By Fern Napwatt, Vanuatu Daily Post
The Lini Day celebration on Thursday, February 21 will focus on the importance of nationalism, says committee Chairman, Charles Lini.
The 2019 commemoration will mark 20 years when Vanuatu’s First Prime Minister, Father Walter Hadye Lini passed away in Port Vila and a committee was established headed by the son of late Fr Walter Lini, Charles to organize the 21st celebration.
“Since then, memorial services have always been organized by the Anglican Church in Port Vila or families,” he said.
“It is now 20 years, and we thought it should be an open celebration by everyone and the significance of representing nationalism.”
Mr Lini said that it will be a 2-day event, beginning with a parade on February 20th from Independence Park to the celebration venue at Saralana.
“The theme of the celebration is ‘Celebrating Lini Legacy with wisdom in Kastom, Church and Politics’ so the activities during the event revolves around the theme,” he said.
“We will have entertainment from church groups, custom performances, debates involving schools and official speeches from guest speakers.”
A mini photo exhibition in his memorial will be set up at the museum as it’s done annually to commemorate the 20th year of his passing away.
Mr Lini stressed that prior to Independence, the people of Vanuatu were then ‘stateless’ until the forefathers made the decision that this country has to make its own decisions.
“The idea of nationalism was born and today we have a nationality, so we are celebrating not just the person but the idea of nationalism and that we are proud of national identity,” he said.
“Our guest speaker of the day (21st) will be the Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai on behalf of the Vanuatu government and speeches as decided by the committee will be based on the past, the present and future of this country in nationalism.”
Father Walter Lini was a priest, a politician and a high ranking custom chief of Pentecost and PENAMA Province.