Letters to the Editor – Saturday, August 6, 2022

FEO (Fijian Elections Office) staff members packing pre-polling materials during the 2018 General Election at their warehouse in Laucala Beachn Estate, Nasinu. Picture: FILE

Election date

CAN the learned Elections Minister please lock in the election date so that fervent voters can opportunely usher in the new government.

Why the unbearable delay and secrecy in the announcement?

What are you afraid of?

The fact of the matter is, I am tired of your “fact of the matter” nonsensical responses and justifications for the past 16 years.


Black out

WILL the Springboks dish a black out to the All Blacks this weekend?

The All Blacks are under immense pressure following two straight losses to the mighty Irish side at home.

I am hoping that the Springboks rise to the occasion as it will only make world rugby more interesting and exciting.


Violent discipline

RECENT revelations about 80 per cent of children below the age of 14 receiving violent discipline is thought provoking.

On one hand it points to the fact that our upbringing involves violence which is acceptable.

On the other hand, it does raise concern.

Is this really the correct way of bringing up our children and what are the long-term impacts?

Without wanting to dispute the findings, one would be interested to know about finer details of the survey sample.

This includes the location, the cultural and social status of families and accumulative responses as per the various age groups between 1-14.

Which age brackets felt that they were most exposed to violent discipline?

Meanwhile, we are among the most funniest of species.

We often disagree with violence yet we love to watch our children participate in violent sports such as rugby league and union.

Whatever ones views, let’s continue to display love and affection towards our children because our actions will influence their behaviour in the future.


Food and bugs

CAN those eateries that are deliberately violating food safety laws be exposed in the media so that susceptible patrons become extra vigilant when choosing a place to chow?

I recall finding a baby cockroach peacefully laying in my meat, sorry potato pie at one of the cafes (located within the vicinity of the Lautoka Market) that I used to frequent a few years ago to enjoy a quick bite and a hot cup of Milo.

They used to serve some of the best custard pies, sponge cakes and scones but after that grim and nausea discovery, I have never set foot in that café again.

I don’t know how many of those roaches and their other pesky family members I must have unsuspectingly devoured as a side dish in that café on every visit.

It’s no secret that a high number of the smaller fast food outlets and cafes in Lautoka are in a filthy state and perhaps a name and shame exercise would effectively contribute in quelling such immoral practices of certain food establishment owners.

It’s obvious that this has been a persistent concern and the health inspectors are apparently futile in their efforts to “squash” this bug problem.


Topic of abortion

I WAS surprised by your regular letter writer Colin Deoki’s (FT 29/07) non-judgmental stance on the topic of abortion.

According to him though unborn life is sacrosanct in the womb but human freedom is supreme.

I think it leads to the idea that self is the sole arbiter in moral matters.

So if a person intends to do harm to himself in any way, we are not to judge his actions because that is his prerogative and choice.

What if the same individual, in turn, harms us?

Can we give him the same prerogative in the name of supreme freedom?

If self is the only reference point when making moral decisions, then we will be plagued with fickleness.


Proud Fijian leaders

ALL Fijians can be justly proud of our President Ratu Wiliame Katonivere for his current visit to Europe and the Middle East with the First Lady.

Both have met the royalty in London, Pope in Rome and the Israli Prime Minister, Isac Herzog.

They will also meet our peacekeeping soldiers in the Golan Heights.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama is in the United States of America representing Fiji at the United Nations and meeting other world leaders.

Thus putting the focus on Fiji.

In geo-politics of today such visits are of paramount importance!

Thank you Sirs.

DEWAN CHAND, Namadi Heights, Suva

We are the champions

JUST like the Vunimono High School under 15 football side that was crowned the Rewa Secondary Schools under 15 grade winner, the Kaila! newspaper is a champion in its own way as it promotes activities involving school children.

Week in week out, the Kaila! newspaper enriches readers with news and information from happenings within schools, in the rural, maritime and urban areas.

From sports to educational activities, music, leadership, gardening and arts, the industrious team (from the Kaila! newspaper) has them covered.

As a teacher I feel proud, seeing the enormous amount of talent in our schools.

Our children need to be motivated and nurtured to be versatile and responsible citizens.

Involving them in sports and extra-curricular activities will make them good citizens.

Let’s empower them via print media.

Kudos to Harold Koi and his team Pekai Kotoisuva, Sophie Ralulu and Wanshika Kumar for this week’s solid piece!


Tsunami sirens

TOGETHER with the tsunami sirens can we also test how long it takes to vacate coastal areas and move to higher grounds?

Especially for crowded areas such as Suva City?

One hour of disaster planning leave?

KIRAN KHATRI, Samabula, Suva

Writing skills

ISN’T it a pity that someone like Richard Naidu who possesses crafty writing skills has had to take a break from informing and entertaining us?


* Richard advises that he’s been a bit busy in the past few weeks but will be back in print soon. — EDITOR

Reality check

SOME of our athletes have performed well during this year’s Commonwealth Games.

However, I believe this games have come with the timely reminder about the sporting development in our country.

Perhaps, it’s time for a reality check for different sporting federations in the country and reset goals and strategies to take things up one level in the near future.

PRANIL RAM, Votualevu, Nadi

Tell me why

WHY aren’t the reports and journalists in this newspaper asking the Opposition parties where their long-promised manifestos are?

Why aren’t they asking the leaders of the Opposition parties what their solutions and plans for Fiji’s woes are?

This paper regularly has headlines putting Opposition statements on its front pages, but it seems to have forgotten to ask them for their solutions.

Perhaps this is a Fiji-kind of independent, transparent and unbiased newspaper?

JAN NISSAR, NSW, Australia

Gold win

RESIDENTS of Ovalau have proven that we don’t need foreigners to win gold in the Commonwealth Games.

DAN URAI, Lautoka

2022 Commonwealth Games coverage

I JOIN Shalwyn Prasad to compliment Rohit Deo and The Fiji Times for the extensive coverage on the Commonwealth Games.

We, the readers of the trusted brand, are fortunate that our hero from Navua brings us direct news from Birmingham.

Rohit’s diaries are a pleasure to read.

His stories inspire our athletes.

His opinions and coverage keep us connected to England although the 7s fever has died down after our teams settled for silver medals.

I also thank the TV stations for the live coverage.

Such games take place after every four years and the news, stories and pictures will form beautiful archives for 2026.

Shout out to our athletes for their performance.

It’s not easy performing at that height, but our athletes have given their level best and are trying to stamp their mark.

Congratulations to those who have won a medal and to those who didn’t, there’s always a next time, keep trying and never lose hope!

To The Fiji Times and Rohit Deo, vinaka vakalevu for reporting directly from the Commonwealth Games village!


World peace

AUGUST 1, 2022 marked the 95th birthday of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

The Chinese Defense Attache to Fiji, Senior Colonel Yu Ke, has paid a glowing tribute to the PLA and the extraordinary and glorious achievements over the years.

However, nothing can be further from the truth.

I have read about the series of civil wars in China and its territorial disputes with Japan, Vietnam, India and Russia.

Border clashes with countries bordering China are normal events I believe.

We all know how Tibet was gobbled up!

I believe in recent times China has used the “Road and Belt Initiative” to subjugate many countries.

Sri Lanka and Pakistan are a very good examples.

Both of these countries are unable to come out of Chinese clutches.

Yet Yu Ke talks about world peace.

Tension between China and the United States of America is high vis-a-vis Taiwan.

The Chinese leader Mr Xi has warned the US not to play with fire lest it gets burnt.

Recently Pacific Islands Forum leaders also discussed the presence of China in the Pacific and its security agreement with Solomon Islands.

It is true that China gives a lot of aid to small countries.

However, one must realise that there is no such thing as free lunch with China.

I believe it’s always has a hidden agenda.

China is a member of the United Nations Security Council but it uses its veto power to keep India out.


China is a super power with nuclear capability.

Therefore, PLA is armed to the teeth with the most modern and sophisticated weapons.

It certainly is a threat to world peace.

DEWAN CHAND, Namadi Heights, Suva

Violent discipline

AT least we have some semblance of peace and tranquillity as there are some forms of discipline being meted out by families in our country for their unruly children.

If not, if children grow up without any discipline, we would end up like Haiti and Liberia, who I believe are failed lawless countries where gang violence is the rule of law.

Where rascals and gangs are the government on the streets.

In the above mentioned countries and their likes, the law enforcement authorities are next to nonexistence and the law and order situation is made worse by the breakdown of the social structures and the rise of single parent families.

This is being experienced even in American states of California and New York where shoplifting and nonviolent home invasions are common.

Research around the world shows that majority of criminals who commit violent crimes begin their trade by initially committing nonviolent truant activities.

California and New York are two of the largest states in the US based on population but they have experienced mass migration to other states.

One of the reasons Americans are leaving California and New York is the increasing deteriorating law and order situation made worse by their restrictive firearm laws.

In the past few weeks Californian Governor Gavin Newsom has had to front a advertising campaign to attract people to move to California and stop Americans from leaving.

As Americans who are leaving those states are middle class folks on whom the American economy is built but who cannot afford a small private army of armed guards like the super rich Americans or Hollywood actors.

So they are moving to states such as Florida and Texas that still have low crime rates and empower their citizens to own a legal firearm.

Fiji should do a marketing gimmick to attract some of these Americans who are most likely upper-middle class elderly folks as Fiji is still a safe country to live in. Spare the rod spoil the child and destroy a generation of people leading to destruction of a country.


Market for stolen goods

POLICE targeting receivers of stolen items (FT 2/8) is a way forward in reducing the escalating crime rate.

The agents who buy and sell such goods under the counter are equally contributing to these illegal trading.

This is an easy way for them to get rich quickly by robbing those who sweat for decent living in this price rise crisis.

The dealers and the robbers should be taken to task.

To combat crime we all have to work with the police.

Crime prevention should be everyone’s concern.

TAHIR ALI, Hamilton, New Zealand

Alternative site

IS the vacant land state?

between the Pacific Theological College and the FNU Nasese Campus

not an available site for the new MESC?

It seems like a better choice,

than the one in Naimawi Street in Lami. (FT 04/ 08)

It’s right on the seafront and closer to the CBD.

It’s not in a residential area, if it’s situated lower.

It’s right on the very tip, of the Suva Peninsula.

Perhaps, before construction,

In two weeks time begins,

have another look at this and other options.


Games 7s rugby finals

PAUSING a few valuable moments, looking back and analysing both, the Fijiana and the men’s gold medal finals, I now feel our “nerves” let us down.

Both our teams were not their usual selves.

They seemed to hold back.

Something bothered them.

Nevertheless, Commonwealth Games 7s rugby finalists and silver medallists, in my view, in 2022, is good enough.

That Commonwealth Games gold medal is again, our elusive dream for 2026.

God-willing, I will still be around to bear witness.

Thank you Fijiana 7s and our men’s team for being excellent rugby ambassadors on the world stage in Birmingham, England.

I salute you, most respectfully.

Vina du va levu vo mutou kece ena waqe rakavi vitu.

RONNIE CHANG, Martintar, Nadi

Municipal issue

I BELIEVE it is through the financial contribution of the ratepayers that municipal councils are able to stay afloat.

Those ratepayers who pay their dues on time are to be credited for this.

On the other hand, its the defaulters who are taking a free ride which is unacceptable.

It is high time these free riders realised that the services they are getting come at a cost.

Hence, it is only fair that they honour their commitment so that the services rendered by the council could continue unhindered.

Your rates could also be paid in installments, all you need to do is make arrangements and honour it.

Living in the town area has its benefits and to fully enjoy it your obligation need not be overlooked.

As we wait for rate notices which are going to be issued this month, let’s draw the attention of the leaders about municipal elections which are not held since 2006, if I am not wrong.

Despite this setback, ratepayers continue to honour their commitments without failure.

A township’s sustainability and survival are dependent on the financial backup provided by the dwellers of the town.

Therefore, their rights and interests must always be looked after.

Since this Government came in, I am afraid to say this was not the case and that is really sad.

I hope sooner or later the present regime realises before it is too late.


Regional leader in education

THE Fiji Times report (FT 5/8), “Gounder: Fiji leads the region in education” is yet another example of the misplaced arrogance of some senior public servants and government ministers regarding social indicators in this country when compared with other Pacific islands countries (PICs).

I have previously written in this open column on the claims regarding our health system compared with others in the region, pointing at life expectancy being higher in several PICs than in Fiji.

A number of PICs have close to 100 per cent enrollment at primary school level and higher literacy rates than Fiji.

A quick Google search shows the following: Cook Islands 95 per cent, Niue 100 per cent, Samoa 99.1 per cent, Tonga 99.41 and Tuvalu literacy 99 per cent, 2002.

In 2017, the World Bank literacy figure for Fiji was 99.1 per cent.

So while Fiji does have a complex, and in many ways a unique educational system, it is not necessarily “the regional leader in education”.

A more modest claim would have been “among the regional leaders in education!”


Another day of infamy

T’WAS 6th and 9th August, 1945.

Two atomic bombs were dropped, on Hiroshima and later on Nagasaki, in the Japanese Isles.

It was to bring the war, to a speedy end.

But it created unbelievable horror, the other option was an invasion by land.

A real day of infamy, like never seen before.

We hope that lessons, have been learnt by all countries and that similar events, to create such atrocities, will really not happen again.

But with the current state of relationships, between countries and groupings, it will really depend on the good sense of leadership, to prevent a similar event from happening.


Champ sets target

THE build-up to this year’s Fiji Finals, which will take place after 2019, has been fantastic thanks to The Fiji Times sports crew!

Filipe Marayawa penned an interesting piece titled “Champ sets target” (05/08).

In his article, he stated that Nakasi High School sent a massive statement to schools participating in the Fiji Finals later this month.

The school won the Triple N Zone overall boys title.

It’s a proud moment for Nakasi High School and I thank the school leader, Mr Praveen Chand, and the staff members for having the vision of focusing on the holistic development of their children and for preparing them well for the zone.

I was also told that Davuilevu Methodist School, with a roll of 140 students, won the inter-boys division with three gold, one silver and one bronze.

School student David Raibiriki set a new record in the inter-boys triple jump and seven students (in the school’s history) will compete in the Fiji Finals.

Principal Pranesh Kumar and his team are commended for this achievement.

I thank The Fiji Times for covering the smaller schools as well and for highlighting their achievements.

Reading their stories adds excitement to the Fiji Finals!


Falling standards

THE amount of litter seen around in some areas is increasing at an alarming rate and is not being addressed.

While lots of awareness is made in the media of those that so commendably spend their time in groups voluntarily cleaning it up on our shores each Saturday morning, there is little to no awareness of the sources of this litter and what has been done to address it.

In Lami the council has allowed two prominent locations, the police station and Wainidinu Settlement for the past year to place their refuse in public areas on non-collection days.

The public have to see their filthy trash seven days a week with the consequences of it being spread around the area by birds, dogs, rats, wind and weather with some ending up in the ocean.

Have the standards of council administrators and those responsible for litter and health dropped so low now that the absolute basics are no longer dealt with and the public can expect to see an even greater increase in environmental litter damage?

GRAHAME STAGEMAN, Naqumu Point, Lami

Media freedom

THERE has been a lot of positives and negatives regarding mainstream media freedom in Fiji, but I think the arguments have been through vagueness and targeting specific mainstream media organisations.

I believe this particular debate is best understood when specifics are focused on such as media coverage of court cases (significant national interest).

There are some court cases on which media coverage is quite extensive.

The public remains well informed throughout their proceedings.

However, it is noteworthy to remember that a few cases have slipped through with hardly any space given by mainstream media organisations.

I think the public must be fully aware of what I am referring to.

Now what does this reveal about media freedom in Fiji?


That old rivalry

WILL we see the changing, of the old guard globally.

Some have retired, others have passed on, while some are made to expire, for things gone wrong.

Is there a perfect storm brewing, with all the jigsaw pieces coming together?

Some events occurring, certainly have a far deeper meaning and inevitable repercussions, for many world nations.

Behind it all is that old rivalry, between good and evil, the real reality and the false flag fakery.

Our part is to clearly and carefully discern, what is really right and what is utterly wrong.


Gold it is for Eileen

I LOVED the editorial piece titled “Gold it is for Eileen” (FT 05/08).

The editor-in-chief articulated his editorial with these powerful lines, “It means a lot for Fijians because she once represented us. It also proves that we have talent and we are able to nurture skilled and talented athletes right here who can go on to become world champions. The challenge for us is to ensure we have processes and strategies to empower our athletes moving forward.”

Eileen, who won gold in the 90kg category four years ago for Fiji on the Gold Coast, defended her title, but in the green and gold jumper.

She made Commonwealth Games history, becoming the first woman to win gold medals for two countries — Fiji and Australia.

The 22-year-old dominated the 87kg, setting records in the snatch, clean and jerk and overall.

As penned by the editor-in-chief, “She etched her name on the annals of the Games history with her lifts in the 87kg category (women’s)”.

Her achievement is not only for Aussies, but for every Fijian, in particular the gang from Levuka, who have been instrumental in her success.

Congratulations Eileen and all the best!


COVID-19 cases

THIS letter is in reference to the article in The Fiji Times on August 1, 2002, titled: “Dr Fong: Cases exploded when borders opened”.

On August 1, The Fiji Times reported that the Ministry of Health permanent secretary said COVID-19 cases exploded when borders opened.

Dr Fong did not mean international borders, but he meant that cases exploded in May 2021 when the Fijian Government decided to merge Lami-Suva-Nausori containment areas.

The Fiji Times had reported about this on May 30, 2021.

Within a short period of time COVID-19 cases indeed exploded and in July 2021 Fiji had globally the highest numbers of new cases per capita anywhere in the world.

Almost 700 deaths resulted from this.

Until April 16, 2021 there have been 68 COVID-19 cases, 18 of them in the public and two deaths attributed to COVID-19.

This covers a period of around 13 months.

The first COVID-19 case in Fiji was reported on March 19, 2020.

The max new numbers on a particular day were 1854 new cases on July 15, 2021.

On November 30, 2021 the day before international borders opened, COVID-19 numbers recorded in the country stood at 52,506 cases and 696 deaths attributed to COVID-19.

Today the number stands at 67,549 reported cases and 870 deaths.

I believe the merging of containment areas led to the explosion of cases in the country.

After more than 50,000 new cases were recorded until end of November 2021 (compared with 68 before) and almost 700 people died of COVID-19.

I had criticised the measure already when it happened, but it is not the only thing that could and should have been done much better in April/May 2021.

a) To allow people working in quarantine facilities walk in and out of these facilities is unbelievable. We know that people affected by COVID-19 do not show any symptoms for the first three to four days, sometimes they remain asymptomatic their entire infection. Still, they can pass on the virus to others.

b) When infections in the public were confirmed, greatest emphasis was given to a funeral in Lautoka and also to people who might have carried the virus to Moturiki.

It is not surprising that in Moturiki nobody was tested positive.

It appears that at the time of the funeral in Lautoka, the person who had carried the virus to Fiji’s public was already at a declining trend of contagiousness.

At that time more attention should have been given to the greater Suva, where over April and May 2021 a huge number of COVID-19 cases built up slowly but certainly that then in June and July 2021 exploded.

The explosion of COVID-19 cases in Fiji in June and July 2021 was avoidable had proper protocols existed.

Almost 700 people died between the time when SARS-CoV-2 virus leaked to Fiji’s public and December 1, 2021, when Fiji opened its international borders.

EBERHARD WEBER, PhD, USP School of Agriculture, Geography, Environment, Oceans

Congratulations to our girls

GIRLS, I do not watch live games, I always watch the replays.

I am seriously saying this, you are going to outshine the men in 7s and those playing 15s.

Your understanding of how the game is played is good to watch.

You outplayed the Australian girls in the pool game, they hated that because they are superior to you girls because they are in the game more than you are.

When the Australian girls were beaten in the pool play by you girls, they were gutted.

They know you girls will outplay them again if you play them in the final.

They used a very simple method to outplay you girls using the overlap.

The overlap was where they made all their points from except one try by their captain and one in the second half by that tall girl Madison.

They dragged you girls to one side of the park and then the overlap pass follows.

The silver medal is good for you than going home empty handed.

I admire your achievement girls, always have a healthy mind in every good thing that you do achieve or don’t achieve, success will come.

The World Cup is next, you have to know every move that you have to practice on, mental capability that you too have to work on.

You all know where you failed.

Do not think about it, it’s all done.

Congratulations girls, the coach and everyone that works with the Fijiana 7s.

God bless everyone.


Way forward for women’s rugby

AS a way forward for women’s rugby in Fiji, I would love to see that they have their own rugby union like the current structured FRU and maybe named as Fiji Women’s Rugby Union (FWRU).

Maybe they have started it but it needs to be further strengthened and get all the support it should get just like FRU.

Qualified women sports administrators should be encouraged and be given priority to apply and hold top managerial positions from CEO level to middle management levels.

As for board members we have many local capable women leaders who can take the helm of board positions because these women leaders have proved themselves by challenging the status quo during this post-COVID-19 pandemic era.

They know who they are as they always walk the talk and not lip service.

I’m optimistic that international donor agencies such as UN Women, NZAid, AUSAid and Coalition of NGOs can come on board to start this humongous task.

As fellow Fijians we can all start together by addressing discrimination and sufferings against women and girls, first, by starting now at our individual homes, families, church, vanua and sports can be used as a vital tool to promote or address elimination of violence against women and girls.

You can enquire with FWCC to assist you in how it is done appropriately and correctly.

In acknowledging the efforts of our Fijiana ruggers in the ongoing 2022 Commonwealth Games, their incredible performance and bronze medal win should be made worthy of all its weight and value as our men’s bronze medallion.

Let’s set a target that come the World Cup 7s rugby and the Paris Olympics 2024 where we should focus now, FWRU will be a fully-fledged organisation as a beacon of hope for our women and girls.

JIOJI M CAKACAKA, Tadra, Votualevu, Nadi

Nadi Post Office car park

I HAD been to the Nadi Post Office to pay my letter box rental recently.

I was shocked to see the appalling condition the car park was in.

It’s been left in a neglected state for quite some time now.

As a customer, I feel compelled to raise this issue once again and hope that something is done as soon as possible.

Many tourists are now also seen visiting the place on a daily basis and this is what is being presented to them, “a wrecked car park”.

I hope other outlets don’t have the same situation.

Thank you.


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