Letters to the Editor – Monday, July 19, 2021

Semi Radradra, second from left, joins the Fiji 7s team members as they prepare to defend the 7s gold medal at the Olympic Games. Picture: SUPPLIED

Safety at the Olympic Games

HOW safe are our reps at the Olympic Games?

Already there is one confirmed case of COVID-19 at the Tokyo games village.

Is this just the beginning or will be contained?

Thousands of Japanese volunteers have pulled out.

A number of national reps from countries including Australia and USA have pulled out.

For now, one remains positive, but reality is such that the coronavirus is highly transmissible and the stakes are high in terms of the safety our representatives at the Olympics.


Counting down

THIS time next week Monday excitement will be high as our 7s team will play against hosts Japan and Canada.

Fans will be hoping for a fairytale finish that they witnessed five years ago in Rio – a historic and epic win that united Fijians.

Gareth Baber has one week to work on our set-pieces, attack and defense strategies, communication, restarts and other facets related to the 7s game.

We also need to focus on getting our tries converted as every point matters.

The Flying Fijians played back-to-back Tests against the All Blacks, and although they lost, they gave fans so much to cheer for.

I’m positive that fans will be thrilled by the performance from our star-studded outfit in Tokyo.

All the best to Baber and our heroes!


Gallant effort

AS was expected the All Blacks came out firing in the second test and were more clinical.

Our players gave everything.

Nothing to be taken away from them, as they played their hearts out.

Hats off to Cotter and the team.

It’s never going to be easy preparing a team against the mighty All Blacks during these challenging times.

Lots of positive to be taken from this series.

These Test matches have clearly exposed the divide between Tier 1 and Tier 2 teams.

We continue to make strides in rugby, but it seems like we always fall short and never do enough to match the Tier 1 teams.

I only hope World Rugby is serious about bridging the divide between the two tiers.

Definitely, we need more matches with Tier 1 teams because this is the only way we can remain competitive.

PRANIL RAM, Votualevu, Nadi

Proud Fijians

WELL done.

Not the loss, but the way you unite the country as you played one of the world’s best rugby team.

You make all of us proud.

DAN URA, Lautoka

Brave fourteen

THANK you All Blacks.

To the Flying Fijians-you were awesome.

But the night belonged to the Wallabies.

They beat the French with 14 men.

Heart is what won the game.

ALLEN LOCKINGTON, Kava Place, Lautoka

Lousy referees

LAST week I had written a letter complaining about the biased referee Paul Williams.

Our Fiji team had decided that they will not complain about the referee.

Now in this second Test, the same referee is on the field and the Fiji team is again at the receiving end as usual from these biased referees.

Come on FRU, your team managers must stop being the nice guys but forcefully challenge these lousy referees and their ridiculous decisions and also attack the condescending commentaries.

Likewise don’t spare the linesmen and the TMO refs.

FRU, our players have sacrificed a lot in terms of monies and time.

They did not train to be refereed by lousy referees.

Remember that under sports Law, a civil suit is always the possibility against players and official alike.

And to the FRU mangers push your cases against such officiating.

We are ready to support you as put your case.

Shame to the biased 1st tier referee and their match officials.

I suggest now Second Tier teams, devise your own competition and have your own World Cup.

There are more second tier teams as compared to the 1st tier teams.

There is no need to please these lousy referees and their so-called “Test” matches.


Budget assumptions

LIKE the rest of the country, I also awaited with raised anticipation the annual budget announcement last Friday night.

My curiosity was premised on what is there for the Minister of Finance to offer, given our dire economic status, rising debt levels, demands to assist the Fijian population alarmingly impacted by the pandemic and our dwindling revenue base.

From my perusal, the announcements regarding the minimum price of sugar cane is of course welcome and will help the industry get on with the harvesting and assist the significant portion of the population that rely on this sector.

So is the package of financial assistance, although woefully inadequate.

I do find some of the assumptions leading to proposed policy in the budget extremely worrying.

The first is the belief which the minister harbors that Fiji will be fully vaccinated by Christmas and the economy will then suddenly blossom.

He quotes examples from other countries to underscore this claim.

He does not seem to draw on the UK experience which has the highest percentage of vaccinations (70 per cent) to date of any country, but is now seeing at least 50 deaths and over 50,000 infections per day.

The Government stubbornly refuses advice for complete shut downs, which has resulted in the success in Australia and NZ.

They are obviously prepared to lose lives, and it is clear that their decisions are based on largely the wishes of the business sector.

Indeed the entire budget seems to be slanted towards the private sector.

The second point is his belief that the tourism sector is the panacea and will suddenly open up after the aspired vaccination regime by later this year.

I do not understand the optimism in such thinking given that his forecast last year, for a bubble with Australia and NZ by early this year, has proven to be a bad dream.

Now we have a more contagious delta variant and in Australia, states are shutting their borders, even at the slightest hint of the onset of this virus.

Even if the international borders were to open from next year, he should accept that the tourism sector in the these countries is now adopting pragmatism.

Local tourism has been thriving and people are spending more in going inter state, for example.

Obviously in the risk assessment of any proposed travel to NZ, does the Government really believe that tourists would be comfortable in going to places where the health systems in unable to cope with the thousands of infections every day and an infection rate even higher than what India experienced at its peak.

The other related issue which this Government does not factor, in spite of singing about its climate leadership credentials, is that the tourism sector is the most carbon intensive sector.

The global trend is to tax travelers, airlines, vehicles etc based on their carbon emissions.

EU has already announced that and Australia/NZ will use this instrument in their paths for zero carbon emissions and of course this will be a win win for their economies.

But the Government continues to pour money in Fiji Airways, continues to appoint expensive expatriate CEOs to positions that can be done by cadre of capable locals currently without jobs and bow to the wishes mainly of the rich and powerful business sector.

It seems to be putting its economic eggs in the usual baskets without coming up with any innovative or transformational plans.

And the deaths and pains due to the rampant COVID-19 continues unabated.


True inspiration

IT was a great touch to see honourable Rosy Akbar helping hardworking boys in Suva City by purchasing basic necessities and giving a smile on our fellow Fijian brothers.

True inspiration for all.

JAHEED BUKSH, Korolevu, Sigatoka

Budget money

THERE is so much money in this budget and so much money to be used for miscellaneous purposes and so much money to give away.

I just like to ask the Government couldn’t you have borrowed $500 million extra for the Lockdown.



I THINK it’s not about the promises people make, but what people actually do when the opportunity and means are available to do something for others.


First draw

THE first ball draw to determine the first three digits that will appear on the ballot paper for the next general election has been conducted and was attended by political party representatives.

The first ballot paper digits are 173.

I’m sure many Fijians are looking forward to exercise their voting rights.

RAJNESH ISHWAR LINGAM, Balgovind Rd, Nadawa, Nasinu


I THINK New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern’s leadership has gone up another notch with the emergency virtual APEC leaders meeting she initiated and chaired to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

The leaders have pledged to redouble vaccine distribution in the region.

NZ can be proud of its leader and we in the Pacific can be thankful for such a progressive leader in our region.

RAJEND NAIDU, Atlantic Blvd, Glenfield, Sydney

Where to

ISA! Where is the country being led?

Does the PM know which direction he is going?

The Opposition leader praising the budget says a lot.

DAN URA, Lautoka

Live or die

THE current controversy over the vaccine reminds us the famous Soliloquy by Prince Hamlet: To be, or not to be?

That is the question — Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and, by opposing, end them?”

The idea of whether is it better to live or to die.

BILL KUNAVATU, Mission Hill, Levuka

Sugar price

WITH FSC asking for an increase in the price of sugar and there being a lack of sugar, does anyone know what happened to sugarcane plants in Fiji.


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