Letters to the Editor – Saturday, June 25, 2022

Banuve Tabakaucoro after the win. Picture: ATHLETICS FIJI

The ‘Bullet

‘ Despite age catching up, the ‘Bullet’ is back and certainly sent shock waves at the Pacific Mini Games.

Congratulations to Banuve Tabakaucoro as he scooped a second gold medal.

Meanwhile, one wonders whether the upcoming Secondary Schools Athletics Finals will produce sprinters who could exceed Banuve’s record.

There is an air of excitement as the games returns after a lapse of two years.

Whatever one’s views, the athletics final is known to identify and expose future heroes on the tracks and rugby field.

Floyd Robinson, Toorak, Suv

‘Banz’ burns the tracks!

Pacific sprint King Banuve Tabakaucoro retained his crown.

He was at his best as he dashed his way to the tape to win gold in the men’s 100m event at the Pacific Mini Games in Saipan.

The former Marist Brothers High School athlete proved his worth as he anchored the 4x100m men’s relay team and helped Fiji win another gold medal.

Banuve is still the fastest and I am confident he will retain his title at the Pacific Games.

Congratulations Banz!

On the other hand, Fiji started slowly on the medal podium at the Pacific Mini Games, but our athletes are setting the platform in Saipan.

Apart from Banuve, Apolonia Vaivai settled for gold, while weightlifting Fiji bagged more silver and bronze medals.

Elenoa Vateitei bagged her second silver medal for Fiji in the V1 Va’a Marathon.

Hero Iosefo Rakesa beamed with a big bula smile as he won gold in the Ambulent javelin, throwing a personal best of 36.93m.

The Pacific Mini Games has set the platform for the Pacific Games in Solomons.

A thorough analysis must be done after the Pacific Mini Games so that strategies can be set to scoop more gold medals at the Pacific Games.

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Meeting with drivers

SUDDENLY the CEO of Fiji Commerce and Consumer Council is seen meeting with truck drivers and telling them that “dialogue, consultation and talking are very important”. (FT 24/6).

I wonder where was he when the sugarcane farmers were protesting about the low forecast price for the 2022 season?

And why has he failed to respond to so many queries regarding the continued rental freeze on residential properties.

I am perplexed as to why he is talking about a lot of businesses hoodwinking the consumers by engaging in unethical practices.

That’s common knowledge.

I am also confused as to what he meant when he said “if someone comes to you to say I will do this and do that, you have to question that person on why”.

But what’s the relevance here?

I hope what I am thinking is not true.

SELWA NANDAN, Lautoka

Mixed reactions

I wish to refer to the headline news in Friday’s edition titled “Mixed reactions.” (FT 24/06)

I also have mixed reactions.

Unlike the major political parties who have concerns regarding the honourable A-G’s letter, my reactions are regarding the rights I have as a Fiji citizen.

The 2013 Constitution has given me common citizenry and a detailed list of rights in Chapter 2 of the same noble document.

But I have mixed feelings on the practicality of some of those rights.

In this newspaper, I read about a wealth of gratifying political information on a daily basis and wish to express my views on those articles through this column but then again, I control myself.

I remind myself of certain terms and conditions that prevent me from penning down my sincere thoughts.

Once I read few interesting lines in a “Hagar the Horrible” cartoon strip published in this same newspaper whereby Hagar looks up towards the sky and says “Why me?” (probably questioning God).

Interesting reply in the next strip from the sky reads, “Why not!”

Thank you, Fred Wesley, editor-in-chief of The Fiji Times and your team for back-to-back powerful editions every day.

DINESH KUMAR, Ba

New candidates

I attended a political party’s rally that was organised in Nadi last weekend.

While listening to the newly introduced provisional candidates, I was encouraged to hear how some of them decided to join the party simply because of their love to serve the people of this nation.

On the other hand, it was worrying to hear that some agreed to join because of their desire to change the system should the party win the general election and this was all based on a drastic encounter they had with the Government.

Whilst a candidate shared how the PM terminated him, another also shared how her husband was terminated from work.

And from what they shared, it sounded as if they wanted to ‘pay back’ all that was done to them.

After hearing all this, I asked myself whether their real motive is to serve the people or serve their own agenda?

To all provisional candidates, if your party does win this year’s general election, please never forget the people who voted for you.

Never forget their wishes and requests.

Do what’s best for the people and support them always.

Never let your own agenda influence your motive in serving the people of Fiji.

Fulori Turaga, Nadi

7s rugby

My letter four years ago (24/4/18) expressing my sadness when our sevens men team did not win gold at the last Commonwealth Games in 2018 at the Gold Coast in Queensland.

The gold that has been eluding our sevens team.

The countdown has begun.

It’s now or never.

Go Fiji, go!

Vili Yaranamua, Ba

Making compromises

There has been a lot said about a post-election coalition.

I deeply believe that post-election coalition arises two questions.

Are the parties willing for political compromises?

If they do then, will the compromises be politically expedient or genuinely based upon the true principles the parties advocate?

Pranil Ram, Votualevu, Nadi

Fijians living abroad

According to Tarun Tikaram (FT 15/6 ) Fijians who have left the country to live overseas are ” deserters “.

I wonder if TT has members of his family and relatives who are “deserters “?

And, I wonder what they make of TT’s comment?

Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia

Breast cancer

The fight against breast cancer is also a fight for women’s rights: the unnecessary suffering caused by this preventable disease reflects the injustices that uniquely affect women’s health around the world.

Together as members of the communities, we can make history to ensure a breast cancer-free future.

Jioji M Cakacaka, Tadra- Votualevu, Nadi

Police vehicle

Korea gave 10 ambulances to Fiji.

Please FF ask them for a police vehicle for Levuka.

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Lautoka

National budget

Many can’t wait to find out about our National Budget, I am sure many people will be happy after the budget is delivered but then again no Government can make everyone happy.

Narayan Reddy, Lautoka

Local politics

From a political viewpoint (the way politics works), I think Lynda Tabuya scored a goal this week while Sitiveni Rabuka went for an own goal.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

Budget debate

The 2022-2023 National Budget consultation has begun, and I believe finger pointing towards opposition parties’ fundraising drives overseas that could be used to launder money is indeed baseless, childish and frivolous as stated by Professor Biman Prasad.

Voters will see before the 2022 General Election, how cool, calm and collected are a number of ministers on their campaign track.

Once back in Parliament for the budget debate the usual high toned voices, interjections finger pointing, table thumping will all be in play. In the meantime, as a former TIV Lautoka president and current TISI life member.

I urge our members not to allow politicians to use the temple as a pulpit for political campaign and not be worried about any unnecessary fear.

Don’t be brainwashed about the 1987 coup that happened 35 years ago.

Putting food on the table is very important, and ask them what have they contributed personally towards the less fortunate in our society.

My sports and charitable donations speaks volumes of my contributions for donkeys years.

I urge the government ministers to drive towards the President’s bure and see firsthand the number of cassava, banana and vegetables at the Lautoka Golf Course surrounding areas given FOC to the many iTaukei families from Banaras, Natokawaqa, Top Line, Tavakubu and more.

Definitely, no politics involved.

Raymond Sing, Golf Links, Lautoka

Does anyone care?

I had written an opinion column called “Is a me-too movement needed in Fiji?”.

Before I sent it to The Fiji Times, I sent it to a few prominent female leaders in Fiji (Coordinator of FWCC, a VC, the past and current Minister for Women and the current Minister for Education) to see what they thought.

I received a prompt and excellent response from the past minister who raised some very valid concerns which I feel women leaders should be seriously considering and addressing.

I was quite disappointed not to get any response from the female ministers.

I certainly thought they would have something to say as they talk quite a bit about women’s rights.

I also thought that the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission director may have something to say.

No, I am not fishing for concurrence.

I was curious to see who really cares about this important issue.

Maybe I should just stick to the topic I am most passionate about – the dire need for quality education in high schools and how to implement it.

Eventually someone may listen.

The column was published on June 18. It has been a week and not one response from women.

I asked my wife what the reason could be.

She said perhaps they believe The Fiji Times is a “garbage” and do not read it.

Arvind Mani, Nadi

Poverty problem

The opinion article of Thursday (FT 23/6) “The Bigger Picture” following on after FCOSS stories of children scavenging rubbish dumps and selling food parcels at night revealed a huge new meaning of poverty.

It opens up the way to a far better assessment of peoples’ needs.

While assessing the financial resources and requirements is an indicator to some extent it is obvious that there is much more to consider.

For the sake of justice we do need to consider the many non-economic factors that affect all of our lives.

We cannot expect to build a more level playing field without considering the bigger picture.

Nor will we find solutions that assist those in genuine need.

The way in which people use or ignore the many different resources that are available is another factor that affects the lives of us all, leading to relative affluence or poverty.

For example, the Government donates a boat to an island community so that the children can reach school on a nearby island.

Does the boat and its boatman wait idle all day while the children are educated or does the community that accepted the gift arrange for fishing or other trips for the adult islanders?

I have not heard stories that tell of such multiple use.

Perhaps there are good examples that need some publicity.

Or are there regulations that restrict the use of such a gift?

I remember seeing eggplant bushes planted on the very narrow strip of soil alongside the narrow path between the make-shift houses in a squatter settlement.

God creates us humans with the gift to be creative ourselves.

There are many ways in which we can take advantage of what resources there are available to us, but do we use them?

When we use some ingenuity and experimentation and we can perform wonders.

We need to find ways to empower people to see the ways in which they can help themselves and use available resources.

Here in Fiji we have many examples of people who came from backgrounds described as very poor and deprived, yet they have managed to reach the highest levels of society, often in academia which means that they share their successes and contribute to the greater learning and knowledge available to us all.

A prime example is the late Professor Brij Lal, so sadly deprived of his rightful access to his homeland.

The Fiji Times frequently gives us inspiring examples of people helping themselves and finding ways to improve their quality of life and that of their family.

Is it too much to ask the Bureau of Statistics to widen their research to include a wider, multidimensional picture of the poverty that exists in Fiji?

This will give a better, more truthful picture and help all of us, Government, NGOs and generous donors to build a better society, provided, of course, that we are all prepared to read the difficult details of such a study and look for the real ways to solve the problems.

I hope our present and aspiring leaders of our beloved Fiji are open to see the wider picture that researchers are making available and I hope they will look for better answers to the poverty problem.

Tessa Mackenzie, Suva

Overflowing sewer

I write this open letter to the Minister for Environment to draw his attention that an overflowing sewer at 184 Ragg Avenue is creating havoc for the residents there.

The matter has been reported to the WAF (Water Authority of Fiji) but so far no action has been taken to rectify the situation.

This problem has existed for a number of years and the complaints seem to be falling on deaf ears.

We urgently request the minister to take action immediately and to stop pontificating about the need to protect and improve our environment.

We are simply fed up with the inaction of the ministry concerned.

Dewan Chand, Namadi Heights, Suva

Devi’s love for farming!

“The land has never forsaken us,” said Premila Devi confidently as she shared her story via the People column (FT 24/06).

Premila, whose story was penned by Shreya Kumar, shared the essence of farming and how she took over the farm that was previously managed by her husband to provide for her family.

Shedding tears, Premila shared her story — an epitome of empowerment, containing her struggles and tragedies which gave her strength and the fighting character.

She shared how the death of her husband in 2014 affected her as she picked herself up piece by piece and reconstructed the remnants of her life to provide for her two young sons.

She learnt to get her hands dirty and she had to rub shoulders with men cane growers.

She took up the challenge and came out victorious- a lesson for other women.

She also described farming as a blanket of assurance during adversities.

In her concluding remarks, she said that women could do anything they set their minds to.

Such confidence!

Her story is set to inspire girls and women who are venturing into farming in a bid to sustain their livelihood.

Good on you Premila!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Freight charges

WHILE speaking at a consultation with lorry drivers in Rakiraki earlier this week the CEO of Fijian Commerce and Consumer Commission Joel Abraham said there was a seven to tenfold increase in freight charges during the COVID-19 pandemic.

So when the container charges went up, who will bear the final cost — the consumer. (FT 24/6)

But he has not offered any solution as to what can be done to address the increase in the cost of goods.

Let me suggest to him three ways that could minimise the impact on consumers:

 Import duty to be applied on 50 per cent of the freight charges;

 Place a freeze on the rental of commercial properties used by businesses; and

 Decrease the fees and charges imposed on imports.

SELWA NANDAN, Lautoka

$96 million profit

One wonders what $96 million profit before tax would look like without the increased tariffs?

Was the increase premature?

Was it a responsible decision to request one, while thousands were struggling to survive?

What was the human impact of the tariff increase?

I hope that insulting our intelligence was not intentional by conveniently leaving out significant points of interest.

It is human behaviour in Fiji now — to listen to what isn’t said, then what is.

People of Fiji are smarter today with 16 years of this life.

Rick Eyre, Labasa

Changing poles

Climate change may not really be, the main culprit, for the current catastrophic flooding, the drought and the sweltering heat.

There is something probably more deeper, that just mere man made causes out there, that’s currently affecting some European and Asian nations.

The shifting magnetic poles, is most likely the real reason, we’re told, for the current extreme weather conditions.

There’s always a zenith or peak, in such situations.

When will that most likely be, especially for our island nations?

Edward Blakelock, Admiral Circle, Pacific Harbour

Ambulance abuse

Last weekend I was driving along the Nokonoko Rd in Laucala Beach towards the Ratu Dovi Rd junction and when passing the place opposite the Four-Square Hardware Shop saw an ambulance parked there with the occupants buying mandarins at the roadside stall.

The next thing I heard was the same ambulance overtaking me with the siren and the emergency light on.

If this was an emergency call why waste time to buy the moli.

This is an abuse of the system.

We now have another 10 new ones and the drivers must go through a counselling session.

Satish Nakched, Suva

‘Closed loop’ system for HK 7s!

Fans enjoyed the excitement and thrills last at the Happy Valley in 2019.

The Hong Kong 7s, which for years has been hailed the Mecca of all 7s tournaments on the HSBC WRSS circuit, took a break because of the COVID-19 pandemic which derailed economies.

Down memory lane to 2019 and Fiji beat France 21-17 to win a historic fifth title in a row, dedicating the win to victims of Christchurch shooting.

The writing was clear as Fiji thrashed the All Blacks 7s 24-5 to stay perfect in pool and thrill So Kon Po Stadium with their sublime display.

The perennial HK favourites ran in three tries despite a gallant effort from France, who had flown under the radar all week.

Vilimoni Botitu and Aminiasi Tuimaba scored three scintillating tries, while France was awarded a penalty try.

That was the last fans saw from the Happy Valley, but I’m glad the HK 7s will be back in November as organisers are looking to set up a ‘closed loop’ system for the first time and considering allowing the stadium to operate at 85 per cent of its 40,000 capacity.

Regardless of that, fans are bracing for hot 7s action from the Happy Valley.

The HK 7s will draw the curtains for the 2022-23 HSBC WRSS circuit and the flamboyant Fijians will be out to defend their title in an emphatic fashion!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Enough of lockdowns

No more lockdowns and no more forced isolation.

We had enough of it last year.

Don’t bring it back as people are struggling financially and facing a lot of hardships.

Meli Matanatoto Suva Profit and cash I would like to refer to Suka Singh’s letter titled ‘Greatest CEO’ in the FT on 23/6.

Surprisingly, he suggests that EFL should pay off their outstanding loans and reduce electricity tariffs through the good profits they have earned.

Realistically, profits are not always equivalent to cash and it would only be fair to look at the company’s cash flow before coming up with any assertions like this.

Pranil Ram, Votualevu, Nadi

Domestic consumers

Congratulations EFL for making a before tax profit of $96m for the 2021 operating year.

They will pay dividends to their three main shareholders as follows: Fiji Government $23.77m, Sevens Pacific PTE Ltd $20.50m and Central Share Registry $2.33m.

The EFL employees will also benefit from a performance payout totaling $2.26m plus a 5 per cent pay rise backdated to January 1, 2022.

I believe this leaves a balance of $47.14m in profits.

EFL has a total of around 205,500 consumers which includes commercial consumers as well.

Now wouldn’t it be nice if a rebate of $50 each is given to all the domestic consumers in lieu of this trading result.

This will come to less than $10m leaving EFL a balance of around $37.14m in profits.

It certainly would be a rather momentous occasion also for the domestic consumers indeed.

Vijay P Madhavan, Borron Rd, Suva

Billions of problems

If the world’s richest man gave a billion dollars each to all humans on earth, what would life be like after the distribution?

My guess, we would have billions of more problems in an instant.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

Defective pumps

We have been traveling around the West and at service stations we need to pump tires.

Many service stations have defective pumps.

I’m wondering about electric cars and filling stations.

Just a thought.

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Lautoka

Parliamentary democracy

The letter from Alan Jesoni (FT 20/6) on the above subject hits the nail on the head.

I would go a step further and say that the spirit of true democracy has been dampened many a time by the calling for “ayes” and “nays” in Parliament on motions possibly on the basis that the majority in government would inevitably vote in favour of government motions and vote against motions from the opposition.

I believe the Speaker should always either conduct a secret ballot or a show of hands and record individually who voted for what.

Ajai Kumar, Nadi

Cancer fundraising campaign

I sincerely acknowledge Motibhai Group’s role in organising and making Fiji’s biggest cancer fundraising campaign a success.

I have been following the cancer fundraising campaign for years and I am pleased that it turned out to be bigger and better.

What started with humble beginnings as a small interaction over a cup of coffee at the iconic Suva Central Complex in 2006, turned 17 years old and has provided patient care and support and helped save the lives of thousands of patients over the years.

I agree with Motibhai Group executive director Bhupendra Patel that the initiative would not have been successful without the overwhelming support of the business community and the stakeholders who generously contributed towards this noble cause over the years.

This initiative by Motibhai Group has come a long way and has many more years to go.

I’m proud of Motibhai Group and I pay tribute for the work done.

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Gold with one shoe!

If there was one story from the athletics zonal meet that touched hearts, it had to be the one compiled by writer Rohit Deo who hails from the Anaconda Town.

Rohit penned a beautiful piece (FT 24/06) on Onisito Tuilawaki titled “Gold with 1 shoe”.

Onisito, who won gold in the sub-junior boy’s category for the first time, represented Tailevu North College in the Tailevu Zone.

His shoes burst during his warm-up, but this did not deter the first-timer from achieving his mission.

He was not scared when his shoe was damaged so he ran with one shoe.

I was saddened to read that Onisito’s mum is a stroke patient, but I was glad to read he had made his family proud by winning the sub-junior boy’s event.

Congratulations Onisito!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

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