Letters to the Editor – Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Image: THE FIJI TIMES

Information – a public good

John Kamea was apt as he penned the article “The media’s place on the table” (FT 9/5).

Journalism plays an important role in societies worldwide, as it provides valuable information.

John summed up his article with these thought-provoking lines, “Like the oxygen we breathe, information received and disseminated by the media for consumption by the public, is inherently non-exclusive to anyone. But together, we can use this information to make important choices that can better our lives.

“Information is a public good” places a huge burden of care on the press and drive the message that journalists cannot shirk their responsibilities.”

John’s article, on the face of COVID-19 was a beauty!

I also acknowledge the important role The Fiji Times has played in disseminating correct and valuable news and stories with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The daily updates from Dr Fong’s news conferences and the stories from the impacts of COVID-19 on Fijians have proved handy.

Thank you!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Mother Nature

ON Mother’s Day we pamper our mothers and shower our love and affection on her with gifts, flowers and money.

We will never be able to repay her for all she has done for us and will forever remain indebted to her.

There is another mother that we always seem to forget.

That is Mother Nature and Mother Earth.

Both have given us so much.

Yet we take them for granted.

The best gift we can give them is to protect them from any harm.

Please spare a moment and remember them also for all they are providing for us.

Like our mums they also deserve our love and care.

SELWA NANDAN, Lautoka

Being innovative

I wonder if businesses were allowed to be innovative during the lockdown period.

One in particular is the opportunity for every retailer and wholesaler, apart from business that are defined as essential services, to trade online.

I believe that the thinking should now be on how businesses can remain in business while out of business.

A good example will be for a retailer that sells vehicle parts.

An opportunity to trade online and deliver parts right away to the doorsteps of customers is doable.

I believe that government should implement policies that should encourage this.

Of course health safety is paramount when designing these policies and procedures but we should start moving forward and away from mortar and brick stores and into the online space.

There’s a lot of thinking that may need to be done to make it work but we have the opportunity before us to innovate and be relevant in the new normal.

Sailosi Naewe, Naduru Rd, Nausori

Pandemic assistance

It’s no secret that our hardworking frontliners are performing extraordinarily amid the pandemic.

Kudos to all.

Some large businesses have valued their efforts in the form of “gratitude” packs (FT 10/05).

Shukriya.

I humbly request of these businesses could also divert such assistance to the thousands who are presently unemployed, financially challenged and starving.

I believe they deserve it more than those frontliners as the latter are paid to carry out their obligatory responsibilities.

They are not deprived of three decent meals a day.

Nishant Singh, Lautoka

Interesting article

My thanks to John Kamea for an interesting article on the successful career of Dr Eka Buadromo, the first student from Yasayasa Moala Junior Secondary to graduate as a medical practitioner.

One thing though I would take issue with is the idea that speaking in the local dialect at school was a hindrance to further education in Suva.

As I have noted before in these columns, I have found over the years at USP that the best speakers and writers of English are not those who had English forced on them at home or in school, but the ones who speak their own language well.

So, on the contrary, it was precisely because Dr Buadromo spoke (and still speaks) the vosa vakamuala well that she became quickly proficient in English when she was taught it in secondary school.

Had the school enforced the old “only English” rule, that would have affected her standard of English for the worse.

Paul Geraghty, USP, Suva

Biden quote

“Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget and I’ll tell you what you value” – Joe Biden.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Lautoka

Long lines

Travelling around Lautoka I have seen long lines at shops.

I wonder what they are lined up for?

Very less social distancing.

This is a similar situation at the taxi station in Lautoka.

Please stay safe, mask up while in the line, and also practise social distancing.

Navneet Ram, Lautoka

Lockdown

Lockdown needs to be lifted because I believe it’s for Dr Fong to have a haircut.

Amol Kumar, Lautoka

Out of the fire

The Queensland Reds did almost the impossible by beating the Brumbies in injury time in the Super Rugby AU final.

Who had ever thought that the winner will be decided in the 85th minute.

For a moment I had thought that the Brumbies had already laid one hand on the trophy.

It was like pulling it out of the fire for the Reds.

The Brumbies players looked shell-shocked and were left heartbroken after this try.

But the night belonged to the Reds, who did not let their fans down at the stadium.

Go Reds go!

Pranil Ram, Votualevu, Nadi

Assistant minister

Any possibility of Alexander O’Connor being included in the daily COVID-19 press conferences and public announcements?

After all, he is the assistant minister for health.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

$90 grocery

Why question both sides of the house Mr Muavono? (FT 8/5).

I’m sure your neighbourhood grog mate can answer your question.

But some will say beggars can’t be choosers … well, until national election time when the beggars tend to choose.

Dan Urai, Lautoka

Super Rugby

Despite the COVID-19 setbacks it was all smiles with some quality Aotearoa rugby in NZ with the Razor super coach of Crusaders Scotty Robinson again reminding the hierarchy in NZ rugby he is the best for the All Black coaching potential.

His mentoring resulted in a fifth title defence by his super players, a feat unmatched.

Vinaka Razor, the breakdance and feet swing was awesome bringing the sword back to Crusaders.

Vinaka choka kece.

Shalwyn Prasad, Mukta Ben Place, Nabua, Suva

Lautoka Hospital

I sympathise with nurses on duty at Lautoka Hospital (FT 8/5) about the COVID-19 situation around them.

Unfortunately I believe no one outside of the hardworking Dr Fong, Dr Sahukhan and Dr Tudravu thought of informing nurses immediately of the dangers surrounding them.

This is likened to wandering around dangerously in a mine field.

Oblivious to the perils that exist.

Someone else apart from the above frontliners should have had the decency to inform them.

It’s normal to be obsessed or preoccupied by a pressing situation.

And the inability of a human mind and body to handle so much at one time.

I’m sure someone else from this ministry could have taken some responsibility and communicated to the nurses (who are the lifeblood of all health system.)

Communication being one of the most powerful tools in the world.

Let’s be wise and use it effectively!

Steven Chandra, Suva

Protecting Fiji’s food system

I have been asked to share a few thoughts regarding the needs of farmers at this time.

I am aware that the Department of Agriculture is already moving to address the issue of food security.

This is to add to the discussions.

In a war effort, we need all hands on board and I hope that others can also share their ideas. (Our rural producers are usually not well connected to the right circles of influence, or shy in articulating their needs even when they are quite desperate).

Dr James Fong said Fiji is now on a “war footing” in its fight against COVID-19, and that harsher lockdowns or curfews may be necessary.

He was mindful of the fine balance that existed between strict containment and the fundamental need of the people to find food. (An army marches on its stomach).

A sustained war effort needs uninterrupted food supply chain which is more than just an “essential service” but a complex system of distribution and production.

As the result of the restrictions in movement between containment areas in Fiji, both distribution of and production of farm produce have been greatly affected.

The controls mean shortage of labour, farm services and critical inputs such as fuel, seeds, fertiliser, animal feed and medicine.

Farming depends on timely plantings dictated by weather and the seasons, and the application of critical inputs on a timely basis based on the growth phase of a crop or livestock.

Agriculture is not something that can be switched on and off.

An all-out effort must be made to ensure that critical farm operations continue without interruption, including a hotline for farmers for their urgent needs.

A well crafted epidemic control measure in accordance with MOH assessed risk levels for each area can be applied to ensure movement of essential service technicians such as mechanics and machinery operators.

This can help with the start of the sugarcane crushing season in Lautoka scheduled to start on June 4, 2021.

The hotline to farmers can also offer technical support to growers, and link up with sources of supply and markets.

It is also critical, if this hasn’t been already done, that industry sub groups are set up to address the concerns of stakeholders, and share real time information as field visits by the extension officers are now limited.

This can be done through the Department of Agriculture.

It is critical to maintain the linkages between urban centres and our rural farm communities at this time.

Fiji’s resilience has depended on the strength of our subsistence and family farms.

This is now seriously threatened, and we urgently need a detailed strategic plan to address short-term needs and long-term implications of the interruptions caused by COVID-19 to our food system.

YEE WAH SIN, Votua Rd, Samabula, Suva

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