Letters to the Editor | Friday, November 10, 2023

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Palestinian doctor Mohammad Abu Namous, who chose to stay in Gaza to treat patients, says goodbye to his family before they leave the strip, amid the ongoing conflict with Israel, at Rafah border crossing, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Picture: REUTERS

A picture that touches the heart

THE Fiji Times picture of Dr Mohammad Abu Namoos saying good- bye to his daughter at the Gaza Strip FT 9/11 touches the hearts of so many readers. Let’s pray for an immediate ceasefire followed by peaceful talks without the killing of human beings. “Alas! Do all living creatures kill one another?” – Mahatma Gandhi. Tahir Ali Hamilton, New Zealand

Fiji in tough Dubai 7s pool!

Following the thrilling conclusion of the 2023 RWC 15s in France, attention now turns to the first event of the revamped and rebranded 7s series campaign, which gets underway next month from the second to the third with the highly anticipated Dubai 7s. The revamped SVNS World Rugby Sevens Series sees a significant change in the team count, reduced from 16 to 12 and divided into three pools. The top two from each pool will advance to the quarter-finals, while the next two highest-point teams will proceed to knockout rounds in the format. The Flying Fijians, who failed to win a cup title in the 2022/23 season, will start their quest for 7s glory on a tough after being grouped in Pool A, alongside France, Great Britain, and the USA. The Blitzboks, Samoa, All Blacks 7s, and Canada have been assigned to Pool A, while Australia, Ireland, Argentina, and Spain will battle for top spots in Pool B. Fiji has a mammoth task ahead and a lot on head coach Ben Gollings’ plate. Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam Nadawa, Nasinu

Litter problem

People continue to discard rubbish indiscriminately and anywhere because there is no monitoring and enforcement is lacking big time. The Anti-Litter Decree was formulated years ago to help curb the problem but unfortunately, we see it becoming worse than when we started. Littering is rife here because the culprits are not taken to task and dealt with as provided for by the law. There is obviously no system or mechanism in place to monitor the situation with the view of prosecution. This means the problem is going unchallenged and ignored. The drafters of the Anti-Litter Decree today must be wondering where they have gone wrong that the change intended is not seen. From town to town, the containment may differ depending on the level of enforcement, but none of them can claim that they are litter-free. Talking about enforcement, it is only effective if the application is vigorous with no stoppage and any leeway. Sadly, in Nadi Town, you don’t see anyone intervening, stopping, or booking the offenders found littering. Be it any campaign, to bring about the result desired, it is important to consider how to ensure that it is both sustained over a long period of time and maintained on a regular basis. Unless the offenders are taken to task head-on, the situation will not improve any bit. So, what are you waiting for, start booking and fining the culprits. Mark my word if you take an on-the-ground aggressive approach things will change significantly. At this juncture, I think it is fair to say that as far as litter prevention is concerned, the country has failed miserably. Suresh Chand Nadi

Cashless society

Honourable Professor Biman Prasad needs to rethink about the cashless society ideas. Many people’s bank cards are with money lenders and many live pay to pay. Then again our EFL and internet services are unreliable. For a tavioka or grog farmer, the cashless idea is something that is unacceptable. Improve the electronic transaction services first and the people need both, pay cash or by card. FijiFirst’s idea of a cashless society needs greater internet coverage and reliable electricity which is not going to happen in Fiji soon. One lesson should be learned from the bus industry as many still pay cash but don’t get tickets. So please rethink and let the people have both, cards and cash. Geoffrey Chand Lautoka

Ferris wheel report

THE Fiji Times article of November 9, ‘Ferris wheel incident report for DPP’ advises that a detailed report will be presented to the DPP next week. It has now been over four months since this tragic accident occurred and the cause is still not known to the public. As an engineer involved with the investigation of several serious machinery incidents during my career, some of which were a danger to life, I was taught that the absolute priority was to ascertain a ‘cause’ and then secondly consider if any blame was to be addressed. The reason for this was to ensure that any remedial actions needed which may have been due to design, component failure, or operating procedure were put into place immediately to be as certain as possible that the same would never ever occur again. The fact that the “cause” has still not been revealed raises the question of whether blame has been given a higher priority and importance by the responsible authority and ministry. The public can still have no confidence that any remedial action necessary from the findings has been put into place to protect lives. GRAHAME STAGEMAN Lami

Cutting grass

A BIG thank you to LCC for cutting Simla Park grass like it should be, at least the drains are finally getting cleaned up. My neighbour from another street Captain Miller would be happy now as the drains are finally flowing after it was cleared up lately and our grass is being cut almost weekly now. Just another request LCC, can the stray dog problem be looked at to make my neighbour from Kuata St happy. Mr Singh will be happy if those stray dogs are removed from Simla Housing. Once again vinaka LCC. Keep up the good work. GEOFFREY CHAND LAUTOKA

Unlawful war crimes

The violent taking away of any human life, by extremist Hamas, or by super fire power Israel, is both unlawful war crimes, and cannot be condoned. International human rights laws and red lines have been crossed on multiple occasions. The perpetrators must be held liable. They are answerable. Innocent civilians must be protected. Denying them water, food, power and medical care is criminal. The great USA who gives Israel some $3 billion annually for military hardware needs to be the peace-maker. No one else. Muslim nations are powerless to assist the Palestinians in their 60-year military occupation of the West Bank by the Israeli military. Israeli settlers in the West Bank add to the perennial humiliation and constant provocation. My guess, Israel will also militarily occupy the Gaza Strip, soon. Do I stand corrected? Ronnie Chang Martintar, Nadi

Many experts

Rajend Naidu “has only come to know” via this medium about the many experts on the Israel-Palestine crisis (FT 09/11). Yet ironically, he himself becomes the subject matter “expert” on numerous matters (including the Gaza war) and has no hesitancy of opportunely expressing his generally insignificant 2 cents through the FT letters column. Hypocrite much. Nishant Singh Lautoka

Buttressing the helm chair

University journalism professor Shailendra Bahadur Singh is overly optimist about the impact the Pacific Islands Forum leaders talks in Rarotonga will have on major issues confronting our region and our people (FT 9/11). Time will tell whether his optimism is realistic or misplaced. History is not on his side. And, at one level he himself is acutely aware of that when he says at the end of the day the big powers will go ahead and do what they deem appropriate in their own national interest and security. Rajend Naidu Sydney, Australia

TVET to solve loitering

Since reading this article a week ago “Minister considers TVET options to curb loitering” (FT 3 Nov. ’23), I have grave concerns for the future of education in this country. What is loitering? It means to stand around without apparent purpose. Is it a Ministry of Education new speak for being truant? It amounts to the same thing: students not doing anything purposeful. This year the Year 8 external exams were held earlier: five weeks before school vacations and as a stop-gap measure to curb loitering, the minister is considering introducing Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). With “hopefully” (twice) and ‘maybe’ intertwined in the honourable minister’s quotes on the matter, it doesn’t appear much thought or planning has gone into the suggestion of finishing the year with a bit of TVET. Do our students even know what it stands for and parents, too, for that matter? Parents I asked if they knew why the Year 8 exams were earlier this year stated they were not provided a reason by the school. I am wondering what the experts and advocates for TVET who spoke at last year’s Fiji Higher Education Forum with passion and fervour think about this ad hoc use of TVET as a solution to loitering? It would be seen as a blatant insult. It is nothing less than a token gesture, an afterthought to keep students busy and off the streets. This is a reflection of nothing less than a lack of educational planning and foresight and yet an outcome of the recent Education Summit. Truancy is another issue all together which has become increasingly out of hand in recent years. To suggest introducing TVET as an easy answer is fanciful, indeed. Julie Sutherland Tamavua, Suva

A happy Diwali

Do you think the current Prime Minister would give every single cent from the $3400 travel allowance which he has received so far? The ideal recipients would be the struggling Fijian families of Indian descent who would then be able to celebrate this Diwali in a big way. Few hours away, some last minute shopping. That would make many children happy. Mohammed Imraz Janif Natabua, Lautoka

Smart move

I wish the same can apply to us Fijians when we travel to other countries, l feel they are discriminating, it’s racism and one can say that segregation is well and alive although Fiji is a member of the Commonwealth and the UN. Minister for Home Affairs and Immigration Pio Tikoduadua has just announced the latest government initiatives by immigration and it’s an excellent proactive move in the right direction. Tukai Lagonilakeba Nadi

Minimum wage

Why is it so very time consuming to decide on minimum wage than MPs allowances? As far as I can think, MPs are the people’s representatives in parliament and without the people, MPs do not exist. Minimum wage has been a political “ping pong ball” and when reality comes into effect, it just fades away. The representation form of government is just an illusion, not a reality anymore. Samu Silatolu Nakasi

Drop it!

Can we immediately drop this impractical notion of introducing medicinal marijuana (weed) in Fiji? This unfeasible concept and talks of earning a “sweat free income” have already invigorated a boom of cannabis farms all over the country. And can authorities please swiftly clamp down on those wannabe drug lords who are enticing vulnerable young minds into this illicit drug culture? We already have a convicted Fijian drug trafficker and businessman serving time in an Auckland prison, please we do not want an influx of “El Chapo” inspired drug kingpins integrating into our societies. This is not Mexico or Columbia. Say no to drugs, medicinal or otherwise! Nishant Singh Lautoka

Election time

Russia’s Putin wants to run in the next election ( FT 9/11 ). He will. He is after all running the country like a feudal warlord! The election is just a rubber stamping exercise with opposition leaders locked up in jail or forced into exile. Rajend Naidu Sydney, Australia