Letters to the Editor | Friday, November 24, 2023

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Arieta Naisake. Picture: FIJI POLICE

Naisake soars to new heights

BEING a part of Nabua Secondary School, my heart beamed with immense pride as I read the story of Police Constable and lawyer Arieta Naisake who went through the gates of the Matua program which is only offered at Nabua Secondary School in Suva. This program gives people, who have not completed Year 12 and 13 education, an opportunity to re-study, sit the external examination and pass with flying colours. Arieta, who is based at the Valelevu Police Station and is on attachment at the Nasinu Prosecution Department, is an inspiration to women who did not complete their secondary school education and are interested in pursuing studies. She shared how she had to balance the demands of motherhood and academic work when she enrolled herself in the Matua program, where she passed her examination and enrolled in the LLB program at the Fiji National University. Despite juggling motherhood, academic and personal challenges, she excelled. Her story was heart-touching and inspiring. I wish Arieta all the best, and I urge school leavers to make use of the Matua program offered at Nabua Secondary School. RAJNESH ISHWAR LINGAM Nadawa, Nasinu

Ban pornography

THE majority of letter writers have written thousands of letters to the editor asking the FijiFirst government to ban porn from the internet but it all fell on deaf ears. It is very simple, get the licensed internet provider to ban it from public access, should they be unable to, the Government has every right to revoke their licence and send them out of the country, isn’t Fiji a sovereign nation? Grateful to the Coalition Government if the banning of pornography can be achieved as it is the biggest single cause of the thousands of untold problems of lousy crimes committed right here on our door steps. Christianity is against it, but the Government is for it, Wow! TUKAI LAGONILAKEBA Nadi

Pension duration

THE Fiji National Provident Fund acknowledges Dewan Chand’s concerns as expressed in his letter “Justice for pensioners” (FT 17/11). However, we wish to clarify a few issues. Contrary to Mr Chand’s assertion, pensioners who opted for the new Life pension after the reforms, will not have their pensions terminated next year. The term “life pension” inherently implies a perpetual arrangement, signifying that the pension remains intact for the entirety of the pensioner’s life. During the reforms, pensioners were presented with the choice or given options to either sign up for a life pension under the revised rates or to withdraw their principal pension amount. It is important to note that no specific term was allotted to the revised life pension product. The only change was the adjustment of the pension rate. The fund reiterates its commitment to the strategic decision made in 2012 to restructure the pension scheme. The measure was taken to address the inherent challenges and ensure the sustainability of the fund for the benefit of current and future members. The objective was to safeguard the financial health of the fund in the long-term. We value open dialogue and constructive feedback on matters of concern. We extend an invitation to Mr Chand, other pensioners and commentators to engage with us in a direct discussion at a time convenient to them. EREMODO KALIVETAU PRO & Communications Fiji National Provident Fund

Unwanted cane

SUGARCANE farmers in Labasa with unapproved cane varieties might still sell their crop if the mill paid according to sugar content in cane. But, after many years of trial and error, the quality-based cane payment system has yet to have a foothold in the Fiji sugar industry. What will the policy makers say if tests confirm that these unwanted varieties yielded much better sugar than the registered cane varieties? SAMU RAILOA Nadi

World conflicts

THE police have denied permits to some NGOs to march as reported in your paper (FT 17/11) about a week ago. I trust this march was to show empathy and sympathy for innocent victims of the Israel and Hamas conflict. What really surprises me is the selective manner in which NGOs treat world conflicts. The same NGOs, I doubt, have sought to march and protest against genocide committed elsewhere in the world. The Syrian Network of Human Rights (SNHR) states that between 2011 and March 2023 some 22,000 children and 12,000 women were killed in the Syrian conflict. I can enumerate others but this is one example of the many raging conflicts around the globe. Some wars and atrocities are closer to peoples’ hearts, I presume, while others are too distant to be bothered. It defies the premise that all human life has worth and value at all times, and everywhere. SACHIDA NATH Nadi

Sugar industry

I WANT to ask the Minister for Sugar Industry where the field officers were when farmers were planting these low quality crops. They are supposed to visit all the farms in their allocated sectors. This means it is the neglect of duties. I urge the minister that rather than bulldozing the farms he should bulldoze these field offi cers. I believe there is a lot of corruption in FSC. PARAS NAIDU Lautoka

Rental car disappointment 

I HAVE been in Fiji for the past three months and I needed transport on a need be basis. I have rented from three different rental car companies and I have been left disappointed each time. Firstly, these rental car companies have nice and new vehicles advertised on their Facebook pages. But when I rented from the first rental car company, the vehicle was from 2010 and the mileage was 200,000kms. Does Fiji even have standards for rental cars, for example, year and mileage? Needless to say, the second car rental company rented me a 2012 model and this vehicle had done 250,000kms. The third rental car company had a 2009 model vehicle with a mileage of just over 150,000kms and like the two previous rental car companies, it was rattling, the shocks of the vehicle needed a  change and was just a safety hazard. Does Fiji have a regulator that monitors rental car companies? Fiji promotes itself as a tourist destination, but these sort of experiences really paints a bad picture. Being in Fiji for three months I have had good experiences but the services offered by rental car companies leave a bitter taste. Is Fiji not a champion for climate change? Why have such old vehicles in your beautiful country which naturally harm the environment. Does Fiji not have a law/policy on how long a vehicle can be run on Fiji roads? Personal use of vehicles I understand but to rent out 20-year-old vehicles to tourists reflects badly on Fiji as a tourism hub. I leave your beautiful country with beautiful memories but with a hint of disappointment. Thank you. ANN YOSHIDA FORMERLY OF NAMAKA, NADI

TSLS priority disciplines

I VISITED the Tertiary Scholarship and Loans Service (TSLS) recently to find out about applying for a scholarship to support my PhD, focusing on literacy. My Masters was in education, emphasising literacy at Early Childhood Education (ECE) level. At the TSLS centre I was directed to a computer which displayed the Scheme Priority Disciplines for higher research and was blown away by what was before me: Medical and Health Services, Engineering Services, Climate Change/Environmental Science, Marine Science, Forestry Public Policy and Analysis, Economic Modelling and Policies Public Financing, Information Technology Services and any Social Science discipline. There was not one mention of education, ECE or literacy at all! One could argue that they disguised it under the last theme: ‘any Social Science discipline’. If that’s the case and that’s as good as it gets then pity our little children with poor literacy. We already have not just a country but an entire region with chronically low literacy levels. That has been well-documented. Children in Year 3 are unable to read a sentence without hesitating and we have a workforce with literacy issues. Did the recent National Education Summit emphasise the need to improve literacy and focus on the importance of the early years? I don’t know the answer to that as I wasn’t invited and it’s difficult to get information on any outcomes from the summit. If the answer is “yes”, however, then certainly the TSLS Scheme Priority Disciplines don’t reflect this at all and we find ourselves back to square one with non-existing texts (as for ECE level) or the “same old” Target, The Silent One, Village by the Sea and so on and literacy in the country is at the same level, if not declining even further. Higher degree students will also be experiencing poor literacy and I believe the situation will go from bad to worse. This is all very discouraging, indeed. I strongly urge the Tertiary Scholarship and Loans Service to reconsider the Scheme’s Priority Disciplines to include literacy, education and ECE in particular. While scholarships and loans are based on the labour market and industry demand, they need to also reflect the bigger picture which includes the socioeconomic situation that is strongly influenced by existing literacy levels. JULIE SUTHERLAND Tamavua, Suva

Just another day

THE early morning dues and hues brings a pleasant start to the day. It can be positive and peaceful, but often marred by what people say. As the day progresses and life continues on its merry way, all kinds of stress and crisis are created, setting the scene for the next day! EDWARD BLAKELOCK Pacific Harbour

Politically affiliated

HOW can the Great Council of Chiefs be politically neutral when the politicians and political parties in the Coalition Government are the main supporters of the institution? AREKI DAWAI Suva

Allowance cuts

IT’S good to see that finally, major cuts are being made to members of Parliament’s exorbitant allowances. It was long overdue. What happens to the money saved from these cuts? Will it be used to help the poor? SANJEET PRASAD Labasa

Bicycle line

IS there a bicycle lane on Queen Elizabeth Drive in Suva City? NAVNEET RAM Lautoka

Internet access

NEWS of a new internet service provider entering the local market is perhaps one of the best Christmas gifts for our public. One may assume a wider range or coverage and increased access to internet for a wider population at improved prices. However, this becomes a major concern as children and infants will have greater access to good as well as the bad internet sites. This may call for greater responsibility of parents and guardians. Reality is that we live in a globalised world, which also calls for a change in the way parents and guardians supervise and monitor children. FLOYD ROBINSON Micronesia

Israel v Hamas

HAMAS have been using underground tunnels. Israel should attack the underground tunnels instead of bombing Gaza. Could some warfare expert explain? SUKHA SINGH Labasa

Country designation

THE Deputy Prime Minister Prof Biman Prasad’s revelation to Parliament that the FijiFirst government between 2014 and 2022 spent $74 million on overseas and domestic travel makes me wonder whether Fiji is a developing or fully developed country? I mean a foreign aid receiving country shouldn’t be having such extravagant travel expenditure, should it? RAJEND NAIDU Sydney, Australia

Back in Fiji

I WILL be in Fiji again this Christmas. I am sure it will be hot, humid and more eventful than TC Mal. That was a fizzer. I think TC Mal saw me there and decided to back off! I will be there to celebrate the first anniversary of the Government this time. JAN NISSAR Sydney NSW