Letters to the Editor – Monday, November 28, 2022

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A man smokes his cigarette. Picture: FILE

Tobacco deaths

TOBACCO is responsible for 20 per cent of deaths from coronary heart disease.

Do you know that every year, 1.9 million people die from tobacco-induced heart disease, according to a new brief released on September 22, 2020 by the World Health Organization, World Heart Federation and the University of Newcastle Australia ahead of World Heart Day, marked on 29 September?

This equates to one in five of all deaths from heart disease, warns the report’s authors, who urge all tobacco users to quit and avoid a heart attack, stressing that smokers are more likely to experience an acute cardiovascular event at a younger age than non-smokers.

Just a few cigarettes a day, occasional smoking, or exposure to second-hand smoke increase the risk of heart disease.

But if tobacco users take immediate action and quit, then their risk of heart disease will decrease by 50 per cent after one year of not smoking.

Moreover, high blood pressure and heart disease increase the risk of severe COVID-19.

A recent WHO survey found that among people dying of COVID-19 in Italy, 67 per cent had high blood pressure and in Spain 43 per cent of people who developed COVID-19 were living with heart disease.

Our governments have a responsibility to protect the health of its people and help reverse the tobacco epidemic.

All school compounds including teachers’ quarters should be declared smoke-free zones if we want to set good examples to our children.

Tobacco control is a key element for reducing heart disease.

Governments can help tobacco users quit by increasing tax on tobacco products, enforcing bans on tobacco advertising and offering services to help people give up tobacco.

JIOJI MASIVESI, Tadra, Votualevu, Nadi

Saneem’s response

RESPONDING to Mick Beddoes complaint against Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum the Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem said: “It is noted that Mr Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum acted in his capacity as the Minister responsible for Communications while launching free Wi-Fi and digital TV at Lautoka market and that this is a budgeted initiative (FT 27/11).”

In my opinion the crux of the issue here is the timing of these launchings on the eve of an election.

I understand more are planned in the coming weeks.

It is also to be noted that Mr Sayed-Khaiyum is the general secretary of the FijiFirst party.

I think if one looks at it in the context of a free and fair election then the perception of a campaign propaganda cannot be ruled out.

Let’s fight the election on a level playing field.


Wardens win Wairiki 7s

CONGRATULATIONS to former national 7s captain Tevita Daugunu and his Wardens 7s team for winning the Wairiki 7s tournament in the Garden Island.

Daugunu, who has been missing from the international 7s scene because of his injury, was in imperious form as he ended Police Blue’s winning run.

Alongside Daugunu the likes of Netava Koroisau, Te Vosa and Sakiasi Balevula stood out with their performances.

The old adage defence wins tournament proved true for the Wardens as they defended their line to beat Police Blue.

Daugunu is ready to re-claim his spot in the national 7s side.

Wishing him all the best!

The Wairiki 7s united Fijians in Taveuni.

Volleyball and football added to the joy, fun, flair and glamour!

RAJNESH ISHWAR LINGAM, Balgovind Rd, Nadawa, Nasinu

Filthiest washroom

GEOFFREY Chand claims Lautoka has “the filthiest washroom ” in the country(FT 26/11).

I am sure there are people from other places who would contest that claim.

Perhaps a The Filthiest Toilet completion should take place with the minister responsible appropriately garlanded with a salusalu doing the municipal toilet rounds to identify the winner.

RAJEND NAIDU, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Message of peace

AS December 14, 2022 slowly beckons, scripture aptly and adequately teaches us: “Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called children of GOD (Matthew 5:9).”

In this time of general election campaigning we need to reflect on divine messages of peace as we prepare for the coming of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus, in Christmas.

He will raise the lowly and scatter the proud-hearted.

Take heed my fellow Fijians.

Mo ni kalougata tiko.

RONNIE CHANG, Martintar, Nadi

Equal treatment

DURING a campaign in Navua last week, the secretary general of FijiFirst told the meeting that “under the Bainimarama government, everyone is treated equally (FT 27/11).”

I just want to ask him was late Professor Brij Lal and his family treated equally.

Was the former Solicitor-General Sharvada Sharma treated equally?


Goodies at rallies

ONLY one political party in Fiji is allowed to defy the rules of vote-buying and clearly do so by giving out T-shirts, USB, caps and free palau at their rallies.

They claim to be the best leaders ever but do not explicitly tell what they would do in future.

Instead they weaponise issues of land ownership, education, social welfare etc.

They also seem to have mastered the art of instilling fear in the hearts of people, especially for Sitiveni Rabuka.

In my humble opinion, this party needs to stop living in the past, stop playing the blame-game and definitely stop pushing boundaries for rules that otherwise remain rigid for others.

Maybe they have run out of ideas to talk about at their rallies so I suggest, in your next campaign, why don’t you explain how and why you failed to turn Fiji into Singapore.

NADIA NAAZ, Darlington, Sydney, Australia

Soccer progress

IN the 1970s and 1980s the mighty Fiji national soccer beat Australia in Suva and Nadi respectively by one goal.

Australia is playing in the soccer world cup now in Qatar.

Will the Fiji soccer team ever play in a world cup?

Fiji FA officials should now make a decision to join Asian soccer.

The process will take time, but get the ball rolling.

The benefits will be enormous.

There will be no regrets.


Election fever

THE election fever (party atmosphere) is turning out to be quite fashionable.

I see many designer kalavata party clothing.

I went around looking for one in those clothing outlets and the supermarkets.

Nothing there so I have settled for one which has a picture of a cake and some candles on it.

Any upcoming “birthday party” out there?


Shameful hypocrisy

THE very politicians who insisted in Parliament to return Fiji Airways aircrafts back to their manufacturers or sell them off during COVID-19 debates are now shamelessly travelling in the same planes abroad to beg for money to fight elections.

Now these politicians want to run the country.

This is the level of shameful hypocrisy.


World Cup

FRANCE beat Denmark 2-1, while Argentina thumped Mexico 2-0 at the World Cup.

France has qualified for the round of 16, while Argentina kept alive its hopes of qualifying for the round of 16.

Australia recorded a 1-0 win over Tunisia, while Poland beat Saudi Arabia, which upset Argentina, 2-0.

As round two intensifies, excitement is getting bigger and better.

Here at home, Ba beat Suva and Nadi beat Lautoka to set up an all-western Pacific Cup final.

In the Autumn Test Series, Australia came from behind to beat Wales, and South Africa handed the Red Roses a loss in front of their fans.

This weekend, eyes will be on the Dubai 7s as the giants of 7s come together for the men’s and women’s tournaments.

RAJNESH ISHWAR LINGAM, Balgovind Rd, Nadawa, Nasinu

Rugby insurance

THE spear tackle by the army women’s team in (FT 26/11/22 pg118) on the police women’s player doesn’t portray a good sign on safety which is most paramount.

Just a few months ago a young woman from Volivoli Village, Sigatoka lost her life playing rugby by getting injured during a game.

The question of player’s health Insurance came up, but FRU did not clarify the issue and the insurance issue died down.

After looking at that photo of the police player I hope the police women’s team management will take steps to ensure that she receives the best medical care available.

In the meantime, can the FRU at least be up front about health insurance covers for rugby players?

This is a worthwhile topic to dwell on because it involves lives.


GCC and Parliament

ACCORDING to a political rally at Nakurukuru Lami last Thursday (FT 26/11), the leader of FijiFirst party, PM Bainimarama, said when Great Council of Chiefs was in existence, only six chiefs spoke and led the journey.

May be true and we cannot dispute this since we were not there.

But in comparison to our Parliament where we see the live sessions, we can safely say that our Parliament is dominated by two and many times by a single member.

This member happens to be a minister and since he introduces all new Bills and answers most of the queries from the Opposition members, the public gave him the title as Minister of Everything.

Here I only tried to compare the GCC where six Chiefs spoke with our Parliament where one or two dominated.

It’s up to the public to judge.

VIJAY MAHARAJ, Sydney, Australia

Campaign co-ordinator

SHAMIMA Ali should tender her resignation from Fiji Women’s Crises Centre and be the campaign co-ordinator for The People’s Alliance/NFP.

You can’t co-ordinate the affairs of both the parties at the same time Shamima.

You are better suited to PA/NFP, judging from your recent anti government stance and extreme personal attacks on the PM and AG.

After all half the time you are seen in the corridors of the court house giving moral support to Biman and Richard-Naidu.

You are not doing justice to NGOs.

Do the honourable thing.


Mental health

THESE words from psychotherapist Selina Kuruleca struck: “This is the generation that was born with gadgets in their hands. This is also the generation where a lot of education systems here in Fiji changed. This is the generation that met with COVID.”

I agree with Ms Kuruleca that Fiji’s mental health crisis was evident in the number of suicides and attempted suicides and overcrowded aged facilities, and that we had become a younger population that is uncaring and uncompassionate.

Hence, there is a need for counsellors and mental health experts who can address mental health issues.

Due diligence, funding and consideration must be given to address the ever growing mental health issues.

Our youths need guidance and support.

Food for thought for leaders, heading towards the 2022 General Election!

RAJNESH ISHWAR LINGAM, Balgovind Rd, Nadawa, Nasinu

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