Letters to the Editor | Saturday, February 17, 2024

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A view of Levuka Hospital. Picture: SUPPLIED/FILE

Health challenge

My fellow kai Ovalauns need to fork out ‘mega bucks’, in order to get X-rayed and scanned, not at our local hospital here in Levuka but on the mainland.

Expenses for return boat fares, accommodation, meal, transport and other additional costs needs to be factored in.


Because our Levuka Hospital has been without a medical lab tech for months now, again.

Imagine the inconvenience pregnant women from the respective villages on Ovalau and other nearby Lomaiviti Islands have to endure, let alone the sick, to travel across to the mainland just for an X-ray or scan?

I humbly request the relevant government ministry to urgently look into the matter.

Yes, I’ve been reliably informed that the machines are working but no one to operate such.

And yes, Levuka has the best medical staff nationwide but please do provide the adequate personnel and ‘tools’ to assist them in serving the community better.

Sa malo.

Anthony Sahai, Levuka, Ovalau

Power couple

I am optimistic about the return of national men’s and women’s stars, Napolioni Bolaca and Laisani Likuceva into the mix for the upcoming Vancouver 7s.

The couple have had their fair share of challenges after the birth of their son, balancing parenthood and rugby, however, I am happy to see Likuceva in great fitness despite being a mother.

She is a role model and an inspiration to so many women out there who want to pursue a career in sports but are double minded due to family reasons or are entering parenthood.

This is Fiji’s and rugby’s new power couple as the duo represented the country at the previous Olympics in Tokyo, where Bolaca won gold and Likuceva won bronze.

It goes to show that there is no alternative for hard work and one can achieve the impossible with dedication and great will power.

Our men’s team needed inspiration from an experienced talent like that of Bolaca as the team lacks creativity and flair and he is one player that brings the X-factor on the field.

Bolaca’s return could be the catalyst for Ben Gollings’ men to win their first title in nearly two years.

Raynav Chand, Nakasi

Worthy initiative

Mr Wesley, I must say, you are spot on in your editorial comment highlighting concern on the Government’s Private General Practitioners (PGP) Scheme. (FT 10/02).

The declining trend as stated by two doctors is a concern to think about with solutions to it.

Indeed the “administrative hassles can negatively impact a well meaning program”.

Incomplete documents have also been an issue mentioned.

It seems some patients are not even aware of required forms and those who are, get disappointed by the maze of paperwork which results in rejection and frustration.

On one hand the much needed health scheme is provided followed by numerous paperwork and requirements.

Many did not even fill the forms due to those hurdles and are getting deprived of the health care they need.

While we expect more awareness on the forms being dispatched, I hope the authorities do throw a thought on the complicated process which is a hindrance in the access of the program.

We expect things to get easier when it comes to the most important element which is our health.

Let’s hope the powers that be will help make things simpler and easier.

There isn’t much point when the directions are being shown with lots of humps in between.

Our people deserve the best health care.

Kirti Patel, Mohan Singh Pl, Lautoka

Fiji rugby dilemma

The Fiji Rugby Union (FRU), and the Government of Fiji (GoF) should inform New Zealand Rugby (NZR), and the Government of New Zealand (GoNZ) that unless they accept and respect Fiji as a rugby playing nation, any rugby international between the two countries should be held in either country.

Accordingly, Fiji totally rejects playing the All Blacks in a third country (eg. USA) unless it’s part of an IRB sanctioned tournament, involving and including other rugby playing nations.

FRU and GoF should highlight to NZR and GoNZ that national test matches are the pinnacle event/occasion between them which can only be hosted by either country.

Fiji in particular relishes having such an international on Fijian soil for the first time.

In comparison, there had been seven test matches on New Zealand soil between the two countries in 1987, 1997, 2002, 2005, 2011, and two in 2021.

Fiji played only the New Zealand XV Team in 1970, 1980, and 1984.

In addition, the whole world, including the world rugby community know fully well that Fiji has been playing impressively well in Super Rugby, and in the 2023 Rugby World Cup (RWC) reaching the quarter-finals.

As such, Fiji deserves, and has a right to expect an acceptable level of respect. It should be made very clear to NZR and GoNZ, that their reported concern about growing the sport of rugby in North America, and promoting the All Blacks brand (in terms of securing massive sponsorships and benefits) are entirely win — win issues for New Zealand alone.

Fiji on the other hand is determined to have its first international against the All Blacks on Fijian soil, and more importantly to further grow the sport here in Fiji, not to mention the potential economic boost it can have on our economy.

If NZR refuses to play Fiji in Fiji in July, 2024, we should turn to other more friendly rugby playing nations such as South Africa, France, Australia, and Argentina who will accept and respect us as who we are, and genuinely wish to help.

I believe GoF should play a key role in this saga because the Fiji public is disappointed by the bullying dished out on FRU, and the Fijian public by NZR, and its CEO, Mark Robinson.

Saverio Baleikanacea, Delainavesi, Lami

Negative behaviour

There will always be bad apples in the workforce and that includes police officers.

This is called the human condition because we are all flawed.

Sad eh!

Wise Muavono, Balawa, Lautoka

Bring them back

Two former police officers who should be re-hired are Abdul Khan and Henry Brown to lead the investigation into the billion dollar drug trade happening in Fiji.

The two are known to be no nonsense officers who perform their duties up to expectations.

Geoffrey Chand, Lautoka

Media bias

In an interview the Committee to Protect Journalists said 99 journalists, 76 of them Palestinians, have been killed by Israeli strikes in the war on Gaza although journalists are protected under international law.

This was on Aljazeera on February 16, 2024.

Because it was on Aljazeera it must be biased.

Rajesh Chand Sharma of Nadi can confirm that.

Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia

Sickly question

Dan Urai questions what if a sickly person is taken into custody, who should pay for his medical expenses, which I believe (FT 15/2 ) is complicated.

I believe the government of the day has the responsibility for the safety, care and reform of all the Fijians.

Healthy answer.

Tahir Ali, Hamilton, New Zealand


Everyday I read in the news that M-PAiSA scammers are charged and remanded in the Western Division.

I salute you!

Navneet Ram (TD), Lautoka

Tuwai boosts

Fijiana 7s Ben Gollings’ loss is Saiasi Fuli’s gain, as the greatest 7s player Jerry Tuwai joined the Fiji Airways Fijiana 7s team.

Tuwai’s presence has boosted the Fijiana 7s and benefitted the coaching staff.

Having a player of Tuwai’s calibre is an added advantage to Fuli, as the Master of 7s will impart the experiences that he gained while donning the 7s jumper.

It’s a pity that the men’s 7s head coach Ben Gollings had other ideas and opted not to have Tuwai, who has a lot to offer, in his team.

The Fijiana 7s players have been working well with Tuwai, and they are all keen and eager to learn from him and to listen to what he has to say.

Tuwai has had a positive influence on the girls, as they have showed a lot of enthusiasm and eagerness on the field.

The eighth place finish in Perth did not go too well with fans, and I’m positive that Tuwai and Fuli will work together to improve the Fijiana 7s performance in Vancouver!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Creative leader

Creates new possibilities and pathways

Taps into unknown potentials and hidden knowledge

Thinks beyond limits

Visions ahead of times

Uses creative thinking and reason to make decisions

Finds new solutions to old problems

Always looks to improve things

Tries to achieve better results and prospects

Willing to change and improve for the betterment

Creates a supportive, enjoyable environment for creative thinking

Eager to learn from everyone and everything in every situation

Creator of opportunities out of nothing

Willing to risk it all to create something better

The creative energy transforming everyone to be creative

Creativity surges progress forward

Encourages and inspires all to creative ways

Creative leader always creates

Innovative thoughts and set them in motion

A creative leader flies on the wings of imagination

Provides a beacon of hope, guidance, speed and direction

Direction is so crucial and critical

This is the crux of the matter

We do not need leaders full of sound and fury

Signifying nothing and emptiness

A creative leader allows every member of the team

To articulate and express his/her ideas, opinions, hypothesis,

However controversial and critical they may be

The leaders decide on the life and progress of any nation

Factoring in the leadership approach

Is paramount to the success

We face complex and pressing issues

For a nation to progress in all spheres of life

We need creative leaders who are committed

To initiating and inspiring a two-way communication

Empowering and boosting team work and team spirit

Acting with conscience, patience, compassion and impartiality

A creative leader creates an environment that is conducive to creativity

Leads others with confidence in the creative process

Knows how to create a more unified and supportive team

We do not need run of the mill leaders

We need creative, innovative, charismatic, authentic

Dynamic, caring, compassionate and people-centred leaders

Leaders need not be selfish

But have a strong sense of empathy and ability

To think creatively and critically

Unwavering commitment to integrity and ethical conduct

Seek solutions through talanoa

Value the input of all the people and cultures

Strive for humility and humanity.

BHAGWANJI BHINDI, Laucala Beach Estate, Nasinu

Where’s the love?

On Tuesday, February 13, 2024, my son boarded a bus from Arts Village Pacific Habour at 2.30pm after school on his way home.

Upon reaching our place he pressed the stop button but the driver refused to stop until an elderly lady demanded the driver to stop.

He fires back at the lady saying: “I don’t care if he’s a child! That’s not a bus stop!”

My son is in Year Six, so innocent and defenceless and thankfully an angel has to intervene.

He walked back approximately 200m uphill on a rainy Tuesday along the highway soaking wet.

Safety is a priority regardless of age, gender or ethnicity.

You ain’t getting back a soul once you lose it compared to a bus.

And without your precious passengers, driver you wouldn’t have a job.

Should an adult not have compassion for a child, how on earth are we supposed to live in harmony in a multiracial nation?

There will be chaos, craziness and how bizarre life would be.

Where’s the love?

It’s not enough!

Here we are; Bullying each other Terrorising each other Segregating one another Discriminating another John Lennon one of the greatest composers once sang: “Imagine all the people, living life in peace, You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one, I hope someday you’ll join and the world will be as one”.

Wish we could gravitate to the love and live happily ever after.

To all bus drivers and conductors who attend to my son’s tiny request, thank you so much.

Your love makes it possible for my son to reach home safe and sound.

Lavenia Malama, Vunaniu, Serua

Wall of hope

I’M glad that the Swire Shipping Fijian Drua players draw daily inspiration from a gym wall featuring paintings of teammates (Mesake Doge, Caleb Muntz, Meli Derenalagi, Vilive Miramira and Simione Kuruvoli) who overcame career-threatening injuries, but underwent surgeries, and returned to play.

The wall, which symbolises hope and resilience, embodies the core values of the Drua and pictures of the injured players give hope.

The Drua faced the Melbourne Rebels yesterday afternoon and they delivered a solid performance and continued from where they left against the Brumbies.

Excitement is high, as we count days to our opening battle against the Auckland Blues next Saturday.

On the other hand, I salute CEO Mark Evans and his team for the initiative in setting up an academy which will target players from the age of 15 to 18.

Indeed, the way to go — a solid pathway for our young rugby players!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Waiting moments

It’s becoming one of the most highly anticipated and anxious waiting moments for rugby fans.

When will the new Flying Fijians coach be announced? Rugby

officials have hinted of this happening soon but when or on which day of the month, is any fans guess.

For now, fans remain divided over their opinions on Senirusi Seruvakula and Mick Byrne, who appear as the top contenders.

Will the selection panel give more weight to a local coach or an expatriate coach who is based in Fiji and already producing results with the Fiji Drua team?

How can fans be sure that the decisions of the selection panel is free from bias and objective?

What if the selection panel is split in their decision, not able to reach a consensus?

If so, who or which official will have the final say?

In my humble opinion, it does not matter who is awarded the coaching role because at the end of the day, this decision will come down to the selection of one person to guide us to the next Rugby World Cup in Australia.

Looking at the bigger picture, I think it’s more important for the Flying Fijians coaching team to retain the services of a proven strength and conditioning coach such as Nacanieli Cawanibuka.

Floyd Robinson, Micronesia

Rehabilitation centres

The hottest topic in the country right now is the massive amount of hard drugs found.

To make matters worse, we are being told from very reliable people that this may be just the tip of the ice-berg!

There is no doubt that the availability of these drugs on our streets is massive, and many young people are getting addicted to it.

The bigger worry now is the rehabilitation of those turning into addicts.

With our national economy already stretched by the day to day running of the country, the question is where the funds will come from for the rehabilitation centres.

Our health sector’s infrastructure is already in shambles needing millions of dollars to stand afloat.

To get that extra dollar, one area to seriously look at is the confiscation of all assets of those found guilty in this trade.

After all most of their assets must have been paid off by the drug money.

The State needs to confiscate their assets and sell it to raise money which should then be strictly directed towards the rehabilitation scheme.

We need to arrest this demon from spreading any further in our society.

Our children are daily getting exposed to this addictive trade.

Some very hard decisions need to be taken to stop the drug trade.

Some legislative changes need to be made also such as more severe sentences and direct prosecution of those found involved.

It is a fight to be fought by the entire country for a better Fiji for our children.

Rajendra Prasad, Niudamu Rd, Nakasi

Motorists’ conduct

Reckless drivers are becoming a real threat and nuisance to all on the road.

Every now and then we are warned against careless driving but unfortunately many out there don’t listen.

Road rules are meant to be always adhered to by all.

We hear of accidents happening because of driver faults and carelessness all the time.

You cannot always blame the roads or weather because as drivers we are supposed to adjust accordingly.

To bring about the discipline needed, the only way forward, I think, is to reduce the number of bad drivers from our roads.

Obviously, as the statistics show you, any approach you have is not making any difference.

Offenders must feel the impact of the penalty to stop them from recommitting the mistake again and again and keep others at bay at the same time.

I think it is time the police traffic department is made more robust and relevant.

Presently you don’t see their action or presence making the difference we aspire to see.

Suresh Chand, Nadi

Drug battle

Are these new drug cases popping up out of nowhere or is it the rotten potatoes from 16 years finally showing up?

Raynav Chand, Nakasi

Poverty increase

The shift from rural areas to seek better life, has increased informal settlements and thus contributes to the increase of poverty, as declared by the Director of NGO Diva for Equality.

I believe, within Fiji’s 40 squatter areas, some residents live as such, but own properties or businesses elsewhere.

A few have been exposed and some are still within the system.

They own homes in other previous formal settlements and shifted to a new informal one.

They simply manipulated the system and have become successful financially, but yet, living as “squatters”.

As the director stated: “Poverty is a very interesting thing because we have to be careful on how we define it”.

Samu Silatolu, Nakasi

Pretty simple

A massive study of more than 65,000 entrepreneurs discovered that having emotional intelligence seems to be the key to their success.

When bosses tune into the frequency of their staff, the staff will in turn tune into the frequency of the company’s customers.

It’s pretty simple.

When a boss understands you and is empathetic towards your feelings, you in turn feel connected.

And when you know you’re being acknowledged for your efforts you give 110 per cent of yourself to helping the company succeed.

It’s not rocket science.

There are many thousands of workers in Fiji’s hospitality industry who understand emotional intelligence.

It comes naturally to them because of their big beautiful hearts of gold.

Which is why tourists keep flocking back to Fiji in their thousands.

Imagine if some politicians understood the concept.

It would revolutionise the growth, development and success of a country.

Emotional intelligence.


Such a bold, beautiful and bountiful phrase that could simply turn the fortunes of a business, a community and a country.

Colin Deoki, Australia


Japan’s Foreign Affair Minister Yoko Kamikawa stated that Japan stands with Pacific Islands on climate change. (FT 15/02).

This statement to me is a contradiction to Japan’s dumping of nuclear waste in the Pacific Ocean, which I certainly believe will exacerbate climate change.

Kositatino Tikomaibolatagane, Vuninokonoko Rd, Navua

Cannabis conversation

IN the words of Peter Shultz, Operation Foundation chief executive, “Understanding why the cannabis plant grown inside a fence is approved and the same plant grown by a cousin outside the village is illegal would become a critical conversation”.

I guess the answer to that would be to fence the farm that’s outside the village!

Interesting to follow up on this topic and gather information over a week of public discussions in the newspapers.

I had written about rehabilitation centres needing to be set up a few years back while Mr Brown seems to be just coming to the realisation of the reality of the effects of drugs on the people of Fiji.

If stats had been followed decades ago, Fiji should have already been prepared to shoulder the bigger problems.

Mr Brown is talking five years down the line.

Look 50 years Mr Brown!

The problem with us has always been shortsightedness!

We need to look globally.

If any problem is affecting the rest of the world, it’s only a matter of time before it reaches our shores!

As for cannabis, with all due respect to its researched medicinal properties, it is the opening drug to harder drugs on the social platform which is why we now have the harder drugs to deal with.

Medical cannabis is made up of several distinct marijuana strains that each serve different functions.

Whether for a physical effect, a tranquilising effect, a mental experience, or an energising effect, whether planted in a fence or outside a fence, we all know that the other major disease we suffer from right here in Fiji is an abuse of everything good and bad.

It won’t be long therefore, according to the stats on our ability to abuse substances, that despite the rules and regulations, and those good citizens abiding by them, the abusers will materialise, so Fiji just better be ready with those rehab centres because we will well and truly need them.


And while we are at it, also consider extending and building new prison centres too because we will definitely need them too!

I wonder what else is out there that we could prepare for that we can’t see despite having the opportunity to do so?

We are so focused on cyber and technology that we forget the sinister realities that are creeping their way into our society slowly but surely where the effect at the end of the line is on a human being, not a machine!

Noleen Billings, Savusavu

Nadroga farewells legendary hooker!

Nadroga farewelled a passionate son in Rupeni Nahiga Sr, who was laid to rest in his home village of Nahigatoka in Nadroga.

The late Nahiga was a loyal and humble great son of the Vanua Nakuruvarua.

As I pen a tribute to the late Nahiga, I allude to a sports article, titled ‘Nadroga’s secret ingredients in nine years rule’, which was written by Eroni Tuinuku and was published by The Fiji Times on July 16, 2020.

The Stallions ruled the provincial rugby championship nine years in a row.

In 1975, Nahiga joined the team, and being a ball boy for the past three years for the Stallions automatically transformed him to join the pack to lift the team’s momentum to another level.

I quote Nahiga’s words, “I started as a ball boy and a water boy for the team since 1971 before I joined the junior team back then and four years later, I was called in to be part of the big boys. One thing I experienced defending the trophy for Nadroga was the words of encouragement we heard in training and before we stepped into the field. One common sentiment we always heard was ‘fight until there’s nothing left in you’.

“It’s better to be carried unconscious off the field and win the match rather than losing on our home ground.

“These words boosted us before the match and again at the halftime break. That is why Nadroga has always been a feared opponent in the 70s and I’m proud to be part of the legacy.”

Nadroga dominated the local rugby arena for nine years until they were beaten by Lautoka in 1979.

However, their legacy carried on in the 80s as they defeated the Flying Fijians in an invitational match beating the national team 12-6.

In 1983, Nadroga lost to the All Blacks 14-6 in a match that was dubbed as one of the toughest matches NZ ever encountered on a Fijian turf.
Nahiga played as the hooker.

Rest in peace, sir!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nasinu

A selfless journey of love

As I celebrated Valentine’s Day on Wednesday February 14, I read Taina Adi Kubulala’s story, which was based on her passion for nursing that went beyond the normal call of duty.

Taina shared that from an early age, she knew she had a caring nature and set her mind on nursing as her chosen profession.

Her mum stayed by her side, preparing her for her calling until she left her a few years later when Taina was just embarking on her nursing journey.

Taina recalled that she was posted to Nacula Island nursing station in the Yasawa Group, travelling back and forth to attend training on the mainland and in 1989, she attended a midwifery course on the mainland before returning to the island to continue her role, before finally saying goodbye after seven years serving there.

Her journey as a staff showed that she took her profession with a lot of passion, determination, courage, and love.

She has a wealth of experience and is an asset.

Her years of service deserves an ovation, as she dedicated her life to serving others before self.

Taina is an inspiration to nurses and midwives.

Her story, which was shared on Valentines Day, showed that a selfless journey of love will culminate into a successful career.

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Essence of Valentine’s day

I am amazed at the dedication level of people impressing their partners during Valentine’s week.

While I am not against the idea of Valentine’s day, as it is a day to show appreciation and gratitude to your significant other or a loved one, I am not impressed by how people perceive this day to be in opposition to what it actually is.

Traditionally a celebration of love and affection, is increasingly perceived as losing its essence, morphing into an occasion more about material gifts than heartfelt expressions.

This shift can be attributed to the growing commercialisation of the day, where the emphasis is placed on buying the perfect present rather than focusing on the genuine connections between individuals.

Retailers and marketers heavily promote the idea that love is best expressed through expensive gifts, creating societal pressure to conform to these materialistic standards.

As a result, the day’s original purpose — to celebrate love in its many forms — is overshadowed by the stress and expectation of purchasing the right item, diluting the holiday’s true significance and making it a showcase for consumerism rather than a celebration of emotional bonds.

While there are some genuine people, who appreciate and do good work throughout the year, there also are people on the contrary, who treat their loved ones like trash all year but suddenly become the most loving person during Valentine’s week, making the occasion a whole mockery.

Raynav Chand, Nakasi

Grave concern

The consumption of illicit and potent drugs like meth is a grave concern for leaders in our communities.

We are told that we live in a feeling-driven world.

Some contend that getting high on the drug gives an euphoric feeling unsurpassed purportedly by any other experience.

Am I to believe that such drug intoxication even transcends the feeling when we are in love with someone or when we cuddle a kitten?

If our greatest feeling of joy and contentment comes absolutely from imbibing this synthetic drug; it is a certain path to de-humanising the self.

Is there some part of ourselves like the heart that matters to us?

Well, if so, we can trust that it can help overcome the impulse for the drug.

Furthermore, if we trust in our discovered talent or skill and make it sacred so that it gives us strength to dispel the allure of meth. 

Sachida Nath, Nadi

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