Letters to the Editor – Saturday, June 11, 2022

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Leilani Naiyaga (second from left) with her family at the Nadi International Airport yesterday before flying to Japan. Her mother Seforosa Naiyaga, second from right, is a former Fiji netball rep. Picture: REINAL CHAND

Leilani off to play in Japan

Another of our young talent, 15-year-old Leilani Nayaga of ACS, left our shores to embark on a three-year rugby scholarship in the Land of the Brave Blossoms.

Leilani, whose mother Seforosa Munivai played netball for Fiji, has a rich sporting history since primary school and was part of the Eastern Saints Rugby Club’s training program.

Her trip was arranged by former Flying Fijians captain Seremaia Bai who has been instrumental in unearthing young talents through his club’s training program.

Bai has been through the system and he knows that rugby is the pathway for young budding sports enthusiasts.

Leilani was blessed with a grand opportunity in a country which takes rugby seriously and passionately!

She will rub shoulders with players vying for a spot in the Sakura 15s rugby team.

All the best Leilani!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Economic recovery

Needless to say that all the world economies are in recovery mode.

After the COVID-19 pandemic, even the world powers such as the US are struggling to survive.

Soon after when things were getting back on track, Russia invaded Ukraine.

Prices for food, fuel and literally every good and service is escalating globally.

Fiji has not been spared by this global economic crisis.

Our local communities are feeling the full brunt of the price hikes.

It is projected that the inflation rate is yet to reach its peak.

How would we survive?

Developed countries are providing subsidies and concessions.

This is something that we as a third world country cannot afford.

It’s back to the strict monitoring of our expenses, choosing the most important basic needs over wants.

Unless things change we have to struggle.

This is the reality.


Concern for our elderly

I arrived in Fiji for the first time in 1957, and followed this with many repeated visits in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, and observed the great value that people of Fiji put on caring for and protecting all members of their families, especially the elderly.

After continual privileged residency for the past 27 years, I have noticed a serious decline in the extended family protection commitment.

The elderly seem to have been cast into a category of not being cared for, and are viewed by some as an unnecessary burden that should be passed on to others.

FNPF which was created to provide comfort and security for people in their years of earned retirement seems to be directed to shore up airlines, resorts, and unemployment after disasters.

However practical, and sometimes necessary these decisions may be, there is one action that remains ignored by the fund.

I refer to cost-of-living adjustments, COLA.

To illustrate the point.

If a pensioner was entitled to a monthly payment of $500 per month 20 years ago, the purchasing power of his income has been reduced by inflation to $269 today, and continues to diminish.

The coffers of FNPF, we are told, are still brim full despite the demands made on them recently, so why are the deserving pensioners being ignored.

In a year when Fiji is being asked who they want to represent them for the next four years, I am disappointed to note that not one political party cares to address this matter and include it in their manifesto.

I believe that should they do so, it will be a serious vote gathering exercise.

I hope to see the day that fairness and concern for our elderly return to standards of yesteryear.

Derrick Wadman, Deuba

Road upgrade

Two months back, I on behalf of the many residents in the Lajonia, Wailevu Labasa; communities raised concerns about the road conditions.

We now seeing the improvements and near perfection conditions.

Thanks to the papers’ responses.

Jioji O. Toronibau, Labasa

General election

Of all the past governments … did any of them think about setting up a hospital in Navosa?

No… I will probably go for FijiFirst because they will have to repay their huge loans.

Anyways, thanks for the sealed roads.

Cava jiko mada!

Joe Matatolu, Waila 3A

Baby boom

These long cold nights will be the cause of a baby boom in nine months time.

Especially when preferring human blanket.

Easy tiger!

Wise Muavono, Balawa, Lautoka

Power outages

We have all heard about bring-a-plate.

I hear a piece of inspiration has been taken from this by some swipers during the current frightful cold nights to improvise and come up with bring-a-blanket.

Maybe, one of them could spare one for the “fault” which continues to appear somewhere in our power supply.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka


No Tobacco Day has come and gone with no effective action.

Deaths will continue.

I believe the Government should have shut down BAT at Nabua and found new jobs for the workers and then helped the tobacco farmers with alternative and more lucrative crops.

No Tobacco contradicts the spending of taxpayers’ money on helping farmers grow more tobacco.

Fergus Garrett, Vatuwaqa, Suva

PM’s claim

The reaction of several letter writers (FT 4/6) to PM Bainimarama’s claim that his government has best managed the economy compared with all past governments, reminds me of the famous Abraham Lincoln quote: “You can fool some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time”.

Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia

Make a stand I believe that now is the time to make a stand and declare which side you would be on during the general election this year.

For some of the politicians, it is so obvious that they would be jumping ship and yet they try their best to give the impression that they are loyal to their political parties.

Some have been burdened with court cases otherwise they would be well on their way to changing allegiances.

Well such is the way politics weaves its web.

Just saying.

Emosi Balei, Suva

Do letters have an impact?

I have been writing letters to the editor of The Fiji Times for several years.

My answer to the above question is Yes and No.

It depends on what concerns the letters address and who the addressee is.

If the addressee is the Government, the answer is invariably No.

It is a behemoth and the letters are just like the arrows of the Lilliputians against Gulliver.

I am grateful that some of my letters have had the desired effect.

The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC), in partnership with the United Nations Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption (UN-PRAC) project, launched the ‘I don’t accept bribes’ campaign on 9 December 2020 in Suva on International Anti-Corruption Day.

I wrote a letter pointing to a glaring defect and the campaign was then discontinued.

A company had young kids made up like adults and using offensive language and sexual innuendo to promote a product.

The ad was discontinued after I wrote about it and expressed my wife’s displeasure who cringed each time the ad came on.

The 70 years plus citizens felt it was inane for anyone over 70 to take a driving test.

After a concerted effort from a dedicate group of septuagenarians (yours truly included), the LTA finally relented.

We had a water leak for a while in front of our place.

Calls to the WAF did not have any effect.

One letter to The Fiji Times resulted in the problem being resolve right away.

It gives me no pleasure to write these letters but if all else fails…Which does not mean that all my letters have had an impact.

I have offered many excellent suggestions to the Ministry of Education but all my suggestions have fallen on deaf ears.

It is almost like, to use an American expression, beating a dead horse.

Let’s see if this complaint will have any effect.

For the last one month, the traffic signals at the intersection of Queens Rd and Brewers Rd in Martintar are not working.

To make the situation worse, there are over a 100 orange cones blocking one of the lanes both ways so vehicles have to merge into a single lane.

This is especially aggravating when the traffic gets heavy in the mornings and evenings.

If the intention is to piss off the drivers, the mission is highly successful.

Nothing else is happening.

It almost seems to be conspiracy among EFL, LTA and FRA to steer Fiji unsafely.

Here is a quote from LTA — “Steering Fiji Safely encapsulates what we believe to be the core to what LTA stands for. It is an organisation set up to improve land transportation and ensuring road safety is enhanced above all else”.

I am sure the irony of this quote will not be lost on the readers — and more importantly — the drivers.

Arvind Mani, Nadi

MP salaries, allowances

The Prime Minister goes around the Maritime zone boasting that Government has spent millions of dollars ($100m plus) for developments in their islands and provinces.

Most people don’t understand and can’t see through these types of figures but scratch their heads because they are where they have been many moons ago.

Perhaps he should also tell the people how much he and his senior members of Parliament and ministers have individually earned as basic salaries, all allowances and other benefits in the equivalent period that his so-called “government” has been in power.

I believe that will provide a balanced picture of how the country has benefited and how individuals have benefited in delivering their services to the country.

Ajai Kumar, Nadi

Waste-free ocean

As we observe World Oceans Day on June 8 “Collective action for the ocean”, let’s pay particular attention to plastic debris and other harmful materials we unintentionally or purposely dump into the sea, polluting the water and poisoning the food we harvest from the ocean.

It should be our international challenge for all of us to work to save our ocean waste-free and save our environment emission-free for our healthy living for our wellbeing.

The ocean is not the global garbage bin for us to dump our waste.

We humans produce waste that nature cannot digest.

Keep the sea waste-free.

Tahir Ali, Hamilton, New Zealand

Street lights

Reference is made to Norman Yee — FT June 09, 2022 re unrepaired street lights on his street.

Please know you are not alone.

I hasten to add we find ourselves in the very same situation.

The Queen’s Rd end of Gray Rd, Mountain View also has two extinguished street lights.

We are closest to two bars-cum-tavern.

One morning as I began my hour and 20 minutes early walk at 5.34am, I was startled in pitch darkness by some intoxicated night revellers.

I firmly believe inadequate finances restrict our service providers from repairing extinguished streetlights.

May I conclude, in addition to my little write-up on sudden power outage FT June 9, 2022, EFL inconsistencies repeated itself, annoyingly.

A second outage occurred at approximately at 10.22pm Wednesday, June 8.

It lasted a few minutes.

I look forward to South Korean investment in Nabou Green Energy coming online sooner.

It might bring us some much-needed relief.

I believe EFL is no longer the reliable and consistent energy provider.

Or do I stand corrected?

Ronnie Chang, Martintar, Nadi

Demolition man

Vinaka coach for selecting my favourite and No.1 scavenger or ball hunter in World Rugby, the demolition man Levani Botia to his rightful position at six or seven.

Levani has proven his worth and returning him to his most lethal position at flanker is a good sign for Fiji rugby.

It will just lift the bar to the next level.

Levani’s presence on the field, his aggressive approach to ball hunting and achieving turn overs triggered by some massive tackles and ball retention is awesome to watch.

Go Levani you rock.

A joka of a player both in play and leadership.

Shalwyn Prasad, Mukta Ben Place, Nabua, Suva

Good on you

FRA the bus shelter at the CWM Hospital adjacent to the maternity ward is up and ready for use soon.

Thank you FRA and those involved.

Much appreciated.

Vijay P. Madhava, Borron Rd, Suva

Cotter names solid mix!

Flying Fijians coach Vern Cotter has named a strong 34-member squad for the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup next month.

The Pacific Nations Cup will be contested by the Flying Fijians, Australia A, Samoa and Tonga between July 2 to July 16.

Ten players named in the squad are in line to debut for the national rugby team.

Cotter reiterated how important the PNC was and that the Flying Fijians would be playing at home for the first time in a long time and it was important to do well.

Cotter, who has a mammoth task ahead of him, has a well-balanced coaching panel for the competition with the likes of Daryl Gibson, Jason Ryan, Glen Jackson and Ritchie Gray.

Hetet, Mawi, Matavesi, Ikanivere, Dolokoto, Tagi, Doge, Saulo, Ratuva, Mayanavanua, Nasilasila, Rotuisolia, Ratuniyarawa, Tuisue, Botia, Kunavula, Cirikidaveta, Nasove, Lomani, Kuruvoli, Matawalu, Volavola, Tela, Tamanivalu, Botitu, Vota, Nayacalevu, Ravouvou, Wainiqolo, Tuisova, Habosi, Mataele, Tuicuvu and Droasese will carry our hopes.

Toso Viti!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

FANCA 2022

FANCA 2022 is currently being played at Prince Charles Park in Nadi.

The tournament returns after a lapse of a year or two because of the pandemic.

History will show that the tournament has been organised and run very well thus far.

As far as FANCA was concerned, I don’t think any other venue in the country has hosted the tournament more than the Prince Charles Park has.

We thank the organisers for having the confidence bringing a tournament of this magnitude to the jet set town of Nadi once again.

We appreciate the economic boost the tournament helps generate in our town during these difficult times.

At this juncture, I take the opportunity to welcome the many offshore visitors and pray that your stay is a memorable one.

Enjoy the sporting activities and enjoy our warm hospitality at the same time.

I wish all the participants a happy outing.

Suresh Chand, Nadi

Daily commuters

The cars,trucks and buses, crawling impatiently, in a line that stops and starts, in the sun and rain each morning.

Workers and school kids, commuting each weekday.

It has always been like this, but what can they do or say.

Sweaty workers, agitated and cross, arrive at work to earn their pay and hope for an understanding boss, when often late on those days.

The children often arrive late, but without reasonable excuse, have to accept what awaits, a fate they cannot refuse.

Travelling earlier, is easier said than done, especially when it’s much colder, and way before the rising sun.

Edward Blakelock, Admiral Circle, Pacific Harbour

COVID-19 protocols

Allow me, most respectfully, to share my views on the MOH consideration to review certain COVID-19 protocols.

Should our very own learned MOH officials led by Dr James Fong be thinking about wanting to “drop their guards” and make it easier for the unvaccinated to attend church, I am afraid I beg to differ.

Why, are we even thinking of watering this down now?

I do not understand.

Peer pressure?

I find it extremely harder to understand buses full of unmasked passengers.

I feel most uncomfortable.

I worry.

Letting such situations carry on will one day hit us back real hard.

Adequate precautions are far better than being reactive, in hindsight.

Procrastination is always the thief of time.

I hope I do not live and say: “I told you so.”

Ronnie Chang Martintar, Nadi

Trailblazing to the top

“My advice to any other female or student is to remember that God is always there, in good and also in bad times- always believe in yourselves and your purpose in life.”

This was Wati Tomasi Mocevakaca’s message via yesterday’s People column.

Wati’s story was shared by journalist Wata Shaw.

It took Wati about five and a half years to complete her Bachelors in veterinary science at FNU and she considered it one of her greatest achievements as she got to work with so many intelligent men and women in the science field.

Wati faced many hardships, but through lots of prayers and keeping a strong faith she managed to complete her studies.

This is a real-life lesson for those who are aspiring for success.

Wati advised young ambitious women not to limit themselves to labels or opportunities, but aim further than their dreams, and take one step at a time.

She shared that God’s grace and love got her through some dark times along with her strong power and the support of her family and friends.

Good on you Wati!

Thank you Wata Shaw and The Fiji Times for sharing another original, powerful and inspirational piece!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Too many politicians

THERE are too many political parties on our little island nation and with the amount of jump ships and deserters, of politicians and supporters, it doubts the mind if these new political parties will last.

Makes me wonder if the voters will stay loyal to a party or would the disease of disloyalty have an impact on the people too!


Men can cry too

“Feminism isn’t exclusionary. It includes the idea that men are denied access to emotional expression,” unquote Lauren Duca.

So is it okay or rather normal for us men to cry?

Jioji M Cakacaka, Tadra, Votualevu, Nadi

Worthy interviews

Many thanks to Vijay Maharaj of Sydney for his letter last Saturday (FT 4/6) giving a well-deserved plug for Sashi Singh’s Talking Point (SSTP) streamed live around the world on Facebook.

I eschew Facebook and was heretofore unaware of the SSTP programs.

But thanks to Vijay I discovered all episodes of SSTP are available on Youtube so now have much to catch up with.

There are over 20 so far and most of them two or three hours long so it should take about 60 hours to view them all.

I have just begun with the longest of the lot at nearly four hours and worth every minute: episode 17 with Professor Wadan Narsey.

Thus far SSTP has featured in-depth interviews with Graham Leung, Anita Handley, Biman Prasad, Mahendra Chaudhry, Savenaca Narube, Sitiveni Rabuka, Viliame Gavoka, Pio Tikoduadua, Felix Anthony, Richard Naidu, Shamima Ali, Sashi Kiran, Niel Sharma, Nilesh Gounder, Graham Davis, Filimoni Vosarogo, Wadan Narsey, Lenora Qereqeretabua, Lynda Tabuya, Nikhil Singh and Sirimi Turaga.

Sydney lawyer Sashi Singh is a top-notch presenter and interviewer.

I believe he is the same extremely well-spoken Sashimendra Singh who hosted many FBC radio programs back in the day when Fiji was dubbed “the way the world should be”.

The Fiji Times would do well to interview him.

Willard Miller, Ellis Place, Suva

Great way to heighten interest

Inoke ‘Knox’ Kalounisiga acknowledged the sponsors for the Domo Vou Talei original song competition as the competition would heighten interest in composing new songs.

I agree with ‘Knox’ that the $5000 prize-money from The Fiji Times and $3000 from Westpac for the People’s Choice Award will coax the hidden talents Fiji has.

The sum of money on offer is an attractive financial enticement and I urge young songwriters to come out of the shadows and bring their voice to the world.

Entries close next Tuesday and this opportunity comes rarely so music lovers and songwriters must take the offer with both hands.

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Fall on deaf ears

Despite the number of calls and criticism levelled against PM Bainimarama and his FF-led Government from the opposition, NGOs including us writers, it seems to all fall on deaf ears.

I guess they will only listen or respond when Fijians go to the poll come the 2022 General Election, which is still kept a secret from us the voters.

Very strange.

Jioji M Cakacaka, Tadra- Votualevu, Nadi

World Environment Day

With World Environment Day on June 5, many including all inhabitants of our planet Earth are raising their voices #For Nature.

As we build back better during these difficult times, let’s put nature at the heart of our decision-making and call for a healthier, more sustainable planet that works for everyone, everywhere all the time.

Jadon Eroni Masivesi, QVS, Nukuvuto

Oceans and irony

I was happy to read about reports of World Oceans Day being celebrated across the country by schools, communities, non-governmental organisations, government departments and many other stakeholders.

While this event raised awareness on the value of our oceans and need to protect it for future generations, there is a major irony nowadays.

It looks like our people will struggle to afford seafood as the prices have shot up within a short span of time due to the rising fuel costs.

For example, a bundle of rockcod cost at least $60 while a bundle of snapper has now increased from $25 to $40.

The price of A grade fish is a joke for middle income earners.

As of now, I have decided to go night diving for malea and eels in fresh water creeks.

I would be smiling if we come across some prawns but for now I would not mind a glass of wine after night diving as the cold weather is too much for a baby mix or else, I might wake up the next morning acting like a big baby.

Blessed weekend and let’s continue to value our oceans.

Floyd Robinson, Toorak, Suva

Emphasis on mats

I particularly remember my early days back in the village when people used to place a lot of emphasis on mats.

Whatever get together we had, our mothers would always ensure that good mats were spread for the upcoming occasions.

Well, the mat was where they would all sit down and where they were all equal no matter what their positions were in the community.

Apart from emphasising the importance of oneness, the mat was also where they used to sit down together and work things out before moving forward.

The concept of ‘mat’ is so important now because of the turbulent times we are going through.

Hey, can’t we just sit down together, talk and move forward as one?

Lest we forget, when we move forward together, success takes care of itself.

Just something to think about!

Joeli Naleca, Natabua, Lautoka

Ease of service

Bank customers nowadays don’t frequent the bank so much as they did in the past because much of their banking needs are fulfilled by using the Automatic Teller Machines (ATM).

Unlike banks, these machines provide service 24/7 to the customers.

For the convenience of their customers, banks have installed these electronically operated devices as far and as wide as possible.

I have seen these machines being regularly used by majority of customers anywhere I went.

No doubt crowding in banks is somewhat eased due to the introduction of ATMs.

As far as possible, banks try locating the ATM at safe and easily accessible places, however, as a user you have to do your own homework to ensure you do not fall victim of foul play.

The mission is to be aborted as soon as you sense any danger.

Don’t become an easy target for would-be thieves.

Always play safe while taking out money from the ATM.

For the usage of ATM, I believe, if you are a customer of that bank, you don’t pay any fees but if you are not a customer then the usage carries a charge.

I believe the fee is from $1 per transaction.

However, I believe, once other banks have established more of their own machines, the fee problem will automatically go away.

At this juncture we show our appreciation to the banks for their caring attitude and service in general.

Thank you for making our banking even easier.

Suresh Chand, Nadi

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