Letters to the Editor | Saturday, September 16, 2023

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Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management Sakiasi Ditoka officiates at the handover of the Nasau Community Access and Crossing Project in Nasau Nadi. Picture: REINAL CHAND

FRA’s response

WE refer to the letter published in The Fiji Times on September 10 titled “Nadi bridge” by Suresh Chand.

We acknowledge your concern and would like to assure you that the FRA is aware of the situation and that the Nadi bridge is part of the 40 critical bridges program for replacement.

Currently, the bridge is in the design phase.

The FRA recognises the importance of maintaining safe and reliable infrastructure, especially when it comes to bridges.

Therefore, the Nadi bridge has been included in the priority work list.

ZAFIYA SHAMIM, FRA communications and gender coordinator

Tikoduadua and cult

APPALLING to hear the Minister for Home Affairs Pio Tikoduadua clarifying his reason for referring to Grace Road Group as a “cult” by saying “Well that’s what everyone is using”.

Surely as a minister in the Government of the day, one would expect that he would at least speak with a modicum of common sense and decorum and not be led so easily by “everyone”.

Personally, I expect that government ministers and those in Parliament should lead by example, behave and speak professionally and with integrity.


eBay saga

THOSE who are complaining to the authorities about their loss in investing in local eBay have themselves to blame.

Why complain now when the decision to part with their money was theirs.

It is like any other investment, you take the risk and you either win or lose.

On the other hand, I am sure that the Reserve Bank of Fiji, the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Consumer Council of Fiji knew way before about the existence of the illegal scheme but they would do nothing about it.

We are a passive and reactive society, matters need to be reported to them before they will act.

The police is no different.


Fix the impasse

I AM greatly perplexed to learn that the landowners have not received their lease payments for the past 50 years.

Well, this is what the villagers are saying and hence they closed the water supply from the water catchment sitting on their land.

Since last week, more than 2000 people have been suffering.

What worries me is the water crisis in schools, it will have a negative impact on students learning in this critical Term Three.

I plead with the concerned authorities to resolve the impasse ASAP.

Also note that this action of the landowners is sending a wrong signal to the investors.

A friend of mine sent me the clip and said “this is the beginning”.

ARUN PRASAD, Dilkusha, Nausori

There’s more to the story

AS we commemorate Library Week, I urge the students to think outside the box and place some value on the little old library near them.

A library, which is an important cornerstone of all achievements and successions, contains a wealth of knowledge which gives people an opportunity to find jobs, explore medical research, experience new ideas and provide a sense of place for gathering.

The theme for this year’s Library Week was “There’s more to the story”.

Every one knows that libraries are filled with stories in a variety of formats — paperback, hardcover, large print, e-book, and audiobook, and they offer so much more.

Library programming brings communities together for entertainment, education, and connection.

As elders we must reinforce the role a school library plays in nurturing the life of a child.

As a student, I remember spending my free periods in the school library reading the famous Hardy Boys series and to-date whenever I have free time, I rekindle those moments in secondary school, reading Frank and Joe’s mystery cases.

Our children are lucky to have upgraded school libraries and I urge them to make use of the fiction, non-fiction, reference books and periodicals to build their depth and knowledge and to write well.

Writing requires an array of ideas and this will only come through exploring books and comics.

This week students dressed up in their favourite characters costumes and went to school in high spirits.

This must be reinforced, and the importance of a library must be stressed!

Outreach is important for demonstrating the value of school libraries.


Clear win

WITH modern day referees to the Rugby World Cup of the FIJI Water Flying Fijians’ next matches, Fiji must have a very clear win.

Must be sinless, ruthless and no mistakes.

Just “Do it” smarter and better.

Just show them to them that you’re the darlings of rugby played in the heavens.

JIOJI O TORONIBAU, Navetau, Tunuloa

Medical review

THE former attorney-general Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum wishes to travel abroad (Singapore) for a medical review.

May I ask Aiyaz as to what is wrong with our “top-notch” medical facilities in Fiji?


Two worlds

WHEN I read that $3.5 million of taxpayers money was used to renovate the PM’s residence during Bainimarama’s reign in power, I was not surprised.

It is not an uncommon third world phenomenon for the leaders, especially those who come to power through the barrel of the gun, to live in grandeur while the bulk of their people live in grinding poverty.

RAJEND NAIDU, Sydney, Australia

Moce bro

OSOBO … he’s finally leaving our shores for a better one … moce bro.

By the way … why are you still occupying government quarters when you have resigned from the service?

JOE MATATOLU, Waila, Nausori

eBay saga

IMAGINE if eBay was for real.

lt could have boosted our economy.

Never mind, a minute of silence for all those who were saying eBay Shop Fiji is legit.


Trump trait

COLORADO Secretary of State has said “Trump is a liar with no respect for the Constitution” (Yahoo! 11/9/23).

She is not the first to say that.

I wonder how many others have described Trump in that way ever since he entered politics?

RAJEND NAIDU, Sydney, Australia

Mysterious illness

MY sincere condolences to the immediate family members of the residents of Balevuto, Nacaci, Nukuloa and Toge who have lost their loved ones to the mysterious illness in their community.

Seven residents have lost their lives while others are having abdominal pains and diarrhoea. (FT 11/09)

Hopefully, the cause of this illness and relevant remedies are found soon so that other innocent lives in the area could be saved.


Plight of life

SCENARIOS and scenes

Changing in different occasions

Perceptions changing

With different reflections

Dangerous deceptions

And elevating fascinations

Multiple considerations and opinions

Changing situations

Demanding new resolutions

Needing to make adaptations

Relationships evolving

With changing times and situations

Creating difficult emotions

Patterns of thinking

Changing in different directions

Meaning of life fluctuating

With varying evaluations

Life is full of twists and turns

With success and failures

Plight of life held delicately

By so many factors and influences

Having doubts and reservations

Lost in deviations and distractions

Working limply with little purpose

Path looking dark and obscured

Prohibitions and restrictions

Worsening the situation


Plight is usually transient

A renewed silver lining emerges

Regenerating new energy

Giving a fresh meaning and grandeur to life

BHAGWANJI BHINDI, Laucala Beach Estate, Nasinu

$10k allowance

I TOTALLY agree with the Fiji Public Service Association general secretary Judith Kotobalavu that the $10,000 allowance is an “outrageous act”. (FT 14/09)

When the Government proposed that each MP receive $10,000 annually as parliamentary duty allowance, on top of their normal salaries and benefits, which was approved by Parliament, I began to wonder whether our parliamentarians, especially the Coalition Government, really care about us Fijians or not.

We were sacrificing as Fijians when VAT was increased to 15 per cent, but it was fine with us given the reason that the country is in heavy debt and increasing VAT is one way of trying to reduce our national debt.

While we, the ordinary people, are sacrificing for the betterment of the nation, here comes the big bang that the elite, our parliamentarians, want to pocket more than the plenty they already have in terms of their salaries and benefits.

This is a sad day for Fiji, for we now have witnessed a self-serving Government and I question what is now different from the previous government?

Allow me to quote Mrs Kotobalavu’s statement for it summed up everything well, she said, “This is an outrageous act that not only demonstrates a lack of empathy and understanding towards the challenges faced by ordinary citizens, but also erodes the trust between the Government and its people.”

If this is the direction the Coalition Government is taking, self-serving, I am now already looking forward to a change come the next election.


NO sooner

Honourable Sashi Kiran was posted Minister for Women, Children & Social Protection, she has continued to serve the vulnerable public beyond expectation.

With her simple attire and broad smile, she has won the hearts of many.

Her remarkable service to provide shelter to the homeless and advise to glue sniffers during her recent visit to Lautoka, are just some of her many services.

Time and again, she has urged parents to focus on their children to mold them into useful citizens.

Honourable Sashi Kiran does have to endure with struggles which is her strength, only for the betterment of the current and future generations.

But have parents taken heed of the Honourable minister’s advice to take utmost care of their children? Have parents left toddlers well behind them who would fail to reach each other as they grow older?

I hope there’ll be a sigh of relief for the Honourable minister if all parents practise to walk with their children.


Be warned

A MASSIVE cyber-attack that has crippled MGM properties in US nationwide in the past 24 hours is a foreshadowing of the vulnerabilities a fully digitised global infrastructure as advocated under the Central Bank Digital Currency banner, might face, without the pre-requisite safeguards being put in place.

If the multibillion-dollar MGM enterprises with its multimillion-dollar robust state-of-the-art systems can be infiltrated, what chance does a small country like Fiji have.

In Las Vegas, guests cannot get into their rooms or order meals.

The slot machines stand silent.

Now imagine if this was the global financial system and all your critical data can be wiped out; savings, retirement fund, a doomsday nightmare scenario.

I am not saying we should not enjoy the benefits of a digital system.

But it is essential we acknowledge there is always going to be a trade-off between system complexity and vulnerability; it is the nature of the beast and which hackers exploit.

So in rushing headlong to CBDC as we seem to be doing in Fiji, and which some suspect the ultimate end game is societal control, let us learn from the MGM hacking to ensure that maybe a fully CBDC infrastructure might not be the way to go.

Some kind of hybrid system resistant to being fully hacked, might be the prudent option.

MAREKO VULI, Nakasi, Nausori

Fiji’s soft spot

THE loss against Wales is becoming hard to bear especially when our boys played gallantly and to the last seconds.

Had Semi Radradra picked the ball and found his way to the try line, we would have recorded an epic and a historic victory.

His dad apologised to the nation — such a heartbreaking moment!

However, the loss is water under the bridge and the boys must remain focused on the tough battle that awaits them on Monday morning.

The decisions made by the match officials will continue to haunt many, but a win against the Wallabies will settle things up.

The loss hurts me, and many others and we are bracing for another cracker come Monday morning.

I make a plea to World Rugby to ensure that teams are not victimised because of the emotions of the match officials.

After all, a lot of time, funding and effort are spent preparing a team for the RWC tournament.

On the other hand, Rodney Duthie pointed out Fiji’s soft spot — poor backline defence that allowed Wales to sneak in with a couple of soft tries.

I hope the coaching panel will rectify this as history beckons the Flying Fijians come Monday!

All the best for the battle brothers!


The attacks of 9/11

THE world paid homage to the thousands of people who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks on the American twin towers.

It is barely believable that 22 years have passed since the tragic day that forever changed global networking and security, especially for air travel.

I have watched loads of documentaries and videos regarding the terrorist attack and how it transpired, only to learn new information every time and have more silent prayers to remember the lives that were lost on that day.

Gone but never forgotten.

Rest in peace.

RAYNAV CHAND, Nakasi, Nausori

There is no other way

THERE is no other way or option if we are to progress at the Rugby World Cup 2023.

When the dust settles this weekend, the Flying Fijians should have registered a victory and one with a high score margin against Australia.

We must register more points earlier in the match.

What a game awaits the nation and high levels of anxiety.

Looking forward to our Flying Fijians in action again.


Take the 3 points

I WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree with “Super-boot” Severo Koroduadua as per his Fiji One TV interview shown on Thursday evening (September 14, 2023).

The FIJI Water Flying Fijians must take every three points when given.

We must not be over-confident and chosey.

The Flying Fijians could have easily beaten Wales had we taken at least nine points in the first 30 minutes.

It is all history now.

We must learn.

Hindsight is so wonderful.

We stand by you.

Play hard and smart.

Be disciplined.

Wallabies are definitely beatable (minus the 16th player).

Toso tale Viti, toso.

RONNIE CHANG, Martintar, Nadi

Bullied Tier 2 nations

THE Wales v Fiji Rugby World Cup game showed just how much Tier 2 nations are bullied at the global stage.

Some atrocious refereeing decisions by the officials has sent the Fijian fanbase and global rugby fraternity into a meltdown, with referee Mathew Carley at the centre of everything.

To think that Fiji’s world cup spot is in jeopardy thanks to some extremely questionable decisions by the referee, is a testament to how Tier 2 nations, especially from the Pacific Islands, are bullied and downgraded.

The whole world saw one of the biggest “robberies” in history with even mainstream European News channels and rugby pundits speaking against the unfair and biased decisions that the referee made on the pitch.

I wish to question whether World Rugby will come out and justify and apologise to Fiji rugby or will they let this slide under the carpet.

Meanwhile, I urge the Fiji Rugby Union board to not sit quietly and suffer.

RAYNAV CHAND, Nakasi, Nausori

Survivor’s retreat on Beqa

PEKAI Kotoisuva shared another inspirational story via the People column (FT 15/09).

Via the column, Pekai shared the story of Mereane Vavataga, who had a timely message for the readers, “We never know what the other is going through because women are very good at camouflaging their feelings by putting on a happy face.”

She said women and girls needed to watch out for each other as she worked on getting a safe space for cancer survivors to be the best version of themselves which culminated into an NGO as His Excellency Ratu Wiliame Katonivere launched her logo — Self Care Retreat.

She shared how her journey began after one of her best friends got diagnosed with breast cancer.

She also shared that her best friend experienced denial and silence and she urged readers to get checked.

Her NGO, the Self Care Retreat, has gained the recognition that it deserves thanks to Mereane who is known for her loving and caring attitude.

The best part is that, using Bible sessions, Mereane has groomed her group into a close knitted family.

Mereane gets satisfaction by being surrounded by prayerful warriors and being a helping hand.

I salute Mereane for the love and care that she expresses towards cancer patients.

Vinaka vakalevu!


Glue laws

THE Fiji Times report on “Glue laws in pipelines” with picture of a street dweller holding a bottle of glue (FT 13/9) keeps one wondering as whom to blame for such irresponsible behaviour.

Such social problems should be addressed by educating and awaring the communities, religious groups, schools, NGOs, police and medical authorities in partnership.

Parents play a major role to discipline their children by being good role models themselves.

For their negligence, they should be taken to task.

Charity begins at home.

TAHIR ALI, Hamilton, New Zealand

Good news

GOOD news for those wanting to travel to Australia as the visa processing time is now reduced from 36 days to just over a week.

This will assist with planning as the waiting period for our citizens is shorter.

In the past some of our people have had to wait for quite a while, anxiously checking on updates each day.

Appreciation to the Australian Government.

The long time dream of Fijian citizens is easier access to the Land Down Under but for now our Flying Fijians will waste no time in trying to cross the Wallaby line in an attempt to register maximum scores this weekend.


Lions roar into semi-final

CONGRATULATIONS to the Babasiga Lions for booking a spot in the semi-final of the Rooster Chicken/Scoops Ice-Cream Battle of the Giants 2023.

The Lions edged the Men-in-Black 2-1 to qualify.

They had the same points and goal average as the Delta Tigers but came through as their players had better discipline.

A mammoth task lies ahead for the Lions as they face the mighty Blues in the semi-finals.

I am betting my bottom dollar on the Blues and I know that my good friend Rajnesh Lingam has already done the same for the Lions.

Come game day, we would find out if the Lions still have the stamina to keep roaring.

Mind nahi karna guddu!


Rice price increase

THE Fiji Times report on rice price increase, a staple food for many Fijians, will be a struggle for many of us to survive (FT 9/9).

Whatever reasons at hand, we still need to eat to survive.

There is very limited choice with expensive, healthy food for our well-being to match with our earnings.

The imported rice price continues to rise.

I hope some latest tools and technology could be used to revive Rewa Rice Scheme in well blessed, suitable weather in Rewa.

Time to plant more rice.

TAHIR ALI, Hamilton, New Zealand

Prioritise road maintenance

WE could see a lot of frantic activity in the past few weeks as pothole marking and patching crews patched up repetitive potholes and depressions in the roads to make them safer.

An example is removal of the Tamavua Village hump and after the seventh trip to the site by the contractor, the excavator bucket tooth marks remain to be sealed and this chokes traffic to a dead stop daily.

Apart from the vast increase in traffic on the roads, major roads have had repair works and construction going on, creating accident-prone conditions on the congested roads, detours and reducing the number of lanes to aid construction activity at peak intervals.

Regrettably, many of these roads are not in top condition, as road resurfacing schedules have not been regularly followed considering the wear-and-tear and adverse weather.

We see plenty of potholes, bumpy stretches, steep road edges because of poor resurfacing, litter on the roads, especially at junctions, faded lane and other markings, streetlights that do not light up, signboards blocked by trees, branches jutting onto the road, not to mention untrimmed grass and brush on the side of the roads and uncleared drains.

Traffic on some stretches comes to a stop during a downpour and water remains stagnant even after the rain has stopped.

Many of these can be attributed to poor spending on road maintenance and a lack of technical expertise and supervision.

Good roads minimise travel costs, accidents and casualties.

The police need to chip in, as their presence is essential on roads and junctions leading to or diverging from the highways and major trunk roads, as these are spots where congestion builds up.


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