Letters to the Editor | Thursday, February 22, 2024

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The damaged hillside in Delainavesi, Lami. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Damaged hillside

The ongoing damage to the hillside in Delainavesi, Lami was first raised with the Office of the Prime Minister, and the Department of Environment in September, 2023. It was later raised with the relevant agencies such as the Ministry of Local Government, Department of Town & Country Planning, Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources, and the iTaukei Lands Trust Board. The sad part is that no substantive response has been received todate. It reminds me of Savenaca Narube’s concern about the slow pace of progress or development on just about any issue under this Government. Our concern in the Delainavesi and Lami community is not only on the ugly scar created on this hillside, and the resulting damage to the environment, but also the  over 30 feet cliff that has been created is in itself a danger to our surrounding community. We continued to witness though the busy daily excavation and carriage of soil and rocks from the site obviously sold and used elsewhere. We are bewildered as to what type of development was approved by the authorities for this site. The least the authorities could have done was inform the Delainavesi, Lami community of this project beforehand. With the current state of affairs, we are wondering how the authorities and the owners of this development will convert and adjust this scarred and damaged hillside to something meaningful. The authorities concerned owe the Delainavesi, Lami community and the public at large some urgent and serious explanation. SAVERIO BALEIKANACEA, Delainavesi, Lami

Water mystery

Last Sunday they shut water supply in a certain neighbourhood for around 16 hours, then shut down supply again around 6am this week on Monday. After calling some of the water people in my contacts list, I was advised by some of the water people that their reservoirs were “healthy”, apparently a term they use for full reservoirs. One of the water people in fact expressed surprise at water supply being shut. Meanwhile, on Sunday there were water carting trucks supplying water to the affected area. On Monday morning, after calling the water people, I sent a message to some media people requesting coverage of the problem. Then, bang, water supply was restored, a little after 9am. Okay, thanks to the water people for giving us water again. You did us no favour. The mystery is about the connection between the water cuts and the trucks though. Donald Singh, Suva

Levuka road signage

After approximately two weeks of frequent rainfall, torrential at times, FRA’s contractors on Ovalau decided to erect posts with road signages instead of immediately attending to the innumerable potholes which have sprung up since. Pathetic planning indeed. A couple of year’s ago, I’d notified the relevant stakeholders regarding road signages erected in the wrong location together with the incorrect spelling of same. For instance Butcher’s St, erected then, still reads Buchers St. Today (21/02), Bentley’s Lane signage was erected but spelt as Bentlys instead. Subsequently, honourable PM Sitiveni Rabuka had earlier stated that two government ministers are under investigation for “probably allegations of abuse of office”(FT 20/02). Holy moly. Has the circus show started? Anthony Sahai Levuka, Ovalau

Housing scheme

The PRB’s announcement of a planned rent to own scheme will come as a huge welcome relief for thousands of Fijians. It’ll give low income earning families a chance to own an appreciable asset that will help make their lives better providing stability and a sense of security. I’m sure that people like Fr Kevin Barr and Allen Lockington will be jumping for joy and giving each other high fives in heaven. However, may I respectfully recommend that when the scheme is ready to launch, families are given a heads up about learning the responsibilities and requirements of ownership especially with maintenance, insurance and rates management. Or build the rates into the repayment plan so that families can manage their mortgage payments without having to worry. Well done to CEO Timoci Naleba and your team for resurrecting this concept and hopefully with the Government’s blessing, helping it to become a reality. Colin Deoki, Australia

Pyramid scheme

Well the news about an alleged pyramid scheme near the horizon must have excited many but one of my friends is utterly disappointed. He thinks among the many institutions which have started giving warnings, the Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission should also get involved. Unlike the previous scheme which covered many products, this alleged scheme targets skin care products. Is it for the swipers only, he asks? Mohammed Imraz Janif Natabua, Lautoka

Increase in crime

First and foremost, I would like to state that no one should be baffled by the current state of the economy or crime rate. It is blatantly clear that the suppression of reality checks over the past 16 years of governance and the appointment of inexperienced individuals to head important government institutions is now coming back to bite us in the backside. One has the example of the Head of the Bureau of Statistics who was unceremoniously dumped for highlighting the truth. Assistant Commissioner Brown highlighted some of the failings of our systems and this was endorsed by our acting commissioner. I’m hopeful that the Coalition Government will continue to encourage everyone to speak the truth and to keep the public in the know. The public will respond and assist as we want Fiji to prosper. I listen to the Opposition continually deride the Coalition for the so called crime rate — duh — it was always there! Does anyone really believe that drug couriers would just wake up one morning and decide to transport billions of dollars through Fiji? Reality check — years of planning and working with a selective group of mules. Yes Mr Seruiratu, what’s the Fijian saying? E sega ni ura me damu nikua! (Things don’t happen over night). TAI J SMITH Kinoya, Nasinu

Official speeches

Can the Coalition Government explain why its Cabinet including the Prime Minister, cabinet ministers, assistant ministers, and senior officials, who are themselves iTaukei, are continuing with the FijiFirst government practice of making the key official address, speeches, statements in the English language when addressing an audience which is either fully or predominantly iTaukei. I tend to find this type of action not only unacceptable, but also insulting, repulsive, and downright disrespectful. It would be acceptable and understandable if the officiating minister or official is a non iTaukei. Saverio Baleikanacea Delainavesi, Lami

GCC meet

Minister for iTaukei Affairs says preparations are underway for another significant gathering for our chiefs. What will be so significant for this meeting? Looking after the interest and welfare of the iTaukei should be the main priority of that not so significant group of men. Sobo! Wise Muavono Balawa, Lautoka

Tourism boom

The tourism industry looks very promising with a $1.3b investment on the horizon, said DPM Mr Gavoka. I believe the Coalition Government’s eagerness towards the nation’s economic recovery is crystal clear. On the other side of the coin, “bogus” investors, drug related “packages” and prostitution are usually attracted as well. We have to “upgrade” our border security capabilities and our investment regulatory requirements, to appropriate such booming prospects. Samu Silatolu, Nakasi

Fiji’s stand

These two articles in The Fiji Times of the same day ‘Fiji stands by Israel’ and ‘Palestinians seek end to Israeli occupation’ (FT 21/2) made me wonder so whose interest is Fiji serving — the oppressor or the oppressed? Rajend Naidu Sydney, Australia

Future PM

Tukai Lagonilakeba’s vision in The Fiji Times 18/2 is any Fijian could be Fiji’s prime minister irrespective of race, colour or religion. It could be anyone’s guess who could be the next PM of the democratic government of, for the people, by the people. Help us God for a well blessed better Fiji tomorrow. Tahir Ali Hamilton, New Zealand

Army’s help

The army rendering its timely assistance to combat Fiji’s drug pandemic sounds promising indeed (FT 21/02). Our police officers can certainly use the military’s expertise in curbing this overpowering threat. But first, corrupt cops involved in the drug trade need to be weeded out and kicked out of the force. Nishant Singh, Lautoka

Army ready to help!

Reading pages two and three of The Fiji Times (21/02) scared me, as I pondered about the path of destruction that our youth are taking in terms of consuming drugs and becoming addicted to drugs. The fact that children are shooting ice into their veins by sharing used needles is also scary. What honourable Sashi Kiran shared (FT 21/02) is worrying as vulnerable kids are being targeted. On the other hand, I thank the army for pledging assistance to police. Once the forces join hands, addressing social ills will be easy. The use of drugs is affecting children and the uphill battle our authorities face is real and challenging, so a joint effort is needed to curb the devastating impact of hard drugs. Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam Nadawa, Nasinu

Army’s role

The army being ready to help the police is a good thing, however, for a regular citizen as myself, this latest development makes me question: n The capability of the Commissioner of Police and his force; n The recent headlines of corrupt cops lurking within the police force, if not cleaned up! What would that mean with the two forces coming together?; n The recent concern about section 131 (2) of the constitution and the army’s involvement in activities with the police and what that could imply?; n Where all the new recruits are going? It seems like the police force is still understaffed?; n Can we afford to support all these additional resources? and n No, the answer is not in making fast money through quick fixes like medical cannabis and casinos — both of which will multiply our current problems and drive us further into debt by eating up resources that can be better spent in the betterment of our nation or in paying off our debts! Noleen Billings, Savusavu

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