Letters to the Editor | Thursday, February 29, 2024

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Villagers of Korolevu perform a traditional kava ceremony during the Great Council of Chiefs meeting at the Yatu Lau Lagoon Resort at Pacific Harbour. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

GCC meeting in Pacific Harbour

THE GCC meeting will be held in Pacific Harbour for two days. There will be a lot of food for this united bunch of chiefs who will progress the cause of “their people”. None of them are self-serving, they are all there for the welfare of all Fijians. I am looking forward to seeing the report of the transformative visit and study tour by their delegation to China last year. The people of Fiji are truly blessed that this “love fest” is so inclusive, representative and multi-cultural. JAN NISSAR
Sydney, Australia

Head coach

IT would be cynical to replace incumbent 7s head coach on the eve of the Paris Olympics; I mean, with just literally four months away! However, with hindsight to this recent past tournament, it is further callous and imbecilic to keep blaming Ben Gollings for the debacle. Moreover, it is now apparently clear that the players’ on-field decisions during crucial moments of the game has been detrimental, self-centred and egoistic thus defeats and disqualifies the narrative of displacing Ben Gollings and further deepening the polarised opinions bordering on political and legal ramifications. Fiji’s winless streak is unheard of ever since the inception of the abbreviated code but winning and defending the gold medal in Paris is suffice to draw a veil over the pressing matter! Chiuu.. ALIPATE TUBERI Suva

Historic fire

IT was sad indeed to witness the historically iconic Defence Club in Suva, engulfed in flames. Fast forward to our UNESCO designated World Heritage Site of historical Levuka, situated on the magical island of Ovalau. It’s as clear as daylight, that we do not have the necessary resources/equipment available to “quench the fire”, should one start up at either end of the town. Are the relevant stakeholders aware of the risks/dangers involved should such occur? We have government ministers and other senior officials visit almost on a weekly basis but are they aware of such? Government needs to provide our firemen with adequate and appropriate contemporary fire fighting equipment to negate any serious fires should our world heritage town be engulfed in flames till kingdom come. It is a serious issue which Government must urgently address, if they do care, that is. On another note, a Deputy PM had recently visited Levuka. Before his visit, a “directive” was sent from his ministry to the host, that he doesn’t eat certain food, such as donu, kawakawa and pork. I humbly request our Hon. DPM, to please ensure that in future, all visiting government ministers and senior officials, together with their entourage, fork out their own perks for breakfast, lunch and dinner expenses as they’re been paid hefty salaries including travelling allowances. Why heap extra financial constraints/burden, etc, on the hosts? To put it bluntly, “just get in, get the job done, jot down notes on what needs to be fixed and done to better the town/island and get out”. No hanky-panky “va lusi gauna” kinda stuff. ANTHONY SAHAI Levuka, Ovalau

The sky is falling

THE stadium at the Mickey Mouse tournament held in Vancouver last weekend was empty. So, I do not believe the “Vancouvans” have a very high regard for this game. I do not think Fijians watching at home saw the empty seats; they all were too busy watching the silly games. Anyway, Fiji lost because of the referees and the coach, so it follows the coach’s head must roll, we must bring back ageing “blasts from the past”, we all must pray and fast diligently. The Paris Olympics is just around the corner and the sky is going to fall if we do not do all these things and quickly. Problem solved. It is all so predictable. Sorry, what are we going to do about the referees? Come again, I did not hear that? JAN NISSAR Sydney, Australia

Sugar industry

WHAT was once a glorious backbone of the Fijian economy is now an ailing industry. Coming from a sugarcane farming background, I know too well the plights of farmers when the crushing season begins. Arun Singh (FT 27/02) rightfully points out that the younger generation is not interested in sugarcane farming. Youngsters prefer to venture into lucrative jobs rather than relying on an industry which might close down in the near future. Most farmers are turning their cane farms into livestock or cash crop farms because it gives them more money. There are also endless demands by harvesters, poor mill infrastructure and not to forget the rising cost of living. Unless the Ministry of Sugar does a miracle to revive the industry, we are losing our ample time and effort in holding meetings, and sending farmers
and ministers to India to get ideas or is it just a paid holiday? AVITESH D KUMAR BA

Peace through mutual respect

FIJI’S UN ambassador Filipo Tarakinikini’s submission to the ICJ that “Fiji strongly believes the only way to achieve truly sustainable peace between Israel and the Palestinian people … is through mutual respect” (FT 28/2) is I believe politically naive. When you have the dynamics of colonial domination and oppression on the one hand and a struggle for sovereignty and freedom on the other, only mutual antagonism and aggression and violence ensues. Look what happened in East Timor. And, look what’s happening in West Papua. Mutual respect was/ is conspicuous by its absence. The only way forward for enduring peace is to end the colonial domination and oppression. That is the abiding lesson from history. RAJEND NAIDU SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

THE end of cheques

is the end of an era. Are we really sure we wish to do away with the safety factor of words as well as numbers to denote the sum required? Are our signatures going to become a thing of the past? And our names? We are now known by numbers and each of us has a collection of them to remember. This can cause problems for us oldies. Having to remember a sequence of numbers for this and another sequence for that is a strain on our ageing minds. I was taught to recite my full name at a very early age. It is safely with me to the end of my life. Most of my friends of my age seem to manage their mobile phone, a skill I am still hoping to master one day, but I notice that most of my friends, when asked, cannot tell the number of their phone! Some years ago I was introduced to a card and the ATM. As I reside near the central business district of Suva, I do find this a handy way of accessing “real money”. However, I have more than once encountered a big problem. In times of stress, as, for instance, when my husband was dying, I could not find the required numbers and consequently lost the card and had to borrow from a friend and later get a replacement from the bank with a new number to memorise! But ATMs are not readily available in many places and require one to have a bank account and sufficient resources. As I have said before now, I buy my vegetables from the Suva market every Saturday morning. Have those who wish to replace “real money”, ie cheques, and cash, thought about the rural folk, women and men, who sit with their $2, $3, $5, or sometimes $1(!) plates of vegetables that they have grown or fruit they have gathered from the trees? We, the shoppers, have saved our coins and our small notes to make these simple but vital transactions that provide us with food and the rural folk with some “real money” to spend on necessities before they return home. I am fortunate to have a laptop and can manage emails. It is a relief to receive by email my monthly accounts for the necessities, electricity and land line telephone and the three monthly water account, and I thank MaxValue for accepting my monthly cash payment and arranging the necessary transactions. Yes, some modern ways of doing things are good, but my husband could write his cheques, put them in an envelope and send them off by post. But in recent years we find the Post Office morphing into a stationery shop since fewer people have a use for the postage system. I do hope that those with the power to make the huge changes to the way we buy and sell in everyday life are not forgetting us “ordinary” folk. Please do not send us back to the days of bartering for our daily needs. TESSA MACKENZIE Suva

Farmers and IDs

I READ in your paper about the Ministry of Agriculture introducing IDs for farmers. A very good idea. In the two developed neighbouring countries you could pick up fruits and vegetables in a supermarket and that batch (if not exactly each apple or grape) could be traced back to the farm and date of harvest. We’d love to see the system implemented and also effective. These days a lot of things need to be tracked. DONALD SINGH Suva

Ready to help

DRUGS are a huge problem in Fiji and the military has declared it is ready to help in the war against drugs. I think something similar shall be expected from the Great Council of Chiefs after the completion of their meeting. MOHAMMED IMRAZ JANIF Natabua, Lautoka

Defence Club

SO sad in its hour of desperate need the Defence Club had no defence and got consumed by a raging fire. The Defence Club went down taking its long illustrious historical heritage with it. For us who grew up in Suva, it’s a terrible loss. RAJEND NAIDU Sydney, Australia

Right timing

THE release of the movie “One Love Bob Marley” couldn’t have been any better amidst the ongoing killing in Gaza and West Bank, and the global outcry as a response to leaders to recognise the human rights of Palestinians and the oppression they are facing now and years before. Marley puts it perfectly: “That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all, without regard to race. A dis a war”. LAISAYANE SUSU Lautoka

Stuffed fish

ANXIOUS about what you will stuff into your next steamed fish dish? Well, worry no more. Kadavu fish now comes “loaded” from the source. Suggestion: to be served as a side dish. SAMU RAILOA Nadi

Barefoot College

IS there any update available on the progress of Barefoot College in Wainikoro? Will the construction of the building ever be completed? SANJEET PRASAD LABASA

Heritage site

IS there any monitoring mechanism in place for all the properties that has been declared a heritage site? Renovating is not an option since it has been declared a heritage site, however, regular inspection should be conducted thoroughly to maintain its standard. That is a lesson to learn from the old Defence Club fire. S T VUNIWAQA Nasese, Suva

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