Letters to the Editor | Thursday, February 8, 2024

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Seventh Brigade deputy commander Colonel Penioni Naliva. Picture: 7th Brigade – Australian Army FB page

Just allegations

Army Commander Jone Kalouniwai says human rights violations by Colonel Naliva are “just allegations” (FT 5/2).

What I can’t understand is why the allegations have been made against the military man?

Was any tribunal set up to make a finding on the alleged human rights violations?

Perhaps these allegations will be resolved when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission modelled on the South African example is finally established.

When will it be established?

Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia

Making ends meet

I was inspired by 57-year-old Sigatoka Municipal Market vendor Karalaini Mainewa who shared her story with Salaseini Gonelevu (FT: 07/02).

Her story shows a woman’s quest for success through her determination, perseverance, and hard work.

Times are hard.

The cost of living is rising, but there are those like Salaseini who, instead of complaining, are battling things to survive.

Salaseini’s story is one based on hope and optimism.

She makes ends meet by selling various fruits and vegetables in the market.

She does not rely on anyone to fend for her.

Her cheerful and positive attitude are recipes as far as her sales was concerned.

No job is small and if one has the desire and courage, he/she will attain the fruits of his/her labour.

Salaseini has set the benchmark for those facing challenges in life.

She has encouraged women to take up hardships and use them as motivational factors and opportunities in life.

The Fiji Times just gets better with such original and vitalising stories!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Smoke-free challenge

There are many regulations in place that have smoke-free environment for our health and safety.

How about ban smoking at all cost?

Where there is smoke, there is fire.

For some of us, the new year’s resolution “stop smoking” will pay well in advance.

Tahir Ali, Hamilton, New Zealand

Sound of freedom

We watched a very distressing movie the other night.

Sound of freedom is based on a true story about human trafficking, exploitation and specifically about child abduction for the sex trade.

It made us feel aggrieved and incensed at the way these predators go about luring and ensnaring their victims using coercion, deception and promises for a better life and other attractive golden carrots to ensnare their victims as sex slaves.

The shocking truth is, human trafficking for the sex trade is worth over $150billion worldwide a year.

Because human trafficking operates in the dark corridors of the world-wide net the vast majority of the victims are women and girls.

Pedophiles along with human traffickers are using sophisticated tactics and technology to target their victims especially in vulnerable communities.

And the global network is growing rapidly because of the demand for illicit sex and pornography.

My mind boggles at how, supposedly, ordinary people are engaged in this despicable trade knowing they are demonising innocent women, girls and children causing suffering and misery for the grieving families who’ve been shattered because of losing loved ones to this terrifying and diabolically evil act.

Know where your children and loved ones are at all times because there are predators casing your area looking for likely victims.

So be watchful and be aware.

And for those engaged in this evil act, remember that sobering scripture from Matthew 18:6-7 “If anyone causes one of these little ones — those who believe in me — to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble!”

And this same scripture applies to those engaged in drug trafficking, brokerage and pornography.

You are treading on dangerous ground and if the law doesn’t catch up with you another more terrifying consequence awaits you.

Colin Deoki, Australia

The 7s dream!

To former Fiji 7s squad member Petero Ratumaitavuki (FT: 05/02) — don’t give up on your dream of wearing the 7s jumper!

Continue working hard and the fruits of your hard work, commitment and perseverance will be rewarded.

Speedster Petero, who impressed fans during the 2024 McDonald’s Fiji’s Coral Coast 7s tournament at Lawaqa Park alongside Saunaka rover Akuila Momo, played for Dominion Brothers and was part of the extended training squad in 2022, but dropped out.

I salute Petero’s family for being his source of motivation and tower of strength, and I urge him to have faith in his talent and calibre.

I’m adamant that his dream of donning the national 7s jumper will be fulfilled!

This kid has speed to burn, and we need speed in our 7s team!

He will fuel and add power to the team.

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa

City modernisation

Lautoka City Council’s efforts in the modernisation of our city is highly commended (fbc.com).

However, before further enhancing the city’s infrastructure, can the council prioritise addressing and resolving the critical obstacles faced by the citizens?

These include the potholes created within the city boundary and residential areas after substantial downpour.

Filling it up with sand is just a Band Aid remedy, a permanent fix would be more practical.

Secondly, the rapidly increasing stray dog population causing chaos in densely populated zones and despite numerous grievances lodged, a solution to this canine plague still appears to be somewhere in the far horizon.

Dog trapping was obviously not a feasible exercise.

Thirdly, Lautoka was once voted the cleanest city in the country, sadly this is not the case any more.

The scenic Marine Drive is ominously littered with household refuse inconsiderately dumped by negligent individuals under the cover of darkness.

The strays have no reluctance in happily scattering the garbage around.

A filthy sight indeed.

Perhaps CCTV cameras should be mounted at strategic positions to nab these culprits.

A name and shame campaign would act as a deterrent as well.

Lastly, the chair special administrator has revealed a lot of promising projects and reforms planned for our beautiful city.

The completion of our $12m Olympic standard swimming pool would be an ideal accomplishment I suppose.

I am eager to put on my red Speedos and take a dip in it.

Nishant Singh, Lautoka

Ovalau rugby

Sadly, FRU has re-adopted the promotion-relegation series, obviously at the behest of the “bigger and richer” unions.


FRU OPs manager and Tournament director, Tiko Matawalu, stated: “In a bid to enhance the overall Skipper Cup experience for both participants and audience, Rugby House has reintroduced the promotion-relegation concept with a revised format”.


Oh really?

You gotta be joking.

Distinctly, such a decision is ‘anti-development”.


Why make it difficult for the Vanua Championship teams by denying them an opportunity, initially?

Why not simply promote the top two vanua teams and demote the bottom two Skipper teams.


Ovalau Rugby has proven beyond doubt that any team from the lower rungs of local rugby, can mix it with the ‘bigger teams’.

Since its promotion to the Major Union in 2001, and with a cavalry of local island boys only (no imports), Ovalau, in its 15 years of top flight rugby, dethroned well-established premier teams and even went on to win the coveted Farebrother Sullivan Trophy in only its second year in the Major Union.

Ovalau, is the only team in Fiji rugby history that boasts a proud record of having worked its way up from the Island Zone and Minor Union competitions to the Major Union, without any favours but through guts and grit, blood, sweat and tears.

“You don’t know, I tell you.”

Yes, I’ve personally witnessed it.

Undoubtedly, FRU embracing the promotion-relegation series is indeed a slap in the face for the Vanua Championship teams.

I do hope that the Vanua Championship teams do make a stand against such an obnoxious decision.

Anthony Sahai, Levuka, Ovalau

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