Letters to the Editor | Thursday, June 8, 2023

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Rescuers work at the site of passenger trains accident, in Balasore district, in the eastern Indian state of Orissa on June 3. Picture: AP

India railway accident

THE railway accident in Odisha is shocking, horrible and woeful. It is believed to be the worst rail accident in India in nearly three decades that leaves 288 people dead and over 1100 injured (still counting). More bodies are yet to be recovered as rescuers try frantically to reach them. It is no ordinary task combing through such a vast wreckage. Watching the video and pictures of the train accident is very sorrowful. My condolences to all people who have lost their loved ones. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been to the scene of the accident to gain firsthand knowledge of the gravity of the situation. We pray that the affected find the strength and courage to overcome the pain and misery the tragedy has caused. SURESH CHAND Nadi

Baseless accusations

I AM writing in response to Mahendra Chaudhry’s recent claim against Biman Prasad (FT 5/06). I find such baseless accusations to be harmful to our political discourse and potentially misleading to the public. It is important for political leaders such as Mr Chaudhry to present evidence and facts to support his claims, instead of resorting to personal attacks and name-calling. Therefore, I urge Mr Chaudhry to provide irrefutable evidence of Mr Prasad making such a promise or to retract his statement. I believe that our democracy would benefit greatly from a more constructive and respectful debate, where leaders focus on policies and programs that will improve the lives of all Fijians. It is time for us to move away from petty-minded agitators and work together towards a brighter future. KEVIN STONE NSW, Australia

Poverty situation

LATELY we heard and read so many relevant articles on poverty situations in our country. In fact this is an ongoing issue for so many years but I believe it got worse in the past four or five years. We even hear that about 75 per cent of those in this category are iTaukei. Incidences of poverty, I believe, are found in all ethnic groups. Recently, during the economic summit, I heard a particular phrase used by a popular politician in their panel discussions and this caught my attention. His phrase was “asset rich and cash poor”. He even openly asked the audience why our iTaukei community — holding over 90 per cent of land area and other valuable resources — are cash poor. A good topic for public debate and discussions. People should come out openly with their views on this burning issue. According to my observations, I could clearly see that the native landowners thought by giving their land on rent will give them good return and the trend continued with rental going up and up. The tenant community, despite giving all they could, finally were fighting a losing battle. As a result so many gave up farming and a good number even migrated to other developed countries. Today we see several thousand hectares of productive land vacant and many hectares under bush. Who are the main losers here? Of course the landowners and the country itself. Fiji is a bit too much tourism oriented but I believe many developed countries have agriculture as their backbone including India that rely on its 75 per cent agricultural products. It is self sufficient despite its huge population and also exports crops such as wheat and sugar. Some of us also believe that the presence of the Great Council of Chiefs (GCC) now may make a difference. They should formulate some sort of rules in their communities; example ban kava sessions after 10pm in all villages. Focus should be on cultivating healthy farms. I was also impressed to see so many iTaukei students graduating from the Navuso Agriculture institute lately and their knowledge must not be wasted. Let us all put in our best to see Fiji strong in agriculture. Finally, I humbly request the Coalition Government not to follow the previous practice of “freebies and handouts”. This system was a complete failure and if not corrected, will further increase the debt burden. VIJAY MAHARAJ Navua

Child rape crisis

SAVE the Children Fiji CEO Shairana Ali speaking on children’s parenting approach has echoed a key message that our children in Fiji to be in a safe environment, loved and protected from all forms of abuse (FT 3/6). I feel parents should be responsible at all times for the whereabouts of their children. The schools, religious groups and society also have roles to play for their welfare. At times they are found at wrong places with some  bad habits. The best we can give to our children is a few minutes of our valuable time each day — probably at the dinner table. “Parenthood — it’s about guiding the next generation, and forgetting the last”. — Jewish proverb. TAHIR ALI Hamilton, New Zealand

Free, open world

MR Sakiasi Ditoka is correct in a way relevant to his Facebook comments, but he is a public figure as part of our Coalition Government who is also a retired RFMF Major. I believe RFMF Commander Jone Kalouniwai has every right to comment on George Speight’s intended premature release from prison considering it can be a national security risk for the nation, but let’s hope good sense prevails. Freedom of speech is held high by our Coalition Government and it’s healthy. TUKAI LAGONILAKEBA NADI

Social issue

RECENTLY, there is a rise in iTaukei men murdering their wife or partner over some useless disputes resulting in loss of lives. One wonders where does this kind of behaviour emanates from? This social topic should be on the agenda of the Great Council of Chiefs and I hope the Minister for iTaukei Affairs will take it on board as one of the topics in the next provincial or district council meetings around the 14 provinces in Fiji before the next GCC meeting. Because as Fijians, it’s not my culture killing wives and partners unlike before the arrival of Christianity in Fiji in the 18th Century. How about yours?  JIOJI M CAKACAKA VOTUALEVU, NADI

Australian green card

WE all know that USA has a green card lottery every year in which those who qualify can apply for free during the months of October to November every year and the result can be checked online from May the following year. From July 1, 2023, Australia is also doing its own brand of green card lottery but they are charging $A25 for every application. Theirs is called Pacific Engagement Visa (PEV) and 3000 Pacific Islanders will be picked every year to work in Australia and become permanent residents. It is only for people under 45 years old and your immediate family can join you if you are married. As a visa agent, I believe this is good news for us Fijians and all Pacific Islanders under 45 wishing to seek greener pastures in Australia. With the many problems some of our workers in Australia under the PALM and Seasonal Work Schemes are facing; this is a lifesaver for them too, if picked. This can be answer to prayer for some families but as a whole; I believe that the yearly PEV can help the nation in reducing its unemployed statistics and an open door for Fijians to be helping their Fijian families. SAVENACA VAKALIWALIWA Tacirua, Nasinu

Thinking in advance

WITH the Rugby World Cup only a few months away, is it time to also start planning for the recruitment of a new national coach beyond December 2023? The dream to the next Rugby World Cup starts sooner for those who are thinking in advance. For example, the All Blacks have announced their new coach to take the reigns after the Rugby World Cup. Let’s remain positive that our rugby head house is thinking strategically and into the future. It will be interesting to see our new crop of players who will represent us in 2024 and beyond as right now, there are many good players close to the end of their rugby careers. FLOYD ROBINSON Micronesia

Uncharted waters

THE Fijian Drua is sailing into uncharted waters through reefs and cyclonic weather as they steer into the quarters. A newbie, in only two seasons. What they’re doing, is really unbelievable. Wishing they played here, never mind, we’ll all be with them there. To our gallant mariners, laveta na rara,nodratou stadium talega! EDWARD BLAKELOCK Pacific Harbour

Prayer and fasting

I AM not sure if the people of Fiji realise that since being “elected”, the God-fearing members of this Coalition Government have stopped talking about prayers and fasting. JAN NISSAR Sydney, Australia

Dull lights

ONE thing I noticed travelling from the Lautoka wharf to Shirley Park is that the lights are very dull and most places are very dark as if there is no lights. Also, the Namoli car park has no lights. It’s always dark and the drunkards enjoy themselves there. Lautoka’s second main city and yet the environment is dull. Please LCC, can there be some changes. RAVINESH RAM Lautoka

Smart man

THOSE constantly looking over their shoulders have one smart man to thank. DAN URAI Lautoka

Prayers for Drua

WHAT if we all Fijians pray for the Drua to win against the Crusaders. If the Drua wins, well and good but if they lose, we would have made God happy for still wanting God to help us in everything. SUKHA SINGH Labasa

Nasese foreshore

VERY happy to hear the current Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources has put the break on the Nasese foreshore development. The community did not want that so-called development in that area. What’s flabbergasting is how the development lease was granted when the area in question had been officially designated to be for State use only? RAJEND NAIDU Sydney, Australia

What’s the delay

ISN’T it just puzzling, that it’s taking that suspended political party so long to get themselves back. The things that make you go uuummm…. NIGEL FIU Owls Perch, Lautoka

New virus

WOULD scams be the new virus affecting the human population today? Some possess natural immunity while for some, it is impossible to reach immunity status. MOHAMMED IMRAZ JANIF Natabua, Lautoka

Unspoken whispers

I BEGIN with the day’s race, Carrying the weight of family conflict on my face. Sitting silently in the classroom in pain, Wondering what my parents have gained. I ask myself, am I truly special? Trying to conceal it all, Yet, my teacher perceives every fall. With a caring hand extended to me, No other love had set me so free. The day’s work draws to a close, Wishing it could linger, as time flows. RODNEY CLARENCE RAJ Naleba, Labasa

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