Letters to the Editor – Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Listen to this article:

Virisila Silivere beside Rashid Ali’s car that was swept by floodwaters in Seaqaqa. Picture SERAFINA SILAITOGA

Silivere to the rescue

KUDOS to Virisila Silivere who — on Friday, February 3 — swam to a submerging vehicle and saved the lives of six people — three adults and three children. The brave woman from Qelemumumu, Labasa deserves a bravery award for saving those lives. As for the adults, please stop being reckless and putting the lives of children at risk. Be wise and stay home when there’s a flood. KOROI SEDUADUA Nasese, Suva

Rights of trade unions

I AM surprised that the Fiji Elections Office is putting out a notice that it is going to conduct the elections of the Fiji Public Service Association. My sincere apologies if I am missing something here or if this was at FPSA’ request. I had hoped that as trade union rights are now being restored, trade unions will be again free to independently conduct their own elections as prescribed under ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise. A Convention which Fiji had ratified. All trade unions have been enjoying this right until restrictions were imposed after 2006. Below are quotations from Articles 3 and 8 of the Convention. What I feel should be noted by the government authorities are underlined. Article 3 of ILO Convention 87 states that: 1. Workers’ and employers’ organisations shall have the right to draw up their constitutions and rules, to elect their representatives in full freedom, to organise their administration and activities and to formulate their programmes. 2. The public authorities shall refrain from any interference which would restrict this right or impede the lawful exercise thereof. Article 8 states that: 1. In exercising the rights provided for in this Convention workers and employers and their respective organisations, like other persons or organised collectivities, shall respect the law of the land. 2. The law of the land shall not be such as to impair, nor shall it be so applied as to impair, the guarantees provided for in this Convention. Despite Fiji’s ratification of this Convention in 2002, these rights were taken away after 2006. In fact, long before 2002, trade unions of Fiji had been exercising these rights without any problem with the various governments. SUSANA TUISAWAU Wainivula Rd, Nasinu

Seller beware

CAVEAT venditor in Latin means let the seller beware. I realised that there are two different sized cans of Skipper tuna flakes in vegetable oil being sold; not regular and large but one just ever so slightly larger than the other. You just about need to have an electron microscope to read the weight on the cans as the font is miniscule. There are a few detectable differences in the labelling: the font of the weight for the larger can: 180gms, is larger than the smaller can, weighing 142gms. There is a tiny yellow and black mark on the smaller can below the image of tuna flakes which, when viewed under a high-powered microscope, is an icon for disposing the can responsibly. The larger can bears no such message. I find everything about this very sneaky, especially where some supermarkets are selling three cans of the smaller one for a price cheaper than the price of a single can. While there’s nothing ethically wrong with this marketing practice, per se, the buyer may not realise the cans are smaller and thus should be cheaper, anyway. It’s a pity consumer watch dogs couldn’t point this out to consumers rather than having them find out the hard way. The question begs: is the former aware of it in the first place? Furthermore, there needs to be some regulations placed on font size of print on labels. Presently, one needs superpowers to read vital information. It makes it very challenging, indeed, being a scrutinising consumer: one who may be watching their health, their pennies, their weight or all of the above. JULIE SUTHERLAND Tamavua

Fair and square

I CONSIDER the resignations, terminations, investigations, and travel bans imposed on certain highprofile and politically connected individuals to be fair and square. You only get back what you give. It’s as simple as that. The previous government never left any possibility of accusing, prosecuting, or terminating people without regard for their own drafted Constitution. They should be grateful that this government is following the same Constitution in order to take legitimate actions. Home Affairs Minister Pio Tikoduadua has reiterated that no matter how high one’s public status is, no one is exempt from the law (FT 06/02). Everyone, from the chief to the commoner, is equal in the eyes of the law. Former supervisor of elections Mohammed Saneem cried foul after his stop departure and questioned the legality of the immigration watch list. Well, respected sir, this Government did not make any rules overnight. All immigration protocols are the same ones put in place by the previous government. Surprisingly, the directive was issued by the Commissioner FICAC (Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption) and the A-G, as there was a pending investigation against Mr Saneem. Even the former PM and A-G are lodging complaints against the current scenarios. It is all within the boundaries of the law. Consequently, the spiders are getting entangled in their own web. What goes around, comes around eventually. There is a Biblical quote from Matthew chapter 7, verses 1-2 portraying the same truth – “Do not judge, or you will be judged. For with the same judgment you pronounce, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Amen! DINESH KUMAR BA

Ba ends Suva’s dominance 

CONGRATULATIONS to the Men in Black for setting a new platform for Futsal in the West after winning the Extra Supermarket sponsored Futsal tournament on Sunday. Ba’s historical is a new dawn for other teams vying for the Futsal title. Ba ended Suva’s four-year reign in Futsal with a clinical 7-6 win at the Vodafone Arena. Etonia Dogalau, who was named player of the tournament, struck the winning goal following a long-range strike. Suva’s win over Labasa in the semi-final was marred by controversy, while Ba beat Tailevu Naitasiri. Teams like Savusavu and Tavua showed that with proper guidance, support and resources they will be gunning for an upset as well. The future of Futsal is bright in Fiji although a lot of work is needed to match the Solomon Islands. We need one-touch accuracy and finishing. Thank you teams for your performance in the four-day tournament! I thank FBC for the coverage! Vinaka vakalevu Indra Singh, Raymond Stoddart and Satish Narain for the wonderful coverage and commentaries! RAJNESH LINGAM BALGOVIND RD, NADAWA, NASINU

Board diversity

BOARD members in government statutory bodies or commercial entities will always have a bias towards the government of the day. Just by being selected as a board member there’s an obligation to reciprocate whether it be intentional or not. A suggestion moving forward on composition of board members, is it possible to invite appointments from the Opposition to be included as a member for each board. In doing so there’s balance and an opportunity to work together in areas of national interest. In the case of the CEO’s salaries that was highlighted last week, would it have gone that far if there was a bipartisan board. While the major parties may defer in views, it’s an opportune time for their representatives to practice unity in diversity at board level. SAILOSI NAEWE Naduru Rd, Nausori

Fiji’s stance

WHILE Russia continues to bomb and destroy civilian areas across Ukraine, there is a strong call by nations around the world to ban Russian athletes from attending the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris next year. As a country proud of its liberal democracy, Fiji should support the call to pressure the IOC that no Russian athletes should be allowed to participate in Paris as long as Ukrainian athletes are denied the right to peacefully and safely reside in their own country. AREN NUNNINK Hooper St, Savusavu

Sugar industry

THE sugar industry has been the back bone of our economy and our beloved nation for many years, but sadly it appears to be struggling in recent times. With the appointment of a new Minister for Sugar, who himself is a successful businessman, there is hope for a new sense of direction. One remains positive of open discussions and consultations among relevant stakeholders because a way forward will require the commitment of all parties. Personally, I would like to see more attention given to the possible impacts of termites on sugarcane. How much of our cane does it affect and what is the economic impact? What solutions are available both in the immediate and long term? Driving past the FSC compound is sometimes a heartbreaker when observing the conditions of homes in general. At one time the homes of employees was so well maintained, including the compounds. It was also one of the most multi-racial communities one could encounter and children played many different sports ranging from soccer to hockey. All in all, this industry has been our backbone and let’s do all we can to revive it, even if it means diversifying into other by products. FLOYD ROBINSON Nasese, Suva

Stop the censorship

DAN Urai (FT 6/12) raises the point that he is looking forward to parliamentary question time. He would enjoy it even more if the Standing Orders, which stifle question time, were to be amended. At the moment, MPs have to submit all questions to the secretary-general in writing four days prior to the question being given with of course the question being given in advance to the minister concerned. This reduces Parliament to a stage managed performance with no opportunity for spontaneous responses which would show us the capability of ministers to think on their feet and the grasp they have on their portfolios. The 16 guidelines in standing orders on what may or may not be included squeeze the life out of any possible question. Stop the censorship and let the action begin. TERRY HULME Australia

Above the law

YOUR headline — No one above the law — on the front page of the February 6 edition makes interesting reading in the context that during the last 16 years, some people were not only above the law, but were laws themselves. BHARAT MORRIS Vatuwaqa, Suva

Immunity for perpetrators

NO one is above the law except the perpetrators of the 1987 and 2006 military coups. The legacy of 1987 is still being felt and influencing current events. This is due to people who perpetrate such events being granted immunity from prosecution for their actions against elected lawful authority. As author George Orwell stated in his brilliant book Animal Farm on how the pigs grant themselves privileges and rights which they deny to other animals after they successfully usurp the leadership of their farming establishment. MELI MATANATOTO Nadi

Just human

I JUST could imagine the embarrassment and humiliation that their families and friends have to endure. Come what may they are humans, just like the rest of us. Mistakes does not spare any one and a pat on the shoulder will cheer one’s heart up. AREKI DAWAI Suva

Dylan’s take

MELI Matanatoto’s letter entitled Legal Eagles is asking the right questions about 1987 and 2006. Bob Dylan has an answer for him: “Steal a little and they throw you in jail; steal a lot and they make you king”. PROFESSOR SUDESH MISHRA USP, Laucala Campus, Suva

Back to school

THE 2023 school academic year has begun. Children are expecting a year filled with excitement and adventure. All the best to all the children and teachers in Fiji for this school year. YASHNEEL KUMAR Paipai, Lautoka

Parents’ duty

I BELIEVE Government has done its part. Now it’s upon the parents to send their children to school. AMOL KUMAR Lautoka

Debt level

I AM just wondering why the President Ratu Wiliame Katonivere did not remind the previous government about the excessive debt level. SUKHA SINGH Labasa