Letters to the Editor | Wednesday, February 14, 2024

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Attorney-General Siromi Turaga during the opening of the border control training workshop at the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service office in Suva yesterday. Picture: ATU RASEA

Drugs package

Attorney-General Siromi Turaga stated that drugs come in a package which included arms, smuggling and prostitution.

The existence of drugs within our borders is already well-known.

People smuggling cases have also been dealt with in the past.

The issue of prostitution is not unique to Fiji but is a global concern.

However, what remains uncertain is the potential presence of illegal firearms within our nation.

Is there a possibility that illegal firearms are present in Fiji?

If the answer is in the affirmative then we need to be concerned about it.

Illegal firearms pose a significant threat both to the public and the Government.

It is important that we remain vigilant and proactive in addressing this potential threat.

Let’s hope that our capable police force will be able to detect the presence of any illegal arms within the country and quickly address the issue before it gets out of hand.

SANJEET PRASAD, Mani Rd, Bulileka, Labasa

LTA service — a response

In response to Navaulioni Koro Ravai’s letter (FT 13/02) titled ‘LTA Service’, the authority would like to assure its customers of its commitment and dedication to improving customer service through its ongoing digitisation journey.

Currently in the nationwide public consultation phase, this initiative aims to reduce waiting times and enhance efficiency, showcasing LTA’s commitment to innovation and customer satisfaction.

The consultations highlight LTA’s commitment to understanding community needs and fostering a collaborative service development approach.

Additionally, the impending opening of the LTA Nadi Express office at Jet Point in Martintar will address the rising demand for services, as seen in the notable increase in daily customers at the Nadi Back Rd office.

The authority is reiterating its assurance to our valued customers that substantial steps are being taken to boost efficiency, decrease waiting times, and provide an increasingly customer-centric experience.

The LTA remains committed to enhancing service delivery and experiences in response to customer expectations.

IRIMAIA ROKOSAWA, Acting CEO Land Transport Authority

Road blocks, traffic jams

Lots of vehicles crammed into long winding lines due to a daily road block within the city perimeters is the daily grind for morning drivers dropping off students and the normal employee.

The lack of space also poses a threat for police officers as they direct traffic around their carefully constructed road-block.

Prayers of safety are daily uttered for road users both, drivers, pedestrians and animals alike as the road-kill toll increases.

This is our new normal.

Joan McGoon, Vomo St, Lautoka

7s rugby circus

Congratulations to the Chinese community on their New Year of the Dragons.

All the best.

However what is happening to our 7s team?

We hear four veteran players dropped again, one veteran returning from injury and two debutants going to Vancouver five months away from the Olympics.

This is now turning into a circus for our boys in the world series circuit.

When are we going to test the combinations and show consistency, two major ingredients to a winning formula?

Chopping and changing in every tournament is like preparing a circus with predictable results.

Can someone apply the brakes or are we now going overdrive?

Where is the end of the road?

Is there any?

Vacava taci?

Shalwyn Prasad, Mukta Ben Pl, Nabua

Unattached humour

As Valentine’s Day approaches, I can’t help but feel like a perpetual spectator in the grand parade of love.

While others plan romantic dinners and exchange heart-shaped trinkets, I find myself admiring the smugly coupled-up world from the sidelines.

It seems like everyone around me has found their lobster, their soulmate, their other half — and here I am, still searching for someone who won’t mind my overenthusiastic debates about the best grog mix.

And who knows, maybe next year we’ll find ourselves on the other side of this tale, smugly exchanging heart-shaped trinkets with a partner-in-crime.

Yours in single solidarity!

Avenai Serutabua, Nabukelevu Village, Serua

Happy day

Valentine’s Day reminders should be such that we continue to pray for each other from the heart to live, love and respect peacefully and happily, till death do we part.

If you live to be 100, I wish to live to be 100 minus one, so I never have to live without you.

Life is what we make together.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Tahir Ali, Hamilton, New Zealand

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Over the years Valentine’s Day, which was initially a religious celebration, and an ancient ritual day, has been converted into a commercial day, boasting sales of red roses, clothes, jewellery, ornaments, and other accessories.

Valentine’s Day allows one to express his/her love and appreciation for the people in his/her life, whether they’re co-workers, romantic partners, friends, or family members.

Today is no exception as the sea of red flourishes.

Happy Valentine’s Day fellow Fijians!

Enjoy the day!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

RIP coach

Sad to absorb the sudden passing of former Lautoka soccer mentor Roblyn Autar.

Autar was generally recognised as a straight shooter and an individual who stood by his own decisions without outside influence or meddling.

Having mentored former Blues football legends such as Viswa Nair, Philip Wye, Bakalevu Mocimereke, Maika Waqa, Lorima Batirerega, Ramendra Dutt, Taniela Waqa and Jone Vono Jnr, Roblyn will certainly be missed by the Lautoka soccer fraternity.

Rest high coach.

Nishant Singh, Lautoka

Corporal punishment

WHAT if spanking as a corporal punishment was banned back in the day?

I’m pretty sure that the high levels of disobedience, disrespect, truancy and all that is negative and bad in society, will be so much worse, than it is today.

Somehow, our wayward behaviour quickly changed or came to a complete halt, with the generous assistance and painful education by a number of methods eg spanking, caning, knuckle rapping, to name a few.

Punishments not often forgotten as one grows older and wiser, if not cleverer!

No chance back then of taking a teacher, guardian or even a parent to court for unjustly dispensing such methods.

No such chance, unlike these days.

Edward Blakelock, Admiral Circle, Pacific Harbour

Second chance

What’s cool about Lent is that it falls just about the time that our new year resolutions have fallen to the wayside.

Use Lent as a reminder of all the things you wanted to do to make 2024 a better year.

It’s your second chance.

Have a holy and blessed season of Lent.

Wise Muavono, Balawa, Lautoka

Improved service

There have been many contributions in this column about slow services provided by LTA.

With an increase in the number of vehicles on Fiji roads, does anyone know why and how this can be solved?

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

Pension rates by FNPF

I am writing in response to recent statements by the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) regarding their positive financial performance.

While this news is encouraging, it raises a crucial question: if the FNPF is indeed doing well, should it not consider repaying past pension reductions to retired members?

Secondly, they have the capacity to pay a substantial increase to the executive staff and there must be a COLA to others.

Many pensioners continue to face financial hardship due to the 2012 reductions in their FNPF pensions.

These reductions, although legal at the time, was implemented during a period of economic difficulties and caused significant loss of income for our senior citizens.

Now, with the FNPF reporting positive financial standing, I believe it is morally and ethically necessary to re-evaluate these past decisions.

The argument that the reductions were legal does not negate the financial strain and hardship they caused to some of our most vulnerable citizens.

Here are some compelling reasons to consider repaying past pension reductions:

  • Justice and fairness: Many pensioners contributed to the FNPF based on the expectation of receiving a specific pension rate. Reducing those rates after their retirement raises concerns about fairness and justice.
  • Improved wellbeing: Repaying the reductions would alleviate financial stress for many pensioners, allowing them to afford basic necessities and improve their quality of life.
  • Economic stimulus: This injection of funds into the hands of senior citizens could stimulate the local economy as they spend their additional income.

I urge the Government and the FNPF board to consider this issue with compassion and a sense of justice.

Engaging in open dialogue with pensioners and their representatives to find a mutually agreeable solution would be a positive step.

By taking action to repay past pension reductions, the FNPF can truly live up to its stated mission of “securing your future”.

Let us ensure that this future encompasses not just future generations, but also those who have already contributed significantly to Fiji’s development.

Mohan Lal, Martintar, Nadi

People’s needs

As far as they can remember, the people living in the affordable ‘housing’ area along Raj Moti Lal St in Raiwai, have never looked forward to rain, because of the long-standing issue of substantial flooding at the junction of the road and the drains by the main road after torrential rain.

Flooding can get so bad that the residents either cannot get across or they have to wade through water almost up to their waist lines.

As for vehicles, forget the ability to access, because there is absolutely no access possible until the waters subside which could take hours.

As for people, this issue affects emergency exits, the working class, students, mothers who need to take their babies to clinic, business people, rubbish collectors and other service providers to name a few.

Basically, the flooded main entrance to the community brings all activities to a standstill!

It is a both a wonder and also comes as no wonder that this issue has been long overlooked for years by the authorities concerned.

In fact, the floodwaters can be so bad that vehicles on the main road itself are sometimes forced to turn around and take a different route to get to their destinations.

The boggling thing about the matter is that if the problem has been so severe, surely it would have been logged into someone’s book of ‘things to do’ at some point somewhere along the way!

Sadly, the issue has actioned a group of women into command and these being women who have taken their complaints to the council umpteen times and who’s concerns have not been heard.

These women have taken matters into their own hands and taken the initiative to apply for a partnership grant, to resolve the issue which the
women believe to be caused by blocked drainage.

It is a walking contradiction that it is taking other people’s time, effort and money to do a job that the council is obligated to do.

It also makes one wonder if the matter is really due to blocked drainage or a lack of drainage?

This leaves us asking the main question which is, what happens when the money runs out?

Who takes over then?

In other words, the women could have put their money to better use like into say, constructing raised litter bins to cater to the storage of litter due to the poor service of litter collection that they are also facing.

Oh! Hang on! That’s another council job!

Noleen Billings, Savusavu

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