Letters to the Editor | Wednesday, June 7, 2023

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Captain couragoues … Swire Shipping Fijian Drua skipper, Ratu Meli Derenalagi leads the charge against Queensland Reds during their Super Rugby match at the HFC Bank Stadium in Suva on Saturday, June 03, 2023. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Fantastic home support

SWIRE Shipping Fijian Drua skipper Meli Derenalagi alluded to the faith in God and the support of fans as two critical reasons for the team making it into the historic top eight. Last weekend, despite the bad weather compelled by rain and wind, brave Drua fans made their way into HFC Bank Stadium to provide the much-needed support to the Drua which played its last home game against the Queensland Reds! Our fans made enormous sacrifices to buy tickets. Home support, throughout the course of this year’s Super Rugby Pacific competition, was fantastic as people forked out to buy jerseys, bula shirts and Drua flags and caps. This year’s home matches united people from all ethnic groups and walks of life. The Drua’s six wins compared with the two wins last season shows with more resources, funding and home games, the Drua will shine in 2024! RAJNESH ISHWAR LINGAM Nadawa, Nasinu

Railway disaster

THE railway disaster in India has to be a melancholic event. We know some people have died but an even bigger number have been at the site for assistance purposes. But the largest number of people in the vicinity of the disaster have to be those with their mobile phone cameras switched on. I assume, to collect gossip. MOHAMMED IMRAZ JANIF Natabua, Lautoka

Boiling point

WHAT a way to start a new week, thanks to a mighty and determined effort from our Fijian Drua side. Now they face the mighty Crusaders but what better opportunity and a time to leave a dent in the books of history. On paper, the Crusaders may have the easier of opponents in the quarter-finals and their fans will beam with confidence but the Drua have delivered more than sufficient victories to be able to deliver a major upset. Meanwhile, our Moana Pasifika finally managed to register a victory to the disbelief of New South Wales rugby fans. Congratulations to our Moana Pasifika brothers for finally finding confidence and self belief. For the Flying Fijians, there is a bigger question as fans will be wondering whether Timoci Tavatavanawai’s performance is enough to land himself a place in the squad to the Rugby World Cup? Personally, I think he’s one of the new kids on the block with a very high work rate and if we are not careful, the generals from the Land of the Long White Clouds will have him on the All Blacks radar. One looks forward to a weekend of quality quarter-final matches. The pressure our Fijian Drua players are putting on national selectors is seriously reaching boiling point that they are being forced to cross off names of some of our seasoned players in Europe. FLOYD ROBINSON Micronesia

Rugby history

THE Fijian Drua team created history to reach the top eight just in their second year of competition. What was more intriguing was a possible better finish if we had more bonus point wins. We only earned two bonus points in the 14 rounds of competition. More better skills in penalty and conversion kicks would have given us a much better platform on the points table. Nonetheless, the Fijian Drua will come back stronger and better in 2024. 100 per cent sure, full speed, joka dina. SHALWYN PRASAD Nabua, Suva


DEMOCRACY has been hailed as the best form of government. There are various shades of democracy but never a perfect one. Some idealistically envisage a faultless government but realistically it is an impossibility. Therefore, we look back with pride the achievements of the Coalition Government in the past five months. It is a significant move away from the last dictatorial government which had created Fiji into a police state. Everyone lived in fear and no one could speak freely or write freely. There was an atmosphere of hush hush all around. But the removal of the draconian MIDA Act made the journalists smile with glee! The Coalition Government has been able to wipe that out swiftly by removing draconian measures taken by the previous administration. Allowing Dr Brij Lal’s ashes to be brought back to Fiji, his place of birth, was a significant achievement. A wave of happiness and relief swept throughout the country. This was Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka’s master stroke! It revealed the milk of human kindness in his heart and that of the Coalition Government. Ban was lifted on persona non gratas and many returned home with sparkling faces. The reintroduction of Girmit Day holiday, Ratu Sukuna Day holiday and the Great Council Chiefs is of great historical importance. The significance of these cannot be underestimated. The above is our national heritage and must be taught to our children. They have a right to know how our nation has progressed. On the educational front, the Minister for Education has made some daring changes. It augurs well. The decision to financially help the University of the South Pacific is a sensible move. It has helped ease tension in the Pacific island nations. The writing off of the TELS students debt is another spectacular achievement. On the international front, the Prime Minister has made significant inroads in the Pacific. Bringing back the Solomon Islands in the fold  was a great diplomatic move. He has also established positive relationships with other countries such as New Zealand, Australia and India. In my view the Coalition Government is on the right track to tackle massive issues facing our nation. The leadership has the capabilities to do just that and we wish them well. DEWAN CHAND Namadi Heights, Suva

Sugar disease

YOUR correspondent Julie Sutherland (6/6) is right to warn parents about the dangers of feeding children too much sugar, but the assertion that the Fijian for diabetes is “death by sugar” is incorrect. Mind you, the belief that mate means both “dead” and “ill” is a misconception that has been around for over a hundred years, and gave rise to incorrect translation in colonial times. The simple explanation is that in standard Fijian mate means “dead” as a verb or adjective, but as a noun it means “disease”, so matenisuka means “disease of sugar”, in the same way that mateniuto means “disease of the heart, heart attack”, etc. In many communalects, eg Nadroga, Kadavu, Rewa, Lau, the word for “disease” is not mate but baca, so diabetes is bacanisuka, tuberculosis is bacanigacagaca etc. PAUL GERAGHTY USP, SUVA

Chaudhry responds

NFP leader Biman Prasad cannot deny that he campaigned for increase in the guaranteed minimum cane price of $85 per tonne in and out of Parliament in the lead up to the 2022 General Election. He spoke at several pocket meetings in the cane belt addressing cane farmers on the subject. This is verified by farmers who attended these meetings. Whether it is $100 or $110 per tonne is immaterial. But if Mr Prasad wants proof of NFP’s position on the cane price under his leadership then he should look at its 2018 manifesto which made a number of very bold promises including: “implementation of the minimum guaranteed price of $100 per tonne of sugar cane”. If NFP was campaigning for $100 a tonne in 2018, can Mr Prasad tell us how much were they promising in their campaign in 2022? We all know that farming costs have soared post COVID! As for his comments on service to cane farmers, suffice to say that the farmers are well aware of the leaders who have come to their aid at times of adversity. Biman Prasad’s name is certainly not among them. My call to him, to put it in his own crude language, is to put his money where his mouth is and fulfil the promises he made when electioneering. MAHENDRA P CHAUDHRY National Farmers Union general secretary

Selection of PS

THE Public Service Commission (PSC) is quoted as saying (FT 6/6) that the recent selection of 11 permanent secretaries was based on qualification and not on ethnicity or race. Well, Mr Chairman, can you also say that they were selected on their merits and were most meritorious applicants? The trend these days is that some applicants are selected on who they are and their affiliations. The sad thing is that HR practitioners have stuck to the old selection templates, which are grossly outdated and which employers continue to use. I suggest that the chairman of PSC pass all the applications in a de-identified form, to HR personnel and teaching institutions for their evaluations and see what they come up with. PSC will get a shock with the result. AJAI KUMAR Nadi

El Nino conditions

THE possibility of dry to drought conditions during the upcoming El Nino phase, means that we need to be proactive and act smart now so that we can ride out any water hardships and shortage situations that we may most likely face during that period. Strategies and real actions on the ground for water harvesting, water retention and its storage, should be prioritised right now. More so, a more concerted approach — towards the repair and maintenance of our pipelines, dams and reservoirs along with a more vigorous leak-fixing campaign nationwide, as well as the provision of water tanks should be activated ASAP. Our 2023/24 budget should reflect this urgency, by the appropriate allocation of funds and resources. It’s always better to be proactive and smart up front, then to pay the price for our negligence and complacency after, or during the upcoming event. EDWARD BLAKELOCK Pacific Harbour

Australian cyclone aid

THE big aid money the Australian Government has given for cyclone damage reconstruction (‘Aust gifts $13m’ and ‘$40m for 9 schools’, FT 6/6) is money that Fijians living in Australia also contribute to. People who castigate Fijian critics living in Australia who draw attention to bad governance, mismanagement and abuse in Fiji should remember that before condemning them for poking their nose in Fiji affairs. RAJEND NAIDU Sydney, Australia

Budget on food

AS per The Fiji Times survey on national budget, the main sentiments echoed is to reduce food prices down (FT 2/6). If you only go on your needs in this price rise crisis, it’s difficult to survive. Nausori market vendor Anita Raj echoes her sentiments on how she struggles to put family food on the table with her earnings and meet her daily needs, leaving aside dietary food for health living. Let our main concern be on control of food price for our survival in this global crisis on ever-rising cost of living. Budgeting on food to alleviate poverty will be a well blessed budget. Food first for our survival. TAHIR ALI Hamilton, New Zealand

Taking a NAP

THANKS a bunch Australia for funding NAP. For those who came in late and for those who came in even later, National Action Plan to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls is what NAP is. I urge everybody to get up from their nap and join the action. Plans are already in place. Nevertheless, woohoo; go the Aussie. MANOJ LAL PATEL Lautoka

National budget

THE national budget is about to be delivered by my government and I hope the Minister of Finance will look at either increasing VAT to 15 per cent or decreasing VAT to 9 per cent. I believe having two VAT amounts doesn’t work for the Fijian economy. Now it is time to show the people who voted for the Coalition Government to let their views be known for the betterment of our country. NARAYAN REDDY Lautoka

What do you see

WHAT do the FijiFirst candidates see in their party that we don’t? DAN URAI Lautoka

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