Letters to the Editor | Wednesday, November 22, 2023

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Plastic pollution accumulating on the coastline decreases the number of visitors, and this will not only reduce the revenue generated by the tourism sector, states a report released by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Picture: Pasifika News

Little dilemma

Articles by Anish Chand on plastic pollution (FT 21/11, pages 2-3) highlight a threat to tourism, fisheries revenue, and the 118,000 jobs associated.

I honestly do not know where the problem lies.

From an early age, children are taught by their parents about littering.

This lesson is included in every healthy living syllabus.

Signboards, TV, newspapers, and radio all convey the message ‘Do not litter’ and ‘Keep Fiji Clean,’ but still, there is no change.

Where is the loophole?

Can a litterer answer this?


Irony of our nation

While the efforts of our medical team must be applauded, it must also stay awake and alert to important issues of the nation.

It is indeed alarming that our small nation has such a high incidence of NCDs and related deaths.

However, while we preach that prevention is better than cure, we turn a blind eye to what is readily available at school canteens, roadside stalls and supermarket shelves.

Most of the snacks available have high sugar, salt and oil content.

Even though some local products like sweet potatoes, bananas and taro are being used, they still have iodized salt.

These are being fed to children as young as a year old!

Although our country is blessed with fresh fruits, people opt to buy bottled and canned juices.

Prices of fresh local fruits and vegetables are quite expensive too!

Are we promoting good health or good hospitals?

Perhaps 100 plants of each type of fruit could be planted in communities and sold at a reasonable price to our people.

Perhaps a 100 steps walk a day could be organised among our communities.

Perhaps a 100 different fresh traditional food could be revived in our communities.

Perhaps a 100 different ways to avoid hospitals could be promoted in our communities.

Definitely our hospitals do wonders, but we should encourage our people to help keep the hospital beds empty!

Now that would indeed be a true miracle.

Pushpa Wati, Pacific Harbour

Tourism stats

Rosie Travel Group and Ahura Resort manager Tony Whitton with a picture of his staff and tourists (FT 16/11) feels that Cyclone Mal had not affected tourists’ desire to travel to Fiji.

This is a way towards promoting tourism, even in hurricane season.

This shows that there is not a safety risk for travellers when the weather man confidently predicts the root of the cyclone with latest tools and technologies.

Vinaka Fiji Meteorological Office and the media for providing services to save lives, properties and tourism.

We all have our roles to play — safety first and fast.

Tahir Ali, Hamilton, New Zealand

Roaming teacher

I would like to raise my concern to the Minister of Education regarding a ‘roaming teacher’ at the school where my children go.

He is the first assistant head teacher and it has been brought to parents’ knowledge that he did not have a class to teach all throughout the 2023 academic year and the management and staff members know him as the ‘roaming teacher’.

My question to the Ministry of Education is this; is it possible that an assistant teacher does not have a class to teach, and yet still get paid with a salary above teachers who sweat throughout the year, teaching their classes?

Kositatino Tikomaibolatagane, Vuninokonoko Rd, Navua

eTicketing issue

Government is now trying to secure a new e-ticket system to replace the existing one which has now reportedly gone past its ‘use by’ date.

A word of caution to the authority tasked with this process that the previous government totally disregarded when it introduced this new concept which, as a result caused considerable hardship to the people of Fiji.

The new system when introduced must be allowed to run parallel with the current one for a minimum period of say six months to a year to allow it to eliminate problem areas before terminating the old one.

Just a thought.

Emosi Balei, Suva

Simple solution

With reference to the villagers of Nabavatu in Macuata, who have been camping in tents for three years, there is a simple solution that should have been implemented straight after the hurricane.

Talk to the villagers and determine what they need to rebuild their village with traditional houses (vale vakaviti) — I suspect it would  they need to rebuild their village with traditional houses (vale vakaviti) — I suspect it would be mostly gasau, bitu, duru, icoka, isa and perhaps expertise.

Supply it and let the villagers build their own houses in the traditional way, as their ancestors did.

Result: beautiful all-weather village (rather than a row of chicken coops) which its inhabitants enjoyed building and are justly proud of — and can make a tourist attraction like Navala if they want — at far less expense than has been incurred, and continuation of valuable house-building skills using local materials, rather than killing indigenous knowledge (technocide) and increasing dependency on hardware stores which government seems to be pushing for some reason.


Starlink licence

It is with some joy that I read in the FT (20/11) that Starlink has been given a licence to operate in Fiji.

I believe if the Government goes further to sponsor some Starlink dishes as part of its rural development, this will lift access to the internet.

For example, on a recent trip, I found that speeds on the only internet network in Rotuma were terrible and woefully slow.

Conan Hatch, Nadi

Airport New bank

It is so nice to have Bred Bank in Labasa.

It is one of the best looking banks in Fiji.

But if you really here to help the Labasa people, please get rid of the maintenance and withdrawal fees.

Sukha Singh, Labasa

Internet speed

We have various internet service providers and claim to be the fastest.

That can’t be true.

A new company will be entering the market.

So naturally expectations will surround internet speed.

I won’t be surprised if any of the service providers begin to claim “faster than a speeding bullet”.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

Our laws

In Parliament, Hon Jone Usamate from the Opposition is claiming our Coalition Government is breaking all laws of the country in practising good governance.

If that is the case, who can they be reported to or should we have a new election?

Tukai Lagonilakeba, Nadi

Fiji soccer

In 1938 until the early ’90s, it was Fiji soccer.

From the ’90s to the present it’s Fiji shocker.

Beyond will be our worst nightmare!


Keep momentum

My plea to the Rabuka Coalition Administration is to stop crawling and start jogging.

It started the year walking and instead of keeping the momentum to jogging, it reverted to crawling.

Maybe the king maker is too much to carry.

The decline from 27 seats in 2018 to only three seats in 2022, is really a hustle to bear.

Samu Silatolu, Nakasi

Sugarcane field

Does the Sugar Minister have the power to bulldoze a cane field with an unwanted variety cane?

Why can’t you simply don’t accept the unwanted varieties?

Please stop bullying the canefarmers and mill workers.

Sukha Singh, Labasa

Eye check

Everything happens in my opinion, for a reason.

And so what has happened and will continue to happen in Gaza, happens for a reason.

There is no bad tree; just a diseased tree.

The summation of all the choices the Gazan population have made, is where their reality lies today.

We only reap whatever we sowed.

Samu Silatolu, Nakasi

Rise and fall

The recent ICC Cricket World Cup just like the 2023 France Rugby World Cup taught us some very valuable lessons.

A team like Cricket India who played and won all their pool games – nine on the trot with so much passion and resilience and with sheer confidence.

Against New Zealand in the semi finals — India was ruthless on attack, batting and also defence when bowling and took NZ apart.

In the finals last Sunday, India was a shadow of the team that played so well in the past six weeks.

Just what went wrong?

The combination did not click, communication broke down or simply the Aussies took every opportunity without a second thought.

The final also taught us a valuable lesson that patience is a virtue.

Australia won the toss and could have easily started with batting in search for a big score to allow India to catch up, but instead baffled the 130,000 capacity crowd, they elected to bowl and the focus was right there to battle upfront and get those early wickets which they did.

India’s first six batters were all formidable throughout the tournament smashing records and setting the pace, the last five never got to bat and when the crunch time came to bat the last five faulted and that was the plan.

Saving the best for last, Australians proved with the mind, experience that nothing is impossible.

My heart goes out to the India, Dravid, Rohit and the boys — what a tournament nine out nine in the pool, it was just not the day India wanted to celebrate their third WC win.

Vande Mataram.

Go India.

Vinaka Australia, the voodoo at the Rugby World Cup now buried.

Joka dina.

Vacava tacina?

Shalwyn Prasad, Mukta Ben Place, Nabua, Suva

Cost of living

A few times Savenaca Narube has been raising his concern on what the Coalition Government has been doing about the skyrocketing cost of living that has been hurting many Fijians, let alone the poor.

Mr Narube’s concern isn’t only his, but it is the concern of many Fijians today, even the working class.

Many voters voted for this Coalition Government hoping that it would help minimise the cost of living, but nearly 12 months down the line, the cost of living is skyrocketing especially with the 15 per cent VAT increase from 9 per cent.

I recall the Finance Minister Professor Biman Prasad saying in this debate that the Coalition Government has been doing so much in assisting people highlighting the cancellation of TELS loans.

But has he considered that the move only benefits families whose children took out loans which is just a tiny fraction of many families who struggle due to the rise in cost of living?

In addition, on top of the Fijian people’s struggles, regarding the rise in cost of living, the Coalition Government voted a $10,000 extra for each Parliamentarian above their high paid salary for their Parliament sitting allowance.

And if it is true that the $3000 daily allowance for ministers travelling overseas still stands, then I can only see a self-serving Coalition Government, which does not consider the plight of the people who voted them in office and are struggling to cope with the rise in the cost of living.

Kositatino Tikomaibolatagane, Vuninokonoko Rd, Navua

Relocation plan

I hope the Coalition Government will prioritise to assist and swiftly activate a relocation plan to aid the displaced villagers of Nabavatu to move since the previous government has failed them.


Power issue

Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin has resigned following a frustrating 14-hour network outage experienced in Australia almost a fortnight ago.

In Fiji, inadvertent power disruptions have become a norm in most parts of Fiji for years and yet the EFL CEO Hasmukh Patel has the audacity to drift the idea of increasing tariffs, despite handsomely earning millions of dollars in profit each year.

Not too “bright” of an idea (no pun intended).