Letters to the Editor | Wednesday, November 29, 2023

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USP staff members protest during the University of the South Pacific Council meeting at the USP ICT Centre in Suva. Picture: JONA KONATACI

Pal issue

Unions want Pal out (FT 28/11).

If my memory serves me right in a show of solidarity the same unions had welcomed Pal back as USP vice-chancellor after his deportation from Fiji by the FijiFirst government.

Pal must have messed up pretty bad for the USP staff union to now want him booted out.

It looks like Pal’s days as USP’s big man is drawing to an end.

Time will tell.

Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia

USP saga

The recent developments of the saga between the University of the South Pacific staff and the Vice-Chancellor has come as a surprise to me.

Not long ago, the same staff members along with the students, stood firmly in support of the much-respected Pal Ahluwalia, when there was tension between him and the FijiFirst government.

This shows that a leader’s power and popularity is in the hands of the people he leads.

Being a student of USP, I understand the issues raised by the staff members with regards to the 11 per cent salary adjustment and the exclusion of the staff papers at the ongoing council meeting, among other matters.

I must admit that such issues create some form of uncertainty among students.

If the leadership of an organisation or institute like USP is questioned and scrutinised to an extent where there are calls for the leader to be removed, it proves there are significant irregularities that people outside have no idea about and it needs sorting out immediately as it paints a negative public image.

Keeping unhappy staff leads to unproductivity and complacency as most of their focus is on the issues outside their scope.

I hope the matter is wrapped up before the first semester begins in 2024 so as to welcome new students and continuing students with positivity.

Raynav Chand, Nakasi, Nausori

Change of heart

THAT was a quick change of heart, towards the once loved Vice-Chancellor.

Now they are not happy with him.

Was it to do with staff papers not tabled at the USP Council meeting?

Hope they’ll soon find solutions, to the grievance, raised by the USP Staff Association, instead of a possible strike action.

Edward Blakelock, Admiral Circle, Pacific Harbour

A new lease of life

I can imagine the joy on the faces of Micheline Tasso and Lenry Young, the parents of Kellyane Young, as they received their daughter’s Gift of Life certificate from The Fiji Times editor-in-chief, Fred Wesley!

The story, penned by Elena Vucukula (FT 28/11) was heart-touching as the Ni-Vanuatu mother shared her experience and how she got to know about the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Heart Hospital from a woman who brought her son to Fiji for heart surgery.

I thank the management and staff of Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Heart Hospital for saving lives and making medical treatment accessible to people in the Pacific who could least afford it

. The joy can only be felt by those who have struggled with medical conditions!

Hats off to Sumeet and Krupali Tappoo for the initiative!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Lessons for teachers

Sensible, mature, practical and diplomatic were the words of advice from former QVS principal, school teacher and permanent secretary of education during the Ratu Mara’s Alliance Party government reign, Roko Epeli Kacimaiwai who was also the late Turaga Tui Devo of Salia, Nayau, Lau.

Vinaka vakalevu The Fiji Times for printing his articles of advice to the noble profession of which they can learn a thing or two in improving their teaching attitude or mind-set.

Tukai Lagonilakeba, Nadi

Lots of exposure

I know this guy who spends a lot of time on the net.

He showed me some sites (or pages) which are hell bent on “exposing”.

Politics, neighbourly quarrels, extra marital affairs and you name any other subject, it’s available.

Of course, it’s spiced up with “pictures, graphics” and chillies.

If I am not wrong, it was just last week when statistics about pornographic sites were released.

No arguments, lots of exposure there as well.

And we were shocked?

I don’t know what the voltage meter reveals but this is what has got me thinking.

Since the core output is “exposure”, those sites (or pages) should be re-classified under pornographic sites.

So many pages, they can be rolled into pornographic toilet paper.

The problem will be the “heat” from the chillies.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

Conflict of interest

There is a serious conflict of interest when parliamentarians are appointed in the Independent Parliamentary Emoluments Committee to decide their own salaries, allowance, perks and other benefits.

Emoluments Committee is not independent, and it is unethical for members to decide their own remuneration.

The committee should have been made up of qualified and experienced persons from outside parliament.

There is no shortage of qualified people in Fiji.

All those in power and authority tend to get corrupt when saqamoli matters are concerned.

There was a need to sort out ministerial remuneration in January 2023.

What is the reason for the delaying tactic?

While the parliamentary remuneration is being sorted out the ministers continue to draw exorbitant daily allowances of $3000 on top of their salaries and perks when traveling overseas.

There has been an exodus of ministerial travel overseas instead of using our ambassadors based overseas.

Anyway, it is time to make hay while the sun shines.

Deo Narain, Suva

Unused balances

THAT’S a thought.

Why not transfer the mentioned unused balance in the bus cards, to the senior citizens, who are usually short-changed each month and would definitely usefully use any addition to their own balance?

They will then be able to make that travel usually foregone.

Money will be well spent and not wasted.

An internal transfer is only required.

So how about it?

Edward Blakelock, Admiral Circle, Pacific Harbour

A strategy

Does the unprecedented need for foreign workers call for a change in our views towards suitability of locals for international vacancies at home?

If so, does this mean that locals can now apply for international positions in Fiji.

If there are locally capable and experienced candidates who are good enough for international positions, can they be allowed the same opportunity and packages if successful in their applications?

Whatever one’s views, it looks like our strength is leading to a weakness because we are losing too many of our qualified and experienced citizens to greener pastures offered overseas.

This trend is alarming.

All in all, it looks like we may be in need of a long term national strategy to address this increasing need of skilled workers at home.

Floyd Robinson, Micronesia

More water

High temperatures, high humidity, hot concrete.

The heat can be more than just uncomfortable.

Your well-being could be compromised.

The culprit: Dehydration.

My advice is increase your water intake.

Aralai Vosayaco, gunu wai tiko valevu my tau!

Wise Muavono, Balawa, Lautoka

‘Shameful’ act

Bainimarama condemns ‘shameful’ act on former CJ (FT 28/11).

Was the treatment of the late PM Qarase a similar shameful act?

A reading of Qarase’s book Prisoner 302 would provide an answer to that.

Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia

GCC distraction

On the important/urgent matrix for our economic well-being, I would give the GCC revival some importance but with low urgency.

It’s a pleasant distraction though, like those overseas junkets.

Samu Railoa, Nadi


Civil servants, security forces, public and private sector employees are resigning in droves.

So what?

It’s their constitutional right to look for greener pastures and participate in something they like to do and enjoy with better perks and pay as compared to what they get here.

It gives others unemployed in Fiji an opportunity to level up and replace those who have left for better opportunities.

Tukai Lagonilakeba, Nadi

Food outlets

It’s nice to note that health officials are out monitoring health and safety standards of food outlets.

This will certainly keep food caterers on their toes if this is practised widely and regularly.

Just grading them is not sufficient, placing fines or even closure of operations on those that do not adhere to safety protocols until health measures are met.

Whatever choice the customer makes, it’s the caterer that handles from start to finish.

Consumption starts with preparation — as it all matters — be vigilant health matters!

Prameeta Chand, Suva

Strong effort

Congratulations to Yeshnil Karan, the Yaladro, Tavua native for winning gold in the 10,000m event in the 2023 Pacific Games.

His commitment and dedication in the sport he loves has paid off.

I am sure he will emulate the performance of former long distance runners like Shri Chand “mushroom” and Devendra Prakash Singh.

We wish him well in his other events.

Arun Prasad, Dilkusha, Nausori

Golden boy

A hearty congratulations to Tavua’s golden boy Yeshnil Karan for clinching the 10,000m gold medal at the 2023 Pacific Games.

Brilliant performance indeed.

Nishant Singh, Lautoka

Ironic or what!

Just under a year ago, they were celebrating the return of the USP’s Vice Chancellor and now they want him out.

Isn’t it ironic?

SANJEET PRASAD, Mani Rd, Bulileka, Labasa

Road accidents

Road accidents have been increasing steadily over the few months despite numerous efforts by the authorities to improve safety.

Since the party season is starting, please let us be reminded that road accidents are a public health concern and financial threat to everyone.

Please, let us use the road safely and wisely by adhering to road safety measures.

Safety doesn’t care about you but you should care about safety.

Practice it at all times.

Arrive alive!

Navneet Ram (TD), Lautoka