2018-2019 National Budget: Caddies hope for best in budget

Caddie boys, Semi Ravunaceva, left, and Rusiate Togatogarua with golf balls at the Vatuwaqa Golf Course on Wednesday, June 27, 2018. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

“LIFE is getting hard.”

These were the words of 56-year-old caddie Rusiate Togatogarua, who along with his friend, Semi Ravunaceva, 57, have been caddies for more than 30 years at the Fiji Golf Club in Vatuwaqa, Suva.

According to the two, they have seen an improvement in the national budget compared with the previous years, but they still doubted the cost of living and its rapid increase.

Mr Togatogarua said life was getting hard and earning $20 a day if he was lucky was nothing compared with the prices of goods.

“I have a family with grandchildren and I believe the Government should think of us when they work out the budget, because once the budget increases, the cost of everything moves up and our job deals with $20 a day only if you are lucky to meet a golfer,” Mr Togatogarua said.

“We are not employed like normal workers who have their FNPF deducted, so we rely on the golfers. If we build a good relationship with them, then probably they will give us more than $20 and that is for the family.”

Most Fijians living in informal settlements along the Vatuwaqa area have occupied themselves every day at the Fiji Golf Club as a place to gather their income to make ends meet in their respective homes.

Mr Ravunaceva said they did not understand the breakdown of the budget, but if it involved the caddies, they would love to see an increase.

“I don’t really understand the breakdown of the budget but I’m sure the Government will increase this year’s budget and if it does, at least we are given an increase as well since our minimum is $20,” he said.

“We know that once it increases then $20 is nothing if you go to a supermarket. “I hope the 2018/2019 National Budget will have a good impact on us caddies and our families.”