Letters to the Editor – July 2

Pulse Energy Highlanders half back, Aaron Smith tries to make his way through the Gallagher Chiefs defence during their Super Rugby match at the ANZ Stadium in Suva on Saturday, June 30, 2018. SANZAAR executives met in Singapore this week to discuss future of competition. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Top class rugby
The Gallagher Chiefs and Pulse Energy Highlanders showdown lived up to expectations although I was slightly disappointed by the lack of fighting character displayed by the home side that allowed the visitors to score six tries and take a commanding 42-0 lead. Had the second half spirit shown earlier, the result would have been different. The Highlanders boasted big names in Elliot Dixon, Luke Whitelock and Tevita Li and All Blacks stars in halfback Aaron Smith, fullback Ben Smith, Shannon Frizell and Wise Naholo. The Chiefs, on the other hand, had the services of Marty Mckenzie, Brad Weber, Sean Wainui, Pulu and All Blacks Sam Cane, Karl Tu’uinukuafe, Messam, smiling assassin Damien Mckenzie, Charlie Ngatai and Anton Lienert-Brown. There was huge support for the Highlanders. Ironically, both coaching panels had connection at one point in time with the mighty Crusaders. Head and assistant coaches Aaron Mauger and Mark Hammett tasted victories with the Crusaders under Robbie Deans while Chiefs assistant coach Tabai Matson, a former Flying Fijian and Crusader, was part of the coaching panel with Crusader Todd Blackadder. A lot was at stake for the Chiefs and Highlanders as far as making the top eight was concerned. The Highlanders scored four tries to deny the Chiefs a bonus point win but despite this my bro Adishwar in Dunedin, who’s an ardent Chiefs fan, was in jubilant mood as were the thousands of Chiefs at the stadium. The Chiefs now sit comfortably on sixth position with 41 points while the Highlanders are ranked seventh and trail them by one point. Unfortunately both are way off the mark as the super powers of Super Rugby — the Crusaders lead with 54 points heading into the last two rounds. The Highlanders travel to AMI Stadium and then host the Rebels at Forsyth Barr Stadium, while the Chiefs host the Brumbies and Canes at FMG Stadium. It’s heating up but I am adamant that the Crusaders will make it back-to-back. I must thank the Fiji Sports Council, madam Loabuka and our PM for bringing top level rugby to our doorsteps. Despite the chilly conditions, fans savoured every moment especially the cheering and selfies with NZ’s rugby stars while those who enjoyed the drinks had their own moments. I was surprised with the huge response and it was a delight seeing people dressed in original Super Rugby jerseys. To the Chiefs fans, hearty congratulations and to the Highlanders fans, there’s always a next time. Cheers Fiji! Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu.

Drug bust
OUR border agencies must be commended for their vigilance and collaborative effort leading to the detection and seizure of cocaine and other undeclared items on board a yacht at Denarau Marina. Undoubtedly such joint operations constitute a formidable line of defence against illegal activities prevalent at our borders. Fighting such crimes on a united front sends out a strong message to potential criminals that we are a force to be reckoned with. However, the discovery has reaffirmed the concern that the Oceania region has become a major route for the drug trafficking trade mainly because of our vulnerabilities. Apparently, our border agencies are playing an increasingly critical and indispensable role as coastguards for our neighbouring countries where these drugs are bound for. It is therefore incumbent on the destination countries to ensure that our law enforcement agencies are adequately resourced to strengthen their capacity to effectively perform their surveillance role to not only protect our own borders but theirs as well. There is also a need to beef up security in our maritime zones as illegal fishing activities are also on the rise. The Bora Bora Island in French Polynesia is notorious for being used as a transhipment haven for cocaine. Under the modus operandi employed by the smugglers, the importing yacht is either deliberately run aground or set on fire after the drugs are removed and buried on the island which is later picked up by another vessel for onward delivery to its final destination. SELWA NANDAN, Lautoka.

Cost of living
While certain groups of our people will have some benefit or relief from this budget, I believe the majority will find life as usual. In other words we have to continue facing this high cost of living. This high cost of living is directly associated with the basic food items that we use every day. If I am given the choice between retaining five per cent duty on imported fruits and vegetables and also retaining 32 per cent import duty on second-hand vehicles against waiving VAT on basic food items such as oil, butter, tea, milk, sugar, potatoes, onions, garlic, dhal, tinned fish, flour, rice, etc., I will surely opt for the latter. I also get a feeling that nearly all the political opposition parties asked for the removal of VAT from basic food items but I believe the Government purposely ignored their request and gave no attention to this particular issue. But it should also be realised that bulk of our people on the streets, including those contributing in the newspapers, also made it very clear that the cost of living is very high and VAT should be removed from the main basic food items.VIJAY MAHARAJ, Navua.

Super Rugby
Awwww… ANZ Stadium was immaculate. To the authorities, my team the Chiefs won and the ground was just too good. Made me want to put on my boots and run on as impact player. But I was in Kava Place, too far from Suva. I had to ask Wise for his boots. But he hid them from me. Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka.

On the budget
I fully agree with the Fiji Labour Party and National Federation Party that there is nothing in the budget to alleviate the high cost of living. There is no security system for the poor. I also agree with the political parties asked by The Fiji Times on their views about the national budget. There is so much inequality in income in Fiji and people are saving less money towards less economic growth. But the rich are saving a greater proportion of their income. Unemployment is rife. It deserves our moral approbation! Amenatave Yaconisau, Palm Drive, Delainavesi.

Messi, Ronaldo bid farewell
Arguably two of our greatest soccer players in Messi and Ronaldo have bid Russia goodbye and their failure to win the prestigious World Cup title continues to haunt them. Messi and Ronaldo have won almost every other title at stake except the World Cup for their countries. Argentina and Portugal were runners-up in their pools and lost to pool winners France and Uruguay respectively. I had picked Portugal and France to win but history was not in favour of Portugal, who since 1966 had never won a game at the World Cup where they trailed their opponent. Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu.

Pleasing aspect
One of the most pleasing aspects of the budget is the removal of import duty on fruits. Cheaper imported fruits mean a healthy life and a tool to fight NCDs. Eating plenty of fruits helps reduce the risk of many diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and some cancers. To eat is a necessity but to eat intelligently is an art. LYDIA KONDAIYA, Rewa St, Suva.

2018/2019 budget
It is indeed sad how the opposition parties are portraying the national budget. They seem to be intimidated by the budget and only have negative things to say when I believe they absolutely know that this is an excellent and consistent budget. I call this budget the last nail to the opposition’s coffin box. Negative people need oxygen. If they stay positive, it will take their breath away. I am glad that the FijiFirst Government seldom responds to their unjustified comments. The less you respond to negative people, the more peaceful your life will become. Amazing things happen when you distance yourself from negativity. I believe life is a reflection of what you think. If your thoughts are negative all the time, the budget you see will be the same to you. DHARMENDRA KUMAR, Rewa St, Suva.  

VAT and all
When the Government introduced VAT, we were told that this was a fair way of tax where everyone has to pay and will bring down the import duty on goods too. As time passed, VAT stayed there but new indirect taxes started to creep in. With all these happening, our debt still rises. Do we have Plan B to overcome this? Nardeo Mishra, Suva.

Skipper Cup semis
May I wish the four semifinalists — Suva, Nadroga, Naitasiri and Namosi all the best! Suva will face Namosi while Nadroga battles arch rivals Naitasiri. I expect fireworks and champagne rugby and I am counting on Suva and Nadroga to make the final, and Nadroga to take revenge for their earlier loss. Nadroga found the going tough against Rewa, but the semis will be a different ball game altogether. Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu.

Developed or developing
Someone asked me this … is Fiji a developed country or a developing country? If we are a developing country, how long will it take for us to become a developed country? Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka.

National budget
Whether the national budget of $4.65 billion created divisions or has built a better Fiji, I believe the fact remains it’s financed by loans and taxes. I believe this is unfortunate and the future generations will have to pay. Amenatave Yaconisau, Palm Drive, Delainavesi.

Plastic bags
Will the brave decision to stop the manufacture of plastic bags ever be made? Dan Urai, Lautoka.

FIFA fair play
FIFA’s “fair play” is more a myth than a reality as any objective observer of the World Cup will tell you. What a shame! Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia.

Doing good
Altruism,R Naidu (FT 30/06). Really? Halfway around the world? May the peace in our Pacific exist within the two states. Pasirio Kitione, Nadera, Nasinu.