Letters to the Editor – May 26

Good journalism

Kiniviliame Keteca must be commended for his letter titled “Congrats Times” (F/T 25/5) as he beautifully summed up the reasons The Fiji Times stands out and receives so much respect and accolades from local readers and those who have access to The Fiji Times online. Kini your letter is beyond any doubt the best as far as ethics and principles related to The Fiji Times are concerned. This letter has found space in my diary and I salute you for taking out time to write a length on ideals of good journalism. Reading editor-in-chief Fred Wesley’s thank you messages — I was not surprised to read that a huge number of wishes and congratulatory messages had flooded the newsroom. I am glad The Fiji Times continues to strive to give us a newspaper that is fair, just, balanced and honest and these principles make this newspaper stand out. The journey hasn’t been easy but I know that our No. 1 team will join hands to conquer the rough seas and emerge victorious. Job well done, The Fiji Times!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Rush hour

There was a time when one was to travel from Suva to Nausori in the morning rush hour one could have the luxury of catching the bus at 7am and still make it in time to buy something for morning tea and be at the work site before 8am. Now it is not the case, one has to leave home as early as 6.30am, just to be early as after 7am the traffic gets congested especially after Koronivia. Some say to wait for the new four lanes as a solution, but I still say that will only last for maybe a few weeks before it falls into the same dilemma faced by all routes going into the city. It’s time to think out of the box and to plan ahead, and think about my earlier solutions of having overhead bypass roads with tolls, or even a train system where commuters with vehicles can park their vehicles and catch the train into the city or other municipalities such as Nakasi, Nasinu, 4 Miles and 3 Miles. I hope those standing for election this year will have this in their manifesto, as I had written earlier this could be one of the reasons of the rise in NCDs in our country, as people are moving as early as 5.30am to get to work and school. I even witnessed one particular morning a family in a car, with the schoolchildren in the back having their cereal on the go. Imagine leaving home while it’s dark or when the sun begins to peer its smiling face from behind the dark veil and coming back as it bids farewell to the day and the veil of darkness is being drawn across the skies. Hey but do I know right, I’m just the common man grinding to make life a little bit better then yesterday.

Lawrence Wara, Suva

Safety paramount

THE Fiji Roads Authority has upgraded the road from Nadi International Airport to the Wailoaloa junction to provide an improved level of service to all highway users. The FRA’s primary consideration is the safety of road users and pedestrians. After the completion of the initial phase of the work, it was clear that pedestrians were not taking due care when selecting a crossing point on the road. In addition, drivers were using the improved traffic flow conditions to significantly increase their speed. These two issues resulted in an increased risk of accident and injury. The overall safety was exacerbated further by uncontrolled right turns for vehicles. The FRA has taken the decision to implement additional controls to provide clearly defined pedestrian crossing places, to manage traffic speed and to ensure safer traffic movements. These controls include median and side-road fencing, lighting at pedestrian crossings and traffic signals at selected junctions. These works are not yet complete. Once the traffic signals are installed at the remaining junctions, a further audit will be conducted to assess the overall highway operation.

Jonathan Moore, Chief Executive Officer, FRA

The FACT is here

THE Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori will be filled with soccer fans from all over the country because of the Fiji Football Association Cup Tournament (Fiji FACT) this weekend. The first tournament of the year, the Vodafone Fiji FACT kicked off in Nausori yesterday. This time included in the battle for supremacy are giant-killers Tavua too. I don’t think Rewa is leaving any stones unturned in its preparation to defend the title. As other teams are also coming fully prepared, let’s see if they are able to take the crown away from the Delta Tigers. I think if the present weather continues, the tournament will be a hit. As per media reports, we learn that all teams have trained hard for this meet. The management have worked very hard and sacrificed a lot to keep their respective teams intact and running all the time. These people deserve recognition and commendation. For them the team is such as their second family. Not to forget the players without whom there is no team. I hope ticket prices are made affordable so that more people can come and enjoy the games. I believe Nausori Town Council charges fees which is equivalent to 15-20 per cent of the gross gate taking. I think councils use revenue derived from gate takings to maintain their grounds. I would like to wish all participants all the best.

Suresh Chand, Nadi

Visa on arrival

I wish to endorse the sentiments of the Fijian PM Voreqe Bainimarama regarding the issuance of visa on arrival for Fijians travelling to EU countries. I salute the PM for keeping the issue alive and getting a commitment from the EU’s ambassador to Fiji and the Pacific, Julian Wilson that he would see “how they could ease travel between Fiji and EU member countries”. I am sure something good will come out in the near future.

Arun Prasad, Dilkusha, Nausori

The case

Is it really over? Nevertheless, congratulations to The Fiji Times.

S Goundar, Christchurch, New Zealand

DPP to appeal

DPP Christopher Pyrde says he disagrees with the decision by the High Court to acquit the three The Fiji Times media men and a letter writer charged with sedition (FT 25/5). I wonder what the thinking of some other legal and constitutional experts is on the High Court decision? There is, of course, no doubts about what the ordinary folks think. They rejoice at the court decision.

Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia

Gulliver’s travel

The events in Gulliver’s Travel written by Jonathan Swift became really exciting when the Lilliputians pegged Gulliver down with hundreds of ropes that kept him immobile for some time. This is exactly what is to be done when one faces a giant. Pin him down when the opportunity arises and do what you plan to do to the best of your ability. This may be something worth doing when the Naitasiri rugby team takes on Suva in the Skipper Cup competition at the Naluwai grounds today. And remember, it’s not the rugby you play but how you play your rugby. Good luck to both teams!

Joeli Naleca, Natabua, Lautoka

Poverty issue

Mr Sivoinavatu, the State’s HOMES-CARE assistance did not expose the poverty level, desperation and dependency on government handouts (FT 24/5). I believe it exposed the greed of some people. Period! The unaffected were claiming otherwise.

Wise Muavono, Balawa, Lautoka

Grants usage

Can the honourable Koya please check how many people are using the grants the way it was intended to? I believe a lot of people are no longer doing small business after receiving the grants but they line up again to receive it a second or third time. I believe some are using family members to collect grants. Please stop abusing government grants.

John Brown, Drasa, Vitogo, Lautoka

Security officers

Security officers around the country have the most interesting job at times and sometimes not so interesting. Put yourself in the common man’s shoes and imagine walking into a big shop or company and you need directions his first instinct is to ask the security officer. And most of these officers at times develop a relationship with the staff members and get to know the basic mechanism of whatever location they are currently working in that they become the first point of contact for most of these organisations and with the pay they get I feel as they are the most unappreciated people but yet they do what they do to the best of their ability. So to the big wigs please give these security officers a fair shake as some are cursed at or even worse beaten up for doing their job, though some may go overboard it doesn’t take away the fact that their job is quite tough and sometimes unforgiving, and the turnover is quite high. Here is to all security officers, keep up the good work and never lose hope.

Lawrence Wara, Suva

Lifelong commitment

With so much discussions on the royal wedding, it looks like fans may be overlooking the more important aspects. Marriage is both a legal and spiritual commitment that is a lifelong journey which is beyond sickness, in good times and difficult times. It’s a longer journey beyond the glamorous wedding ceremonies and receptions. When all have left the couple begin a lifelong commitment. Marriage breakdowns are common even in our part of the country. Like one farmer Sinclair, from Paipai, said the other day, that he would rather have bubble gum and juicy at his wedding as there is no need to please other people as they won’t be there for him and his future honey during the stormy days in their lifelong relationship. All in all, marriage is special and couples have every reason and many ways to enjoy the lifelong commitment.

Floyd Robinson, Nasinu

Times’ position

Thanks for the statement Fred, and I will reiterate what we put to pen is not to go against the bigwigs or anyone for that matter, but it is just practical critics which you can either take on board or discard. Through this column we have managed to get footpaths and bus shelters in Cunningham and believe me a lot of the residents are grateful for it and kudos to the bigwigs for hearing our pleas. But as in life it’s a two-way street, and we as citizens must take care of what is given to us and not desecrate or abuse it for what it was not intended for, so vinaka The Fiji Times for giving me the channel to share my somewhat inconspicuous thoughts of what is what, as we try to make Fiji a better place for you and me.

Lawrence Wara, Suva

Times’ case

I am happy Justice Rajasinghe ruled the way he did. I believe this matter never should have ended in court in the first place, and I definitely agree that the State should have pursued other avenues to seek relief, that is, either seek an apology from The Fiji Times or lodge a complaint with MIDA. Great Britain, the country of origin of the offence of sedition abolished it in 2009, the then Justice Minister Claire Ward famously saying “sedition and seditious libel are arcane offences from a bygone era when freedom of expression wasn’t seen as a right it is today”. I believe it is about time we confine this offence of sedition to the place it deserves — the dustbin of history.

Alipate Doviverata Mataitini, Lomanikoro, Rewa

Combined Pacific Island team

I would love to see a combined team in Super Rugby because it presents an opportunity to ensure that our players are exposed to top rugby. The 2004 combined Pacific Island team had big names in Rauluni, Bobo, Ligairi, Fa’atau, my favourite and Samoa’s Seilala Mapusua, Bai, Sititi, Sivivatu, Sisa, So’oialo, Tanner Vili, Dovi, Lauaki, Rawaqa, Inoke Afeaki, Aleki Lutui, the late Rabeni and Brian Lima. The combined team created far more interest on the inaugural tour than any of the three nations could have hoped to individually. Despite losing to Australia (29-14), New Zealand (41-26) and Africa (38-24), they impressed as they played full-strength teams. The Islanders, however, beat Queensland XV (48-29) and NSW Waratahs (68-21). Fans marvelled at the depth of talent and flair in the Pacific. In 2006 the Pacific Islanders team lost their test matches to Wales (38-20), Scotland (34-22) and Ireland (61-17). Two years later the team lost to England (39-13) and France (42-17) but beat Italy (25-17). Sadly, in July 2009, Samoa Rugby Union decided to quit the alliance because the merged Pacific Islands team had failed to produce financial benefits sought by member unions. Talks are in progress and funding is on the line for the inclusion of a team in Super Rugby. For too long we have cheered for foreign teams and now is the time to back our own. I hope that the best players are assembled from the Pacific Islands to form a team if green light is given by SANZAR. I rest my case until then!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Fabulous four

The inclusion of Nakarawa, Kunatani, Tuisova and Radradra into our men’s 7s team to the 7s World Cup will be a dream come true. The Rio Olympics is a testimony of this phenomena. The passion and speed of the current boys coupled with the aggression and motivation of the fabulous four will bring forth an explosion on the field. By the way, Baber’s headache has just begun. Toso Fiji, toso.
Mesake Sivoinavatu, Pago Pago, American Samoa
Taste of a sweet victory
In one of my letters to the editor column in September last year, while expressing The Fiji Times’ positive contribution in informing, educating and entertaining Fiji’s audience since 1869, I had chosen the heading “simply the best” and the said letter was published. I did not choose that heading out of the blues but it came from within my heart, entered inside ink of my pen like a bullet, sprayed words on a piece of paper and finally through e-mail reached the editor’s desk. Like any other newspaper coverage, letters to the editor column in The Fiji Times is very popular and read by many people who buy or borrow from each other. Your exceptional contribution in keeping people updated with current happenings around the country on daily basis can’t be disputed. You are indeed fulfilling the highest role of the media in a most professional manner. On May 22 The Fiji Times that is simply the best tasted a sweet victory and three senior staff members and a letter writer were acquitted of sedition charges that had been going on for about two years. I believe it was 24 months of waiting but in the end truth always prevails. The Fiji Times is indeed a powerful disseminator of information and does not favour anyone when it comes to reporting. As I said before, it is a strong champion of democratic rule, respect for law, justice and equality. Indeed the pen is mightier than the sword and this newspaper has been really brave and is serving the people for the past 148 years that is sufficient indication how much Fiji’s people believe in you. So many supporters were waiting outside the courtroom on Tuesday afternoon to hear the good news and all cheered because they had faith that the newspaper will come out victorious. Besides that, you also have many other silent supporters and this is evident from huge newspaper sales. Do not allow any external forces to threaten you, intimidate you or punish you simply because you preach what you practice and practice what you preach. Continue reporting honestly and providing a balanced view without any fear. The Fiji Times once again you are simply the best and you deserve a big salute from everyone who believe in reading the truth and nothing but the truth.
Chandra Prakash Singh, Sivi Rd, Caubati, Nasinu
Soccer reflections
What an interesting weekend of soccer it will be at the Fiji FACT at Ratu Cakobau Park. Has our standard of soccer improved compared with the past 10 years? I have my views for now but would rather wait and observe this weekend. Have our referees improved? Aside from that, let’s hope that sufficient security officers are present to contain the crowd, especially in tense and competitive games. After all, all teams will want to win. Some players and officials may want their teams to win at all costs, as the opportunity to grab glory comes once a year. Sometimes it’s human nature for players who are under immense pressure to resort to unprofessional tactics. How decisive are officials in their decision-making when responding to official complaints and what are the timelines involved? Only time will tell. Looking forward to the Men in Blue from the Sugar City of Lautoka as well as the Babasiga Lions from Labasa. Watch out for the underdogs as they could turn out as sleeping giants waiting to unleash.

Floyd Robinson, Nasinu

Pavilion concern

With the Fiji FACT kicking off this weekend at Ratu Cakobau Park, ardent fans would be out there to render their support to their teams as eight districts would be battling in the pool stages for a spot in the crucial semifinals. In spite of the hysteria that would be experienced next week, I am concerned about the conditions of the pavilion. For so many years, games have been played at this venue and while authorities have maintained excellent standard of the ground, the condition of the pavilion has remained without much improvement. Spectators, inclusive of women and children, have to bear the hard surface for hours and this makes things quite uncomfortable. Many carry cushions to the venue. At least, bucket seats must be introduced. Recently, I witnessed a league match and I was surprised with the flock of mynah birds making irritating noise and disturbing the spectators. They also make the place very dirty and this poses more problems for spectators. Smoking is banned in public places, yet people smoke under the pavilion and all the smoke rises from the human chimney and reaches the passive smokers. Smoking must be completely banned on the grounds at least during a tournament, considering the fact that it is a health hazard. Something must be done about these in future games. I wish all the teams best of luck in the upcoming tournament and let’s hope that there would be some quality football played.

Naveen Dutt, Wainibokasi

Vet hospital

I was delighted to read an online article on the Fiji National University’s website titled “First Vet Hospital for the Pacific Takes Shape”. Someone once said that “the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”. Thus, I would like to congratulate the Fiji National University (FNU) in taking the first phase for endorsing the contract of its veterinary hospital construction. This project will be the first of its kind for Fiji and the Pacific as a whole. This great initiative by FNU will address the shortage of vets for the Pacific, especially in Fiji which has been a chronic problem for many years. Furthermore, I am excited to witness the first batch of vets who would be graduating in the near future. All in all, Fiji’s livestock industry will be blessed by these trained and dedicated future veterinary physicians. Vinaka vakalevu once again to FNU for the excellent work. Keep it up!

Spencer Robinson, Suva

‘Gold’ in cocoa ponds

Ana Madigibuli’s article “‘Gold’ in cocoa pods” brought sweet memories from my childhood days in Savusavu. Saturdays were spent in our family farm in Naveria and my grandfather and dad’s eldest brother had a habit of taking the second line to the farm. Cocoa, guava and coconuts were plentiful. Coconut farming was a family affair and coconut, cocoa and guava formed part of our snacks. Slowly most of us got educated and moved to Suva while our cousins got married and went to settle with their in-laws and the trip to the family farm has become a distant dream for many of us. Grandpa is no more but I am glad that efforts are being taken to revive the cocoa industry and that the Cocoa Development Program would continue to support cocoa clusters and individuals. How much I wish that grandpa was alive to take advantage of this opportunity! Thank you Ana and The Fiji Times (21/05) for the wonderful article and vinaka vakalevu to those who organised the Cocoa Day celebration in Tailevu!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Centennial celebrations

The Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji will be celebrating its 100 years of colourful history and existence at Gurukul Primary School, Lautoka this weekend. Numerous activities have been organised over the four days including oratories, havan (prayer), youth and women programs, sports, executive meetings and the AGM. The journey of 100 years has not been an easy one but the efforts and sacrifices by the pioneers, the executives of the past and present and all well-wishers is noteworthy. The Sabha was established in 1916, during the second Arya Convention at Drasa, Lautoka. However, the registration was done in 1918 through the tireless efforts of the pioneers. The theme for this year’s centennial celebration is ‘Celebrating hundred years of nation building through education in Fiji’. Since the establishment, the Sabha has worked tremendously hard in providing education to all Fijians. The Sabha is proud to be the controlling authority of 15 pre-schools, 14 primary schools, six secondary schools and a university. Indeed, the occasion calls for a massive celebration and the Sabha is proud to have sustained its operations for the past 100 years and expresses its deep gratitude to the Fijian Government, donors, well-wishers and the pioneers for their contributions, generosity and sheer determination. It is also worth noting that Gurukul Primary School was the first formal school established in 1918 by the Sabha. Gurukul Primary School continues to play a significant role in the education of children of all ethnicity and has seen about 40,000 students passing through its gates in the past 100 years. One of the prime objectives for the establishment of the Sabha is to facilitate the education of girls, women and the socioeconomically deprived. I can proudly say the Sabha has carried out its roles and responsibilities with honesty, dignity, determination, equality, care, respect, understanding and peace. It has laid strong a platform inclusive of all ethnicity and background. So many students from Sabha schools are now serving in various sectors such as medical fields, universities, law firms, government departments, NGOs, business firms and the list goes on. Let us not forget the founder of Arya Samaj Organisation — Maharishi Swami Dayanand Saraswati. Swami Dayanand was a very strong advocate of education for girls and women. Only then a society can move from darkness to light. The Sabha treated this with great enthusiasm and pride to ensure that girls and women are treated equally and given the liberty to be educated fully to face the challenges. Swami-ji gave India a modern way of thinking that related to logical thinking that was highly scientific. The Sabha is indebted to the vision and works of Swami ji. This was only possible through the knowledge depicted in the four Vedas. The Vedas provide that life line and simplicity through which ordinary humans can survive and lead a prosperous life full of energy, peace and happiness. On this auspicious occasion, we must also remember the thousands of sons and daughters that the nation has lost and pray sincerely so that our nation prospers even further. The challenges ahead are colossal and the youths must also be actively involved in the decision-making process as well as other operations of the parent body so that the good foundation on which the Sabha is operating continues to generate and grow even further. May the divine light spread into everyone’s life bringing peace, prosperity, contentment, happiness, and good health. I wish everyone success and best of luck.

Naveen Dutt, Wainibokasi

Letter of the Week ending 02/04 – 08/04

Cost of vaccine

I AM now more concerned about the cost of the men-C virus vaccine sold in pharmacies than this deadly threat itself. And to make it worse, I believe our ever cheerful health minister has stated that spraying of mossies is no go as it would subsequently harm other insects. I wonder if some people keep these “certain insects” as pets. Well I guess we all just have to do with a couple of “goodnight” jumbo coils for now to keep Louie and his mates at bay.

Nishant Singh, Lautoka

Letter of the Week ending 23/04 – 29/04

Parking spaces

I BELIEVE every government department and just about every private sector or company thinks little or nothing about customer parking. All parking spaces are for the workers. Customers even get told to move out if you dare park in a designated space. Government departments and private companies need to understand that they exist to provide goods and services and if it wasn’t for customers they would never be there in the first place. Customer service starts and finishes at the parking lot, not reception! Please provide enough parking spaces for customers.

Simon Hazelman, Savusavu

Letter of the Week ending 30/04 – 06/05

Social media

FACEBOOK is neither positive nor negative, it depends on the user. The user of the application decides on how Facebook will affect the people. Facebook didn’t cause marriage breakups, fights, racial hate and the nude issue, the user did! We are our own destruction. Just think before you post.

Antonio Kuruse, Kelland St, Narere, Nasinu

Letter of the Week ending 07/05 – 13/05

Natabua traffic jam

I WISH to bring to the notice of the authorities concerned traffic at the Natabua road junction. Every morning we the commuters are stuck in traffic jams during working days. Now that school has started, its worse. Let me start from the FNU campus where potholes riddle the road. Like I mentioned before, cars speed towards the main road going zigzag to avoid the potholes. Then at the junction, it becomes a bottleneck, I once again as an elder speak for the people of Natabua. If there is a police pointsman, traffic flows, otherwise we just have to wait for a kind-hearted motorist to give way. To the police traffic department in the West, could you officer come early please. I know you can because I often see police vehicles drive past while we wait in the queue or should that be called traffic jam.

Iliesa Baravilala, Natabua Housing, Lautoka

Letter of the Week 14/05 – 20/05

Our moral responsibility

AS an avid reader of The Fiji Times, firstly let me salute the Times for bringing in inspiring, motivational and sometimes heart-warming narrations of our mothers in villages, towns and cities. Sometimes, it is beyond my comprehension as how the educated and affluent in society can leave their mothers in elderly homes and in solitude. I have expressed my gratitude through The Fiji Times on numerous occasions to those children who are taking good care of their mothers and the elders. We are not doing any favour to them. It is our moral and social responsibility. I believe that those, particularly the educated and well-to-do children and who are shying from this responsibility, to take stock of their attitude again. Mothers are the epitome of love, strength and sacrifice. I pay homage to all the mothers in Fiji for their contributions towards the welfare of their children in particular and the country at large. I read somewhere that a human body can bear only up to 45 del (unit) of pain. Yet at the time of giving birth, mothers feel up to 57 del (unit) of pain. This is similar to 20 bones getting fractured at one time. Can you imagine it now the pain mothers go through for us? I hope all the readers of The Fiji Times get my message.

Arun Prasad, Dilkusha, Nausori