Letters to the Editor – September 8, 2018

Students of Labasa Primary School in their costumes for the character parade as they celebrated Library Week yesterday. Picture: LUKE RAWALAI

Library week

Schools around Fiji celebrated library week and the importance of a library would have been emphasised to a great length by the teachers and guest speakers.

Despite the growing power of technology and online media, the library should remain an important component of a child’s life and they should be encouraged to read because reading builds up knowledge.

We started our reading career with stories about Cinderella, Peter Pan, Jack and Jill, Red Riding Hood before getting into the Hardy Boys series and other mystery and detective cases.

Reading The Fiji Times and the then Daily Post also became part of my reading classes where I gained an insight into sports and current affairs.

I remember cutting pieces of articles and pasting them on my reading book and re-reading them.

Library classes were compulsory and the book review written those days were taken seriously and marked by our English teachers who made sure that book reviews were written in our own words.

Unlike our days where we had limited reading books, children these days are exposed to a wide range of interesting books by various authors.

Hence, I plead with parents to please instil in your children the art and importance of reading or else they will be gripped by technology and social media and reading skills will diminish.

I noticed a lot of children on social media were dressed in their favourite book characters’ costumes and these kids looked beautiful in their array of costumes.

Students also did writing exercises, made posters, bookmarks and charts and decorated their classrooms with a library corner.

Hats off to our students and teachers for being so creative!

As I conclude, I believe that more efforts are needed to raise awareness on the importance of a library and the best place to start is at home.

If we can play our part at home, the job of our teachers and school librarians will become easy because our children would have mastered the art of reading.

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Tough IDC pools

The 2018 Courts IDC pools have been drawn and both pools are tough.

In a repeat of the BOG pool the Men in Black face the high-flying Blues and the Babasiga Lions while Nasinu has been handed a tough assignment in the same pool.

Suva, Rewa and Nadi will face either Tavua or Dreketi depending on the conclusion of the national soccer league.

The Capital City will come alive next month as our districts gear up for the final and mother of all soccer tournaments.

It’s a pity that primary and secondary schools soccer and senior teams such as Vatukoula, Levuka, Tailevu North, Bua and Nadogo will miss out but I guess that’s Fiji FA’s call and they know what’s better for Fiji soccer.

Looking forward to the Courts IDC as the Blues will be out to defend their IDC title.

Best wishes to the Babasiga Lions!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu.

Road humps

Drivers hate road humps.

So if you don’t like road humps, don’t speed.

That’s the only reason road humps are put up — speed.

No speed — no hump.

That’s it.

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Constitution Day

It is heart-warming to read that northerners were celebrating the national Constitution Day for the first time this year at Subrail Park in Labasa.

For decades, Fijians in the North have had to watch national celebrations held in Suva on television, listen over radio or read about it in the papers.

The prime minister and his team were out there to celebrate our constitution and all of the rights and protections it affords us all.

From the sea of blue and the Fiji flag, on first glance, one could easily assume that it was a FijiFirst party rally, but we all know that the election date has not been announced and no election campaign is being done.

So Friday, September 7 is our national Constitution Day and some opposition forces who live under our Constitution, do not want to embrace it, saying it was forced upon them and that once they come into power, they will bring the old constitution back.

The million dollar question is, “Which constitution is best for us Fijians as a whole, this current one or the old one? Which constitution safeguards the iTaukei land and natural resources better, this one or the old one? Which constitution reflects more the love of God in treating all Fijians the same, on a level playing field?

Your answer to the above questions should help you to cast your one vote in the coming 2018 General Election!

Savenaca Vakaliwaliwa, Suva

Education reforms

We read a lot of the education reforms that are taking place in Fiji.

I believe the reforms are missing the mark.

The best reform the ministry can do is to ban all electronic gadgets — mobile phones and computer classes from Year 1 to Year 10.

Young minds during these years are very receptive and therefore it is the best time in life to teach the basic three “Rs” — reading (w)riting and (a)rithmetic — now called mathematics.

When we ensure that our children have been solidly grounded on these three basics of education — reading, ‘riting’ and ‘rithmetic’ — we will have mature sensible persons because their minds have been trained to think, to consider, to express logical thoughts and ideas.

All the recent discussions that our children cannot read and write and are zombies will disappear.

I am certain when we deny our youngsters computers and mobile phones and ground them on the three basics first, in these formative years, they will no longer allow the computers and mobile phones to run wild over them and be their masters as is the case now.

This ban can be extended to all computer and gaming shops too.

William Rosa, Tavua

Teacher issue

Teachers’ terms and conditions are covered under a collective agreement.

I believe Mr Sayed-Khaiyum should explain under what powers he changed teachers’ terms and conditions from a collective one to individual contracts without consultation?

Dan Urai, Lautoka

Waste of money

As a developing country reliant on other wealthier nations, to survive, why can’t Government cut down on things they can do without and still get the job done?

There are old and new practices by our current government that is simply wasteful and it’s time they reduce their cost of governance!

One can draw up a huge list starting from personnel to the immoderate entourages that follow MPs around the country!

It seems like MPs are being served as opposed to them serving the nation?

MPs should never be in it to benefit themselves by raising their living standards, but instead they should be passionate about doing exactly that for the people of Fiji!

One does not need to have to state outright the rightful way as those at the helm should be smart enough to know that!

Walk our talk, not your own!

Simon Hazelman, Savusavu

Fijian shareholder

WHY can’t the Government instruct Fijian Holdings Ltd to make every Fijian a FHL shareholder?

Sukha Singh, Labasa

Fiji versus Samoa

OUR Under-20 rugby side will play Samoa for a place in the tier 1 competition and also the World Rugby U20 trophy Tier 2 competition!

Fiji beat Uruguay, Portugal and Canada while Samoa overcame Namibia, HK and Romania.

Playing away from home our boys have done well and Naitasiri mentor Koli Sewabu has so far played his trump cards well.

My best wishes to our U20 boys as they aim for a place in the Tier 1.

I hope to catch a live viewing of the match on Fiji One.

Toso Viti!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Bath time

WHEN I was still living in Mulomulo we experienced a drought.

Wise said to save water and have a sponge bath.

Well, Wise it’s a good time to save water, Dan needs a sponge bath.

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Ghost town

TO be honest, Nausori Town right now looks like a ghost town.

Everything looks dead except the bus station and municipal market.

The shops and buildings are even the same from over 40 or 50 years which really is being a miser.

It doesn’t even have a children’s play centre.

Let alone the play centre, it doesn’t have a proper parking facility at Ratu Cakobau Park.

I wonder what is the town council doing to modify and beautify Nausori?

Raynav Chand, Nakasi

Bank loan

A FRIEND asked if it’s illegal to falsely declare one’s salary when applying for a bank loan.

Can someone help!

Dan Urai, Lautoka

At the helm

IN our present government, some ministers and their assistants are not experts in their field of headship, hence they are surrounded by expertise within the government departments.

Curious eyes on political parties campaigning for the yet to be announced date of national election, am I only seeing former civil servants, business people, lawyers standing for their parties.

How nice would it be to see political candidates from different backgrounds voted in by the people to head government departments should the shoe fit!

Areki Dawai, Suva

Labour’s position

In the public interest, I wish to correct a statement made by NFP Leader Prof Biman Prasad in The Fiji Times of September 7, 2018.

I refer to Prof Prasad’s recent exchanges with Joel Abraham, CEO of Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission over allegations that Opposition parties were promising to bring down food costs by 20 per cent by removing VAT.

In his response yesterday Prof Prasad said Mr Abraham was obviously referring to NFP because “it was the only party that had publicly announced it would reduce the cost of living by removing VAT from 15 basic food items and duty on essential goods”.

While I do not wish to enter into this controversy between the two, this statement needs to be corrected for the public record because other Opposition political parties have also announced similar policies.

The Fiji Labour Party has certainly stated publicly time and again that it would remove the 9 per cent VAT and Customs Duties on basic food items, extend the list of items that are zero-rated as well as those under price control.

This is part of FLP’s social package for the 2018 General Election.

I believe SODELPA has also announced that it intends to remove the 9 per cent VAT on basic food items.

It was the Labour Government that in 1999 removed VAT and Customs Duty from a number of basic food items and brought 17 other essential items under price control to bring down the cost of living.

We strongly opposed the imposition of 9 per cent VAT on basic food items by the government in 2016 because of the devastating impact it has had on the poor.

We intend to remove it at the first opportunity.

Surendra Lal, Vice president, Fiji Labour Party

Amputation rate

I COMPLETELY agree with Dewan Chand that a lot more ought to be done to curtail the consumption of junk food and soft drinks (FT 1/9).

We need to attack the rising incidence of NCDs from all fronts if we are truly serious about reducing the alarming level of amputation due to diabetes.

An amputation every eight hours is indeed shocking.

Whenever I see shoppers filling their trollies with fizzy drinks in the supermarkets I have to resist the urge to snatch and put them back in the shelves.

I could only watch helplessly as they check out with large bottles of sugar sweetened soft drinks.

We all have a responsibility to fight this battle on a united front.

That includes parents, businesses, media, teachers, medical professionals, community leaders and health authorities.

As parents it is our duty to teach our children to say no to soft drinks.

We should encourage them to participate in outdoor activities and sports.

When visiting relatives and families we should take fresh fruits for them.

It should be made mandatory for schools to inculcate good eating and living habits into our children at an early age of their development.

They should be continuously made wary of the risk and consequences of NCDs related diseases.

I believe more vigorous campaigns needs to be undertaken to educate our people on the causes of diabetes and how it can be prevented.

Banning the sale of soft drinks in school canteen is meaningless when the students can freely buy them from the shops nearby.

I hope all our concerns and suggestions would not fall on deaf ears.

Selwa Nandan, Lautoka

Bank opening hours

OUR Fiji is getting advanced day by day.

Do you think is it a good idea to open the bank around 8.30am and close the banks around 4.30pm?

Sanjay Arvin Lal, Lautoka

Experienced Drua

No nonsense coach and Drua mentor has opted for an experienced line-up as our boys prepare to face the Quade Cooper inspired Brisbane City side at Churchill Park.

Unlike the Fiji Airways Drua side which recorded a bonus point win against Melbourne Rising at Ratu Cakobau Park, Brisbane City went down to a strong Western Force side 47-29.

Fans will remember that Western Force faced the whip when Super Rugby was downsized.

Brisbane City will be tough and I watched the highlights of their battle against Western Force.

Although City lost they put up a sterling and magnificent performance.

City boasts big names in Cooper, Korczyk and Hunt and their forwards will not be easily intimidated but the Drua will be out to take revenge for the last year’s loss in Brisbane during the opening round.

Last year away from home, the Drua were outclassed by Brisbane City 45-36 but this time around our boys started strongly with a bonus point win 40-17.

Our boys executed their game plan well last week and our link between the forwards and backs were outstanding.

The lethal pair of Lomani and Veitokani combined well to destroy the Rising onslaught.

My only concern is our slow start and if our boys have to make a statement today then an early start on the score board is vital.

I am glad that Seruvakula has been working on discipline, an area that lamented our team’s efforts last year.

The western heat and strong fan support should motivate our boys to play their hearts out and settle for nothing else but a bonus point win.

On the other hand, it is important to respect our opponents but we do not need to fear anyone but trust each other to do the job and deliver what is expected.

To our Drua side, we are banking on you to build the momentum from last week and prove that you are not adding numbers to the NRC.

Let’s show the visitors that we mean business and let’s play our game, stick to the plan, make use of opportunities and play with confidence.

I wish the Drua side and the coaching panel all the best for the clash against Brisbane City and hoping for another epic win!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Important scenario

Our prime minister says that we are not ready because of the clash of the dates of the meetings. (FT 6/9)

It seems some bigger countries will not sign the Paris agreement on COP23.

And there are governments that are taking their time.

The way we are going, if we do not hasten things we will be doomed.

But just imagine, these are the people who are supposed to be governing the world.

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Sports sense

We may have not officially declared it as a nation but sports is one of our major contributors to our economy and the head honchos need to jump on that bandwagon and be a part of it where it can be a win-win situation for the country and its people.

One only needs to look overseas and see the amount of young men and women plying their trade overseas through sports.

Now we have young Fijians living abroad coming back to represent their homeland, but still we cannot get overseas sponsorship for our national teams, seeing that we are struggling economically as a nation.

Even the ticket prices are too high for the common man, and must opt to watch the replay for free from home.

My five cent worth maybe the governing bodies of each sport or even the Government should step up their game and monitor all these activities, so when the dust settles the player can still enjoy life after the lime light and not get thrown out and discarded like a used plastic bag.

We could take a leaf from my tau Seremaia Bai’s page about player’s welfare.

Now we have the NRC going on and the U20 rugby championship and sure enough there will be scouts out there ready to snap our players for minimum wage, which to the common man is a lot, but who wins in the end, surely not the talent.

Anyway, that’s for the bigwigs to think about, good luck to the Drua, U20 and the football teams, especially to my nephew Scott.

Lawrence Wara, Suva

Abs in control

The Wallabies have been trounced twice by the superpowers of world rugby.

The All Blacks have defended the Bledisloe Cup and in the process (Beauden) Barrett set a new record by becoming the first All Black to score four tries against the Wallabies.

For the clash against the Los Pumas tonight, Barrett has been replaced by two-time Super Rugby champion and Crusaders think tank Richie Mo’unga.

The All Blacks face an Argentinian side which is on a high after upsetting the Springboks at home and Steve Hansen has gambled by leaving some experienced All Blacks such as Barrett, Aaron Smith, Whitelock and Sam Cane out of the squad.

But I am confident that the newcomers in Laumape, TJ Perenara, Frizell, Skudder, Mo’unga and Tu’inukuafe will prove a handful for Argentina, who will rely on their forwards.

The Los Pumas will be banking on Delguy, Moroni, Moyano, Sanchez, who delivered the man of the match performance against the Springboks, Lavanini, Kremer, Botta and courageous captain Creevy.

Nelson residents have been awed with the fact that the All Blacks are playing Argentina in their home town and I know that they will pour in numbers to support the mighty world champions.

On the other hand, the clash between Australia and South Africa will also be a cracker as Australia will be out to prove critics wrong after two straight losses to the All Blacks while the Springboks will be out to avenge the loss to Argentina.

All in all, an exciting night of rugby for me with a tight mix and chaser to last me late into the night!

All the best to the All Blacks for a fired up clash against Argentina!

Go the All Blacks go and grab the bonus point and Rugby Championship title.

NZ all the way!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Education issue

A few days ago I attended a funeral gathering of a member of my school alumnae and found out from one of the elderly teachers who is assisting students in reading.

What really shocked me was that the students came in at 18 years of age with no education whatsoever.

I could not fathom that in this day and age we still have people out there who can’t attend school because of social and economic reasons.

He said one of his students had to help out at home and take care for his siblings, who by the way attended school or even one who had a child at a young age.

Now I’m no expert on anything but as a common man, imagine that this is only one or two cases and I’m sure there are more out there.

I believe we have not progressed much if we have people living in the urban areas under these conditions.

Maybe the bigwigs vying for a spot in the big house could look into this issue and really make a difference, or else we will be just going around in circles.

Lawrence Wara, Suva

Constitution Day holiday

We have had so many constitutions since our independence in 1970 but for our latest we have been granted a holiday.

Honestly, I haven’t read any of the constitutions and I’m in no position to say which one is the best.

I would like the Government to have a constitutional office where we can direct our queries if we do not understand any particular clauses in the constitution rather than walking out of Parliament.

Anyway, I thank the Government for the holiday and celebrations in Labasa.

Sukha Singh , Labasa

Police officers

Looking at some police officers in Fiji, I believe they should be given awards for being the unfittest officers.

I find it hilarious writing about this issue because it is expected from the police to be at their best possible fitness but looking at their condition, I feel pity and feel like donating a few treadmills and exercising machines to them!

Raynav Chand, Nakasi

Road markings and lanes

The increase of new vehicles on our roads is a positive indicator that our economy is doing well because people now have more disposable cash to purchase their wants and improve their life.

As long as there is a positive economic climate and stability in the country, the influx of vehicles will continue and the suggestion of limiting such imports, I believe, will not be possible for now to curb the problem of having too many vehicles on our road.

The other option of creating and extending new roads could be minimal but the road upgrades should improve traffic flow.

The creation of double lanes where possible with new roundabouts will greatly assist in traffic management.

However, it is noted with concern that any vehicle that comes along Nokonoko Rd in Laucala Beach with the intention to make a right turn at the junction of the roundabout in Ratu Dovi Rd will have to keep to the inside right lane only.

The other left lane is for vehicles that will make a left turn towards the Centre Point side.

The problem here is that during any time of the day and especially in the afternoon peak hours, more than 80 per cent of the traffic makes a right turn there.

This right lane form a congestion with a long queue of vehicles waiting patiently to manoeuvre safely at the roundabout on their way towards the Nasinu side.

The empty lane reserved for a left turn cannot be resisted and some drivers jump the jam, travelling on this lane ignoring the road markings and turn right at the roundabout.

This junction caters for this type of manoeuvring as Ratu Dovi Rd has double lanes also both ways and easily accommodate such movement.

It is also interesting to note that where there is an urge for any traffic booking by the enforcement agencies, they happily base themselves on Ratu Dovi Rd about 50 metres from the roundabout towards Nasinu side and achieve a healthy catch of frustrated drivers.

I believe that this issue regarding the defects in the traffic lane which hinders the continuous flow must be seriously looked into by the road engineers with the view to change the road markings allowing right turns from either lane which will maximise the usage of the road space.

This new road markings that is suggested will surely act as a catalyst in preventing long queues and eliminate driver stress and fatigue.

Satish Nakched, Suva

Business owners

I read (FT 5/9) that business owners in Nadi were reminded of their obligations to staff members who worked above and beyond their normal scope of duties.

May I also say that not only business owners in Nadi need to be reminded! Some people I know have told me that they work long hours and get paid a normal eight-hour shift.

These people dare not complain because they say they will get victimised.

There are so many who come knocking at their employers’ doors, they know they can be replaced in an instant.

Many of us who work with the underprivileged also know about this and have kept our silence for the sake of the people.

During natural disasters, we interview people and they tell us about this.

It is up to the powers that be to come forward and investigate for the sake of the people.

And to ensure they are not victimised.

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Talkback show

I heard on an i-Taukei talkback show on Wednesday 05/09/18 on the social issue topic of abortion — Who to blame?

First, I believe the radio personality is not qualified to be a moderator on this issue because it will further incite hate and discrimination against women and girls which further leads to gender-based violence.

I urge the producers or those in charge of media outlets to further censor social issue topics which they are not experts nor have educational qualifications to dwell on.

This particular radio announcer thinks he is doing good by creating an open forum discussion, but little did he realise that he is doing more harm by putting women’s and girls’ lives at risk.

If you want to dwell on any social issues in future, please invite the experts into your talkback show so you can have a balanced and fruitful discussion.

Majority of your callers point a finger at women or teenage girls, who should cop the blame for abortion.

Hello!

These women don’t get pregnant by themselves.

This topic should be discussed at community level forums and not some wannabe radio station thinking your show will solve the problem overnight.

Jioji Cakacaka, Male advocate, Nasinu

Big crowd

I think the big crowd at Subrail Park in Labasa is a very good indication of the support for the FijiFirst party, the President, the Prime Minister and the Constitution.

Sukha Singh, Labasa

Savusavu police

Impressive (FT/3/9/18)!

Did Shariff call the police for some tea or was he raising a complaint?

Dan Urai, Lautoka

Teachers’ issue

It is my humble plea to the Minister for Education to control or imply some stoppage on the poor teachers who are being demoted from their posts.

As a student, I feel it is the worst time to make changes as we are in Term 3 and changes in our staff list surely does disturb us.

Looking at our teachers, I really feel pity on them as many of them have been demoted and it is demoralising them, therefore, this affects them in giving the best in the classroom.

Give the minister a pay rise, but put him as an assistant minister and tell him to enjoy the pay rise.

He will then realise what he is doing to the poor teachers.

Raynav Chand, Nakasi

Dry season

Once again, we are into the dry season.

Villagers are crying out.

Do we have to go through this every year?

What has happened to the people in strategic planning?

Can’t they come up with mechanisms that will put in place water plans to be activated and people get decent water supply all the time?

Or will we be getting experts to come and do our thinking for us!

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

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