LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - email@example.com
THE sheer quantity of marijuana uprooted in recent weeks and location of busts would indicate the drug problem in Fiji is widespread with well established distribution networks.
We are not talking about small time growers growing a handful of weed for personal consumption. We are talking of growers with large hidden plantations, of operators who have established channels to shift large quantities of the illegal stuff locally, of consumers who keep the wheels of this industry turning with increasing demand.
Targeting the growers is only one part of the equation. If we do not dismantle the established distribution network and curb the insatiable consumer demand, economics will force the introduction of substitute products which are more lethal and difficult to detect. That is a fact. Money is the key motivation for the big time operators, everything will be done to keep the distribution network alive. If it is not marijuana it will be some other illegal substance.
The NSAAC, Fiji's watchdog on substance abuse, indicated in its 2012 report that there was a decline in marijuana use in schools and local community.
However the continuing rise in domestic violence and recent drug busts contradict this finding. Where there is smoke, there is fire. Perhaps it is time NSAAC reviews its strategies, processes and relationships, particularly with law enforcement.
Targeting the consumers and the drug distribution networks should be the responsibility of law enforcement, the NSAAC and the local community. Initiatives such as "Dob in a dealer" should put these criminals on the backfoot and disrupt the network. The community needs to be vigilant and proactive to eradicate this menace.
The fat cats of this dark industry have yet to be brought to task. But the war is not over, at least not, before the fat lady sings.
Retired civil servants
I EXPRESS my sincere gratitude to all those who have retired from the civil service.
Many of these civil servants have devoted their life to the delivery of government services.
The endless hours of contribution that you have made will bring you a lot of rewards with the good Lord's blessings.
To those civil servants who are nearing 55, please prepare well for your retirement.
On a lighter note I quote the words of Hartman Jule that "retirement has been a discovery of beauty for me. I never had the time before to notice the beauty of my grandkids, my wife, the tree outside my very own front door. And, the beauty of time itself"!
We sometimes get so busy with our work that we forget that time has finally caught up with us.
To all the teachers who have retired a big vinaka vakalevu for educating the children of Fiji. Without your guidance and support many of us would not have been where we are today.
I conclude with the words of Harry Mahtar that "a gold watch is the most appropriate gift for retirement, as its recipients have given up so many of their golden hours in a lifetime of service".
RAJNESH ISHWAR LINGAM
AS stuff.co.nz revealed in The Fiji Times on 27/01, there has been a significant reduction in lamb prices primarily beacuse of the adverse dry weather which has led to a higher slaughter rate.
Prices have decreased to as low as $5 per kg.
This is a welcoming read indeed.
Since we largely import lamb, mainly fat laden and of reduced quality, would there be a subsequent drop in prices in our local market as well?
The current price of lamb (or lamp, as some of us pronounce it here) products is just not funny anymore.
CAN the proper authority or ministry advise the public of the best method to instil discipline on our youngsters without corporal punishment by parents?
First the teachers were taken to task in regards to corporal punishment in schools.
Then we parents were told by teachers and the advisory board that children need to be taught self discipline and respect from home.
This is the centre of upbringing for a youngster.
Now when we are trying our very best to instil discipline in our youngsters by a flick or a smack on the hand to remind a child to refrain from the mischievous act which is unacceptable, we are being taken to task which will directly result in family problems and poverty especially if the person involved is the breadwinner in the household.
Come on readers, accept the fact that within the next 10 years, there won't be any discipline in our children, more poverty, more crime and no respect for the elders.
Church, mosques and temples, I believe, will be occupied by elders and empty, traditional values or acts will be extinct and a thing of the past.
As a saying goes "with every right, comes great responsibilities".
Talent in soccer
IT is true as many commentators have observed that Fiji soccer standard has declined significantly.
But that does not mean Fiji soccer does not have talent.
For a small island country with less than one million people, Fiji soccer has produced an exceptionally large number of very talented soccer players without the benefit of real professional coaching.
We have even produced dribblers who would have brought a smile on the face of George Best and the legendary Stanley Mathews.
Suresh (Susu) my former Natabua High School colleague, Lautoka, Rewa and Fiji rep comes readily to mind.
He could and often did dribble past all the defenders including the goalkeeper. So why is Fiji soccer not doing well?
That is the key question to be addressed.
Ease the problem
IS there a leaf in the traffic law books that says that motorists stuck in a tourist town in a traffic jam don't get any assistance?
For generations, Nadi has this harshly disturbing and disappointing problem of traffic jam, but no one appears to be doing anything about it.
Ask those who go through this struggling situation routinely. A town can have nice buildings etc. but if it has no controlled and smooth flow of traffic, it is no good.
How many more meetings do the authorities need to solve this problem?
Since traffic lights are not approvable for the town as it is, can we not deploy pointsmen.
Cities around the world quite effectively use this ancient mode of traffic control and flow to the satisfaction of all concerned.
Why can't we? I hope someone eases the problem.
LETTER OF THE WEEK ENDING 19/01-25/01
PEOPLE are dumping garbage wherever and anyhow they wish to.
Whether they wish to throw it on the streets, river or sea, they just do it without giving a second thought.
The out of sight out of mind mentality remains because people are not held responsible for their acts.
We all must get together and start some serious discussions on protecting our environment urgently.
ONE thing that caught my attention is the physicality of the netballers during the games held last week at the Vodafone Arena. While most of our netball players were able to withstand rugged challenging opponents, notable figures were floored by flexible contact. Perhaps selectors need to scout for potential withstanding players that are flexible and sturdy.
Fuel and fares
FUEL prices have gone down! Is the taxi and bus fares going down?
THE plant known by numerous names. Shall we legalise it or not? Why don't we just ask the Almighty for his guidance. It's his creation anyway.
CORRUPT practices in work places when once it's set rolling, it must increase. And in Fiji where talents and virtues produce no advancement, money will be the national god to some. Its inhabitants will either have to possess money or make others believe that they do. Those who have money will display it in every imaginable way and those who don't have money will ruin themselves with vain efforts to conceal their poverty. Thus the birth of corruption.
Fed up of traffic
PLEASE can the authority do something about the morning traffic. It takes more than half an hour from 9 Miles to reach 8 Miles. Every day some people reach work late resulting in pay cuts. No matter how early you leave, in the end we will be stuck in traffic. At least they can open the road for the flow of traffic from 6-9 in the morning and 5-7 in the afternoon.
ISN'T it great when you hear/read about investments in the millions over the next few years in the capital. The positive ripple effects it will have on the community. Many other developments are taking place on Vanua Levu and nearing completion. Here's one for our friends at Lautoka City Council. When will we get to see the market development completed or is the emphasis on Shirley Park? One voice in the office will not work but through this column many prying eyes and minds work up a buzz!
I SALUTE the Ba soccer team for retaining the CVC title. All the best in the three major tournaments in 2015. I would also like to salute the administration team of Ba.
YOUR SAY: Privacy and school fares
Outcome of scaling marks
I WOULD like to use this column to acknowledge the decision made on Tuesday (20/01) based on the submissions made by the Minister for Education to remove the scaling of marks scored by students in the Fiji Year 12 and Year 13 examination.
It has always been believed that the scaling of marks usually lifted the marks of the low-achievers and at times dropped the marks of the students who scored above average marks.
It will now be interesting to see the raw marks of students on the result notices which they will use when applying for any job or scholarship.
However, it makes me wonder if the marks were scaled last year, particularly for the Fiji Year 12 Certificate Examination and in spite of the result at the end was a mere 66.4 per cent pass, then what would have been the pass rate if scaling would not have been done at all.
I believe scaling has done miracles for many in the past and some would certainly agree when I say that in some subjects they might have scored marks which they may have not dreamt of.
But with scaling becoming a thing of the past soon, I think the marks which students will receive now will be more realistic than ever, reflecting the academic performances of the future leaders of this country in raw numbers.
I wish all the students and teachers the best for the 2015 academic year.
School bus fares
THE clarification from the Fiji Bus Operators Association that students are entitled to pay school bus fares from 6.30am to 9 am and from 2.30pm to 4.30pm during school days is outrageous.
The FBOA should understand that children who go to school are called school children.
With or without uniform, at school or at home, they will be always regarded as school children.
So it is not ethical for FBOA to charge students school bus fares at a particular time.
These are children and children are our future. Please treat them with dignity and honour.
I plead to the relevant stake holders to settle this matter right.
I AGREE with Avneel Abhishay that there should be strict guidelines and privacy laws in place to protect and safeguard student information in schools, be it exam results or personal data.
Most school administration staff lack such qualities in them.
They feel rather proud releasing or disclosing private information to parties not entitled to such information.
Also, there are a lot of busybodies and nosy people around who don't have any work and would never be satisfied or wouldn't settle down until they find out confidential things about others.
I wonder why people can't mind their own business. These people should be taken to task.
It is high time the Ministry of Education put in place stricter guidelines and enact laws to protect student
privacy from would-be perpetrators.