From the Editor-in-Chief’s desk: Your December 7 briefing


Bula vinaka all


It’s that time again, the first day for the work-week.

It is good to be back in the Capital City, however, it is tough having to cope with the time-tables for the vessels making the trip across the seas, connecting Natovi and Nabouwalu. Travelling across and arriving around midnight or a little after that is tough because you still have to factor in the long drive up to Labasa. So a reminder to those planning to make the drive, get some sleep before you sail. You’ll need it. One positive thing though is that you are able to schedule meetings from as early as 10am upon arrival which is quite good actually after grabbing a few shut-eyes. The key words here being ‘sleep time’.

The mountainous terrain, and empty spaces of Vanua Levu soon give way to the populated highway heading towards Suva. Vanua Levu can be refreshing indeed, for the mind and soul!


FIJI has two cases of the COVID-19 variant, Omicron.

Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr James Fong revealed this in a COVID-19 update released this evening.

So let’s highlight vigilance people. Let’s remind ourselves to adhere strictly to COVID-19 safety advice. You can read more about this on


Remember we have cash prizes for 40 lucky readers this month. Scroll down for details!


Anyway, here are some headlines that made The Fiji Times’ edition for Tuesday, December 7.


  • EDUCATION Ministry permanent secretary Dr Anjeela Jokhan says the ministry is not saying it will get rid of all unqualified teachers, “we are just urging them to continue to develop their professional skills”. She made the comment during a news conference yesterday where she also revealed Year 12 students who did not pass external examinations would have to repeat.
  • MANAINI Lewasariri’s only wish is that a bridge is built across the Wainimala River before she passes on. The 70-year-old Wainibasaga villager said she carried her eight kids across the river about 50 years ago, and has since done the same with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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  • THE Ministry of Education will not completely rely on one examination to assess students, says Education Ministry permanent secretary Dr Anjeela Jokhan. “There are a number of ways in which you can assess students and several countries have been using several methods, it will not be fair at all, given the situation that students have been through to put all the assessment based on this one exam,” she said.
  • THE Public Service Commission (PSC) has announced the appointment of three permanent secretaries. In a statement, PSC chairman Vishnu Mohan said Shiri Krishna Gounder was now the new Ministry of Economy permanent secretary.
  • WE are not saying we will get rid of all our unqualified teachers, we are just urging them to continue to develop their professional skills, says Education Ministry permanent secretary Dr Anjeela Jokhan.
  • MORE face-to-face classes with teachers is needed if the Education Ministry wants to progress Year 12 students to the next level based on examination results, says Fiji Teachers Union (FTU) general secretary Agni Deo Singh.


Readers have their say on issues that matter to them. Read their views on Pages 8 and 9.


  • The Leader is on road safety. We discuss road accidents, the impact on families, the cost factor in terms of productivity lost when there is a death, and the importance of road safety. Read this on Page 8.



JUGGLING her role as a mother and a village nurse is something that 38-year-old Alesi Vakalala is used to. Within two years of work, she had some challenging times serving more than 200 villagers of Nakoro Village, within the district of Noikoro, Navosa. Tucked away in the highlands, Ms Vakalala said transportation around the remote rural area was a challenge especially transporting the sick from their village to the nearest health centre at Nukuilau Village.


The big one for this week is about: THERE have been less than 1000 cancellations from the 75,000 visitors that were booked to come in December and January. Tourism Fiji chief executive officer Brent Hill said these cancellations were not based on the concern for Omicron but around the three day home quarantine such as in New South Wales and Victoria which was causing issues for some people.


  • FIJI is quarantine free unless you are coming from a non-travel partner country, according to Tourism Fiji CEO Brent Hill. He said about 95 per cent to 98 per cent of the arrivals were people coming from travel-partner countries.


The big one on the back page is about


THE Fiji National Sports Commission paid $1.095 million in coaching grant to six sporting organisations in the country towards the employment of their coaches. This is stated in the commission’s annual report from August 2019 and July 2020 that was tabled in Parliament last week.



Check out this section for the latest soccer news from around the country.


Remember we are celebrating our 152nd anniversary and you can win cash with the Times. There were 10 winners in September and 20 winners in October. In November, 30 lucky readers had the chance to win $152 each, and also get into the draw to win the grand prize of $15,200. In this month of December, 40 lucky readers will win cash prizes!

All you have to do to get into the draw is to cut out the masthead of the Fiji Times, write your name and address, and a phone contact on it, and drop this into a bin at a participating store near you. Turn to Page 25 for details!

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