Letters to the Editor: Friday, May 29, 2020

Protesters gather at the scene where George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was pinned down by a police officer kneeling on his neck before later dying in hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. May 26, 2020. REUTERS/Eric Miller

Video footgae

The video footage of the death of the unarmed black man George Floyd at the hands of a white policeman in Minneapolis should be compulsory viewing at all police training all across the world as a solid reminder on what not to do as a police officer.

A policeman had pinned George on the ground with his knee pressed on his neck. Despite George whimpering: “I can’t breath” and a citizen bystander telling the police that the man could die, the policeman did not ease his knee choke for five minutes.

He literally killed the man. What’s worse three other policeman were standing around without intervening (PBS NewsHour 26/5).

Clearly, this is not the way the police anywhere are meant to serve or protect the public.

If police can learn that from the George Floyd footage, then the man’s death will not be in vain.

RAJEND NAIDU Sydney, Australia


Savusavu market

Finally some substance from the Ministry of Local Government regarding our Savusavu marketplace (FT 28/05).

First and foremost, I appreciate your response to my letters, madam permanent secretary for Local Government, Dimity Fifer.

While I get your explanation that the original plan did not fit in with the long-term vision and development plans for Savusavu Town as a whole, I don’t understand why the old marketplace was demolished in the first place when development was not ready to go ahead.

This happened close to two years ago and still nothing. General maintenance of the old marketplace would have sufficed for it to go on until the new development started. The simple fact that it was demolished prematurely confirms poor planning from the ministry and Savusavu Town Council.

The i’s were certainly not dotted and neither were the t’s crossed in the right places here.

My family is one of the oldest surviving families in Savusavu having established ourselves in 1820 and we are still here 200 years later.

Our forefathers, who were copra farmers, started Savusavu Town and we’ve seen it grow into what it is today.

Our family ties are so well established here that we just about know every market vendor, both old and new, and just about all of them are frustrated with the way in which the demolition of the old market and planned construction of the new one was handled and they are mum about it for fear of victimisation and losing their stalls.

The question everyone is asking is why was the old marketplace demolished when the council wasn’t ready to build the new one? Someone messed up and messed up big time and the mess up has caused years of inconvenience to both vendors and customers alike.

Also, when are we likely to see this new market which will be worth waiting for and how long will it take to construct? We’re going to have to add that to the two years to know exactly how long we’re going to have to put up with makeshift tents.

Can we please have a time frame to save us all from this guessing game!

SIMON HAZELMAN Rava Estate, Savusavu


Fiji Airways

I believe Fiji Airways still has all monies paid for tickets for those passengers who chose not to travel or could not travel because of the coronavirus travel sanctions in place from March.

I am one of them. It was related to us that those tickets could be used for future travel as and when Fiji Airways flies again.

It’s quite obvious now that it will be a while until that happens.

Unless the burst bubble re-bubbles. Slim hope said a champ.

A question also begs now. Why keep it?

Why not refund the full amount? Why not give the people that choice?

God knows every dollar people have on them could carry them through these almost “end times”.

How about it, Fiji Airways executives?

Do we have a slim hope of getting a refund on our tickets?

So many have been holding their fort as best as they could until now.

The bubble is bursting though. Act now said another champ.

MANOJ LAL PATEL Drasa Avenue, Lautoka


Just government

I applaud the Government for recognising the splendid work done by our health workers and all other civil servants during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Government is praiseworthy for not using COVID-19 as an excuse to implement pay cuts for civil servants.

And quite rightly so. The economy has to roll and it will not roll with pay cuts and terminations.

Many small businesses, market vendors, taxi and other small operators know the importance of civil servants’ pay dates.

Employers must realise that pay cut is the ugliest cut.

ARUN PRASAD Dilkusha, Nausori


Work together

Why can’t the Government and Opposition for once work together for the sake of our people?

Many of our people are suffering without jobs and some without food. Please work together for a better Fiji



Aid package

One of our best friends, New Zealand, has fast-tracked a $F3.25 million budget support payment to assist in the economic crisis caused by COVID-19.

This is not the first foreign aid package received to assist us this year.

Why has this particular one been fast-tracked?



Hero status

Being a hero is the shortest profession a man can have.



Fifer’s response

Finally, the permanent secretary to Local Government Dimity Fifer decided to reply to Simon Hazelman’s concern regarding the Savusavu market.

Good to find out that the special administrators are ensuring that all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed.

May I ask how many of the projects are still pending for years by the local government ministry? I know for sure the botanical garden swimming pool project has taken some four years from groundbreaking but still not completed.

Your reply Ms Fifer doesn’t justify the reason for the delay in projects.

JOHN BROWN Drasa Vitogo, Lautoka


Job losses

As more people lose their jobs, the heartbreak and uncertainty is unimaginable.

To be fair, I think all our parliamentarians, starting from the PM, should take a 60 per cent salary cut and use it to help the jobless.



Your gift

“Your gift is something you do with the least amount of effort.”

NIGEL FIU Owls Perch, Lautoka


NRL clash

Rugby fans will get glued to rugby league action as the National Rugby League season re-starts after COVID-19 disrupted the season.

The longest rivalry in the NRL between the Roosters and Rabbitohs was set to spark fireworks.

Earlier, the 16 captains had reignited the NRL fire and excitement was brewing as we longed to see our 20 plus Fijians in action in the NRL.

All the best for the re-start!



No excuse

I beg that the people who genuinely have no one to stay with and are sleeping in towns and cities around the country must, as a matter of priority, be moved to HART facilities for proper shelter and food, if possible.

Although town to town the number may differ, they are out there suffering in silence.

As we move towards the colder spell while we sleep in the comfort of our homes covered in thick blankets, these poor homeless are left in the open with no cover and protection.

I don’t think we have too many genuine cases to deal with, however we have still not been able to take care of them.

Recently I heard that the Ministry of Poverty Alleviation was able to relocate two men who had been sleeping on the streets of Suva City to the HART settlement.

It is a commendable effort but let me tell you that Suva is not the only place where people are found sleeping on the streets. Please ask the Department of Social Welfare, who are essentially based in all districts, to compile and give you the report.

I know there are at least three genuine cases for you to start with in Nadi.

I don’t know whether the social welfare takes any notice of these people because the three I am referring to have been around for a long time now.

Even I don’t know if the Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimation Commission pays any attention to the plight of this disadvantaged lot. If there has been an oversight, you could always start afresh. But please do give them a proper place to live.

No excuse!



TikTok issue

TikTok, a trending social site where people make videos to entertain the crowd, pass educational messages but recently TikTok is becoming popular in Fiji.

I personally use TikTok and watch videos and it’s quite entertaining but recently, I have been watching videos of some Fiji citizens trying to criticise other fellow citizens by posting videos which contain body shaming, usage of vulgar words.

In this modern era, kids have access to mobile phones and they also watch videos and usage of vulgar words and criticism will have a negative impact on them.

Fiji is well known for its friendly people but by looking at these online hate videos, a negative side is depicted.

While the country is still recovering from the pandemic crisis, students are required to stay home and proceed with their studies from home but it’s unfortunate to see that students are active on social media sites and they are the ones posting disgraceful videos online and calling it ‘content’.

These shameful videos containing vulgar words are becoming a major concern.



The reason

Give me a reason as I need a reason. But for some reason, I can’t find a reason. Although the reason is quite obvious.

But the reason doesn’t really matter. As I am here for another reason. So give me another reason. I can think of several reasons.

But I wish I had a real reason. I am trying to understand the reason for this. But I have a selfish reason for doing this.

I don’t give anyone any reason to complain. However reason rules over everything.

And that is why I want to understand the real reason. Reason is the guide and light of life. As everything happens for a reason.


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