Letters to the Editor – August 18

Fiji Warriors halfback Frank Lomani (middle) with other Warriors players during a training session. Picture: FT FILE

Rugby and the Hibiscus Festival

Your sports headline story on rugby course and players turning heads for the Fiji Drua team is supported.

Eroni Sau, Kalivati Tawake and the flamboyant Frank Lomani have all transformed from Drua warriors to Flying Fijians playing at national test level and there are many more in line.

Special mention should also be given to Drua coach Senirusi Seruvakula who has shown great coaching skills to take the Drua warriors to the next level and the three players’ success also relates to this.

The unsung hero, Seruvakula, should also now be earmarked for a national test role in coaching, an understudy role, and we are sure that just like the three and many Drua players, his potential will assist rugby grow.

To the Drua team and management, you took the competition by storm last year and another big performance this year will bring joy back after recent sevens losses and setbacks.

Also not forgetting, after a long time not a single drop of rain during the Hibiscus.

Sa dina, so the critics of the venue it seems Valelevu or our “big home” is the way forward for the mother of all festivals.

Joka na timi ni Drua kei na HEGI Hibiscus Festival … go Fiji, the way the world should see … keep the flag flying!

Shalwyn Prasad, Mukta Ben Place, Nabua, Suva

Kawakawa ban

Before the Minister for Fisheries answers the question about the whereabouts of the confiscated banned fish, the fisheries department should answer my previous question first.

How do I know that the banned fish is lurking towards my fishing hook?

Shall I drop a warning sign saying “Keep out kawakawa and donu”?

Please advise!

However, I don’t believe an inch that the banned fish is fast disappearing in numbers.

Can prove that easily by the big numbers selling in the market!

To Allen, Wise and Sukha, be patient with your answer from the fisheries department.

Just a warning to you guys, if you suddenly see a rare white fish in the market, coated something similar to flour, it’s them.

They now call it the hybrid kawakawa.

Usaia Tagi, Delainavesi

Pirates’ role

While it’s commendable that the LTA officers in Nausori are doing their job in cracking down on illegal taxi operators, they need to know that in doing so, they have deprived us of a reliable means of transport.

Despite the obvious, the “pirates” are providing a better service compared with taxis.

They are available 24 hours, they charge affordable fares, they do not have customer preferences and they never make excuses.

The good guys at LTA need to spend a day in our shoes to know this.

If the taxi drivers are crying foul play then they need to rise to the occasion and do their job.

Otherwise, they must do the honourable thing and surrender their licences.

Perhaps to the efficient pirates?

Latifa Tabua, Nausori

Attack on police officers

The recent separate attacks on our police officers is really a disgusting matter.

It is really a shame that some members of the public are venting their anger by attacking their protectors.

Police in our country are there to maintain law and order.

The incidents of attack on police officers are disgraceful and unacceptable.

The Fiji Police Force as a whole needs the full support of the public.

They deserve to be respected and supported.

The public should understand the important parts and the roles that our police officers play.

If some members of the public go about venting their anger by attacking our police officers, they are only inviting more trouble for themselves.

Police officers in the country are not scapegoats.

The police commissioner is totally correct in saying that a strong warning needs to go out to the public that there is zero tolerance on attacks on police officers.

Those who are caught must face the full brunt of the law.

Any punishment on those found guilty should be a form of deterrent and send a clear message that “don’t do it, it’s not worth it”.

Obviously, things done the wrong way are not worthy.

Indar Jit, Tokotoko, Navua

Public consultation

Gulsher Ali (letters 3/8/18) is right.

There must be a proper public consultation on the proposed road widening before plans are finalised.

In particular, will the Fiji Roads Authority give an assurance that none of Lautoka’s magnificent rain trees are to be given the chop?

Michael Scott, Morris St, Lautoka

Thank you for lights

I would like to thank the FRA for making an effort to install streetlights along Bau Rd.

Now our roads will be lively with lights on and many crimes will be reduced during nights.

Thank you FRA and Fiji First Government for hearing our pleas.

I believe no other government has done what Fiji First Government is doing.

Keep up the good work.

I hope few speed humps will be made on Bau Rd in the future.

Also, bus stop is a must.

During rainy days, people get wet waiting for buses.

Progress is coming home.

Dhanyavaad FRA and the Government.

Amrit Singh, Naselai, Bau Rd, Nausori

Government help

I would just like to ask all the parties contesting the elections against the FijiFirst party if they will continue with the Micro and Small Business Grant scheme, cane farm assistance and all the other initiatives provided by the Fijifirst Government?

Sukha Singh, Labasa

Note to me

I now have to post a note or email me to remember to take my generator wherever I go.

I came to Suva and there’s a planned power cut.

I dunno if I brought the power cut to Suva or not.

And I have to buy a fire extinguisher just in case I get to travel in a Prius.

But one thing I will try and take back is the rain, my flowers need rain.

Allen Lockington, Vesivesi Rd, Kinoya, Nasinu

Traffic chaos

The traffic chaos along the Suva-Nausori corridor will soon be encountered between Nadi and Lautoka in the not too distant future.

I might as well take my sleeping bag to work.

Wise Muavono, Balawa, Lautoka

CCTVs in school

More than any place, CCTVs should be in every classroom in every school in Fiji.

Then you will see the discipline levels of students and teachers improve overnight.

Domino effect of that will see the abuse, both ways; reduce and ultimately the results will speak for itself.

Perhaps the powers that be might want to look at this.

Pros and cons of this may be debated of course.

I stand ready for a healthy one.

Manoj Lal Patel, Drasa Ave, Lautoka

Election claim

Oh wow!

The former PM, Mahendra Chaudhry’s claim that the 2014 General Election was rigged is a serious allegation.

Can it be substantiated?

And if so, what’s the next step?

However, if it’s a political ploy then it’s pretty disgraceful considering his past.

Colin Deoki, Australia

Confiscated fish

With the deafening silence from the Minister for Fisheries, why did the issue of confiscated fish have to end up with him?

Why would the permanent secretary or his director of Fisheries as men on the ground, maintain silence on a very simple query which has led to people assuming the worst?

After all, if it is confiscated, it does not mean it cannot be eaten.

Emosi Balei, Suva

Weighing yourself

In light of the growing concern of diabetes in our country, I would urge the relevant authorities to install weighing machines at parks such as My Suva Picnic Park.

The weight balance can also indicate the amount of fat the body has.

The problem in our country is that the citizens don’t realise the weight they have.

Trust me you will hardly find a weighing machine or scale around your neighbour’s house.

We munch on so many calories yet we fail to measure our heights and weigh ourselves to find out our body mass index (BMI).

If more weighing machines are installed around parks which are highly resistance to mechanical hinderance, it will be worth it.

People will be able to know their weight and they will understand the importance of their body weight.

If you have a BMI in the green zone according to your height you will be out of danger from many NCDs.

Citizens of Fiji need to have their body weight checked.

Some people have hardly checked their body weight in about 5-6 years and that is a sign it could be too late.

I hope the government installs weighing machines at parks in Fiji.

Put 20c per check-up per person.

I know people will not say 20cents is a lot to know your body weight.

Amrit Singh, Naselai, Bau Rd, Nausori

Suspend permits

The recent taxi permits issued via drawing has attracted so much rebuttals from members of the public.

Why can’t the Land Transport Authority temporarily suspend all the issued permits and ask the recipients to appear before a selected panel for interview.

In this process a recheck of the submitted documents can be done, the panel can easily sum up whether the recipient qualifies for the permit or has provided false documents.

In doing so if the recipients have provided false declaration then I believe they should be given a penalty for providing misleading information.

This will set a benchmark for the public at large to provide correct information in future applications of such nature.

Also the Government should admit that the public takes advantage of such benefits, FNPF claims during Cyclone Winston, MPaisa and Home Care initiative should have been clear enough for the officials to understand how the people react to gain benefits.

To be on the clear why can’t the authorities reinterview the recipients?

It may be costly but it will be an exercise where measures could be put in place.

I will not be surprised if many people will not turn up for this interview and simply return the permits.

Recipients will definitely overreact to this call but the authorities should carry out a detailed investigation before issuing the permit or else in future this system will become a joke where smart ones will get away with reasons and some genuine applicants will be disheartened.

I believe some have more than three permits, some lawyers, some businesspeople and some having more than the above required household income have won in the draw.

Do a thorough background check of the recipients including a visitation if needed and if they are found to be on the wrong side then bill them for breaching the requirements.

The ministries of transport, economy, the LTA and the Fiji Police Force should appoint a panel and carry out this process.

It might take a few weeks to screen 1553 recipients but it will come out clear and settle the public outcry.

Going back and forth in the media is not going to solve this issue, bite the bullet and take the task.

Talking about transparency in the media is of no use when a wrong has been done either in rewarding or in submitting the documents.

Gulsher Ali, Lautoka

Climate change

The word “impossible” itself reveals that I’m possible for a person with passion and ability to make a change.

It’s high time that we stop thinking and start reacting and working towards it.

How much longer are you going to waste thinking of making a change when the right time is already here?

Yes, I am talking about climate change.

Are you concerned about your environment, about your nation, about your Earth and about your next generation?

What have you done so far for your nation?

What can you do towards climate change?

How are you going to contribute towards it?

Have you ever thought about it and how it’s going to affect us all?

Stop wasting time, rise and make a stand before it is too late.

The best you can do is making use of this 5Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refuse and Replant.

It’s high time to say: No to fossil fuel and yes to reforestation.

No to plastic bags and yes to cloth bags.

Fiji Government has implemented price on plastic bags so less can be used.

A bank has stopped issuing ATM receipts to contribute towards saving our climate.

The education sector is doing great by introducing COP23 and training young minds to act on climate change.

NGOs such as 350.org, Project Survival Pacific, Alliance for Future Generations are raising their voice and doing so much for our planet.

Hibiscus Event Group every year uses the biggest platform to advocate on this issue using different perspectives.

What are you waiting for? You are responsible for this climate change and you can make a difference.

Let’s start planting more trees, stop using plastic bags, and make use of 5Rs.

It all starts from home, from the individual.

Together we can save our planet.

Ravneel Vikash Ram, Suva

Access to justice

In his article recently published in The Fiji Times, Richard Naidu emphasised the lack of accessibility to the people, including lawyers of the updated laws of Fiji because of the high price of purchasing a set, and the fact that it is not accessible online via a website.

That Government and the Attorney-General in particular had not taken any steps to address the concerns and it has serious implications for Fijians.

Mr Naidu correctly said that it amounts to a denial of access to justice.

I agree.

In fact, the revision of the laws which are now published in the expensive red folders in loose leaf, has its origins in the Australia/Fiji Governments’ Access To Justice Program which was initiated in 2004/2005 for a term of three years.

The program had as components a Judicial Integrity and Independence Program, Legal Access Program and Legal Resources Program.

They were abruptly stopped after the December 2006 political crisis.

It is important that in a democracy, that the government equip the people with the ability to seek and obtain a remedy through formal and informal institutions of justice, and in conformity with human rights standards.

This means that the people are being treated fairly according to the law, and if not the case, they are able to get redress as appropriate.

This does not mean just access to lawyers and courts, it also means access to Ombudsman, advice agencies and the police.

Ooops!

What has become of the Ombudsman’s Office?

Access to justice is a basic principle of the rule of law.

In its absence, people are not able to have their voices heard, exercise their rights, challenge discrimination or hold decision making accountable.

For after all, what is the value or worth of the rights conferred under chapter 2 of the 2013 constitution if the people are not equipped to exercise them or seek redress when their rights are denied?

Alipate Qetaki, Suva

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