Letters to the Editor – August 2

Vodafone Millenium Sinu Festival contestants prepare for JABA night at Valelevu. They are, from left, Seruwaia Merekula (Miss Profiles Production); Mereani Esther Tikoibure (Miss Kris Amusement); Venina Sauqaqa (Miss Standard Concrete); Sainiana Saranaulu (Miss Daulomani Plant Hire); Miss Nasinu Hailey Qaqa; Kolora Momoedonu (Miss Nasinu Town Council); Esther Vulaono Vateitei (Miss I Am Woman Magazine); and Leba Vananalagi (Miss AMPS Industries Fiji Ltd). Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

Wonderful festival idea
What a wonderful idea indeed that the Vodafone Millennium Sinu Festival contestants prepared for jaba and sulu night at Valelevu.
The festival also saw the queens’ “sulu and jaba” category which was introduced last year and was also something the festival is known for.
According to festival pageant consultant Epeli Tuibeqa it was important to promote our national costume. And that it was important for the young women to invest more in things such as this traditional attire that is. Now won’t it be fantastic if they could next year approve girls that had the traditional buini ga? Now won’t that be a real step in the direction of tradition. Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka.

Annoying adverts

I am really annoyed and will be getting brain damaged with eardrums to go kaput very soon because of some advertisements in our media channels.
One of them is the one reminding us that we are the champion of diabetes in the world, with three limbs removed daily. We can reduce our world ranking if our doctors can simply change their hobbies, from chopping to advanced knowledge and a lot of faith. Simple as that! While our soccer team are trying to be ranked in the world’s top 110, our diabetes figures are already there. I believe that reflects on our medical standing in the world stage too. Probably, our diabetes experts should seek advice from our football association experts on how they slow their rankings down.
Usaia Tagi, Delainavesi.

Pilot ‘Blue Town’

Thumbs up to the Savusavu Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of Local Government for the vision of making Savusavu a “Blue Town” model!
On the other hand, I hope that a detailed feasibility study and consultations have been carried out with all the stakeholders to ascertain the pros and cons of declaring our tourist town a “Blue Town” model. The recent developments on Nawi Island made headlines via social media. Born and bred in Savusavu, I have seen the enormous changes and developments that have sparked the Hidden Paradise. A blooming town, Savusavu continues to lead the charge in a bid for modernised township. It will indeed be a proud day for all “Savusavuans” if our small town is declared the first “Blue Town” model in Fiji and in the Pacific. Go Savusavu, grab it! Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu.

Match fixing

I have never heard about this word in rugby. I believe when the foundation is strong… so will be the whole house. To Fiji FA, I challenge you and your investigation committee to come out openly on the above. Leave no stone unturned. I have played to the highest level. I have been there and seen it all. You want me to open my mouth? Don’t go far, look into your soccer house. And to the investigation committee, please call me on 9955178… I will give you even more! I believe it’s happening right here in Savusavu. I believe your FIFA ranking is a true reflection of your “clean state of soccer”. I believe soccer is a joke in this country and so are all those running the show. I believe you guys have become a laughing stock around every gathering. To all former players and referees, please speak up. The reality will send shivers to all soccer loving fans.
Any top ups Sukha, Mishra, Raymond, Simon and Lingam? I know for sure, you got plenty. A. SHARIFF SHAH, Savusavu.

Reading exchange

Reading the exchange between your reporter and the Energy Fiji Ltd chairman (FT 31/07), I think the chairman was hinting of alternative facts or passed it off as fake news which is now the norm in some parts of the world. I believe for the chairman to also state that The Fiji Times is insinuating something which is not factually correct after your reporter interviewed conservationists and that the weir is two metres less than the facts that were presented to him reveals he is ignorant of the facts or probably just got off the wrong side of the bed on a Monday morning.
Sailosi Naewe, Naduru Rd, Nausori.

Health is wealth
Every day newspapers and television news brings up information about the non-communicable diseases that are on the rise. People tend to enjoy life in such a way that they forget that “health is wealth”. I am stressing this because I love sports and fitness and watching young people die gives me shock waves about the serious effects of NCDs. You cannot blame genetics but only yourself and your habits as causes of NCDs. I can only sum up by saying that it is never too late to start with exercise and workout only if you believe. Raynav Chand, Nakasi.

Weir height

What’s the confusion? Whether the weir is raised by 8 metres or not, environmental impact and damage will still prevail! Every development as such comes with adversity. The disadvantages far outweigh the negative aspects in this case when considering the clean, extra electricity the dam will be producing with regards to the increased numbers of consumers that will be impacted as a result. We complain when there is no electricity and we complain with all efforts to produce it! They might as well raise the dam by another 10 metres! Simon Hazelman, Savusavu.

Situation at school
A boy accidently while playing at school hurts himself. He is in pain and he informs his class teacher about the incident. In reply the class teacher asks him to write notes with the painful situation. After school the boy informs his mother. His mother takes him to the hospital where doctors inform of the fracture he sustained during the day. When the mother relayed the same to the teacher, she said that she thought the incident was minor. Shame on this qualified personnel who has become a teacher but doesn’t have the ability to connect with a child. I believe the Education Minister should not tolerate child neglect cases and dish out disciplinary measures. That’s how changes will be brought about in the system. I believe such teachers should be disciplined for displaying neglect at the workplace. Our PM is championing child welfare and child rights whereas I believe the Ministry of Education fails on certain occasions. If teachers demand then they should deliver. This happened in Sigatoka and the boy’s arm is wrapped in plaster. Gulsher Ali, Lautoka.

Weir saga

The issues surrounding the raising of the weir at Wainisavulevu reveals many factors and raises further questions for the Department of Environment (DOE) and Energy Fiji Ltd (EFL). For more than four years, I was National Coordinator for the Fiji Wetlands Working Group preparing Fiji’s accession to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. Wetlands by definition include mangroves, coral reefs, rivers and their tributaries and all lakes and ponds. This includes the catchment area surrounding Wainisavulevu and the dam itself, the whole Monasavu catchment and dam. In 2003 I was part of the team that presented a proposal to Cabinet requesting:
• For Fiji to rectify the Ramsar Convention on wetlands;
• For the Department of Environment to become the wetlands focal point; and
• For the Group to be officially recognised as the Wetlands Steering Committee and to advise Government on all wetland issues.
All three proposals were endorsed and approved by government then.
Both Dr Dick Watling and Marika Tuiwawa who later became founding members of NatureFiji MareqetiViti were senior members of our committee and we worked very closely with government then. Also in our committee were representatives from Department of Fisheries, Department of Lands, Department of Forests, Department of Agriculture, USP, NLTB (TLTB), Fijian Affairs Board, National Trust of Fiji and conservation NGOs such as WWF, Live and Learn, WCS, Birdlife International and etc. Behind this committee is more than 200 years of combined experience in the field of conservation and environment. No one in Fiji knows and understands the ecology of Monasavu and its surrounding areas more than this group. They are regular visitors there and I have camped with them in those thick dense forests for up to two weeks at a time while doing field surveys. Dr Dick Watling has been the author of the Fiji government’s Status of Environment Report and has done countless work for Fiji and the region.
I find it sad that their warning was taken lightly by the director of environment and Energy Fiji Ltd (EFL). If the Wetlands Steering Committee was active and still running today, this problem at Wainisavulevu would have never happened because they would be the first people Government would have referred to for advice as endorsed in our proposal to cabinet. The fact that a site in the affected area is marked as a site of national significance because of its biodiversity values is worrying. Fiji is a signatory to the Convention on Biodiversity and it was the funding from this agreement that assisted in the establishment of our Department of Environment in the first place. Let us hope an amicable solution can be found early and let this be a lesson to both Department of Environment and EFL. May be multiple EIAs should be done for developments of such magnitude to ensure various opinions are taken and thorough assessment are carried out. If the Prime Minister can ride horses, cross rivers on foot and climb hills to visit rural communities, why can’t the top brass of Department of Environment and EFL visit their assets and sites around the country to fully understand and comprehend what actually transpires on the ground? Timoci Gaunavinaka, Waila, Nausori.

Speaker role

I wish either Lenora Qereqeretabua or Lynda Tabuya become our next parliament speaker. Sukha Singh, Labasa.

Hibiscus out

The announcement by the Hibiscus Events Group chairman Hirdesh Prasad that the Mother of All Festivals scheduled from August 10 to August 18 will be held in Nasinu at the Valelevu grounds would have taken many by surprise. However, the most ideal venue after Albert Park is not available and this has prompted the organisers to shift it to Nasinu. This should not dampen the spirit of the Hibiscus Festival but should bring more people to Nasinu. The only worry I have is parking and whether people’s vehicles would be safe from intruders. I hope that the organisers will keep this in mind and also beef up security so that our loved ones, families and children have a safe outing. On the other hand, I miss the Hibiscus Festival at Albert Park as it proved to be the best host! Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu.

Good morning
While sitting in a bus during a cold morning, a mother and son of about 2 to 3 years old enter the bus. With his tiny red jacket, neatly tucked spiderman T-shirt and cheerful look he caught everyone’s attention. The driver smilingly said good morning to him to which he replied without any effort at all, “good morning madam speaker”. Kaila! Usaia Tagi, Delainavesi.

Mother of all festivals
Yes doll, you assume correctly … the mother of all festivals still has not gotten its act together! Kenneth Simpson, (Nausori born).

M-PAiSA Homes-care
I believe there are still some people around the country who have not applied for or may have not received the HomeS-Care initiative for some reason, as it seems 90 per cent of the consumers have taken advantage of this. If those left could be considered in the western region as the term has being extended until the end of August. Surely concerned authorities will look into this! Amen Kumar, Nadi.

Montgomery’s quote

Vinaka Rajnesh for your kind compliment. I’m also an avid reader of your letters like so many others around Fiji. However, I didn’t coin the quote you mentioned. It was spoken by the late great Field Marshall, General Bernard Law Montgomery of England. Colin Deoki, Australia.

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