Letters to the Editor – August 24

Taito James Koroitamana, 5, is pictured with his father, Maciu and twin sister Grace while celebrating his birthday with friends at the WOWS Kids Fiji office in Suva on Saturday, September 30, 2017. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Our children, our hope
Your editorial in yesterday’s paper was spot on. Titled ‘Our children, our hope’, the editorial shared the story of Maciu Koroitamana who had to be strong for his son Taito James, who was diagnosed with stage three burkitt lymphoma when he was four years old in 2016.
Our editor shared how Mr Koroitamana remained focused and positive after his son’s diagnosis and how the strong support of his family, friends and WOWS (Walk On Walk Strong) Fiji helped him overcome the obstacles he faced.
It’s always hard to accept that a child has been diagnosed with cancer, especially at an age when the child is supposed to be enjoying life. This is the reason medical authorities are calling for early detection, which is a critical part of fighting cancer.
Hence, I pay tribute to those who have come forward to help WOWS and those kids who need medical treatment when they are diagnosed with cancer.
The editor of our number one newspaper The Fiji Times has called on the public to be part of this worthwhile cause and to understand, appreciate and embrace cancer awareness.
Thank you Wesley for the powerful editorial and the news on Mr Koroitamana and interesting facts about cancer on Page 20 of The Fiji Times. Informative and highly appreciated!
Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam Nadawa, Nasinu

Times of need

The devastating floods that recently wreaked havoc in the southern Indian state of Kerela has sadly rendered a million citizens homeless (bbc.com).
India is always quick to provide assistance, be it monetary or otherwise, to a grief-stricken Fiji whenever a natural disaster of great magnitude momentarily cripples our nation.
I believe we should return the favour in their times of absolute need.
Of course “agar shakti hai tab”. Simply translated — if it’s within our capacity to assist.
Nishant Singh, Lautoka

Market stalls

In 2016, I emailed the Lautoka City Council (addressed to Mr Bala) with an idea of replacing the temporary tarpaulin vegetable stalls at the Tavakubu Back Rd and Sukanaivalu Rd intersection with permanent shelters.
The idea was to have a very basic structure with concrete floor, steel benches/stalls and roof.
After a few months of no action, I was disheartened as I thought my suggestion fell on deaf ears.
However, I was grinning ear to ear when I came to know earlier this year that a permanent mini market was being built at the exact location.
So a big thanks to Lautoka City Council, especially to Mr Bala for considering my suggestion.
I am sure the vendors are also appreciating the new shelter.
Thank you for also planning ahead and providing a public convenience next to the market.
The credit also goes to the first few ladies from Tavakubu Village who started selling their produce under a tree on Fridays and Saturdays. Vinaka for starting the first temporary market at that site. It benefits the locals immensely.
Shimal Chand, Tavakubu, Lautoka

Minimum wages
There is a lot of talk regarding minimum wage for workers.
Not long ago when I was still employed, no one bothered to look at our grievances. When election time comes around we hear all sorts of talk about raising the standard of living for the poor.
During the 1980s through to the 1990s and beyond, I believe many workers were exploited by employers. Throughout my working life with various companies, I have never earned more than $60 a week. Even with this meagre income I was able to educate my children through to university.
It was a struggle. There was no assistance with school expenses, bus fares, etc. I and many others like me have exhausted all our FNPF etc., for our children’s future.
With the current government’s assistance and all sorts of opportunities available, people still complain.
I believe the minimum wage should be fixed so that it justifies the kind of work one does. Enforcing the law justly so that employers do pay up.
Ajay Singh, Natabua, Lautoka

Bus fares

Thank you Rohit Latchan from the Fiji Bus Operators Association for the clarification on the implementation of the free bus fare scheme (FT23/08). I apologise for the confusion.
Taking the hint with Vodafone, I did some digging on this and spoke to a man from Vodafone in charge of the e-ticketing system. He confirmed to me that Vodafone is waiting for a letter of confirmation from the Ministry of Economy.
Wasn’t there enough time for the relevant authorities, from the budget announcement until August 1, to get the free bus fare scheme implemented on time? There seems to be no problem getting the price increase on alcohol and tobacco done almost immediately!
Hans B. Boernke, Savusavu

Work on roads

There is an obvious decrease in the maintenance of our roads up North.
While the weather has been favourable, there is still much work to do.
Is it because of the upcoming election?
Or is it because the budgeted funds have run out?
Elections should never be an excuse and if funds have indeed run out then someone needs to sharpen their pencil and do a better budgeting job.
Maintenance work must continue to keep to standard.
Simon Hazelman, Savusavu

Please inform us

Unless political parties know the date of the election, full swing campaigning does not begin.
As soon as the election date is known, political parties standing in the election can start visiting electorates accordingly.
As it is now, no one knows what is happening in the country as far as the next election is concerned.
During such times, one anticipates a government statement which clears the air and doubt in the minds of our people. You can’t let your citizens continue guessing.
I believe it is the constitutional right of citizens to know the date sooner rather than later.
During situations like this, a presidential statement is more than welcome. Our people deserve to know the direction they are moving in.
Suresh Chand, Nadi

Salute to teachers

The term two school holidays has gone past quickly and many teachers took time to catch up with their families and friends or attend to personal commitments.
I wish to acknowledge and salute those teachers who went out of their way to provide another learning platform for students in terms of extracurricular activities or sports. These included activities such as the national Scouts camp, kaji rugby, secondary schools football, netball, swimming, hockey and many others.
It requires a lot of sacrifice and juggling of family time to be involved in such activities and the courage to take the responsibility of duty of care for students. The teachers do this because of their passion towards students and the activities.
Thumbs up colleagues and be rest assured that your sacrifices will be rewarded. You may not have realised it, but your sacrifice has enabled students to learn new things outside the classroom which will remain as life-time memories for them.
Many thanks and best wishes for term three.
ROHITESH CHAND, Lomawai, Nadroga

Sports all around

The term two school holidays rejuvenated a sporting extravagance around the country. First it was the Dean’s competition that drew a lot of attention. Then the secondary schools soccer IDC in Nadi brought out the best from our budding soccer stars and I must congratulate Tavua College and Xavier College for walking away with the under-15, 17 and 19 spoils.
The primary schools netball competition saw the netters from Kadavu raising eyebrows, while the kaji rugby competition in Suva and Nadi proved to be a success.
The secondary schools annual hockey and basketball competitions drew a lot of interest and now our country is hit by the Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championship at the Damodar City Aquatic Centre.
We have visitors in our country who I am sure will be thrilled by the hospitality that will be offered by our sporting island nation.
Cheers Fiji! Sports after all unites all Fijians!
Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Health system

Fiji’s health minister revealed a screening system that prioritises serving elderly patients at public hospitals is being looked into, according to media reports.
I think such an initiative would be excellent for the elderly. The waiting times at public hospitals can be a tiresome experience.
Would be nice though to know what exactly is meant by the minister when she says “being looked into”. Like what work has been done and who is responsible for ensuring this initiative is implemented for the elderly. How long before this becomes a reality?
And while the health minister tries to improve services, which is her job, it would also be worth knowing if the capacity issues at public hospitals have been addressed.
I can recall from media reports as early as January that there were about 300 doctors needed to improve doctor-patient ratio. At one stage, the health minister herself went on an overseas recruitment exercise for medical professionals to solve the doctor shortage issue.
Would be good to know how many medical professionals have been recruited and appointed since the last time the Health Ministry made headlines about shortage of doctors.
I’m sure someone from the Health Ministry will be kind enough to answer the questions above. Because an election is on the horizon and voters need to make informed decisions.
Kelvin Anthony, Namadi Heights, Suva

Daylight saving

How many parties will continue with daylight saving if they win the election?
Sukha Singh, Labasa


A very big congratulations to the editor of The Fiji Times, Fred Wesley, for being nominated for the PANPA News Media Executive of the Year award. All I can say is that Kava Place and the gang await your return so that we can have morning tea, pies, cakes … but before that you know ga, one baby mix! But seriously, you and The Fiji Times are the best. I am honoured to be part of your organisation.
Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Wage talk

There are many talks of raising the minimum wage. Not only is it the talk of the town or during grog sessions, but I believe politicians are making it their agenda to try and lure voters. Some of these politicians held very high posts during their time in office. So why was this $4 wage talk not raised when they were in power? I would like to stand as an independent in the coming election with an agenda of raising the minimum wage to $6 but will not because I can’t deliver. Walk the talk politicians, walk the talk!
Pat Vuli, Suva

Voting date

In my humble view, the reason why Government is keeping voters and political parties in suspense is they no longer have the confidence they had during the 2014 election.
Dan Urai, Lautoka

Dump fire

Why is the fire at the rubbish dump still burning? It’s the fourth day and it looks like Lautoka City Council is fighting a losing battle. I believe the NFA is not helping much because I can see the fire trucks still at the NFA office. Can some funds from the COP23 be used in Lautoka to prevent future fires because these fires are becoming a three or six monthly issue. The scavengers should not be blamed but the lack of resources by the LCC should be a concern. Please Prime Minister, can you please look into this?
John Brown, Drasa Vitogo, Lautoka

Fire question
Why can’t we extinguish a dump or saw dust fire immediately in Fiji? Do we need a ministry of extinguishing large fires?
Sukha Singh,Labasa

Sugar industry
I read (FT23/08) that the Lautoka sugar mill is running out of cane every morning. Is this a sign of the dying industry?
Allen Lockington
Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

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