Letters to the Editor – August 3

Golfer Vijay Singh participate in the Fiji International Pro Am Competition in Nadatola Sigatoka. Picture. REINAL CHAND

On the big stage
Amidst the tropical paradise, green field and beautiful and unbelievable topography and landscape, local and international golfers will battle it on the big stage at the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course. Months of preparation and the coverage via The Fiji Times added flavour to the tournament. Local golfers such as Roneel Prakash, Amitesh Chandra and Dinesh Chand will rub shoulders against renowned golfers such as defending champion and Australia’s Jason Norris, former world number 1 Ernie Els a.k.a ‘The Big Easy’, our own Vijay Singh, Lucas Herbet, Scott Strange, Michael Hendry, Wu Ashun, Gavin Green, Anthony Quayle and David Bransdon. During his opening address at the dinner night the Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Lands and Mineral Resources Honourable Faiyaz Siddiq Koya said that golf was doing wonders for Fiji and that the tournament provided a huge media value in terms of monetary gains. The Fiji International has been running development programs and golf clinics in schools, which should boost our second line of local golfers. As our guests and golfers converge at the famous Natadola Bay Golf Course in the Jetset Town, I wish all a pleasant, healthy and wonderful outing and to the organisers and media broadcasters, vinaka vakalevu! Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Hibiscus Festival move
The idea of moving the Hibiscus Festival to Nasinu is a good one but it also has its own repercussions. Suva is an open city area and flow of traffic to and from the previous Hibiscus Festival locations was no problem at all. Nasinu is a full residential area and I believe the problem we will face is more traffic jams to the current one that we have and also lots of criminal activity to the residents around Nasinu. I think the police will also have a lot to cater for as well. I believe the Nasinu festival is already creating problems with youths screaming down the road after returning from the festival and some throw stuff on top of the bus stops. Though the festival rakes in money but it also rakes in loads of problems as well. I believe people must be careful when stopping at road crossings with windows open. Elimi Marawa, Caubati Housing, Nasinu

Four-way lane
I believe the Fiji Roads Authority is planning a four-way lane from Nadi to Lautoka. Traffic is congested from Nawaka junction right to the temple end. In town congestion is from one end to the other, movement becomes risky in intersections and at the end of each day this is the last thing a resident of Nadi has to drive through daily, not to mention the congestion in the morning as well. Why can’t the FRA address the bottleneck situation at the Nadi temple end rather than planning a four-way lane from Nadi to Lautoka? I believe FRA should have a public consultation in this regard. Surely FRA will better deliver in Nadi if they wish to listen. This is another reason why we should go for municipal elections because I believe appointed ones are just taking directives. Government Ministers and other VIPs don’t feel the congestion because of police escort. It is the public at large. I believe it is the power of which vehicle we are travelling in that makes the difference in Nadi. Gulsher Ali, Lautoka

Environmental damage

There is one thing certain that Daksesh Patel can never deny from this man-made, ruthless and merciless environmental damage accorded to the Wainisavulevu weir, the Nadrau plateau forest cloud, the water catchment area and the surrounding environment have been disturbed very badly as opposed to its original natural former state, but someone must be responsible. There is no denying that only one operational commercial and industrial activity is in operation now as we speak in those lovely pristine mountainous virgin forest and that is the Monasavu Hydro Dam which belongs to Energy Fiji Ltd. Mind you the hydro dam is crucially important to our nation’s development, progress and economy but whatever the issue is we Fijians are custodians together with EFL where we are equally responsible to finding a solution long term, but first and foremost the blame game from the chairman EFL Mr Daksesh must stop immediately as it is irresponsible, uncalled for and not necessary. To start with, I believe the duty of care to the surrounding biodiversity belongs to none other than EFL, it is their corporate, civic, social obligation and responsibility as a company, Employer and stakeholder, they are also equally tasked to protect the same environment where they derive their very important product electricity from. To blame the media for carrying out their duty is wrong and childish to say the least, it makes me feel gutted and very sad that the area surrounding the Wainisavulevu weir is important to the landowners as that is where they also derive their sustenance from since time immemorial and they do not deserve to be subjected to this nonsense. In my young days I used to spend my school holidays at the residence of the late Turaga Tui Nadrau with his younger brother who is the current titleholder, it was always a joy to go pig hunting and chase them downstream, catch prawns and fish out of the Wainisavulevu waterway including harvesting those delicious green vegies we call ota that grow in abundance beside the stream but so sad to note they are no more. I would like to call upon the Minister for Waterways and Environment Dr Mahendra Reddy to please get all the relevant stakeholders concerned into a room, lock it for one week please to start the talanoa session, get them to sign an MoU and not allow the issue to get out of hand. Dr Reddy is an excellent mediator. This is your call, your oath and responsibility as a FijiFirst Cabinet Minister to the people of this nation. Tukai Lagonilakeba, Namaka, Nadi

Festival shame

It’s really a shame to see the Hibiscus Festival now been shifted to Nasinu. Clearly, the decision makers are very mean or they are not Suva residents who do not have any pride for the most celebrated festival in Fiji. It’s a gross injustice to the Suva ratepayers who pay millions to keep what Suva is today, now being deprived of their festivities. We can say there will be people coming to see festivals, but from where? In what spirit, what pride? Gone are the days when the city was lively in celebration mood and looking forward to our decorated towns and cheerfull spirit.
It is about time the business community stopped supporting such festivals which is no longer the pride of our city. I believe the Hibiscus Festival has gone down in a garbage can with the present mentality. Shame! Yogesh Kumar, Raiwaqa, Suva

Taxi industry

Looks like the taxi industry is becoming more of a game and joke as relevant authorities are using barrel draw to award applicants with taxi permits. Was there any plan for preventative measures taken into consideration before making this barrel draw happen in regards to the ongoing pros and cons of the taxi industry? Can relevant authorities shade over the shadows as to how many applications were genuinely in need of a taxi permit and how many applicants just applied and got lucky? How about in the draw, if more than two or three people’s names came out from the same household, i.e., husband, wife and kids? Were all applicants’ applications accurately cross examined to determine one’s eligibility before the names went into the draw? Or was there too much work for relevant authorities to go application by application, instead they thought of putting the names in a draw. Imagine what will happen to the taxi industry when “Uber” will be introduced into Fiji in no time? Wake up taxi unions and associations before it’s too late! It’s your responsibility to protect and promote the rights and interests of the taxi industry. Please associations and unions, if you can’t do good to protect and promote the rights and interests of the taxi industry, please step down and let genuine people walk and talk.
Let’s hope the LTA doesn’t open a new service as “barrel service”! Shamal Chand, Kuku Bau Rd, Nausori.

Wainisavulevu weir

Thank you Simon Hazelman for questioning, what is the big deal if the weir at Wainisavulevu is raised by six metres, eight metres or 10 metres? I am sure that many are also not aware of what is all the big fuss about, so I will try to explain it in very simple terms. The main purpose of the Monasavu dam, other mini dams and weirs such as Wainisavulevu on the Nadrau plateau is to collect water so it can be tunnelled to generate electricity at the Wailoa and Wainikasou power stations. More than 85 per cent of all electricity consumed on Viti Levu is generated from there.
Not all the water collected in these dams come from rain. The surrounding vegetation around the Nadrau plateau mainly consist of cloud forest. This forest itself entraps the cloud and condenses it into water droplets that collects and flow downstream eventually filling the dams. Without this process, it is impossible to get the water level in the dams to what we have today. By raising the weir by eight metres, we are flooding a huge area. A chunk of the very forest that entraps the cloud will eventually die. Some of the trees in this forest took more than a hundred years to grow. The ecosystems that we are now damaging have been evolving for over a thousand years. The repercussions of this damage may not be felt now or in the next few years. But once the land from the dead forests dries up from its constant exposure to the sun and lack of forest cover to entrap the clouds, the whole water collection process will be hindered and so does our hydro-electricity power production. In simple terms, what the scientists are saying is that we may be shooting our own foot in our attempt to maximise renewable energy production. Government may have the capacity to make an overview and general assessment of this by digitally overlaying various elevation and other related maps including those by satellites via its newly lodged Vanua GIS software. This may give Government an indication on how severe the damage is. They can then engage technical experts on what needs to be done if need be. But proper and accurate ecological analysis can only be done via field surveys on the ground. We all want renewable energy. But it is also vital that proper and reliable environment impact assessment (EIA) are carried out on all renewable energy projects to ensure that we do not “shoot ourselves in the foot” and destroy our dreams of building something good by building it in the wrong way. Timoci Gaunavinaka,
Waila, Nausori
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Cards for misconduct

Locally, so far as spectators we have seen players being shown the yellow card and marching orders for foul play, infringements, wasting time and inappropriate behaviour. I was reading yesterday’s sports pages and I found it interesting that managers in English soccer will be shown yellow and red cards for misconduct in the technical area during competitive fixtures during the new season for inappropriate language and gestures used towards match officials and for irresponsible behaviour such as kicking or throwing water bottles. Isn’t it time that our good FFA brass think about this enforcement to protect the integrity of the game and match officials! Food for thought, Mr. Patel! Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu.

Banned fish

According to the director of fisheries, his department has confiscated two metric tonnes of banned fish including kawakawa and donu. May I ask what happened to the dead fish after it was confiscated? Narayan Reddy, Lautoka.

Semi-final clash
It’s not a new experience for RKS to lose in the semi-final. It happened with Kaliopasi Ulilakepa’s Marist two years ago. It may be deja vu once again. May the best win. Amenatave Yaconisau, Palm Drive, Delainavesi.

Fish question
Director of fisheries Aisake Batibasaga says they have confiscated about two metric tonnes of donu and kawakawa in the past three to four weeks (FT 2/8). So what happened to the fish? Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka.

Any vacancy

Oi! Greg Smith has been around for a while now in Fiji! After he’s done with his current engagements, hope there’s a vacancy at the top level!
Some didn’t get it, but most are nodding at the thought. Donald Singh, Lautoka.

6s and 8s
IS 6 the new 8? Save the flora. Save the fauna. That should be the mantra. For our paradise is known for it. Let’s not get into sixes and eights about it. Manoj Patel, Drasa Ave, Lautoka

Naibi or ivi

I have seen it on roadsides where they sell Fijian chestnuts (ivi). Would be nice if they can advertise the proper name which is ivi and not “naibi”. Dan Urai, Lautoka.

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