Letters to the Editor – August 31

Head coach Gareth Baber of Fiji Airways Fiji 7's team. Picture: FT FILE/RAMA

Sevens rugby scenario
Our 7s coach Gareth Baber has by now faced up to the reality that there is a big difference, more interest, publicity and demand from someone who coaches our Fiji 7s team as compared with coaching an unknown, less successful 7s team similar to that of Hong Kong.
Our local 7s contracted players are the best in the game, they camp together, they eat, speak the same language, play for each other, sleep, drink and talk 7s rugby together 24/7 and their understanding of each other is great, but psychologically it is human and Fijian nature that they will always be demoralised when the coach decides to bring in contracted full-time professional 15s players from offshore who have been playing and making a better living standard for themselves.
Silence in the Fijian 7s players does not mean acceptance of the situation, but it can mean a million things and our local players should not be deprived the opportunities. They have the 7s rugby consistency in playing tournaments together, they win and lose together but they understand each others’ playing style and personality with their proven wining combinations.
I am not against including those 15s rugby players, but why change when the local players’ 7s machinery is well oiled and functioning just as good or better. It takes time for those in the 15s game to return and adjust but anyone can ask 7s coaching guru Gordon Titjens and he will tell you the difference which Gareth had admitted to after our national team’s dismal performance in the 7s World Cup early this year.
Our local contracted 7s players have been beating these same teams in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series before the Rugby World Cup. Please Baber, develop those thousands of very talented local players and maintain them until they depart for an overseas 15s rugby contract. They earn much less as contracted local players but sacrifice more to win for the nation.
Once these locally contracted 7s players depart for their offshore contracts, they should be left alone to concentrate and excel with their respective clubs in 15s where they make a good living for them and their families and contribute positively to our economy through remittances. Eager replacements here will take over the reins and be just as good to carry the country’s flag at any time.
I must commend and thank Baber for looking into some of those talented secondary schools Powerade Super Deans Rugby Championship players. Let’s breed, nurture, produce and buy locally made Fiji products and we must believe and have faith in them for the long term benefit.
Tukai Lagonilakeba, Namaka, Nadi

Police deaths

It is a shocking revelation by the Fiji Police Force that there have been 14 police officers’ deaths so far this year which was also the total number of fatalities for last year.
Most of the senior officers have died and that puts a lot of pressure within the force and will deprive the organisation of valuable resources which is a huge erosion of tacit and the explicit knowledge.
The knowledge of police work comes through experience and the police officers dying at their peak period of performance is a great worry to the nation.
I believe that the required fitness level (RFL) monitoring and good eating habits of the officers must be continuing and proper regular monitoring test conducted to ascertain the benefits of the exercise implemented.
The RFL must also be one of the criteria that one needs to pass before another reenlistment contract is offered. This will be a proactive approach that will initiate healthy living for the police officers.
Our police officers must be fit so that they can discharge their fundamental duties in protecting the people of the country.
The fitness standards must be maintained so that the police officers are fit for the purpose.
Satish Nakched, Suva

Presidential issue

How can I put this very politely?
How come the parliamentary sitting for the nomination for the president of Fiji was only revealed to the opposition two days before the sitting?
Why was it done like this? Is the president’s position a trivial matter that those who are supposed to contribute are given a short notice?
Why does it have to happen like this?
What happened to transparency and decency?
And we’re all waiting for the date for the elections, will it be suddenly revealed to the populace one day before the elections?
Or may I say very politely is there fear somewhere?
Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Qualification need
I refer to The Fiji Times report ‘A-G: Very few civil servants with PhD qualifications’ (FT 30/8).
From my own experience in the Fiji public service for more than two decades I believe having PhDs and MAs might be a necessary but not sufficient factor in determining effective and progressive national outcomes.
Many demonstrate an inability to think outside the conventional civil service box frame despite their higher qualifications.
Indeed this is not a problem specific to the Fiji civil service. (Ask some university academics how many useless PhD people they have in their midst!)
See Susan George books especially Faith and Credit: The World Bank’s Secular Empire for an elaboration on how over qualified people parked in international financial and developmental institutions routinely failed to deliver appropriate policy outcomes.
Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia

Cane fires

Yet another major power outage in the Tavua/Rakiraki area now (1840hrs 29/8) because of an EFL power pole, yet again, being “destroyed” by a cane fire.
It really is about time those responsible for the cane farm fires are charged with “arson” offences and made to pay for EFL repairs and inconvenience caused to others.
To me it is laughable that Fiji is leading COP23 efforts to address climate change when we cannot get our own act together and be a shining light in the environmental fight.
Burning off in the Western Division is so rampant that from my house most mornings I cannot even see Tavua Town 600 metres away. Pathetic!
Allan Loosley, Tavua

Plastic bags

FUNNY that scourge of mankind is called “single use”.
The plastic bag!
I read that Samoa will ban all single use plastic from January. This is a move to protect the country’s ocean.
Excuse me, we have been encouraged to bring our own plastic bags or other bags when we do shopping.
How can it be called single use when we have been taking the same bags, plastic that is, over and over again, for goodness sake just call it a plastic bag and drop the “single”.
And I see that some organisations have started banning plastic straws!
How about banning plastic bottles, the kind that soft drinks are contained in.
You know what, banning straws makes the company look good and that it has joined the fight to save the planet.
But as I smile when I write this and if this letter gets published, those who are banning straws will be saying, “It’s a start”.
Here are some things that can be added to banning straws: plastic spoons, forks, knives and plates and takeaway food containers.
OK, may I ask what will customers use when plastic straws are banned?
Will it be paper straws? Is paper made from trees? Just saying.
Anyway, will it be possible to use reusable straws? After all metal spoons that people use are washed and reused by customers.
ALLEN LOCKINGTON, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Smiles and joy

AS a Fijian and an iTaukei, my heart is lifted when I read about the smiles and joy on the faces of Fijians whose lives or villages have been helped through the visitation of our Prime Minister and his team.
The PM and his team had visited some villages in Naitasiri and also some villages in Namosi and the interior of Viti Levu accessed via horseback.
Before the landslide victory of the FijiFirst party in the 2014 General Election, our PM and his team made it their task to reach the unreachable in remote areas, listen to what they had to say, meet their needs and allow Fijians to choose whom they will vote for from results and not just verbal promises.
I do not know who is advising the PM, but we should all be impressed that before the election date is announced, he and his team are again doing a repeat of the buildup to the 2014 election, going out to remote areas and meeting and getting to know the needs of the unreachable Fijians.
My church is studying the book of Acts this quarter and last week and this week we are discussing the two missionary journeys of Paul, the missionary to the Gentile nations.
One main strategy of Paul on both missionary journeys is to visit all the areas he could access and then revisits them on his way back to his base in Antioch. Despite all the negative comments on our PM, I believe he is a great leader, reaching out to the people again, meeting their needs, correcting or improving on areas that need improvements and ensuring that Fijians are happy before going to the polls.
Let us keep praying for God through our one vote will result in a divinely appointed leader and government to continue meeting the needs of the people for the next four years.

Appointment of President
PARLIAMENT will be sitting today to appoint our President. I have a feeling that Jioji Konrote will be chosen to serve as President for one more term. All the best to the Members of Parliament who will make the decision this morning! God bless my beloved Fiji!

Amputation worry

OMG! 348 diabetic-related amputations so far this year! For such a small country, this is alarming and everyone needs to take note and take heed of the Ministry of Health’s recommendations on leading a healthier life.
WISE MUAVONO, Balawa, Lautoka

Quake threat

WHILE it may pose no threat now (FT30/08), earthquakes are getting uncomfortably closer. It’s a worldwide phenomenon and God can only control weather extremities. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen here because it will cause widespread damage.
AMENATAVE YACONISAU, Palm Drive, Delainavesi

Rising problems

IN reply to Nishant Singh’s letter (FT30/08) in which he states that Fiji has got its plate full with many rising problems, all that needs to be said and done is simple. Address the problem, find the best and appropriate solution, solve it and move on. Our world is becoming a whole lot of problems. Dwelling on them is not going to help.
SIMON HAZELMAN, Rava Estate, Savusavu

Airport development
THE destruction of trees in the final stages of building an airport “to develop” Rotuma is a social, economic and environmental tragedy to four villages. Coconut trees, beach mahogany, mango trees, pandanus plantations, everything cut to the ground. On national television, a government representative referred to the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on environmental sustainability, development and security for both current and future generations. While the current generation will be compensated, the loss of revenue and food sources and shelter takes effect “today” and into the future.

Thank you

THANKS to the president of the Lautoka Residents and Ratepayers Association who has been advocating about the dump fire. Looks like all the hard work is paying off. LCC thank you for putting the fire out. Now I can breathe easily! I just hope that the fire doesn’t start again!
JOHN BROWN, Drasa Vitogo, Lautoka

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