Letters to the Editor – Friday, January 21, 2021

Letter of the Year winner Tessa MacKenzie (left) is all smiles while Fiji Times Editor-in-chief Fred Wesley holds up her Sony Bravia TV at Prouds in Suva. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

Thank you

I write to express my gratitude to Fred Wesley and the staff members of The Fiji Times for selecting one of my letters as the Letter of the Year.

A prize totally undeserved, but I very much appreciate the generosity of The Fiji Times and Prouds.

I encourage others to write, not in hopes of a prize, nice though that is, but to share your thoughts and opinions, your complaints, and even your expertise.

In these days of disasters and diseases, it is good to share as much as we can and a letter can be easily sent.

Gone are the days of finding an envelope, sticking on a stamp and going to find a post box.

Please help to make the letters page of The Fiji Times the most interesting and the most read page of them all!


Congratulations Tessa

YOUR winning marks great achievement not for you only but to many writers like me.

There is no doubt that the passion of writing has no barrier and you have proved that if there is will … there is a way.

You have inspired us all and I pray that you continue to be our aspiration forever.

May you be blessed with good health forever.


Letter of the Year

I EXTEND my sincere appreciation to Tessa Mackenzie as she scooped The Fiji Times’ Letter of the Year award.

Tessa is no stranger to The Fiji Times letters to the editor column.

I always look forward to her letters and I read her letter titled “Moral dilemma” with great interest.

Tessa’s contribution as a teacher will always be appreciated.

She will never be forgotten as she designed the Fijian national flag.

Tessa won the competition in 1970.

She designed the flag after placing the British Union Jack and the shield from Fiji’s coat of arms on a sky blue background.

That flag, designed by Tessa, contains much of Fiji’s history, and it contains much of what Fiji has gone through.

Fijians see that flag as one that flies above all the ethnic differences in Fiji.

It was also fitting that our recipient for the Letter of the Year Award drew the name of the winner for The Fiji Times’ 152nd anniversary celebration!

Congratulations madam!

Thank you for being a role model.

Thank you for inspiring thousands of Fijians through your writing and personality!

Thank you The Fiji Times for rewarding madam Tessa whose contribution is immeasurable!

Finally, congratulations to Lautoka resident Ahmud Ali for winning the major draw of $15,200!



Sick leave provision

I HOPE the Government gets a chance to pass the following law to reform the Employment Relations Act in Fiji.

A law that will include a sick leave provision that will allow employees to take time off when they are suffering from a personal sickness.

Countries such as Australia have it under the Fair Work Act 2009, and the leave is generally defined as a Mental Health Day.

I believe employees should be entitled to take leave for stress-related causes under this Act.

I am sure I speak for most employees out there, sometimes we need to take some time off when we are struggling with some personal issues or feel overwhelmed with work, either way, with everything that is going on, I feel that we should try and normalise taking a day off because we mentally need it.


Fake floods

I WAS quite shocked and distressed to hear the A-G on FBC news on Wednesday, January 19, saying that he has received calls that Labasa was flooded.

He said the pictures were a few years old and that they were posted by politicians.

That is a serious accusation since it causes unnecessary anxiety among their families overseas.

When I hear the word “politicians”, I assume it is the parliamentarians.

I am not able to comprehend which members of our august House would stoop so low.

Since the A-G seems to know who these cowardly culprits are, he should name them and shame them for these despicable actions.

No, he should go a step further.

He should take legal action against them.


Climate change

LET’S embrace the consequence of climate change and face the reality on the ground level.

I believe Tonga is virtually 95 per cent flat land with hardly any big mountains or terrains like Fiji.

But if you look at satellite images of the underwater blasts, you can see how close our beloved Viti is to the nearest underwater volcanic eruption.

This is not a joke, climate change is not cyclones, floods, thunderstorms and lighting anymore, now it also includes volcanic eruptions and tsunamis.

Is this a classic example of a beginning with no end?

Make it count and let’s stand up and fight.


Sugar price

LET’S forget the sugar price increase for a moment.

I had a look at the master price list published by FCCC.

It has seven pages dedicated just to sugar prices.

The reason is that there are different maximum prices for the various supermarkets as most of them do their own packaging.

Can this not be simplified by FSC controlling all the packaging?

It will ensure the end product is not tempered with.

It will ensure that FSC makes the packaging mark-up and not the supermarkets.

It will ensure that customers always know what the price will be irrespective of the shop they buy it from.

I believe it will reduce the master price list on basic foods from 77 pages to 71 pages.

KIRAN KHATRI, Samabula, Suva

Sugar price

SUGAR price is increasing dramatically but when will the minimum wage rate increase?

I think it’s time to consume less sugar now.

JAHEED BUKSH, Korolevu, Sigatoka

That increase

THE increase in sugar price is amazing.

The report (FT 20/1) states they arrived at the new price after extensive consultation.

Who was consulted?

But the increase is astounding.

I believe the FSC has always been propped up by the Government, is the huge price increase evidence that Government can no longer support.

Paisa, sa sega?

ALLEN LOCKINGTON, Kava Place, Lautoka

Prince Andrew

NOW that Prince Andrew has been stripped off his military titles and can no longer be referred to as “His Royal Highness”, what should he be referred to as?

RAJEND NAIDU, Sydney, Australia


WE are in the cyclone season which demands adequate preparations.

After the recent Tongan volcano and the tsunamis, one has decided to take his preparations for natural disasters to another level.

Hurricane shutters on the basin and all bilo which would then be tied down with cables.


Be prepared

RIGHT after that terrible Wednesday night, the weather finally started to calm down but still readers, we must not be fooled by this weather.

If there is really a volcanic eruption in Tonga, then Fiji is also facing some threats from that volcanic eruption.

That is why we must always be prepared.

Even though the weather seems fine and clear, still I urge everyone to be prepared.


Buy local

ISN’T our slogan “Buy locally made products”!


Now we have to buy local sugar for 90 cents more.

It seems locally made are more expensive than imported items.

Example milk products.


Our economy

WHEN the economy contracts unprecedentedly, then there’s a relatively low benchmark to grow back unprecedentally.

I believe the “wisdom” behind unprecedented growth is “unprecedented”.


Tonga tsunami

COULD the climate champs explain why with such a big volcanic eruption in Tonga the tsunami was less than 2 metres.


Education and English

I WOULD thank Sue Cauty for her encouragement to pursue the important matter of the improvement of education in general and of the English language specifically.

I certainly am glad that she enjoys my writing, along with that of Colin Deoki, Prof Wadan Narsey, Prof Paul Geraghty and Fred Wesley.

It feels good to be counted in such hallowed company.

And I have made sure that my overly critical wife has read Ms Cauty’s letter.

She seemed impressed — a rare phenomenon in our marriage.

And I learned that “beard” is also a verb and its meaning as a verb.

I have no particular kudos to confront the leaders of education except my abiding passion to improve the standard of education and my frustration that enough is not being done by the powers that be.

I agree with Ms Cauty that we belong to a very small group who are persistent in this endeavour.

It reminds me of the words of Margaret Mead who said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”.

So thank you, Ms Cauty, for your inspiration to persist, to continue our efforts.

Robert Kennedy so rightly said, “Few will have the greatness to bend history itself. But each one of us can work to change a small portion of events. And in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.”


Supply of Vicks

IS there a reason why the supply of Vicks is very limited in shops and supermarkets.

This is quite ironic as in the current weather of continued rain and heat, one expects the flu or cold to thrive.

Vicks has always been a favourite remedy for adults and children down with the flu.

With this COVID-19 continuing, the demand for Vicks is even higher.

For now, I am resorting to the kuvui with leaves from plants such as uci, lemon and sage.

A long wait it looks like but one will have more smiles come the replenishment of Vicks in our shops.


Time management

THE boys choose not to go on curfew-breaking, like earlier when the pandemic was first raging.

Although the boys still want to grog and talanoa, at Uncle’s place, 10 houses from next door, they now visit before curfew begins, and are all back home by half-past eleven.

So to avoid getting into unnecessary trouble, the boys are safely back home in their own bubble.

The moral of this storyline is to do everything at the right time, otherwise, you will suffer the consequence of irresponsible bad time management.


More Stories