Letters to the Editor – June 01, 2019

Fiji 7s reps, Ratu Meli Derenalagi, centre, with teammates Apenisa Cakaubalavu, left, and Aminiasi Tuimaba at a training session in Cape Town, South Africa. Picture: SUPPLIED/ FRU

High hopes on rookies

THREE of our boys — Tuimaba, Botitu and Ratu Meli have been nominated for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Rookie 7s Player of the Year Award alongside Samoa’s Joe Vaili.

Last year Eroni Sau and Naduva were nominated and our “Sledgehammer” took out the award and also made the 2017/18 WRSS Dream Team alongside Jerry, Nasoko and Nasilasila.

Our team needs an incredible fight in Paris and the dynamic trio — Ratu Meli, Tui and Vili will play a huge part in moulding our onslaught.

I’m picking on Tuimaba, who trails top try scorer Isles by eight tries, to take out the award although Botitu, who tops the DHL Performance Tracker with 309 points and Ratu Meli, who leads with 40 off-loads, will provide tough opposition.

For now, it’s time for the rookies to join hands and light fireworks in Paris — our unlucky hunting ground!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Chaudhry’s sentence

THE sentencing of lawyer Rajendra Chaudhry to 15 months imprisonment and a hefty fine of $50,000 by the High Court for posting a range of scandalous, defamatory and derogatory comments against the judiciary on social media is a stark reminder to all to be very careful with what you say on social media.

Chaudhry, who resides in Auckland, New Zealand, I believe will have to be extradited to serve his sentence.

I believe Fiji and New Zealand have an agreement in which both countries agree to extradite any person who is found in its territory who have been convicted of an offence.

A bench warrant has been issued for Chaudhry and it will be interesting to see how it progresses from here.

The circumstances surrounding this case is interesting because of the extremely unpleasant comments that Chaudhry continuously posted on social media against the Fijian Government and Fiji in general.

I believe the way in which Chaudhry has reacted has basically determined his fate.

Our attitude should never be determined by circumstances but how we respond to circumstances and it’s our minds that determine that.

We can either respond positively or negatively.

I believe Chaudhry chose a very negative path and he has got himself into deep trouble.

Simon Hazelman, Rava Estate, Savusavu

Customer service

I WALK up to the inquiries counter while paying for the driving licence renewal as a third party after noticing the signature slot on the renewal form.

The chap at the counter informs me that unfortunately, since I am not the licence holder and nor do I have a letter of authority to pay on behalf; the renewal will not be possible.

Not wanting to make another trip, I asked to understand why.

What if the card is stolen?

I am told.

What if a thief uses the card to then steal a car or use the stolen car in a robbery?

Stupefied and daring not to ask another question lest I lose all my senses.

I go back to pick up the licence holder to complete the transaction.

I have come across a lot of crazy customer service responses but this one beats the rest by far.

Which thief would steal a licence card so that he can steal a car and is so law-abiding to renew it first.

In case you know one, let him know my licence is up for renewal – for six years please.

Roneel Chand, Kinoya, Nasinu

Rugby enthusiasm

WALKING through Suva the past two days, one could easily notice the excitement among fans waiting in anticipation for the Crusaders vs Chiefs rugby match.

There are cars with flags of both teams, people wearing rugby jerseys and numbers flocking to Fiji Sports Council in a last-minute attempt to get tickets.

Reflecting on this makes one wonder about our national fifteens side.

When the Flying Fijians are about to play in Suva, we somehow do not show similar levels of enthusiasm and excitement.

One wonders why?

Meanwhile, let’s enjoy a good Super Rugby match at the ANZ Stadium.

Floyd Robinson, Toorak, Suva

Vehicle emissions

ACCORDING to the World Health Organization, the transport sector is the fastest growing contributor to climate emissions.

The biggest is land transport.

Vehicle emissions result in a buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Scientists say this is driving global warming and it is speeding.

I am not an expert on environmental matters nor a scientist.

Though, I know vehicles move by using fossil fuels.

There is a need for us to accelerate into overdrive.

The race to minimise the effects of climate change cannot be won at the current speed.

This battle will require bigger gears.

Unless the finish line is sighted and reached, we shall remain racers and not champions.

Mohammed Imraz, Natabua, Lautoka

Unlucky hunting ground

IN as much as I would like to see the Fiji sevens team win the sevens series, I am, however, afraid that Paris seems to be an unlucky hunting ground for our gladiators.

I vividly remember when they lost the title to Samoa back in 2007 and last year when they were bundled out of the quarter-final, failing to reach even the third position to guarantee them the 2017-2018 series title.

My only hope is that their fate will change this time in Paris and for them to go all the way to win the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

Winning the tournament will be an added bonus.

Kositatino Tikomaibolatagane, Navua

Super Rugby showdown

MY friend Shalwyn counted his lucky stars as he captured those wonderful moments with the Crusaders stars.

I envied him and mentioned that I’ll try my luck after the match.

On the other hand, fans were in a frenzy as they took pictures with the Chiefs and Crusaders players.

Many wore their favourite team’s jersey and the signed autographs added to the excitement.

The then Sam Cane captained Gallagher Chiefs brought their home game to Fiji on July 1, 2016 against the Crusaders and won the match 23-13.

I remember how the Chiefs fans passed sarcastic comments and made fun of us of course in good faith and in the spirit of Super Rugby.

One of my friends, an ardent Chiefs fan, took away my Crusaders jersey and I had to drive home wearing my vest.

Following that win after round 13 the Chiefs topped the Super Rugby NZ Conference standings with 46 points followed by the Crusaders who had 45 points.

Despite the loss, it was a joy to see the Fijian unity and spirit prevail as fans came together to cheer for the Super Rugby giants.

The following year Scott Robertson took over the Crusaders and in his first year he won the title becoming the first Super Rugby coach to win the title as the player and as the coach for the Crusaders.

On May 19 the Gallagher Chiefs and BNZ Crusaders met again in the Capital City and this time around the giants were determined to win away from home and they did so in a pulsating way hammering the hosts 31-24 although they trailed 17-13 at the breather.

The win meant that after playing 12 matches, the Crusaders amassed 54 points and led the NZ Conference and overall points table followed by the Lions (51 points) and Hurricanes and Chiefs (43 points).

Tonight is going to be a big moment and currently the Crusaders lead the points table with 53 points while the Chiefs are second last in the NZ Conference with 27 points.

The Crusaders have big names in Moody, Alaalatoa, Barrett, Whitelock, Read, Drummond, Mo’unga, Ennor, Crotty, Goodhue, Reece, Havili, Funnell, Taufua, Hall, Hunt and Bridge and I’m banking on the defending champions to come out winners.

I’ll be at the ground with two ardent Crusaders fans — Shakhil and Mithlesh and we will make all the noise.

Go Crusaders, go!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Trade unions

I BELIEVE without the existence of trade unions, the future well being of our children remains doubtful.

Dan Urai, Lautoka

Swimming pool

SIMON thinks a swimming pool is a good investment.

Labasa Town Council made a swimming pool when we had our last set of councillors for around $400,000.

They operated it for a few months then closed it and let it to deteriorate until a good Samaritan came along and restored it.

I hope the new Minister for Local Government can find out and let us know why was the pool closed after operating for a few months only.

Sukha Singh, Labasa

Crawling allegation

THANK you Mike Friday for your concerns about the Fijian boys crawling after being tackled.

We will be looking into that.

Allen Lockington, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Fijian historian

IT is good the NZ Girmit foundation has honoured Prof Brij Lal (FT 31/5) who is like the prophet not honoured in his own country.

Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia

Millionaires in Fiji

SO there are 527 millionaires in Fiji, out of which 193 are salary earners.

Out of this 193, how many are locals.

Mind wonders while struggling to make $2.68 per hour over here!

Sandeep Prasad, Nadera, Nasinu

Champions League

WITH so much hype on champions league, wondering if any TV station will show it live on free to air channels.

Ajay Singh, Natabua

Last tango

I WAS telling my grog gang that the Paris 7s will be on a high. The boys had performed well (well, with a jittery start) and if they keep that momentum, all I can say Paris will be our last tango.

Or should that be — last tango in Paris.

Allen Lockington, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Great sporting weekend

SUVA will be crowded with people from all over the world and Fiji to experience a great sporting weekend.

Starting off with the Fiji National Schools’ Swimming Championship, then the Super Rugby clash between Chiefs and Crusaders and the week-long 2019 International Weightlifting Federation Junior World Championship.

Tomasi Boginiso, Nasinu

Youngest stroke victim

I WAS shocked when I read that the youngest stroke victim was a 12-year-old child.

I have two grandchildren and we take great care of them.

My heart goes out to the family of the child.

But, may I be permitted to ask, where are all these infections/viruses, illnesses coming from?

Is it about NCDs or people bring them in when they come to Fiji?

Someone must have an answer for this.

I just pray that the child will get better.

Allen Lockington, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Check your receipts

IT is hilarious when some proprietors ask their customers — if they get reimbursed — for their receipts when the receipts were not issued to them in the first place.

Maybe customers do get reimbursed when they notice that the item on ‘sale’ was punched in the register as a ‘normal price’ item and return to the store or supermarket for their reimbursement.

May we never stop asking for our receipts and may we stop shopping at stores that place customers in a position to ask.

Joan McGoon, Martintar, Nadi

Congratulatory messages

WHENEVER presidents and prime ministers win elections, they receive congratulatory messages.

These are sent by political leaders from abroad.

I believe hardly any or none come from within the country.

I believe it is the same in Fiji.

Internal unity will strengthen global unity.

Everything can’t be politicised.

Some things have to be genuine.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

Series title race in Paris

THE 2018-2019 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series comes to an end this weekend and the United States has a good chance of winning its first sevens series title after finishing 6th in the 2017-2018 season, 5th in the 2016-2017 season, 6th in the 2015-2016 season, and 6th as well in the 2014-2015 season.

USA put on a consistent performance throughout the series and while they only won their home tournament in Las Vegas, they were second best at the first four tournaments, fourth in Vancouver and Singapore, and third at Hong Kong and London.

Fiji, on the other hand, is looking for their fourth series win.

This series they have won the Cape Town, Hamilton, Hong Kong and London tournaments, coming second best in Singapore, fourth in Sydney, fifth in Dubai, and 6th in Las Vegas.

The USA team have pretty much led the series throughout until London where Fiji pipped them by two points.

The showdown for the season will be between USA and Fiji as they are 19 and 21 points clear from the rest of the field, and it now basically boils down to who finishes better between the two to win the series.

If they both get to the grand final, the winner will win the series.

USA can either win by just 1 point or Fiji by 5 points.

Not only is the pressure on the teams to perform but also on their respective supporters as well.

Game on.

It’s all down to the wire.

We’re either going to have a great week next week or a very solemn one.

Go Fiji, Go.

Simon Hazelman, Rava Estate, Savusavu

Replica of last year

AS the curtains closed in London, we are once again facing a replica of last year going into the final Paris tournament of the series leading by 2 points.

It will be all about dedication, sacrifice, commitment as history will not be on our side.

We have stumbled, painfully lost the series in the past by losing crucial games.

There is no room for complacency and our each game from pool play is and should be like a final 15 minutes of action.

We must regroup, forget about the past nine tournaments and produce one last mana magic to win the series and qualify for the 2020 Olympics as top seed.

No doubt we have a serious batch of players, eight debutantes to Paris and loads of raw and home-grown talent.

Vinaka Gareth, Tom, Kane, Naca, William and manager, show the world where Fiji should be.

Kudos to Derenalagi for those hospital off-loads and Tuimaba and Botitu for the leading impact players and lastly kingpin Jerry for bringing his magic touch back on day two.

Captain vinaka for the leadership.

Joka o ira kece na noda cauravou.

Toso Viti.

Shalwyn Prasad, Nabua, Suva

The final hurdle

THIS weekend will be a very nervous one because the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series’ final tournament will be played in Paris.

The nation will be praying hard so that our thirst for the title is given recognition.

It has always been extremely hard for a particular team to win back to back cup finals but the boys will have to do it this weekend to bring the title to the paradise.

It’s a mammoth task but not an impossible one as we are also in the pool of death with the young Irish side, the Pumas and the French side.

All these teams play excellent rugby.

Baber must mastermind and work out a game plan to counter all opponents this weekend.

I think discipline, solid defence and lethal attacks will surely determine our win.

Of course, consistency must be maintained.

Ball retention and circulation will be pivotal for a victory.

Last weekend it was quite amazing to see our team ending the final with a sublime finish.

The thirst for victory is more and so is the anticipation.

Everyone is anticipating Fiji as the cup winner and series winner this weekend.

Go Fiji, go.

Naveen Dutt, Wainibokasi

Schools’ swimming championship

I COMMEND our number one newspaper The Fiji Times for the extensive coverage on this year’s Fiji National Schools’ Swimming Championship which kicked-off yesterday at the Damodar City Aquatic Centre.

The Fiji Times has done an excellent job and swimming fans have got a taste of the level of preparation from the participating schools.

While we look forward to the Fiji Finals, secondary schools’ soccer playoffs and Dean’s championship, I believe that equal attention must be given to swimming which is capable of bagging medals at the Pacific Games.

Just like other sporting events, big names such as Natabua, Marist and St Joseph’s are expected to dominate the National Schools’ Swimming Championship.

My best wishes to the participating schools and the various officials and once again a big vinaka vakalevu to The Fiji Times for the colourful pictures and beautiful stories!

As competition continues our swimming prospects should be aiming for a powerful finish in Laucala Bay.

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Free medicine initiative

THIS is an excerpt from the government online portal.

“One of the FijiFirst Government’s top priorities is to provide quality healthcare with easy access to price-controlled medicine, including for non-communicable disease, free of charge to all Fijians who earn less than $20,000 a year. Accordingly, the 2015 budget allocated $8 million for the free medicine program. As of January 1, 2015, all eligible Fijians will be able to access price-controlled medicine prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner free of charge from any government hospital pharmacy/dispensary and/or selected retail pharmacies.”

Thank you for that.

I believe not too many people know about this, could we possibly put out a news bulletin so that this message could reach the isolated people, the needy and those eligible for free medicine.

I have been informed that there are times when pharmacies say that some of these medicines are out of stock and the person has to buy the pharmacy’s stock.

May I suggest that the Health Ministry do a survey to verify that the people know about it and or the pharmacies are playing their role.

So you see, selected pharmacies have a cabinet that has the free medicine, please do a surveillance job to gather the facts.

Medicine is not cheap and many depend on the goodwill of the Government.

Allen Lockington, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Taxi transformations

TAXIS in Fiji have undergone massive changes in the past few years.

They had black and white number plates and were identified by their iconic taxi lights on their hoods.

Then came yellow plates and taxi meters.

Now, a step further.

Huge numbers and different colour number plates for each of the three divisions.

EFTPOS too!

Before these transformations, people used to search for taxis.

Now, taxis are looking for people.

Mate Allen, with all your encounters and stories, don’t even think about replacing “x” with “k”.

No brown or amber coloured number plates.

That would be too much.

I mean overdose.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

2019 cane crushing

THE Labasa sugar mill initially was to start crushing on June 13, 2019 but that would not be the case now because of bad weather and field condition as revealed by the Fiji Sugar Corporation CEO.

FSC made this announcement last week.

It would appear that before making the initial announcement, FSC did not know the true situation on the ground.

Of course the harvesting will not commence unless the mill starts operating.

I think it is the Fiji Sugar Corporation that decides and announces the commencement date for crushing every year.

We hope everything is put in place so that all cane is harvested within the crushing time frame.

This means rail carts and lorries and cane access roads are fully and satisfactorily available.

Any small issue not only chews time to solve but it also hampers the progress.

Six months is a long time to attend to matters affecting growers and their farms?

Let’s hope everyone plays their part accordingly to make the harvest this season successful.

Suresh Chand, Nadi

Millionaires list

WAS it really necessary for the tax company to publish that we have that many millionaires?

Heck, they could have worked hard and earned it.

Ah ha, I used the word could have, and I bet that’s the issue here.

But millionaires have powerful friends, and money to splash, now I await to see if this revelation was worth it at all.

But please don’t publish the list, I already have many friends and relatives, I don’t need more.

Allen Lockington, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Champions League finale 

THE soccer fraternity rose to applaud two incredible comebacks in the history of the Champions League semis as Liverpool produced one of the greatest comebacks to beat Barcelona 4-0, overturning a three-goal first-leg deficit and advancing to their second successive final with a 4-3 aggregate victory.

Two goals each from Origi and Wijnaldum left Messi and Barcelona utterly shell-shocked.

Fans praised the Reds for their performance full of passion, belief and determination.

Liverpool faces Tottenham, who trailed Ajax 1-0 but Lucas Moura scored a stoppage-time winner to complete a hat-trick and seal a sensational 3-2 comeback win to take them into the final on away goals rule.

Liverpool fans are excited as the Reds have a golden opportunity to bury last year’s disappointing loss to Real Madrid in Kiev which they lost 3-1 after a Loris Karius blunder and a spectacular overhead kick by Bale.

Real Madrid won their third consecutive Champions League title but they crashed out to Ajax in the last-16 this season.

In addition, Spurs and Liverpool have named big names for the final.

Klopp has included Karius, Van Dijk, Wijnaldum, Milner, Lovren, Firmino, Lallana, Salah, Henderson, Mane and Arnold while Pochettino has named Lloris, Trippier, Rose, Alderweireld, Son, Kane, Lamela, Dier, Sissoko, Alli, Moura and Eriksen in his traveling squad.

While I pick Liverpool to win the title, Spurs is capable of causing an upset.

I wish my Liverpool mates Aben Dean, Sukul Deo and Amitesh Chand all the best and I congratulate my buddies Navin Kapoor, Timoci Seru, Manoj Kumar, Vishnu Sharma and Shakhil Shivneel as Chelsea bagged the Europa League beating Arsenal 4-1 in Baku.

Well done the Blues!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Series crown

AS the interest and excitement builds up for this season’s climax in Paris, the Fiji Airways Fiji 7s team will face an uphill battle to fulfil the dreams and expectations of its fans.

For starters, they are in a pool which looks the toughest.

All teams in this pool have the capacity to top it.

It will not get any easier beyond pool play.

It will be up to their attitude, mentality, fighting spirit and rising to the occasion’s demands.

The occasion demands the best spirited performance of their lives.

It will come down to who wants the series crown more.

In the wee hours of Monday morning, we will watch one team flying.

It will be either the Fijians or the Eagles.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

Rookie of the year award

WE have three nominees for the rookie of the year award.

All the three players hail from the West and have a very close bonding.

Two players — Meli and Botitu — played together in the under-20 championship while Tuimaba has both league and union experience.

The choice will be tough while Tuimaba and Derenalagi have raw power and strength with uncanny skills, the beauty about Botitu is his overall game strength.

His DHL impact player data is second to none scoring in the top four in most tournaments and he is the top tackler in the Fiji squad.

Kudos to all three and nothing can be taken away from Samoan Vaili, the bet is on one of the three red hot Fijian rookies to get the nod.

Another sterling performance in Paris will seal the deal.

All the best.

The draws for Paris sees a repeat with both Fiji and USA likely to meet in the semis barring upsets.

Unless both buckle in the quarters then interestingly they both will fight for the top spot in the challenge trophy.

Let’s wait and watch the mana magic unfold this weekend. Joka na noda rookies kece.

Shalwyn Prasad, Nabua, Suva

No fishing zones

FOLLOWING on from the recent ban on kawakawa and donu, can there be a ban on all forms of fishing at Nubukalou Creek.

Schools of fish including salala are known to congregate in this creek over certain times of the year.

Banning all forms of fishing would make this a safe haven for fish and also raise awareness among the public of the benefits of having no fishing zones.

There are several no fishing zones across the country but in isolated areas.

Having a no fishing zone area closer to town could become an awareness raising method.

Floyd Robinson, Toorak, Suva

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