Letters to the Editor – May 18

Tebara Carnival queen contestants (L-R) Sereima Vautoni (Miss Ricky’s Investment), Kavita Mishra (Miss Aldex Trading) , Mereani Cakau (Alvin’s Electrical) , Neha Sharma (Miss Nausori Marekt Vendors ) , Laisani Ravoka (Professional Security and Services) and Natasha Lala (Miss Nausori Town Council) at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori yesterday. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

Touching experience

JOVESA Naisua and The Fiji Times (17/05) captured beautifully the smiling picture of the 2018 Vodafone Tebara Carnival queen contestants at Ratu Cakobau Park.
The contestants visited Wainibokasi Hospital and St Christopher’s Home and were touched by their experience.
Hats off to the six beautiful young ladies who took up the challenge to be part of the carnival!
It’s a learning experience and I hope that the contestants will make use of the opportunity.
Furthermore, I am glad that the committee has chosen the theme “Our Environment Our Future” as part of the initiative to raise awareness on the need to protect our environment which has become vulnerable.
Let’s enjoy the Tebara Carnival responsibly and all the best to the contestants!
Nadawa, Nasinu

Government initiatives
I VERY much appreciate the analysis shared by Ashneel Sudhakar which was highlighted in The Fiji Times (15/05) titled, “$55 per inmate per day”, which was given as a justification to the introduction of the Community Based Correction Bill 2016 — a piece of legislation that aims to legislate community-based sentence option for courts in Fiji.
In his analysis on $55 per inmate per day; $20,000 per inmate per annum; $20 million per year for 1000 inmates, one important point he raised was these monies were taxpayers’ money.
He further gave an example that if a person is found guilty of stealing a loaf of bread or a can of tuna and if imprisoned, this would mean that the taxpayers would be paying $20,000 for a crime that is deemed to be minor.
I wonder if Government initiatives such as free education and bus fares are also paid by taxpayers and if so, wouldn’t analysis and examples like the above be provided so taxpayers can be aware of how much they are paying altogether especially with the cost of other things such as school uniforms, stationery, shoes, etc, skyrocketing?
Vuninokonoko Rd, Navua

Last chance
A REPORT in The Fiji Times (17/5) stated that people who know they have given false information in their application for the State’s Homes-CARE assistance have been given two weeks to return their cards.
This is the warning from Acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum who confirmed they had received reports of people changing their address to get the assistance.
He said there would be people who would be charged soon.
Anyway, with the long lines all over the place, I wonder how long will the line be when people come to return their cards!
Areh wah.
Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

State assurance
THE deputy permanent secretary for the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs, Josefa Toganivalu, assured delegates at the Bua Provincial Council meeting at Naulumatua House, Nabouwalu the other day that all land belonging to the iTaukei was safe.
I am hoping and praying that all political parties and those who oppose Government will read this report and stop using fear tactics and lies that our current Government is trying to take away iTaukei land.
With the 2018 General Election coming up, I believe that other permanent secretaries and not the PM, A-G or ministers holding ministerial portfolios are to come out and assure the iTaukei people that their other resources are also safe.
With all these assurances of the safety of what the iTaukei people hold dear and the excellent performance and service delivery of our FijiFirst Government, I believe another landslide victory is coming up!

A united Fiji
TRAVELLING through the afternoon traffic, my attention was caught by an inspirational message on the billboard “Fiji does better when Fijians unite”.
Now this is by far the best billboard that I have come across. The message is crystal clear. Our unity as Fijians is our biggest strength.
The colour of our blood is red. Our religious principles and moral values are the same.
Then what’s all the bickering about race. Year in, year out when our sporting teams take the field, we unite and cheer our hearts out for them.
That very moment the issue of race, colour and gender is cast aside. Is our unity extended only until the length of the playfield?
No, ladies and gentlemen! Unity, peace, religious harmony and tolerance must form the pinnacle of the values and foundation of our beloved Fiji.
Is it my fault that when our national anthem is being sung I have tears in my eyes? No!
It’s that love that I have for the country that has become my home for the past 35 years knowing too well that I am a descendent of an indentured labourer who was tricked into coming to Fiji.
I have never thought of migration because I pose myself two questions whenever thoughts of migrating come to mind; why should I leave my motherland?
How can I leave my families and friends behind and go and enjoy life away from home in a country which may not understand my values and ways of living?
I believe it’s time to unite and not divide Fiji. Lessons from 1987 and 2000 should be the driving factor.
I am not a politician nor am I a philosopher. I am just a citizen of my beloved country. I conclude with this thought by Albert Camus: “Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”
May we all have a fruitful and blessed weekend!
Nadawa, Nasinu

Back to the past
I WAS listening to the commentary of what was going on in Parliament when suddenly I thought of how my mother with the other women in the village put on their old dress to go fishing just in the lagoon at back home.
Again my mind wondered to where our women of today are. Many in the village no longer know how to catch fish in the traditional way or own fishing gear such as a taraki (net) and a noke (basket).
Now we buy fish from other people. No one at home would like to get sunburn while going fishing.

Blessed Ramadan
YESTERDAY, the Muslim community in Fiji welcomed the Holy month of Ramadan, which is a period of fasting, sacrifice, reflection, generosity, charity, goodwill and self-control.
As such, religious songs and prayers will form part of our early morning radio program.
When Ramadan comes to an end, Eid will be celebrated and our Muslim homes and communities will be flooded with well-wishers, friends and neighbours.
On this occasion, I wish our Muslim brothers and sisters a blessed Ramadan!
Nadawa, Nasinu

Irrational comparison
I FIND it irrational to compare minimum wage with the cost incurred by an inmate while in jail. Because they are as different as chalk and cheese.
We must not forget that prisoners have certain rights too such as medical care and protection from inhumane treatment.
Furthermore, I believe the cost of goods and services in Fiji keeps escalating almost on daily basis.
In New Zealand, the average cost per prisoner is $250 per day which is five times more than ours.
Be as it may, I fully support the proposal for them to undertake unpaid community work for a minor offence. However, wherever possible, it should be a payment to the victim.
For example, if one steals a loaf of bread from a shop then he should be made to clean their toilets for one week.
Not only it will serve as a more effective form of punishment but it will also make the offender think twice before re-offending.
Of course it will also reduce the prison population.

Minimum wage rate
THE minimum wage is $2.68 an hour now and some people should understand clearly how this works because there still seems to be confusion in the air about the whole thing and how it works.
So anyway, when one looks at it, they have to realise that it applies only to the unskilled worker.
When starting a job or work without any skill of doing that job, that person will be paid that amount and most likely will be paid more as she or he learns the job or produces the goods.
So looking at the whole picture here, it’s not the whole workforce getting that amount and to be more thoughtful, one has to realise the importance of working for a wage — do a good job, earn a good wage.
So for good advice, please do not be afraid of earning $2.68 an hour as starters in a job. You could easily work yourself up to being the boss man or woman. God bless Fiji.
Tubou St, Samabula, Suva

Excess power
GOOD to note EFL will be buying excess power from homes with solar energy as announced by the A-G. Will duty concessions on all solar-related equipment be given by Government as an incentive to consumers/customers?

Blues go down
LAUTOKA fans are disappointed with their team’s recent performance in the OFC Champions League final in Wellington. Perhaps the game plan wasn’t right. The coaching panel needs to plan properly for each game. Player discipline was also a factor which let the team down. Hope they can at least regain some lost integrity in their next game.

WHAT a way to implement a scheme. You could be forgiven for thinking that Simon Cowell’s The X Factor had descended on Nadi’s Prince Charles Park yesterday morning for auditions.

Nothing is free
ACCORDING to our A-G, some people have given false information to collect HomeS-CARE grants. Sometimes back I wrote in the Letters to the Editor column about some market vendors who were actually double dipping the grants. I believe our people are so dependent on government help because they think everything the Government gives is free. I believe nothing is free because somebody is paying for the free things that people are receiving. The Government doesn’t have money trees. The people who are cheating Government should be taken to task.

ASK me a question and I will tell you the truth. Ask a career politician a question and I believe he will beat around the bush. Hahaha.
Hedstrom Pl, Balawa, Lautoka

Word origin
WHILE we are free to use words to make meaning of something we want to put forward, I always have reservations about using the word “vernacular” in all circumstances I find myself in. A look at the origin of this word in the 17th century will confirm why I always do this. I rest my case.
Natabua, Lautoka

Blame the media
MEGHAN Markle’s dad has had heart surgery and the media has been blamed for causing his heart problem with all the media pressure put on him for his daughter’s royal wedding and all that (ABC news 17/5). One look at the gentleman will tell you what is the more probable cause of his heart problem. But it’s always easier to blame and scapegoat the media, isn’t it?
Sydney, Australia


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