Letters to the Editor – May 23, 2020

Nabukelevu-i-ra villager Jone Yaqona with his daughter Navisa Adibula standing on the foundation of their home which was blown away when category 4 TC Harold hit Kadavu last month. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

The hard way

From Vatulele and on to Kadavu and The Fiji Times continues to publish heart-wrenching stories of our brothers and sisters who felt the full brunt of TC Harold. Yesterday’s front page captured the picture of Nabukelevu-i-ra villager Jone Yaqona and his daughter Navisa Adibula standing on the foundation of their home which was blown away by TC Harold. TC Harold not only wreaked havoc on infrastructure, but it also shattered the dreams and aspirations of those living on the islands. The hard work, sweat and blood put in toiling a plantation, farm or house was swept aside in a moment of flash and agonising stories will be shared by these islanders in years to come. Assistance from the government, non-governmental organisations and other Fijians have reached our brothers and sisters living on Kadavu and Vatulele but they’ll need more than what has been given so that they could return to normality. Like any other resilient Fijian, our brothers and sisters will regroup and collect whatever is left and build on from there. It was emotional watching our brothers and sisters managing to put a smile on their face despite the adversities that they are surrounded with. Fiji survived STC Winston and we shall survive TC Harold. Together we will make that difference and show the world that we are stronger and braver than cyclones like TC Harold. Dreams may have been crushed for now but we shall surge and fulfil them soon! The nightmares will linger but life has to move on. Thank you Luke Nacei and The Fiji Times for sharing the stories from Nabukelevu-i-ra! Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam Nadawa, Nasinu

That swimming pool

What’s up with this swimming pool saga in Lautoka? It’s been in the pipeline for sometime now and we are hearing about it quite often in the letters to the editor section. Can the people who are involved in its planning and construction please respond to all the questions and comments. Why can’t those responsible say something about it? Just be straight and truthful and say it as it is; no money, contractual disagreement, poor management, poor planning, what is it? Sounds like the pipeline for this particular swimming pool is getting longer! Please clear up all the confusion and disillusion! Simon Hazelman Rava Estate, Savusavu

Police checkpoints

I would like to give my view on the police checkpoints that we have around Fiji during the curfew hours. Having these checkpoints is good because it somehow provides security to many around Fiji. I think we should not stop at having these full time checkpoints once everything begins to go back to normal. The Fiji Police Force should continue with the check-points as a permanent setup to ensure the safety of the people of Fiji. It will be good for our roads and also during the night hours where police can always be closer to areas where trouble can always be attended to quickly. Arnold Tamani Savusavu

Name them

Why can’t authorities reveal the identity of certain supermarkets recently busted for selling putrid or rotten meat? Please name them, our health is in jeopardy here. On a different tune, I’m still confused whether to abide by our good government’s two-metre social distancing policy. Only inquisitive because our no nonsense PM was willingly shaking hands with the smiling villagers of Vatulele during his official visit earlier this week. Have the rules been relaxed? Dr Waqainabete? Nishant Singh Lautoka

‘Brilliant word’

To address the recent public outcry on the state of the Suva roads, the FRA has come up with a brilliant word – rehabilitate. They claim that the roads would require rehabilitation because of the hostile external environment and past government inaction. In some cases, they would need to rehabilitate portions of the road that they had recently rehabilitated. This would be termed as re-rehabilitate. Given their track record, I would suggest that they return the roads to their original status, that is back to the gravel road days. FRA can term this as unrehabilitated roads. I believe genuine “years of unprecedented economic growth” should not have left our roads in the present state. James Mastapha Tamavua, Suva

EFL disconnections

Is Hasmukh Patel, EFL CEO, aware of the inconvenience disconnecting power at 4.35pm causes because of overdue bill payment despite the closure time for bill payment at the respective EFL offices Fiji-wide being 3pm? I am aware that there are other available options/avenues to effect payment(s) but why schedule disconnections at such a bizarre or an unpeculiar time? However, once payment is effected, a phone call to EFL number 5333 to inform them of payment details will be met with the reply, “your power will be reconnected tomorrow afternoon”. If you deem it adequate or appropriate for power to be disconnected at any time of the day or night then the same logic should be adopted or applied for reconnection. Disconnecting power at the ludicrous time of 4.35pm is corporately inhumane? Think, Hasmukh, think. Get out of that monopolistic thinking. Anthony Sahai Suva

Tales of struggle

Reading the reports of struggle through The Fiji Times causes a deep sense of mental anguish. The articles highlight the tales about women, young and old, and their struggles, grief, sorrows and how they discover ways to overcome adversity through faith, hope and love. Their dreams shattered, finding difficulty in making ends meet and years of sacrifices reduced to zero in minutes is more than worrisome. On the other hand, there are some good Samaritans who continue to support the fellow Fijians in whatever they can. These are testing times for all of us. Let’s stand in solidarity to support each other. Pranil Ram Votualevu, Nadi

50 years on

I believe we’ve been sleeping for 50 years. Perhaps, it may take us another 50 to wake up, let alone get up. We’ve been relying too much on tourism that most of our factors of production (land, labour, capital, entrepreneurship) has been focused on it. Now we’ve realised that it’s not quite resilient at all, since it is dependent on people coming in from outside our borders. Tourism is a good that “must be enjoyed” here and cannot be transported to the tourist. In the lead-up to election 2018 I have been mentioning how; our sudden leap from a not so well developed primary industry (agriculture, fisheries, forestry, mining) to a full speed reliance on service (tertiary) industry; is quite vulnerable, since a versatile service industry can only thrive on top of a strong secondary (manufacturing) industry. What I meant is that we should develop our economy in phases. First, we need to develop a vibrant primary industry, by building our capacity in agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and mining. Then we can slowly inculcate “value-adding” into the raw materials so that we are selling high value end user products into the market. A strong manufacturing industry will mean lots of jobs. Many people working will mean many people will then be able to afford “services”, be it tourism hotels, airline services, restaurants, or what not. As it is, without the tourists, major tourism and hospitality services are dead. Why? Because not many locals have jobs outside the tourism industry and thus not many can afford to buy those “services”. The so-called First World Countries have a thriving service industry resting on a very strong secondary (manufacturing) sector. If we fail to build the right blocks to set the foundation of our economy, we will always fail at the first storm to blow our way. Utiko Nabunobuno Lautoka

Budget month

In next month’s budget, I’m certain our government, (not your government or my government, it’s ours) have a plan to stimulate the economy and also financial help for those that have been directly affected by the pandemic in losing their livelihoods. Trust the Lord but have faith in our government. Wise Muavono Balawa, Lautoka

Comic strips

It will be a rejuvenating idea to have a half page each of the Phantom and Hagar the Horrible comic strips in Saturday’s The Fiji Times during the stay at home period. The celebrated and the lovable characters have entertained the nation through The Fiji Times for generations and the Saturday’s edition will a set platform of a jovial weekend for the readers. Satish Nakched Suva

FRU boost

Honourable PM and FRU president Voreqe Bainimarama looked smart as he sat in one of the buses given by Qian Bo – the ambassador for the People’s Republic of China to Fiji. The buses, I read, will lighten transportation costs. Thank you ambassador Qian Bo for your assistance towards FRU! Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam Nadawa, Nasinu

Curfew hours

I wonder whether the chances of getting coronavirus is higher after 10pm. Maybe having a tanoa of grog at 9.50pm is safer than drinking after 10pm! Raynav Chand Nakasi

Tears, smiles

In the face of COVID-19 and Tropical Cyclone Harold’s impact, The Fiji Times has become a helpful link between many good Samaritans and the needy on the ground. For confirmation, contact the tears and smiles. Mohammed Imraz Janif Natabua, Lautoka

Market issue

The market at Tilak ground is not being used by vendors, now I am told that Shirley Park and another sports facility at Natokowaga will be used by technicians who do small repair work. Please make decisions wisely. By the way how much was used to build the Tilak ground market? John Brown Drasa Vitogo, Lautoka

Bed bugs

Amol Kumar thanked the manager health services of Lautoka City Council for his quick response to a complaint that he made, great I would say, but the bed bugs at the bus station is still a big problem. When will LCC get the bed bug problem solved? Abdul K. Khan Lautoka

Pool again

Kirti, my hair has gone gray, my midriff has gone big, my Speedos can’t fit me any more from waiting for our pool to be finished. But on a positive side, we can go and swim in the other pool when it’s finished. We travel via the pipeline. Allen Lockington Kava Place, Lautoka

Sugar, tobacco

Replacing the sugar industry with tobacco growing is like replacing diabetes with lung cancer. Can someone out there please choose a healthier option. Gabe Simpson Rakiraki

More Stories