Letters to the Editor – June 8

Oloolo residents secure their house in Sigatoka. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

Assistance for people

I have been trying to decipher, the number 47,358 people, who received the homes-care assistance.
How many of these people live in the same house?
Anyway, looking at the floods and cyclones, did 47,358 homes sustain damage in some form or other.
If we multiply that by five the average number of people in a home that’s 236,790 people affected.
We have as many as 912,241 people in Fiji, so one third of the people of Fiji were affected, by my calculations that is.
This is interesting because in time — cyclones will get worse and numbers will increase.
Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Unsung hero
Watching the funeral service of the late Deaconess Olivia Kauroto Nataniela, I was touched by the eulogy by one of the former residents of the Dilkusha Home by the name Vicky.
Delivering her eulogy on behalf of the Dilkusha family, this young girl extended her relationship to the late Deaconess of the past seven years right to her last breath.
When everyone else went out of their way after their time in Dilkusha, this young girl tried all her best to repay all that the late Deaconess had done for them and tend to her in her time of need.
No wonder the late Deaconess stated that she had a big family but in her last days, she mentioned to this young girl that you are my real family.
To this young girl Vicky, though many of us do not know you personally, we would like to say thank you for your kind heart.
You are one of the unsung heroes in our community by sticking around with the late Deaconess when everyone else left.
Your story needs to be told and deserved a space in this column.
Pita Soroaqali, Nadarivatu

It’s far from over
IF you think we have won the WRSS title, then I say, it’s far from over.
During the 1999-2000 IRB series, Fiji had to reach the semis in Paris but our boys bombed out against Argentina in the Cup quarters 33-21.
NZ went to win the Cup final against South Africa 69-10 and collected 20 valuable points to win their first IRB 7s series.
Fiji settled for plate beating France 45-7, collected eight points and finished 2nd with 180 points.
Prior to the Paris 7s Fiji had won the Japan 7s and led NZ by six points.
Fiji had amassed 172 points to NZ’s 166 points.
The 1999-2000 series consisted of 10 tournaments and NZ and Fiji won five each. They set the pace and the world was amazed with their sublime skills.
The leading try-scorer on the inaugural series was Fiji’s Vilimoni Delasau, who notched 83 tries over the series.
Then rewind to the 2006-’07 WRSS and Fiji just had to progress beyond the semis and we would have made a back-to-back series win under the leadership of Jo Savou and Serevi.
Fiji lost to Wales in the cup quarters in Scotland and finished with eight points after winning the plate competition beating Kenya 31-7.
The All Blacks trailed Fiji by a massive 10 points leading up to the 2007 Scotland 7s, the final event. Fiji had 120 while NZ had 110 points.
The All Blacks proved critics wrong and thrashed Samoa 34-5 to return home with the spoils from Scotland and the WRSS title.
NZ finished top with 130 points while Fiji had to settle for silver medal with 128 points.
The rest is history! Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Taxi licences
Remember when the authorities were seen on the roads booking illegal “taxis” and mini-vans.
Many vans were taken in by them and later released when the owner paid a fine.
Then these vehicles went into hiding and came out in the evenings or when the authorities weren’t around.
For years this operation has been going on.
In the past, I saw what we called matchbox vans plying their trade, many people profited and now have eight-seater vans. I must say they did well.
Many of them have nice homes and have put their children through school from the earnings.
Who cares if it’s illegal as long as they are making ends meet?
Then the authorities started booking again and again and again.
But these vehicles remained on the roads.
You know why, because there is a market for them.
And someone found a solution — let’s offer taxi licences.
If you can’t beat them, let them join us. Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Peacekeeping presence
This month marks the 40th anniversary of Fiji’s contribution to peacekeeping worldwide. The Ministry of Defence and the RFMF are to be commended for having a week-long celebration for this grand occasion.
I recall, about two years ago, on May 19, 2016, the day was celebrated worldwide as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. On that day, the then UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon is reported to have said: “On this day we honour our heroes — the more than one million men and women who have served under the United Nations flag with pride, distinction and courage since the first deployment in 1948.”
He added: “And we pay our highest tribute to the more than 3400 peacekeepers who have lost their lives while in service during that period.”
This week, a former prime minister, Commander of the RFMF and Commanding Officer of the first Fiji Infantry Regiment- UNIFIL, Maj Gen (Ret’d) Sitiveni Rabuka observed as follows — “On 10th June, 40 years ago, the then prime minister, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara farewelled the first contingent of 550 soldiers to Lebanon to serve in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)”.
He paid tribute to the late Berenado Vunibobo, our former permanent representative to the United Nations, for negotiating Fiji’s entry into peacekeeping in 1978 and subsequent PRUNs who facilitated the peacekeeping commitments.
Mr Rabuka also paid tribute to those that died while on peacekeeping duties.
Today, from my little farm in Waila, as a former peacekeeper with UNIFIL about 30 years ago, I too would like to share my views. My perspectives mirror what I shared back in 2016 on the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. With some editing, this is what I said: Our beloved Fiji, in our small corner of the globe is a major contributor to the United Nations international peacekeeping efforts. Fiji’s contribution can be aptly described, relatively speaking, as “how so few, can contribute so much for the benefit of so many”.
Our peacekeepers and their families were and are not immune to the vagaries of such missions. Some mission theatres were pleasant to serve in. Others, were not too kind to seeing Blue Berets and the UN ensign in their midst. As a result, some of our kinsmen paid the ultimate sacrifice. Their vanua and families lost sons, brothers, husbands, fathers and breadwinners.
It is accepted that such is the price that comes with the turf of being an international servant under the auspices of the United Nations.
As we look back on the 40th anniversary of Fiji’s contribution to international peace, I too would like to pay tribute to and honour all fellow Fijians and global citizens that have worn and are wearing the Blue Beret or have served under the different UN missions worldwide. In particular, I salute and remember those that lost their lives during such service.
To the families of those that paid the ultimate sacrifice — I join my fellow citizens in saying — “We will remember them”.
To the rest of us, may we all continue in our joint efforts to share a piece of Fiji and bequeath some peace to those that daily seek the ever elusive comforts of a day without armed conflict. Kiniviliame Keteca, Nausori.

Navosa rugby
While Navosa Rugby Union faces certain promotion relegation this year, nevertheless, the Navosa golden boys in Amenoni Nasilasila, Josua Vakurinabili, Jasa Veremalua, Sevuloni Mocenacagi and the “Beast” Semi Kunatani are a part of the Fiji Airways Fiji 7s brigade that is currently mesmerising the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series venues and bringing the glory and much needed happiness to everyone in this country. “This is Navosa” at its best! Go Fiji, go. Tui Dakua, Raiwai, Suva.

Impact player
Four players shared the DHL Impact Player honours in London for the first time. Iosefo (USA), Vladimir (Russia), Jenkins (Wales) and Odhiambo (Kenya) finished on 46 points.
Ironically none of the teams that these players represent made it big in London. Wales lost in the challenge trophy to Kenya while Russia lost to Wales in the challenge trophy semis.
USA lost to NZ in the fifth place playoff. This shows statistics as far as performance is concerned. Meanwhile, Nasilasila and Sau are third and fourth on the overall DHL Performance Tracker behind Canada’s Douglas and Aussie rookie O’Donnell. Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu.

University legacy
After a decade as USP vice-chancellor Professor Rajesh Chandra’s term has ended and he is to be replaced by Professor Pal Ahluwalia of the University of Portsmouth in the UK (FT 7/6). What is Professor Chandra’s legacy? Did he make USP great again? Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia.

Number of votes
Bloody ‘ell. Independent Deo had 1055 votes? A few more than certain head honchos we know about eh! I jush cayn’t beeleef it … as Tofinga would say. Or was it Ete? MANOJ LAL PATEL, Drasa Ave, Lautoka.

Plastic bags
Prior to the 10 cents law introduced as a fine against use of plastic bags, drapery stores were providing their own branded plastic bags free. Now in drapery stores, the salesperson smiles, while packing your purchase, saying 10 cents extra please. Dan Urai, Lautoka.
Fish ban
Now that the ban on kawakawa and donu has been officially implemented, my friend Cameron will be looking for other alternative for his Sunday lunch. I suggest he valolo the qitawa. Wise Muavono, Balawa, Lautoka.

More Stories