Letters to the Editor: Monday, July 13, 2020

Action between Ba and Navua at the Fiji FA Academy Ground in Ba. Picture: BALJEET SINGH.

Strong start for Ba

The Men in Black started their league campaign with a hard-fought win over Navua 5-3.

I watched the game live on FBC TV and I was fascinated with the number of young talents who played for Ba thanks to the hard work of master Timoci Seru and others who have been part of Ba Youth.

Players such as Lorima Batirerega Jr, Mitieli Naivaro, Peceli Sukabula, Isikeli Seva Jr and Malakai Rere have come through the youth system and I thank the Ba team for having faith in their youth players.

Another round of soccer matches coming up this week for soccer fans.

Keep your fingers crossed!

RAJNESH ISHWAR LINGAM Balgovind Rd, Nadawa, Nasinu


Alternative budget

It is good to see that some people have now come to realise the importance of listening to other views towards finding a solution to our crisis.

I believe it’s rather unfortunate that there are some who think they hold the monopoly on what is best for Fiji and its citizens.

And others opinions are subservient to theirs. Such dogmatic stand will only deter active and honest participation by the people who will be affected by the 2020/2021 budget.

One must not forget that it’s a national budget where everybody has a right to express his views and suggestions. Be it individuals, political parties, businesses, trade unions, organisations or NGOs.

They all must have their say. That is the very reason we have public consultations which provide a mechanism to seek their input into the exercise.

But at the end of the day as Mr Narube’s has said, “What the Government does with our suggestions is entirely its decision.”



Social distancing

One can often see individuals in custody or prisoners handcuffed with police officers quite disturbing from the social distancing aspect.

Social distancing is clearly not taking place here; it is viewed as an acceptable practice by our security forces.

Being handcuffed to another individual is preventing social distancing as there is physical contact and the distance is not 2 m. The message the public is receiving is that social distancing doesn’t matter for these people.

I just ask that those in remand or our police officers are awarded more respect to be allowed to practise social distancing; for the latter as it is in the line of duty; the former: respecting one’s human rights.

We can read that in Peru more than 1000 police Officers have been infected from the coronavirus while enforcing a lockdown and 17 have died

Our police officers, working alongside doctors and nurses as frontline workers during this pandemic, deserve to have the protection from COVID-19, including PPE (personal protective equipment) while carrying out their important work be it escorting suspected criminals and prison in-mates to and from court or working at checkpoints during curfew hours.

Our police deserve better and those in remand and prisoner inmates should have their rights met.




A NEWS item in FT 09/07 stated that the FNU Act was recently amended to enable the levies paid by employees to the Fiji National University (FNU), to be also used for the FNU’s capital works.

The news item further stated that the Minister for Education had used her powers under the Act to amend the legislation that was gazetted on June 30.

The latter is quite a profound statement. Under the FNU Act 2009, levies paid in are for the upskilling and in-service training and education of employees of these levy-paying employers and related initiatives.

It will also be recalled that these levy payments were also diverted a while back to the Accident Compensation Commission Fiji (ACCF) to fund accident compensation.

I believe that if a law has to be made or amended, then Parliament is constitutionally the only body vested with these powers.

However, if a variation needs to be made to the Levy Order, then the minister has the powers under the Act to make such a variation.

It is however unclear to me whether this is about a legislative amendment or variation in the Levy Order.

EDWARD BLAKELOCK Admiral Circle, Pacific Harbour


National budget

WITH an “Alternative Budget” already presented, the 2020/2021 National Budget announcement scheduled for this Friday will have much to look forward.

In the last national budget, there was a massive forecast reduction in government revenue. Covid-19 did not exist back then.

This time around, fingers will be tightly crossed.



No loan

I DON’T understand why Simon wants other political parties to put out their budget (FT 12/07) knowing Narube’s “No loan budget” will be ignored .

He should be more astute by now .

DAN URAI Lautoka


Ovalau roads

Roadworks on Ovalau are into full mode/swing. Why? Because the Prime Minister and his government team will be visiting on Tuesday.

Upon their return to the mainland, the road will be left untouched until the next visit. Nothing new. Isa.



Hidden Paradise

MY friend Sukha Singh has questioned the rates charged for rubbish collection.

Very timely indeed. I would love to add some more Sukha.

Can it also highlight as to why the council is made to pick up rubbish for non-rate payers and squatters in and around Savusavu?

And one last question! What has happened to our Savusavu rubbish collecting truck?



Rugby contract

SO Fiji Airways continues to sponsor the Crusaders rugby team from New Zealand but terminated our own people’s work contract.

Sad eh!



It’s on

THE current unemployment has seen a unforeseen growth in market situational competition.

We have those who are established and the others that because of no fault of theirs throwing their hand in the game.

We have taxis/buses vs private cars, markets vs home gardens, flea markets vs shops/restaurants and barter vs everyone. Keep it clean, nothing below the belt, share and box on.

NIGEL FIU Owls Perch, Lautoka


US democracy

THE US Supreme Court decision that no one, including the President of the United States of America, was above the law ( PBS NewsHour 10/07) should make every American very proud of their democracy notwithstanding its flaws.

RAJEND NAIDU Sydney, Australia


25-year journey

IN Friday’s The Fiji Times veteran journalist Nilam Kumar, who was farewelled by her colleagues last month, penned a powerful article on Kavita Singh who attained a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Accounting and Management despite being visually impaired.

Madam Nilam Kumar, who took on the endurance to cover the heartbreaking stories from Makoi and Nakasi HARTs, served with The Fiji Times for 25 years.

Luke Rawalai and The Fiji Times compiled a beautiful piece on Nilam’s 25-year journey with The Fiji Times as Nilam recalled how long and hard the journey to and through the country’s oldest newspaper.

Nilam was described by our editor-in-chief as a passionate journalist who covered about the harsh realities of people living in HARTs and this attracted a lot of attention.

It was here that I met Nilam with our senior photographer Rama and I was delighted that I was able to meet somebody who was fearless and inspiring.

Nilam also reported about the challenges she faced as she covered the ’87 coup, STC Winston’s impact and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nilam’s departure is a big loss to a brand (The Fiji Times) which has worked hard to gain people’s trust and admiration.

Thank you Nilam for your dedication and commitment to The Fiji Times and a big vinaka vakalevu to The Fiji Times for gifting readers with a passionate and committed journalist! Cheers!

RAJNESH ISHWAR LINGAM Balgovind Rd, Nadawa, Nasinu


Something old, something new

IT is very impressive to see how Dr Anirudha Banshod –– CEO and his team at Post Fiji –– have moved with the times.

They have diversified and transitioned from what was once a regular postal service to expanding business activities and offering innovative customer service by offering e-shopping including an extensive range of grocery items.

Post Fiji has reduced the need for clients to come in to the post office and has therefore consequently reduced the risk for the public of contracting COVID-19.

While this service is new for a post office, it still holds by its principals of delivering an efficient yet traditional regular and reliable postal service.

The postage stamp is a classic example. Long ago the Philatelic Bureau of Post Fiji made a stand not to frank mail but to maintain the exclusive use of postage stamps.

The production and sale of stamps was a large component of their sales.

They can not only boast an amazing collection of beautiful and creative stamp issues but stamps can be, at the same time, a very lucrative business indeed.

Buyers are from all over the world with the largest number of collectors coming from the US. To produce an issue of stamps involves much time, skill and creativity.

It’s surprising to know they still engage an artist to paint the images that we see on stamps today, just as they used to decades ago. This is what adds considerable value to the stamps.

Philately (stamp collecting) is still as popular as it was when our great-grandparents were collecting stamps.

I love the power of a small piece of gummed paper: it can display powerful images and messages; it can carry a logo, it can provide a description of the image; not to mention the country of origin and denomination.

Besides all this, it can cross borders where people can’t, legally ignoring any travel restrictions.

The postage stamp has truly evolved with the times.


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