Letters to the Editor | Monday, May 22, 2023

Fijian Drua's Vatemo Ravouvou on the attack against Waratahs at Allianz Stadium, Sydney Australia on Saturday night. Picture: FIJIAN DRUA

Another heartbreaking loss

WHILE the Swire Shipping Fijian Drua’s hopes of a quarter-final berth took a nose-dive, the Waratahs season took another step forward as Darren Coleman’s men overcame a spirited Drua side 32-18 in a breathless encounter to make it four wins on-the-trot for the first time since 2018. The bonus point victory ensured the Waratahs will play in the quarter-finals ahead of their difficult assignment next week across the ditch against the Crusaders. It’s back to the drawing board for the Drua which gave away a winning game. Locked 13-all, the boys allowed the ‘Tahs into the game and then lapse of concentration and the inability to turn possession into points came back to haunt the boys. Our boys scored two breathtaking tries and played their hearts out, playing back-to-back away matches. This week we face the winless Pasifika Moana at home and then we face the Reds in Suva. Two bonus point wins should do the job and ensure a quarter-final berth. My full support for the Drua! RAJNESH ISHWAR LINGAM Balgovind Rd, Nadawa, Nasinu

Life and politics

DEPUTY PM Professor Biman Prasad made a very important point when he urged youths in Rotuma (and no doubt elsewhere in the country ) to participate in politics in Fiji so that their voice is heard ( ST 21/5). Nothing is exempt from politics. It directly or indirectly impacts on everyone in society. So it’s everyone’s business to keep a lookout on what’s happening on the political front. Another important reason for the citizens to be politically engaged is because politicians don’t always do the right thing in politics. I remember trying to solicit support for a constitutional review commission submission after the 1987 coup from a Friday evening grog get together of some teachers and a few of them said to me “don’t talk politics”. We were however able to get sufficient support from people who did not shy away from politics to make the submission which was covered by the media. RAJEND NAIDU Sydney, Australia

Fatal accidents

SADLY, most needlessly, another human life is lost on our roads. Thirty eight lives lost on Fiji roads year-to-date. Thirty eight lives too many were extinguished in our roads compared to 12 for the same period last year. A 41-year-old woman from Nabila Village near Uciwai along the Queens Rd, not far from Nadi, is victim. God, please rest her soul and give strength to her grieving family to carry on. The quality of driving in Western Viti Levu is deplorably poor. The statistics are alarming and worsening. Our law enforcement traffic authorities need to sharpen their skills. A greater forceful presence on our roads is again requested. I have repeated myself on several occasions there is no real deterrent penalty for bad, dangerous, careless and reckless driving. RONNIE CHANG Martintar Nadi

Risk of violence

RESEARCHERS have demonstrated that violence against women occurs across social economic divisions and in all contexts. However, the risk of violence against women is known to increase in times of economic crisis and during natural and humanitarian disasters. This is a cross cutting issue worldwide, including Fiji. Where economic and health pressures are added to already tough circumstances, evidence suggested that intimate partner violence will increase. The pandemic itself created new tactics of control: using fear of contracting the virus or spreading it to others to disconnect a partner from their usual support of network of family and friends, increasing surveillance and hyper control over their movements. Coercive control is not recognised as a crime in Fiji despite it being widely acknowledged as a form of non-physical abuse. It is sad that the previous minister of women, Premila Kumar, during the FijiFirst-led Government never captured this and failed to table a report in Parliament. I hope the Minister of Women, Lynda Tabuya, and her team will table a report on women violence in Fiji during COVID-19 because there was little research done or none at all by previous administration during the pandemic except for a few women-led NGOs such as FWCC, FWRM, FemLink, Medical Pacific etc. Where can they get the data from? JIOJI M CAKACAKA Carerras-Votualevu, Nadi

Copyright laws

FIJI’S Performing Rights Association chairman Eremasi Tamanisau’s suggestion for the need of appropriate licences to allow pubic service vehicles to play music (FT 19/5) needs to be seriously considered by the authorities concerned. They should play music after satisfying all copyright laws be it over land or sea as he suggests. Music is not so sweet to everyone while travelling under different situations and moods for various age groups. Let’s not face the music in public service vehicles. We have our individual choice. TAHIR ALI Hamilton, New Zealand

Alien species

NATURE does not sit around and wait for us to make a decision. When we leave it too late, there is an invasive species invasion. When we procrastinate and dilly dally, it can be way to late, to protect our biodiversity. The existence of invasive alien species, is a true reflection, of our vakamalua habits. Nature will just carry on regardless and it’s up to us to be smart, to care for and protect our environment. But the milk in the bottle, has already spilt, the horse in the stable, has already bolted. Sa rui levu ga, na vakamalua. EDWARD BLAKELOCK ADMIRAL CIRCLE, PACIFIC HARBOUR

Invasive species

ON a very recent visit to Soa, Matuku and Tova in Ra, I was alarmed to see the huge explosion of the invasive pest species — African tulip trees. I have on numerous occasions expressed my serious concerns pre and post COVID-19. It is extremely concerning that no one in authority seems to be taking the initiative to address this problem. It will be only a matter of time before our native flora, fauna and indigenous species of trees will be over-run to extinction. It will happen if Fiji continues with this “don’t care and lackadaisical attitude”. Do not ever say, I did not caution our forest authorities. I propose some caring provincial council, possibly Ra, take this initiative, form a pilot co-operative of sorts, with a youth program, under European Union or US Embassy oversight, to begin wiping out this invasive species. It must go as soon as possible. It is evidently clear the Conservator of Forests takes no interest. Can such destruction fall under the ambit of Biosecurity Authority of Fiji? Some extremely urgent solutions must be found and immediately implemented. Meanwhile, some caring university might want to undertake a sponsored research and prove me wrong. I repeat my personal observations, totally free of charge, out of serious concern to protect our forests. The African tulip on Viti Levu need to be destroyed promptly. Does anyone care at all? RONNIE CHANG Martintar, Nadi

Visas and diplomacy

IT was so refreshing to read that PNG has now agreed to allow Fijian citizens visa on arrival. This also demonstrates the true meaning of Pacific family and partnership, which is often trumpeted ad nauseum by many of our wealthier development partners without translating these into meaningful actions. And it shows how two Pacific countries embrace trust and genuine relationship. In contrast can I refer to the visa processes and requirements for Fijian citizens to go to EU countries, UK, USA etc. Recently the French and EU ambassador talked gleefully about Fiji’s leadership in climate change matters, but failed to address visa issues faced when trying to get to these destinations, mainly for attending relevant meetings in Germany, Geneva, Paris etc where many UN meetings are hosted. For many NGOs, civil society, indigenous groups etc this ritual is the most frustrating part of their proposed participation. The issue has been raised in this column on a number of occasions, but failed to elicit any response from these ambassadors. Not too far back the French Embassy used to facilitate these visa, but now one has to go through Wellington or Canberra. Moreover, it is now completely commercialised where these tasks are contracted to third parties which not only charge a premium, but the bureaucracy is so annoying and time consuming. It is even more intriguing when one knows that many of the other small Pacific Island countries enjoy more civilised arrangements, such as visa on arrival, to these countries. Fiji seems to be the on the top of the list in terms of visa requirements to enter some of these countries. We seem to have negotiated such arrangements with countries like Argentina and Brazil. Why not places where many of our citizens travel to for meetings, study, sports and visiting families? I sincerely hope that Government will take this up as a matter of priority as part of its wider international diplomacy. ALTAUF CHAND Minto, NSW


MY deep concern regarding the recent incident in Lautoka where a man allegedly stabbed his partner and set fire to their home. Such violent and abusive behaviour has no place in our society and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. E cava tiko mada? It is unacceptable that anyone should resort to violence or destructive behaviour to assert their power or control over others, particularly in a relationship. We must also hold perpetrators of domestic violence accountable for their actions. Those who commit acts of violence must be brought to justice and face the full consequences of their actions. AVENAI SERUTABUA Nabukelevu Village, Serua

Blame game

IT’S high time Fijian Drua fans stop blaming the match officials for their loss. They lost to a better team. Period. Kemudou! WISE MUAVONO Lautoka

7s performance

SAD to hear that Ben Gollins and his management team have chosen to go silent on the team’s progress and development. Hope it improves the team’s performance. DAN URAI Lautoka


THANK you Julie Sutherland for your enlightening letter on seaweeds in The Sunday Times (21/5). I had no idea that seaweed from salt water could be so beneficial to our plants and soil. Now I know, thanks to you. VIJAY P. MADHAVAN Borron Rd, Suva

Fresh legs

IT is crystal clear that fresh legs makes the difference. Both the teams — Fijian drua and Fijiana — did not use enough fresh legs going into the last quarter. The opponents made so many changes. What’s the sense of havìng your bench if not used, or is the bench not good enough. Last but not least, when you reach the opponent’s 22 metres, please have patience. There are some 30 bodies and 60 pairs of legs within that 22 and tryline. SHARIFF SHAH Savusavu


POWER was switched off by Energy Fiji Ltd for some parts of Suva to carry out maintenance work from 5am to 6pm on Sunday, May 21. Could the management of EFL consider the inconvenience caused to the people and rethink the timing of these shutdowns? One to two hours would be palatable, but 13 hours is just unacceptable at this day and age. What about doing these at night from 10pm to 5am or some time like that? EMOSI BALEI Suva

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