Letters to the Editor – October 26

Prince Harry unveils the statue of former British SAS soldier, the late Talaiasi Labalaba at the Nadi International Airport yesterday. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

Fijian sacrifice
THE last duty of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex before they left Fiji yesterday, was to unveil the statue of one of Fiji’s greatest warriors who hailed from Nawaka, Nadi and was a member of Britain’s elite, Special Air Services military unit at the time of his passing. At the unveiling of Sergeant Talaiasi Labalaba’s statue outside Fiji’s Nadi International Airport, his brother in arms on the day of his passing, Sekonaia Takavesi was present with his son Isaia Dere. Also present were his old Fijian comrades from this elite military unit, as well as other members of the various military units of the United Kingdom. Sgt Labalaba paid the ultimate sacrifice for his Queen and country in 1972, was not lost on his brothers in arms as they stood at attention in front his statue on a beautiful sunny Thursday afternoon. They all understood the discipline Sgt Labalaba revealed that day — his honesty to be forthright and courageous, to protect fellow brothers’ right to live, to defend people’s free speech and to safeguard the basic human rights of every free living people in Oman then, in Great Britain and especially in his homeland, Fiji. There are only a few of our leaders in Fiji, who we can say they have these traits which Sgt Labalaba represented every day of his life until his death. As we look forward to the coming Fijian election on November 14, 2018, we pay homage to Sgt Labalaba who had bonded Fiji to Great Britain and who, through his sacrifice, has lived Fiji’s motto on our Coat of Arms always. May God bless Sgt Labalaba’s family and Fiji! Epeli Rabua Ragg Ave, Tamavua, Suva

Pet food
I went to buy pet food at a supermarket in Lautoka. There was none. I spotted an elderly man and two children (presumably his grandchildren). They had one packet of noodles, one onion and “30 cents of meat dust!” Looking at the trios’ dressing, I doubt very much they were buying meat dust to feed a dog or cat. Upon asking the guy cutting meat, he said many people were buying meat dust in small packages (presumably to eat!). One kilo meat dust costs $1 to $2. I am told it has been going on for a very long time. Sadly the freebies are long gone. Allen Lockington Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Attachment to royalty
The response from Fijians is indicative of the majority’s attachment to the British monarchy despite efforts to remove links. Dan Urai Lautoka

TV news
One of Fiji’s TV companies announced during their news segment (24/10) that a paramount chief in one of the country’s biggest province had declared his allegiance to the ruling party even though his paramount chief is a senior member of another political party. Could somebody from this company explain what is so newsworthy about this that it warranted the attention it was given? Is it being suggested that a conflict is expected because they are related but represent opposing parties? I feel that the two paramount chiefs are merely exercising their political rights and it does not need to be highlighted in such a way that people’s perception could be challenged. I believe journalists must display responsibility and sensitivity in their work, especially at this time when the general election is just round the corner. Emosi Balei Suva

Beautiful market
AS a frequent visitor to the Suva market, on 24/10, I asked a council worker who was part of decorating an entrance of the market, dua na ka e caka? O Meghan ena gole mai. Took a few pictures of the beautified and sparkling clean section of the market and sent it to my friends and I wrote “We hope that after the return of the royal couple, the SCC will maintain the state of the market for the royal society who are also paying their taxes.” This also goes to all the members of society and government departments to take pride and pleasure in submitting to the upkeep and beautification of our Viti. AREKI DAWAI Suva

Market funds
The head of Suva City Council was explaining on the news how they used about $40,000 to renovate the Suva Market in preparation for our royal visitors. Why does it have to take a royal visit or arrival of some other overseas dignitaries to warrant the beautification of our facilities? Don’t the people of Fiji deserve smart and appealing infrastructures? Emosi Balei Suva

Backbones, not wishbones
Our government must teach people to have backbones, not wishbones. Cut out the free stuff, make the people own what they have. Make them tough, not weaklings with hands forever sticking out like beggars. Then only we will build a better Fiji. Yes, resilient people who can stand on their own, who will rebuild their homes after natural disasters; people who will dispose of rubbish in the right way. Not people who wait for aid and handouts. Remember, teach our people to have backbones not wishbones. Allen Lockington Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Electoral system
Soon off we go to elect members of parliament, a body of people that rarely meet. Apart from appointed ministers (and let’s hope ministries are no longer hogged by a selected few), shadow ministers, and the odd committee members, what do the rest of the members (backbenchers) actually do apart from making up the numbers? I suppose they revert to their previous occupations when not “sitting”, washing cars maybe? Now under previous electoral systems, I believe each MP represented his/her party and a constituency, the latter position being important whereby constituents could have access to their MP to raise issues important to them. Going further they could raise issues with senators or the Great Council of Chiefs. What do we have now in terms of personal access to important people, without going into huge discussion, the answer is not much. I have absolutely no problems with the present electoral system, it is straight- forward, fair and delivers a credible result. However, I feel that all MPs should be allocated an electorate to represent on a non-party basis and a totally independent body be set up to undertake the task. Certainly this is not going to be an easy task but at least there will be a benefit to the people. Allan Loosley Tavua

All about earthquakes
While they maybe subtle, I believe there has been an increase in earthquakes within the Fiji region. Never before have I felt as many tremors like I have over the past month. There is definitely pressure at the fault line of the Pacific and Australian plates and it seems like the worst is yet to come. Not only are the quakes becoming more regular but they are also getting much more shallower. The quakes up North of the Fiji group are shallow quakes with the past two occurring just the other night. At 11.29pm a 5.1 quake struck at a depth of just 10km. A minute later another quake measuring 5.0 struck around the same area at a depth of 27km. Both these quakes were just 100km north of Vanua Levu. Quakes along the Lau basin and Tongan trench have been more regular but at much deeper depths. The last quake was a 4.2 yesterday morning at a depth of 567km. The one before that was last Wednesday at 7.38pm measuring 4.6 at a depth of 537km. The plates are jamming into each other hence the quakes but the current frequency is not only concerning but a warning to each and every one of us to be on alert and have a plan in case a catastrophe happens. If the quakes to the North were stronger it would have created a devastating tsunami. As the saying goes, “time and tide wait for no man” so be prepared! Simon Hazelman Savusavu

Leaders, ballot papers
I believe ballot papers do not define leaders. Leadership is defined by conviction, vision, passion and inspiration. Wise Muavono Balawa, Lautoka

Memorable royal trip
Prince Harry and Meghan left our shores but their visit brought Fiji to a halt. Fijians lined up corridors to get a glimpse of the royal couple while the fortunate ones were able to meet them face-to-face. The royal trip brought a new excitement as people united to showcase Fijian hospitality and bula smiles while social media was abuzz with photos and videos. Common Fijians braved the rain to be part of the historic trip. As I glanced through The Fiji Times, I read the stories that have been published about Prince Harry and Meghan’s trip. The trip has also strengthened our ties and relationship with Great Britain lest we forget that it was in 2016 that we beat Great Britain to bring home the Olympics gold medal. By the way, the British flag looked beautiful alongside the “noble banner blue”. God Bless Fiji! Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam Nadawa, Nasinu

Fiji’s prince and princess
The young royals have just left our shores and we are already missing them. With all due respect to other royals who have visited our isles, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have surely attracted our attention and admiration. In character and humility they suit and connect well with the people we are. Indeed Fiji’s prince and princess! Good luck and bon voyage! Simon Hazelman Savusavu

Our lingo
Well, the Duke and Duchess have finally departed our shores. Over the past three days, during their visit, the two most frequently used local lingos were, isa, oi lei and totoka. Hang on! At least, we have our very own “Duke-ches” of Kava Place to be content with. O sobo. Anthony Sahai Suva

Life after 55
Early yesterday while coming back from my usual morning walk I saw a former police officer standing beside the road. This officer was a well-known person who helped many people. I was shocked to see him wearing a security guard’s uniform. Life after 55 sometimes is not all rosy. Most people pay off their houses from FNPF retirement funds. The military got the ex-servicemen’s association and I hope the Fiji Police Force can do the same. What concerns me are healthy people retiring at 55 years of age then they have to think about the next meal for them and their family. Narayan Reddy Lautoka

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