Letters to the Editor: Saturday March 21, 2020

Picture: ROHIT DEO

Copy of the Times

I was rather surprised when I went to buy The Fiji Times today (yesterday) I was told the paper didn’t come through but the other paper was on sale.

I didn’t buy the other paper.

I wondered why The Fiji Times did not come through so I called a reliable source.

I was told that The Fiji Times did indeed come through only to be stopped at the Sabeto roadblock.

The reason was The Fiji Times is not an essential service.

Oh my goodness and the other paper is? Oh how ghastly.

ALLEN LOCKINGTON Kava Place, Lautoka.


Handouts issue

While COVID-19 is wreaking havoc and having devastating impacts on health and lifestyle the world over, governments all around are also grappling with efforts to contain the flow of economic activities in ensuring necessary measures are in place to deal with the adverse impacts which are now patent.

In doing so, the New Zealand government has announced an impressive support package of $12b and almost half of this addresses current and prospective joblessness and losses.

In an effort to stimulate consumer spending, the US is seriously mulling $1000 cash payment to Americans.

Jobs in Fiji have been seriously affected, with numerous workers, especially in the hospitality sector, employed on heavily reduced hours and some even sent on unpaid leave.

What’s more galling is that the poor and low-income earners are often first in the line to face the axe, who usually live paycheck to paycheck.

To date, no relief announcement has been made, or even hinted by our Government.

While a supplementary budget is confirmed to be coming out within a few days time, I duly hope that some effective relief plans are in the pipeline to directly supplement living expenses, as no doubt the Fijian public are not in a position to endure the hardship being inflicted, which may even get worse in the immediate future. Businesses also need incentives to continue operating and employing, but perhaps helping people directly is what the need of the hour is in this situation. In essence, this is the real time for handouts.

Bimal Prasad Newtown Rd, Wailoaloa, Nadi


Recording temperature

My neighbour’s son was sick so I went and checked on him. He was burning-up and clearly had a high temperature.

I went and brought her my thermometer so she was able to take his temperature regularly and monitor his condition from home.

I was very surprised to discover that she had no idea how to use a thermometer or what a higher than normal temperature meant in degree terms.

It occurred to me that if every family had a thermometer and understood its use then symptoms of COVID-19 may be detected at an early stage before attending a fever clinic. Having said this, an elevated temperature or fever isn’t always a conclusive sign of the presence of the virus as there have been cases where there are other symptoms but no fever. On the whole, however, and at such locations as at passenger arrival areas of international airports, thermal testing is chosen as one simple and effective means of early detection of viruses such as CORVID -19. Julie Sutherland Tamavua, Suva.


Freedom of speech

I refer to “Fiji’s stand on freedom of speech” (Wed 18/3) where it was stated that Fiji lauded the “strong constitutional provisions on freedom of speech, expression and publication”.

A number of European countries including Germany and France had recommended that particular pieces of legislation be repealed; Public Order (Amended) Act, Media Decree, Crimes Act, etc.

They did not invite to be lectured on our constitution. They could see the effect of the Acts they recommended to be repealed.

The question that needs to be asked: why is the Government dragging its feet on this issue if this brings us in line with international standards?

Pushing back against the UN final periodic review report in December, 2019, I believe the Government is giving the UN one mighty big finger.

The UN has correctly identified the Sword of Damocles held over Fijians who disagree with this FijiFirst Government.

It remains to be seen whether the UN does have the bite to their bark. I believe spin and obfuscation are the specialty of this FijiFirst Government but they cannot possibly keep on fooling all of the people(and the UN), all of the time.

“One day Mafatu” will wake up(if he has not already) and realise,all is not well in paradise. Hopefully before 2022.

MAREKO VULI Wainibuku Road, Nakasi.


National carrier

Yesterday’s The Fiji Times reported that Fiji’s national carrier Fiji Airways regretted the situation where one of its flight attendants contracted COVID-19.

The flight attendant, who had travelled via Fiji Airways to the United States and New Zealand, tested positive to the COVID-19 virus.

Surprisingly, the flight attendant had undergone the screening process provided by the Health Ministry at the airport. I feel for flight attendants and passengers who travelled via the same flight and I hope they will be screened thoroughly.

I hope that Fiji Airways will take immediate measures to address this situation!



Drawing closer

What a week? The announcement about the nation’s first confirmed case of coronavirus has led to many rushing to shops and markets to increase food and medical supplies, possibly before it is too late.

There are many explanations, assumptions and rumours but this is a time to restrict interactions with others. Many families will draw close to each other and to their Creator.

All in all, a time to be extra cautious and to reflect on a global pandemic.



Gloves, masks

I was at the Sabeto roadblock yesterday (20/3) and saw that the police officers didn’t have gloves and masks.

We depend on them to keep law and order.

They need to be equipped. Please issue masks, gloves and hand sanitisers.



Cane farming

Reading The Fiji Times (20/03/20) I am bewildered on how to convince a young person to begin or continue with cane farming.

What are the benefits in terms of the inputs and outputs?

How long can the assistance be sustainable?

What would be his worth in years to come as a canefarmer or if he chooses another career. Something to ponder on.



Day one

Day 1 of lockdown, I sighed and said we mix to the guy in the mirror.

NIGEL FIU Owls Perch, Lautoka


Drunk man

Driving along Vitogo Pde in Lautoka about 8pm we had to stop to avoid a drunk carrying his alcohol booty across the road from a liquor store.

Unusual? probably not, but he was going to join about 10 others boozing away on the footpath opposite the store.

Controlling the virus spread? What hopes with this sort of behaviour?



Panic buying

Here’s one solution to curb/stop panic buying.

Immediately introduce rationing.

This should make stocks last a little longer. Try it. We have nothing to lose.

RONNIE CHANG Martintar Nadi



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