Letters to the Editor – September 13

Sprinter Banuve Tabakaucoro runs the treadmill at the National Fitness Centre in Suva yesterday. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

Bau bullet is back
YOUR backpage sports coverage on the comeback trail of our “Bau bullet” Banuve Tabakaucoro is again a first for Fiji. It is indeed a welcoming sign for Athletics Fiji to welcome back the sprint king after a short stint in rugby. Athletes for the 2019 games will certainly get boosted with this news and it’s only apt we hear it through The Fiji Times. Go Banz, we look forward to another year of burning the tracks. The selection of players for the Drua will be another headache after two good wins. The battle is on. My only worry is what could become a replica of last year where after good wins at home the team was beaten badly on their first match abroad. I am sure Senirusi has a plan to counter this, otherwise all systems going for Drua. Your front page headlines “Driest month” and “lowest rainfall in 65 years” is again an example of how climate change is now truly affecting us and we all must embrace as one to fight the cause. Our Fiji, for Fiji. SHALWYN PRASAD, Nabua, Suva

Waiting in queue
DAMODAR City Centre is a nice place to visit, or it used to be. Since the introduction of the car parking charges, I believe it has become a place to be avoided, especially at peak times. Yesterday, I spent 10 minutes concluding my business there and returned to my car. It then took me exactly 20 minutes to leave the car park — I timed it. A combination of every ticket having to be checked and then those who have been there over an hour having to pay, people reversing trying to join the exit queue and those who had successfully passed the exit barrier having to wait for a break in the traffic on Grantham Rd, all contributed to the queue stretching back to the entrance blocking people trying to get in! I wonder how many 1000s of litres of fuel are wasted each week by vehicle engines at idle while waiting to go through the exit area. Not good for the environment. I can’t believe the owners actually need the parking fees and it would be interesting to know the percentage of visitors who stay over an hour and have to pay a fee. I will not be shopping there again. Not because I object to the fee but because I have better things to do than waste 20 minutes of my life trying to get out. STEVE ILLINGWORTH, Tamavua

Our police stations
THERE are several purposes for which people go to the police station. It may be to lodge a complaint, seek assistance and support, death notice, police clearance and many more. Does this mean all those visiting police stations are criminals? I believe they are made to look like such persons through the existence of such an environment at our police stations. I believe there is a need to change this criminal-like environment at our police stations. In fact the whole setup needs a change to encompass professionalism and confidentiality at our police stations. It does not require an Einstein to make such changes but any person with common sense can do it. I believe it is time now to get some civilians to organise our police stations with better administrative structures. Take note that it is not only the public but our hardworking police who need a professional workplace to work professionally. Getting computerised is another option that needs urgent attention. Over the years their vehicles have been modernised except their way of doing things. I salute our police officers for doing well under such circumstances. Of course there is room for much improved services with better attitude and organisational skills. DHIRENDRA PRASAD, Lautoka

$10,000 a tree
THE news that the Ministry of Forests has completed mapping more than 50,000 sandalwood plants across Vanua Levu, Viti Levu, Kadavu and Lomaiviti is indeed good news. And it’s even better that those plants are valued about $500 million. In the news article published online on September 8, the ministry’s sandalwood development department research officer, Maika Daveta, was quoted as saying we can expect an export boom in 2038 when the trees begin to mature. By then, the raw price of one tree, whatever that means, will be $10,000. Are the landowners of the sandalwood farms considering increasing what they could be getting from one tree? If they are, they still have another 20 years to make sure they are well positioned to add value to the trees when they mature. In the 20 years that they have, they can also thrash out ideas to ensure the money they earn is put to good use. SAILOSI BATIRATU Nadawa, Nasinu

Safer roads
AGAIN, in the media this week, we read of the concerns from both the police and LTA regarding road safety and drivers’ attitudes with respect to accident statistics. Here’s a couple of ideas and suggestions.The police could concentrate more on having mobile cars and bikes with dash cams and highlytrained traffic rule competent officers cruising around catching and fining those involved in illegal and dangerous driving. The LTA, who has absolute authority who gets a driving licence, asks itself, “What percentage of people pass the practical driving test on the first attempt for which they then get a licence”? I suggest this because surprisingly it appears that the LTA has never published this figure for the public to see and a too high figure would suggest they are responsible for putting poorly taught and noncompetent drivers on the roads. GRAHAME STAGEMAN, Lami

Dry spell
I AM grateful to The Fiji Times for covering the impact of the dry spell on the western residents. Since last week our number one newspaper has been active in reporting stories on hardships faced by the residents because of the dry spell which has hit farms, livestock and water sources hard. The situation is not improving and I feel for the farmers and schoolchildren who have to endure so much suffering. On the other hand, a big vinaka vakalevu to those helping hands who have been carting water to the affected areas. It is high time people in the Central Division value the use of water because we are so lucky to be blessed with drinking water and enough rain for plants and livestock. Perhaps a nationwide campaign could be launched to assist those who are facing water problems in the West since the water crisis needs to be addressed immediately. While we are elaborating on the water crisis, it is also imperative that serious attention be diverted to the problem of hard drugs in Fiji. Definitely, Qiliho and our police department need every individual’s assistance on this matter. RAJNESH ISHWAR LINGAM, Nadawa, Nasinu

Drug abusers
I AM glad that the United States Drug Enforcement Agency workshop on Clandestine Labs that was held in Suva has surfaced some raw data such as that of patients who were admitted at St Giles Psychiatric Hospital between May 2017 and April 2018. The data revealed about 100 of the 500 patients admitted during the period mentioned were linked to substance abuse, which is a serious case to consider especially in providing proper facilities for people affected by drugs. The establishment of the hospital in the first place was to care for mental health patients who were mostly psychologically affected by stress, emotions, or other associated psychological sickness, however, in the past years I believe it has been dominated by drug abusers. At this point in time, St Giles Psychiatric Hospital has become a hospital for any type of mental health problem including substance abusers and I believe it is creating a lot of problem for medics and personnel who are working there especially dealing with drug-affected patients. In addition, I believe the hospital is like a transit point for substance abuse patients for there is no special place where they can be treated holistically to be cured from their addiction, so when they are released from the hospital, they will go back to drugs and it is only a matter of time before they will be back there again. This is an opportune time to let the Government know that there is an urgent need to build drug rehabilitation centres to cater for substances abusers only so when treated, they will be able to recover from addiction and quit drugs for good. KOSITATINO TIKOMAIBOLATAGANE Vuninokonoko Rd, Navua

Drugs story

I READ and heard in the news that about 100 of more than 500 patients at Fiji’s mental health facility were there because of substance abuse. These substance include marijuana, hard drugs, kava, cigarettes and alcohol. This was revealed by the Commissioner of Police at a drug enforcement agency workshop in Suva. He quoted from a UN World Drug Report and the story ended. The Commissioner said it. The media reported it. No questions asked. As a news consumer, I was left wondering. If the objective was to send a message that substance abuse is leading people to mental health facilities, at least be more authoritative and present data in a way that adds value to the story and the news reader/listener/viewer’s life. I believe a better, more informative story would be checking with the Fiji Corrections Service and finding out how many inmates were there because of drug-related, substance abuse issues to paint a better picture for people to be genuinely informed and empowered. Or if only about 20 per cent of the patients make up the substance abuse population at St Giles Psychiatric Hospital, then the real story is about the other 80 per cent or 400 plus people. Why are they in mental health facilities? Who are these people? Are they born mentally challenged? If not why/how do they end up there? A good story, I think, is not what is said but what was not said. I think our media can do better. KELVIN ANTHONY Namadi Heights, Suva

Cane burning

I AGREE with Allan Loosley that all harvested cane should not be burnt. However, mechanical harvesters, as a pre-requisite to harvesting, demand cane fields to be burnt or they won’t harvest. DAN URAI, Lautoka

7s coach

THERE was a FRR/World Rugby supplied picture of the next Fiji 7s coach (FT Page 1, September 11). PASIRIO KITIONE, Nadera

Backup service
GOVERNMENT needs to ensure when machinery and vehicle assistance are presented to the nation, it must also come with backup service and parts! Far too many times have we seen such machinery and vehicles last for just a short while because of this lack of support! We need long-lasting assistance not lacklustre assistance! SIMON HAZELMAN, Savusavu

Captain Sue

CONGRATULATIONS to captain Sue Balekana, Blue Lagoon’s first female captain. The picture of captain Sue (FT 12/9) has another female at the helm, do tell us about her please. ALLEN LOCKINGTON Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

99 cents
I REFER to Simon Hazelman’s letter on the 99 cents issue. Allow me to clear your doubt sir. This 99 cents may mean nothing if you buy one or two items with that kind of price but if you happen to buy ten items worth 99 cents each, then you will for surely get 10 cents as change if you happen to hand over the purple note to the beautiful cashier standing in front of you. Happy shopping on that side of our beautiful land. ASHIS KUMAR, Ba

Low rainfall
THE extreme weather maligning us is very worrying and some places a very low rainfall was recorded in the past 65 years (FT 12/9). The Bible talked of Judas crying and praying for rainfall to the Lord and to forgive them. Let’s forgive each other. AMENATAVE YACONISAU Palm Drive, Delainavesi

Fiji soccer

ONLY in Fiji soccer a coach flies to England to watch a prospecting Fijian playing in some good team and apparently flies him over to Fiji to represent our beloved nation but decides not to put him in the starting line-up. What is the coach waiting for? He’s playing in England for a reason. Or maybe rules to represent Fiji soccer is you have to play local bazaar world cup? Under the new coach, he’s yet to get positive results, I believe he should get some winning tips from local experts such as master Gurjit, Rodu, Tagi and Allen Jesoni. MOSES MANI Auckland, New Zealand

More Stories