Letters to the Editor – Thursday, July 29, 2021

Fiji’s Sireli Maqala is pursued by Britain’s Ethan Waddleton in their men’s rugby 7s match at the 2020 Summer Olympics. Picture: AP Shuji Kajiyama

Defensive strategy

I believe the defensive strategy implemented by Baber is great and working well.

The players have adapted well to this structure as they have been spot on with their tackling.

Most interestingly, the players have been tackling within the rules of the game and maintaining their discipline.

That’s the way to go, if attack wins games then defence wins tournaments.

With our demolition man Tuivuaka, who has been coming up with copybook tackles and astonishingly hard hits which leave the opposition players in their wake.

If we are renowned in the world for our offloading game, then our newfound strength of structure defensive strategy is not very far.

Pranil Ram, Votualevu, Nadi

Arch rivals clash

Arch rivals, Fiji and the All Blacks, go head to head in a bid to claim the prestigious Tokyo Olympic Games gold medal.

NZ had an easy passage into the final but Fiji had a resilient and blistering Pumas outfit to handle.

Fiji and Argentina have produced some mouth-watering and delicious results in the past.

In 2000, Argentina beat Fiji in the Paris 7s quarters to deny the Peni Veidreyaki-coached Fijian side our inaugural IRB 7s series overall title.

However, in 2005, Fiji struggled to beat Argentina 22-14 in the RWC 7s quarter.

In the last HSBC WRSS, Argentina had knocked Fiji out from pool play in Dubai and in Hamilton.

In Dubai, Fiji lost 24-21, and in Hamilton, in front of passionate and ardent Fijians, Argentina hammered Fiji 26-10.

The last time Fiji met Argentina was in the USA and our boys smashed the Pumas 38-14.

The Fijians were in rampaging form, putting big hits, as Aminiasi Tuimaba floored Gaston Revol.

Argentina made the semis at the expense of South Africa, one of the tournament favourites, and they played with baptism of fire, pride and passion, coming from 12-0 down to sneak ahead 14-12.

Fiji clawed their way back into the game with two scintillating tries and faced the All Blacks in the historic back-to-back final of the Olympic Games.

I must, at the outset, thank and congratulate Gareth Baber and the boys for reaching the final!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Rude interjections

Parliamentary sessions are underway this week which are available live for the public to tune in and follow the nation’s business.

I understand that politics is not clean clothes from the laundry but there is something which I find to be quite shameful.

It is the rude interjections.

Now these are coming from national leaders.

I thought that I had heard it all until this rattled the ceiling, “And now you sleeping with (a former PM mentioned)”.

I do not know if this constitutes as an unparliamentary utterance but it will surely not solve the nation’s immediate and long-term problems.

Students are at home now.

They must be watching as well.

At least, do not insult your own intelligence in public.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

Gravel tarsealed roads

Can the FRA please gravel the tarsealed roads around Naqere housing?

It’s terrible and beyond repair.

Can the LTA please advise the FRA to do so on any road as such because no one can practise safe driving on unsafe roads, not even the LTA itself.

Sharif Shah, Savusavu

Vaccine refusal

Fiji is at a crossroads in the pandemic.

The number of infections has ticked up — slowly at first, then swiftly — to over a 1000 cases per day, on average, more than four times the rate a month ago.

We are seeing overflowing hospitals, exhausted healthcare workers and many needless deaths.

The more contagious Delta variant may be getting the blame but fuelling its rise is an older, more familiar foe: vaccine hesitancy and refusal.

Were a wider swath of the population vaccinated, there would be no resurgence — of the Delta variant, alpha variant or any other version of the coronavirus.

While mild breakthrough infections may be more common than once thought, the vaccines effectively prevent severe illness and death.

Yet quite a large number of the population remains unvaccinated and unprotected.

Some adults have not received even a single dose and are unwilling to get it.

Public health experts have fruitlessly warned for months that the virus — any version of it — would resurge if the country did not vaccinate enough of the population quickly enough.

True, the speed and ferocity with which the Delta variant is tearing through Asia, Europe, Africa and now North America has taken many experts by surprise.

It now accounts for about 83 per cent of the infections in the United States.

But Delta is by no means the wickedest variant out there.

Gamma and Lambda are waiting in the wings and who knows what frightful versions are already flourishing undetected in the far corners of the world, perhaps even here in Fiji.

Every infected person, anywhere in the world, offers the coronavirus another opportunity to morph into a new variant.

The more infections there are globally, the more likely new variants will arise.

We will be vulnerable to every one of them until we can immunise everyone who now refuse to get the vaccine, are still persuadable but hesitant or have not yet gained access.

The unvaccinated will set the country on fire over and over again.

And they will not be the only ones who are affected.

Vaccinated people will be protected from severe illness and death but there may be other consequences.

If the numbers continue to soar, workplaces may need to close again.

And some vaccinated people will become infected.

Breakthrough infections were expected to be rare with the original virus but recent data suggest they may be less so with the Delta variant.

It is roughly twice as contagious as the original coronavirus and some early evidence hints that people infected with the variant carry the virus in much higher amounts.

Most breakthrough infections producefew to no symptoms but some may prompt illness in vaccinated people serious enough to lay them up in bed, miss work and put their children or older relatives at risk.

Of the adults who are unvaccinated, some say they are completely unwilling.

But even within that group, some say they would comply, if required to do so.

Some are hesitant and may come around with the right persuasion from people they trust, while still others plan to be inoculated but say they have just not had the chance.

All our leaders and many more will need to repeat vaccine affirmations often enough to persuade people to overcome their hesitation.

The Delta variant is thriving amid Fijian discord.

The vaccines are the remedy, not just for the variant but all those yet to come.

Arvind Mani, Nadi

Get vaccinated

I urge all my Lautoka fellas to get vaccinated for the sake of your family and citizens.

I already had my first jab, just waiting for my second jab.

But I still maintain COVID-19 protocols by wearing a mask, sanitising and keep physical distance because I have a young family to protect.

Be a responsible citizen and get vaccinated.

Navneet Ram (TD), Lautoka

Sanitary pads

Thank you FijiFirst for thinking of our daughters in secondary school.

Just a question though.

How will you deal with preference?

Edward Kumar, Lautoka

US election style

I have written this so many times before.

I am recollecting myself to write this again… four years minimum …max eight years.

Out all of you go please.

Enough is enough.

Very sick and tired with all the same faces day in and day out.

Either you are doing a good job or bad.

Immaterial.

Please excuse yourself for some one fresh.

Sharif Shah, Savusavu

Post 2006 Fiji

I am surprised to learn from Nishant Singh’s letter (FT 28/7) that “post 2006 Fiji” is a country that “has evolved into an authoritarian and an oppressive one”.

I thought the publicly proclaimed objective of the 2006 coup was to bring about “true democracy” for the first time in the country’s history.

But Nishant Singh is far better positioned to tell us about the ground realities in contemporary Fiji.

He still lives there.

Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia

Working together

Will we ever see a Parliament where Opposition and Government loved each other and worked together?

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Lautoka

Olympics medal value

I think the best 7s match I watched was the one between six Argentinian players against seven South Africans.

Anyway good luck to Fiji in the finals.

Only thing I am wondering is if all Olympic gold medals have the same value whether it is from skateboarding or boxing or sevens?

Sukha Singh, Labasa

COVID-19 assistance

Citizens who don’t have fancy phones can’t get assistance from the mobile platform.

They call Unkol for food ration.

Many of them leave in remote rural areas.

I hope the authorities can help them out.

Navneet Ram (TD), Lautoka

Recommended incentive

Should Fiji be successful in claiming 2020 Tokyo Olympics 7s rugby gold medal, on Wednesday, July 28, 2021, I appeal to the FijiFirst Government to set an absolute minimum of $100,000 for each player, official and head coach.

Furthermore, head coach Baber should get an added bonus of another $100,000.

Our forever “younger” captain and evergreen exemplary captain Jerry Tuwai, is to get an added bonus of $150,000 minimum.

This recommended incentive is the bare minimum reward Fiji owes to our gallant Flying Fijians.

They deserve no less, in my view.

Sports unite.

Politics and COVID remain so continuously divisive; and deadly. (Should Olympics silver or bronze, be ours, please incrementally reduce the above by a half).

Respectfully, I remain your caring retired kai Nadi.

Ronnie Chang, Martintar, Nadi

Respectful woman MP

There are ways and means of being heard as the Opposition at any time.

I want to applaud and thank MP Lenora Qereqeretabua, (The Fiji Times pg2-3, on 28/07/21) for being solid ground, with a strong steady voice, calm and resonant in a crisis.

Among the noise and clamour, she stands out because she is an iTaukei woman; and because of her virtue: her character and fortitude amongst other lesser ways of being heard.

She does not stoop to needless “show pony” TikTok acts that are immature and lack credibility.

Fit for adolescents only; not for serious adult consumption.

Instead, Lenora Qereqeretabua consistently stands firm and strong; she declares with authority the issues.

She does not attack personalities; but the issues to be sorted.

So, she represents her constituents with presence, integrity and mana.

She pinpoints areas of concern with solutions, instead of mud slinging pointlessly.

No one cares anymore about the politics.

We care about looking after Viti; and getting through the worst crisis of our history to date.

For this, we do not need attacks by politicians, defensive posturing, nor point scoring, nor division amongst all leaders right now: We need a united effort to help across Viti to overcome COVID-19 and losses.

Vinaka vaka levu, MP Lenora Qereqeretabua.

Kaukaua lewa.

A great example of steadiness in a crisis.

Jean Helan Hatch, Sawau St, Nabua, Suva

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