Letters to the Editor – Thursday, March 16, 2023

Opposition MP, Dr. Ifereimi Waqainabete during break between sessions at the Parliament complex in Suva on Tuesday, August 30, 2022. He is the latest FijiFirst parliamentarian to have resigned from Parliament. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

FijiFirst’s house

Dr Waqainabete resigns from Parliament. At last an honourable act by the Fiji First government health minister. Is the good doctor the last Fiji First wallah to say sayonara or will there be more? At last count we note the departure of four. I am reminded here of the biblical story about a house built on a flimsy foundation (sand) which came crumbling down when hit by the first storm. Rajend Naidu Sydney, Australia


With this latest resignation from the Opposition benches, it seems that the party is staying true to the principal unwritten policy in its manifesto: “Quit if you don’t win”. Any bets on who will be the next to quit? Aren Nunnink Hooper St, Savusavu

Farewell doc

The FijiFirst party is slowly collapsing like a fallen kingdom as another one of their important MPs has resigned from Parliament. Whether Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete was a great health minister or not, depends on one’s personal take, I do know he was a brilliant person in the social context. Having met him for the first time at a wedding in Rakiraki in December, 2021, he quickly became one of my good friends. It was a memorable night filled with kava and delicious palau and chutney, to accompany the undying stories and laughter with the former minister. I am thankful for the work he did in the past four years, given the circumstance of the control and command coming from the two boso levu. All the best doctor, keep smiling and see you soon. Raynav Chand Nakasi, Nausori

One by one

There goes another one. Opposition MP and former minister for Health and Medical Services, Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete has tendered his resignation. Is he also going to “engage more effectively outside Parliament” with the former A-G and PM? Or, are they just making their parliamentary seats vacant for the “failed” FFP candidates to replace them? All the very best in your future endeavours, doc. Either way, it has become public knowledge that they are incapable of taking defeat. The heat on the other side is obviously intolerable, honourable members! It is evident that you are abandoning your sinking ship – one by one. Dinesh Kumar, Ba

Body in a car

Sad to absorb what the grief-stricken family had to endure while in the process of conveying their deceased relative to the hospital morgue (FT 15/03). I can completely comprehend their absolute frustration as I have also confronted rebellious nurses with questionable attitudes in the past. I almost back-slapped one of them at the Lautoka Hospital as she was more concerned about her grooming standards and painted finger nails while being totally oblivious to the fact that throngs of sickly individuals were waiting tolerantly to be attended to in the swarming Outpatient Department. These scenarios beg the question, if our local nursing fraternity, particularly fresh graduates are adequately skilled to manage and handle circumstances like the one mentioned above? On a different note, with another opposition member calling it quits (fijivillage.com), I believe the once dominant FijiFirst party is sinking faster than the Titanic! Nishant Singh Lautoka

Player welfare!

The plight of Napolioni Bolaca came to light via the GoFundMe page which was used to raise funds for his medical procedure. Bolaca needs close to $41k for specialised surgery in New Zealand. I hope FRU has plans in place to assist Bolaca. It’s sad that a player, who has contributed so much, is in need of public assistance. Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam Nadawa, Nasinu

Coalition govt

WE’VE elected people to the Coalition Government to be the representatives of the masses in constitutional democratic governance. We need them to govern the nation impartially where the people of different ethnicities, religion, culture etc are treated fairly and not for a government to be accommodating chiefs, elites, wealthy or for friends sake. “Do not go to those that want you, but to those that need you the most.”- John Wesley. AREKI DAWAI Suva

Nuclear treaty

I believe Fiji had in 2020, signed and ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and which subsequently came into force in 2021. This was in alignment with the nuclear use ban, Fiji had been adopting since 1970. I also believe that on the margins of this treaty, nuclear-powered vessels are banned from entering our waters and berthing in our ports. This was a stance we had adopted, since the Rarotonga Treaty was signed by our Pacific leaders, back in the day. We are now told ( FT 15 /03) that Australia is proposing to purchase, as well as construct, nuclear-powered attack submarines from early 2030s, under the AUKUS partnership agreement with US and UK, for defence and security purposes in the Pacific Ocean. Is it a sheer coincidence then, that the Australian PM will be visiting Fiji this week? Time will tell amigos! Edward Blakelock Pacific Harbour

Come out clean

First and foremost a very big thank you to The Fiji Times for being our voice since 1869. Hats off to editor-in-chief Fred Wesley and his dedicated team for the “Who let the guns in” article (FT14/3) . Suddenly Fiji Airways has broken a five weeks silence on allegations that bodyguards for former Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum were allowed to carry guns on Fiji Link domestic flights. Fiji Airways CEO Andre Viljoen’s defence on the allegations is indeed a very pathetic attempt to gloss over a very serious public concern. The reality is that the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji (CAAF) issued no approvals for firearms to be carried for the purposes of Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s travel. An urgent investigation must be carried out immediately, and the biggest former talker and minister of so many portfolios in Parliament should come out clean as he was also the Minister for Civil Aviation from 2014-2022. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum, you belittled our honourable leader of NFP, Professor Biman Prasad, on so many occasions in Parliament, but he remained cool, calm and collected to become the Minister of Finance and pave a way to lessen the debt burden of almost $10billion incurred by your 16 years of dictatorial rule. Definitely, what goes around comes around so do respond accordingly. Power to the people and the people’s paper. Raymond Singh Golf Links, Lautoka

Absolute power

The front-page headline in The Fiji Times of Tuesday, March 14 2023, “Who let the guns in” is matter of great concern to all and an issue of national interest. The law of the land applies to all and it must be strictly adhered to by all. No one is a more superior being than the other in our so-called paradise Fiji. This only happens in a nation if absolute power is held for long and by certain people. This is absolutely unfair to the citizens of Fiji. The people’s concerns must be raised and there is an urgent need to address the issue appropriately and accordingly. Our local airline, Fiji Airways, is answerable. The top executives are recruited in order to operate the airline in accordance with compliances and standards. This is one reason why they are there, recruited on their capacity, knowledge and qualifications. It is high time for Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji (CAAF) to stand up firmly and place some stringent measures to combat such occurrences in future. Indar Deo Bisun Suva

Hold power to account

We see from the public reaction to the news that former A-G and “Minister for Everything” Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum (including Minister for Civil Aviation) got his bodyguards to carry guns on domestic flights without the approval of the relevant authority that the public view it as a matter of serious public concern (FT 15/3 ). What is particularly striking is the call for the police to investigate the matter. It shows now with the change in government that the Fijian public have the confidence to hold power to account. If there was a violation of the law or abuse of office those responsible must face justice. That is as should be in a true democracy. Rajend Naidu Sydney, Australia

Goal kicking duty

MOST respectfully, with utmost tact and diplomacy, I pray our Fijian Drua preferred goal kicker pays greater detail and consistency to his goal kicking duties this Sunday afternoon against the Queensland Reds. Vosoti au saka. It was a real commentator’s curse watching that missed penalty from right up in front in that richly-famous historic defeat of the Crusaders in Churchill Park, Lautoka, in about the very first 3 minutes of play. It was heart-sinking. Voleka na heart attack. Drua were also unsuccessful in converting 3 out of 4 tries scored — equalling the Crusaders. While all rugby-crazy Fijians, both here and abroad, embrace this historic win, I pray we improve our goal-kicking skills when we take on the Reds in their home turf, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, this coming Sunday afternoon at 5pm. Any two point differential could effectively spell defeat. We pray and wish Fijian Drua play good, clean, consistent, hardrunning rugby with sustained and explosive energies, where needed most. Toso Fiji Drua toso! Vina du va levu na leda saravou, na Drua. Waqe vina. Waqe kaikai. Waqe savasava. Me lemutou leqwa na qaqa. Na kwai Nadi ko. RONNIE CHANG MARTINTAR, NADI

After 16 years

AFTER hearing the recent press interview of the PM saying after taking over of the Coalition Government “that it will be unnatural for the government to expect allegiance from the whole administration” unquote! I wouldn’t blame the whole civil service machinery because I believe they have been working under fear for the past 16 years and it has crept into their minds and will take some time to return to normality including the recent case of police in trying to revoke the FWCC led march of “Reclaim the Night”. I would suggest full counselling sessions for all civil servants to be mandatory in order to cut some slack in the world of fear of the Bainimarama Administration, that they have instilled in our civil servants and some have seen it as a normal way of life. There is no harm in having these counselling sessions and I’m willing to be part of the process if ever needed. Mental health is very important. JIOJI M CAKACAKA TADRA-VOTUALEVU, NADI

Influential characters 

IT is good that we are being reminded of influential characters in our history, as in The Sunday Times (12/3) article by Shanelle Prasad on Rev Frederick Langham. However, as your correspondent Terry Hulme has pointed out (13/3), his involvement in the selling into slavery of the Lovoni people was hardly in keeping with his Christian principles. Even the official historian of the Methodist Church in Fiji agrees that he was pompous and paternalistic (Harold Wood 1978:210). A case in point is his revised Fijian translation of the Bible, published in 1902, the one that is still mostly used today. It was in most respects worse than the previous translation (of Hunt and Hazlewood and others), so much so that Dr Andrew Thornley, an expert in biblical translation, persuaded the Methodist Church to republish Hunt’s New Testament translation in 2012 as a more accurate and readable alternative. Rev Langham clearly had delusions about his knowledge of Fijian, and the motive behind it can be questioned, since he used it to solicit an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Glasgow University. PAUL GERAGHTY USP, SUVA

Fiji first

Altogether now five FijiFirst elected MPs have resigned from Parliament. E kuca? Salary ain’t enough? Wise Muavono Balawa, Lautoka

Sheep party

I think a certain political party somewhere on this planet should rename itself to Sheep Party of that particular country. Areh! Ek ke baad ek… (one by one) so much for all the levu baat (too much talk). Perhaps, BBQ time. Mohammed Imraz Janif Natabua, Lautoka

Rugby colours

For reasons of personal hygiene and embarrassment, Ireland’s women’s rugby side have just opted to wear blue undershorts from hereon instead of white. Will England’s men’s side be wearing brown ones in Dublin on Saturday for the same reason? Happy St Patrick’s Day. Christopher Griffin Perth, Australia

Arrears for USP

Who needs advice from wannabes the likes of Dr Rohitesh Chandra (FT 14/3) suggesting that the Government not pay arrears to USP? The Coalition Government has done the deal and has already made a down payment of $10m with the balance to come later. Where was he hibernating all this while? Ajai Kumar Nadi

Gun saga

The unauthorised gun saga on Fiji Link flights by the bodyguards of the former attorney-general is a clear reflection of the level of arrogance towards the Fijian people. It is mind boggling! If the allegations are true, will the Coalition Government take appropriate action so that there is no repeat of this in the future? Dewan Chand Suva

Just asking

Now that the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji is aware that there was a possible breach of regulations when firearms were carried in aircraft on commercial flights, would there be an investigation and the perpetrators taken to task? Just asking. Emosi Balei Suva

White sugar

Sugar Minister Charan Jeath Singh’s idea of producing white sugar at Labasa sugar mill is not only going to benefit FSC but the country as well. When producing white sugar, castor sugar can also be extracted and maybe golden syrup could also be produced. New Zealand doesn’t grow sugarcane but they make lots of different items from imported raw sugar from Australia. Jagdish Chand Tokoroa, New Zealand


Those who use cash in public buses, what documentary evidence do they receive after paying? Mohammed Imraz Janif Natabua, Lautoka

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