Letters to the Editor – May 28, 2020

Suspended Opposition leader Sitiveni Rabuka leaves the Parliament complex. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Crying over spilt milk

Amid the 60 days suspension, suspended SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka made a brave statement ­— there was no point in crying over spilt milk and that there was a need to come back united. Suspended SODELPA’s omission from Parliament means that the three members from NFP will have to be at the front of the opposition. The developments that transpired within the suspended SODELPA have indeed shaken many and calls for unity within the ranks. The different meetings held at Holiday Inn and Kshatriya Hall spoke a lot about the length of differences and I’m hopeful that good sense will prevail and both factions will come together for the sake of their supporters and those who voted for them. The fraction and suspension will not augur well with ardent suspended SODELPA supporters. Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam Nadawa, Nasinu

Agriculture vision

Without a doubt, COVID-19 has reignited interest in the agricultural sector. Hopefully, the interest does not diffuse once we are out of the current pandemic. The Minister for Agriculture has been very optimistic and what he rolled out in Parliament on Tuesday is very impressive. He has a vision of exciting times and wants to take agriculture to where it should be in the economy. At the commercial level, I think the plague in the agricultural sector is public knowledge. Idle land and non-renewal of agricultural land leases. The situation at present is giving birth to farmers but they need land for the minister’s vision to bear fruit. Mohammed Imraz Janif Natabua, Lautoka

Our leaders

Those who lead by democracy and dictatorship — they live among us. We see them, we hear them —every day. Isn’t that awesome? Doesn’t that make news colourful? Imagine how better our future will be when we turn around the mistakes made by a democracy and a dictatorship. In the end, standing united may depend on falling divided first. Big appreciation to all our leaders for the decisions they make. For the next generation will learn. Rick Eyre Labasa

Back on the horse

My heart goes out to Vera Chute and her hard working staff of Value City (Ltd), Suva. Here is a company that has developed an amazing business model with stores country-wide while doing something it is very easy to take for granted: recycling. Everything that is sold, with the exception of a couple of things such as honey and coconut oil, is recycled. It gives you a very good feeling to know you are making good use of clothing or a household item that is in good condition and you are extending its life and saving dollars, to boot; this is not to mention performing a great service to the community: providing affordable and high quality clothing and items for baby and the home at ridiculously low prices. This is not only a blessing but the management and staff have hearts of gold. A house burnt to the ground in an informal housing settlement near where I was living. Several families were living there at the time and lost everything. I approached Vera Chute (managing director) about helping with a bale of clothes for these families. She suggested they will need a bale filled with bedding, too and that was included. So thoughtful. You will not hear these people complaining or dwelling on their misfortune. I know they will rise above adversity and soon be once again serving the public and doing an amazing community service. There will be a lesson here for all of us about getting back on the proverbial horse. Julie Sutherland (Still in quarantine)

Drug raid

Under the national news column of The Fiji Times (FT 27/05), it was reported that three drug raids were conducted by the Fiji Police Force in the Northern Division and that Rava settlement was the third raided for drugs. I stand to correct The Fiji Times and Fiji Police Force for reporting incorrectly because as far as I know, no drug raids nor any drugs were found here on our family estate. Please get your facts right before going public. This is not the first time such an error was made with a similar report last year stating the same but the incident happened next door on a neighbouring property having its own name. The issue here is that because we have the largest property in the area, that all smaller properties around us are being referred to as being part of our property. Rava is a family estate belonging to the Hazelman family so unless you are specifically referring to our estate, please get your areas of reference correct when reporting! We’re beginning to feel like drug lords here! SIMON HAZELMAN, Rava Estate, Savusavu

Savusavu market

I refer to Simon Hazelman’s letter (FT 16/05) regarding Savusavu market. This project has been drawn out and delayed on account of the fact that among other things, the original plan did not fit in with the long-term vision and development plans for Savusavu Town as a whole. Let me reassure Mr Hazelman that current council administration is ensuring that all the “i”s are dotted and “t”s are crossed in the right places before we continue with its construction. Savusavu vendors and the residents and visitors to Savusavu will get their new market which I know will be worth waiting for. I would encourage all those residing in Savusavu to be involved in the community consultation opportunities that are ongoing regarding all aspects of Savusavu Town. Dimity Fifer Permanent Secretary Local Government

The impact

I believe the ongoing globally observed lockdown and travel restrictions are the main causes of putting millions of workers out of jobs. I think many companies are sending their workers home simply because they are out of business. For them they no longer have any income coming in to enable them to sustain the workers. This is not only happening in Fiji but everywhere in the world and it will continue until the deadly coronavirus is gone from the face of this planet. Here the key issue is the affordability to pay the workers. Now I believe it is also not fair for those companies who can keep their workers on any mutually agreed reduced pay/hours to send them home. I know all cases are not the same. Redundancy is one thing, termination is another. Sooner or later we all may be in the same boat. Such is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. But, let’s not be dishonest and unfair. Thank you. Suresh Chand Nadi

Old Capital

Interesting yet a bit saddened to read The Fiji Times power-packed Back in Time or blast in the past on the “ghost town” and Viti’s first and iconic capital Levuka Town. The 1959 stories of unemployment and lack of copra production etc., meant Levuka slowly lost its Midas touch. Even today Levuka is only synonymous to PAFCO fishing and with hardly any economic activity continues to remain isolated and alone. The heritage buildings still standing strong and the beautiful people still passionately working, living and breathing. Once everything is back to normal in the near future, let’s pray we should seriously revive the tourism and fishing/copra business in Levuka and create more attraction. The ferry links to the island is strong as ever and the old boat building which was once a backbone must be revived with injection and support by stakeholders. It is Fiji’s first town and capital and we cannot just isolate its beauty. The adage old is gold, Levuka continues to remain neglected and we can do our bid to make it bounce back. I am sure the generations of Robin Powell, J Maneklal and evergreen J A Sword will rejoice in happiness to see a big boost in the town, joka Levuka the way the world should see. Toso Viti, start the veilomani and talanoa and not the tanoa. Together we can give something back to the old is gold capital. Joka kece. Shalwyn Prasad Mukta Ben Place, Nabua, Suva

Barter system

Sorry cousin John Brown, you can’t barter what is not yours, eh Nigs and nephew Noji?Allen Lockington Kava Place, Lautoka

Vital roles

I believe the father is the head of a family and the wife and the rest of the extended family members would now and again advise and remind him about his role and other vital issues. I believe when protocols like this are not followed, differences would often arise and often would end up in a divided family. No one would want anything to do with a family full of conflict and personal differences like this. I mean it, no one! Joeli Naleca Natabua, Lautoka

Travel allowance

I wonder if all the parliamentarians could give one day of their sitting and travelling allowance to help the people who can’t earn that much in a fortnight. Sukha Singh Labasa

Job loss

It’s sad to see many Fijians have lost their jobs but everyone’s praying somehow to recover. I wish if my wish is granted for below, all civil servants to have 30 per cent pay cut, as no matter what, but they are paid and all government politicians to have 50 per cent pay cut to feed the public and reduce the price of local produce. Only if I was a PM of this nation then this could happen. Maybe one day or if I was a billionaire. Jaheed Buksh Korolevu, Sigatoka

Rates issue

Whether it’s today or tomorrow, before any thought of increases in rates arise, every single cent of outstanding dues should be recovered. For far too long, rate defaulters have enjoyed services paid by others. Mohammed Imraz Janif Natabua, Lautoka


Recently LTA has introduced e-Service for all vehicle owners and drivers. This is a very good move in this modern age when everything is moving towards the digital world and cash-less society. But do you think our country is ready for that? May be not. All our people do not have smart phones or computers so that they can have an email but most of them have mobile phones. Why not start off with text to the mobile and when the time is right then we can take the next step? Food for thought. Nardeo Mishra Suva


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