Letters to the Editor – Saturday, July 06, 2019

Fiji Airways Flying Fijians training Sigatoka Sand Dunes yesterday. Picture: JONA KONATACI

Flying Fijians vs NZ Maoris

WITH the intensive training undertaken by our Flying Fijians team this week and the week to come, we should be looking forward to an encounter worthy of our money come game day when Fiji takes on the NZ Maoris next Saturday.

With most of our rugby superstars present, it will be hard to miss this match because this will be their first home game as a team with all the players eyeing a place in the Rugby World Cup squad.

No one wants to be left behind.

John McKee is going to great lengths in trying to get the boys together and probably for the first time, for all of them to be together before a Test match.

With the best ever technical support team put together, I believe this should be the best Flying Fijians team ever assembled.

Their last game together was when they beat France and they would want to continue the legacy that ended 2018 on a high note.

Come on and let’s cheer the boys come next Saturday.

Go Fiji, go.

Tomasi Boginiso, Nasinu


Thank you

A BIG vinaka vakalevu to the hardworking and dedicated team from a renowned company for fixing and upgrading Israel Lane Rd in Raiwaqa, Suva.

This development improvement has benefited the residents, the community at large and especially the Raiwaqa Health Centre.

Many thanks to the Government and its relevant ministries for the excellent work. Indeed, “actions speak louder than words”.

On that note, may I sincerely request the residents along Israel never to place their huge tabili (mortar and pestle) on the side of the reconditioned road to pound their waka (kava).

Please do not recreate the mini lovo pits!

Have a blessed and safe weekend.

Spencer Robinson, Suva


Soccer suspension

IS suspending a player from all level of soccer for five years for not attending the national team camp a good idea?

I believe this never happens in Fiji rugby but only in soccer.

I have seen players getting suspended by soccer clubs too.

I believe one thing the Fiji Football Association and all soccer teams affiliated to Fiji FA should understand is that nobody has the right to take anyone’s bread and butter.

I believe the soccer players were paid by soccer teams (in some cases I believe more than what Fiji FA was paying) and when Fiji FA suspended these players, the affiliated soccer teams will also stop paying those players.

I strongly feel that this needs to stop and the Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission should look into this issue seriously because to me it looks like a bread and butter issue for players.

Narayan Reddy, Lautoka


Service standard

WHEN Westpac closed its city centre two weeks ago, it should have known what to expect in terms of the service demand from its customers.

They should have made adequate provision to cater for the increased needs of the clients at the main branch.

However, my visit to the bank the other day told a different story.

There were long queues of customers waiting to be attended by the tellers.

I stood in the line for more than 80 minutes before I got served.

But I really felt sorry for the senior citizens who had to endure the long wait.

Some weeks ago I saw customers sitting on the floor as there were not enough seats.

I believe the management has a responsibility to ensure that the customers are treated with dignity and better level of service.

Selwa Nandan, Lautoka.


August march

Taking into consideration the recent assurance from honourable Parveen Kumar, if the Fiji Trades Union Congress (FTUC) receives the permit to march in August to highlight issues they strongly believe in, I think the number of people joining them will continue to increase if FTUC proceeds to have more marches thereafter.

Mohammed Imraz Jani,  Natabua, Lautoka.


Samoa, here we come

OUR first batch of athletes and team management left Fiji’s shores for Samoa to compete in the Pacific Games which starts tomorrow with the opening ceremony.

Thanks to The Fiji Times for the grand coverage, readers are abreast with our levels of preparation and things look good.

I was going through the various squads and I could see a lot of young faces who have been selected to carry our hopes in Samoa.

Furthermore, it delighted me to read that Samoa was ready to host this year’s Pacific Games and I hope that the safety and welfare of our athletes will be looked into and will be paramount.

Hundreds of Samoan primary school students welcomed delegations by performing the national anthems and traditional dances despite the intermittent rain and this added excitement to the Pacific Games.

On the other hand, while it is exciting times for our young athletes, they must be reminded about their behaviour and the eminent task ahead.

All the best Fiji for the great battle!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu.


Dead baby turtles and plastics

BABY sea turtles are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of plastic pollution, according to a new study which found about half of the recently hatched reptiles had stomachs full of plastic.

In recent years, scientists have realised that animals ranging from plankton to whales are regularly consuming plastic since about 10 million tonnes of it ends up in the sea every year.

Turtles were some of the first creatures ever observed consuming plastic, with reports of bags being found in their stomachs stretching back to the 1980s.

Despite the attention this problem has received, I believe there is still very little known about the overall effect plastic is having on ocean animals.

While some plastic can pass harmlessly through animals’ digestive systems, it can also accumulate and kill them by either blocking or tearing their guts.

There is also some evidence to suggest that plastic can leach toxic chemicals into their surroundings, though the impact this is having on animals is still largely speculative.

A new study published in the journal Nature has attempted to quantify the harm that plastics are having on the turtle population of eastern Australia.

In their research, a team examined data from nearly 1000 dead turtles to understand the role plastic played in their deaths.

They found that the youngest turtles appeared to be most susceptible to plastic pollution.

Just over half of the post-hatchling individuals had ingested plastic, and about a quarter of the slightly older juveniles were affected, compared with about 15 per cent of adults.

While the number of plastic pieces in the reptiles’ guts varied wildly from one to more than 300, the scientists were able to deduce that turtles had a 50 per cent probability of death after consuming 14 pieces.

The work emerges as another study documents the global decline of turtles and tortoises that have left more than 60 per cent of the world’s species either extinct or facing extinction.

Two centuries ago, sea turtles in the Caribbean Sea were estimated to number in the tens of millions, while more recently their numbers were estimated to be in the tens of thousands.

With their land-based relatives, these creatures play pivotal roles in shaping global ecosystems.

“We must take the time to understand turtles, their natural history, and their importance to the environment, or risk losing them to a new reality where they don’t exist,” said Mickey Agha, a researcher at University of California, Davis, who contributed to the study.

“Referred to as a shifting baseline, people born into a world without large numbers of long-lived reptiles, such as turtles, may accept that as the new norm.”

Arvind Mani, Nadi.


No probe

THE Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC), in response to Simon Hazelman’s letter in this column in FT 04/07/19, wishes to clarify that no investigation was conducted against Mr Hazelman by FICAC.

Bettymyn Makatitoga, FICAC Public Relations Officer.


Damage done

I APPRECIATE the support about my case with FICAC through this forum and on social media.

While I totally understand and agree with FICAC in combating corruption, I believe they need to be fair in their duties, especially in such a case as mine, where I was found not guilty.

I believe my case was simply one of resentment by the complainant and I would appreciate closure from FICAC as to a revelation of the identity of the complainant.

Fiji is a small place and word gets around fast and this allegation against me has definitely done damage.

Simon Hazelman, Rava Estate, Savusavu


Bu juice

IN preparing our national sevens team for the last Olympics, Ben Ryan used bu juice to quench our players’ thirst and boost their energy levels.

Will the national 15s squad preparing for the Rugby World Cup take a similar approach or are they using commercially-produced energy drinks?

Floyd Robinson Toorak, Suva


On the line

INDEED an interesting article (FT 05/07) titled “Buiniga on the line”.

Hats off to Lenora Qereqeretabua for coming on board to be part of the “Save or Shave” (SOS) campaign!

Her presence is sure to strengthen the Walk On Walk Strong (WOWS) Kids Fiji fundraising and attract donors!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam Nadawa, Nasinu


Test of time

EVERY year on July 4, the United States of America (USA) celebrates its independence day with patriotic inspiration and charismatic style.

In its 243rd year of independence, despite a few amendments, their constitution has stood the test of time.

The document was signed on September 17, 1987.

This has been a strength of a powerful nation.

It is powered by the three starting words, “We the people”.

No secrets in that.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka.


FICAC issue

TO Allen and Simon, surprising that you are surprised about the law.

I believe it started after 2006 .

Dan Urai, Lautoka.


Lautoka Dog trapping

COULD we be informed if the dog trapping exercise is working. For information’s sake, in Waiyavi they seem to have increased.

But seriously, is it working? Or was it an exercise in fertility, oops, futility.

Allen Lockington, Waiyavi, Lautoka.


Lomani vs Genia

WHEN Fiji plays Australia in the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year, I believe all eyes will be on Frank Lomani and Will Genia, two of the greatest halfbacks in their respective countries.

I believe they are both very similar in skills, ball distribution and technical play and it will be a head-on encounter.

With Lomani taking over from Genia for the vital position in the Melbourne Rebels next year, he will have to prove that his selection is worth it.

Lomani made his mark last year with Naitasiri, the Fiji Drua, Flying Fijian’s Europe tour and Barbarian team.

Go Frank, go

Tomasi Boginiso


Nasinu Player suspension

THIS is to share my thoughts on the suspension of three national football players for not turning up for the national team camp in preparation for the Pacific Games.

Lautoka’s Kolinio Sivoki was suspended for five years and fined $20,000, Ba’s Ilimotama Jese was suspended for three years and fined $10,000 while midfielder Narendra Rao was suspended for the season and fined $3000.

Putting things into perspective, we must try to understand the role Fiji FA plays in managing football in Fiji especially with regards to the development of players and development of football in general.

I believe Fiji FA spends thousands of dollars on player development from the grassroots levels with the hope of uplifting the profile of football in the country and to become competitive regionally and as well as globally.

The Pacific Games will be a good indicator for Fiji FA on the progress we have made so far in terms of soccer development and improvement and Fiji FA officials were hopeful that they would be able to field all their best available players.

There is no doubt that the three suspended players have jeopardised our team’s chances at the games and Fiji FA was right in suspending them.

The players need to understand that they were called for national duties and they should have shown more maturity and made themselves available.

From the player’s perspective, we can understand that they can have urgent personal commitments which can prevent them from joining the camp on time, however, such issues could have easily been rectified if the two parties (player and Fiji FA) had been a little bit more professional and committed in resolving the issue.

We must also understand that football players in Fiji, apart from Roy Krishna, are not professionals.

They need a lot of guidance and Fiji FA should have been more supportive in understanding them and getting them to join the camp instead of coming to a point where we have to suspend them for up to five years with a hefty fine.

The team manager should have worked closely with the players in resolving the personal issues from the beginning.

I strongly feel that players called for national duties must feel honoured and avail themselves at all times when selected.

The players must also learn to act with professionalism and should communicate with officials to share and resolve issues that they may have.

Furthermore, I strongly feel that Fiji FA was right in suspending them for failing to join the camp, however, I believe the five-year and three-year suspension is too harsh especially when they also have to pay a hefty fine.

Suspending a player for five years without the opportunity for appeal is like a life sentence and I feel Fiji FA has gone a bit too far and has to learn to properly manage its most prized possession, its players.

I feel that Fiji FA should have a proper policy on player discipline and suspension so that there can be some consistency in decision making.

Suspending a player for five years is definitely a step in the wrong direction and clearly shows the amount of work needed to get the Fiji FA house to iorder.

Shad Alfaz Ali, Nazua.


Key to Super Rugby Victory

RUGBY pundits say that grand finals aren’t won on paper, but the stats are always telling.

Tonight’s Super Rugby final will be played at Rugby League Park in Christchurch and officiated by top South African whistleman Jaco Peyper, assisted by Mike Fraser and Paul Williams.

The Crusaders are firm favourites, having only lost two games all year, and none at home.

The Crusaders and Jaguares have played each other twice and the Crusaders have come out victorious on both occasions.

In Buenos Aires last year the Crusaders thrashed the Jaguares (40-14) while at home in 2016 the Crusaders thumped the Jaguares (32-15).

The Sam Whitelock-captained “red machine” finished first with 58 points and the hosts have won the Super Rugby crown a record 9 times (1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2017 and 2018).

The Crusaders beat fellow countrymen the Highlanders (38-14) and the Hurricanes (30-26) in the quarters and semis respectively.

On the other hand, the Gonzalo Quesada-coached and Jeronimo de la Fuente-captained Jaguares finished second with 51 points and beat the Chiefs (21-16) and thrashed the ACT Brumbies (39-7) in the quarters and semis respectively.

The Argentina side has the opportunity to become the first non-foundation team to win this year’s Super Rugby championship but they’ll have to get past a spirited and well-oiled Crusaders outfit boasting “lion hearts” in Havili, Reece, Ennor, Goodhue, Bridge, Mo’unga, Hall, Read, Todd, Douglas, Whitelock, Dunshea, Franks, Taylor, Moody, Makalio, Bower, Alaalatoa, Romano, Taufua, Jordan, Drummond and Hunt although Ryan Crotty and Scott Barrett will be heavily missed.

The Jaguares will rely on the likes of Boffelli, Moroni, Orlando, Fuente, Moyano, Bonilla, Cubelli, Desio, Matera, Lavanini, Creevy and Montoya to record a historic Super Rugby title.

It’s going to be champagne of rugby.

My flag, banner and jersey are ready and Nadawa will be noisy tonight as my friends join me to cheer for the defending champions.

All the best the Crusaders for the treble and tenth title!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu.


Illegal parking

WHILE I applaud the warning by the chief executive officer of Land Transport Authority Samuel Simpson for drivers to abide by parking rules, (FT 5/7), however, I am sceptical on how that warning reflects in reality.

A few days ago I raised my concern on this column about an illegal small bus stand, near the Walu Bay roundabout as you enter the city, which I believe is one of the main contributing factors of traffic jam around the area.

I even requested the LTA to come down hard on bus drivers who are illegally parking there especially in the morning, but no action have been taken for I still see buses illegal using the space for parking.

It is no use barking out warnings when on the ground nothing concrete is happening.

Kositatino Tikomaibolatagane.


Safety Ships Management System

SO according to the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) acting chief executive officer Captain Philip Hill, this installation of the new Safety Ships Management System (SSMS) was conveyed to all shipping company operators in advance and interim certificates were issued to those shipping companies that showed suitable levels of compliance (FT 03/07).

According to George Goundar he was not aware of the new SSMS (FT 02/07).

How is it that one of the largest local shipping companies wasn’t aware of this new SSMS?

If other shipping companies have complied to this new SSMS, how come Gounder Shipping has not?

Captain Hill stated that when MSAF started awareness on the SSMS with all shipping operators last year, Goundar Shipping representatives were present.

I believe this sure confirms that Goundar Shipping dropped the ball!!

Simon Hazelman, Rava Estate, Savusavu.


Team Fiji for Samoa

AS the first lot of Team Fiji officials, athletes, sponsors and supporters have left our shores and the others leaving later, we can only wish them all the best.

Some are going to the games for exposure and others to build on their skills while there are those who are defiantly focusing on medals and there are those who only have gold in their sight.

Everyone will be glued to the TV come the opening of the Pacific Games 2019 this Sunday.

For the fans who will be there and for all the people of Fiji, our prayers and support is very much what they need at this very moment and we are with you all the way. All the best. Go Team Fiji, go.

Tomasi Boginiso.


Nasinu Teachers of the past

IT was a wonderful feeling to read the article titled “Teacher graduates reunite after 40 years (FT, 05/07/19).”

What a feeling it must have been for the personalities who reunited through FNU alumni initiative.

These teachers have contributed immensely towards nation building.

They have seen the country during those times when we may not have landed on Earth in this form.

The passion to teach in them had been immense and of course they were the stalwarts of teachers unions, then, going through all the options to ensure that teachers were prioritised with respect and dignity.

I salute these teachers for what they have done for us and only hope they could be consulted by relevant authorities to reignite the dousing flame of the education system.

I believe no amount of higher qualification will ever be able to replace the experiences and expertise of these teachers.

I wish all these teachers best of health and wealth. They are the potential think tanks for a way forward in the education journey in Fiji.

I hope FNU can capture their vast experiences and publish papers for usage in their training programs. God bless our teachers of the past.

Dhirendra Prasad, Lautoka


Domestic violence

WITHIN a month we have seen two cases of domestic violence where both the female partner died at the hands of their partners.

To make it worse, these two victims are closely related and are from the same island.

I believe confrontational approach is not the solution to domestic issues and it can only escalate to a worse scenarios if not handled with proper care.

When cases as such happen, it doesn’t only affect the family but the whole community and the country as whole.

This case reminds me of a local judge’s advice whenever he came across cases where female partners are subjected to physical abusive.

Whenever you are going through a confrontational approach beyond your control, put on your running shoes and hit a 3km on the road.

If not go and vent your anger with your garden by doing some serious farming.

What a great lesson to those of us who cannot control our anger though.

To the family of the late Salanieta Leba, may you find peace in these trying times you have been going through.

To the young beautiful soul, may you RIP.

Pita Soroaqali, Nadarivatu.


The meeting that never happened

ON Thursday morning I got a message that my good friend Arthur Philitoga had passed on.

Oh why, oh why Arthur, you were too young and we were supposed to have a mix at the Kulture Music and Beer Fest to be held in Lautoka on July 27.

Oh how my heart aches when a young friend passes on.

Arthur, you have been an inspiration to many musicians, I know you are in Heaven and the good Lord is now enjoying your music.

I pray that the peace of the Lord gives comfort to your young family.

Until that day Arthur when we meet on the other side, play that music.

I will miss you because our meeting never happened.

Allen Lockington,Waiyavi, Lautoka


FLYING Fijians, NZ Maoris showdown

THE Flying Fijians are sweating it out at the sand dunes in preparation for the much-anticipated Test against the NZ Maoris at home next week Saturday.

The Maoris have big names such as Ash and Elliot Dixon, Harris, Wright, Leawere, Douglas, Ioane, Hall, Tahuriorangi, Ruru, Black, Wainui, Stevenson and Rob Thompson and these players have made an impact in this year’s Super Rugby.

On the other hand, the Flying Fijians are on a high after belting the Les Bleus during last year’s international Test match in France.

Competition for a place in the team for the Test matches and also for the RWC 15s in Japan is intensifying and on paper we have the best squad since the “07 RWC Dream Team”, which upset Wales in pool play and came close to beating the eventual winner — South Africa.

McKee and the team management have an ominous task ahead of them.

We need a Flying Fijians squad based on performance and not on name and I’m sure the boys are aware of this.

All the best Flying Fijians!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu.


Bus card misuse

ACCORDING to a report in the FT 04/07, the Government has blamed parents for abusing subsidised student bus fare cards as the reason they have put time restrictions on its usage.

I can remember when bus fare vouchers were used, a student could only use it up to a certain stage with the rest to be forked out by the parents.

Isn’t the same policy applied to bus fare cards and if not, who is supposed to shoulder the blame? Putting restrictions on usage time, will it guarantee a stop on its abuse by parents or any other person? Well, I believe no parent in their right frame of mind will abuse student bus fare cards if they value education as the only solution to get them out of poverty cycle.

I still wonder why on Earth after how many years then the Government realised the abuse.

Or the pool has become shallower nowadays?

Pita Soroqali, Nadarivatu


Together we can make the difference

THE Catholic Church in Fiji Archbishop Peter Loy Chong stated that a family was the basic cell of society.

His words come handy as we face challenges that have gripped our society in the form of social media, drugs and peer pressure.

Just this week we read that a Year 2 student allegedly hurt another with a pencil and hit his neck with a bottle.

Shocking that this transpired in Year 2!

Just imagine the challenges that our teachers are faced with when handling such matters and children with discipline problems and yet we are quick to shift the blame on them when something goes amiss in the classroom.

Hence, the family’s role must never be undermined as family values shape and nurture the character of children.

When we were small we were taught the importance of family ties and we were taught to respect our elders but sadly, I believe today family ties are getting weak.

During our days in school, family day was celebrated and this celebration reiterated the important roles families played in the success of children.

I believe children have lost respect for their elders and parents and family ties and relationships have weakened.

Senior citizens’ homes are getting filled up because children see parents as a burden.

Youth crime is on the rise and drug peddlers are targeting children because they know too well that family values are weak.

Hence, if we want to eradicate the social ills and have peace, we need to target the family and strengthen family ties.

Leaving too many things in the hands of teachers will make matters worse.

Finally, families and teachers must hold hands to monitor the behaviour and character of the young minds.

Together we can make that difference!

ajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu.


Mother Earth

THE Rev Iliesa Naivalu, the general secretary of the Fiji Council of Churches, rightfully stated that God created the Earth.

He left man in-charge to have dominion over the sea creatures, the birds of the heavens, livestock, and the whole Earth (FT 04/07).

He went on to say that man had failed to protect mother Earth and with regard to development, in that we have caused our own destruction through the impact of climate change.

Mr Naivalu said we all have a role to play in combating or easing the impacts of climate change and that it also included churches.

While the general secretary’s sentiments are just, the bigger question that all churches ought to be asking is what are they doing about their flock, the people made in the image of God by God himself?

How can we take care of our surroundings and our environment when we can hardly take care of ourselves?

The majority of us don’t give two hoots about what we put into our bodies.

Anything and everything and in huge quantities!

The NCD epidemic is a testament of how far we’ve fallen from caring for and protecting our own bodies, let alone mother Earth!

I believe about 80 per cent of our annual deaths are caused by NCDs.

We have become a sick people mainly because of unhealthy habits, lack of discipline and no willpower to do right.

Sin is obvious and amazingly, I believe the problem culminates from our pulpits right through to the youngest members of our congregations! Mother Earth is the way it is because of the people we’ve become.

The challenge for all our churches is to first get ourselves in order according to God’s liking. If we can achieve that then mother Earth will be in great hands!

Simon Hazleman, Rava Estate, Savusavu.


Climate change and health

THE Minister for Health’s recent pronouncement of the link between climate change and health issues is nothing new.

So is the acknowledgement that vulnerable infrastructure, including health centres, hospitals, communications that need to be relocated or climate proofed to deal with the anticipated impacts.

A lot of research locally and internationally, and one only has to read the reports from WHO and other institutions, underscore the strong links between climate change impacts such as temperature rise, extreme rainfalls or drought, salination, etc and increase in the risks of diseases, NCDs and human health.

For example, one of the very early pioneering studies carried out in Fiji established the link between rise in dengue cases and rainfall intensities, including El Nino which is being exacerbated by climate change.

What would be more useful to hear from our learned ministries is what is being done to address the issue directly.

How is the impact of climate change being factored into their plans and policies, realising that these come with added costs and there is also a need for necessary knowhow and expertise.

While it has become fashionable for all and sundry to emphasise how climate change is affecting the various sectors, what we really need to learn is what is being done and how we as individual citizens, communities and organisations can assist with the national efforts.

Just repeating what is generally known already is of little use and seems like a diversion from the real issues. MALVIN CHAND Suva Health in Fiji ARE the statements by Dr Nadan (FT 04/07) about unhealthy habits of one particular demographic of people in Fiji based on observations only?

Can this opinion be nourished with some edible statistics?

Despite my lack of knowledge in this area, this is hard to digest.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Lautoka.



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