Letters to the Editor | Sunday, June 4, 2023

Namosi and Marist Seahawks women’s rugby players carry the casket of Elenoa Kunatuba after her funeral service at Wainivula Methodist Church, Nasinu yesterday. Picture: JOHN CHETTY

Farewell Elenoa Kunatuba!

Elenoa Kunatuba, who played a huge role in the growth of women’s rugby in Fiji, was laid to rest this week. She was given a fitting farewell. When women’s rugby started to grow in Fiji two names became prominent — Elenoa Kunatuba and Vela Naucukidi. I followed their contributions closely. Kunatuba gave her life to rugby and moulded women ruggers from grassroots level. She encouraged them to take up rugby despite the “boos” that came from the crowd when they played. Because of her dedication and commitment, she ploughed her way through despite the lack of funding and resources and continued working for the growth of women’s rugby in Fiji. Being the founder of the Marist Seahawks Club, took up a lot of her personal and family time, funding and commitment, but she persevered. Her humility, loving and caring nature was appreciated by many. Elenoa’s loss is a huge loss to humanity and rugby in general. I salute her for her contribution as a player, coach and an administrator. She has left a legacy that would live forever. Until that glorious morning, rest in peace Elenoa Kunatuba! Thank you Siteri Sauvakacolo and The Fiji Times (30/05) for the tribute! Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam Nadawa, Nasinu

Constituency representation

According to the acting Commissioner of Police, people now have freedom because of a change in government so they are making complaints left, right and centre. Herein, there is something still similar when the Khaiyum-Bainimarama government was in place. Regarding high profile complaints, we don’t know who the complainants are. It is fact that during the previous regime, we had some courageous people who spoke out. And what happened to them? For example, when the controversial Bill 17 popped up, some parliamentarians were taken in for questioning. What happened there? I think it has more to do with nepotism. I mean the application of medication for the chaplusi syndrome is the reason for the new confidence. Mohammed Imraz Janif Natabua, Lautoka

Refugee sanctuary

It made me feel proud to know our small Pacific Island country is providing sanctuary to 40 refugees (FT 3/6 ). It is the decent thing to do for fellow human beings in need of protection mostly after fleeing from political persecution in their home country. Rajend Naidu Sydney, Australia

Who did it?

Was it the Mercy Commission or Parliament that commuted the death sentence to life in prison? Dan Urai Lautoka

North’s gratitude

CURRENTLY, I am deeply moved by the heartfelt letter written by Dinesh Kumar (FT3/06), a regular contributor to the Letters to the Editor column. His expression of love for the people of the North during his stay is truly touching. I am confident that his words have uplifted and inspired the people of the North. The warm and welcoming nature of the people in the North will always extend to any visitors. My gratitude to The Fiji Times for publishing Mr Kumar’s letter and for acknowledging the people of the North. May you all stay blessed. RODNEY CLARENCE RAJ Naleba, Labasa

Pardon concerns

What possible security threat could an unarmed civilian George Speight pose to the nation should he be granted a pardon for his coup? He and his associates only became a threat during the 2000 coup because they had armed themselves with guns. How did they manage to do that? That is a contextually relevant question. I take it they or any others are unlikely to do that any more with the safeguards now put in place. Can we be enlightened on the safeguards that have been put in place to ensure we never again witness the traumatic events relating to the Speight “civilian” coup? I wonder what’s the floor area of this above hospital building. $3000 / m2 gives you a fully furnished resort finish. I hope no one will tell me that this build is 10,000m2. Wow! Thank you FijiFirst! A. SHARIFF SHAH Savusavu

Why did it happen?

Just the day before I left for India, I read in the newspaper that the chair of the FNU Council had been sacked. Then the Ministry of Education was quoted that it would release a statement on the matter. In the meanwhile, almost two weeks have passed and I did not see any statement that explains why the Government had interfered in the affairs of FNU. I recall the outbursts when the FijiFirst government deported USP VCP and his partner. At that time many were protesting for very good reasons. This act of the FijiFirst government by no means had been justified. It has caused severe repercussions on USP, the people of Fiji and virtually all USP member countries. The life chances of thousands of students who wanted to receive the best possible education had been compromised then in early February 2021. When elections happened in December 2022 many carried the memory of this infamous deed into the election booth. When now the newly elected government does something that appears to be a similar intervention into the affairs of a tertiary institution the public has a right to receive the fullest details of what exactly has been done and why.EBERHARD WEBER  Suva

Sharing my thoughts

ALLOW me, most respectfully, to share my thoughts, as I try to grapple with this thought, and age gracefully, 71 down and counting. The first coup saw me take a 40 per cent pay cut. That really hurt then. What is the real underlying difference between Fiji’s three coup makers? Am I correct in saying two had military uniforms and military support? The third was a civilian. The two military officers became Fiji prime ministers. The civilian still serves time. There appears some turbulent waters around when the thought of pardoning the still incarcerated coup maker after serving some 20-plus years. Will his release open up a huge can of worms? If democracy truly exists, if we are law-abiding citizens, if there is a “yellow ribbon” available to give prisoners a second chance, if law and order is intact, what are we afraid of? This subject appears somewhat “hush hush” for some reason available only to the privileged few. Is Fiji’s “new dawn” now also being kept under a special wrap? The “undercurrent” appears somewhat unsettling, in my view. The whole wide world watches, intently. Vosoti yau. Forgive me. I am equally curious in Jesus’ holy name. After all, God’s greater glory needs to prevail. (What you do to the least of my brothers; You do unto me). – Matthew 25:40 – KJV King James version. RONNIE CHANG MARTINTAR, NADI

Temples in India

In ancient India, the Hindu temples played a cardinal role in molding the society. It was not only the centre of worship but a huge number of other activities took place such as: it was a training centre for purohits (priests), communications centre to convey messages from one temple to another, as an engagement and marriage centre, as a havan centre (fire sacrifice), as a yoga centre, as a health centre, as a vyayam centre (gymnasium), as a ayurveda centre (herbal medicine), akhara (wrestling training and lathi) self defence centre. All gurukul (education centres) were attached to temples. In other words, it was a throbbing heart of social activities. India was also known as the Golden Bird because of its thriving trade and economic activities which spread throughout Southeast Asia (as far as Indonesia) and the Middle East as far as Iran. This also attracted the Mogul invaders who came in hordes and looted and destroyed parts of India and along with it the Indian temples. Thus a period of social disintegration started. The Mogul reign over India lasted for 700 years. The Europeans also heard the stories of Indian affluence. They too were keen to reach India for Indian spices and gold. The land route trading was too cumbersome and fraught with dangers such as dacoits. So they desperately sought sea routes to India. European Trading ships sailed the Atlantic and reached India via the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. Later the Suez Canal was opened to provide a shorter sea route. Even today it is vitally important for trading purposes. The British traders came to India as the East India Company and set their base near Madras. Gradually they grew by building depots, churches, schools, railway lines, telephone communications, having garrisons and eventually meddling in local politics. Thus they had their network all over India and rules there for almost 200 years. The British destroyed the Indian education system (gurukul) and established the English system of education: convents, colleges and universities. English became the dominant language. Sanskrit and Hindi and other Indian languages were relegated to lesser importance. Thus the social, cultural and the economic base of India disintegrated. The present Modi government is attempting to rectify the situation by revising the education syllabus and content. Recognising the role of the temples and the priest in promoting and preserving the Indian heritage. It is an uphill battle in the modern context where globalisation is having its impact. India is the world’s largest democracy and a leader in its own rights. Despite the global economic impact the Indian economy is booming. May the great temples of India regain their lost glory! Dewan Chand Namadi Heights, Suva

Conformist politicians

Vijay Maharaj says it is beyond his understanding why the former PM Voreqe Bainimarama removed Ratu Sukuna Day as a public holiday and none of the FijiFirst MPs objected to the arbitrary removal. Then he goes on to provide an explicit answer: clearly they were just blind supporters who lacked the guts to open their mouth (FT 30/5 ). That was precisely the nature of governance under the two men rule of Bainimarama and his right-hand man Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. No one dared to question any decision they took. They knew it was either going along with their way or taking the highway! So the FijiFirst mob kept quiet as a strategy for self-preservation in post coup Fiji politics and its masquerade of parliamentary democracy. What’s particularly flabbergasting is the huge number of people, both Fijian and foreign, who went along with the masquerade. Some saw through the veneer. As the guardian of the public good The Fiji Times was one of them.
RAJEND NAIDU Sydney, Australia

Election system

I AM not going to get into the debate of which election system is better or the best but I think under the previous system, the election campaign period was something to look forward. Especially, when candidates (basically the same old faces) came in their specially designed vehicles with fitted hailer system. We would kaila at the recorded messages from air condition comfort zones. I’d usually say “WTF” representing, “who the fool”. MOHAMMED IMRAZ JANIF NATABUA, LAUTOKA

Police work

ALLOW me these moments to highlight some deficiencies faced by our hard-working police officers in Namaka Police Station, Nadi. Densely populated Martintar with no fewer than eight nightclubs plus a kava bar; equally heavily populated Waqadra; Namaka; Votualevu, Matavolivoli, Malawai, Kartaram, Votualevu Heights, Legalega and Nasoso all come under Namaka Police Station. The Namaka Police Station is aged; gone way past its “used by date” is far too small and impractical even for its “hugely undersized” police team. Some serious soul-searching, corporate planning and investments are also urgently needed to lift it to its desired high profile standards as Namaka is required to manage strict stringent border control in view of our ever growing tourism industry – the country’s backbone to its GDP. I overheard that Namaka Police Station “boasts” an undersized team of less than 80 officers on three shifts, day in and day out. Are they properly equipped with sufficient vehicles to ease mobility demands, when emergencies arise? Are they overstretched? Martintar alone with daily nightclub nuisances to handle often – overstretch human resources available at this inadequate police station. Drunk iTaukei most mornings create much nuisance to ordinary peace-loving and law-abiding pedestrians during their early morning walk and women/children going to buy daily bread. Loud nightclub music until 5am add to disturbance of the peace and sleep deprivation. These are a handful of matters. As a caring kai Nadi, retired and concerned for our peace, safety and comfort, I raise the above in respect, good faith and understanding of the limitations Namaka police contend with each day. As the nation’s national budget for 2023/2024 are being deliberated upon, I pray Namaka Police Station’s human resource and other shortfalls are adequately addressed. Vina va levu du vo mutou na iliuliu ni tabana ni ovisa ena koro turaga e Suva. Me lemutou muni na kalougata. (Thank you to our leaders in the police headquarters in Suva. Every blessing be yours too). RONNIE CHANG MARTINTAR, NADI

More Stories