Letters to the Editor – Saturday, January 28, 2023

The Fiji Airways Fiji team to the Hamilton and Sydney 7s tournament during the McDonald's Fiji's Coral Coast 7s tournament at Lawaqa Park in Sigatoka on Saturday, January 14, 2023. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

How much more time

AFTER a series of poor performances and results in the World Rugby Sevens Series, I have just one question to ask Fiji rugby fans and officials; how much more time does Ben Gollings deserve as the head coach. It is no doubt that coaching the greatest sevens playing nation is one of the most difficult tasks in the world, however, there are some standards that we have to maintain. After leading the squad to the Sevens Rugby World Cup victory last year, I had high hopes but I will be honest, it has been disappointing so far. To secure an automatic qualification into the 2024 Olympics, we need to finish in the top four. Meanwhile, we are ranked 8th currently. That is beyond acceptable for a nation with a factory of majestic sevens players. If Fiji fails to win in Sydney, the FRU board must start looking for possible replacements for Gollings. RAYNAV CHAND, Nakasi, Nausori

Domestic violence stats

WOW, the domestic violence rates dropped immediately in the week after the new Government was appointed during Christmas. I now believe the new PM is not a recycled, flip-flopping crackpot but a Godsend. I believe that all his ministers and those appointed to all the positions in the civil service, statutory bodies, commissions and diplomatic posts are all angels on call from God. Not to mention the ministers and assistant ministers. With so much love being spread by this Government, what else does one expect. Fiji must be the happiest place on Earth. Makes me want to come back for another visit. I believe other countries must learn from Fiji. JAN NISSAR NSW, Australia

Rubbish collectors

I HAVE great sympathy for rubbish collectors. They go above and beyond to collect household waste that’s come from garbage bags and strewn all over the place without any apparent complaining despite it being an offence for households to use garbage bags and not rubbish bins. Another concern is for the health and safety of the rubbish collectors as they jump off and on and hang off the back of the rubbish collection trucks many times a day as they go about their work. After the rubbish is collected in my street, the truck races back down to the end at high speed. It must be very hard to hold on so tightly and avoid falling off. This practice whereby rubbish collectors are at risk of injury or worse is not accepted under the Health and Safety at Work Act 96 but rather blatantly ignoring the regulations. It is the responsibility of the employer, namely the municipal council in this case, to ensure employees have correct and full PPE and the workers are safe in the workplace at all times. It is clearly not happening. This needs to be addressed — there is no time to waste. JULIE SUTHERLAND Tamavua, Suva

New designations

I GENUINELY hope Fiji media houses will grow out of its fondness of referring to Voreqe Bainimarama as the former prime minister and Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum as the former attorney-general, unless deemed fitting in news articles reporting on their tenure in their previous roles. The media should not provide these two FijiFirst members the platform to still bask in the reflected glory of what they were but rather confront them with designations of who they are. Times have changed. NADIA NAAZ Sydney, Australia

Back to school aid

AS a parent, I would like to take this opportunity in thanking the coalition Government for providing the back to school assistance of $200 cash at such a critical time. My only hope and concern is that monies given to us recipients will be used wisely for its purpose — to buy our children’s stationery and other school-related needs. It’s funny that after our Government announced that $32million in total will be released to all recipients by Thursday afternoon — with majority receiving it via the MPaisa platform I assume — Vodafone sends texts to all its customers the same evening at 6:56pm that it will be selling smartphones and tablets as low as $99 at their roadshows around Fiji soon. Purchasing power is in your hands now parents and I hope we will not be swayed away. JIOJI M CAKACAKA Votualevu, Nadi

War on the media 

WE read in “Lawsuits, jail threats and enemy of the people: Donald Trump’s endless war on the media” (Yahoo! 25/1/23) that “During the four years of his presidency, he called journalists and news outlets “fake news” roughly 2000 times, averaging more than one daily broadside against the press and continuing a long legacy of attempts to undermine critics that continued well after his time in the White House “. Notice any parallels with what the media and The Fiji Times in particular faced during the 16-year reign in power of Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Voreqe Bainimarama? Thank God that dirty war on the media in Fiji has come to an end with the new Government in place. RAJEND NAIDU SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

Richard hits the nail 

I READ Richard Naidu’s response to the former attorney-general and I found his response so educational and informative. Thank you The Fiji Times for giving Mr Naidu a full page in response as it cleared many doubts and opened my eyes. The press release, which was delivered by the former attorney-general, drew people’s attention, but Mr Naidu stood and delivered a powerful response that has been read and appreciated by Fijians. I have always admired Mr Naidu because of his ability to interpret matters of legality and because of his speeches. He is an eloquent and brilliant orator, and it comes with his many years of experience. His opinion pieces on Saturdays have always captured the minds of readers. As for the question raised in The Fiji Times (23/01), “Who broke the law?” I leave it to readers of this newspaper! RAJNESH ISHWAR LINGAM NADAWA, NASINU

A national hero

ALLEN Lockington was an ordinary Fijian of modest disposition. But when he passed away on Monday night, Fiji made it clear that Allen belonged in our pantheon of national heroes. There was a huge public outpouring of sorrow over his death, and thanksgiving and tributes for his tireless service to the poor and underprivileged. I met Allen in May last year with my friends Professor Biman Prasad, now Minister of Finance, and Ajay Amrit, as we toured the Western Division. We knew of Allen’s untiring efforts to deliver sustenance and hope to those who lived close to the edge of society. It appeared to us there was a compulsion within him to do everything he could to offer relief. I understand from his family that even when he was growing up, Allen had a Allen Lockington, middle, meets up with PA leader (now Prime Minister) Sitiveni Rabuka and NFP leader (now Minister of Finance) Professor Biman Prasad in May last year. Picture: FILE strong sense of community and always tried to make a difference in the lives of others. He was lifted by the smiles on the faces of those in need when he was able to give them assistance. Doing good became a way of life. On that day in May last year, my friends and I wanted to listen to Allen, to observe him at work and thank him. Our meeting place was a settlement on the shoreline not far from Lautoka. Allen, dressed in Wellington boots and an orange outer vest, was distributing medical and food supplies. We met some of the people he was helping and went into a house to talk with a disabled person. Being with Allen in this setting helped us to see more clearly the depth and breadth of Fiji’s social challenges. The experience added to the knowledge we already had about poverty and social suffering. It was part of our preparation for a possible win in the election scheduled for December. As we spoke, Allen played down the extent of his contributions to charity and the uplifting of those who were suffering. He told us how he was recently asked about why he was doing this work. Grinning mischievously, he responded: “doing what?” He was saying in his own way there was nothing extraordinary about his service and sacrifice for the poor and dispossessed. He thanked us for coming to observe some of the poverty in rural Lautoka and was sorry there was not enough time to visit more areas. There were hugs all round and we departed. It was evident to me that what inspired Allen was his quiet love for people, and this desire from his heart to assist them when they were deprived. In our political party we have a guiding doctrine we call Let Love Shine. It is founded on the truth that love in all its forms is a mighty force for progress. Its power is an instrument for change. The doctrine requires us to stand with the poorest of the poor and help to end their hunger and heartache and find new hope for the future. We praise and honour heroes like Allen, and his little band of workers, who are committed to doing this and we will strive to follow their example. I doubt I can ever personally match Allen’s efforts to ease poverty. People like him are a special gift from God. But I can promise that your coalition Government will do everything it can to continue Allen’s feats of mercy and charity. He will be remembered for another great mission that placed him squarely in the public eye. He fearlessly flew the flag for freedom of expression through his well-crafted, discerning and widely read Letters to the Editor of The Fiji Times. He shared his thoughts on many aspects of current affairs and especially helped educate the public on the importance of protecting our environment. Allen dictated his last letter from his hospital bed. He asked for a hot water system for the patients. I promise that our Government will remove threats to media freedom that have no place in a democracy. Allen, you are no longer with us, but your light will shine for many years. The love you dispensed will long be remembered. Thank you so much for everything you did for your country. And remember Lautoka, we are looking to you to join us in perpetuating his legacy. Moce mada Allen. PRIME MINISTER SITIVENI RABUKA, Suva


THE congratulatory messages are pouring in from global and regional government leaders, head of states and even royals extending their congratulations and best wishes to Sitiveni Rabuka as the new Prime Minister of Fiji. Yet a coup maker wishes not to acknowledge another, so sad! AREKI DAWAI Suva

Hot water

NO hot water system at the Lautoka Hospital yet a $30 million police station, not forgetting the swimming pool with millions wasted. PRASHANT NAIDU Elite Medical Care

Police bias

THE Fiji Times is quite right to ask the police why Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum was interviewed on Monday, allowed to go home and return the next day when other political leaders were detained overnight at the police station? (FT 26/1). It’s because every Fijian and their dog knows the police were used as tool of repression and persecution of political opponents and critics by the Bainimarama-Khaiyum government. RAJEND NAIDU Sydney, Australia

Which was it

WALKED out, stormed out, stomped out. Which one was it? MANOJ LAL PATEL Lautoka

Why win

WHY win an election when you can be the biggest loser and still be part of the Government? JAN NISSAR NSW, Australia

Television series

THE political dramas continue. We can now make a television series from it. WISE MUAVONO Balawa, Lautoka

Fiji FA

TOO much talk. We will do this and that. Take ranking to below 100 like during JD and Doc’s era. ASISH VINAY PRASAD Raiwasa, Suva


WHILE the motives behind Dr Mahendra Reddy’s swift departure from Parliament has not been revealed (perhaps for personal reasons as usual), I nonetheless wish the former agriculture minister, who has amused us with his public speeches for a number of years while serving under the Bainimarama regime, best of luck. Being a yoga enthusiast, Reddy was very passionate about leading a healthy lifestyle and, who knows, he may open up a yoga studio as his next venture in order to keep Fijians fit! NISHANT SINGH Lautoka

Into power

BEFORE the election, we were told that the Opposition just wants to come into power. Now. MOHAMMED IMRAZ JANIF Natabua, Lautoka


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