Letters to the Editor – Saturday, October 1, 2022

Rakiraki’s Maanav Kumar clashes with Rewa’s Raniket P. during their match in the semifinal of the Digicel/Rams Cleaning Services 45th Primary IDC at Tavua College grounds. Picture: REINAL CHAND

Ground development

CAN the appropriate authorities immediately advise the inquisitive Lautoka people on what category of development is currently being undertaken at Churchill Park ground number 3?

It resembles an open war trench and a rice paddy field.

Dhaan boi ka?

Earlier in the week, rows of impenetrable non-transparent metal fences were being mounted along the ground sidelines, which further aroused my concern on whether this popular event venue was being sealed off to the general community.

Without any public dialogue (a norm for our current crop of inconsiderate leaders), a large exterior surface area of Churchill Park including the hockey field had already been selfishly “forfeited” in the past to pave way for massive construction projects and a “water puddled” car park.

Another tapping question lingering in mind is whether the celebrated Sugar Festival will recommence, after the unfortunate two-year COVID lapse.

I will be very annoyed if I don’t get my candy floss, coloured popcorn and a Ferris Wheel ride this year!


Another attack

THERE has been yet another attack on Fiji’s premier newspaper.

Unfortunately, all newspapers and journalists have to contend constantly with such attacks and can pay dearly for it.

Power is frequently too insecure to accept criticism, challenges, and questions; that is why there will always be a degree of power imposed censorship; and a lack of transparency which generates those press footnotes to the effect that … at the time of going to press questions remained unanswered … and so-and-so was not available for comment.

Power also tends to be paranoid to the extent that it not only jumps on any tiny criticism – it goes looking for disagreement in order to claim that it is being undermined and unfairly represented – without realising that the more power complains the weaker it looks.

SUE CAUTY, Pacific Harbour

Bring it on!

OUR Fijiana 15s team is competing in the Rugby World Cup for the first time, and they are eager to “pluck the English roses” in their opening game.

Please excuse my candor, but the Fijiana are either superhuman or overconfident.

They astonished everyone earlier this year by being the only women’s team without a loss, and they went on to win the 2022 Buildcorp Super W championship.

They lost a few Test matches shortly after, which led me to the conclusion that they are not entirely unbeatable.

The traditional rugby heavy hitters, including England, South Africa, and France, have been combined with Fiji.

Ambitiousness is one thing, but over confidence is quite another.

Our girls are nevertheless committed to and focused on taking home the RWC championship.

They have the prayers and support of every Fijian.

My five cents worth advice would be to fly low and shoot high.

Toso Fijiana, Drua toso!


Avoid concrete

FLOODING is a major problem right now and it has affected many of us in most places.

I believe that we can somehow prevent this flooding by avoiding to use concrete when constructing paths.

When it rains, the water cannot be absorbed by the concrete but is blocked and redirected to the drainage system which in turn, becomes clogged and then the water overflows into the streets and sidewalks.

We can replace these surfaces with grass or gardens as it will absorb the water and prevent flooding.

It also serves to sustain the plant life.

I really hope the authorities will keep this in mind when building sidewalks.


Rakiraki U14 football

CONGRATULATIONS to the Rakiraki under-14 football side for winning the 45th Primary Schools IDC tournament at Garvey Park.

The side edged Nadi 4-3 in the dreaded penalty shootout situation.

In the semis, Rakiraki had defeated defending champions Rewa 2-0, while Nadi beat neighbour Lautoka 1-0.

Rakiraki prepared well for the tournament and their hard work was rewarded.

The Fiji Primary Schools Football Association Executives, FFA and the sponsors Digicel and Rams Cleaning Services deserve applauds for the success of the tournament.

I salute the players, who braved the heat and played their hearts out.

I commend the teachers, who sacrificed their time and energy, to ensure their students participated in the tournament.

Parents, guardians and supporters are thanked for their strong support.

These players are our future football stars and they need to be nurtured so they fulfil their dreams of wearing the national jumper.

I was delighted with Rakiraki’s success and the fact that the players photo appeared on the back page of The Sunday Times.

Imagine the joy of the tiny tots seeing their photo appearing in the trusted brand!


School celebrates World Heart Day

I COMMEND Marist Brothers High School and the likes for commemorating and celebrating World Heart Day on September 29.

World Heart Day is observed and celebrated annually, with the aim of increasing awareness of cardiovascular diseases and how to control them to negate their global impact.

World Heart Day provides an opportunity for everyone to stop and consider how best to use the heart for humanity and for nature.

Beating cardiovascular disease is something that matters to every beating heart.

The day was established to raise awareness about the various cardiovascular issues and illnesses that affect people and to raise awareness about the rising concerns of heart health, cardiovascular illnesses and how heart care is of utmost importance.

Raising awareness in schools is important so that children are aware of the risks.

It is also important for parents to take advantage of the free screening provided by the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Hospital, which is beautifully built and equipped, and celebrated the 2022 World Heart Day in the best way possible, saving 21 children and giving them life-saving free heart surgeries, gifting them a new gift of life’.

The theme for this year’s World Heart Day was “Use heart for every heart” was well-coined.


Fiji sugar production

1994 was the year that was.

I believe that was the best year ever in Fiji’s sugar industry, but I stand to be corrected.

Reportedly, 4.1 million tonnes of sugar cane crushed produced some 517,000 tonnes of sugar way back then.

This is a far cry from the 109,500 tonnes of sugar produced so far this 2022 season (under 22 per cent).

Our surviving sugar mills are 100-plus years old.

They cannot last much longer.

Time for Fiji to seriously think outside the box for its first brand new, state-of-the-art modern sugar mill.

The “same old, same old” is hardly the way forward these days.

It must be acknowledged our existing mills are tired, worn out and fast facing their retirement after 100-plus sugar-filled and fruitful years.

It is well-acknowledged, statistically, our younger generation sugarcane farmers’ general interest in this industry is waning.

With utmost respect, can I suggest a location closest to Vatia Wharf, for starters, for all practicality.

Your caring kai Nadi retiree is floating an idea, (thinking out loud) in fervent hope, and concern for survivability.

RONNIE CHANG, Martintar, Nadi

Power outage

THE power outage in Fiji is becoming a norm and nightmare.

It’s like in fashion nowadays.

The reasons given by EFL, is it convincing enough?

Will we get any discount on our electricity bills?

The people of Fiji deserve better.



WE read in the papers that the current CEO of LTA doesn’t see the money raised through TINS as additional revenue for his organisation.

However, he doesn’t explain what the money is actually used for.

Allow me therefore to suggest that LTA look into the possibility of donating those funds in regular intervals like quarter or yearly to those NGOs who contribute greatly towards the betterment of our society.


Fire proof

WHY can’t EFL fire proof their pine poles at least 10 to 12 feet from the ground.


Day job

DOES the Fijian Elections Office boss have any jurisdiction or influence over the Fiji Media Council? (FT 29/09).

He seems to have adopted a practice of remarking on anything and everything these days.

I suggest Mr Saneem stick to his day job.


Dry spell

IS the Western Division in for a drought?

Currently, the heat is scorching and unbearable while grasslands portray a dried outlook.

All in all, time to think about increasing our water storage capacities because if this weather continues, one can be rest assured the water levels will decrease in the rivers, dams and wells.

They say prevention is better than cure.


Presidential meet

THE Fijian Government’s rapture with Bainimarama’s meeting with Biden is overrated.

With Biden’s current cognitive abilities, we wonder whether the US President remembers the meeting, 10 minutes after.


Election date

IS there a reason why the election date hasn’t been announced?

I’ve lost all my hair while eagerly awaiting the announcement.

Allen kere wig!

WISE MUAVONO, Balawa, Lautoka

International meet

WHY is the PM travelling alone?

DAN URAI, Lautoka

Piggy ride

I ONLY hope that this time it won’t be another situation whereby some politicians get a piggy ride by their other party members into Parliament.

PRANIL RAM, Votualevu, Nadi

Mental health online talanoa

CAN the Minister for Health or his assistant minister organise a national mental health talanoa online platform for all Fijians.

I believe most Fijians are affected but just don’t want to come out because of stigma and stereotyping in our communities.

Please do not pretend everything is OK and normal because mental health does not discriminate anyone regardless of gender or age grouping.

The latest statement by Ms Shamima Ali of FWCC in view of the need for more counsellors in her organisation in F/T 29/09 (Pg5) is the indicator that we have a lot of Fijians with mental health problems?

As the relevant ministry, please do something about it.

I’m sure Dr Kuruleca would want to be part of the panel of discussion as its moderator including Ministry of Health, Ministry of Women, Ministry of Youth, FWCC, FWRM, Lifeline Fiji, Empower Pacific, MSP, Fiji Red Cross, Save the Children Fiji, Fiji Police Force, FCOSS and Youth Champs 4 Mental Health.

JIOJI M CAKACAKA, Tadra, Votualevu, Nadi

The offer

IT was very encouraging to see, that the Fiji Law Society, had informed a parliament standing committee, that they were available, to interpret and provide assistance, to ensure that the Budapest Convention, is quite thoroughly represented in the Cyber Crime Act 2021.

It would also be nice and convenient, if such an offer is also extended, to other laws, treaties and conventions, that are reviewed and scrutinised by these committees.

Consultations and the provision, of relevant and pertinent submissions, from the public and the stakeholders, as well as their generous and timely assistance, just makes for better law making.


Rugby and gender

IF the secondary school girl’s rugby competition is relatively new compared with the boys, then there is every reason for reporters to provide wider coverage.

With due respect and unfortunately, throughout the week, media reports have predominantly focused on Suva Grammar School, Marist Brother’s High School, Natabua High School and Ba Provincial Free Bird Institute.

I dare reporters to have the front page of dailies in the weekend prioritising coverage of our girls battling the Weet-Bix Raluve Trophy.

Best wishes to Jasper Williams High School, St John’s College and St Bedes College.

After all, in terms of gender inclusivity, it’s the small things which count and the humble beginnings of our ladies which provide pathways for bigger achievements.

Aside from spectators and fans, rugby scouts will keep close tabs on our ladies this Saturday at Prince Charles Park.

I am tipping St Johns College and St Bedes College to create some surprises but let’s not rule out Natabua High School. Go Natabua, go.


Russian exodus

THE thousands of Russians fleeing from their country to neighbouring countries to avoid president Putin’s conscription decree are all conscientious objectors.

They do not want to fight in Russia’s unjust war of aggression against Ukraine.

They know what their leaders are doing is wrong and they don’t want to be party to the wrongdoing.

RAJEND NAIDU, Sydney, Australia

Mum’s hustle pays off

MEREANI Bawa Voraua, who paid tribute to her husband for being her pillar of strength as he supported her throughout her journey, graduated from FNU’s College of Agriculture with a trade diploma in office administration certificate.

She was still breastfeeding her one-month-old baby when her name was called at the Vodafone Arena to collect her certificate.

Sharing her story (FT 30/09), reporter Luke Nacei stated that Mereani was humbled by the opportunity given to her and that she had to juggle her studies and her role as a mother and wife for two years.

Mereani shared that she had to drop out of school for a year after she got married and she faced many challenges but she managed to attain success.

Mereani’s story reminds me of the struggles some of my Matua students at Nabua Secondary School go through in their quest to attain a pass in the external examination.

Students, who are mothers especially, have to juggle their studies and roles as a mother and wife.

It is hard, but they are trying and giving their best and the joy seeing them come to attend evening classes gives teachers the extra ounce of strength to take the classes.

Life is not a bed of roses and this message must be shared with our children so they work hard in school and take advantage of opportunities that come their way!


Mum my hero

DO we ever realise that mothers are the only people who work 365 days in a year without taking any leave?

Even during mother’s Sunday or Christmas, they will still cook and care for the families and ensure that the house is in order.

I always wonder where do they get all these strength and power from?

And yet some men and boys continue to discriminate them.

I love my mum who is a breast cancer survivor as we approach Pinktober month?



Meth: A mother’s story

WHAT we went through as a family in NZ with one of our four young adult children 2004-2017, I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.


This involved, getting familiar with the hospital psych ward 21, as it was the only “rehab” in Palmerston North.

And still is.

Nowhere else could help.

The crisis mental health team was called on numerous times.

But as parents, we looked after our son for most of it.

Through it all.

And what a hell it was.

Many don’t have what we have, a live adult, at the end of all the damage done.

I’ve met numerous parents who lost their child.

I’ve spoken at events and shared our story, some bits of it.

This included multiple court appearances over years, debts incurred, lawyers/legal aid, understanding the extreme paranoia and crazy withdrawal cycles, getting familiar with addictive patterns, and drugs that brought your kid back to themselves.

I wrote a poem once about quetiapine — because it brought my son back from psychosis.

We found him catatonic several times.

That is, unable to control his body.

I’ve seen A and E rooms covered in blood from someone high on meth.


Quetiapine and other anti-psychotic medications became a good friend of ours, as did the medical staff, support workers and police officers we worked with.

Other factors included having no emotional energy for anything else in our mid-40s, including three other children in high school, reducing my professional job hours permanently, wrecking other relationships including straining us to the max as a married couple.

Learning about what would come, for example ‘schizophrenia affective’, from drug-induced usage, getting educated about all this: the signs, drugs and all its paraphernalia.

Drug Arm with the NZ Police, and my son’s behaviour taught me all this – through the day and night crazed reality of surviving drug addiction and its tentacles.

Broken trust, always having to be on tenterhooks with this loved one, or his friends, the lies and deception, a family
car being totalled, chopped up furniture, violence, destroying flats, loss of jobs, disappearances for weeks, being investigated by insurance, a six-month periodic detention bracelet restraining an unwell person at home under my care, signing your 22-plus-year-old over to state welfare for mandatory hospitalisation twice and care, police raids,
overturning family peace, loss of friends, and gaining permanent friends too.

It turns your life upside down and inside out, wrenching your heart, your soul and energy with every waking hour and the unpredictable craziness that comes constantly.

It is a daily hell on Earth.

The effects of one meth user on our family is ongoing until this very day: not because he uses anymore, no; those days are thankfully over, but because of everything our family endured through over 12 years of incredible chaos.

Not least of all watching a person so tormented, it breaks your heart and mind.

No parent ever wants to see their child suffer like this.

Fiji, methamphetamine is a killer and destroyer and it’s here big time.

It’s  demon.

Please, please, don’t ignore any of the signs or opportunities to assist and report strange out-of-the ordinary
behaviour to police.

Get medical help asap.

Get support.

Don’t ignore this.

Chances are meth and it’s cooks could be right next door in your neighbourhood.

It shows no partiality with all walks of life, all socio-economic groups represented and involved in NZ, and in Suva, no doubt.


Because it’s easy money — that will kill again and again.

Get informed.

Support programs to educate against meth use.

Do not do nothing.


Battle for the final spot

CAPTAINS of the Marist Brothers, Suva Grammar, Natabua High and Ba Provincial under-18 teams looked confident as they made the front page of The Fiji Times (30/09).

The four schools braved last weekend’s eliminations at a packed HFC Bank Stadium as they beat RKS (16-13), Lelean Memorial (21-8), QVS (21-19) and Nasinu Secondary (12-5).

At Prince Charles Park today, the red brigade from flagstaff will face Ba Provincial, while the Lions from Nasese will battle for supremacy against Natabua.

Excitement is high as Eastern giants RKS and QVS missed the semis.

Decision-making is going to be crucial today as was seen last weekend when QVS let go a handsome 19-7 lead and RKS opted not to take three points.

The decision cost them a spot in the semis.

Marist, which finished third in the Southern Zone, and Grammar, which won the Southern Zone, are favourites, but Western Zone champs Ba Pro and runner-up Natabua should not be taken lightly.

Fans will converge in numbers in the Jet Set Town to witness champagne rugby.

It’s going to be a sea of colours and the atmosphere will thrill.

I wish the four schools all the best!


Childhood obesity

THE Fiji Times on child obesity (24/9) is a global crisis that leads to NCDs with many complications if not addressed early.

As medical authorities have many programs towards preventative measures, the support of parents with extra care and responsibility matter most.

At times, treatment is more complicated when it is too late.

We all have to be more conscious of our diet and exercise, while keeping an eye on our weight for our wellbeing.

With healthy family food and exercise, we can all avoid obesity to enjoy a healthy, wealthy and stress-free long life. Health first.

“The rise of childhood obesity has placed the health of an entire generation at risk.” – Tom Visack

TAHIR ALI, Hamilton, New Zealand

NCDs statistics

THE statistics released by WHO in your The Fiji Times 27/09 “Global death rate” is alarming and should be a concern for any government that prioritises the health of its citizens in its national development plan.

I remember the late Dr Isimeli Tukana who championed the fight against NCDs.

Unfortunately, I believe there is not much awareness on this issue.

Maybe there is someone we haven’t seen publicly in our mainstream media, but one of the strategies that Dr Tukana used was the media to convey and raise awareness.

Avoid eating unhealthy food and drinks and get into some physical activities and you won’t go wrong!

JIOJI MASIVESI, Tadra, Votualevu, Nadi

Bring it on

MAIKELI Seru knows how to stir up feelings with his writing.

His piece on the Fijiana 15s team titled “Fijiana out to pluck English Roses” (FT 30/09) was a beauty and I could feel myself in the Land Down Under witnessing the Fijiana taking on the Roses.

However, while the players have a feeling they could pluck the English Roses, I urge the Fijiana to take a proactive approach and work on their set-pieces, especially the scrums and lineouts as the England team will work on their forward play.

They know that the strength of the Fijiana is in the back-line so they would try to work at outmuscling our forwards and aim to win the battle in the forwards department just as the third-ranked Canadians did to the Fijiana at the HFC Bank Stadium, winning 24-7.

On the other hand, as Bulou Vasuturaga stated, the strong typical Fijian style of rugby could topple England, France and South Africa.

The side, under the watchful eyes of Senirusi Seruvakula, Mosese Rauluni, Asaeli Tikoirotuma and Inoke Male, stepped up preparations and is ready to rub shoulders against the Roses at the Fortress (Eden Park) next week Saturday.

Toso Viti, toso!


Municipal issue

IT is not understood why it is taking Nadi Town Council so long to find and appoint a new CEO.

From a ratepayer’s point of view, the situation doesn’t look promising at all.

Also noted with concern is the frequency with which special administrators are being replaced.

This is not what we expect to see, we want to see our towns flourishing.

I don’t see how this will be achieved if things are not going to change soon.

Never in its history was the local government so disorganised.

Please do not treat the ratepayers like this.


Rule on rules

ARE rules made to be broken?

Can one make a new rule without breaking, or amending an old one?

What is the purpose and reasons for rules made initially?

Are they just made to be built on, from one made previously?

So that means that the current rules, are built on broken or previously amended ones.

So technically, there is no such things as totally new rules then?

It’s all built on old and previous ones.

Is the change manager the rules or the ruler?

Oilei! Sa rauta mada, mosi ga na ulu, on the question of rules.


Coffee Day


All coffee lovers and the coffee confused.

Let’s celebrate one of the most popular beverages in the world and raise awareness about sustainable coffee cultivation, as well as fair trade practices in the coffee industry.

While some countries have their own holidays to celebrate this amazing beverage, this day is observed as International Day for Coffee on October 1.

Humanity has been preparing coffee for many presentations: drinks, candies, medicine, and some ancient civilisations even used it as currency!

No matter how you take it, coffee can energise you, warm you up, refresh you, keep you awake, and even catch you up with your loved ones.

There are many varieties of coffee beans and beverages available,

Coffee has been energising people around the world for over 600 years.

Today, this piping hot liquid is a breakfast staple in hundreds of countries — some 2.2 billion cups of coffee are consumed around the globe each day (with Finland topping the list as the most caffeinated country in the world).

However you decide to celebrate this day is as unique to you as is your favourite cup of coffee.

So grab a cup and enjoy!

Wishing all coffee drinkers best and a great Coffee Day!

NEELZ SINGH, Nelson, New Zealand

History and fireworks

DOES Prince Charles Park in Nadi deserve a change?

If it was named after the famous Prince, then with due respect, he is now King Charles III.

The history of the royal family has changed.

Meanwhile, history will reveal itself this Saturday as four participating schools clash in the semi finals of the Vodafone Deans Competition.

One can expect fireworks as emotions will be high and bone crunching tackles is the best way to secure victory.

Suva Grammar appears as the most formidable side.

Their players are playing classy rugby as displayed last week and the team may not realise their potential to become an even better side.

They tirelessly play as a team and their overall support play is excellent.

The vision and skilfull passing from their halfback is a cornerstone of their strength.

In their way stands Natabua High School which is riding high on self belief after delivering a painful defeat to Queen Victoria School.

This was one of the biggest upsets last Saturday.

Marist Brothers High School is perhaps the most rejuvenated of sides as technical inputs from a seasoned national coach such as Saiyasi Fuli paid dividends when they dethroned a powerful Ratu Kadavulevu School.

Meanwhile, the Ba Provincial team is keeping a low profile.

One can expect a jam-packed Prince Charles Park as the support from students, fans and ex-scholars will be at its best.

Don’t forget to take water supplies and hats as the heat in Nadi is scorching and unforgiving.

I am predicting the new champion to emerge from the outcome of the match between Natabua High School and Suva Grammar.

For now, I am siding with Natabua High School.

May rugby be the winner when the dust settles at Prince Charles Park this Saturday.


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