Letters to the Editor – Saturday, December 10, 2022

Filipe Sauturaga is stopped by the New Zealand All Blacks Sevens defence as Vuiviawa Naduvalo closes in support in their pool match of the HSBC Dubai Sevens tournament. Picture: MARTIN SERAS LIMA

Resilient Fiji

After a not so impressive performance in the Dubai 7s last weekend, coach Ben Gollings is quite optimistic that the Fiji Airways men’s 7s team will definitely bounce back this weekend in Cape Town.

Pooled alongside the Dubai 7s champions South Africa and Hong Kong 7s bronze medal winners France will not be a bed of roses.

Qualifying from Pool A will be a bit of a challenge.

If Fiji irons out all the weaknesses from last weekend, they could win the Cape Town 7s.

Although the chances of beating South Africa in front of their home crowd are slim, it’s not impossible.

All the best of luck boys.

Go Fiji, go.

Toso Viti toso.

Tara mein, lave mai!


Intention to vote!

I scrolled through the Fijian Government page and I read President Ratu Wiliame Katonivere’s speech titled ‘Every Fijian has a constitutional right to freely vote’ (25/02/22), while officiating as Chief Guest at the Nationwide Voter Registration Drive and 2022 General Election ‘Know Your Election’ Campaign in Suva.

I quote his opening remarks, “Every adult citizen in Fiji has the constitutional right to freely vote under an electoral system that treats all votes equally. No matter who we are, where we come from in Fiji, what faith we follow, whether we are young or old, man or woman, we are all guaranteed equal votes of equal value. No Fijian should ever take our sacred right to vote equally in our elections for granted. It is more than dear to our democracy; it is the most meaningful action we can take to improve or imperil our future.”

The Head of State added that participation in the electoral system mattered because it affected every aspect of all our lives.

This was echoed by the editor-in-chief in his editorial (FT 09/12) titled ‘Intention to vote’.

Thank you Fred Wesley for the vibrant and powerful editorial!

Indeed Fred, as we look ahead to next Wednesday, there is a sense of ownership in the air.

The interest to vote is there, and I am confident Fijians will turn in numbers to exercise their democratic right and cast their vote.

Power rests with Fijians as they choose the government that will rule Fiji for four years!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Some issues

The leader of the FijiFirst party and the general secretary indeed seem to be very confident and knowledgeable speakers.

I join Rick Eyre in saying that the duo can join other party leaders on national TV/radio to thrash out ideas so voters can decide which party to place their votes on.

Yes, like a boxing match we know how good a boxer is when he is in the ring.

I am sure Chaudhry, Biman and Rabuka would definitely take on the challenge for an open debate.

It will have nothing to do with claims by Sayed-Khaiyum that opposition parties are only worried about the number of likes on their social media platforms.

Far from the truth.

I do agree that 55 per cent of the voters are below the age of 40, and these young people will not just cast their vote willy nilly.

Free education, water, electricity, health, agriculture, roads and bridges, pension benefits will still be around even if a new party comes into power.

All at the expense of taxpayer dollars, donor agencies, development partners, more importantly the World Bank, ADB and IMF will definitely provide suitable loans now and into the future, just like the so called smart borrowing by the FijiFirst government.

The Minster for Economy is always ready to compare achievements of previous governments.

How about compare the budget of the then PWD to that of FRA, the loans taken by other governments to that of FijiFirst government?

My list can go on and until the cows come home.

My five cents take is that the retirement age be set at 60, municipal council elections be brought back, including public consultation on matters affecting Fijians.

Voters please tick an individual of your choice who will be there for you and your family for the full four years of their term in government, not just during election year.

Raymond Singh, Marine Drive, Lautoka

Fijiana 7s

It was disheartening to see our Fijiana 7s team succumb 14-21 to a highly charged Spanish side.

The women from Spain pounced on every loose ball with immense tenacity.

Truly an awesome display from Spain.

Fijiana 7s need to lift their game at least 120 per cent in the Cape Town 7s come 9 to 11 December.

Please do all you can to make Fiji prouder.

Give us all a good reason to smile again.

RONNIE CHANG, Martintar, Nadi

Election talk

I was just returning from my traditional abode the other day and people in the villages were on a pre-poll voting mode with painted black marks on their digits.

To my amazement, they were talking about who they voted for and hoping for a road to ease transportation and the building of a long awaited nursing station at the village rara.

Well so much for that time of which party will do wonders.

Jioji O. Toronibau, Navetau, Tunuloa

Illegal fishing

Once the new government is elected, can the issue of illegal fishing be highlighted more around Fiji so that we can be more informed about our beautiful ocean and the impact of foreign fishing in our territory?


Political rhetoric

I am not going to buy into that kind of political rhetoric.

Pranil Ram, Votualevu, Nadi

Vote wisely

As the 2022 General Elections campaigns grind to a halt this weekend, I am reminded by the former USA First Lady, Michelle Obama’s message to all Americans, at one time.

Quote: When they go low; You go high. Unquote.

Vote wisely, Fiji.

We pray a new dawn beckons.

Ronnie Chang, Martintar, Nadi

Bank officer

There is a bank officer at the Westpac Namaka branch who in my opinion provides banking services at superman pace.

Reminds me of those flashy barbecue cooks at the carnivals.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

Term in office

After casting his vote 78-year-old Jiuta Turaganivalu told The Fiji Times “sixteen years is too long for someone to be in power” (FT 9/12).

That’s why a leading democracy like America limits its leader’s term in office to a maximum of eight years.

It’s not healthy for democracy for a leader to be entrenched in power for “too long” as the wise old villager notes.

Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia


It seems both the Lautoka and Nadi police stations would be officially opened by the incoming government as they both are yet to be completed.

Suresh Chand, Nadi

Discussion point

I think politics will top the discussion list at gatherings over the weekend.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

A safe place

Wanting a safe and secure place

In the face of fear and uncertainty

With conflicts and arguments

All around, outside and inside

And many more yet to come

Numerous enemies roaming around

Ready to attack and devour

Various difficulties yet to face

Some real, some imagined

But a cry and demand for safety

To keep the mind calm and at peace

Is the prime concern of humanity

But who is safe?

Is anyone really safe?

Can one remain safe forever?

What was safe once

May no longer be safe now

Events, circumstances and situations

Can change everything in a blink of an eye

They can signal positive vibes propelling one to march forward

Or they can signal negative vibes driving one to march backward

Search for safety is the basic human aspiration

When one experiences safety

There is tranquility and peace

It instils confidence and consciousness

Safety drives one to move ahead in life

Adds grandeur and meaning to life

Safety is a haven for humanity

There lies the abode for peace, stability and success.

Bhagwanji Bhindi, Laucala Beach, Nasinu

With the people

Elections year is always a sight to behold, it’s the only year you’ll see political candidates and those in power get off their high horse and take time out to really mingle with the people.

It’s also at this time that they recognise who is in power.

As voters, we need to realise that power within each one of us and ensure we exercise it on Election Day.

As competent recruiters, let’s empower those who can pave a path forward for a brighter and better future.

Change should not be imposed upon us, let’s bring about the change we desire.

Onwards and upwards Fiji.

Sailosi Naewe, Naduru Rd, Nausori

Vote wisely

I believe this government’s stance against holding the municipal elections may be a reason enough for some ratepayers to switch allegiance.

If you look at it realistically, it’s not a small issue.

But unfortunately, I believe this government feels otherwise.

I believe ratepayers have all this while believed in what they have been told by the leaders running the show.

Though many of them do understand and can read between the lines what the reality is.

Luckily elections are held every now and then whereby people get the chance to change or elect the same government.

I believe the municipal election is a constitutional provision which needs to be complied with without using any dilly-dally tactics.

In fact, local governments play a huge roll in nation building.

That said, I believe, ratepayers must be given what they are owed as per the Constitution.

It is rather sad noting that we don’t enjoy full freedom of expression and freedom to exercise our rights across the board.

Let’s hope we can somehow achieve this in the very near future without having to demand for it.

Election is on next week so do take part.

Vote wisely.

Suresh Chand, Nadi

Incomplete Valelevu pavement

The CBD at Valelevu in the past two decades has grown tremendously and now has supermarkets, hospitals, schools and other government offices within proximity and walking distance.

Within the business operational area most of the shops have continuous footpaths and provide an important linkage for shoppers.

However, there are two sections of the uncompleted footpaths along Daniva Road from the Kings Road junction leading towards the supermarket.

The other uncompleted section is along the Daniva Road next to the Savilla House.

There are concrete chambers, slabs, rocks and other obstacles where the pedestrians walk and had caused slips and trips for the users.

During the adverse weather conditions these portions of the pavement act as a drain for the storm water to flow through to the drains.

I believe there has been no attempt to complete the footpaths even though the Minister for Economy in the revised 2022 Budget had allocated $72.9 million for the maintenance of Fiji’s transport network and road assets such as drainage and footpaths.

The Nasinu municipality has a duty of care to provide a conducive environment for everyone who visit the shopping area as all business pay a business licence and customer safety is paramount.

Footpaths or sidewalks reduce crash risk by separating vehicles and pedestrians and help to promote walking as an alternative.

Satish Nakched, Suva

Public debate

I agree with Raymond Singh (FT9/12) that contrary to Tarun Tikaram’s claim whichever party comes into power “no hell will break loose” (FT8/22).

And further that Ajay Amrit “does not have to tell you about stability” because both the military commander and the police chief have assured the nation of stability and respect for the election outcome.

That is as it should be in a democracy.

Raymond goes on to again challenge TT to take him on in a public debate “on matters of national interest”.

I wouldn’t do that.

It would be a waste of time because with irrationality no meaningful discourse is possible.

I believe TT is not open minded on matters of national interest or national concern.

I believe for him whatever the ruling Fiji First mob say is gospel, period.

Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia

Stability reassurance

It is truly heartening to note, most respectfully, both our RFMF commander and Fiji Police chief have assured stability pre and post 2022 General Elections.

Peace-loving and law-abiding citizens of Fiji are truly blessed with their leadership by remaining apolitical.

Vina du riki!

I hope and pray all members in our disciplined forces stay strong in the name of true democracy and a peaceful Fiji from December 14, 2022 onwards.

In any fair competition, someone wins and someone loses.

Once our people have spoken, let us uphold their verdict, and move on.

Losing is never easy.

Winning is always sweeter.

Ronnie Chang, Martintar, Nadi

History and questions

Wednesday, December 14, is perhaps the most important day of 2022 and Fiji’s history since independence.

Two major leaders are contesting the national elections, both beaming with confidence and sure about winning.

Neither of them appears prepared for defeat but elections is like a game with some being declared victorious and others losing out on an opportunity to lead the country.

Based on informal discussions, it appears that no single party will win with an outright majority, but a coalition government is likely to govern Fiji.

Some smaller parties which may win very few seats would have a strong bargaining power as the bigger parties will want to convince them as soon as possible so that the majority required to form the next government is achieved without delay.

While one can reasonably conclude a coalition government leading our country after December 14, there is another bigger question worth considering.

What if by chance, some members of the coalition government become upset claiming that promises made (in the lead up to formation of a coalition) is not honoured?

What if they defect from government to the opposition which may then claim that they now have the majority required to form a new government?

Does this mean that the initial coalition government has to step down?

All in all, interesting days ahead but whatever one’s choices on December 14, as citizens, it’s our responsibility to display respect for authorities and our fellow citizens.

Floyd Robinson, Nasese, Suva

Back to reality!

It was business as usual for Ra villager Raijeli Marama Naisake, who shared her story with The Fiji Times reporter Repeka Nasiko while washing dishes in the Vunisea River near her home in Tokaimalo.

Indeed, as she described, it was back to reality for her after she cast her vote at the Vunisea polling station.

It was sad to read that Raijeli has not had access to basic water supply which means she could not use the ‘perfectly good tap’ and washing machine she had at home.

Raijeli shared that there were three pipes that supplied water to four homes on their side of the river, and the only time they could get water through them was when it rained.

Otherwise, they made use of the river water for washing clothes and their dishes.

It’s a pity that ordinary Fijians in villages lack access to water which is a basic need.

Sad aye!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Drug keeping

Reports are coming in that the 200 kg of cannabis seized from dealers and kept in police stations were destroyed by rats in India.

The seized drugs are securely kept by police until they have been produced in court as evidence in cases of drug peddling.

When the court asked the police to produce the seized drug as evidence, it was told that 195kg of the cannabis had been destroyed by rats.

Judge Sanjay Chaudhary who presided over the case being discussed cited three other cases in which rodents were blamed for destroying the drugs which are kept in the stations for future reference.

The judge added that police had no expertise in dealing with the matter as rats were “too small”.

He said the only way to protect the seized goods from such fearless mice was to auction the drugs to research labs and medicine firms with the proceeds going to the government.

The tiny animals are capable of causing such a big problem, had never heard of it before.

Luckily this problem does not exist in Fiji.

Suresh Chand, Nadi

Income and assets

In the previous elections I believe candidates had to declare their income and assets.

Was this done in this election?

Sukha Singh, Labasa

Cost of living

They cost of living for retired senior citizens increases each passing day.

It is a huge reality check.

From a major supermarket in Martintar, Nadi: Four large potatoes $3.84; and four carrots $2.52 on Tuesday morning, December 6, 2022.

For the elderly the senior citizen and the social welfare recipient, life is even more challenging, to say the least.

$100 a month buys you very little these tough days.

Will the new government please pay some added attention to the levels of poverty that truly exists?

Please do not look the other way.

Many are suffering.

Making ends meet is an acute exacerbated impossibility.

Ronnie Chang, Martintar, Nadi

Biggest football event takes shape

As the 2022 FIFA World Cup football tournament reaches its climax, the cream rose to set an intriguing and exciting quarter-final battle.

Next week, the captain of one of the Netherlands, Argentina, France, England, Croatia, Brazil, Morocco or Portugal will triumphantly hoist what is arguably the most iconic trophy in world sport to jubilant roars from his ecstatic teammates, fans and fellow countrymen.

This WC produced a few seismic shocks and had big names such as Germany, Belgium, Denmark and Uruguay crash out, but most teams which were expected to advance to the quarters from the first knockout round, duly obliged, with Spain the notable exception.

This morning, Brazil met Croatia, while Argentina will rub shoulders with the Netherlands.

Tomorrow, England and France battle each other, while Morocco will aim to continue its fairytale run after upsetting Portugal.

It’s nice to see the tremendous support Brazil, England, Portugal, France and Argentina have at home.

For me, it’s Brazil all the way!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Crucial weekend

This coming weekend is very important for almost everyone.

Soccer fans will be glued to the television, cheering hard for their teams to qualify for the semi finals.

Rugby 7s fans will cheer as our Fiji Airways men’s and Fijiana women’s 7s teams participate in the Cape Town 7s.

Our national men’s team are in Pool A, together with the Dubai 7s champions South Africa, the Hong Kong bronze medalists France and Canada.

Our women’s team are pooled with Great Britain, Brazil and New Zealand.

And the candidates for 2022 general elections will have this weekend as their final two days to campaign as the 48-hour blackout period commences on Monday.

All the best to my team France in their match against England in the FIFA World Cup quarter finals.

All the best to both our men’s and women’s rugby 7s teams in Cape Town.

Best of luck to all the 343 candidates contesting the general election 2022.


School holidays

THE kids have now finished their exams, and are now on holidays.

How was he was going to manage them, now and everyday?

There must be kept busy, with something to earn a pay, otherwise, they will become bored very easily and can be swayed, by their friends and peers, to get up to no good and mischief, if he doesn’t take charge from here.

Edward Blakelock, Admiral Circle, Pacific Harbour

Campaign billboards

Consistently religious leaders have often been told to stay out of politics.

Yet, some political leaders see nothing wrong in “planting” massive political campaign billboards on religious property … church land.

Sadly, this practice has left a very sour taste in thousands of mouths.

Some will freely state it is the work of their advertising agencies.

Sometimes in the name of true democracy, the powers that be, have more rights and a greater say in some national issues.

The silent majority will have no say.

Sometimes, we do live in an unfair world.

These sentiments are shared with total frankness and utmost honesty.

Do I stand to be corrected?

If so, au kerea, vosoti yau.

Sometimes, in true democracy, we are expected to stand up and be heard and counted, without fear and/or favour.

The truth needs to be shared.

There is no better way.

Respect is always earned; Never given.

Ronnie Chang, Martintar, Nadi

Luseana’s wat to live long

Luseana Tausara, an 84-year-old grandmother, casting her vote as per The Fiji Times picture by Sophie (FT 8/12) reveals that she’s managing well with the support of the Government and her children and grandchildren.

She has her exemplary message for the young people to eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables to live long.

I feel the way to a healthy, happy, stress-free and long life, is regular exercise and healthy eating.

You are what you eat.

Life is what you make it – Food first.

Tahir Ali, Hamilton, New Zealand

Powerful pick

The Fiji Times editor-in-chief Fred Wesley, speaks volumes on ‘the final stretch’, with the picture of Nanau Villagers after casting their votes (FT 7/12).

As we count down our days to December 14, with excitement and expectations, the aspiring politicians are doing their best campaigning to convince the voters to cast their valued votes to their favour with promises to serve them with service before self.

We often preach about unity in Fiji’s diverse society, with a strong united front.

Sadly, we see some mud slinging, finger pointing with hate speeches, delivered to the confusion of voters who may find it difficult to choose wisely.

Finally, after listening to everyone, we decide in our independent judgement using common sense to place our most valuable tick in the right box of our choice – not forgetting that a pen is mightier than a sword.

What you put in the ballot box matters most.

“The ballot is stronger than the bullet.” – Abraham Lincoln.

God bless Fiji – stand united under the noble banner blue.

Tahir Ali, Hamilton, New Zealand

Proud of Eileen!

Eileen Cikamatana has gone into history books.

Cikamatana became the first woman to win gold for two countries.

She represented Fiji at the Gold Coast Games in 2018, and won weightlifting gold for Fiji.

Four years later in Birmingham, she repeated the achievement, with her adopted country – Australia, and with a bang, setting new Commonwealth Games records in the women’s 87kg division.

The Guardian reported that Cikamatana grew up in a small village in Levuka, and helped her father carry feed for the pigs he was looking after, and would lift 50kg sacks of meal mix and gas cylinders off and onto his truck.

She started weightlifting on the suggestion of a school teacher, and realised she had the mental fortitude to match her physical strength.

Cikamatana’s rise as a teenager was swift, and at 15 she moved to New Caledonia to train with other top Pacific athletes.

At 18, she burst onto the international scene with gold for Fiji in, but the following year, after a dispute with Fiji’s weightlifting governing body over where she should train, she switched allegiance to Australia – their gain, our biggest loss.

I agree with Oceania Weightlifting Federation general secretary Paul Coffa that Fiji should be proud of what Cikamatana had achieved.

Where ever she goes, deep down in her heart, she knows she is a proud Fijian, and we are proud of her.

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Negative effects of campaigning

I believe as Election Day is getting closer the interest it is generating among the public is immense.

The candidates and political parties are heightening their campaigns in a bid to influence the voters with only a few days left.

No doubt our traditional media organisations and especially The Fiji Times has been providing a very balanced and fair coverage to all the political parties leading up to the elections.

Social media like Facebook and others have been greatly used as a campaigning tool to target the masses.

However, it is clear that in this new age of social media the power it has to inform and more importantly to misinform voters is unprecedented.

The gutter level politics is quite a common sight on Facebook as politicians are clutching at straws without cognizant of the fact that the lasting damage they are doing to our multiracial society.

This kind of negative campaigning is really a moral blight on our society where we have co-existed for so long with deep respect for each other’s religion and culture.

Will our societies still be the same once we move out of this election or the scars of this election campaigns still exist and continue to haunt us?

Pranil Ram, Votualevu, Nadi

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