Letters to the Editor – September 17, 2020

Suva number eight James Brown (centre) thanks the Nadroga players after their Skipper Cup match at the ANZ Stadium in Suva last week. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

Outstanding performance by Suva skipper

I have been very impressed with Suva’s James Brown’s recent performances in the Skipper Cup and Farebrother competitions. He has been outstanding especially at the back of the scrum as number eight or the so-called the last man down. He led Suva to a scintillating victory over the Stallions last weekend in the absence of John Stewart and I must say that James led extremely well wearing the captain’s armband. Suva in the first half was awarded several penalties deep in the Stallions’ territory and James opted for the scrum instead of the posts like many captains would normally do. And it paid dividends. The scrums wearied the heavy Stallions forward pack that saw them constantly on the backfoot and spotted walking on many occasions as the Suva forwards dominated play and steamrolled the forwards battle. When the Stallions regrouped and fought back hard in the second half; James never seemed to cringe. He is a real leader. He was composed and weathered the storm. I vividly remembered rugby’s golden voice Graham Eden many years ago spoke highly of James’ consistency and versatility. James is a utility forward. He could play lock, flanker and number eight, which seems to be his preferred position. I’m dumbfounded why national selectors never called him up for national 15s duties. During last weekend’s clash with the Stallions, I shared with my buddy Rajnesh Ishwar about James’ performance which should qualify him on merit for the Flying Fijians number 8 jumper and the captain’s armband as well. James in my opinion has ticked all boxes in as far as players selection criteria for nationals is concerned. He is very strong in both offence and defence. Reads the game well. Controls possession well at the back of the scrum. Wins lineouts and delivers clean balls for his team. Has made several turnovers and always creates havoc at the breakdowns which are the traits of a world-class loose forward. I’d like to call him the scavenger in rugby. He never rests! He just keeps going. Such a ball hunter that will be an asset to the Flying Fijians. He is at the top of his game right now and I hope our new national 15s coach calls him up for national 15s duties which I strongly believe has been long overdue. Wananavu Jemesa! Joka ca! Set kece! ALIPATE TUBERI

COVID logic

You can permit thousands of spectators to watch live rugby matches sandwiched in a stadium (Skipper Cup is a fine example) but a funeral has limitations to less than a 100 mourners. What is the rational behind the funeral restriction? Nishant Singh Lautoka

Biodiversity and ecosystem

In regard to consultation on biodiversity (16/9/2020), Hon Dr Mahendra Reddy, Minister for Environment has raised an under focused issue of “loss of biodiversity and ecosystem” in a regional and global scale and he addressed this issue via consultation. One needs to understand its meaning first, that is defined as “the variability among living organisms from all sources including inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems”. It is usually considered at three levels of genetic, species and ecosystem diversity. Conserving land degradation has become a challenge in the Pacific, as this is aggravated by deforestation, urbanisation, climatic change, economic development. Therefore, everyone’s participation is valuable for sustainable management of natural resources that will be positive social, economic and ecological benefits. We have to work simultaneously on both approaches of in situ (on-site) conservation and ex-situ (off-site) conservation to achieve the desired sustainable biodiversity conservation goals. We all should thrive to achieve rich biodiversity of the Earth that is highly essential for the survival of human beings. It needs a joint effort of all stakeholders to work in tandem to conserve biodiversity rather than waiting when it is too late. Dr Sakul Kundra Lautoka

Drone technology

An interesting outcome of the use of drone technology in the upcoming but belated National Forestry Inventory will be the provision of visual images of areas in our hinterlands that are being used for illegal cultivation. While this illegal practice may have been going on for years, I believe that this will be the first time this technology is being deployed to actually prove their existence. Aside from that, the data and visual images derived will definitely provide invaluable information on the status, scale and locations of areas of re-afforestation and de-afforestation; indiscriminate felling and logging; indiscriminate burning; as well to show areas of erosion and denudation. Armed with this information, I’m sure the current tree-planting initiatives will be able to become more targeted and focused so as to compensate for vegetation losses. Hopefully, by the next inventory 10 years from now we will at least see some early results from the current tree-planting initiatives and how much more carbon credits we are able to generate. My good wishes to the ministry and its data-collectors for success in this noble and important work. Edward Blakelock Admiral Circle, Pacific Harbour

Free lunch

I must thank and salute the management and members of the Sabeto Maather Sangam for providing free lunch to students of Sabeto District School. I was delighted to see on social media a few weeks ago about free lunch given to students at school. I must commend the club for thinking outside the box and for their assistance to the students. Sabeto Maather Sangam is a rural-based group at Sanasana, Nadi and comes under the TISI Sangam Organisation. The members also assist and prepare food for the children at Sabeto Sangam School. Once again thank you, mothers. Ranga Nathan Legalega, Nadi

Special school

I wish to thank the people who are supporting the special school in Lautoka. During my rounds of  schools in the West, I saw schools that have nice facilities. They have government grants and are backed by  religious organisations
that have loads of money. The special school is somewhat the same, but you have special people to  teach the children.
Two hearing-impaired boys are employed in a hotel. According to the headteacher,  they have been employed
because they finish work in half the time. Why? They do not sit around and talk. The school needs more  recognition.
ALLEN LOCKINGTON Kava Place, Lautoka

Repatriation flights

I firmly believe that repatriation flights, especially those originating from countries where COVID infections are well out of control, pose a serious risk to the health of this nation. Sure, we have good effective border control, well policed quarantine facilities etc, excellent medical staff etc. but eventually chinks in the armour will begin to appear as we have seen in a recent quarantine incident. Fiji is in enough problems without having to go into further lockdowns and related economic and social difficulties. It is necessary to formulate a rigid code to determine who can be repatriated, and how the repatriation is to be done. The EU has just introduced guidelines on how cross border COVID-19 statistics affect travel and quarantine systems. Very strict quarantine regulations are put into force on citizens of countries that exhibit COVID infection rates above 50 per 100,000 population, and positive testing rates of above three per cent. I suggest that citizenship repatriation cannot be effected to Fiji if the country concerned exceeds those stated guidelines. Before repatriation can be considered, all concerned countries must be below guideline limits for at least 14 days. Further to this, all repatriation flights must be non-stop to Fiji, or only permitted to stop in countries complying with the above guidelines. COVID infections are increasing at an alarming rate in many parts of the globe, and in many countries that once had it under control. Fiji needs to adopt a rigid policy now regarding who can enter, and from where. Allan Loosley Tavua

Taxi security

The concept of installing security cameras in taxis has been floated around to protect taxidrivers. In view of the escalating incidents of violent crimes against them. This move seems to be a reasonable one. However, this matter needs consultation and discussion with the taxi union and other stakeholders in this business. All aspects of security cameras in taxis from purchase to installation and follow-up services need to be discussed. I am of the opinion that the security cameras should be made mandatory. Also it should be operational at all times the taxi is in motion. Protection of these expensive cameras should also be discussed. Lest it is frequently vandalised. Furthermore, hands-free telephones are installed in all taxis to discourage the drivers from using mobile phones which have been the cause of many accidents. If we are to make our roads accident-free, we have no choice but to introduce this modern technological advancement. The Land Transport Authority should devise a method of providing subsidy towards this project if it has to be an inclusive and successful project. Dewan Chand Donu Place, Namadi Heights, Suva

Late warrior

Maikeli Seru and his write-up on our late warrior Lemeki juggernaut Koroi takes us down memory lane. The picture had the Fiji sevens cream of 1996 with the Black Pearl Bari, twinkle toes Qauqau, maestro Serevi and his room-mate in most tournaments Tuikabe, fellow soldier Seta Tawake, strongman Tuilevu, Diri Yalayala and Nadi forward Ponipate. However, the one fallen son that brought tears to my eyes was the late Steelman Aminiasi Naituiyaga, our all-time favourite who shed blood and sweat at the 1997 World Cup without a single complaint. He was a perfect example of the saying “never underestimate the power of a peaceful man”. Lemeki joins him, and our prayers remain with their families. Vinaka Viti Times for this memory. Also remembering our first Hong Kong 1984 coach Mr Duncan. Sa joka kece! Shalwyn Prasad Mukta Ben Place, Nabua, Suva

Plot lost

Has the plot been lost in the ongoing RKS debacle? Nishant Singh Lautoka

Funeral rites

People make videos or take pictures during the performance of funeral rites. Peculiarly, some attendees smile for the cameras. Mohammed Imraz Janif Natabua, Lautoka

Japanese aid

The Fisheries Ministry has been working successfully with JICA on development assistance projects (FT 16/9). I believe seeking similar assistance from Japan on infrastructure development will assist in controlling our national debt. Dan Urai Lautoka

Health is wealth

There is so much meaning in the above. I believe only when people encounter problems with the first, then they realise that the second is of no use. Sharif Shah Savusavu

Children’s lunch

I would like to thank the support all the way from Tasmania, Australia, from Shamida Bibi, Imraan Saunders and Shahista, for financially assisting St Peter Chanel Primary School children’s lunch on Tuesday, September 1. I would also like to thank Ashik Ali and Gazala and family of Korolevu for supporting financially and in kind. A big thank you to Azim Buksh, Najim Buksh, Hasin Bano (Babi), Tahir, Mehrul (Babi), Ifraz (Paapu), Rozina, Irshad, Yazid (Sunny), Farisha, Sandra, Tameem (Michael), Shameer (Aapu). This tremendous support towards 400-plus students in this very needy time has shown that normal people are more powerful to help. God bless these hardworking people. Jaheed Buksh Korolevu, Sigatoka

Extra mile

Going the extra mile for persons deemed to be ordinary, can make such journeys to become quite extraordinary, as they say, the very bold and the risk-takers, can inevitably become the great vision-makers, who can and will achieve their noble mission, with sheer determination and real and strong conviction. Edward Blakelock Admiral Circle, Pacific Harbour

Water shortage

What an irony that people are today facing water shortage (FT 30/8) in a region from where bottled water was once exported worldwide. Rajend Naidu Sydney, Australia


I BELIEVE it’s archaic and repressive where teachers teach not with confidence but fear. It will only be improved after thorough consultation with all stakeholders. Dan Urai Lautoka

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