Letters to the Editor – September 21, 2020

Women groups , NG0's marched through the capital activism Against Violence Against Women . Picture: JONA KONATACI/FILE

State of democracy in Fiji

IN yet another insightful and thought provoking article in his Sunday column, John Kamea points out that the UN International Day of Democracy “provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the past and consider the state of democracy that we Fijians are in” (Where do we stand – FT 20/09 ). It most certainly does. So using the universally recognised yardstick for assessing the state of democracy — like media freedom, freedom of speech, human rights, civil rights, right to assemble, to peaceful protest, independent judiciary, apolitical institutions of state like the police, the military and the civil service —what is the true status of Fijian democracy in 2020, 14 years after the “clean up” coup that promised the Fijian people it was to give them ” true democracy ” for the first time in the country’s history? Is there any public discourse on it? RAJEND NAIDU Sydney, Australia

Survival mode

THE saying, “where there’s a will there’s a way” has been around for a long time. Well, I have seen people who are struggling because of COVID, selling food, bartering goods and other stuff on line. COVID has brought out the survival mode in people. Good to see this. A few people we delivered food packs to during these tough times have used the flour, tinned stuff and rice to cook and sell and earn money. Those who said it couldn’t be done are now doing this to be able to put food on the table, buy top up, pay bills and do other stuff. Oh yeah, there are many who just wait – but that’s another story. ALLEN LOCKINGTON Kava Place, Lautoka

Fiji needs to diversify

FIJI needs tourism. This was the conclusion in the well written – as always – and thought provoking article on tourism (p.14 of FT 17/09). That is so true then, now and in the future. However, we also know the proverbial saying that we should not put all our eggs in one basket. One thing that has become evidently clear during this current pandemic is the risks and the ensuing problems that can arise and has indeed arisen when we totally rely and depend on just one or two industries to prop up our economy. Small island nations like ours — being the passive “receivers and takers” in the global economy and not the active “producers and makers” like the bigger economies — make the current dependency scenario, all the more risky and fragile. One can therefore not over-emphasise the need for Fiji to diversify its economies the best way it can, while further developing the tourism and sugar industries in the process as well, to ensure a well rounded mix of products to rely on. Diversification should include a concerted focus on comparative advantages and niche-based high value agro-based businesses and on other small to medium-sized businesses that have a captured market, outside an open market price system. While diversification has always been part of our economic policy, it may have not been as “positively exploited” as much as it should. We have now been given a reprieve and an opportunity to rethink things and hopefully become more realistic and pragmatic, in our approaches and strategies henceforth, towards diversification. It will certainly be remiss of us, not to do so. I’m sure that our future generations, will be forever grateful for the positive directions that we take today, on their behalf. EDWARD BLAKELOCK Admiral Circle, Pacific Harbour

Art outreach

IT’S pleasing to read that the Arts Inclusion Project that started on Friday at the Suva City Carnegie Library is one of making arts more visible and accessible for children and young people. It was also pleasing to read that people turned up at the library to learn something new despite the rainy and cold Suva weather. I agree with artist Reapi Tuitokova Blyde that this outreach program could fall within the philosophical, educational and leadership mission of the library as an institution, to become an arts hub for the community. It will help involve our artists in the classroom with worthwhile activities especially during the school holidays. The joy on the faces of our little ones spoke their feelings. Thank you the Sunday Times for a refreshing piece. Much better than the usual political gimmick that we read daily! RAJNESH ISHWAR LINGAM Balgovind Rd, Nadawa, Nasinu

Glorious sporting weekend

DEFINITELY a glorious sporting weekend full of soccer and rugby league and union action but the results were disappointing for me. Nadro’s loss at the hands of Namosi 15-6 in the double-header clash at Ratu Cakobau Park was painful and so was Manchester United’s loss at home to Crystal Palace 3-1. To top it up, Daugunu’s Reds lost to the Brumbies in the final of Super Rugby Australia while the Blues won the Vanua State of Origin challenge beating the Western State Maroons 10-8 in a thriller. Giants Suva taught Yasawa a bitter rugby lesson with a 51-3 thrashing win while Tailevu fought hard to defeat Lautoka 31-12 and keep alive their hopes of staying in the top flight. Nadi got back to winning ways as the Jets beat visitors Naitasiri 14-11. I read with great interest the letters written by Mohammed Imraz titled “Soccer players”, by Alipate “Chiuu” Tuberi titled “A reminder” and the letter by Shalwyn Prasad titled “Ardent fan” in the The Sunday Times. As for soccer players, Imraz, our local boys need to follow Roy Krishna’s footsteps — be passionate during training, demand less and perform to the best of their abilities on the field. To Shalwyn, please don’t be disheartened with Nadroga’s performance. They will rise after the loss. I’m sure bitter lessons have been learnt. The Farebrother Sullivan Trophy is gone but hopes are high with the Skipper Cup. Finally, to my “Chiuu”, your predictions have been right sir and I’m sure you and John Stewart will have the last laugh when Suva challenges Namosi. Until then, enjoy and cheers! RAJNESH ISHWAR LINGAM Balgovind Rd, Nadawa, Nasinu

Staying afloat

AS one of the lucky ones to be granted the $7000 small business loan, I thank God and the Fiji Government for this timely loan, especially as we try to stay afloat during this COVID-19 pandemic. My heart goes out to the thousands of Fijians who had applied but were not successful and I hope our FijiFirst Government will find a way in helping those who missed out. I was impressed as we signed our loan repayment documents at the FIRCA office in Nasese that with the $7000 loan, we only have to pay $175 interest in the next five years. Wow, what a blessing! As a small business specialising in doing visa applications for Fijians wishing to visit Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada; the COVID-19 lockdown gave the travel and visa industry a death blow. But God does work in mysterious ways, in that I was able to help Fijians stuck in Australia with their visa issues at a very low service fee, which kind of kept me going during these difficult times. The plan is to open an office in Lautoka and one in Labasa when the embassies open for business and I again thank God and the Fiji Government for approving my loan, which will help me to keep my dreams alive and be a blessing to my family and others, as a retired citizen. SAVENACA VAKALIWALIWA Lakeba St, Samabula, Suva

Governance

AS matters arise, the question that follows is “do Fijians deserve a unilateral and imposing government?” DAN URAI Lautoka

IDC prizemoney

I THANK Fiji FA with their sponsors for organising the IDC during these times when organisations have implemented financially prudent measures. However, I believe that there is disparity in terms of the prizemoney allocation for the semi-finalists and the runners-up. I believe the current prizemoney allocation towards the runner-up of $6000 and semi-finalists of $1000 would not be fair and proportional by any measure for the effort that will be put in by these teams. I hope that Fiji FA relooks into this as this would make this competition more competitive. I am sure the associations who would reach the final stages would also be looking forward for this much needed cash injection to improve their cash flow. PRANIL RAM Votualevu, Nadi

Free speech

SOME writers to this column pretend to be champions of free speech and democracy. However, when the editor chooses to publish my right to free speech they are not happy. Hypocrites. JAN NISSAR NSW, Australia

Peace

PEACEFUL thoughts cooling and calming Empowering one with happy feeling Accepting differences with mutual understanding Co-operating to work together reassuring Ensuring peace to be everlasting BHAGWANJI BHINDI Nasinu

Social media

FOR every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. In Fiji there is also a social media overreaction. Hahaha. WISE MUAVONO Hedstrom Pl, Balawa, Lautoka

Future star

NOTE the name Rusiate Nasove – a future star in the making. This hard-hitting and fiery flanker reminds us of our yesteryear fury in one of my favourite Lokimi Finau – the Kaukauwa warrior in his prime days. Nasove has all the attributes of a good and complete rugby player and with a few more top level games should break through into top level barring any overseas poaching or contracts. His most admirable skill is fighting for the kickoff ball when in his path and is a scavenger and ball hunter, a true warrior in the making. Nasove all the way. Bula Tiko and team, start counting the days now sniffing distance toso Viti show them to them. SHALWYN PRASAD Mukta Ben Place, Nabua

Madam minister

“I MIGHT say something that I am not supposed to say” — Education Minister. I wonder who is in charge of the Education Ministry. MOHAMMED IMRAZ JANIF Natabua, Lautoka

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