Letters to the Editor | Monday, May 29, 2023

Niqa Tuvuki assisting students during the Ratu Sukuna Day celebrations at Ratu Sukuna Memorial School. Picture: JONA KONATACI

Souvenir currency

TODAY we commemorate the life of one of Fiji’s most visionary leaders, Ratu Sir Josefa Lalabalavu Vanayaliyali Sukuna, after a lapse of 13 years.

A grand salute to our Coalition Government for reviving Ratu Sukuna Day and the first Girmit Day.

Allow me to propose that we have souvenir notes and coins in honour of Ratu Sukuna and the girmitiya.

The front of the note and coin to have Ratu Sukuna’s portrait and the back to have some resemblance of the girmitiya.

This may be used as important reminder to our future generations about their history and heritage.


Life of a visionary leader

ON March 18, 2010, then PM Frank Bainimarama announced that Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna Day and National Youth Day would no longer be public holidays.

Thirteen years later, we had a week of glorious celebration in schools and various centres, so much that our students had missed in the past 12 years!

Nabua Secondary School hosted orators while as part of the festivities, a “Leadership Village” was established at Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna Memorial School to engage students and provide a platform for them to learn about leadership principles and also gain an insight into the achievements of Ratu Sukuna.

Ratu Sukuna Day commemorates the death anniversary of a Fijian chief and statesman who made a significant contribution to Fiji’s independence and it is imperative that our young generation understand the life of this esteemed statesman and his significant contribution to the nation.

This year’s celebration serves as a reminder of Ratu Sukuna’s leadership.

RAJNESH ISHWAR LINGAM, Balgovind Rd, Nadawa, Nasinu

Poll system

I REFER to views expressed by Michael Scott of Lautoka on the above issue.

According to recent discussions in so many forums and even at grassroot level I believe majority of our population are not at all happy with our system of elections.

Here we see a person with least political knowledge with about 400 to 500 votes get elected on party lines while a capable politician with outstanding credentials with close to 3000 votes fails to get in Parliament.

Former Reserve Bank governor Savenaca Narube is one good example.

At any cost the constitutional representations should be seriously considered.

I am also pondering on the legality of 2013 Constitution.

Most voters go to polling booths since they have no choice, but they openly condemn the 2013 Constitution by saying that this is not a public document, but forcefully imposed on us.

If there is any merit to throw this out with a simple majority in Parliament and also a public referendum, it should be seriously considered.

Perhaps our legal minds should assist in this critical area.

If there is any way out please come out with your views to solve this burning question.

VIJAY MAHARAJ, Tadevo Rd, Navua

Inmates’ rehab

MY deep concern about the recent news of three convicts who died due to the smuggling of contraband into prisons.

They unfortunately passed away after batteries melted inside their bodies.

This tragic incident highlights the serious risks associated with the smuggling of items into correctional facilities.

It is imperative that steps be taken to prevent such activities from occurring in the future.

Correctional facilities must implement stricter security measures to prevent the smuggling of contraband, including regular searches of visitors and staff members, and the use of advanced scanning technology to detect any illegal items.

As a society, we must recognise the importance of rehabilitating inmates and providing them with a safe and secure environment to serve their sentences.

Smuggling contraband into prisons not only puts the lives of inmates at risk, but also undermines the integrity of the justice system as a whole.

It is my hope that this tragic incident will serve as a wake-up call to correctional authorities and the community at large to take action to prevent the smuggling of contraband into our prisons.

AVENAI SERUTABUA, Nabukelevu Village, Serua

Electing a party

SHEER genius, Michael Scott, (FT 28/05) geniasi as friend Suka would say.

A solution to the Banana republic parliamentary method we have today of electing a party, but not a parliamentary representative.

As far as I can gather, back bench MPs have no function other than voting in the house or sitting on committees.

There is no direct representation of the voting public.

Indeed there is no list of MPs currently listed in Parliament.

No addresses, no phone numbers or even any email addresses and certainly no leased office space occupied by an MP so that voters can approach the MP for electoral assistance.

Mr. Scott’s proposal for government to nominate a member as “a special representative” for a particular region is within the powers of government and perhaps could even be legislated.

The chances of the 2013 Constitution being amended is virtually zero as with the reluctance of registered voters too even turn up at a voting venue, we would not get the necessary majority required, even if all who voted were in favour of the amendments.

TERRY HULME, Eastwood, NSW, Australia

Media abuse

PROFESSOR Wadan Narsey is right to be indignant over the failure to protect journalists and media people who were abused, harassed, hounded and threatened by functionaries of the authoritarian Bainimarama regime (‘Who failed to protect our media freedom?’ FT 27/5).

I share his indignation with the many other prodemocracy and freedom defenders.

The phenomenon of the persecution of journalists by dictatorial regimes is common worldwide.

This is well documented.

To cite one example in military strongman turned president Abdel Fattah ElSisi’s Egypt Al Jazeera journalists have been locked up in jail for three years without trial.

All calls for their release from arbitrary arrest and detainment were ignored.

That’s what authoritarian regimes do.

In our case the body charged with the responsibility of protecting media freedom and the freedom of journalists to do their job with integrity and diligence was a lame duck body with a fancy, high sounding name, MIDA.

Let us hope we never again return to what our media mob experienced under the Bainimarama regime.

Let us not forget that there is no democracy without a free press.

Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia

Praises for Whites

AFTER creating history by reaching the OFC Champions League final, the Babs Khan-coached Suva side proved a tough opponent against favourites Auckland City which won a record 11th OFC Champions League final in extra time 4-2.

City led 2-nil at half-time and it looked like the result was a foregone conclusion, but then Suva equalised and the game went into extra-time.

City scored in extra time and Ryan De Vries added another just before the final whistle.

The win means Auckland will go to another FIFA Club World Cup.

For Suva, it was about pride, passion, hope and anticipation for a triumph that could have etched their name in football history.

Despite the loss, the Whites earned praises from football fans.

Vinaka vakalevu Suva!

RAJNESH ISHWAR LINGAM, Balgovind Rd, Nadawa, Nasinu


WISE counsel teaches us all that the Bose Levu Vakaturaga or Great Council of Chiefs was borne out of “genealogy”.

Good things will happen in God’s perfect time.

Youthful exuberance, on the other hand, has higher expectations.

It needs any progression to address gender equality to happen sooner.

Patience is a virtue.

Let us treasure it.

Au kerea vakabibi meda toso vakamalua, Viti.

RONNIE CHANG, Martintar, Nadi

Special treatment

FORMER senior military officers such as Captain Shane Steven and Lieutenant Colonel Pita Driti, Turaga na Qaranivalu and Tui Namosi were true leaders not to runaway, but to face the adversity and wrath of the past leadership.

Why then a former senior officer, who said he went alone on a fishing trip and was rescued by a foreign navy, be treated as special by the Coalition Government!

Our law is so twisted by those who we elected in office to suit their day.

So sad.

AREKI DAWAI, Maharaj Place, Samabula

Poverty situation

LATEST poverty statistics indicate the grim reality that the iTaukei, who are the dominant population, are the poorest in Fiji.

Can an additional survey be undertaken to conclude if this has been the situation all along?

With an abundance of natural resources at their disposal, I firmly believe native Fijians should be among the wealthiest in the country.

Nonetheless, with the resurrection of the Great Council of Chiefs, an institution highly regarded as the apex of indigenous Fijian politics, I hope the respected leaders (chiefs) will prioritise its commitment in improving and elevating the living standards of its people.

Another crucial factor is to steer clear from that “freebie” culture initiated by the previous regime.

Those enticing and dependency handouts are just a short momentary fix to ease financial burdens.

We do not wish to see three quarters of the Fijian populace in abject poverty for the next century.


Sniffing high

THIS must be a new high.

Sniffing stuff to get high.

So if the sale of glue is supervised, would it solve the issue or would sniffers sniff around for something else?

I read that deodorant can make one high.

What else could there be?

Hopefully we don’t get to see “zombies” around us high after sniffing dog poo.


Chiefly status

IT looks like that the GCC is an institution for small chiefs, high chiefs and super chiefs in this modern era.

AREKI DAWAI, Maharaj Place, Samabula

Government by committee

A LOT of unelected people are having a lot of influence on the Government and its policies.

People in the church, a convicted prominent lawyer (who appears to have been silenced lately), the GCC, dodgy professors and academics, not to mention people in numerous outsourced unelected committees.

This appears to be a government by committee.

Where are the ministers and assistant ministers?

What are the elected people on high salaries and allowances doing?

I have always known that members of government have no idea what to do.

They are all full of “fresh hot air”.

The people of Fiji are oblivious, but what is important is that they are exuberant at re-inventing people from four decades ago!

And then they all wonder why Fiji is where it is!

JAN NISSAR, Sydney, NSW, Australia

East grass

AT last, the passageway into the Churchill Park East Grass area was orderly.

The result of the effort put in by six police officers and a security officer.


Parliament reps

THAT seems like a useful suggestion and even a practical solution, from Mr Michael Scott ( FT 28/05) as per the existing parliamentary representation, given the exhaustive procedures involved to amending our Constitution.

We thank him for his “half-way house” suggestion.

Hope it can be soon put into action, so as to provide a more fair and representative membership in our parliament, instead of the current single constituency arrangement.

EDWARD BLAKELOCK, Admiral Circle, Pacific Harbour

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