Letters to the Editor | Saturday, June 3, 2023

Joneti Rokotuibau with her certifi cate after the APTC graduation. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

For the love of family!

Motivation allows people to see beyond their jobs. This has proved true for Joneti Rokotuibau whose story was penned by Elena Vucukula via the People column (FT: 02/06). Sharing her story, Elena said that she switched vocation as she wanted to do better in life. Her dedication paid off as she graduated from the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) with a Diploma in Counselling, an achievement she believed was a blessing in disguise. As she shared her inspirational journey, which was a challenging one, she recalled how financial struggles deterred her from pursuing studies at USP. Now that she has graduated, her qualification will give her recognition and allow her to have a secured job. She also paid credit to her family for their support while she was studying. A family plays a huge role in the success or failure of a person and Joneti’s family should be commended for holding the fort while she was pursuing her studies. Family bonding and unity keep people going and Joneti’ story is a living testament. Congratulations on your achievement Jonetui, and thank you Elena and The Fiji Times for sharing the life of another woman who has set the benchmark for readers! RAJNESH ISHWAR LINGAM
Nadawa, Nasin

Presidential pardon

PERHAPS the unpalatable point that some people tend to ignore is the fact that Sitiveni Rabuka and Voreqe Bainimarama have also carried out coups and broke the law. However, they are spared by the highest law of this island nation while the people and the law hunted George Speight for the same act that he committed. Mr Speight was man enough to spend more than 20 years in prison and I don’t understand why should he not receive a Presidential Pardon. Is it fair that one person pays the price for his crime while the Constitution and the people turn a blind eye on the other two? AREKI DAWAI Suva

Right to love

Every human has a right to love. We all need a second chance in life and may be it’s time to release George Speight under the Yellow Ribbon Program together with Dip Chand. Ravinesh Ram Lautoka

Pardon issue

As a social welfare officer I once did a Mercy of Prerogative report on a convicted murderer who was subsequently granted full pardon. Convicted coup frontman George Speight who has already done 20 years jail time is entitled as a citizen to the due process pertaining to his application for a pardon. That should happen without any let or hindrance from anybody (FT 2/6). That would show respect for the rule of law in our restored democracy. Rajend Naidu Sydney, Australia

Upholding justice

In response to the recent article about the petition for mercy and presidential pardon by 2000 coup-maker George Speight and others. While it is important to consider all factors in such cases, including the views of victims and security institutions, it is equally important to ensure that the process is fair and transparent. I believe the fact that a prisoner initiates a petition does not automatically mean a release, as rightly pointed out by Acting Home Affairs Minister Filimoni Vosarogo. However, it is crucial that the Mercy Commission follows the due process and considers all relevant factors before making a recommendation to the President for the exercise of his powers. Moreover, the Constitution has safety gauges to ensure that no one receives a pardon who does not deserve it. It is important to uphold these safeguards and ensure that the rule of law is upheld. I urge the Government to continue to liaise closely with the RFMF and the Fiji Police Force on law-and-order issues and receive advice from them where necessary. At the same time, the Government should ensure that the process of considering petitions for mercy and presidential pardon is fair, transparent, and upholds the rule of law. Avenai Serutabua Nabukelevu Village, Serua

A step closer

Every step forward Is a step closer to the destination Every small thought Is a step closer Every small decision Is a step closer Every small effort Is a step closer Every small victory Is a step closer Every lesson learnt Is a step closer Every distraction avoided Is a step closer Every obstacle overcome Is a step closer Every failure encountered Is a step closer Every suffering endured Is a step closer Every moment of reflection Is a step closer Every fault rectified Is a step closer Every adjustment made Is a step closer Every fear conquered Is a step closer Every completed work Is a step closer Every goal accomplished Is a step closer Every positive thought Is a step closer Every compassion and humility Is a step to closer to humanity A step forward Is a step closer to destination. Bhagwanji Bhindi Laucala Beach, Nasinu

Technical institutions

Fiji has a few technical institutes, some renowned ones being TVET Pacifica, Montfort Boys Town, Technical and Vocational Centre in Savusavu, and recently established so called Pacific Polytechnic, operating four campuses; Nabua Sanatan Campus, Nausori Campus, Tagitagi Tavua Campus and Lautoka Sanatan Campus. There was not only a need but essentially required to establish technical institutions like Pacific Polytechnic when the existing ones were not able to cater for government’s 5000 quota per annum. I believe only 32% of 5000 were enrolled. I believe there are 15 Technical College of Fiji campuses since 2016, but operations were ceased. I believe they were handed to the Fiji National University (FNU). Yet, I believe, operations weren’t for long and so FNU closed them. I believe the Technical College of Fiji was established to give opportunities to children who were left out, marginalised because of their circumstances, pushing them out of school and thus losing hope for a brighter future. But the dreams of these children for a brighter future were cut short due to closure of Technical Colleges of Fiji (TCF) and its operations ceased later by FNU. According to the Attorney-General, our youths face many challenges. The major one is them getting into criminal acts due to unemployment. There other criminal acts such as their involvement in drugs. The “idle mind is the devil’s workshop”, thus I believe youths need to be engaged in activities such as building life-long skills like trade training skills This is where I believe Government’s initiatives play a major role in building a skilled labour force. Government must be complimented for providing such opportunities to our youths who have been left out, marginalised, dropped out, pushed out pulled or forced out of the school system. In order to cater for the quota and assist Government, I believe Pacific Polytech has opened its doors in its four campuses. This will surely assist Government in its initiatives, lessen criminal acts and improve skills in Fiji’s labour markets. Let’s give a go to Pacific Polytech and assist Government resolve some youth crisis in Fiji and fill gaps, which are created due to labour mobility. Indar Deo Bisun Sakoca Heights, Tamavua, Suva

Stop it!

“It is up to all of us to make sure that we are doing everything we can to make clear to our society and to the public the horrific nature of domestic abuse, the impact it has on people’s lives and the need for us as a society to say: ‘Stop it’.” — Theresa May, British MP. Wise Muavono Balawa, Lautoka

A mismatch

IT’S ironic that while we have a shortage of skilled, trained and qualified workers (probably as a result of emigration and the overseas labour schemes), there is growing unemployment especially among our young well educated people and often graduates! Edward Blakelock Pacific Harbour

Kava point

Someone had pointed out in this column that the Aussie boy who has an issue with kava lovers is an addict himself. While we await information on the soccer league where he is a referee, he might also share with us someday if he prefers baby mix, teenage mix or the adult mix. Mohammed Imraz Janif Natabua, Lautoka

‘Low’ allowance

Just wondering the motive behind the $200 monthly allowance for chiefs. It is a bit too low anyway. Sukha Singh Labasa

National identity

I believe many are grateful that everything is falling back in line as the duo and team are put in their place. Dan Urai Lautoka


I gather the USP has a whistleblower policy at least in name. The former VC of the premier regional university, the late Savenaca Siwatibau, was a great advocate for that. I wonder if Government has such a policy with appropriate protection for whistleblowers? Rajend Naidu Sydney, Australia

Sky Pacific

The Sky Pacific’s new billing system based on a 28-day cycle, instead of the old monthly billing, is a gross disadvantage to all ageing retirees. Sky Pacific gets to gain an additional month’s subscription each year. Thirteen months instead of 12. I am not interested in any new channel. At best I watch a maximum of six channels. The rest just do not interest me. Period. Furthermore, my $12 phone top-up for mobile data now costs $15 for 21 days, not a month. These unpalatable increases cannot be borne by many retirees. It may mean eventually having to cancelling Sky Pacific subscriptions as life, in our twilight years, becomes more “out of financial reach”. I am not impressed at all. Very disappointing Sky Pacific TV. Ronnie Chang Martintar, Nadi

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