Editorial comment – February 21, 2020

Lae City players celebrate a goal thumping Lautoka 7-0 at the Luganville Soccer City stadium in Vanuatu. Picture: looppng.com

Blues hammered

THE manner in which our second-best ranked team was hammered in Vanuatu by Lae City speaks volumes of Fiji’s soccer standard and this result is a wake-up call for FFA’s top brass. Down five nil at half-time, even coach Anand Sami’s pep talk had little impact on the team who conceded two more goals to go down (7-0). After signing a host of international players, the Blues looked a strong team on paper but the way the boys played against Lae City showed that there was something wrong somewhere as Lautoka played well against Malampa Revivors and held the home side (1-1). The Blues play Henderson Eels today in their last pool match and I’m holding my nerves that the boys will play for pride. I’m sure that the results of Lautoka’s soccer matches will motivate Ba to do well in their group matches. With this result my mind goes back to last year when Labasa protested against Lautoka and the protest was ruled in favour of Lautoka. I wonder if the result of that protest has come back to haunt Lautoka. Kaise baat! RAJNESH ISHWAR LINGAM, Nadawa, Nasinu

Parliament posts

RECENT parliament social media posts have left me questioning their complete neutrality. Usually, Parliament Facebook posts up the order paper for each day and photos of the proceedings. I am an avid follower of parliament sittings and, if I’m as correct as I think I am, they only began posting specific notices for ministerial statements on Tuesday 18/02/20. I’m wondering if this is a measure to draw more attention to ministers’ statements and, maybe, even beef up viewership? Since this is being done for the Government side, will the Parliament in all their neutrality and independence do the same for Opposition members’ statements? At the end of the day and regardless of which side of the house they’re on, they all represent the people of Fiji. SAMUELA SAVU Nakasi, Naisori

Backyard gardens

ONE thing that I have seen around most places in Vanuatu is vegetable gardens. Every home has a backyard garden with fresh green vegetables and root crops. Bele is a must in everyday meals. Some time ago my Government was promoting backyard gardening and looking at our local market which is always full of fresh fruits and vegetables, you can only dream of something like that in Vanuatu market. It’s about time we all grow our own fruits, vegetables and root crops at home. NARAYAN REDDY Lautoka

The Phoenix theatre

WHENEVER I make a trip to Suva, I always keep an eye at the once famous building the Phoenix theatre in downtown Suva. I believe it has been in that degrading condition for a long time now. The Phoenix theatre had its own shares of memories when it was in full operation. The Hibiscus Festival public judging, the singing competition, the fund-raising concerts and the double feature matinees to name a few. I can still recall in the mid ’60s, the admission fee was two milk wrappers, the theatre was jam-packed and the movie was the Sound of Music. Until now, it is still one of my favourite musical movies. There was also a movie called The flight of the Phoenix shown at the theatre. My pocket-size dictionary says that the word phoenix is a “mythological bird said to burn itself and be born again from its ashes”. Maybe the time is nigh for us to see something new to replace the old building in the near future. Only time will tell. VILI YARANAMUA Tamavua, Suva

Water supply

I LIVE on Kanace Rd, Valelevu, Nasinu. We are now well into our third week of having our water supply cut off around 8 or 9pm almost every evening and not restored until almost daybreak. When I enquired as to why this was happening, the Water Authority of Fiji customer service agent told me that the water levels in the reservoir were low and that it was necessary to cut the supply to save water. I can accept this but what is difficult to accept is that this inconvenience doesn’t seem to be shared equally among various areas of Suva suburbs. My friend who lives in Kinoya tells me that they have not had their water supply cut off at any time. Also, we are told by the Health Ministry that personal hygiene is of paramount importance during this time of the coronavirus outbreak. How can we do this when it’s difficult to get a shower? There has been no communication to householders in the area about this. Perhaps someone from the WAF could respond and let us know how long this unacceptable situation is going to continue and do they have plans to compensate the customers. After all they expect us to pay the bills on time. We expect them to supply us with water. STEVE ILLINGWORTH Valelevu, Nasinu

Seaworthy vessels and wrecks

I BELIEVE it is considered the general rule of international law that ports of each nation should be open to all commercial vessels. This enables vessels to trade, load and offload cargo, and generally carry out their business. It also allows for nations to benefit from their port activities, through promotion of commercial maritime trade. This becomes less desirable however, when foreign vessels, often unseaworthy fishing vessels, enter Fiji waters, then sink and become either a hazard to other ships, to the environment or to both? Is it then legitimate, or desirable, for a country such as Fiji to impose conditions for entry and/or exit when national interest supersedes international maritime custom and tradition. Over many years it is clear our waters are being accessed by many vessels that would, by any reasonable standard, be deemed unseaworthy. That many of these vessels are now cluttering our harbours and ports speaks for itself. What does “seaworthy” mean? Definitions usually require that to be “seaworthy” a vessel and all of its parts (engine(s) and equipment) are suited and fit for their intended purpose, including the normal perils of sea, and that its crew are capable of operating it to that standard. Are there internationally recognised certificates of seaworthiness? There are, of course, rules that address the need for a place of refuge for vessels in danger of sinking, to ensure the safety of those on board. It is unclear whether any of the vessels currently languishing, submerged or partially so, in greater Suva Harbour were ever in need of such refuge. Most appear to be grossly unseaworthy, however, there is a clear need to consider why we continue to allow such vessels into our ports, when there is a significant risk they will sink while here. We are then left with the burden of rendering them safe by removing fuel, oil etc, to protect our fragile environment, then removing them from channels and waterways used by other traffic. This is costly, and too often borne by the authorities in Fiji alone. Owners, it appears, cannot be compelled to pay up, or not without major time and effort expended to do so. Prevention is better than cure. Can we consider what conditions we can impose on vessels entering our waters, to ensure we don’t end up with more rusty-reefs littering our harbours and ports, threatening our waters and coastlines, and turning the places they come to rest into ship graveyards? Can we require survey and seaworthiness certificates of all vessels entering or travelling through our waters? While this may go some way towards solving the problem, there will be some jurisdictions whose certification standards are inferior. Could such authorities be black-listed? What do other countries do? Do they also have derelict vessels cluttering their harbours, or do they ban them in the first place? There needs to be a balance between allowing normal trade to be carried out by vessels visiting our waters, and unreasonably preventing it. We need to rationalise the need for commerce with the need to protect our environment. Singapore sets high standards. Can we not follow suit? VIVIEN COUNSELL MITCHELL Serua

Weak Opposition

I BELIEVE what makes the Opposition weak is their numbers and not what they do or say. Sukha Singh Labasa

Crusaders vs Highlanders

THE Crusaders vs Highlanders battle in Christchurch is set to add excitement to the Super Rugby 2020 campaign. Ironically, last week the Crusaders dumped the Blues (25-8) away from home while the Highlanders upset the Brumbies (23-22) away from home. It’s all about attitude, guts and passion as the neighbours come head to head in Christchurch tonight. All the best to Scotty and his band of warriors! Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam Nadawa, Nasinu

Working together

I think from the Government’s perspective, the Opposition will never say or do anything right. Likewise, for the Opposition, the Government will never say or do anything which is right. For once they should leave behind their differences for pick-up and delivery to the Naboro Landfill and work together for the people who put them in Parliament. Mohammed Imraz Janif Natabua, Lautoka

Climate change

WE are the leader of issues of climate change in the world, yet we neglect the causes of climate change in our own country. Suliasi Cakautabu Rakiraki

Derogatory remark

WHILE addressing communities in Rakiraki last week honourable Ashneel Sudhakar reportedly said that “where there are kai-India, why do we have so much trouble” (FT 20/2). I hope that he realises that statement also applies to him for he is also a kai-India. Or does he believe otherwise? Such generalised derogatory remark against one particular ethnic group coming from a minister is disgusting. Perhaps he has forgotten whose votes have put him in Parliament. SELWA NANDAN Lautoka

Dirty water

WHY are we getting brown water in our taps. When the Water Authority of Fiji was privatised, I thought they will give better service but looks like it has gone from bad to worse. Can the minister concerned and the Commerce Commission please look into this issue please. John Brown Drasa Vitongo, Lautoka

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