Letters to the Editor – February 26, 2020

Police Blue player Terio Tamani in action against Police White during the cup final at the Super 7s Series at Prince Charles Park in Nadi. Picture: REINAL CHAND

Nawaka 7s tournament

The Police Blues side, which had current and former 7s players such as Keponi Paul, Suliano Volivoli, Rusiate Nasove, Terio Tamani, Samisoni Viriviri, Rusiate Matai and Waisea Nacuqu, once again dominated the second leg of the FRU Super 7s Series after belting Police White which had the services of Joe Talacolo, Apisalome Waqatabu and Mesake Tuinamena. As teams are preparing for this weekend’s Nawaka 7s, I hope disciplinary issues would be addressed and fans would be entertained to fast-flowing and exciting rugby. The Nawaka 7s tournament had a humble beginning but has a proud background and history and I commend the sponsors and Joe Rodan for the long-term commitment towards the tournament. Furthermore, the buildup in The Fiji Times is great and is adding the much-needed hype as we approach the pool games on Friday! Reading about the unknown 7s teams adds excitement. RAJNESH ISHWAR LINGAM, Nadawa, Nasinu

Local tourism

Local tourism has obviously not replaced hotel bookings commensurately in comparison with pre-COVID bookings by overseas visitors. And while it has provided respite to some hotels especially during holidays and long weekends, the initiative will by no means get hotels recording reasonable profits and jobs back to decent working hours. One just has to see the empty hotels in the West to surmise this. Weekdays are worse, while weekends are barely decent. To fuel local tourism further, I suggest the Government to designate duty-free shopping zones, similar to shopping outlets at airport departures. Good examples can be Nadi Town or Port Denarau shopping complex where locals who have proof of their hotel stay can be entitled to purchase certain items on duty free basis during their stay period. This can possibly do wonders for hotel bookings and result in better business for many struggling retailers. Bimal Prasad Newtown Rd, Wailoaloa, Nadi

Reappoint Ahluwalia

It is very clear that political and civil society leaders together with a majority of staff members and students at USP are appalled at the summary deportation of the head of the premier regional higher education institution, and his wife by our Government. Public opinion in Fiji and abroad regard the action taken as ill-conceived, mean, inhumane and grossly unjust. Professor Pal Ahluwalia barely completed two years of his five-year contract. There was absolutely no consultation regarding his deportation and work permit cancellation with his employer, the USP Council. It also appears that FNU had no inkling of Sandra Price’s deportation either. To ensure that justice is done, the USP Council should reappoint Prof Ahluwalia on a three-year contract and locate him in one of the other 11-member states of the university. Samoa and Vanuatu with the other two larger campuses have offered to do so. Such a decision will reaffirm USP’s fundamental regional character as well as provide reassurance to expatriate heads of other regional institutions based in Suva of more employment security. Prof Vijay Naidu Suva

Positive move

The extension of pool phase by a week in the 2023 Rugby World Cup is a positive move which should level the playing field in terms of recovery time. In the 2019 Rugby World Cup, Pool D had Australia, Wales, Fiji, Georgia and Uruguay. The turnaround statistics heavily favoured Australia and Wales. Australia’s fixtures were Fiji, Wales, Uruguay and then Georgia. Between matches, the turnaround days were eight, six and six. A total of 20 days. Welsh fixtures were Georgia, Australia, Fiji and then Uruguay. Between matches, the turnaround days were six, 10 and six. A total of 22 days. Fiji’s fixtures were Australia, Uruguay, Georgia and then Wales. Between matches, the turnaround days were four, eight and six. A total of 18 days. Georgia’s fixtures were Wales, Uruguay, Fiji and then Australia. Between matches, the turnaround days were six, four and eight. A total of 18 days. Uruguay’s fixtures were Fiji, Georgia, Australia and Wales. Between matches, the turnaround days were four, six and eight. A total of 18 days. While the changes are great, I hope a formula is worked out so that the rest days between matches are close to being evenly spread and does not raise alarm for favouritism. Mohammed Imraz Janif Natabua, Lautoka

Alarming statistics

When recent reports came through that Jamaica was facing a marijuana shortage, one of the jokes I heard was that they should approach Fiji. At present in Fiji, the once fight on drugs has become a war on drugs. In this war, the users are rarely mentioned. If we were to consider giving the marijuana joke reality status, would other illicit drugs manufactured locally in laboratories or back yards be considered for the export market as well? I think calls to make them legal will follow. What about glue sniffing and homebrew? Would there be also calls to introduce contract killing as a legal profession in Fiji? I think we have a war on drugs in Fiji because there is a local market. Relating to the alarming statistics, in a population of less than one million, how many users do we have and who are they? Is it a surprising case of “Et tu, Brute?” If we were to argue that marijuana needs to be legalised in Fiji with supporting evidence that tobacco and alcohol are legal, will it reduce or eradicate tobacco and alcohol-related health and financial problems? For a developing country such as Fiji, we already have tonnes of problems on our plates. With drugs, there is definitely quick and easy monetary gain. What about the short term and long term losses? Money won’t recover those losses. Illicit drugs are addictive and harmful. The war on drugs has to become a national war on drug usage. Mohammed Imraz Janif Natabua, Lautoka

COVID-19 vaccination

I note a report that two types of COVID vaccines are expected next month, together with necessary refrigeration vehicles (thanks to Japan), to keep one of the vaccines at a very low temperature. It is to be hoped that the vehicles are self-contained and do not have to rely on the EFL grid. Vaccines said to be on offer are Pfizer and Oxford AstraZeneca (OAZ). The Pfizer has an excellent reputation, but the OAZ, whilst just as effective, is limited according to “elderly” age constraints in some countries. However, recent tests in the UK have determined its safety for all age groups, but the Fiji Health Service should make a reasoned judgment based on their knowledge of age and pre-existing conditions within Fiji. Allan Loosley Tavua

LTDD deaths

It is unbecoming to note that whilst we in our small island nation are proud to contain the most dangerous virus (COVID-19 pandemic) but are not at ease to record deaths related to LTDD. Leptospirosis, typhoid, dengue fever and diarrhoea it seems are on the rise, attacking the population in silence. Our young people are at risk. The workers involved in farms, drain cleaning, grasscutting are not spared. Those who are engaged in such professions are to take all precautionary measures and wear appropriate clothing to protect themselves. Safety and health are the utmost priority. Communities are to be more vigilant in taking simple preventative measures so that we can counter these silent killers. Don’t be complacent and lose loved ones. Prevention is indeed better than cure. Join hands for better! Rouhit Karan Singh Lautoka


Time will tell who will get these vaccines first on our shores. Will our people in remote parts first? Will senior citizens over 65, 70, 75, 80 and beyond be made to stand in queue with younger fitter folks? Or will our top guns in the corridors of power enjoy special privilege? Tough questions? Ronnie Chang Martintar, Nadi

We will rise

When our big brothers New Zealand and Australia open their borders, Fiji will surely arise from hibernating and will become the hub of the Pacific once again. That is if we are driven well. Let’s be optimistic about this, guys! Joeli Naleca Natabua, Lautoka

PM for the day

Kirti, if I was PM for a day, I will spend it researching what GDP is. Allen Lockington Kava Place, Lautoka

$200m cheque

Watching TV1 news I saw our PM receiving a cheque for $200m from the Japanese ambassador to help our finances in these hard times and I wondered where is our Minister for Economy? Alastair Ward Tamavua, Suva


People can raise their concerns as much as they want but when democracy is tortured and murdered, nothing can work. Only prayers and hope for betterment. The string is being pulled too much. Let’s hope it does not get very thin otherwise it might break and land in the 2022 election. Kirti Patel Lautoka

Curfew reason

So why do we still have the curfew? Am asking for my buddy Navneet. Allen Lockington Kava Place, Lautoka

Silent killer

While the Government took great measures to protect everyone from the pandemic, leptospirosis may have stolen the lives of 10. Let’s improve public awareness of this silent killer. Dan Urai Lautoka

Dan Waqa

How fitting it was for veteran Labasa midfielder turned striker Taniela Waqa to make the front page of Goal Fiji (FT24/02)! Waqa is the oldest member of Labasa’s winning team and is part of the back-to-back IDC and CVC wins. When I heard Dan, as he is fondly known on the field, was retiring, I was sad because he is fit, and is raring to go, and has played a vital role in Labasa’s success. He is the man Labasa fans look up to when the going gets tough. Dan reminds me of the likes of Henry Dyer, who played even when he was in his 40s. Thank you so much Dan for your commitment and passion towards football and Labasa Football Association!

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