Letters to the Editor – March 1, 2021

Fiji 7s head coach Gareth Baber witness the Super 7s Series at Prince Charles Park in Nadi. Picture: REINAL CHAND

Poor discipline

IF the number of yellow cards dished out on day one of the Fiji Bitter Nawaka 7s is an indicator of discipline, then without a doubt the statistics are shocking and indicate a serious issue. Media reports highlight that of the 99 games, 58 yellow cards with nine red cards were recorded. This is an average of about 1.7 yellow cards per game. Even the nine red cards is beyond comprehension as it takes only one dangerous tackle to land a serious injury if not put an abrupt end to a players career, including dreams to don the national jersey. One hopes that national rugby authorities proactively embrace the issue by ensuring more discussions among officials of participating teams and also in the media. We must get to the core of this. One may argue that it will take time but the sooner we start, the better. FLOYD ROBINSON Toorak

Shameful incident

ARE all the Police White team players, which participated in the Nawaka 7s tournament over the weekend, trained police officers? Was the shameful incident in the match between Raiwasa Taveuni and Police White which led to several police officers in uniform entering the field just a sporting disciplinary matter? I saw it live on television. After getting punched twice, a Raiwasa Taveuni player was punched a third time while lying on the ground. For tragic seconds last Saturday afternoon, it didn’t look like Fiji laws and world rugby laws were intact in Fiji. In most matches, there were lots of intimidating tactics, pushing, off the ball incidents, tapping on the heads, challenging referees decisions in hostile manner, high tackles, shoulder charges, neck rolls, etc. I feel the purpose of the Super 7s Series and sevens tournaments is being defeated. MOHAMMED IMRAZ JANIF Natabua, Lautoka

Seeing red

I AGREE with 7s coach Gareth Baber that coaches of rugby clubs must take responsibility in improving the discipline of players at local tournaments. The scenes during the Nawaka 7s that made headlines showed the ugly side of rugby, and it’s a pity that those who are responsible for upholding the law lost their temper. The Nawaka 7s was marred by poor discipline and some prominent 7s reps were shown the door to the sin-bin, and I was disappointed that Sevuloni Mocenacagi was once again shown the red card. Discipline of our players has been the talanoa around the tanoa and it must be addressed at the earliest. It’s high time that FRU comes down hard on indiscipline. On the other hand, congratulations to the Fiji Warriors side for defeating the Fiji Barbarians side 24-12 and winning the Nawaka 7s tournament. How wonderful it would be if our boys could distribute the share of their prizemoney to children and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, STC Yasa and TC Ana rather than returning it to the tournament organisers. Imagine the blessings the team would receive from those needy and desperate families! RAJNESH ISHWAR LINGAM Balgovind Rd, Nadawa Nasinu

Ugly side of sports

I BELIEVE the recent attempt by the Police White 7s team player to manhandle the player of the opposition team as highly deplorable. Learning that this player is part of one of the disciplined forces makes the matter worse. The conduct of these players is surely in question as police officers are advocates of promoting good values in our communities. While it is understandable that officers are only human beings and in the spur of the moment may react, taking the law in their own hands is not the answer. Quite rightly, the current national sevens coach has highlighted that our local coaches need to remind players about being disciplined. Discipline is a critical factor in the success of any team. It has been seen that on many occasions, discipline has let us down. Sevens has given us many moments to cherish but events like this reminds us of the ugly side of sports. The relevant authorities must act in the timely manner to bring those involved to justice. PRANIL RAM, Votualevu, Nadi

Alarming rape statistics

COLLINS Concise English Dictionary defines rape as: “The crime of sexual intercourse with a woman or a girl forcibly and without her consent or with a girl below the age of consent”. Nalini Singh, the executive director of the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement, has recently released the 2020 statistics on rape. It is frighteningly alarming that 81 cases were taken to the High Court for trial and 48 perpetrators were convicted. Others were charged for lesser crimes of defilement. However, we can only make a wild guess as to how many cases were not reported to the police. It is a matter of great national shame that despite attempts to educate the society on the rights of women and girls, these rape cases have continued. The youngest victim being 3 years old and the oldest was 83 years. The youngest perpetrator was 14 years old and the oldest was 78 years old. This is mind-boggling. There is obviously something drastically wrong with our family units, churches, temples, mosques and educational institutions. They all seem to be failing. Pastors, priests and police have been charged for raping women and girls. What to talk of ordinary citizens! I am of the opinion that harsher penalties be introduced. Perhaps hanging should be brought in as a deterrent. Rape is a heinous crime and it cannot be condoned. DEWAN CHAND Donu Pl, Namadi Heights, Suva

Dog nuisance

LIKE Mr Chang we also have a similar problem at our end of Martintar, Nadi. At the RB Jetpoint area, there are at least two stray dogs wandering around. They were harmless until recently when a new tenant moved into a residential lot behind the three-storey car park with his three dogs. So whenever the RB dogs stray into the back of the car park, there is a frenzy of barking day and night, creating quite a disturbance. Maybe the town council dog catching unit could do something about the strays. It seems to me that dog owner training is needed in Fiji where there is a tendency for dogs to bark at passers-by. In New Zealand, I hardly saw that. In fact, there is a Police Dog Unit that drives around to catch any culprit breaking any dog laws. Perhaps owners should do some training when they turn up to get their dog’s licence. In the long run, we would have responsible dog owners and sensible dogs. NORMAN YEE Martintar, Nadi

End of an era

THE passing away of Sir Michael Somare signifies the end of an era. In the 1970s and 80s, great strides were taken in Fiji and Papua New Guinea to achieve release from colonialism. Fiji became independent and Papua New Guinea gained self-determination. Sir Michael Somare and Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara were the two leaders who steered their countries forward through uncharted waters overcoming various troubles and severe cyclones. Of course, these two great men were humans and they made mistakes, as we all do. But they both had the welfare of their peoples and their nations at the forefront of all that they did. They worked with integrity and to the best of their abilities. They were wise, they sought good advice and they were prepared to listen to those with more skills and experience. They supported each other with friendship and as good neighbours, they forged a new era for the two Pacific nations, and brought hope for the Pacific Island peoples. Emerging leaders in the Pacific today should look to such great men as Sir Michael and Ratu Sir Kamisese and learn from them. TESSA MACKENZIE Suva

Among great Pacific leaders

THE passing of the late Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare –– as mentioned in the The Sunday Times on 28 /02 –– is an end of an era in the Pacific’s political history. He was definitely one of the greats among the Pacific Island leaders, in the early days of the South Pacific Forum back in the 70s. If memory serves me right, one often forgotten titbit was that the late Sir Somare was very, very fond of our pocket suluvakataga –– along with the matching pocket safari jacket, as was worn back then as formal wear by our government and state officials. Moreso, by his great friend and colleague, the late Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, our then prime minister. I believe that he was so fond of it that he personally adopted it as his formal wear as well, for many years thereafter. The sun has now finally set on perhaps the last of that group of Pacific Island leaders –– ones that we most probably will never see again. Ah! the memories. Ni sa moce mada sir. EDWARD BLAKELOCK Admiral Circle, Pacific Harbour

Ridiculous vehicle fees

CAN the minister responsible please look into the ridiculous fees charged on vehicles by the Fiji Ports Corporation Ltd at Narain Jetty. When private vehicles and taxis lining up waiting for their turn to move inside the ferry to off-load home goods, no one I believe would want to off-load their home goods on the wharf in the pouring rain and then carry goods inside the ferry. Having vehicles to transport home goods and off-load them inside the ferry is a wonderful help that is allowed by shipping companies. But driving out of the wharf with a $10 an hour fee waiting just for helping members of the family lighten a burden is extravagant on the part of the Fiji Ports Corporation Ltd on the public purse. Please have some sense in serving the members of the public because no one is walking on a golden wharf! AREKI DAWAI Maharaj Place, Samabula, Suva

Blue Lane

IS the superhero kryptonite thinking Simon Hazelman fully advocating legalising marijuana, as a way to enhance Savusavu’s latest credibility for a new Blue Lane, with legitimate business opportunities for overseas partners? I’m not sure NZ, or Australia, or USA, or Britain, or even China would agree. Perhaps Cuba or better still maybe South America? Does Savusavu and Fiji want them as business partners? That’s really green brained thinking, isn’t it? JEAN HATCH Nabua, Suva

City pool

LAUTOKA swimming pool saga (FT 28/2). I am sure, like at the USP, there is “no saga”, “no crisis” in the Lautoka swimming pool matter as the A-G would say. But I can’t say any more because the matter is sub judice. RAJEND NAIDU Sydney, Australia

Budget

PLEASE EU ambassador, do not tell us what to do with our budget . SUKHA SINGH Labasa

Ramps

I WAS wondering why all the wheelchair ramp accesses in the sweet city, with exception of the crossings, only had ramp access on one end of the streets. Then it dawned on me it’s not to cross, but to enable access to the road itself, next stop LTA to register wheelchairs. NIGEL FIU Owls Perch, Lautoka

Not friendly

THANK you Fiji Roads Authority for making invalid carriaged ramps in Lautoka. However, there is one that is not too friendly for the disabled. ALLEN LOCKINGTON Kava Place, Lautoka

Parking space

MY observation is that parking in Nadi Town is an issue. There are too many vehicles using the streets of Nadi Town to park. For sickly people visiting medical centres and pharmacies, parking has become a major concern as LTA bookings are done in a timely manner. I hope the ministry could work on plan B for the betterment of everyone. SUNIL CHAND. Nadi

First church

ONE often forgotten part of our history is that two Tahitian teachers (missionaries) under the auspices of the London Missionary Society, established the first church (Methodist) on Fijian soil in Dakuiloa Village on Oneata, three years before (1832) the more famous arrival in Lakeba in 1835 of the Reverend William Cross and the Reverend David Cargill. I (and possibly others) had always thought that the latter two were the first. Thanks to the “Discovering Fiji” article by John Kamea in the The Sunday Times (28/02) for reminding us. EDWARD BLAKELOCK Admiral Circle Pacific Harbour

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