Letters to the Editor – Saturday, June 08, 2019

Second at Paris Sevens, Stade Jean Bouin during HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, Paris Sevens 2019 - Photo Martin Seras Lima

Olympic 7s

Now that Gareth Baber has achieved his mission of qualifying as top seed to next year’s Olympics, I urge 7s lovers to let our hero prepare the best 7s side that can take on the world’s best and defend our Olympics gold medal.

In 2016 Ben Ryan brought Nakarawa and Tuisova to strengthen his team and he proved critics wrong and won the gold medal in Brazil.

Baber knows what’s best for the nation and I believe he must be given all the support as he leads our national 7s team to perhaps the biggest test of his career in Japan.

Baber has surpassed former coach Ben Ryan with the number of tournament wins on the 7s circuit although he missed out on winning the Melrose Cup and gold medal from the Gold Coast Commonwealth 7s and trust me if Gareth wins the Olympics gold medal then he will be worshipped by 7s lovers.

With an almost new squad Baber made an impact on the circuit and won five back to back tournaments and four of our players made it back to back in the WRSS Dream Team.

With the Olympics around the corner, I wish Baber and our 7s team all the best and I lay the challenge to the team to make it back to back in the Olympics.

Wananavu Viti!

Toso Viti!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

7s reward

Our 7s gladiators thoroughly deserve all the reward they can get.

We market our beloved country through the tourism industry and various means.

What the boys and previous 7s teams have done I would consider bigger than any advertising a country can do.

We see people from other countries posting on Facebook their photos with the Fijian boys in whatever leg they are watching in and they can be seen with the Noble Banner Blue.

So the rewards need to match the great advertisement that our team is doing and will be doing.

Our tourism industry could use pictures depicting the boys and come up with an appropriate slogan to market Fiji via 7s rugby.

God bless you all.

By the way can Gareth Baber be given a Fijian title.

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Confusing factor

What does this Government actually mean by a “Secular State”?

It is very confusing.

The Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation is asking faith-based organisations to provide “the Role and Influence of Faith Based Organisations for addressing Poverty and Hardship” for the National Poverty Forum 2019 to be held next week.

But recently the Ministry of Education has been enforcing a policy of secularisation in schools, denying the role of faith and religion in education.

It seems that there is confusion in Government over the role of religion and faith.

All religions are concerned for all aspects of human life, and for “fullness of life” as Jesus Christ said.

This means that the role of all faith-based organisations is to ensure the physical and spiritual wellbeing of all people and to work for justice in all spheres of life including issues of economic justice, education, and health justice.

Perhaps a senior government minister would like to help us to understand.

Tessa Mackenzie, Suva

Public collection

To collect cash donations in public, I think, you have to have the necessary permit before you can actually start.

I think there are certain conditions for the applicant to comply with before he gets the permit from the DO or Divisional Commissioner as the case may be.

I think while the area is not limited, the time frame is clearly spelt out on the permit.

This is not an easy situation for anyone to be in.

Obviously, people take this direction when they are left with no other option.

I think most cash collecting cases are to do with overseas medical treatment while some are for building a church and temple and homes lost in a fire.

Whatever the case may be, I think it is the duty of the police to regularly check the people involved in collecting cash in public so that fake ones are kept at bay.

We would all feel happy if our help serves its intended purpose.

I urge members of the public to be wary of those who are dependent on the street hand-out.

We help the needy but not those healthy people who can work.

If we do this, the streets will have fewer beggars.

Suresh Chand, Nadi

Welcome change

As a daily commuter along the Nausori-Suva corridor, I have been stuck in the never-ending story of traffic buildup in the morning and the afternoon.

There has been a change as of late and I strongly feel that the only way to acknowledge their good work is to share it in the public arena — through media.

I have observed some negative reports in the media about the police but I hope to shed a different light.

Lately there has been a change in the flow of traffic and it is because of the dedicated traffic police officers at most of the traffic lights from Makoi, Laqere Bridge, Nadera junction, Nabua roundabout, etc.

It may not mean much but it is through your hard work that most of the children get to see their mums and dads before they sleep in the evening, the pressure in the hospitals have gone down, you make a difference and keep up the great work.

Georgina Young, Suva

Stellar performance

Cristiano Ronaldo once again delivered a stellar performance as he claimed a perfect hat-trick to secure a Nations League Final for Portugal.

The Reds defeated Switzerland 3-1 in an extraordinary encounter between the two European nations filled with drama and plenty of action.

At age 34, many top players leave for China or MLS or even retire, but this guy, a living legend, is a machine who delivers for his club and country when he is needed the most.

Greatest of all time for a reason!

Raynav Chand, Nakasi

Threat issue

Thank goodness the good health minister has reassured us that there is no threat from whatever infection that killed the husband and wife.

But I am still gonna take precautions.

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Crushing hiccups

Before crushing has started, issues have surfaced.

Despite this early setback, it will be no surprise if FSC processes more tonnes of cane than last season.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

Father and son

Watching the Fiji and New Zealand bench before the final of the Paris 7s, one could not help but notice a father and son competition.

On one end, seated with the All Blacks, was Tomasi Cama Jr who appeared quite tense.

On the other side, seated with Fiji, was Tomasi Cama Sr who appeared more calm and focused.

Well, in the end, it was Cama Sr who had the upper hand as Fiji defeated the All Blacks.

Who knows, we may end up seeing more of father and son come the next World Rugby 7s Series.

For now, Cama Jr will certainly be planning some tricks so that next time around he will have one over his father.

Floyd Robinson, Toorak, Suva

The budget

Despite flaws which I believe were witnessed over the years, will advice be heeded?

Dan Urai, Lautoka

Liquidity issue

The governor of the Reserve Bank of Fiji says that there is no liquidity problem in the country and we believe him.

Can he then tell us why is that every day the price of goods especially food stuff is going up.

Why are the banks so tight to give any loans?

Why are the small business closing down and why are people being laid off?

It is hard for a common person to understand this.

Please explain.

Nardeo Mishra, Suva

How awesome

Because of its large number of trees within the city, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, is known as the “City In A Forest”.

Allen Lockington, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Being human

Having flaws, not having immediate answers to solutions, are traits of being human.

Acting like you know it all and reprimanding those that question you, now, what would those be traits of?

Nigel Fiu, Owls Perch, Lautoka

Loyalty deserves reward

Jerry Tuwai said that “he cannot be compared with maestro Waisele Serevi” and he went on to further say “I will never be able to match Serevi. He is the king of 7s and until I die, I will still not be able to match him”.

We all know of Jerry’s humility but it’s time for the coronation of the new king of sevens.

He has achieved what no other sevens player has achieved and he is simply a polished diamond.

The debates of who’s a better player will always be in people’s mind but it’s important to retain Jerry until the Olympic Games next year.

Jerry is a truly special player.

Every time he touches the ball something magical happens and that’s why it’s so important that the Fiji Rugby Union and the rugby-mad fans find a way to keep little Jerry until the 2020 Olympic Games.

I think we can all agree that Jerry is a rare breed of rugby player.

He still embodies the loyalty most people expect but loyalty alone is not enough.

The Fiji Rugby Union and the Fiji Government must reward Jerry with a new house.

I believe that there is nothing cheap about loyalty rather loyalty must be rewarded.

Iliesa Delana got a house for one gold medal and so does Jerry for 18 gold medals.

The FRU should allow rugby fans to donate a saqamoli each to reward and retain him.

The Fiji Government and the FRU must come up with something.

If Jerry leaves he will lose his form so will the gold medal slip.

Get him a house and let fans donate to keep him until the Olympics 2020.

Dharmendra Kumar, Rewa St, Suva

Burning rubbish

It came to my attention that some people have a habit of burning rubbish by the roadside.

I strongly call upon the Suva City Council to try and come up with regulations to control and prohibit the burning of rubbish.

Strolling down the road from Rakoroi to MacFarlane, on my way to the University of the South Pacific on my weekend routine, it is an ongoing problem with me trying to run away from the smoke and even the smell of burning plastics.

It is very unhealthy breathing the fumes as you walk all the way with not only one burning spot, but about 10 or more burning spots by the roadside.

On Saturdays, the morning breeze is filled with the scent of laundry.

People are engaging with their weekly laundry.

But for some selfish people not thinking about others, this nice smelling laundry will end up smelling like burning bush.

The Prime Minister of Fiji is one of the strong advocates leading the fight against climate change at the international level, and the people should strongly support him by doing simple things such as managing waste for instance.

We felt and experienced the impact of climate change and it is the people that suffer the most.

Burning rubbish contributes a lot to the emission of greenhouse gases.

The fumes from burning plastics and other hazardous rubbish affects the environment and is unhealthy for people.

It causes and exaggerates killer diseases such as cancer and many others.

It is my responsibility as a resident to remind and encourage everybody to play our role in looking after our environment.

Let us all be good stewards of the public towards one another, and to our environment.

Sinileta Falesa, Suva

Rising giants

The days when a handful of nations were runaway pacesetters in the sevens code have gradually faded.

The traditional guaranteed final between Fiji and New Zealand are getting few as well.

The introduction of the world sevens circuit has been levelling the playing field over the seasons.

In the 2018/2019 series, the soaring success of the Eagles was testimony to this fact.

They were consistent.

They made it to the cup semi-finals of all the 10 tournaments.

This is not a fluke performance.

Along with Spain and Kenya, fifteens world beater Ireland has joined the frame.

The Irish will be genuine title contenders in the coming seasons. Japan is considered a minnow in rugby.

They lost to the eventual gold medallist in the semi-finals of the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Lately, Australia and England have been bundled out in pool play.

These two giants are former winners of the Webb Ellis Trophy.

Samoa and Argentina have not been spared either.

The sevens days when teams were walloped are over.

Matches continue past normal time.

It is not uncommon that the losing side gets the last score.

The walk in the park route to the tryline is also gone.

Most tries are scored while being tackled near the tryline.

As participants take a break, recharge, outline plans and build-up to the next season (including the Tokyo Olympics), the traditional sevens giants such as Fiji have to be aware that the rising giants of the code after their scalps.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

Among the best

I must compliment and commend the president and also our PM and the executives of FRU for the success behind the 7s team.

While we look at things from the surface, I’m adamant that a lot of work is done behind the curtain and a lot was done to ensure our team returned victorious from Paris, for instance, the rugby brains in Kane Jury (former Otago Rugby skills coach) and Jay Hedley (managing partner at The Coaching Room) were taken on board as assistant and mental coach respectively to assist Baber.

Thus, I believe that our 7s team is on the right track as we head towards Japan for the Olympics.

Listening to PM Bainimarama’s speech, I was full of praise for our 7s strategic leader and I quote these inspiring lines: “But great teams are not defined by the moments when everything goes their way.

They are defined by how they face down and overcome adversities.

You’re the pride of your people and your victory will live on through the ages.”

Beautiful words indeed as our boys were welcomed home after a defining moment on the WRSS circuit, winning five out of 10 tournaments and walking away with the 2018/19 WRSS crown.

We got our first Paris 7s title and fourth WRSS title.

Furthermore, I thank FRU for believing in Baber and for rewarding our 7s team.

Our boys not only won awards but cemented their status as Kings of 7s after an unbelievable and incredible outing on the circuit with young guns in Ratu, Tui, Vili and Dere.

Looking back to last year, the season was heart-breaking as we finished two points short of South Africa.

In Paris we were stunned by England and TV sets were switched off early, but this year with much excitement and passion we waited for the final presentation.

Now that our boys are home I must accord sincere thanks to them for showing humility and greatness by overcoming last year’s failure to return home triumphant and with distinction grade.

The thrilling journey from Dubai to Paris united and brought Fijians together.

Once again, congratulations boys on this tremendous and epic victory which will be remembered in years to come!

Toso Viti toso!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

No threat

If the Ministry of Health and Medical Services has not yet found the cause of the illness that killed the American couple David and Michelle, then we cannot be assured that all is safe?

Also, why is the ministry not giving clear, definite answers about others being affected as well?

To say that there is no threat is a rather vague statement considering the circumstances surrounding this very unfortunate case.

If there is a need to isolate those that have been in contact with the couple as we hear, then why haven’t those that the staff members have been in contact with at home, or the medical staff members that are attending to the resort workers been isolated?

Couldn’t the infection spread through them?

The nation and would-be travellers to Fiji are very concerned and we have the right to know the truth.

Its effect on tourism is secondary here, but the protection and safety of all Fijians is what is critical.

Say it as it is so that we can deal with it accordingly.

It cannot be of ‘no threat’ if you don’t know what it is!

Simon Hazelman, Rava Estate, Savusavu

The win

Allow me to express my deepest gratitude and appreciation to the national 7s gladiators and the coaching panel for bringing the HSBC title to our shores.

After witnessing the London 7s, I knew that the boys were fully energised to engrave history by being the only Fijian side to win a back to back title without much difficulty.

It was a bizarre performance, many must have thought.

But all critics have been finally proven wrong.

It was indeed an awesome year for the team and the win in Paris definitely was like icing on the cake.

Thanks to Baber and his committed panel of coaches for the marvellous finish.

I know things were quite difficult in the initial stages but the “tabu soro” or never give up attitude was clearly visible on the players and coaching team.

That’s the attitude and gist we need to develop if we are to win major titles and being renowned as true giants of sevens.

I must also convey my deep appreciation to the families and relatives of these players for their sacrifices and prayers.

The focus now shifts to preparations for 2020 series and ultimately the Olympics gold medal win that we scooped in 2016.

As the famous saying goes that “Rome was not built in a day”, so was the performance of the national team.

It takes huge effort to build on such combinations and patterns that dazzle the ordinary.

Continue with the excellent work.

God bless Fiji.

Naveen Dutt, Wainibokasi

Sports icon

Sports trading cards, for example Australian rules football and USA baseball cards, have been collected and traded by children and avid fans of all ages for well over a century in some countries.

They provide extra income for popular sports players and can increase in value as time goes by.

Think what a Waisale Serevi card issued in 1990 would be worth to collectors in Fiji and abroad today!

The Fiji Rugby Union or commercial sponsors might do well to market collectable rugby cards showing the photos, biodata and stats of national team players who would be paid annual royalties from sales of their cards.

Willard Miller, Suva

Clean ocean

The weather in the Central Division on Friday morning (07/06) was sunny and beautiful especially with the celebration of World Oceans Day themed “Ocean and Gender” held at the My Suva Picnic Park.

The program noted the “importance of keeping our ocean clean because they act like the lungs of our planet, providing most of the energy we breathe.”

The activities for this very special day included a march for the ocean, a seaside clean-up, an official program, a public seminar and an ocean fair and exhibition.

A recent publication by a regional organisation stated that “the Pacific region is truly different from any other region in the world.

There is no other region, for example, that is composed of 98 per cent ocean which offers some interesting challenges to development as well as opportunities”.

Let us continue to do our part from the simplest form of support by not littering our environment especially with plastic waste.

Stuart Chape once said “on World Oceans Day we recognise the immense beauty and values of the ocean, but also remind ourselves of the immense work needed to address the increasing problems of climate change, ocean warming, ocean acidification, over-extraction of resources and the impacts these all have on coral reefs, fisheries, biodiversity and a host of other biological and ecological processes in our ocean.”

Spencer Robinson, Suva

Social media

As if coconut wireless wasn’t enough, we now have total wireless connection, and boy it is the wildest, weirdest, open, wireless platform we can ever get.

It’s a crazy world out there!

It sure seems like privacy is no longer a personal choice.

We are now getting to see very personal discussions, pictures, and movies making its rounds on the net.

People’s lives have become more public because of social networking.

While there is a positive aspect to social networking, we continue to see more private information being posted about one another, the kind of information that no one would want getting out.

We need to learn where to draw the line and we need to be much more careful with what we say and post.

Such negative effects can hurt both physically and mentally.

Some things are better left off the grid.

The coconut wireless days are over, and has been taken over by cyberspace.

Be aware, be selective, and be very careful!

Simon Hazelman, Rava Estate, Savusavu

Survival factor

We have people in Fiji who are actually living on the streets, sleeping in drains, car parks, children’s parks and bus station.

They are all surviving but not living a decent life.

They barely eat three times a day but they can’t complain.

I still remember a baby was born to one of the so-called street kids and that baby is six years old now.

One can only imagine what will that six-year-old kid go through when she grows up.

The question is what can be done to help these people?

Giving them money or social welfare assistance is not the answer.

Well, I leave it to the readers to decide what one can do!

Narayan Reddy, Lautoka

EFL issue

Just a while ago Energy Fiji Ltd was wanting to increase its rates per unit.

Now I read (FT 6/6) they will be paying dividends.

Are you taking it from one end and putting it on the other?

Allen Lockington, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Renewable power

Fiji is a lucky country in terms of the abundance of sunshine hours that it receives throughout the year.

Has the Government ever considered to make Fiji the renewable power capital of the world?

Fiji will be better off if we install solar panels to harness the energy from the sun and convert it to electricity.

This clean and safe alternative would be supplemented by the current hydro power.

Fiji has to immediately fund research in this area.

It will require work and funds at the outset but the benefits for a longer term is immeasurable.

I don’t think it will be a out of this world expensive exercise unless there is a need to protect Energy Fiji Ltd’s profits (millions).

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

Swimming pool

The Labasa swimming pool failure may be because of several things Sukha.

Building the swimming pool is the easy part of it all.

Maintaining it on a daily basis and having a team of trainers and a coach to run the facility is the hard part as these positions will have to be on a volunteer basis.

Hard to see or find anyone in Labasa who would be committed to doing that free day in, day out?

If that pool was in Savusavu it would be a different story.

Our sailing program is run by volunteers and we are producing some of the best sailors in the country.

We have many expatriates and locals alike who have the time and knowledge to run and manage such a facility.

Savusavu alone has hundreds of residential pools and we are no strangers to its workings.

The difference as well is that you will always see Savusavu children playing and swimming along our shorefronts on a daily basis.

They are natural born swimmers who have taken to the water from a very early age, mainly because of our proximity to the ocean and to each other from pretty much all sides.

While the Labasa Town Council and the Minster for Local Government have played their part in financing and building the pool, the residents of Labasa need to step up and play their part for their children.

Simon Hazelman, Rava Estate, Savusavu

Streetlight trouble

Anyone would think the streetlight on the right when you enter Hedstrom Place, Balawa is a motion sensored streetlight because it blacks out every minute when there’s nil movement.

Also, the brightness is dimmer than a kerosene lantern.

Wise Muavono, Balawa, Lautoka

D-day remembrance

On D-day commemoration, we remember with gratitude the sacrifice of Allied force soldiers who fought against Nazi tyranny so that the oppressed people of Europe could live in freedom and democracy.

Sadly 75 years later we still have people struggling against tyrannical rule in many parts of the world.

Sudan provides the latest example of that.

In a brutal military crackdown over 108 civilian protesters demanding a civilian government to replace ousted dictator Omar Al Bashir have been killed (“Massacre” in Sudan: Protesters Continue Call for Civilian Rule After Military Kills 100+ at Sit-in. Democracy Now 6/6 ).

The bodies of many of the victims were dumped in the River Nile.

It is good that the African Union has suspended Sudan with immediate effect and the UN has condemned the use of excessive force on peaceful civilian protesters by the Sudanese military and has called for a civilian government to be set up.

That is as should be.

In fact there should be a “Nuremberg Trial” for the killers for crime against humanity.

Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia

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