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Arrival of Island of Vatulele!

I commend Fiji Airways for its vision in investing in, yet another Airbus named the Island of Vatulele which jetted onto our shores on Thursday.

This is a wonderful addition to our fleet of modern Airbuses.

In addition, the Island of Vatulele will become the first aircraft in Fiji Airways’ history to use sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

Landing at the Nadi International Airport on Thursday, the Airbus A350-900 XWB was powered by a blend of conventional jet fuel and SAF.

Hats off to Fiji Airways managing director and CEO Andre Viljoen and his team for setting the benchmark.

By using SAF, Fiji Airways will make a significant contribution to the fight against climate change and provide affordable airfares for those intending to travel to and from Fiji.

Good job Fiji Airways!

Time to stand tall in the aviation industry!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Praying for good sense

According to media reports (Fake or otherwise) SODELPA has issued a seven-day warning to Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka to respond in terms of agreement violations or face the music.

I am not surprised.

I have always treated the formation of the three party coalition as an unholy alliance.

It reared its ugly head during the election of Rabuka as the Prime Minister.

And someone from the coalition voted against him.

The black sheep is still active.

All that talk that there will be no more future coups in Fiji is a figment of imagination.

The stark reality looms large with senior former military officers sitting on the opposition benches, their mouths watering to jump into the driver’s seat.

Therefore, massive migration of skilled labour and flight of capital will continue regardless.

No one wants to board a shaky and unstable boat.

Better safe than sorry.

I sincerely hope and pray that good sense will prevail and that the Prime Minister will be able to handle SODELPA’s incessant demands.

Dewan Chand, Namadi Heights, Suva

Drug trade

According to the Financial Intelligence Unit director the drug trade generates the most proceeds for laundering within the Fiji’s financial system (FT 31/8).

It is no secret that some of the traffickers have been thriving under the nose of the authorities.

One just has to look at how fast they have leaped in terms of wealth accumulation.

The most common method of washing the ill-gotten money is through acquisition of properties and assets where they do not have to declare the source of the money when payments are made in cash.

This is how some of the black money flows back into the formal economy.

If the money is banked it will be red flagged as suspicious transaction.

Generally, there is a strong correlation between drug business and other criminal activities such as tax evasion, gambling, prostitution, etc.

Unfortunately, while most of the times the lame ones get caught the big fish escapes the net.


Time for change

Is it a time for change in the way we bring up our children?

I am not sure of readers opinions but there are reports of increased teenage pregnancies, more younger persons including teenagers testing positive for HIV and children being innocently used in the drug trade.

Without a doubt times have changed rapidly.

It is no longer the innocent Fiji we once knew but more importantly, as parents and guardians, the writing is on the wall.

We must adapt and change our approaches of teaching our children.

Globalisation including improved internet connectivity exposes our children to much more at a younger age.

We live in a world now where there is increasing rights assigned to children.

All in all, we must change our methods of communication and teaching as our children are being brought up in a totally different world.

Floyd Robinson, Micronesia

Settle the rift

Is any media house willing to host the PM Sitiveni Rabuka and DPM Viliame Gavoka to an in-depth interview on matters related to the current disagreements causing rift in the Coalition Government.

News of an ultimatum being given to the PM and it being projected and interpreted as a threat from SODELPA to join hands with FijiFirst party doesn’t sit right.

It paints a picture of unhealthy governance and a failure to arrive at agreements, by people the country has deemed fit for their national roles.

Don’t be hellbent on proving us wrong.

Can the media step in to give us Fijians the “real” inside scoop and help smooth out the friction please?

Nadia Naaz Aslam, Ba

Ball delivery

Epeli Rabua hits the nail on the head (FT 31/8).

Ball delivery from the base of the scrum with Lomani is slow, it only improves the opposition’s line of defence.

The respectable question is why are the coaching panel continuing to put him in the first fifteen?

Dan Urai, Lautoka

Spanish soccer

The behaviour of the Spanish football president during the women’s World Cup has been widely condemned.

We have not heard anything from our own soccer people.

Soccer is a beautiful sport.

Women can be very good at it too.

We should encourage them, and not humiliate them.

Ajay Singh, Natabua, Lautoka

Flying Fijians

One of the two friends beside me in the bus said to the other: “Boy, what if the Flying Fijians team wins the 2023 Rugby World Cup.”

The other said: “No man, that’s impossible. Just the quarter-final will do.”

I just smiled.

The typical optimist against the typical pessimist.

I am more the ‘on the fence’ person.


Joeli Naleca, Nakasi

Freedom of expression

What a relief for all Fijians to be assured of their freedom of expression as PM Sitiveni Rabuka spoke at the People’s Alliance party AGM in Suva.

It’s still not too late to put up a strong protest to fight out the nuclear waste war with those who keep pumping it in the ocean, polluting water.

We all have our freedom of expression to save our marine life, to save our life and the lives of our future generations.

Life safety first.

Tahir Ali, Hamilton, New Zealand

Sleeping giants

As Fiji, Samoa and Tonga march into the 2023 Rugby World Cup, we wish them the very best.

In my opinion, these three Pacific teams are the sleeping giants about to awaken in France.

Interesting, the attention now is the highly fancied All Blacks who can’t get over a painful loss to South Africa.

To add to the flavour, big teams like Australia, Wales and England have registered recent losses.

This leaves the doors wide open at the 2023 Rugby World Cup and what better opportunity for the sleeping giants to awaken.

France, here we come.

Floyd Robinson, Micronesia

The trip called life

The organisers of the Fukushima protest march were definitely within their rights to deny the top brass of the FijiFirst party from taking part in the march, especially, after Fijians endured 16 years of repressive rule.

Yes, Nishant Singh, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is indeed a baffled soul now (FT26/8).

I believe numerous requests from pro-democracy supporters to peacefully protest against what they felt were atrocities during the reign of the previous government were denied.

The Rev James Bhagwan aptly put it that the politician’s place is in Parliament where we have a political process, as we Fijians celebrate democracy outside Parliament.

It makes me sick to the bottom of my stomach when Mr Sayed-Khaiyum keeps addressing Voreqe Bainimarama as PM.

Thank you to my Coalition Government for giving Mr Sayed-Khaiyum the freedom of movement minus his body guards who were seen during his term in power.

My saqamoli take says that had the former A-G still been in power he would have taken the newest A350 Airbus to protest in Japan as Minister for Civil Aviation against the disposal of the Fukishima treated nuclear wastewater in the ocean.

The bottom line is that Japan would still go ahead with its plan despite the outsourcing of protests from many quarters.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s previous antics in Parliament and all the tabetabe is no longer relevant in our new democracy.

In this mainly materialistic world I conclude with the following: “We are all tourists and God is our travel agent who already fixed all our routes, reservations and destinations. So trust Him.”

Enjoy the “trip” called life

May God bless you on your journey.

Raymond Singh, Golf Links, Lautoka

Living in fear

I write to you in the hope of seeking advice from the public through your page on a family/community matter — home stoning and living in fear for our family safety and property.

Twice this week while our family was sitting down to a family dinner in the evening, our family meal was sadly disrupted when we heard stones thrown on our roof by some individuals.

If your house had ever been stoned then you can relate it is the most scary and terrifying experience.

By the time my family ran out to the porch the perpetrators had slipped away under the cover of darkness.

Twice this week, our house was stoned and twice my elderly parents were traumatised.

Now my question to the public is what should I do?

Our family home had been stoned in the past and we have called the relevant authorities to lodge our concern.

But we heard nothing from them.

This is why I am writing to the editor to seek public advice.

If you were in my shoes what would you do?

What would you do to protect your family and property?

Is it right to live in fear?

But that is what our family had been doing, living in fear since we moved here a few years ago.

If anyone, anyone who is kind enough to share what would you do in my position please I would love to hear from you.

Who knows there may be others out there in the community who are living in fear and isolation with this issue as my family.

God bless.

Irene Yuen, Delainavesi

Phenomenal 2023 Deans competition!

When the dust settled at the HFC Bank Stadium last Saturday, the best had survived and were ready to celebrate their success on the rugby field.

Marist Brothers beat Suva Grammar and RKS in the U14 and U15 finals 13-0 and 17-10, respectively, while RKS took out the U16 title upsetting rivals QVS 19-13.

MGM High, which sent shockwaves, remained unbeaten throughout and broke RKS hearts with a clinical and pulsating 16-15 win.

The first timers in the competition earned respect and accolades.

RKS sealed the deal in the U19 grade, beating QVS 29-21.

However, QVS took home the Holy Grail as they outpaced Natabua High 24-15.

The Weet-Bix Raluve competition was equally delightful, as Sigatoka Methodist and Dawasamu Secondary took out the U16 and U18 titles, defeating Naitasiri Secondary 22-5 and 14-12, respectively.

In front of a huge crowd and passionate old scholars Fiji’s future rugby players displayed guts, determination, skills, and will-power to entertain fans.

The future of rugby is bright.

Now that the phenomenal Deans competition has concluded, it is time for the RWC in France!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Phone slaves

In my view, we have become slaves to smartphones.

We are spending an excessive amount of time on our phones and it is detracting from our experiences in life.

Even more devastating is the fact that the Internet and social media platforms to which we subscribe and access through our phones have given us the freedom to apply this cyber make-up, where we are able to misrepresent ourselves in order to be considered one of the socially beautiful.

Social monsters more like.

So, what is the endgame?

I call for us to simply put down our phones for a minute; log out of the social networks; and unplug ourselves.

You will be surprised how much time you will have to enjoy the company of your family and friends.

Do not be someone who is stoned on headlines, tweets, emails and texts.

Wise Muavono, Balawa, Lautoka

Be vigilant

Like some of you, I’m a dad and granddad.

The other day we were having lunch at our eldest son’s home.

Our two granddaughters tend to plant themselves with either their nana or their granddad depending on which way the wind’s blowing.

Our six-year-old was cuddled up with her nana while the eight-year-old had sidled up and perched herself on the big butterfly chair with me.

Both were also on their iPads.

After a while I heard the six-year-old exclaim, “Someone’s in my home!”

Both girls had been playing games with girls in their circle of friends.

And somebody, a lot older and not someone she knew, had “invaded” their game space.

As soon as her older sister heard her little sister’s cry of concern, she quickly took action.

The older one asked her little sister if she could handle the intrusion to which she readily agreed.

Then the older one quickly reported the intruder.

The thing that gets me is how easy it is for “hackers” to infiltrate children’s game space on the net.

They use every means possible to try and connect with them and groom them for all sorts of illicit purposes.

Please be extremely watchful and vigilant because our children are being targeted by predators of every kind.

Colin Deoki, Australia

Fire safety concerns!

The fire, which engulfed and destroyed seven shops in Labasa, raises heaps of questions on fire safety in our towns and cities.

While I’m thankful that no one was hurt or killed, I believe lives matter.

I acknowledge the services and efforts of NFA who tried their level best under the circumstances, but I believe a lot more needs to be done to curtail damages.

In this commercial world, people’s welfare and safety is paramount and NFA must ensure its services meets standard.

It’s imperative that in towns and cities, fire safety drills are conducted, and people must be made aware of fire safety procedures.

The provision of fire hydrants must be accessible.

On the other hand, commercial property owners must ensure that their premises are fire safety compliant as they house customers into their properties.

With the number of properties getting razed, NFA has a mountain ahead of it.

Finally, those making videos and tiktoks, while a property is on fire, must think twice.

We all have a part to play.

Thank you, Editor-in-chief Fred Wesley, for the insights you shared via your editorial.

Food for thought!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Online scam

We need to have an awareness campaign on online scams.

Scammers are getting day by day so advanced, as they crook from people so easily.

Our Cyber crime unit should be really monitoring those and take them to task.

Innocent people and unemployed people are targeted by scammers, and make them believe it’s genuine.

A request to everyone, do not seek getting money in a easier way, work yourself and do or invest in something which is genuine, consult a friend or close associate if you sending money to anyone.

Money doesn’t come easy, once money is lost there are a lot of family issues.

Please be safe and protect your wealth like how you protect your dignity.

Take care people of Fiji.

Vineel Nand, Perth, Australia


VehiclesFlex fuelIndia has become the first country to manufacture an Electrified Flex Fuel Vehicle that has both a Flex Fuel engine and an electric powertrain.

This gives it the ability to provide the dual benefit of higher ethanol use and much higher fuel efficiency, as is in the case of a Strong Hybrid Electric Vehicle, which can provide 30-50% higher Fuel Efficiency as it can run 40-60% in EV mode with the engine shut off.

This is a major breakthrough and a milestone achievement which will immensely benefit the world towards reducing greenhouse gas effect and thereby mitigating the adverse effects of climate change that’s devastating the globe pervasively.

I believe this is a giant leap in the field of innovation and technology that should be embraced with alacrity and felicity for obvious reasons.

Ravind Chandra Naidu, Tuatua Branch Rd, Labasa

Corporal punishment

There have been suggestions to reintroduce corporal punishment in schools as a response to the issue of students displaying poor behaviour.

However, prior to implementing such a measure, it is essential to engage in extensive consultation and dialogue.

It is essential to identify the underlying reasons behind students’ misbehavior.

What prompts students to exhibit such bad behavior?

Are parents and teachers partly to be blamed?

Why do students choose to stay away from school?

Could students be acting like this because of issues with teachers?

We have to really look into these questions and talk about them a lot.

I think it’s wise to go cautiously when thinking about restoring physical punishment.

While addressing student misbehavior is crucial, resorting to physical punishment might not be the most effective or ethical solution.

Instead, focusing on understanding the root causes of the behaviour and implementing positive behaviour management strategies could yield much better results.

Open communication between students, teachers and parents, along with the creation of a supportive and conducive learning environment, could contribute significantly to the reduction of student misbehaviour.

SANJEET PRASAD, Mani Rd, Bulileka, Labasa

On top of the world!

The sports headline in The Sunday Times read “On top of the world”.

At the outset, I commend Serafina Silaitoga for the coverage of the Digicel Fiji Secondary Schools IDC at Subrail Park.

When the dust settled on Saturday, fans in the Northern Division were on cloud nine as Labasa Sangam College and Labasa College took out the under-17 and under-19 honours respectively, beating Vashist Muni College and Kamil Muslim College.

Lautoka Central took out the U-15 title beating Labasa College.

It was pleasing to note the efforts our teachers made to ensure the students made the trip to the Friendly North.

Weeks of training, fundraising and camaraderie were put to the test at the home of football.

On the other hand, it’s a pity that unlike the Deans competition the soccer IDC was not shown live.

I don’t blame our TV stations, but it’s high time the parent body works hand in hand with the Fiji secondary school’s executives and try engaging Fiji One for the coverage.

This will promote soccer and generate interest amongst young ones.

Creating interest in primary and secondary schools is the way forward!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Ticket information

Our transport sector especially the sea travel has grown enormously throughout the country where people travel more than ever due to the luxury fast ferries in operation and in some routes the travel time has drastically reduce the journey duration.

For a person to travel on the local ferries one just only have to purchase a ticket and the customer service officer will only ask your name verbally and without any verification will write that on the ticket.

If you are travelling with children normally, they write something like children x2 without names.

This information will be captured in the passenger manifest.

When boarding the ferry, the shipping clerks will tear off a portion of the ticket and maybe tallied with the passenger manifest to see the number of passengers on board.

At the point of boarding there is no positive verification of the actual passengers travelling for accountability purpose should a mishap occur during the voyage.

The tickets can also be transferred to another person and such important changes is not reflected in the passenger manifest.

The Custom officers before the ship departs are only ensuring that the required number of passengers are on the ship.

The importance of having an accurate passenger manifest must be legislated.

It assists in ensuring that everyone is accounted for and are safe.

By having the contact information of each passenger’s emergency contact, the next of kin can be quickly inform of any unexpected events.

This is vital in a research and rescue operation and compensation purpose.

The ferries are capable of carrying hundreds of passengers in one trip and the local shipping industry must be regulated so that operations can be managed well.

The shipping manifest must be designed in such a way that includes the passengers’ detail such as the full name of each passenger, along with their age, gender, and any other relevant personal information.

For security purposes, it is important to include identification details for each passenger, such as passport or ID card numbers.

In case of an emergency, the manifest should include the name and contact details of an emergency contact for each passenger, as well as any medical information that may be relevant.

I believe that this becomes the duty of care of the Minister for Transport to implement a legislated process for improved accountability and act proactively.

Satish Nakched, Suva

Business model

I think the children and women in Fiji continue to be abused because people, especially the minister and women’s NGOs are not praying and fasting hard enough.

All I see is these people enjoying the perks of their positions and being too busy basking in the glory.

In fact, the abuse of women and children is good for their business model, or else they all will be out of a job.

Jan Nissar, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Nadi river bank

The bank of the Nadi River, closest to the Nadi bridge, the vacant shopping complex and the former Nadi Farmers Club is fast eroding and sinking away.

Should mother nature inflict on the people of Nadi its wrath, by way of some inclement weather accompanied by major flooding, some serious consequences might prevail in the further erosion of the Nadi river bank and Nadi bridge closest to Namotomoto Village.

I raise my concerns as a very concerned retired citizen of Nadi.

Ronnie Chang, Martintar, Nadi

Jai Ram Reddy

A year ago Jai Ram Reddy died.

After reading some of my past letters, I cannot let go of this one because the words he said has continued to echo in my ears, after I began to understand the deep meaning of diversity and living in harmony with each other after 50-plus years.

I’m sure the whole of Fiji missed a great leader and politician who retired from national politics and a pinnacle of his political career by being the first Fijian of Indian descent to address the Great Council of Chiefs on 6th June, 1997.

After reading his speech which was shared by a friend on social media and I quote: “We, their descendants, do not seek to usurp your ancient rights or responsibilities. We never have. We have no wish, no desire, to separate ourselves from you. Fiji is our home. Fiji is our only home. We… have… no… other. We want no other. Let me reaffirm that we honour your place, and the place of your people, as the first inhabitants of Fiji. We recognise, and have always recognized, the unique and special role of this council. We seek not domination; indeed, we cannot dominate – we are not the majority ethnic group in this multicultural nation. You are. What we seek is partnership.

“We seek a country whose children of all races grow up with a deep understanding and respect for each other’s cultures, languages and traditions. We seek a country which encourages the best and the brightest – indeed, encourages all its people, of all races – to work together. We seek not to threaten your security, but to protect it. For in your security lies the basis for our own chiefs of Fiji, I said I would speak to you of fear.” unquote.

This speech deserves acknowledgement for a visionary man and to validate this speech of “Fiji is our only home”.

May his soul rest in peace.

Jioji M Cakacaka, Carreras, Votualevu, Nadi

Demerit points

The LTA announcement to introduce demerit point system for local drivers (FT 28/8), will definitely improve the driving behaviour of drivers.

The continuous offender’s driving licence should be cancelled for the safety of all the road users.

The key to safety is in your hands behind the wheel.

Safety first.

Tahir Ali, Hamilton, New Zealand

Retirement age

Retirement age for all workers in our municipalities is now back to 60 years.

Congratulations to the Coalition Government.

Dan Urai, Lautoka

Agree to disagree

In life, and in most democracies, it is often said: “It is OK to agree, to disagree. And let us remain civil.”

Similarly, public perceptions, rightly or wrongly, are perfect indicators.

In my own human limitations, faults and weaknesses, and failings, I beg to differ with the honourable Prime Minister, Sitiveni Rabuka.

Respectfully, the treated nuclear water waste from the Fukushima plant in Japan, should never ever be released into the blue waters of our Pacific Ocean.

Sciences, sometimes err.

The Pacific Ocean has been used on multiple occasions for nuclear testing by the greater powers.

Releasing of treated nuclear water waste into the Pacific Ocean, in my humble view, is a straight, “No. No.”


We must take a strong stand to protect all of our future generations.

I have said this before.

If this treated water is so safe, please release them all into the lakes of Japan – natural or man-made lakes.

The Pacific Ocean is for all law-abiding, tolerant and peaceful Pacific Islanders who call this place, “Our home”.

Please do not upset us.

Ronnie Chang, Martintar, Nadi

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