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‘A good news­pa­per is a na­tion talk­ing to it­self’

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Blame game Meri Cava, Suva

There is too much blame game by the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cials. In the Fiji Sun of Mon­day May 23, 2016 (pg: 13) Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary for Ed­u­ca­tion is blam­ing school man­age­ments for sus­pi­cious build­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. In the same ar­ti­cle, he is ad­mit­ting these build­ings are over 60 years old. So what was the build­ing code 60 years ago? In the case of QVS, the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion is still the school man­age­ment ever since it started. So, who is PS blam­ing? He fur­ther adds that some school man­age­ment have used Gov­ern­ment funds the quick­est way.

“Un­for­tu­nately, the quick­est was not the safest way,” he adds. Again, QVS, as an ex­am­ple, has been man­aged by the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion. If the min­istry has not man­aged re­sources well with all its ex­per­tise and highly paid of­fi­cers, what does he ex­pect from man­age­ments who are vol­un­teer work­ers and faith-based or­gan­i­sa­tions? I think the well-func­tion­ing school by faith-based or­gan­i­sa­tions is a tes­ti­mony of sound man­age­ment de­spite al­le­ga­tions against them. I salute the Methodist Church, Catholic Church, Angli­can Church, Seven-day Ad­ven­tist, Assem­blies of God, Arya Sa­maj, Sanatan, Sikh, Chi­nese and Fiji Mus­lim League and Ah­madiyah Mus­lim for their un­par­al­leled con­tri­bu­tion to ed­u­ca­tion no one can brush them aside.

At the prin­ci­pal’s con­fer­ence, the Min­is­ter has made shock­ing rev­e­la­tions that on a daily ba­sis, 10,000 chil­dren are ab­sent from schools. He is ask­ing for an­swers. I ask the ed­u­ca­tion min­istry to hum­ble them­selves and con­sult the ed­u­ca­tion guru, Dr Brij Lal, in Fi­jiFirst. For rea­sons un­known to this coun­try he is not Min­is­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion – but he alone in Fi­jiFirst is a ca­pa­ble vi­sion­ary leader in ed­u­ca­tion. The so­lu­tion lies within, Fi­jiFirst and I hope the PM will make some bold de­ci­sions and he will never have to re­verse Min­is­ter’s de­ci­sions.

Hibis­cus High­way Si­mon Hazel­man, Savusavu

Our Hibis­cus High­way which stretches along our south­ern coast­line from Savusavu Town up to Buca Bay has two very con­cern­ing is­sues. Firstly the high­way is in­com­plete. The sealed road which should go all the way to Natuvu came to a stand­still in the mid­dle of the con­struc­tion of the Nabouwalu high­way and has presently only reached Kasavu. With the com­ple­tion of the Nabouwalu high­way we ex­pect work to be­gin our way but it hasn’t? Se­condly, the com­pleted stretch from Savusavu to Kasavu is not be­ing main­tained. Veg­e­ta­tion has grown over the foot­paths and drainage and onto the high­way as well. The only thing that is stop­ping the weeds and vines from grow­ing across the sealed road is the traf­fic! The ne­glect is al­ready caus­ing prob­lems with the road struc­ture and it will only get worse if noth­ing is done about it! What is sup­posed to be a new high­way along this pop­u­lar, pop­u­lated coast­line has al­ready be­ing ne­glected. We de­serve bet­ter!

Weightlift­ing gold medals Ed­win Sandys, Suva

Con­grat­u­la­tions to Tulo and his team for their gold medal wins. Well done boys. Only one dis­turb­ing ob­ser­va­tion; a lady sit­ting right up the front re­mained seated dur­ing the na­tional an­them de­spite ev­ery­one be­ing asked to stand. This hap­pened when the Pres­i­dent was stand­ing on stage. Per­haps an of­fi­cial should have sig­nalled the lady to stand.

Free­dom of the press

Ame­natave Ya­con­isau, Suva I sup­port the preser­va­tion of the free­dom of the press, but I also ex­pect this news­pa­per to con­duct it­self in a re­spon­si­ble spirit.

It’s print­ing the most ex­treme, mis­chievous and un­truth­ful things of iTaukei tra­di­tions dis­re­gard­ing its ef­fects on the sta­bil­ity of this na­tion. It gives us the chill and goose­bumps (e sokunu na yagoda ni da ro­goca). Peo­ple who write about other vanua have so much au­dac­ity and in­so­lence to de­stroy and im­peril our re­la­tion­ship and it’s def­i­nitely a men­ace to oth­ers who view these things as con­tribut­ing to sta­bil­ity. How can peo­ple of other vanua talk of an­other con­fed­er­acy in the guise of free­dom of ex­pres­sion?

We all know that there are of­fi­cial spokesper­sons who can speak for each vanua (gusu ni vosa) about such things and can eas­ily be solved by the Na­tive Lands Com­mis­sioner (Li­uliu ni Veitarogi Vanua) in con­sul­ta­tion with the peo­ple of that par­tic­u­lar vanua. It’s quite uniTaukei to be crit­i­cal of other vanua and its prac­tices. It’s a dar­ing prac­tice (sio­sio and veikalawaci). Such vul­gar­ity is sim­ply aid­ing the prose­cu­tion of Fi­jian (iTaukei) prac­tices if it’s al­lowed merely to be de­struc­tive and in­dif­fer­ent to its con­se­quences. It should be stopped.

Speak for your­self not oth­ers es­pe­cially when it’s a dif­fer­ent vanua.

Mozzy spray cam­paign Joji O Toroni­bau, Tunuloa

Now as we are al­most half-way through 2016, I wish we at the North could also have some mozzy spray cam­paign af­ter the heavy rain­fall in past few weeks and post-cy­clone Win­ston.

Tax and fines

Neelz Singh, Lami Tax and fines from liquor and en­vi­ron­men­tal mat­ters, ac­cu­mu­lated are put in good use. I think we should fo­cus on an­ti­smok­ing and jay walk­ing so more rev­enue can be ac­cu­mu­lated. May we suc­ceed?

Sur­prises Floyd Robin­son, Nas­inu

In terms of 7s rugby, are we in for some big sur­prises come the Rio Olympic Games? Come to think of it Kenya, Samoa and Scot­land won the three most re­cent tour­na­ments. Scot­land has taken the game of 7s rugby to an­other level. There is no way one can say that their win was a fluke. Mean­while, it’s a huge achieve­ment for Ben Ryan and the team win­ning their first World Rugby Sevens Se­ries back-to-back. Be­yond that it will be a night­mare for Ryan when it comes se­lect­ing play­ers for Rio. In­di­vid­u­als like Nay­a­calevu, Mata and Dakuwaqa have def­i­nitely put on out­stand­ing per­for­mances, adding pres­sure to the se­lec­tion process.

Poll can­di­dates Save­naca Vakali­waliwa, Canada

It is en­cour­ag­ing to read that SODELPA will be aim­ing for high cal­i­bre can­di­dates who are able to think on their feet in its 2018 gen­eral elec­tion line-up (FS 25/5). Sit­ting MP Vil­iame Ga­voka has been used as an ex­am­ple as he sel­dom reads from pre­pared texts and has the abil­ity to ar­tic­u­late is­sues at the drop of the hat and cap­tures the at­ten­tion of lis­ten­ers.

For a high cal­i­bre can­di­date to win the votes of the peo­ple come 2018, the can­di­date has to start min­gling with the peo­ple to­day and work in gain­ing their con­fi­dence by meet­ing their needs. Come the elec­tion cam­paign, the can­di­date al­ready have peo­ple who would vote for him/her, with more peo­ple be­ing at­tracted to the can­di­dates charisma, com­pas­sion and straight for­ward spon­ta­neous an­swers to any ques­tions or is­sues raised dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign. High cal­i­bre can­di­dates like MP Vil­iame Ga­voka is not an overnight phe­nom­e­non as it takes years of ser­vice, ex­pe­ri­ence and read­ing and know­ing what is hap­pen­ing around us. For a high cal­i­bre can­di­date to be in Par­lia­ment one has to be voted in first and for that to hap­pen, one has to prove to the vot­ers by ex­am­ple that when voted in, they will put the in­ter­est of the Fi­jian peo­ple first.

Photo: Ron­ald Ku­mar

Fiji’s Manueli Tulo won gold at the Ocea­nia Weightlift­ing Cham­pi­onship at Voda­fone Arena.

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