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Letters

Letters January 12 2015

Letters January 12 2015
The late Permanent Seceretary for Sugar, Manasa Vaniqi
January 12
08:30 2015

Zero tolerance on street begging
Elizabeth Clayton, Suva

Top marks to our Minister Rosy Akbar (Fiji Sun 11/1/15) and her team, along with the Police for this Zero-Tolerance to child begging approach, and taking a beggar child into their care.

My plea to the public is not to give cash to beggars, especially where they have children with them.  Not only is the cash often misused, but the beggars I know have homes, and able bodied men at home doing very little – sometimes even out there watching over the begging of their partner and children from across the street.

It’s a racket, because it is a lucrative business.  Most beggars are related or friends with each other.

I understand the ministry now has a profile on each family and will step in where the need is real.

Thanks, Minister Akbar from all of us who want the children of Fiji to be protected, loved and cared for in a proper manner.

Goodbye Vaniqi

Amenatave Yaconisau, Delainavesi

It’s a big loss to Government, the vanua, and to Fiji that the PS for Sugar and Rural Development, Manasa Vaniqi has passed away.

He laboured hard and died. He was only 63 and too young to die.

He should have lived to see the fruit of his investment, but the Lord takes away the best first, they say.

I just learned that he held an Army commissioned position as a Lieutenant-Colonel and never retired from the service of the territorial forces until his death.

Although he did not participate in any war task or active combat, his actions prevented a catastrophe in the sugar industry and a tribute to rural development in Fiji.

Certainly there are other unmentioned efforts in his colorful career that is missed out, but the best is reflected through the overflow of tributes in this newspaper and the huge turnout at his funeral.

He has served this country well.

Ni sa moce Lieutenant-Colonel and may your deeds follow you.

Finding marijuana farms

Timoci Gaunavinaka,  Nausori

The war on drugs continues in Fiji today as marijuana plants were being uprooted in the North, in the interior of Viti Levu and in the islands in 2014 alone.

The street value of these drugs runs into millions of dollars.

It appears that while uprooting is done by Police on one part of the country, re-planting and production continues on other parts, so the supply on the streets is hardly affected.

From 1996 to 2000, I was part of a research team doing a project on Sea Rescue and Maritime Surveillance within Fiji’s EEZ with the co-operation of the USP Department of Maths and Computing Science and Air Fiji Limited.

Our team was led by Dr Jito Vanualailai, now the director of Research at USP and the late Professor Takashi Soma from Japan.

In our presentation to government in 1999, we showed how via remote sensing we can use infrared images from satellite or from aircraft to map out distribution of forests and vegetation cover including marijuana.

Every species of plant has its own unique reflection ‘finger print’ to sunlight that can be detected and mapped via computer analysis and have their GPS locations identified.

The cost then was considered too high and the project was shelved.

Today, with the invention of the drone, the costs can be tremendously reduced provided we work with the manufacturers who can custom-design it for our purpose.

The impact of this technology will be such that within a month or so, we can hand over to our Police Drug Unit the maps, size and GPS locations of all outdoor marijuana plantations in Fiji.

We continue doing it every three months intervals or whenever we think it is necessary.

To cut the costs, the same drones can be used in a joint venture with the Forum Fisheries Agency on Maritime Surveillance and with other regional countries on Sea Search and Rescue.

Fiji has hundreds of USP graduates who have done GIS units covering remote sensing who can be further trained to run the analysis part of such a programme.

We may need just a handful of foreign expertise in the initial implementation stage to help guide us on drone operations and to set things in motion.

Desperate thieves

Wise Muavono, Lautoka

How appalling it was to read that the newly-opened WOWS Kids Fiji Resource Centre was broken into and robbed.

It shows how desperate thieves are becoming nowadays.

Very soon they’ll steal your bed while you sleeping on it.

Bus checks

Floyd Robinson, Nasinu

How often do buses undergo checks by road authorities?

Is an annual check sufficient?

Some of these buses make many trips every day.

Some make fewer trips, but cover long distances carrying considerable weight.

Some busses service poor quality roads.

Whatever the answer, one hopes that buses are subjected to regular checks as the safety of passengers is paramount.

Gross misinterpretation

Dr Sushil K Sharma, Lautoka

Credibility of contributors in these columns can be lost easily, should a writer persistently continue to misquote, distort the meaning, including the intent of letters; that they are trying to provide a critique on.

This is more so important when he or she may have huge ideological, political or ethical differences. Further besides a question of ethics, amongst all that rhetoric a writer has to be honest, when quoting large sections and chunks of another contributor’s work, to prove or disprove his point.

For example, the following letter published by the Fiji Sun in this column by Amenatave Yaconisau on 9 January 2015, is produced here, to show an example of an writer, who deserves to be rebuked  totally for this type of gross misrepresentation, which has no place in these columns.

Mr. Amenatave Yaconisau (FS 9/1/15)

Quote:

“From Dr Sushil Sharma’s many letters, I select the one he wrote on FS 4/1/15 and I want you to pay particular attention to one of his paragraph and I quote “Those who do not support the Government which include the Ministers under their portfolio in their missions and visions will need to be disciplined and their network completely destroyed”

Unquote

Now here is what Dr Sushil K Sharma (FS 4/1/15) said exactly:

Quote:

The rank and file who do not support the government of the day, which includes the Minister under their port-folio, in their mission and visions, will need to be disciplined and their network completely destroyed –if reforms within the Ministry are able to be up and running soon.

The new Minister of Education Dr Reddy cannot be expected to work with any PS  or acting PS Education, who has no allegiance, faith, trust, respect, affinity, confidence, seeing things on the same wave length as their Minister; especially when the Ministry, under their guidance and support, will be undergoing major reforms this year.

Unquote

The key omission in his misquote, if you did not notice it, was all those highlighted in italics above, including the fact that the reference was being made to any “government of the day”, and not as assumed by the writer to the 2014 Bainimarama  government . This also included further caveat that “-if reforms within the Ministry are able to be up and running soon”, which was also part of the same sentence, but was excluded by the writer in his misquote.

Please note that this exercise by the writer is nothing more than an attempt at extensive editing done by the complainant to try to distort the entire meaning and then an attempt to erroneously pass this as Dr Sharma’s writing.

This is not only illegal and contemptuous but also a complete fabrication, with an intent to mislead the public; many of who may not have read the FS of 4/1/15, and incorrectly take for granted that his letter of 9/1/15 represents facts-which it clearly does not.

Further the writer quotes partially the contents of Mr Nemani Delaibatiki’s analysis.  As we all know, Nemani is a veteran Fiji Sun journalist. He is very well regarded both nationally and internationally, and I would rate him as one of the best journalists to have emerged from the Pacific Islands in modern times. Fiji should be proud to have a patriot and a true son like him.

I reproduce for the benefit of those readers who may not have noted, what Nemani exactly said, within context of his analysis –and then you may decide on the credibility of the contribution of the writer in  FS 9/1/15, under the title of “Iron Fists”,.

Mr Nemani Delaibatiki (FS 7/1/15 Analysis) wrote the following in the last segment of his article:

Quote:

“This row also highlighted the question: Who is the boss in the Ministry?

Is it the permanent secretary or the Minister?

Section 127 (3) of the constitution says clearly, “The permanent secretary of a ministry is responsible to the Minister concerned for the efficient, effective and economical management of the Ministry or any development under the Ministry”.

In other words, the buck stops with Mr Reddy. He is accountable to the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

If Mr Reddy fails to deliver the desired outcomes of education policies then his job is on the line too.

His initiatives are aimed at achieving these outcomes. Reforms are looking at Managers who will embrace new ideas and change. In Education it means managing more than 9000 employees, teachers and administration officers included.

When Mr Reddy gives a directive, he expects it to be followed. Those who resist will end up like Mrs Kumar.”

Unquote

The issues in discussion and context by Dr Sushil K. Sharma (FS 4/1/15) and veteran journalist of Fiji Sun Mr Nemani Delaibatiki (FS 7/1/15) had nothing to do with any issues raised by the writer, acting as a “Smear Artist”.

His analogy and association to aspects of Nazi Germany and the holocaust, and the extermination of the Jews or the comparisons made with Adolf Hitler and his use of the “Iron Fist” to rule, are nothing more than a figment of his imagination, a red-herring and out of context of issues beyond, anyone sane person’s wildest imagination.

There is also no intention by any of us, to suggest or remotely link issues raised with any notion of or a lack of “Freedom of Association” in Fiji.

Letters like these normally find their way in the “recycle bin” and the writer should be thankful that despite all the above distortions and misrepresentations; Fiji Sun has at least been loyal to Fijians to allow them the freedom to express themselves; despite however wrong and misguided they may be.

He should also allow others in the community the same benefits, without his claim to represent the views of some segment of society. He should be honest, credible, and refrain from lies and misrepresentations of the huge proportions shown above in this instance.

He continues to call others “Smear Artists” when we note today that he is one of the best in that regard himself.

Amenatave Yaconisau, as a writer, is using deception and clearly shows to me that he has vested interests and a personal agenda to try to deceive the public by picking selected phrases from letters and analysis, to try to obtain credibility for his mediocre contributions.

His credibility today has been reduced to zero, and I hope that the above example of his work proves that to be so. Readers should be warned to take his comments in future, with a grain of salt.

As far as the civil servants of Fiji are concerned, please note that the bulk of them are honest and hard working citizens, and despite whichever government being in power at any particular time, they have remained apolitical and contributed diligently and faithfully towards the nations growth, in unison with the mission and visions any government in power at the time.

I am confident that they will do so in future. On the issue of permanent secretaries, despite the fact that the Attorney General did mention in the FBC 4 the Record programme, that women had to sleep with some permanent secretaries in the past to ensure employment, under the Bainimarama government we have not seen any major issue apart from the Basundra Saga, which was of her own making and divorced from the Government of the day.

It should also be noted in the Fiji Sun article of 9/1/15 by Nemani Delaibatiki that twelve PSs have had their terms extended by three months and that only six did not get extensions, some because of a reorganisation and/or restructuring.

Nemani Delaibatiki also notes in his article that “Those who have been loyal to this Government from Day One are expected to keep their posts”.

The matter of loyalty is important as a Minister cannot be expected to work with any PS  or acting PS Education, who has no allegiance, faith, trust, respect, affinity, confidence, seeing things on the same wave length as their Minister; especially when the Ministry, under their guidance and support, maybe undergoing major reforms.

Ellington wharf
Waisale Ramoce, Caubati

The remains of what used to be one of the busiest ports of call for inter-ferry services and other commuters through to Vanua Levu and Viti Levu cannot be left idle and dilapidated as it has been today.

While the pier struggles to give up to forces of nature and the strong briny elements of the Nananu- I-Ra Passage, it fails to erase some fond memories of the countries roll on, roll off inter island vessel services out of which the Patterson Brothers Shipping stamped its name!

The wreckage  of the MV Ovalau ll and the  unfortunate  demise of the Princess Ashika, two of the then most frequented vessels at this wharf may have clouded memories of this once upon a time busy port of call.

However, this should not be an excuse to completely abandon a very strategic point of economic growth.

I would really love the authorities concerned to resurrect once more the much missed roll on roll off ferry activities at Ellington Wharf.

Perhaps it would be economical, accessible and of course much convenient to western passengers who have to travel all the way to Natovi to catch a ferry to the Friendly North!

 

 

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January 2015
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