Fair opportunity denied Raghwa Nand Sharma, Australia I watched with interest the recent telecast of an open forum (FBC TV 4 The Record) in which the new leader of the
30 Jul 2014 10:22

Fair opportunity
Raghwa Nand Sharma,
I watched with interest the recent telecast of an open forum (FBC TV 4 The Record) in which the new leader of the National Federation Party was supposed to answer questions and address pressing issues affecting the nation.
Judging by the line of questioning, one member of the panel appeared overzealous in grilling him rather than according him opportunity to answer questions.
While the veteran Fiji Sun journalist Nemani Delaibatiki was at his best, the question-and-answer session was almost ruined by one member’s aggressive behaviour.
I am sure the electorate of Fiji would like to hear more from the leader of Fiji’s oldest political party what he has to offer in coming general elections. The organisers of such panel discussions should ensure that all representatives of political parties are accorded fair opportunity to express their opinion.
They should not be subjected to the whims of someone’s egoistic oppression.

Grand coalition
Dr Sushil K Sharma, Lautoka
Though not an impossible task, but a very difficult and uphill battle because of the very short time left before the September 17 elections, the Bainimarama Government is beatable at the polls by a unified grand coalition team of all the opposition parties, provided they have the spine to work in the interest of Fiji, rising above petty party politics, often immersed in personal egos, blinkered aims and short-term goals.
This scenario is possible provided all the opposition parties meet face to face and talk and unify urgently and immediately into a focused agenda- driven grand coalition, able to provide an alternative preapproved and publicised cohesive national unity team.
The grand coalition team has to be willing to take over the reins of government on September 17 democratically, by providing a reformed agenda of leading a new government of national unity with a common purpose to work for the people by understanding their needs and wants first and foremost.
If at all required, any future review of the 2013 constitution by this grand coalition, has to be done as per process and procedure outlined in the 2013 Constitution.
This means that changes will need full mandate and approval of 75 per cent or more of the parliamentarians after a bill for the amendment has been raised in parliament and read at least three times with the second and third reading at least 30 days apart with full debate and providing the 75 per cent threshold mandate at both the second and third reading, further provided that before the third reading of the Bill in Parliament can take place, the relevant committee of Parliament has reported to Parliament.
After approval and notification to the President, who shall then refer the Bill to the Electoral Commission to conduct a referendum of all the registered voters in Fiji to vote on the Bill, the President will assent to the Bill provided that three-quarters of the total number of registered voters in Fiji have agreed to the Bill.
Now that we are guided by the 2013 Constitution which Bainimarama helped accomplish, and this remains no secret; it is not true and definitely a myth that only the Bainimarama Government can and will be able to offer the mission and visions articulated in the new constitution.
In my opinion, it is best that all the opposition parties combine well before the elections and announce their national unity message and their offerings to Fiji as a grand coalition.
In my personal view, a government of national unity is the only way forward for multi-cultural and diverse Fiji and will provide much needed stability; not by the barrel of the gun, but by the pooling of thoughts, ideas, ability to work together and reach compromises establishing a genuine notion and determination to create a truly all-inclusive Fijian society, ahead of self-interest and grandstanding.

Police bullying
Monica Waqanisau, Suva
It’s quite disconcerting to note the numerous calls and reminders by the Fiji Police Force that they will continue to “uphold the integrity of the Force by serving the public in a professional manner”, yet accounts by women and members of the LGBTIQ community appear to prove otherwise.
For Police complaints concerning service and level of professionalism to decrease, the Police Force of Fiji should be mindful of the fact that substantive change comes from within.
The regressive and prejudicial attitude of Police officers, who are the first point of contact, needs to change.
Members of the public will continue to lodge formal complaints, document their experiences and alert human rights watch dogs and other relevant stakeholders of the unlawful harassment and outright bullying that women and other marginalised members of society are encountering from the police.
This will only change if there is an actual collective effort from the Police force to improve the level of professionalism of their officers.
Furthermore, Police officers should inform themselves [through internal and external training] and act within the lawful confines of existing legislations.
Only then will confidence in the Police, as a legal enforcement agency, be restored.

Schools rugby
Savenaca Vakaliwaliwa,
A radio talkback show discussed the different laws that exist in various zones to determine who should be declared the winner during the elimination stages, when two teams remained locked in a draw after playing extra time in the Fiji Secondary Schools Rugby competition.
Reading the dailies and other news media, one will get a different answer as to why Ratu Navula Secondary School was declared the winner in their Under-18 quarterfinal match with John Wesley College last Saturday.
One said they scored more tries, another revealed that they scored the first points in the match while people thought that the team who scored the first try should be declared the winner.
The talkback show highlighted this confusion in the Fiji Secondary School Rugby and that it is imperative for one ruling to be implemented throughout all zones.

Wanting assistance
Waisea Muavono, Lautoka
I think some Fijians living in Australia and New Zealand might also want assistance from the Department of Immigration in Fiji.
But the problem is that they don’t want to be found.
I wonder why?

Missing package
Artika Devi, Suva
I have a report lodged with Central Police Station for missing a package.
I sent a parcel approximately four weeks ago to a friend in Rakiraki. The items, worth $300, have not arrived at the intended destination to date.
I am still waiting for my refund and CDP hesitates to return my calls and fails to update me, if any, progress has been made.

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