Letters January 21 2015

7s Team Eremasi Cama Tamanisau Suva The successful international exploits of our national 7s team has been proven beyond doubt. It is the only unifying factor in Fiji that brings
21 Jan 2015 09:21

7s Team

Eremasi Cama Tamanisau Suva

The successful international exploits of our national 7s team has been proven beyond doubt.

It is the only unifying factor in Fiji that brings to the fore our passionate patriotic fervour, and overwhelms all Fijians with happiness and results in fireworks that beggar the New Year celebrations.

Despite the meagre resources availed to the coach and team, the astounding expectations from our populace is nothing short of unbelievable, and woe betide the team and coach should they lose.

Meanwhile, it is abundantly clear to all the good citizens of Fiji that there is only one critical area that our national sevens team needs immediate maximum input into, to ensure success in the Olympic Games in Brazil come 2016, and the continuing Sevens World Series: and that is $$$$$$. To try and blame any other factor is simply absurd.

Now here in Fiji, we have Fijian players who are endowed with the best natural talents, the best coach in Ben Ryan, but the most vocal and loudest armchair critics the world over, even though most times they are bleating well above their coherency levels, dangerously bordering on cacophony.

Towards the conclusion of  2014, we have suffered more than enough excessive supply of lungfuls of carbon dioxide from the pontificators, to the detriment of the environment vis-à-vis the greenhouse effect.

As of today I am putting my money where my mouth is and pledge FJ$200 cash, available immediately, and to contribute FJ$10 monthly starting this January, 2015, until I expire (cellphone 9920734, landline: 3323379, email: tamanisauec@gmail.com), towards a trust fund to assist our beloved 7s Team – more on this later.

Should 500,000 of the good people of Fiji (out of our total population of 881,065 (2013)) similarly donate a minimum of $1 per month, this will net at least $500,000 monthly for the Trust Fund.

In one year, there will be $6m for the team in the trust fund and this growth trend will continue for as long as we maintain our donations.

Imagine the huge benefits that this will reap for our 7s team and our country as per the following:

Ensure that at least 22 players are contracted to Fiji at say, an average rate of $40,000 per year; ($40,000 x 22 = $880,000 annually).

This will end the current acute epidemical loss of our most talented players overseas.

(However, Sri Lanka must be acknowledged for recognising the talents of Fijian players and remunerating them accordingly thus far.)

Allow our great and ever sacrificing coach, Ben Ryan, to receive his just dues regularly, and for his salary level to be raised to an equitable and realistic level, on par with the quality of service that he renders Fiji.

The 7s team will perform consistently at the highest level, with the good results blessing our country with happiness and consequent good health, free global publicity for Fiji, and exponential growth for all our economical enterprises, including the corporate sector.

Enable the establishment of a national 7s academy, including all the necessary resources in terms of physical infrastructure (including rugby ground, stadium and fully equipped gymnasium), human, technological (including GPS), medical, educational and otherwise.

Empower growth projection into the future to ensure that Fiji’s premier status as the best sevens team in the world is reinforced and maintained.

Avail to our younger generation an alternative career path with its various flow-on effect benefits for the country.

Any overflow from this trust fund may be directed to assist our Flying Fijians 15s Team, but not at the expense of the 7s team.

By the same token, the social responsibility of corporate organisations must never be ignored and needs to be reiterated.

The corporate sector is the biggest winner in terms of free publicity whenever the sevens team wins.

It therefore behoves of the corporate sector to be appreciative of this fact and to reciprocate by contributing proportionally to the 7s team.

My suggestion is for an annual donation by all corporate organisations of FJ$10,000.

As an added incentive, perhaps the Government may consider a 50 per cent tax rebate on any donation by the corporate sector.

With this input from say, conservatively 200 corporate organisations, the annual contribution will total $2m (200 x $10,000 = $2m annually).

Add this on to the $6m from the public donation and the trust fund will have $8m annually to support our sevens team.

My humble request to all our good citizens (including the corporate citizens), as we commence at the first rung of this new year, is to kindly walk-the-talk and proactively support our 7s team by contributing to a trust fund specifically established to support our team.

My suggestion is for a trust fund to be established, perhaps under the Charitable Trust Act, with three widely respected members of our society to be the trustees.

To this end, my humble choices are the Prime Minister, J. V. Bainimarama as chairman, with Mr Alipate Qetaki (general manager, iTaukei Land Trust Board) and Mr Ram Bajekal (Group chief executive officer, FMF Foods Ltd.) as the other two members.

This trust fund shall be totally independent of the Fiji Rugby Union. The trustees will then draw up the constitution for this trust fund, which will then guide the administering of this fund.

With due respect and my sincere apology should I sound presumptive, may I humbly request the comments and thoughts of the Honourable Prime Minister, the general manager TLTB, Mr A. Qetaki, and the Group CEO FMF, Mr Ram Bajekal, on the proposal.

Should this course of action be implemented, I truly believe that only then can Fiji’s collective dream and wishes of successes in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, and the World Sevens Series become realities.

Otherwise, we can only dream on and on and have only ourselves to blame for the to-be-expected shortcomings when the sevens team flounders in its quests.

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