Letters

Letters To The Editor, June 25, 2015

Severe penalties Robert Norton Samabula Fiji commendably maintains high biosecurity standards with rigorous surveillance and severe penalties for infringement by people arriving from overseas. But perhaps there is need to
25 Jun 2015 14:25
Letters To The Editor, June 25, 2015

Severe penalties

Robert Norton

Samabula

Fiji commendably maintains high biosecurity standards with rigorous surveillance and severe penalties for infringement by people arriving from overseas.

But perhaps there is need to allow officials to exercise some discretion in their treatment of those who by innocent lapse of memory carry in a piece of fruit without declaring it.

Consider my own recent experience. As I left home early one morning for my flight to Nadi, I placed an apple in my cabin bag to munch at Sydney airport. There was exceptional congestion there with long queues to migration and security checks. Sleep-deprived and feeling a bit stressed I forgot that apple, and when eventually I filled out the Fiji arrival form I ticked “no” to all questions in the forbidden goods list.

Of course the electronic detector spotted my apple and thrust me into the hands of biosecurity officials. They were courteous but uncompromising, apparently under strict instruction to give no mercy to any infringer regardless of likely circumstances.

I was hit with an on-the-spot $400 fine which I paid while protesting my innocence of a smuggling attempt. Even more distressing to me was the charge that I had “knowingly or recklessly” failed to declare a forbidden item.

I have been visiting Fiji for several decades and am well aware of the efficiency of the airport detector. I would certainly not deliberately attempt to pass a forbidden item through it. I have a stronger tendency now, at 71, to an occasional memory lapse. Yet my experience could be the fate of any traveller. Indeed, while waiting for the officials to release me, my wife observed a young family apparently in the same predicament – in their case two apples.

Clearly, the current blanket penalisation policy can impact unfairly on some travellers. May I respectfully suggest that biosecurity officials be permitted to sometimes take account of the very real possibility of the situation I have described and simply confiscate the item with a stern warning against a repetition.

A $400 fine for a forgotten apple is surely inappropriate and unfair.

 

Winter wear

Nigel Fiu

Lautoka

Who would have thought that there will be a market in Fiji for winter wear.

Oh, how times are-a-changing.

 

Yoga Day

Hassan Ali

Lautoka

It is such a great joy to note that the United Nations is recognising the great significance of yoga and has dedicated June 21 as the day of yoga.

Many people think of yoga as some physical exercises.

Yoga means union. It is the union of the individual mind with transcendental consciousness which is present deep within everybody’s mind and Transcendental Meditation (T.M.) is the means of achieving this union.

It is a direct way to experience the essential reality of life at the fundamental basis of the mind. In chapter 2, verse 40 of the Bhagavat Gita Lord Krishna says;

“In this yoga or union no effort is lost and no obstacle exists. Even a little of this Dharma delivers from great fear.”

Dharma means one’s natural duty which is to practise yoga by the technique of transcendental meditation.

Yoga is the path to evolution, to peace, bliss,                     happiness,wisdom,     creativity, intelligence and total knowledge.

 

New flag

Epeli Rabua

Suva

Given that the 23 finalists for Fiji’s new flags begin from the numbers 35 to 57, we must presume that the other 77 designs are exactly the same as Fiji’s current flag.

And since the majority counts, why don’t we all text in to Vodafone on 323 or

Digicel on 170, any number from 1 to 34 or 58 to 100 to have our new Fiji flag remain the current one.

 



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