Letters

Letters To The Editor, 31st July 2016

Lease expiry Sachida Rao, Nausori Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s revelation that non-renewal of agricultural leases should be made known to the tenants at least five years prior to expiry of
31 Jul 2016 07:32
Letters To The Editor, 31st July  2016
Letters To The Editor

Lease expiry

Sachida Rao, Nausori

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s revelation that non-renewal of agricultural leases should be made known to the tenants at least five years prior to expiry of any lease is a good gesture by a good leader.

This way the tenants will have ample time to prepare and relocate themselves and plan for the days ahead.

The evictions will not be that painful and sudden.

I say this because I have gone through the sudden eviction in 1999.

The feel of such an unpleasant ordeal is only known to the victims.

The past politicians have really failed to advise and explain the terms and conditions of the lease agreements and the lines in between the lines contained in the ALTA leases.

It is quite vividly mentioned that the land could be returned to the owners. This is fair and square.

But, our fore fathers who were not that literate I mean in the English language and just nodded to the politician.
There should have been awareness by then politicians advising the possible evictions. There should have been counselling sessions for the evicted who have gone through the trauma of the displacement.

The helping hands were hardly found.

Now, the tenants will come to know of their fate at least five years ahead of the expiry of the leases.

Yes, the place I left some 16 years ago has thick grass and tall guava trees.

 

 

Blame the rain

Vili Yaranamua, Nadi

During my trip to the capital city three weeks ago, I decided to go to the Vodafone Arena to attend the Fiji Showcase and later to the ANZ Stadium for the Super Rugby match.

The unpredictable Suva weather greeted this lone visitor from the burning West with continuous light to moderate rain and cold wind.

I was on my way to pay my admission when I heard from the loudspeaker the song “Blame it on the rain” from the stage outside the arena.

I said to myself, certainly yes, blame it on the rain.

And for the Hibiscus Festival celebrating 60th anniversary this year, let’s cross our fingers not to blame the rain again, as it did last year at the foreshore.

 

 

Public service, a myth or reality?

Dr Sushil K sharma, Lautoka

The public service has been traditionally in existence for almost the exclusive provision of “service” to the “public” of our nation, as the name “public service” so eloquently applies. Over the years the concept of “public service” has undergone some changes, especially with influences from advanced and developed democracies like Australia and New Zealand, whereby the slow encroachment of the “user pay” concept and privatisation of some public entities, has bled us dry of the “service” concept that we took for granted.

Attempts by successive governments to charge for services, has not necessarily meant any improvements in the quality or services to our people either.
On the contrary despite charges for many services and reforms, this has not led to any increase of efficiency for the benefit of our nationals. User pay concepts have often come at the expense of further degraded levels of service, as profit and “claw back” on costs associated with the provision of services to the general public, has often been the agenda of successive governments.

Thus with time the term “service” has become a nomenclature – terminology – classification – vocabulary, that does not reflect at all the older concepts of service.

Public servants in the public service previously, were there for the provision of personalised, warm and caring service, with a smile and constant follow-up of “people’s” cases. The public employees were quite literally “public servants”.

This is far from the case today.

These days this concept is a distant dream and the public service is seen as a bastion for employment, with a permanent lifelong security of employment and perks and benefits that are a dream to many laymen.

It is almost a tradition that once in the door; a lifelong tenure is guaranteed and normal promotions and benefits will accrue as long as one was astute enough to remain below the radar.

In the civil service, unlike the private sector, it was noted that as long as one was “paddling the oars”, staff who were almost many decades behind in knowledge and evolving technologies, could go by, without any repercussion to the security of their employment.

Compared to the private sector, the civil servant was destined to be at the mercy of the employer for keeping abreast with knowledge and technology, and not required to be astute enough in their own rights.

Often certain grades of staff transferred to the maritime areas, could “vegetate” needlessly to almost retirement age, without the employer in some cases, even taking a keen interest in their welfare.

In summary, quite literally if many of these “public servants” worked in the private sector, with the same mentality and often left in their own elements, the private enterprise would be bankrupted overnight.

The culture of neglect and unprofessional conduct has been so rife, that there are officers who report to work at 8 am and the first thing they would do is to go to the toilet and then make some tea for breakfast for themselves in the tea room.

The adage being that if you are a civil servant, you should go to the toilet, have tea, breakfast, or lunch in the government’s time, while still earning a salary or wages, whilst at it. Further one quite literally also went to the bank, post office, paid the electricity and water bills also on the employers time, as who was going to watch and/or report ?

The “grapevine effect” would sort out matters for the culprit via cold shoulders for future promotions, non-approvals for training workshops, and other road-blocks put in place, for the “whistle blower”.

The above observations are realistic as many of us have been though the mill in the public service and are fully aware of the type of things that go on in some departments.

Nepotism is rife and a culture of repression of those who can perform and are academically very well qualified, are seen as a threat to others vying for positions, power and promotions.

Many extremely talented people have thus migrated overseas from the Fiji Public Service, as their career pathway was cut short by the sheer cruelty of the people they surround – cut throat attitude and behaviour and the use of higher authority connections at the PS and even the Minister’s level, to leverage outcomes.

This often at great detriment to the organisation and the nation at large, that one may be working for. Some of these matters were publicly stated as problems in the Public Service, by the A-G also in the past, and is on public record and by no means an exaggeration.Due to this many very well qualified professionals have had their career cut-short on the guise of them reaching the retirement age of 55, and moved out of the organisation, with green-horns with no experience or even without adequate qualifications in the respective field, holding senior positions.

Fiji needs civil servants who can take the “bull by the horn” and move our nation, in leaps and bounds, in a forward momentum, ethically inclined and are not there filling their back pockets.

Our poor, weak and disenfranchised lose and our nation, society and people are that much poor – and left in a heap to fend for themselves.

 

 

Seasonal workers 

Tomasi Boginiso, Nasinu

With assuring words of the Government that the devastation of TC Winston reinforced Government’s recruitment focus of overseas workers from the isolated rural and maritime communities, I totally agree with the decision and plead with the people of Lomaiviti to use this opportunity and to register with the ministry.

With the Ministry official calling on to their doorstep, it is an indication how serious the Government is.

The employers on the other side when being advised of the workers are actually victims of TC Winston they would be probably more generous than ever and may allow for more than the actual figures required.

The main purpose of their selection is to return home and rebuild their lives and bring back some happiness into their lives.

A very wise call by the Government of the Day.
US elections

Amenatave Yaconisau,  Suva

The narrow loss of Senator Bernie Sanders to Hilary Clinton as Democratic nominee reflects the little difference in policy platforms.

The platforms of economic changes that creates income equality and new jobs not ones that creates social inequality and economic exploitation.

However, the Democratic party should be careful of defection of disenchanted voters who support Senator Bernie and who will cause trouble and give the Presidency over at the expense of democratic disunity.

They should now concentrate on a common opponent and destroy any party that compromises democratic liberalism.

Let’s keep America the land of the free not of the unwanted.



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