Letters To The Editor 13th September 2016

RESPONSE: Herleen Emily Kumar’s Letter Naisa Tuinaceva, Chief executive officer, Land Transport Authority In reply to Herleen Emily Kumar’s Letter to the Editor (FS 09/9) about offending drivers  on our
13 Sep 2016 08:36
Letters To The Editor 13th September 2016


Herleen Emily Kumar’s Letter

Naisa Tuinaceva,

Chief executive officer, Land Transport Authority

In reply to Herleen Emily Kumar’s Letter to the Editor (FS 09/9) about offending drivers  on our roads, that can lead to fatalities, we thank her for adding her voice to a major problem facing our nation – the continuing number of road fatalities.

Fiji presently stands at 39 deaths from vehicle accidents this year, last year at the same time it stood at 44.

At LTA we take vehicles off the road if they prove unsafe. We have enforcement officers located all over Fiji to ensure that vehicles on the road are registered and safe to drive.

To receive a license, a person must prove that he or she is competent to drive, and those that do receive their licenses are placed on a two-year probation to further prove that they are committed to their driving responsibilities.

We have full road safety public awareness programmes including road safety campaigns.

We constantly review all of our efforts to see if there is something that we are not doing that leads to these road fatalities.

But sadly we cannot control a driver’s mind.  Even with the Police located at strategic points on our main roads to stop speeding vehicles and unsafe driving, road fatalities continue.

There are those who still drive drunk, or are too tired to drive safely.  There are those, because of bad planning, over-speed to a destination not only endangering their lives, but those in other vehicles as well.

In fact, unsafe driving takes many forms, but can lead to the same result – another fatality.

While LTA is doing everything it can to continue to reduce fatalities, we turn to the community for everyone needs to help.

For at the end of the day it is not only a road fatality, but a tragic loss of a father or mother, sister or brother, and it doesn’t have to happen.

We thank Ms Kumar’s letter for reminding us all that road safety at the end of the day begins with each one of us who drive.  Please drive safely.



Suicide ‘awareness’

Fergus Garrett,

Vatuwaqa, Suva

I have some doubts that the organisers of “Suicide Awareness” have done their homework on the subject of suicide prevention strategies.  We don’t heal people by talking about death.

There is evidence that there are common risk factors for suicide – depression, adolescent impulsivity, substance abuse, access to a lethal means, exposure to suicide among peers and exposure to suicide in the media (and presumably exposure to suicide through “suicide awareness” programmes).

This last factor has been known for some time and some years ago suicides were kept out of the media.  But we seem to have changed that, for the worse.

Some strategies that are known to reduce the incidence of suicide: helping families nurture healthy children through good communication, ensuring access to helping sources (trained teachers, counselling services), making sure that childhood trauma is dealt with and healed, using local culture and tradition to build resilience to stress, building cultural identity and a sense of belonging through family and community, creating social equality (reducing the poverty gap).

Young people can learn to appreciate life as a gift, and recognise that life is a struggle where they can survive through sharing their troubles and their struggles.  Let’s talk about life and choose life.



Free speech

Amenatave Yaconisau,


I entirely agree with the Director of the Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Ashwin Raj that the constitution protects freedom of speech and expression as well as assembly, but with justifiable limits in the interest of national security (FT 12/9)

In other words they are not absolute but must be balanced against other legitimate interest. So citizens must exercise free speech no matter how unpopular it is, but it must have its limits and must not incite lawlessness

It’s also a concern that New Zealand seems to be interfering in the affairs of Fiji

National security is the affair of an independent sovereign state and its right of hegemony. Such neo-colonialistic attitude is long gone.

Hands off please!



Plastic roads

Sukha Singh,


Why don’t we invite the ‘Plastic Man’ of India, Professor Rajagopalan Vasudevan, Professor of Chemistry at Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai to make all our roads waterproof and to stop the problem of plastic disposal too.

The Government of Fiji will save a lot money.

One thing for sure, the price of empty plastic bottles will go up .



FNU issue

Narayan Reddy,


Can the executives of the Fiji National University please check on the lecturers from time to time? Because some of the, lecturers, seem to give assignments at the last minute and give only one day for the students to hand them in and students have to rush.

The students are being put under a lot of stress and it can affect them in so many ways. Lecturers must understand that.

Please FNU lecturers be a bit more understanding, students are only human.

If you have a deadline to keep and you are behind schedule, be fair and give ample time.



Tablets and books

Kirti Patel,


So now that Minister of Education has come up with replacing the tablets for actual textbooks, shall we start preparing for the libraries to shut down in near future as well.

I guess one just should be prepared just in case the library books are being replaced with the recent technology as well.



Vinaka Sir Gordon Tietjens

Floyd Robinson,


If there is a coaching legend that the international sporting community could define, then one need not look far beyond the Land of the Long White Cloud.

On the IRB rugby 7s circuit, he was well known for taking down points in his famous note book. He was ruthless in training, scaring even the fittest All Black players.

He demanded nothing less than the best from his players and hated losing.  His half time messages to the All Blacks was at times quite blunt and vulgar.

While Sir Gordon Tietjens’s achievements need not be described, many Fijian fans fail to appreciate his indirect contributions to Fijian rugby.

Between the late 1990s and early 2000 period, Sir Gordon Tietjens raised that calibre of his 7s teams to such an extent that they were almost invincible, repeatedly defeating our national team. Riding high on success in Hong Kong during Ratu Kitione Vesi’s  time, we appeared to freely boast that we were the best in 7s rugby, but then this was short-lived.

Sir Gordon Teitjens appeared from almost nowhere to develop New Zealand sides which were far superior in physical and mental fitness.

Be it coaches, players and fans, we all learned this the hard way time and time again. What hurt the most for our fans was watching fellow country men like Amasio Raoma, Tomasi Cama and Lote Raikabula plot the downfall of our nation teams in many games against New Zealand.

Losing to New Zealand was like salt added to a fresh wound while the opposite result was sweet causing much reason for our fans to celebrate.

Sir Gordon Teitjens forced our national coaches and 7s players out of their comfort zones. Believe it or not, Sir Gordon Tietjens had an indirect contribution in forcing our national 7s teams  performances beyond their horizons.

Without him, our national 7s rugby would not been the same. He has moved on, but in true sportsmanship let us say vinaka Sir Gordon Tietjens.

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