Letters to the Editor, April 27th, 2017

We’ve been there before Timoci Gaunavinaka, Nausori The call for Fiji to become a Christian State and for the 2013 Constitution to be reviewed to address iTaukei issues by the
27 Apr 2017 14:24
Letters to the Editor, April 27th, 2017

We’ve been there before

Timoci Gaunavinaka, Nausori

The call for Fiji to become a Christian State and for the 2013 Constitution to be reviewed to address iTaukei issues by the Methodist Church is nothing new.

We have already been through that road before and some of those making this call are now trying to ignore lessons learnt then.

In the aftermath of Rabuka’s coups in 1987, the Sunday ban was introduced and iTaukei students with lower marks were given scholarships while some students of other races with higher marks had to struggle and pay for their own studies or denied opportunities for higher education.

Results: iTaukei youths continued to dominate the number of Correction centres and some of our leaders who were demanding the Sunday ban and Christian state including the Prime Minister back then were involved in multiple extra marital affairs while church leaders turned a blind eye.

We lost tens of millions of dollars in lost trade and production opportunities because of the Sunday ban and many iTaukei students failed to complete their studies wasting Government millions of dollars in tax payers’ funds.

At the same time, students of other races passed and progressed to greener pastures offshore.

The Great Council of Chiefs (GCC) was influential in almost all decision-makings of national significance.

Some of its members and some prominent business people made huge unpaid multi-million dollar loans to the then National Bank of Fiji leading to its collapse.

Under Qarase’s SDL government, tens of millions of dollars were again pumped to establish iTaukei businesses under the EIMCOL (Equity Investment Management Company Limited) projects in the name of affirmative action.

In a few years they all collapsed while many businesses run by other races that received no assistance from government thrived and expanded.

I believe that before a person is to be assisted by Government, he or she must first be taught to learn the hard way.

Without experiencing the pain and sweat of hard work and sacrifices, it is almost impossible for any person, iTaukei or otherwise, to succeed in business or in life unless you win the Tattslotto.

The year before election

Narayan Reddy, Lautoka

So now everyone in Government and Opposition are jumping and blaming each other. The Government has the majority and can do anything for the people.

Very soon more promises will be made to the voters. Some will be fulfilled, others won’t be. The people vote a Government whom they think will take the country forward, but we still have some politicians who only think about themselves.

We have people who are promising $4 an hour as the minimum wage, some are promising bridges where there is no river and some are promising jobs where there is no development.

Today, one can easily see our future generations looking for jobs and drinking grog at any municipal market. So many people complain but less people want to do any kind of work.

I still remember once being told by an old friend and is a famous saying: ‘It’s what you can do for your country that counts and not what a country can do for you’.

Caring Government and minimum wage

Savenaca Vakaliwaliwa, BC, Canada

Kudos to the Prime Minister for the Micro and Small Business Grants scheme, which has directly assisted about 8000 entrepreneurs with a grant funding totaling $7.9 million (FS 22/4).

Whatever our political affiliations are we should all be happy because the grant would help kick-start a new business or support an existing one to be self-sufficient. This in turn leads to providing employment for Fijians.

The PM said that he was doing this because his Government was caring, his Government understood the everyday challenges of ordinary Fijians and wanted to provide practical solutions.

Today, I am reading that 88 people were hired by the Ministry of Employment and Industrial Relations over the past week ending on April 21, to go out and collect information and data as part of the review of the national minimum wage (FT 25/4).

This is to ensure that unskilled people are not paid a minimum wage that cannot be afforded by the small and micro enterprises.

The unskilled and the skilled would at the end of the day be paying the same for food, bus fares and daily expenses.

I believe the cry for an increase in minimum wage is because those unskilled people who live on it just cannot cope because of the high cost of living in Fiji.

Ask any ordinary worker in Suva as to how much pay or wages should one be paid per week just to survive and that should be the figure where the minimum wage payable per hour should be calculated from.

If for example: $4 an hour becomes the minimum wage for the unskilled to be able to survive on, then the small and micro enterprises continues to pay the current minimum wage while the Government takes care of the difference.

Now that is a real caring Government; looking after the marginalised and unskilled Fijians to keep their dreams alive.

Fijians will show their appreciation by voting for the caring Government to continue to be a blessing to them.

Feedback:  ranobab@fijisun.com.fj

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