Letters

Letters To The Editors, 17th March, 2018

Speeding hearse Tim Howick-Smith, Lami As a child I had the tendency to leave things behind. This would cause my dear old mother to say: “If your head was not
17 Mar 2018 13:13
Letters To The Editors, 17th March, 2018

Speeding hearse

Tim Howick-Smith, Lami

As a child I had the tendency to leave things behind.

This would cause my dear old mother to say: “If your head was not screwed on you would leave that behind too.”

Yesterday, I heard the echo of another of my exasperated mother’s frequent utterings when trying to get me to school on time. She used to say: “You will even be late for your own funeral.”

This seemed to have had little effect in rectifying my tardiness in part I suspect because, as a child I did not envision my funeral being held in the near future but also I did not think being late for one’s own funeral would be such a bad idea!

The reason why I was reminded yesterday of my mother’s prediction was that while driving into Suva I had just turned to proceed up Reservoir Road when I pulled over to the left at the sound of sirens and the sight in my rear view mirror of the red and blue flashing lights of two or three Police motorcycles.

I was interested to see which visiting Head of State warranted such an entourage.

Instead I was amazed to see that following the lead motorcyclist was a funeral hearse followed by two cars and a bus full of mourners.

The “cortege” was travelling at such a speed that the hearse and the two cars were clearly having difficulty in keeping up.

As I proceeded up Reservoir Road I passed the bus of mourners chugging up the hill apparently abandoned by the Police escort!

Whatever happened to the practice of the hearse and accompanying vehicles proceeding slowly to the cemetery or crematorium and vehicles travelling in the opposite direction slowing to express their respect to the departed? 

I understand that some folks choose to have their loved ones escorted to their funeral by the Police. However, does this need to be done by exceeding the speed limit and endangering the lives of the living?

I admit that the small child in me tends to envy the “dignitary” whenever I see someone being escorted by Police outriders. I envy even more the Police motorcyclists who can legally drive at such high speed on their new motorbikes. Growing up, I associated blue and red flashing lights and sirens with emergency (Police, fire, and ambulance) vehicles and offered them due priority.

Today, it seems every “high end” Government vehicle, as well as some without Government plates, is fitted with blue and red flashing lights and allowed to drive without due regard to the Highway Code, speed limits, double white lines, and the safety of the public.

Instead of the Police escorting the deceased to the grave or crematorium at “break neck” speed would it not be better if the Police were used to assist fire engines to reach fires and ambulances with sick and injured patients to reach hospital on time, especially given today’s congested traffic?

I would certainly not turn down the offer of a whizz through town escorted with flashing lights and sirens but request that this be done during my life time.

After I have “taken the lead” I would prefer anyone accompanying me to my resting place take their time as I will be in no hurry to reach my final earthly destination!

Police officers

Timoci Gaunavinaka, Nausori

The Police are expected to protect citizens and enforce laws.

They are trained physically and mentally to prepare them for this task, so we believe.

But the reality of things is that no amount of training can prepare a Police officer to carry out his or her job to 100 per cent perfection. Yet we citizens demand that.

We tend to overlook the fact that Police officers are just humans and some career criminals have learnt the gift of the gab and can bully and outsmart officers even from inside a prison cell.

I personally know of a bloke who was once charged with 23 counts of offences by the High Court in Suva some years back.

The prosecution had 21 witnesses and was represented by three of the country’s top prosecutors then – Elizabeth Rice, Mr. Wilkinson and Christopher Hook.

The accused had no lawyer, no witness and represented himself during the trial and appeal. He eventually won all 23 counts he was charged with.

His case is today used as a reference case by the Fiji High Court.

With limited investigative skills, inexperience in the criminal world, pressure from their peers and citizens who demand results, some frustrated officers can easily cross that thin line from being a law enforcer to become a self-proclaimed judge and executioner.

Fiji is not isolated with this problem. Our own neighbour Australia was facing similar issues with Aboriginal deaths in Police custody.

When a crime is linked to a threat on National Security, the United States is far worse. They lock up suspects for many years without trial and the UN and Amnesty International can only watch helplessly.

Beating up suspects or an enemy to gain vital information to achieve the greater good have been practised from the dawn of human civilisation. Without these “sometimes necessary” atrocities, many of our victories that enabled the birth of our current democracies would not have been won and many of the world’s most ruthless crimes would not have been solved. For example, the torture of suspects enabled the capture and elimination of Osama Bin Laden.

The challenge then today is how we can carefully weave our actions between the vague border lines of good and evil where we are all expected to do good without doing evil.

7s hero Sevuloni

Tomasi Boginiso, Nasinu

What a performance by Sevuloni Mocenacagi, who was criticised before and was written off by almost everyone.

Our coach kept him knowing that he had potential. And during the Vancouver Sevens Sevuloni was the best.

Especially the kick off in the final where he jumped above everyone, caught the ball and used his long legs to leave everyone else in his wake to score a memorable try – a sublime display rarely seen.

Thank you, Mocenacagi! I hope that you will bring us Fijians more victories in the remainder of the World Sevens Series.

No one could see what Baber could in each player he has been selecting and hopefully more talents are discovered with Baber’s presence with us. Go Fiji go.

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj




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