Fiji Sun » Opinion https://fijisun.com.fj Leading Fiji newspaper for Fiji News, Sport and Pacific news Tue, 23 Apr 2019 06:39:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.3.19 Letters, 23rd April 2019 https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/23/letters-23rd-april-2019/ https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/23/letters-23rd-april-2019/#comments Tue, 23 Apr 2019 05:56:00 +0000 https://fijisun.com.fj/?p=473084 People’s Will

Mere Samisoni, Lami
May I respond to a letter in your Fiji Sun print dated Wednesday 17th P11, under “The People’s Will”.

I am surprised that the writer has drawn in a process of business decision making that is required to cover customer service and quality needs, cost, regulations and profit. All of which is accessible to the public to succeed in business.

It has become apparent to me that the reasoning of the author reflects the same pattern used by the Fiji Commerce Commission (FCC) before the 2014 General Election to discredit me and my company. This was despite my company being the only bread making company to provide documentation of ingredient use, cost, amount, products and sales expected from each shift day by day.

My company produced according to our customer demand for each shop. The shop managers are taught to match “supply and demand” and know who our regular customers are, which is necessary for daily planning.

They carry out this role well and produce only a few more to accommodate casual buyers.

Therefore, we do not over produce, but maintain a balance to reduce risks of wastage and costs. Doing so, we emphasise, compliance.

However, records will attest that the FCC people would appear at any time in our 25 shops, at odd hours to demand the price controlled items should be on the shelf despite the fact that all our regular price-controlled-item customers have been catered for.

Additionally, on price-controlled-item, customers have the luxury of choice to go to other bread shops for their needs.

In fact, their choice also includes biscuits and home-made items like bread itself, pancakes (sapapa and round like gulagula), topoi, roti, pita bread etc.

The choice for the public can be further extended to rice, tapioca, dalo, dalo ni tana, uto, yams, vudi, kumala, and tivoli etc., all of which, are healthy alternatives and should be encouraged in the gluten-free markets today.

I recognise the important issue of convenience, but why push government institutional power which becomes a barrier when it controls business.

I recommend innovation by empowering human talent and resources to add value in order to link up with the “Global Value Chain Management Structure” with inherent market opportunities.

Why does government and their letter writer supporters, push me and my company to produce for their control policies rather than customer needs and demand?.

Why don’t they allow free market choices for more investments and success through innovations and training of human resources, which will increase productivity, good governance, transparency, accountability and inclusivity?

Why? Because Government is interfering with private sector business when government should be keeping out of the private sector, reducing its size and focusing on growing the economy with improved infrastructure access between markets, investments and customer driven relationship based on service.

Business success will grow exponentially in free democratic business environment not under big government power to micro manage and then end up in the European Union blacklist.

On the dirty politics by SODELPA on me, this pattern was also evident, statistically in Central – Naitasiri, Tailevu South, Rewa, Lami, Nasinu, Suva; the West; the South and minimally in the North.

I was informed by one of the successful candidates, from the North, that he chased away the HQs team, when he identified their motives in time.

About ten (10) SODELPA candidates, did not find out in time to prevent the HQs team violating its own SODELPA policy and mission which is to develop talent from the grassroots up and not just down the organisational structure.

Thus it adopted the policy (Chaired by the late Ratu Jone Yavala Kubuabola) of identifying candidates through its various constituencies, to ensure easy access to the Members of Parliament following elections, ensure the people’s voices are heard and to increase likelihood of success given the candidates should be well grounded and have served in their local communities extensively prior to contesting.

I agree that the people’s will should be served at general elections time, but with “Dictatorship” dressed up like democracy accompanied by lies, fear and hate thrown into the equation, the people were confused.

This communication process between the party and the base voters for clarity, interpretation, understanding and acceptance is part of the 21st Century Information Economy to ensure the rights of all voters are met using good governance – accountability, transparent participation.

I also understand that the Opposition Leader Retired Major General Sitiveni Ligamamada Rabuka received sympathy votes but from all over Fiji but the HQs team did not promote the local candidate selected by the local community violating their own policy objective to win more seats and therefore majority to govern Fiji.

To this mission, I and the SODELPA Lami Constituency Council (SLCC) members along with president Jope Koroisavou, SODELPA Youth Wing (SYW) leader and his team, put forward our respective but similar base voters’ concerns at different times.

SLCC handed ours over in January and February 2019 and SYW recently.  We have asked the party to hold a retreat in order to evaluate the 2018 General Election in order to guide SODELPA to the 2022 General Elections.

In addition, we have submitted justifications why we believe it best for the AGM to be held in Suva.

Alternatively, SODELPA in our opinion can take the AGM to the North next year.

But for such an important post elections AGM, it requires majority participation logistically.

Another pressing concern that our base voters have and related to the heading of this letter “The people have spoken”, I would like to state that in belonging to a patriarchal society which the Indigenous Fijian (IF) community particularly are aligned towards, the tall poppy syndrome remains and is present even at the Business community level, and this must change.

Respect for women and our abilities is often not welcomed by men who have been used to positions and relationships of power. Hence the resistance from SODELPA to reform and change to keep control.

The same symptoms and archaic values the letter writer amplifies.

On violence against women & children Fiji’s position in the Pacific is 64-67 per cent 2nd behind Papua New Guinea and rate 5th globally (MoWC&PA, 2018).

This is shocking for any woman to accept today.

The Strategic Development Goals (SDG, 2030) #5 on gender equality; # 10 to reduce Inequality # 16 Promote Justice and #17 all equally advocate for the promotion of partnerships, so policies address, misogyny or the hatred of women. [For emphasis, the tall poppy syndrome that I represent as a successful business woman).

At this stage, may I, honour, the late speaker Dr Jiko Luveni who did much to promote the ratification of this landmark UN 17 SDG (2030) that focus attention on the role of women in development and decision making through education and training with support from understanding men.

Accordingly, the power to control is an old world view and order which has changed to the new world view and 21st Information Economy.

Here, data, stats and facts are used to add value to Human Resource Development (HRD) using innovation and entrepreneurial investment to develop people skills that add value to all capital base – social, cultural, technical financial, economic, moral, spiritual, ethical, legal, political, and informational by empowering local talent from the grassroots to invest in and grow the economy.

This is biblical and spiritual (Mathew 25: 14-30 about talents for development).

On the FijiFirst Party Government, Actual Debt stands at $5.1Bilion or 47 per cent of GDP. The average budget for the last 13 years stand at approximately 40-45 per cent of GDP. This is wasteful spending.

On economic growth, actual 3.2 per cent of GDP. Reality is average 2.3 per cent of GDP from 2006-2018.

On Deficit Actual is 7.1 per cent of GDP. Budget target is 2-3 per cent of GDP (RBF 2006-2018).

On Human Development Index (HDI) Fiji has slipped from 66th Position in 1995 to 72nd in 100th position in 2011 (FBoS, 2011).

This narrative and picture tells us Fiji is consuming not producing from our diverse market bases in the new 21st Century Economic world order.

Savenaca Narube has argued for IMF’s concern on governance in order to remove Fiji from the black list urgently. It would augur well for these views to be independently accessed and evaluated for adoption. No thought is a wasted thought.

Having said the above, I submit that my experience remains useful and gold in my opinion, to my voter base from the grassroots up, where I champion the concept of producing, as a preferred alternative to consuming in order to move people, especially here in Fiji out of poverty.

Poverty contributes to the high level of violence against women and children which Fiji must address collectively among other challenges like its liquidity position, high debt, high consumption without national information on productivity etc.

I am compelled as one who understands business and economic development, to speak out now against leaving such irresponsible financial and social calculations to our children and their heirs. Accordingly, I do not accept the casually thrown “not blame or retire” misogynist line as suggested by your writer.

History will capture my desire to reverse the high prison population of Indigenous Fijians (IF) incarcerated despite the fact, we are asset rich yet cash poor, and in my position to do so, I am willing to be admonished.

I thus also take this time to say that the risks and benefits of the economy are not spread out as designed for a free democratic society with supportive institutions to grow Fiji’s economy and Trade, as captured in the Qarase, Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) Government’s Strategic Development Plan of 50/50 by 2020.

What a waste of time, energy and resources, the last 13 years has been, only to show an EU Blacklist and an IF successful business woman being kicked out of SODELPA because she has dared to prove the ‘establishment’ wrong.

 

Union Blackmail

Simon Hazelman, Savusavu

The revelation that unions are encourag­ing their members not to turn up to work on May 3 is not only reckless but totally ir­responsible.

Once again we get to see these union lead­ers who have failed miserably at past elec­tions finding an unethical and unproduc­tive way of taking absolute advantage of disrupting the upcoming Asian Develop­ment Bank meeting.

No doubt this stunt is based solely on the selfish and arrogant attitude of a handful of under-achieved losers!

Basically this nasty plan will not only in­flict financial loss to the nation, but paint a rather bad picture of what we are as a people. The fact of the matter is that the na­tion, its employees and their families will ultimately suffer.

It’ll become a costly affair for all.

It is already hard enough to keep up with the best of times.

Many families have existing problems and such action will only aggravate the existing issues and the tensions, and the uncertain­ties of the work situation will be reflected in the home. Invariably it’ll affect the lives of everyone.

For a developing nation such as ours, such a move is never a forward march but a back­ward one!

Absolutely irresponsible on the part of all unions and they and the country will sim­ply reap what it sows.

Wake up and remove the blinkers people, we don’t need such arrogant thinkers!.

Traffic Congestion

Dharmendra Kumar, Suva

The Fiji Roads Authority chief executive officer Jonathan Moore has hit the nail right on the head by saying, the new elec­tronic car parking system at Sports City is contributing to more traffic congestion.

Mr Moore, it’s not only the Sports City electronic car system but also the one at Da­modar City.

We have two huge shopping centres beside Grantham Road and both entry and exit is on the same side.

A lot of emphasis was given to the look and feel or exterior finishes of the malls, but not to the basics, shopping centres should be adequate to accommodate traffic at the busiest hours of each centre.

Traffic congestion is not caused by people rather by vehicles in poorly designed roads. Who is responsible?

Noisy Preachers

Joji O. Toronibau, Tunuloa

I listened to radios, watched television and often hear preachers, yelling, screaming and stomping if you like to the top of their voices. They are holding on to a microphone instead and still not satisfied with the din.

Maybe the One above is deaf and out of reach?

For some last week it was holy week but for most of them there would have been many noisy preachers.

Senior Citizen

Vijay P. Madhavan, Suva

When is a Senior Citizen NOT a Senior Citizen?

After 6pm every day and on Public Holi­days according to Damodar Cinemas.

Mr Joel Abraham , FCCC, please help.

Savusavu Airport

Shariff Shah, Savusavu

Can the authorities please advise as to why the above airport carpark and entry is in such a state.

The first impression is very important.

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 

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 Religious Holidays Become Money Oriented https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/23/religious-holidays-become-money-oriented/ https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/23/religious-holidays-become-money-oriented/#comments Tue, 23 Apr 2019 05:51:34 +0000 https://fijisun.com.fj/?p=473080 Editorial: 

How commercialised have we become.

Gone are the days where there was respect for religious holidays, more significantly Good Friday than any other.

The Easter long weekend which ended yesterday has been a glaring example of how times have changed.

Religious holidays nowadays are surely at odds with the new culture of this world and religion has become the target of terrorists as witnessed in Sri Lanka.

Why do many people celebrate holidays like Christ­mas and Easter with one depicting the birth of Jesus Christ and the other his crucifixion and ultimate death on the cross?

Yes, it is a time where family bonds are strengthened.

Joel Hodge, a senior lecturer at the Australia Cath­olic University said capitalism was manipulating people to be more social and was using the religious, familial and social dimensions of these holidays in or­der to push products.

“In many ways, this is true. Christian feasts have be­come commercial holidays – homages to the products, marketing strategies, and constantly stimulated de­sires that make-up the commercial existence around which Westerners base their lives. Commerce is king – and god too – in many ways.

“Moreover, commercialisation has occurred to a number of holidays and feasts, like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, yet these days have not attained the significance of Christmas or Easter.”

Religious holidays like Christmas and Easter have a deeper meaning than mere socialising.

On the Cross at Calvary, Jesus Christ encountered one of the most violent methods of torture any one could encounter.

Others are more hell bent on destroying these reli­gious holidays, as shown by the bombings of three churches and a hotel in Sri Lanka during Easter Ser­vices which resulted in nearly 300 deaths up till last night (Fiji time).

This is the sick world we live in right now.

There is no respect for religion or anyone for that matter.

Our focus is taken away from Easter and shifted to watching and reading these horror killings which is exactly what these sick people want.

Such events keep our focus on them while we neglect the call of love to deeper forms of kindness, humility and being selfless.

The onus is on every person to change that so the world will become a more meaningful place to live in.

If this is not done now, then surely we will see the diminishing of ‘Love for one another’, which is the powerful message of Easter.

And all religious holidays will become insignificant.

Hope you all had a blessed Easter Season.

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.c0m.fj

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Be Pro Fiji https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/23/be-pro-fiji/ https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/23/be-pro-fiji/#comments Tue, 23 Apr 2019 05:47:24 +0000 https://fijisun.com.fj/?p=472986 Analysis:

The 52nd Asian Development Bank’s annual governors’ meet will be a success wheth­er the unions and unionists like it or not.

We are a week away from hosting the biggest international meeting and we will have the world’s eyes on Fiji. This is the time for everyone to rally behind the local secretariat and make this a success.

Unfortunately, Fiji Trades Union Congress and their affiliates want to use this as an opportunity to do something which is against the very core of being good hosts. They want to hold their national strike on May 3, which will be the day when one of the most important events of the ADB meet will be held – the Board of Governors meeting followed by the Host Country recep­tion.

More than 3000 people will be par­ticipating in these events and the unions want their members to stay away from work, whether they get the permit to go on strike or not. And there are already talks for peo­ple to use Family Care Leave and Sick Leave benefits to give their strike a chance.

This is where every Fijian has to stop and think. Is this what we want to be known for? Fiji has al­ways opened their arms to visitors. This meeting will open the doors to other international conferences and we need to be pro-Fiji to make it a success.

Why did Unions choose this day for their national strike? They want to hold this over the heads of employers as a bargaining chip. This goes against the ethos of ne­gotiating in good faith and this is really a time for some unionists to show that they are still relevant.

They want to target the hotels, to get their members to stay away from work. This can very well back­fire. The hotels have no doubt made back up arrangements to ensure everything works out smoothly.

No one is asking the unions not to protest. But to do it to embar­rass Fiji on the world stage is being purely anti-Fiji. Fiji can become the way the world should be.

Even with the threat of a national strike, this event will be a resound­ing success. Unionists need to real­ise this and not put their members in an awkward position.

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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BTL: 23rd April, 2019 https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/23/btl-23rd-april-2019/ https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/23/btl-23rd-april-2019/#comments Tue, 23 Apr 2019 04:36:44 +0000 https://fijisun.com.fj/?p=473074 Picked on merit

Some civil servants, who applied to be liaison officers for the Asian Development Bank annual meeting at Denarau in Nadi from May 1 to 5, got a shock.

They did not know that part of the requirement is a Police clearance.

Some withdrew because they knew they had Police records.

Others who, had forgotten, found out when they were informed that they had not passed the Police test.

The vetting process also included grooming and dress. Some failed on this count too.

Those who got through are the pick of the crop – selected on merit.
Women power

If there is one employer that recognises women power it is the Hot Bread Kitchen chain.

More than 53 per cent of its more than 630 workers are women.

And if you have not noticed, the women dominate the frontline of the business because of their customer service touch. They are also good with handling cash.

The men are good at the back  doing the baking.

A woman is also at the helm of the successful business as founder-owner-operator. Mere Samisoni is an inspiration. Sadly she has noted that some men  do not recognise women’s abilities.

Men, who are guilty, should get rid of their male chauvinism. She is speaking based on her experience in SODELPA. But she is not discouraged.

BTL understands Hot Bread Kitchen is poised to expand again as Ms Samisoni continues to soar flying the women’s flag.
Fake forum

Looks like the fake forum where people easily defamed others, spread hatred and lies may finally be suspended.

Fiji’s Exposed Forum was nowhere to be found by its admins over the weekend.

 

Following Jesus example

Sunday is their Sabbath for the villagers of Vadrai, Nakelo. Tailevu. It’s the day they rest from their labours.

But last Sunday, they took off their church garb, changed into their week-day wear, for a  compassionate service. They heeded the cry for help from the family of  Rayshal Roy who was swept away by waves during a picnic. After several hours of search his body was found yesterday.

The experience gave real meaning to the significance of the day of resurrection when Jesus Christ rose from the dead after he was crucified for the sins of all people.

One of the searchers said: “ I feel for the family and I was happy to help. I felt I was following the example of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Redeemer.”

Feedback: selita.bolanavanua@fijisun.com.fj

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Vanua Levu Bloc Flexes Its Muscles As SODELPA Heads For Showdown https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/22/vanua-levu-bloc-flexes-its-muscles-as-sodelpa-heads-for-showdown/ https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/22/vanua-levu-bloc-flexes-its-muscles-as-sodelpa-heads-for-showdown/#comments Mon, 22 Apr 2019 06:16:33 +0000 https://fijisun.com.fj/?p=472970 The Vanua Levu bloc has flexed its muscle and stuck to its demand that the SODELPA annual general meeting be held in Savusavu on June 28.

Opposition leader Sitiveni Rabuka has revealed that the AGM will be a swansong for outgoing president Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu.

Ratu Naiqama will be able to thank his people, particularly his people of Cakaudrove of which he is the paramount chief as Tui Cakau.

Savusavu is in his province.

But in the 2018 General Election, a substantial number if his votes came from Lami and the Suva to Nausori corridor.

In 2015 during SODELPA’s first AGM Ratu Naiqama was nominated by Naitasiri Constituency and voted by members mostly from Suva, Rewa, Tailevu and Lami.

He was not even in that AGM, but sent a letter saying he would accept his nomination as president.

He was later re-elected in 2017.

There is definite opinion by Viti Levu members that the AGM in Savusavu was designed to ensure that the Vanua Levu bloc would have the numbers to have a direct influence on the appointment of a new president and new party leader and amendments to the constitution.

What if the bloc wants him to stand for president again and Mr Rabuka for party leader again.

Mr Rabuka’s re-election would require an amendment to the constitution.

If Ratu Naiqama is truly retiring then the bloc could nominate one of its own people.

The various constituencies in Viti Levu are holding meetings to work out their strategies.

It appears they have lost their battle to have the AGM moved to Suva.

Will they attend or boycott it?

They have to take into consideration the logistics and cost of travelling to Savusavu because they will affect their numbers at the AGM.

If they boycott they will play right into the hands of their Northern rivals.

So the only logical choice is to bite the bullet, make the sacrifice and travel in large numbers.

The North camp cannot be underestimated. It has show that it is a strong political force.

It has successfully radicalised SODELPA with its conservative right wing ideologies.

When Mr Rabuka wanted the party’s parliamentary caucus to support Ratu Epeli Nailatikau as Speaker it was the North group and others who opposed it.

When a tabua (whale’s tooth) was presented to the group to join Laisenia Qarase’s Soqosoqo ni Duavata ni Lewenivanua after the collapse of Mr Rabuka’s Soqosoqo ni Vakavulewa ni Taukei it rejected it.

It went on to form the Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua.

Later it joined forces with SDL.

The emergence of former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase on the scene to potentially take over from Mr Rabu- ka as party leader is introducing new dynamics to SODELPA politics.

The question has been asked whether it is time to bring in young new blood into the party leadership. The old style of leadership seems not to be working.

All it has done is that it is creating rifts in the party.

There is an increasing chorus of calls for SODELPA from within that if it cleans up its act then it could form the next Government.

But it’s not a good look when there are several issues to resolve.

One is the factionalism between North and South.

Two is the recognition of the majority voices.

Third is the contention over the party versus constituency candidates in an election as raised by founding member and failed Lami candidate Mere Samisoni.

It dovetails into the next issue of the $6000 fee for each candidate.

Does it go to funding party leaders contesting the election?

After giving the fee candidates are required to finance their own campaigns.

It is strongly felt that because if the sacrifices they make constituency candidates should be promoted to the public.

This could be sorted out at the party post election workshop next month. The date has not been set.

These are challenging times for SODELPA.

The AGM will determine its future course.

Mr Rabuka was meeting his grassroots support last week.

Don’t be surprised if the Vanua Levu bloc will have the final say. It has proved its resilience in the past and it potentially can do it again.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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Letters To The Editor, 22nd April, 2019 https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/22/letters-to-the-editor-22nd-april-2019/ https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/22/letters-to-the-editor-22nd-april-2019/#comments Mon, 22 Apr 2019 05:24:02 +0000 https://fijisun.com.fj/?p=472951 Safety first

Simon Hazelman, Savusavu

The first thing that caught my eye about MV Liahona II was the largely printed “Safety First” sign on the front of the vessel.

Well, this incident on the Safety First Liahona definitely confirms one thing!

How does the whole front ramp fall into the sea?

How is it that the captain, engineer and crew did not notice the faulty ramp attachments?

Or was it reported and nothing was done about it?

Why are we allowing such vessels into the country?

For by doing so, we are putting our lives at stake!

 

Flammable contamination

Satish Nakched, Suva

We have recently seen new fuel service stations been built in the heavily-populous area along Ratu Dovi Road and one under construction is at the back of the Valelevu Health Centre in Nasinu.

Like the other service station, the bulk fuel needs to be transferred by the tankers and filled in the underground tanks almost twice a week with the usage of the hose that connects the vehicle and the underground storage tanks.

For that process to take place the air needs to be emitted through the tall vent pipes when the fuel is pumped in.

This works almost like a toilet system that without a breezer pipe installed outside the toilet the waste cannot be flushed down to the sewage pipes.

The vent pipes are about more than ten feet in height so that the airborne contaminants do not affect the outlet.

Since the outlet vent openings is at an ad- equate height the odour and the contamination should be filtered before it evaporates in the atmosphere.

In the case of overfilling the excess fuel exit out of this opening also. Different types of fuel have different vent pipes.

Without the release of the excessive contaminated air in the storage tanks it will be impossible to continue with the filling process.

However, the problem is that these flammable airborne pollutants without any filtering mechanism are released into the environment and affects the residents of the surrounding that are very close to the vicinity of the gas station.

The filling progress can last up to two hours, which with prolonged exposure may lead to the adverse health of the residents nearby.

I believe that the fuel franchisor and the franchisee have a corporate social responsibility in the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and to ensure that none of their actions negatively affects the quality of life of the employees and the general public at large.

The fuel companies have robust OHS safety policies, but only geared to provide the protection for its workers on site and do not recognise that there are people also living outside the perimeter of their fence line.

The goal of all occupational safety and health programmes is to foster a safe work environment.

As a secondary effect, it may also protect co-workers, employers, customers, suppliers, nearby communities, and other members of the public who are impacted by the workplace environment.

This is a very high-risk issue and immediate corrective actions must be implemented because it becomes a moral obligation to work within the legislated Environment Management Act 2005.

The Act states that a facility must not discharge any waste or pollutant into the environment and to engage in any activity that may have an adverse impact on human health or the environment.

The ministry concerned with the use of the air quality equipment must randomly measure the air quality index to determine if we are within the range of the WHO specification.

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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Making Universities Relevant https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/20/making-universities-relevant/ https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/20/making-universities-relevant/#comments Sat, 20 Apr 2019 02:10:26 +0000 https://fijisun.com.fj/?p=472684 Returning to the question from last week as to how resource- constrained countries’ universities can develop a knowledge society, in the first place, would necessitate the construction of a tertiary education foundation, that is, a strong and workable quality assurance system of learning and teaching.

Some tertiary education institutions do have effective quality assurance. But some universities which have a quality assurance system only on paper, and some which have it as a caricature, certainly will not be relevant and cannot develop an authentic knowledge society in their respective countries.

Pivotal Role

But universities can play a pivotal role in cultivating a knowledge society. And those in tertiary education, mindful of such a glorious task of building a knowledge society, will, in the first place, ensure the institution of an effective quality assurance system.

The bottom line is that universities are expected to create new knowledge and the institution of quality assurance becomes a watchdog for the pursuit of authentic and relevant knowledge for constructing a knowledge-based economy (KBE) or society.

OECD Definition

Knowledge in the form of a KBE became a development metaphor in 1996 through the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The OECD in 1996 defined KBE as “economies which are directly based on the production, distribution and use of knowledge and information…

This is reflected in the trend in OECD economies towards growth in high-technology investments, high- technology industries, more highly- skilled labor and associated productivity gains…”

The KBE did bring high technology with a tremendous emphasis and focus on information and communications technology, with devastating consequences, which I will allude to below.

University competence

But for now let us see what universities in particular countries did to bolster a KBE and to make themselves relevant.

To totally participate in a KBE of any country, the World Bank proposed the fulfilment of these requisite needs, possibly by a university:

  • need for educated skilled people to create, share, and use knowledge;
  • need for an active information infrastructure to create, communicate, disseminate, and process information/knowledge;
  • need for a regulatory and economic environment to facilitate the free flow of knowledge, to sustain investment in information and communications technology (ICT), and to encourage entrepreneurship;
  • need for innovative systems where we could have a network of educational institutions, research centers, think-tanks, private enterprises, and community groups; appropriate innovative systems can induce the development of inter-university collaboration, interdisciplinarity, internationalisation, quality higher education, academic-industry collaboration, R&D, creative thinking, etc.; these innovative systems may draw on the increased growth of global knowledge, adjust that knowledge to local needs, and eventually even craft new knowledge.

What the World Bank was saying was that a country with the help of its university could begin to develop a knowledge society, when it makes sure that it has skilled people to create knowledge, that it has an information system to create and disseminate this knowledge, that it introduces regulations to facilitate a free flow of information, and that it creates networks that could pull large amounts of global knowledge into a country, to create even further knowledge.

University and KBE

The fact of the matter is that there is the expectation that universities generally create this new knowledge and innovation. But there are “universities” and universities. A university with the capacity to consistently create new knowledge will sustain its relevance to build a KBE.

However, the KBE did not live up to expectations. The KBE did sculpt an information and communications technology (ICT) environment, but its focus was merely on knowledge production, and not knowledge dissemination. Powell and Snellman (2004) argued that this neglect to focus also on knowledge dissemination was ill-advised, as major productivity gains are attained only when new technologies are wedded to matching organisational practices.

Knowledge dissemination would help to harmonise or link new technologies with some organisational practices; and the fact that KBE did not primarily focus on knowledge dissemination, meant that it neglected one of the World Bank’s pillars to boost its own strength.

And so, not surprisingly, an Asian Development Bank (ADB) study noted the poor returns from investments on KBE, as when it failed to produce sustainable economic growth and wealth creation in poor countries. The bottom line then was that universities, in order to remain relevant to build a knowledge society, could not remain wedded to develop a KBE society in full bloom.

And so entered a new concept, knowledge-based development (KBD). KBD reinforced the pillars of the KBE approach with two new pillars: social and natural environment. KBD strengthened KBE.

Linkages

This linkage should transform tertiary education through innovative curricula, innovative learning and teaching strategies, broad-based governance structure, inter-university collaboration, interdisciplinarity, internationalisation, academic-industry collaboration, quality higher education, and creative thinking.

Nonetheless, KBD’s progressive application in any country is dependent on the socioeconomic environment of that country.

Undoubtedly, this conclusion raises questions on a university’s relevance in a poor country, if it cannot produce new knowledge to improve the socioeconomic status of that country.

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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Letters To The Editor, 20th April, 2019 https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/20/letters-to-the-editor-20th-april-2019/ https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/20/letters-to-the-editor-20th-april-2019/#comments Fri, 19 Apr 2019 22:46:21 +0000 https://fijisun.com.fj/?p=472633 Traffic Police

Narayan Reddy, Lautoka

A big thank you to the lady traffic Police officers who were controlling traffic around Lautoka city.

From the 5am church-organised march until the Sangam convention march these officers did a wonderful job.

The ratepayers association of Lautoka would like the thank Lautoka Police for doing a good job with traffic in our city.

 

Family Heritage

Simon Hazelman, Savusavu

Up here in the north there have been several cases in which families have sold their land on which their loved ones are buried.

It is unfortunate how money has taken precedence over family heritage.

Land is useful because you can grow food and it can sustain your life and that of your family’s in many ways.

Having land also presents so many opportunities as an investment. Owning your own land is an avenue to revenue generation as well as owning an asset that has real value.

It is indeed heartbreaking to see families who have owned property for decades and even over a century to let it go for a mere short-term financial gain.

To sell the property on which your parents and grandparents are buried is not only tragic, but just shows how little families value each other.

Indeed, a sad case by landowners who have not only lost their family land, but also gave up their burial ground!

Family land and family burial grounds should never be traded for money!

 

Biman contradicts himself

Kaushal Kumar, Suva

During the 2018 election campaign, NFP was full of contradictions. First, they said they would implement a $5 minimum wage immediately after consultations.

When asked to provide a study and results of the consultations they changed the story … the $5 minimum wage would be decided upon after the first 100 days of consultations.

They said they were not allied with SO- DELPA, look at them now going to court together like best friends.

Biman Prasad claimed he was fighting for the poor and now appears to support a rise in bus fares.

Full of contradictions!

 

Biman Prasad And Bus Fares

Premila Singh, Suva
I read Biman Prasad’s take on the bus crisis where he states that the Government has frozen bus fares for 10 years.

He also said that the Government should leave the bus fare increase decision to LTA. I think every Fijian can now breathe a sigh of relief that not selecting NFP was indeed the correct decision.

Has he ever travelled on a bus?

Poor people depend on buses and depend on Government fighting for them and not increasing bus fares.

As a Fijian who travels by bus regularly, I would like to thank Government and urge them to ignore those who are thinking of self gain instead of our welfare.

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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Letters To The Editor, 19th April, 2019 https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/19/letters-to-the-editor-19th-april-2019/ https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/19/letters-to-the-editor-19th-april-2019/#comments Fri, 19 Apr 2019 04:47:07 +0000 https://fijisun.com.fj/?p=472512 A-G represents Fiji

Kaushal Kumar, Suva

I would like to congratulate our Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, for chairing the first meeting of the 2019 Joint Committee on Remuneration of the Bank and the Fund at the World Bank offices in Washington DC.

The fact that a small country like Fiji is in such a position with organisations such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank at such prestigious international events really shows just how far we have come under this Government.

Fiji no longer sits at the back waiting for others but takes a proactive lead. We are truly entering the golden age. I am very proud Vinaka.

 

Remember this Easter

Dharmendra Kumar, Suva

Things do not always go the way we want them to. There is pain, suffering, sickness, betrayal, tears, and heartache in every life. Many times these trials are outside of our control, and sometimes, they are even caused by other people.

But faith looks at those events through the lens of trust in God’s overall plan for our lives. Such trials can be part of the purifying process by which God makes us more like His Son. But if we become bitter or lose our faith in Him, the benefit of the trial will be lost.

Remember this Easter that Jesus is the victor over sin and death and the grave, and He is triumphant forever.

 

Biman Prasad And Bus Fares

Premila Singh, Suva

I read Biman Prasad’s take on the bus cri- sis where he states that the Government has frozen bus fares for 10 years. He also said that the Government should leave the bus fare increase decision to LTA.

I think every Fijian can now breathe a sigh of relief that not selecting NFP was indeed the correct decision. Has he ever traveled on a bus? Poor people depend on buses and depend on Government fighting for them and not increasing bus fares.

As a Fijian who travels by bus regularly, I would like to thank Government and urge them to ignore those who are thinking of self and gain instead of our welfare.

 

Paid Public Holiday Work

Ronnie Chang, Nadi

With every respect, truthfully and sadly, there is grossly insufficient adequately professional monitoring manpower to properly oversee the payment of Government Gazetted rates of payable wages for work carried out on public holidays.

Many of non-unionised workers suffer this injustice. In my own journey through life in retirement, I come across many employees in many ordinary employment who silently share their employers’ failure to adequately remunerate them for work done during public holidays.

Their FNPF contributions in their personal statements must show a spike for the month of April. Perhaps, some due confidential corporate networking between FNPF, Ministry of Labour and others concerned, is needed now, to protect all affected employees.
Like the Govt Gazetted Family Care Leave being misused, so too, with much due concern, these employees’ silent unheard cries for help go unnoticed.

A more professionally effective system is needed more than ever before to hold to task all defaulting unscrupulous employers without any unnecessary delay.

The newer generation brains-trust have this awesome opportunity to rise to the occasion. All employees, unionised or not, must be given just dues for every honest day’s work. Justice must be seen to be done.

Spoken words are not good enough.

 

Easter hope

Wise Muavono, Lautoka

Were you looking forward to Easter with anticipation and excitement?

During the Lenten season, we have had an opportunity to think about our personal life, with its ups and downs. We should have examined our current relationship with God.

Such reflection and examination will enable us to draw closer to God as we begin to put our living into perspective.

The Christian hope is Easter hope.

It is different to the hope we normally encounter in the world today. It is hope that is totally contingent on a particular event, and because that event has happened our hope is secure. Not wishful-thinking hope, but guaranteed hope.

Easter is here and we are being given a fresh opportunity to live as Easter people.

 

Good Friday

Savenaca Vakaliwaliwa, Suva

The message of Good Friday is simple:

God the Creator dying to redeem fallen created human beings from the curse of sin, sickness and death.

Good Friday makes Christianity different from all other religions because it depicts the Creator dying on a cross, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

The Apostle John opens his Gospel account stating that the Word who had spoken the world into existence and who took the time to create Adam from the dust of the ground, became a human being!

The Apostle Peter commented that we are not redeemed with gold or silver but with the precious blood of the Son of God, who was foreordained before the creation of the world to pay the full price for all the sins of everyone so that we may have the opportunity to be saved.

Good Friday is God appealing to us fallen human beings that He loves us so much, that He was willing to pay for the curse and penalty for sin, and that this is the only provision for our salvation.

But He still respects His gift to us: freedom of choice!

This Good Friday, as we contemplate the Creator hanging on a cross between two thieves; it is my prayer that we will all choose to accept this redeeming love sacrifice from heaven and live to reflect that same love on others.

Happy Easter Fiji.

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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Mere Samisoni Praised For Speaking Her Mind https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/17/mere-samisoni-praised-for-speaking-her-mind/ https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/17/mere-samisoni-praised-for-speaking-her-mind/#comments Wed, 17 Apr 2019 04:42:37 +0000 https://fijisun.com.fj/?p=472230 Mere Samisoni is no stranger to fighting for what she believes in even if her battle is against the establishment.

Her latest battle against the leadership hierarchy of the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) is on a matter of principle.

And she is steadily gathering support from within the party’s rank and file.

Ms Samisoni declined to comment yesterday on her email exchanges with MP Mosese Bulitavu on a range of issues as reported in the Fiji Sun.

She said it was naughty for someone in the party to leak the emails when they were meant for internal discussions with members.

Her close associates say she is deeply religious and exercises her faith in God in what she says and does.

“That’s why she is not afraid to speak out when she sees something that she thinks is not right,” one of them said.

When she discovered from the Lami electorate that the party had told voters that if they did not like the local candidate they could vote for the party, in this case then party leader Sitiveni Rabuka and president Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, she was not happy, to put it mildly.

“She could not believe that the party had done that when she had worked so hard to build SODELPA’s support base in the area.

She had helped people and was involved in a lot of charitable work to turn the hearts of the people away from FijiFirst to SODELPA,” the associate says.

“She felt betrayed. As a founding member of SODELPA and a financier it was like someone had stabbed her in the back.”

As a successful businesswoman who had built up the flourishing Hot Bread Kitchen chain, she had mapped out a winning strategy for the party.

She believed that if each constituency candidate had won a seat, and she was confident of winning hers, SODELPA would have formed a new government.

But, she could not believe that the party had campaigned against her and other candidates.

“Mr Rabuka did not need to win all those votes. If the surplus had been spread out to the constituency candidates we would have won the election,” the associate said.

“Now, she is getting calls from members, including MPs, praising her for speaking her mind. She is a champion.”

Feedback: neelam.prasad@fijisun.com.fj

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Laisenia Qarase For New Party Leader https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/17/laisenia-qarase-for-new-party-leader/ https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/17/laisenia-qarase-for-new-party-leader/#comments Wed, 17 Apr 2019 04:31:15 +0000 https://fijisun.com.fj/?p=472222 Former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase’s name has been bandied about as SODELPA’s next party leader.

His name has been thrown into the mix as the leader who can unite the warring groups between the North and South.

But he said yesterday he had not been approached. Besides, he said, he was not sure whether he could hold any office in the party because of his court conviction.

He was jailed for 12 months for abuse of office in 2012.

But under the Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosures) Act 2013 no person may be an office holder who has been convicted of an offence and jailed six months or more in the past five years.

Mr Qarase is now eligible to hold an office. He is also eligible to contest the election from 2020.

He said the ban on him contesting an election expired in 2022, when the next election will take place.

Mr Qarase is non-commital on his political future.

But his wife, Leba, says “no more” meaning her husband has turned his back on politics.

They were asked what their plans were after speculation kept growing that Mr Qarase’s name had been proposed as the next party leader after Opposition leader Sitiveni Rabuka resigned because SODELPA lost the 2018

General Election as stipulated by the party constitution.

It is understood Mr Qarase had earlier been sounded out and he said he was in.

Speculation was rife after former MP and founding SODELPA member Mere Samisoni warned in an email exchange with MP Mosese Bulitavu that “you and your team are no longer wanted.”

She told him: “Take heed of the winds of change. It’s coming. If your team wants to keep the block for yourselves, we’ll see you at the polls in 2022.”

She was disappointed that no retreat had been held to review the 2018 election results after she handed in her submission in January this year.

Ms Samisoni has accused the party of kicking her out of the election because it told her Lami constituency voters “If you don’t like the candidate vote for the party”.

She said she lost because of that. Instead, the votes went to then party leader Sitiveni Rabuka and president Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu.

Party members have now been informed that the retreat would be next month. But no date has been given.

Another contentious issue is the decision to hold the annual general meeting (AGM) in Savusavu, instead of Suva.

Constituencies in Viti Levu (representing the South group) which number more than those in Vanua Levu and Taveuni (comprising the North group) are protesting against Savusavu as the venue.

They argue not only is it costly to travel there, but it is stacked to favour North interests, in this case keeping the Tui Cakau and MP Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu president and returning Opposition leader Sitiveni Rabuka as party leader.
Mr Qarase is being seen as the compromise party leader.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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No Need For Great Council Of Chiefs https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/17/no-need-for-great-council-of-chiefs/ https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/17/no-need-for-great-council-of-chiefs/#comments Tue, 16 Apr 2019 22:00:24 +0000 https://fijisun.com.fj/?p=472051 The majority of iTaukei randomly interviewed think there is no need to resurrect the Great Council of Chiefs.

It reflects the changing perception of many people about the role and responsibilities of the GCC.

Those who oppose it say it is an unnecessary expense to Government and a terrible waste of taxpayers’ money which should go to worthwhile projects.

The general consensus among this majority is that the GCC is irrelevant because many do not miss it.

The only ones who miss it are politicians, their families and their hangers-on who are far removed from the modern day realities in Fiji.

They seem to be caught up in a time warp.

They refuse to admit that the GCC was created by the British colonialists to minimise iTaukei dissent.

In other words it was to control ordinary iTaukei from expressing opposite views.

The GCC was disestablished in March 2012 by the Voreqe Bainimarama led Government seven years ago last month.

After Independence, the GCC became a political hotbed for politicians who used it for their own agenda.

It reached the stage of absurdity in 1987 when some GCC members openly supported the 1987 military coups instead of going against them.

The GCC lost its moral direction and never recovered until its scraping.

The composition of the GCC was questioned from time to time on the criteria used to select members.

Usually those ranked the highest sit on the GCC.

But even the ranking was a sensitive exercise and although it was not openly expressed it created tension and disharmony. There was perception that it was based on political allegiance and alliances.

In fact the state of politics dictated the proceedings.

Those with the political power controlled them.

He said that the British used the GCC to serve their own purposes.

“They had hereditary chiefs of their own their dukes, earls, barons and so on. So they were very comfortable dealing with hereditary chiefs in Fiji.

Not with troublesome commoners but people like them who owed their power to an accident of birth. People who could order everyone else to fall into line. This arrangement worked well for the British until they left Fiji 94 years later in 1970.”

It was established by the British in 1876 – initially as the Native Council – two years after the Fiji islands were handed over to Queen Victoria by Ratu Seru Cakobau and the other chiefs who signed the Deed of Cession.

It was set up so the British could govern and control the indigenous population through the chiefs at that time.

Mr Bainimarama noted that the GCC had become so politicised, so divisive, that it was a significant obstacle to improving the lives of ordinary Fijians.

“It was certainly a major obstacle to the most important issue of all – our pursuit of a common and equal citizenry to finally build one nation and move forward together.

“It was also an obstacle to the development of the iTaukei themselves. The unfair distribution of lease monies which favoured the chiefs deprived ordinary iTaukei people of the share they were entitled to.”

A paramount chief in Vanua Levu who wants to remain anonymous asked: “If GCC was restored what will they be discussing?”

The past GCC had in fact divided the chiefs into three categories.

Those in the first group were the front liners and they were the ones who usually contributed in the meeting, the middle class who were merely at the meeting to give support and those who remained at the back.

The spokesmen for the Turaga na Ratu, the chief of Verata, Ratu Sevanaia Verata, said the GCC should not be restored. Instead, the chiefs should be looking after their own people.

Naitasiri chief Ratu Timoci Rokobukete said the GCC should not be brought back. He said the chiefs should instead work with the people and raise their concerns at the provincial council meetings which will then be forwarded to the ministry and later to Government ministries for action.

Tailevu chief, Turaga na Tui Nabou Semi Matalau said no one could question Government’s decision about the GCC.

“Already chiefs are the chairpersons of their village and district meetings. They are also members of their provincial council meetings,” he said.

“They are the advisers at the meetings.”

Their advice is forwarded to the Ministry of the iTaukei Affairs and later relayed to Government ministries.

District and provincial council meetings are recognised by Government,” he said.

He said there was no need for GCC to be back in place because Government has put in place a replacement.

The chiefs would be fulfilling their responsibilities better if they focus on their traditional jurisdictions. They do not need the GCC to do it.

Feedback: maikab@fijisun.com.fj

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Letters To The Editors, 16th April 2019 https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/16/letters-to-the-editors-16th-april-2019/ https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/16/letters-to-the-editors-16th-april-2019/#comments Tue, 16 Apr 2019 02:14:39 +0000 https://fijisun.com.fj/?p=471899 Amenatave Yaconisau, Delainavesi

I fully agree with the evergreen Nemani Delaibatiki on his My Say article about Trade Union manipulation of workers(FS 15/4/18).

While the protest is clearly illegal, the un­ion’s General Secretary shouldn’t play with workers welfare, especially wages for his own promotion.

I hope the workers will realise they’re be­ing used for political purposes. I also hope they’ll solve the dispute legally and amica-bly.

Kudos to 7s team

Timoci Gaunavinaka, Nausori

What is wrong with these cowards and mo­rons criticizing and some even swearing at our Fiji Airways National Sevens players for the 1 point loss in Singapore on social media.

Fiji is the most successful team on this leg of the series. They won five in a row at Hong Kong setting a record very difficult for any team on the planet to achieve and losing by a single point to South Africa in Singapore.

South Africa has never won a Hong Kong Sevens title in their whole sevens career and stands very little chance of catching up with Fiji in the next two remaining tourna­ments.

We have Nacuqu fracturing a collar bone, Tuwai pulling a hamstring and Nasoko still recovering from a knee injury. These boys have toiled, sweated and bled for Fiji while we just cheer and pass comments from the comfort of our living rooms.

Let us keep supporting our team and stop throwing around stupid and arrogant com­ments that will only do more harm than good to our rugby.

Congratulations to our Sevens Team, man­agement and each of their families who work tirelessly behind the scene giving needed personal comfort to our heroes. The whole of Fiji is with you.

Vinaka vaka levu na vosota boys

Easter Road Promotion

Satish Nakched, Suva

As we near the Easter weekend some of the commercial organisations have really got into the mood and are giving back to the com­munities, but at a great risk.

There is a radio station that gives away the Easter buns to the motorist when they stop at the red light intersection in the Suva Nau­sori corridor without any regard to their safety.

They walk cheerfully in between the vehi­cle without any protective footwear or reflec­tor vest for safety reasons.

At times they become a menace for the mo­torist. We already have a record number of road fatalities in comparison to the same pe­riod last year.

The company has corporate social respon­sibility and must discharge its activities in a manner that is ethical and safe.

By walking and distributing the goodies its employees become road hazards and may create an adverse situation and add on to the road accident statistics.

I believe the Police must advise and elimi­nate such a risky promotion tactic as this was evident during the Diwali period as well.

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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Trade Unionists Should Not Play Politics At The Expense Of Workers’ Welfare https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/16/trade-unionists-should-not-play-politics-at-the-expense-of-workers-welfare/ https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/16/trade-unionists-should-not-play-politics-at-the-expense-of-workers-welfare/#comments Tue, 16 Apr 2019 02:10:58 +0000 https://fijisun.com.fj/?p=471781 Felix Anthony stood beside Parveen Bala last week in Suva with International Labour Or­ganisation officials to cut the ILO’s 100th anniversary cake.

The Fiji Trades Union Congress Na­tional Secretary and the Minister for Employment Productivity wore the same blue bula shirt and similar type of garlands.

Symbolically you would think they were singing from the same songbook.

But it’s now apparent they weren’t because the FTUC has been planning a national day of strike on May 3.

The timing is deliberate because it coincides with the Asian Development Bank annual meeting on Denarau in Nadi. It is aimed at drawing the atten­tion of the delegates to outstanding trade union grievances against the Government, part of a desperate bid to force its hands.

It’s all about a national minimum wage. The FTUC has been clamouring for $4 an hour.

The protest plan appears to have taken a sinister twist. Union members have allegedly been asked to take Sick and Family Care Leave because the protest March permit has not been granted.

This is totally unacceptable!

Using Sick and Family Care Leave is a serious abuse of this employment benefit.

They are given for specific purposes to help individuals and their families. To use them for a trade union purpose is irresponsible and even unlawful, if proven.

It is also irresponsible to target a ma­jor international meeting to air their concerns. They do not realise that the overall impact could come back to haunt the workers, the people that trade unionists claim they are fighting for.

Why can’t they use the mechanisms already in place to discuss their griev­ances.

Last year, the unions walked out of the Employment Relations Advisory Board (ERAB) in protest against the Government’s position. Whether they have gone back is not clear, but dia­logue is the best way.

They should return to the processes that will arrive at a resolution.

Union members should not allow their trade union leaders to use them for their political agenda.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

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Letters To The Editor, 15th April 2019 https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/16/letters-to-the-editor-15th-april-2019/ https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/16/letters-to-the-editor-15th-april-2019/#comments Tue, 16 Apr 2019 02:03:07 +0000 https://fijisun.com.fj/?p=471779 Athletics, safety and temptation

Floyd Robinson, Toorak

Walking through Damodar City the other day I noticed a number of athletes making their way to the National Stadium, but was a little stunned when I saw one of them casu­ally holding a Javelin.

Without covering the pointed tip which is sharp, this is a weapon which could have eas­ily injured adults or children passing by.

One hopes that teachers will exercise more caution by giving their student proper safety advice as well as athletes being more careful as one accident can cause a life long injury to an innocent person.

Meanwhile, as I moved further along Da­modar City, I passed by a crowd of students who were boasting about a punch-up with students of another secondary school.

One taxi driver told me that it’s normal for some students to party after the Fiji finals with some resorting to the nearby bushes to express their feelings for each other.

Oilei that time of the year again when many students converge in Suva.

Peer pressure and temptation is at its peak. May students enjoy the games, but exercise responsibility afterwards. Some parents and guardians will be monitoring their chil­dren’s movement after hours starting tomor­row

Human Rights

Ronnie Chang, Nadi

The sanctity and reverence of GOD’s 10 commandments are being very sorely and aggressively “tested” – all in the name of hu­man rights and discriminatory outbursts.

We are all being respectfully and patiently reminded that GOD always loves every sin­ner, me included, but hates the sins we com­mit. Repent, while time permits.

Tomorrow, may be the last day in our hu­man lives. It might be a little too late, then.

On the face of our earthly pilgrimmage home please always know, as Holy Scripture aptly teaches us, “Let he who is without sin; Caste that first proverbial stone.”

“Thou shalt not test the LORD your GOD.”

Bus Firms

Simon Hazelman, Savusavu

It is a well known and obvious fact that bus operators and owners are some of the wealthiest people around.

On one end we see them taking complete advantage of the high returns they receive from running bus operations while on the other we see them struggling to pay for fuel and wages?

It is about time they are put on notice by Land Transport Authority (LTA) and all thanks to chief executive officer Samuel Simpson for doing so.

It’s time to shape up and provide higher standard service or ship out and give oth­ers the opportunity to provide the service that LTA and users require. For far too long have the bus travelling public been taken on a rough ride by these foxy operators!

Rabuka not answer

Jan Nissar, Carlton NSW 2218

I spent all of March in Fiji. Speaking to the people during that month, there appears to be general discontent about cost of living. People also have concerns about the corrup­tion, housing affordability, wage rates, pov­erty, youth unemployment and the like – not to mention the termites in Lautoka.

These issues are not unique to Fiji.

The most developed of countries have these issues. Fiji is not special in that sense. When asked if they did not have confidence in the FijiFirst Government solving these issues, did they think Rabuka could, there was si­lence and a realisation about the alternative. Many said “…but Rabuka has apologised”. What a decades-old apology by a has been has to do with fixing Fiji’s problems is some­thing to ponder.

It appears the people of Fiji are waiting for a knight in shining armour to come and save them. Let me assure them, that knight is not Rabuka, nor is it Jesus Christ.

Fiji’s problems can only be solved by the people of Fiji.

May I suggest that you start by cleaning the litter around Fiji. As a second measure, may I suggest you stop reading and participating in the rubbish of social media.

As an outsider and one who has Fiji’s inter­ests at heart I don’t mean to be condescend­ing, but one must start somewhere.

 

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Between The Lines, 16th April 2019 https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/16/between-the-lines-16th-april-2019/ https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/16/between-the-lines-16th-april-2019/#comments Tue, 16 Apr 2019 02:01:40 +0000 https://fijisun.com.fj/?p=471913 GAMES RUMOURS

Rumours are swirling around that some senior students not enrolled in secondary schools could be in action at the Coca-Cola Games at the ANZ Stadium in Suva today.

BTL hopes they are not true. One rumour is that an athlete already attending a tertiary institution is allegedly a member of a prominent school’s athletics team. It is sad if that is true.

There should be an independent investigation to ascertain the truth of these reports. If they are true then appropriate action must be taken against those schools involved.

The Fiji Secondary Schools Athletics championship is an annual Premiere sports event, bringing together thousands of Fijians who look forward to top class athletics rivalry. It is not fair that a school, in a desperate bid to shore up its medal tally, cheats to get an athlete who is not part of the school system. There should be heavy penalties imposed on those schools found guilty.

BTL hopes the rumours are proved wrong.

PARTY TO ADDRESS ISSUES

There are several issues that have been brought to the attention of SODELPA. They include questions on the following as raised by members:

  • The Strategy, Media and Manifesto Unit which was formed during the election. Some only knew about it when they saw the label pasted on the bottom front door of the unit office which was originally given for the youths. This unit towards the election was making major decisions for the party and responsible for the critical areas that would determine our election results.

Who gave the approval for the establishment of this unit and on what authority under the constitution?

How was the incumbent operating under this unit recruited?

How much did it cost the party to operate this unit. This should include how much were they paid?

Why was the most critical document of the election campaign, the manifesto late in its completion and who was responsible?

How many were printed and how much did it cost the party to print our manifesto?

How many were actually distributed?

The media unit should also clarify how much was spent in the total media campaign?

Who was responsible for this unit ?

What was the total cost of the Party Leader’s Media campaign and DVD?

How many of it was printed and how many were distributed?

Why did it fail?

After the 2014 election the party spent a considerable amount of money on our lessons learnt workshop that was held in Nadave. The outcome of the said meeting was approved by the board and general assembly to be the guiding document out of which a strategy was developed under seven pillars.

What happened to these outcomes?

Why were they thrown out and what was the new strategy?

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Mere Samisoni Calls Bulitavu ‘Bully Drecala Strategist’ https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/16/mere-samisoni-calls-bulitavu-bully-drecala-strategist/ https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/16/mere-samisoni-calls-bulitavu-bully-drecala-strategist/#comments Mon, 15 Apr 2019 23:34:41 +0000 https://fijisun.com.fj/?p=471893 SODELPA’s eagerly-awaited re­treat to review the 2018 General Election results is expected to be explosive, if last weekend’s email ex­changes are anything to go by.

When failed election candidate, former member of Parliament and SODELPA founding member Mere Samisoni calls MP Mosese Bulitavu “Bully Drecala (rebel) Strategist”, it indicates how the debate over this issue has degenerated into unprec­edented personal attacks.

The Hot Bread Kitchen owner ap­pears to be on the warpath, demand­ing that the retreat be held so that she and others will explain how and why SODELPA could have won the elec­tion.

She said if party HQ had allowed con­stituency candidates unchallenged the party would have won more seats and would be in Government now.

In her case, Opposition leader and then party leader Sitiveni Rabuka and SODELPA president had campaigned in Lami and won votes that could have gone to her.

She said she had done her research claiming she had evidence. She said she had informed Mr Rabuka about it.

“We at Lami Constituency and I have been waiting for the retreat designed to discuss our concerns but we felt ‘gagged’,” Ms Samisoni said.

“The dictatorial culture of gagging is real because of the restructuring in the office.

“This brings me to the point that the President and leadership of SODEL­PA plan to continue their control on voters, at HQ level NOT at community and Member of Parliament level or power decentralised as envisioned by the late Ratu JYK (Ratu Jone Yavala Kubuabola) in his chaired policy state­ment.

“It will, thus, ensure good govern­ance, accountability, transparency and participation.

“FYI, so far I as a founder of SODEL­PA and Lami Constituency Counsellor feel left out of your system of decision making Hon. Bulitavu as spokesman for the Party just like you were during the ‘Gaunavinaka’ saga dirty politics.

“Why was the retreat delayed? Be­cause basically, justice delayed is jus­tice denied.

“I am therefore not surprised with the reaction from the Youth and I en­courage their empowerment.”

She was expressing her support for SODELPA Youth president Jope Ko­roisavou, who has sent a hard-hitting petition asking questions about many issues.

 

From left Member of Opposition Mosese Bulitavu, SODELPA President Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu and Opposition Leader Sitiveni Rabuka.

From left Member of Opposition Mosese Bulitavu, SODELPA President Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu and Opposition Leader Sitiveni Rabuka.

 

Mr Bulitavu in response said:

“I repeat, all your evidence and con­cerns need to be aired in the right forum not here. What you saying are just claims and wild allegations. Prob­ably, you did not campaign well or people did not trust you enough to be their MP. That’s why they voted for other candidates who campaigned in Lami apart from you. You were not appealing enough, but don’t use your hate to try to destabilise the Party which is doing great. Be a good loser who is gracious in defeat and a party person.”

Ms Samisoni told Mr Bulitavu: “Set up the election workshop then see for yourself, the response from the Cau­cus members there.

“Why should I tell you who they are when you just decided now to add the rest of the MPs previously left out of your responses? What is your team scared of?

“Call the open workshop and hold the AGM in Suva.”

She told Mr Bulitavu “you and your team are no longer wanted. Take heed of the winds of change. It’s coming. If your team wants to keep the block for yourselves, we’ll see you at the polls in 2022.”

Mr Bulitavu is a key member of the Vanua Levu bloc comprising Caka­udrove, Bua and Macuata provinces, commonly referred to as CBM.

Ms Samisoni claimed that Vanua Levu historically had never won with­out the rest, from Central, Western & Eastern support.

She told Mr Bulitavu: “On your own, you are sitting ducks. The ball is in your court. Call the workshop and see for yourselves.”

She said she had given a hard copy of her research statistics to Mr Rabuka because of her concerns.

She claimed Mr Rabuka and Ratu Naiqama campaigned in Lami against her with the phrase “if you don’t like the candidate vote for the Party”?

“I have evidence. This is not the type of leadership I, as a founding member, agreed to for SODELPA.

“This type of dirty politics cannot evolve into the SODELPA we had envi­sioned to serve our voter base.

“Your focus on CBM only, which is the same style and pattern, used by FFP, removed other candidates like me.

“This is not how democratic leaders treat their team.”

Mr Rabuka polled 77,040 in the last election. If some of those votes had gone to other candidates like Ms Sami­soni, they would have helped them get over the threshold and increase SO­DELPA’s seats and prospects of form­ing the Government

That’s the line that Ms Samisoni and her growing group will take to the re­treat.

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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Mick Beddoes Replies To Jyoti Pratibha https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/15/mick-beddoes-replies-to-jyoti-pratibha/ https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/15/mick-beddoes-replies-to-jyoti-pratibha/#comments Mon, 15 Apr 2019 02:00:03 +0000 https://fijisun.com.fj/?p=471784
  • Former SODELPA office manager and former United Peoples Party (formerly the United General Party) leader and par­liamentarian MICK BEDDOES has replied to an Analysis by Fiji Sun Managing Editor News Jyoti Pratibha (Big Mick’s Racist ‘Analysis’ Carries No Weight,)
  • Mr Beddoes it should be noted has previ­ously tried and failed to get SODELPA members to boycott the Fiji Sun. He still says he does not “purchase” the Fiji Sun. We are happy to publish an edited down version of his lengthy response to Ms Pratibha.
  • I believe my thinking is prudent and conservative. It is about adopting the right approach to managing the complex diversity of our nation and promoting harmonious co-existence. It should be self-evident that this re­quires balance and inclusion.

    The real danger to our society lies with people like Jyoti Pratibha who want to proceed only on the basis of perceived merit, usually decided by some politically-inspired minister. In the case of FijiFirst, the philosophy is that we are all the same; there are no differences.

    Jyoti and her fellow travellers are in the grip of delusional thinking, di­vorced from the reality of the make-up of Fiji. To me this is a form of extrem­ism. Within it lie the seeds of trouble. This is not hard to fathom.

    It is easy to see she shares the think­ing in the letters to the editor of Peni Naoma of Savusavu and Kaushal Ku­mar of Nasinu, who also denounced me.

    For starters, if she seriously believed the survey I published on Facebook about board and executive appoint­ments carried no weight, her reaction, and those of Peni and Kaushal suggest I may have struck a raw nerve.

    It is precisely the divisive delusional thinking that sows the seed for mis­trust, anger and resentment to grow. Jyoti and her newspaper are complicit in this.

    Jyoti’s constant adherence to the line that the government can do no wrong completely erodes her credibility.

    Jyoti tries to suggest my survey is in­complete because I never mentioned a lot of other organisations.

    But the survey was only about 33 government-owned entities. It was not about permanent secretaries or the Po­lice or the military or anything else.

    Nor was it about the period before 2007, or the profitability or losses of the organisations, or how many women leaders there are today and how many girls go to schools or universities. Jyoti would do well to note that I even spe­cifically stated I was not questioning the suitability or qualifications of ap­pointees.

    My aim was to determine whether the appointments to boards, executive po­sitions and chairmanships and gender balance were compliant with the 2013 constitution.

    In particular:-

    Sec 26 (3) which says a person must not be unfairly treated directly or in­directly on the actual or supposed per­sonal characteristics, including race, culture, ethnic or social origin.

    (4) A law or an administrative action taken under a law may not directly or indirectly impose a limitation or re­striction on any person on a prohibited ground

    (7) Treating one person differently from another on any of the grounds prescribed under subsection 26 (3) is discrimination, unless it can be estab­lished that the difference in treatment is not unfair in the circumstances

    Nowhere does it say anything about ‘merit’.

    That said, I obviously agree that any appointee from any community must be suitably qualified for the position for which they are being considered.

    However what I do not accept is that those appointing could not find 93 suit­ably qualified iTaukei citizens from the more than 500,000 in Fiji or abroad to warrant appointments. Had some real effort been made to do this, it would have ensured a fair, just and balanced representation on all boards and be compliant with the provisions of the constitution.

    What was telling about Jyoti, Peni and Kaushal’s take on the survey was that none of them saw anything wrong with the huge gender imbalance of 94 per cent male vs six per cent female.

    Further, Peni was not concerned that his own community accounted for just six per cent of chairs, nine per cent of executives and 24 per cent of board ap­pointees.

    For the record this trend is not recent; it existed when I first conducted simi­lar surveys in 2017 and it continued in 2018 and it’s still happening in 2019.

    How perverse is it that those who per­petrated the discrimination through their appointments of all 161 people covered in my survey are somehow blameless while the person who dis­covered and exposed this is accused of racism.

    Again I stress that we are a multicul­tural, multi religious and multi ethnic society. It is therefore incumbent on all of us to be forever vigilant and call out any eventualities that have the poten­tial to create destructive division and create ethnic and racial mistrust and resentment.

    We all have a responsibility to stop this.

    And for you Jyoti I have a final com­ment.

    The ultimate tragedy is not the oppres­sion and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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    BTL: April 15, 2019 https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/15/btl-april-15-2019/ https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/15/btl-april-15-2019/#comments Mon, 15 Apr 2019 00:24:39 +0000 https://fijisun.com.fj/?p=471796 SODELPA ROW

    A flurry of email exchanges has highlighted the mess that SODELPA is entangled in.
    It reveals that:
    The parliamentary caucus is concerned with Opposition Whip Lynda Tabuya’s conduct and performance. Whether it includes her dress standard is not known.
    MP Mosese Bulitavu has been labelled a bully strategist by Hot Bread Kitchen owner Mere Samisoni in a series of heated exchanges
    Mr Bulitavu has taken the mantle of party spokesperson. He has been responding to party critics.
    Mr Bulitavu had told Ms Samisoni that she could air her grievances about her loss in the last general election in a proper retreat not in emails copied to Members of Parliament.
    Ms Samisoni has warned that if the retreat to post mortem for the election is not held and the AGM is not shifted from Savusavu to Suva then “we will see you”.
    Mr Bulitavu has declared that Opposition leader Sitiveni Rabuka is the best Party leader.
    More dirt is expected to come out in the days ahead. Keep reading the Fiji Sun.

    FLESH TRADE?
    Rewa Street in Suva is fast becoming infamous for some night activities. BTL was told of some flash cars stopping at areas for some flesh trade?
    The bus shelters near Howell Road and at the entrance near the walkway to a high school near Samabula are where these men and women ply their trade, regarded the as oldest profession in the world. Obviously they know there is a demand.

    BARTER SYSTEM IN SCHOOL
    Some students have raised concerns that an assistant head of school is engaged in a barter system of sorts, give him live chicken and you get boots to wear in their tech workshop. If this is indeed happening, it should well and truly stop.

    NEW ROAD TREND
    There is a new trend on our road these days. Vehicle owners tilt up their vehicle registration plates to avoid it being captured by the cameras while speeding.

    VOTE THIEVES?
    A politician and a former Member of Parliament still cannot accept the fact that she did not win a seat in Parliament after the 2018 General Election.
    She is putting the blame on two of her colleagues for winning away her votes from around the area where she lives.
    Politicians seriously need to accept the result and move on

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    Blackmail Of The Sickest Order https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/13/blackmail-of-the-sickest-order/ https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/04/13/blackmail-of-the-sickest-order/#comments Fri, 12 Apr 2019 21:53:35 +0000 https://fijisun.com.fj/?p=471500 Family Care Leave was introduced by the FijiFirst Government in good faith.

    All employees can use that in case of emergency when they need to attend to family members.

    But, information is fast emerging that unions are encouraging their members not to turn up to work on May 3, right in the middle of the Asian Development Bank meeting, and to explain the absence from work by using Family Care Leave and/ or sick leave. This shows a total disregard of good faith.

    We are expecting at least 3000 visitors to Fiji for the meeting.

    Unions want their members to turn their backs onto these visitors. Workers need to ask is this not being anti-Fiji?

    Fiji has never been known to leave their visitors stranded. We are known for our hospitality. We are known to go above and beyond to assist those travelling to our shores.

    This stunt will no doubt leave a bad taste in peoples’ mouths about Fiji.

    What is the ethos of being Fijian? Do we turn our backs on visitors? Do we turn off the lights, shut the gates and leave our visitors outside? Is this the hospitality we want to be known for?

    Unions and unionists who have a political agenda are using this for their own advantage and it is the employees who will have to suffer when talks break down because of stunts like these.

    Just a word of caution: Union members stop for a minute and think. What will you achieve from pulling this stunt?

    Negotiations such as this are not taken in bad faith. It is not undertaken with a knife hanging over the heads of their employers. Employees also need to realise there are tens of thousands of young enthusiastic graduates willing to take their positions in various companies.

    Do not let it come to that. Because if that happens, it will be you and your family members who would suffer.

    Fiji Trades Union Congress has the Fijian Teachers Association and other smaller unions partnering them to stage a mass absence from work.

    This begins from the airports. They plan to have baggage handlers, Air Terminal Services staff either call in sick or take days from their family care leave. This may also include our air traffic controllers.

    Then they target hotels. With staff missing from hotels, unionists think that chaos could be created with almost all Nadi hotels booked to full occupancy for the ADB meet.

    Telecom Fiji Limited staff are being urged to join this with Water Authority of Fiji employees.

    Flyers sent to the Fiji Sun show that Fijian Teachers Association members have also gone around the country urging their members to support this shameful stunt.

    This is not negotiation, this is blackmail.

    Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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