Letters to the Editor | Sunday, May 28, 2023

Ono-i-Lau contingent perform a lakalaka during the Great Council of Chiefs meeting on Bau Island last month. The Great Council of Chiefs is a traditional setting where people can meet to renew relationships and revive customs that are in danger of dying. Picture: JONA KONATACI

Proud Fijian

I enjoyed the groups of entertainers who performed their traditional meke for the last two days at the recent Great Council of Chiefs meeting which I haven’t seen for a very long time, like the much talked about lakalaka titled “Ofa ki Nakula” which went viral via mainstream and social media from people on Ono-i-Lau Island.

It was first taught by my late maternal grandfather Waisale Sale Vakauliafa of Sawana Village, Vanuabalavu who was a pioneer resident at Savai Rd, Kinoya for the urban based Ono-i-Lau islanders at Tovata/Wakanisila settlement when they went to Ono–i-Lau Island where my late maternal grandmother Sera Tuicakau Kepa hails from, for the opening of its Ono-i-Lau Airstrip in 1979, while I was a Class 5 student at Kalabu Fijian School.

I was very emotional at the beginning filled with joy when I recollect the sound of that lakalaka but I forgot the lyrics after 40 plus years.

I love my culture, traditions, language and its cultural dances and this was made possible due to the reinstatement of the GCC.

I’m a proud Fijian of Lauan heritage in my DNA.

Jioji M Cakacaka, Carreras, Votualevu, Nadi

Market area

I am always upset whenever I approach the market area in Suva in the evening.

Always the same old habits of leaving trash behind.

What effect will that cause on the environment?

Not only the sellers are to be blamed but shoppers and passersby need to consider themselves guilty of such small crimes against mother nature.

People need to take this seriously and snap out of their heads!

This is Earth and the world has been affected by pollution.

We don’t want our nation to be adulterated by some minds but we need moral people who are courageous and are obligated to do such tasks required by the law and as citizens, we have a role to play in our society and communities.

If others do not follow, I say we must confront and compel them to do what is right and just.

Let us stand together as one with unity and demonstrate our actions in front of witnesses.

Let us fight this together with a powerful voice of unity and cooperation and with courage and bravery, let us face this challenge, and no matter what obstacles we go through, as long as the fight continues, the battle is not over!


Parliamentary representation

As pointed out by Jioji Kotabalavu (FT 27/5/23) one of the major deficiencies of the 2013 Constitution is that it does not offer direct representation to individual constituencies, whether geographic or ethnic.

He suggests that this defect will have to be remedied by the reintroduction of single-member constituencies.

But that will not be possible without amendment to the Constitution which at present seems to be highly unlikely.

There is, however, a “halfway house” available without the need for any legislation which I believe would offer a much needed improvement on the current set up.

There is nothing to prevent the Prime Minister designating each member of the governing coalition (whether or not already holding ministerial appointment) as “Member of Parliament with special responsibility for” one of the former parliamentary constituencies.

With the publication of a list of such designations the inhabitants of these notional constituencies would at least know which MP to approach when needed, thus reintroducing one element central to genuine representative democracy.

Neither, of course, would there be any difficulty in the Leader of the Opposition making similar designations.

Michael Scott, Morris St, Lautoka

New flavour

I’d attempt to upgrade my tubelight status to a primitive oil lamp one.

I recently realised that a certain product has many flavours (if that is the right word to use).

At a supermarket, I was in the vicinity when a customer was in the process of purchasing this product.

I was surprised when the customer was given a few options.

I thought a joke was being shared when the name of a killer disease was mentioned.

But it turned out to be real.

Just thinking if a new and improved formula would produce an unavoidable flavour (if that is the right word to use).


Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

The back bone

I believe that the Methodist Church of Fiji and the Great Council of Chiefs are truly the backbone and keystones of the Prime Minister’s reign and humbleness.

Keep on trodding Mr SLR.

No man is an island, definitely.


Rate amnesty

I think those ratepayers who were behind in the payment of their rates should take full advantage of the rate amnesty which is valid until July 31, 2023.

I believe all interest will be waived if you cleared your rates in full within the amnesty period.

I would urge ratepayers not to let this opportunity slip by.

Please note that interest is an ongoing charge.

It’s better to clear than to see the interest accumulate.

Suresh Chand, Nadi

A new fly half

I think the Fijian Drua needs to look for a new fly half.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

A lot of talent

Fiji has unparalleled talent.

Give them a rugby ball, it can turn to gold.

Give a paint brush, it can turn drawings into money.

Give a spade, it can result in trees.

Give them education, it can eradicate poverty.


The Physical Education, Music, Art and Craft (PEMAC) teaching and learning in secondary schools should become separate departments and taught up to form seven.

PEMAC should commence from primary school.

Agriculture science should be made compulsory in all schools.

Asish Vinay Prasad, Park Rd., Raiwasa, Suva

Great Council of Chiefs

I fully support the reinstatement of the Great Council of Chiefs provided they are apolitical.

It’s true that the iTaukei culture and tradition was fragile in the absence of the above high and respected body.

Believe me the same has happened to our Indian culture and tradition.

I call upon our leaders to re-establish panchayat, the great council of panchayat or GCP.

While in Suva they can meet at GPH, the Grand Pacific Hotel and when in Savusavu they can meet again, but at another GPH, at the Grand Paradise Hotel.

I hope as the GCC, the GCP will be apolitical too.


Champions League return!

Joy for Manchester United fans as the Red Devils secured Champions League return with 4-1 rout of Chelsea.

In front of a packed Old Trafford, coach Eric Ten Hag achieved what he called his “main objective” of securing a return to the Champions League.

Goals from Casemiro, Anthony Martial, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford fired United to third and two points above Newcastle, going into the season finale.

It could get better still for Erik ten Hag who has already lifted his first trophy – the League Cup in February as United faces Manchester City in the FA Cup final on June 3 at Wembley.

While silverware adds sparkle to an encouraging debut season under the Dutch coach, qualification for the Champions League has been the ultimate measure by which his predecessors have been judged during a turbulent 10 years since iconic manager Sir Alex Ferguson retired as David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar were fired.

Ten Hag has done wonders in his first season at Old Trafford, igniting hopes of an EPL win- the last being in 2013 under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Signs of suicide

I reiterate the same call made by Selina Kuruleca some months ago for parents/ guardians, to look out for how their children are behaving and get professional help if their behaviour is not normal.

This call was made after revelations by teacher counsellors that students are being found with suicide notes in schools.

According to Lifeline Fiji, one of the local qualified NGOs that addresses mental health issues, the youngest suicide victim in Fiji was a 7-year-old child.

Now that is a very sad reality and should be a wakeup call for us parents/guardians.

Our children have also experienced a lot of anxiety, stress and frustrations associated with COVID-19 and its related restrictions and socio-economic issues we currently facing in Fiji.

It’s about time that Ministry of Social Welfare and relevant stakeholders including Save the Children Fiji and other UN inter agencies give us parents/guardians via mainstream media especially TV and newspapers and even online platforms, tips on how to recognise signs of child suicide.

It’s not a taboo issue any more.

Jioji M Cakacaka, Carreras, Votualevu, Nadi

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