Letters to the Editor | Friday, May 26, 2023

President, Ratu Wiliame Katonivere, Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, Turaga na Vunivalu Tui Kaba, Ratu Epenisa Cakobau, Marama Bale na Roko Tui Dreketi, ro Teimumu Kepa, guests and meeting reps during the official opening of the Great Council of Chiefs meeting infront on the Ulunivuaka on Bau Island on Wednesday, May 24, 2023. Picture: SOPHIE RALULU

GCC opening

At this time of writing, 10.56am Wednesday, May 24, filled with mixed emotions and tear-filled eyes of happiness, I humble myself to say thank you to the Lord our God in Jesus holy name, for after 16 years of much dominance, the Great Council of Chiefs has risen from its ashes on the chiefly island of Bau.

It is a beautiful day — the dawn of a new era.

We are truly privileged to witness history unfolding before us all.

We pray the Great Council of Chiefs lead with pride, distinction, compassion, love, wisdom and mercy.

Let us all join hands and move forward, in peace and Christ’s love for all mankind.

God bless Fiji forever more.

Ronnie Chang, Martintar, Nadi

GCC meeting

The Great Council of Chiefs meeting was revived on the chiefly island of Bau on May 24, ushering in a new era for all Fijians after a lapse of 16 dark years.

This historic occasion also signifies the reintroduction of Ratu Sir Lalabalavu Vana’ali’ali Sukuna Day celebrations after a 13-year absence.

The sentiments expressed by our President Ratu Wiliame Katonivere that the GCC’s revival is a beacon of hope for our younger generation are undoubtedly true.

I think that everyone in Fiji needs to learn iTaukei mannerisms and protocols so that we can coexist in peace in this multiracial Fiji.

This is true not just for the young iTaukei generation, but for other races as well.

The thousands of Bauans and invited guests who are in attendance at this live event are truly blessed.

It is highly commended that The Fiji Times has provided extensive and exclusive coverage in both their print and online media.

Hats off to editor-in-chief Fred Wesley and his entire dedicated staff for working around the clock to provide us with the in-depth coverage in the comfort of our homes.

This is exactly what we would expect from the most trustworthy and objective media company.

I’m looking forward to seeing similar coverage of Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna Day events across the nation.


Constitutional GCC

“When in Rome do as the Romans do…..”; “Give unto Ceasar what is Ceasar’s….”; just two short utterances written in renowned books on the constitutional rights of a country and its leaders from centuries ago.

Fiji is unique in this world as it was a millennia ago.

We have Fijian people, their chiefs and customs that are unique in their ways from before until now.

From the colonialists and the influx of the girmitiya, the Chinese and other races, Fiji as a country has progressed greatly as a nation.

That Fiji’s Great Council of Chiefs Forum be constitutionalised, should be enacted immediately.

With the UN Charter on the protection of Indigenous Peoples, it empowers our new pro-active government to protect the chiefs of Fiji’s forum.

In Fiji’s own unique way, anywhere you go in this beautiful country, has to be acknowledged with customary protocols to the chief or owner of the particular area you end up in.

And this opportunity to constitutionalise Fiji’s GCC can at the very least or be its primary objective, to protect the endemic culture and customs of the Fijian race.

This new dawn we are entering in Fiji in 2023, has brought a transformation of sorts to our nation and in Fiji’s people.

Let our new government continue in this rich vein of newfound change.

The initiative to revive the Great Council of Chiefs is a powerful and holistic achievement and with the three heads of the vanua in their rightful positions, it can only bring good and auger well for Fiji and all Fijians.

God bless Fiji.

Epeli Rabua, Loloma St, Tamavua, Suva

By who?

At the end of the GCC meeting, I hope we are told how the performance of the institution and its members will be monitored, and by who?

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

A favour

COME what may after the three days meeting, just do us a favour, do not let the dirty game of politics be part of that institution.


People first

The head of the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma, Reverend Ili Vunisuwai is too right in reminding those at the GCC meet that “the priority of any government was the welfare of its people” (FT 25/5).

That priority is often neglected by those in power.

Let’s hope the powers that be heed the religious leader’s message for the good of the country and its people.

Failure to do so will mean Fiji will continue to be the fractured country it is currently.

That’s in no one’s interest.

Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia

A new vendor’s calling

The piece on Jovesa Sekiqali (FT: 24/05), who has been selling newspapers along Victoria Parade in Suva for the past two years, was a delight, thanks to Elena Vucukula.

I salute Jovesa for his patience, hard work and commitment in selling The Fiji Times and The Fiji Sun newspapers!

While advising young people to pray to God about their work, he shared that our faith would be tested and we would have to endure and be obedient before we could receive good things.

While sharing his inspirational story, he said that trying to meet his sales target daily was not easy and often depended on external circumstances.

Reading his story showed the mile and length that people like Jovesa took to ensure their family survived.

Jovesa is a hero in his own way and his customer service focus attracts customers to his table.

I thank him for the part he has played in the The Fiji Times’ growth!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

That complaint

It is interesting to learn from former land force commander Piti Driti that “we were always complaining about how (Aiyaz) Sayed-Khaiyum was trying to control the show from day one “and how he was influencing the prime minister in government decisions” (FT 25/5).

That’s from someone who was part of the inner circle of the Bainimarama military coup of 2006.

That complaint regarding Mr Sayed-Khaiyum continued to feature prominently in Fiji politics until the very last days of the Bainimarama government.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum displayed a need to control and influence everything that was happening in post-coup Fiji.

Graham Davis, the former chief communication man for the Bainimarama government, continued to draw attention to Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s counterproductive dominance right until the very end.

Mr Bainimarama did not pay any heed.

The rest is history.

Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia

Poor delivery

IT has been found that some of the road repair jobs have been done haphazardly thus the need to do it all over again.

Don’t you think it is bad for resources to be wasted unnecessarily because of your lethargy and poor show.

Sometimes it is seen that the repair doesn’t last even a month.

A case in point is the stretch of Queens Rd along Kennedy Ave in Nadi.

Here due to seepage emanating from the broken water main, which is left unfixed, any repairs done don’t last long.

So the contractors keep coming back all year round.

I think FRA needs to intervene before it is too late.

These contractors have come through a vetting process hence their delivery has to be to an acceptable standard.

My concern is wastage and the incompetency of the people involved.

I don’t think any right thinking person, specifically taxpayers, will accept such a poor delivery from your contractors who came through a vetting process.

I hope the minister responsible reads this.


Ratu Sukuna Day

Our past traditions and cultures have all been well preserved throughout the years as we celebrate the momentous day of Ratu Sukuna.

A day that holds many key aspects that verifies our identity and background.

It brings us all together as one to strengthen our bonds and relationship and also to reflect our past traditions and customs.

For other races, do not feel neglected as this occasion is meant for everyone and is basically a multicultural celebration in our society.

This is an occasion that gives everybody a chance to demonstrate and showcase their traditional heritage as a means to educate and benefit people more on other races.

With a strong mind-set of multiculturalism, we all can create a better place without any sign of racism and prejudice.

Together, including our Pacific island counterparts, let us enjoy this glorious day of diversity and variety and with a strong hope of unity and love, a bridge can be built from scratch.


My lessons

What I actually captured and learnt from Ratu Sukuna Day celebrations is to aspire for more education.

Education not only to know how to speak and write your name and end there.

But you need to pursue further then just knowing how to read and write and research etc.

And further still, Ratu Sukuna’s father Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi was also a distinguished scholar himself.

So ideally, they are groomed to lead by example and hence the celebration.

In summation, Nelson Mandela’s famous quote, “Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world”.

Very inspiring indeed.

Jioji O Toronibau, Navetau, Tunuloa


Public conveniences must be available on Sunday in the city parks.

Last Sunday hundreds of tourists from a cruise liner berthed at the wharf flocked into Lautoka City.

Most of them were elderly and saw the city park toilets closed.

They asked locals about public toilets and were guided to restaurants for toilet facilities.

SARITA LAL, Malolo St, Lautoka

Poor people

Why are people poor?

I think most people do not have good paying jobs.

I also noticed most of the people who work have their ATM cards with money lenders.

Sukha Singh, Labasa

Airline service

The return of the experienced team will bring much needed change with service at Fiji Airways.

Dan Urai, Lautoka

Reporting style

Yes of course, the reporting style of certain media organisations has changed acutely post elections, specifically that other newspaper, the previous regime’s mouthpiece who had adapted the “tabetabe” approach of commentary in the past 16 years, (Letters 24/05).

Nishant Singh, Lautoka

Lest we forget

May 24, 2023 on the chiefly island of Bau will be remembered as the day Fiji’s traditional chiefs met again after many years.

Let us not be lax any more about our ordinary duties to our chiefs and the vanua, lest the ideologies of the Bainimarama regime rears its ugly head once again to try and take Fiji to a place it has never been before — a people void of their culture, traditions and their own chiefly system.

Samu Railoa, Nadi

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