Letters to the Editor – Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Fiji Television Limited general manager, Sitiveni Halofaki present The Fiji Times photographer Sophie Ralulu with her Best Photograph of the Year award during the 2022 Fiji Sports Awards night at the Vodafone Arena in Suva on Saturday, March 25, 2023. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Photograph of the year award

Congratulations to my friend Sophia Ralulu for scooping the Photograph of The Year Award.

I have had the pleasure of knowing Sophia for many years and I have always admired her talent and dedication to photography.

Her passion for capturing the beauty and essence of the world around us is truly inspiring.

Whether she is taking portraits, landscapes or action shots, her photography always tells a powerful story and evokes deep emotions.

Sophia’s hard work and commitment to her craft have paid off and she truly deserves this recognition.

She is a role model for aspiring photographers everywhere and I have no doubt that she will continue to create beautiful and meaningful work in the future.

Once again, congratulations Sophia on this incredible achievement.

You have made us all proud.

Atasa Moceituba, Suva

One for the record

As the Fiji Sports Awards unfolded, rugby stole the show, but the efforts of The Fiji Times photographer Sophie Ralulu did not go unnoticed. 7s genius and guru Jerry Tuwai retained the Sportsman of the Year Award, while Fijiana 7s captain Rusila Nagasau walked away with the Sportswoman of the Year Award.

The Fiji 7s team was named the Team of the Year, former coach Gareth Baber was named the Coach of the Year and referee Tevita Rokovereni won the Technical Official of the Year award.

Vela Naucukidi won the Administrator of the Year award while FRU took the Sports Organisation of the Year award.

As rugby house celebrated its success, staff of The Fiji Times and those in the media industry congratulated Sophie on her success.

Being in a field dominated by males has not been easy, but Sophie took the challenge and she did wonders.

I follow her work and I salute her for being a brave and passionate journalist.

Even during the pandemic and when times were tough, she did not shy away from her work.

I also thank her for contributing towards the growth of the Kaila! newspaper.

Congratulations Sophie!

The article titled ‘Ralulu breaks barriers’ by Rohit Deo (FT 27/03) summed up what the win meant to Sophie.

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Media laws

THE provisions in the 2010 MIDA Decree and whether or not it’s draconian, is still in existence and very much lawful.

This will remain so until it is amended or wholly repealed.

Meanwhile and in between times, it’s status quo until that time for the Media Codes, Content Regulations, Enforcement of Media Standards and its other provisions.

So nothing yet has legally changed in reality apart from policies in the platform really!

The cart is not before the horse as some are erroneously thinking.

E va ya bu!

Edward Blakelock, Pacific Harbour

Safe roads

Land Transport Authority (LTA) and Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) please make Grantham Rd, Suva, safe for the pedestrians and the driving public.

Install two small roundabouts, one at the Yarawa and Park Rd junction and the other at the Raiwasa and Namena Rd junction.

Also relocate the Damodar City Centre car park entrance and exit to each end of the carpark.

At its present location it is causing a lot of traffic problems.

Vijay P. Madhavan, Borron Rd, Suva


When I heard what the Acting Police Commissioner Juki Fong Chew said to his senior officers about their policing, community engagement and leadership roles at their annual consultative workshop (FT 26/3), I am confident the Fiji Police Force is now in very capable hands and the public and community can feel more assured about police professionalism then they have been since the 2006 military takeover.

Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia

Cricket reports

Despite your report in your newspaper on Sunday, March 19, regarding the final in both the men’s and women’s cricket tournament on Saturday, in which Papua New Guinea played Vanuatu, I was disappointed at the absence of your reports for the whole week, ending Saturday, of the cricket tournament, which was a regional tournament in which Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Samoa, Fiji and a combined Australia and New Zealand Defence team called ANZ Barbarians team competed and in particular, the total lack of any reports on Fiji’s games.

This was a regional tournament created primarily by the Australia Defence Force and supported by the International Cricket Conference, the national body covering countries where cricket is played around the world, who had a representative present throughout the tournament, rather than a domestic tournament which your reports in both rugby and soccer prominently appeared.

A regional tournament, which is much more important than a domestic tournament, should have been given priority.

As regards the lack of any reports on Fiji games, it is of significant importance that in the men’s tournament, Fiji defeated Samoa to come third in the men’s tournament, although the women lost their game to Samoa.

Peter Knight, Trustee of Fiji Cricket

TELS issue

All very well for Deputy PM, Viliame Gavoka (FT 27/3) to say: “All TELS debts will be forgiven. That’s a non-negotiable”.

This leaves the thousands of students who have done the right thing by scrimping and saving to repay their TELS debt, massively out of pocket.

Hardly equitable?

The cost is not just the $621 million forgiven but also the tens of thousands of dollars of TELS revenue already budgeted for.

Terry Hulme, Russell St., Eastwood, NSW, Australia


As the Government is looking to minimise on unnecessary expenditure, a recommendation would be to have its own multi-use conference facility.

Each year government hosts many bilateral and multilateral trade discussions, conferences, summits.

Most of these are held in high end resorts charging exorbitant venue and associated fees, an unnecessary financial outlay.

It would be prudent for the Government to invest in such a facility not only for their own use but to also be a revenue generating facility hired by other entities.

Food for thought.

Aman Kumar, Nadi

Lucky win

The Fijiana Drua women’s rugby team was very lucky in my view to win their game against the Brumbies.

As expected with the first game this season and with some members from last year migrating for overseas contracts, the litany of errors committed by the Drua girls would be a huge challenge to the coaching staff before their next game.

Let us hope for a much better performance in the next game.

Emosi Balei, Suva

Dollar value

Is it possible to revalue our dollar?

Asish Vinay Prasad, Park Rd, Raiwasa, Suva

City library

Shanelle Prasad is too right a library can indeed be a peaceful place to read or research.

Her look back article (ST 26/3) brought back fond memories.

The Suva City Library was such a sanctuary.

I used to go there frequently to read overseas newspapers as well.

When I return to Fiji for a visit, a stopover at the Suva City Library is always a must for me.

Just one small question.

Shouldn’t the library have expanded with the contemporary demand and demographic?

Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia

Letter of the Week ending 2/1 – 8/1

Dialysis treatment

IN the FT of January 4, Minister for Health Dr Atonio Lalabalavu said he was going to speak with his permanent secretary Dr James Fong regarding certain eligibility arrangements for dialysis treatment at the National Kidney Centre in Nadera, Nasinu.

First of all, I wish to thank the minister for taking his time to look into dialysis, visit the centre and make observations.

I am the wife of the late Simon Hazelman, who passed away on November 27, 2022 after being on dialysis for just over two years at a private kidney dialysis centre and I wish to say that it is one thing to make observations and another to actually live the life of a dialysis patient.

Simply put, free dialysis is not for the poor because the poor cannot afford the hidden costs to enable them to afford free dialysis treatment.

It is not for the medium ranged income- earners either because they will likely not qualify for eligibility and so will barely scrape through being able to take care of their families and afford the seldom spoken hidden costs at the same time and so will begin juggling their needs and wants and end up skipping dialysis sessions to make it affordable.

On the other hand, if one is attending a private clinic, qualifying for subsidy is merely a small breather.

And the rest of your story basically becomes no different from the freebies.

If you don’t qualify for subsidy at your private clinic, then you need to be prepared to shoulder all hidden and known costs of dialysis!

The fact is dialysis is currently a scientific and technical process of lengthening the life of people suffering from kidney failures that is geared more for those who can afford all the hidden costs while maintaining a comfortable lifestyle and being willing to watch as their comforts fade away a little at a time, slowly but surely, as dialysis costs chew away at their income, their assets and their life.

In other words, others benefit from your long term illness in the long run!

Dialysis being fairly new in Fiji is exciting at first, then mellow and finally becomes tiring before it retires to being a laborious process altogether.

Exceptionally in Fiji, dialysis is undergone at a rate of 3 of 4 hourly treatments staggered throughout the week for each patient.

The hidden costs associated with before treatment, during treatment and after treatment.

These costs include things like all ingredients for your special diet at home and while on dialysis which are made up of mostly low potassium food, your water which should be chlorine free, your medications which can become quite substantial if you happen to suffer from other complications like diabetes, your transport costs to and from your dialysis centre, to the pharmacy and shopping, your doctors appointments, your blood tests which become more frequent if you are not well, your admission costs if you are admitted into a hospital for complications which is likely to happen at some or many points along the way, and your time spent on the machine which is 12 hours altogether in a week not including traveling time.

To add to this if we take into account the time and effort and sacrifice that loved ones put in on a long term basis, it would be a sacrifice that no eligibility or subsidy could ever repay.

Also so I wish to request our honourable Minister for Health and his permanent secretary to do all in their power to help all dialysis patients across the board as best as they possibly can in a manner that truly will benefit the cause.

Kidney failure is on an alarming rise.

What does that mean for dialysis and eligibility and subsidy?

Doctors, right now, immediately, eligibility and subsidy set aside, please make awareness your highest priority!

Noeleen Billings, Savusavu

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