Letters to the Editor – Sunday, December 5, 2021

Jerry Tuwai kisses his bride Mereani Tuwai after their wedding at FMF Gymnasium. Picture: JONA KONATACI

Congratulations Jerry Tuwai

Congratulations Jerry Tuwai and Mereani Folau Tupou for tying the knot on Friday.

Now that Jerry has scored the try of his life, I plead with him to put on his rugby boots and prepare for the 2022 season.

We have a huge season ahead of us and with the vacuum created by the departure of some big names, we really need Jerry’s leadership on the 7s circuit, the RWC 7s and the Commonwealth Games 7s.

After all, Jerry has won everything as a player except gold from the Commonwealth Games and the Melrose Cup!

RAJNESH LINGAM, Nadawa, Nasinu

Fiji sevens

THE writing was on the wall after we lost in the Dubai 7s semi-final to USA then got beaten by Argentina for bronze then by France a week later and then the unexpected routing by underdogs Spain.

We are five-in-a-row champs in Hong Kong but we have never lost four-in-a-row in 7s.

With respect to Fuli, I believe this was a rushed move to get him on board too early.

With no HSBC WRSS experience in the men’s event, he was to me the 12th rookie for the men’s 7s team.

Please do the selection and get over the moon and choose an expert coach who can bounce us back to glory.

Just like the fans we want nothing less than a win, we expect the best from the boys but not all the time.

Go Fiji, innovate and make it happen.

SHALWYN PRASAD, Nabua, Suva

7s series

IT was a delight watching the Fijiana play.

Is it back to the drawing board for the men’s team or will the management take the risk of hoping they improve in the next tournament.

DAN URAI, Lautoka

Poor outing

POOR performance by the men’s 7s team saw them out of the competition early.

Both tournaments have not been good for our boys, however, the woman’s 7s team is giving us a surprise as they continue to grow.

Best of luck to both teams in the next 7s tournament.

JAHEED BUKSH, Korolevu, Sigatoka

Spain creates history

CONGRATULATIONS Spain for creating history defeating World Cup 7s champions Fiji in pool play in Dubai 7s.

Fiji losing to France earlier was harder to take.

Two losses, back to back, in pool play.

Wow!

How sad.

Respectfully, I beg to differ with Fiji Rugby Union in their decision to appoint one local coach for two teams.

No offence.

Simply stating cold hard humiliating facts.

Was coach Fuli hoping to prove one big mission impossible with blessing from FRU?

Bitter lesson to be learnt.

One coach, two teams, men and women, same tournament in the HSBC WRSS.

How absurd?

Totally unheard of.

I believe one coach simply cannot physically be with two teams at the same time.

So illogical.

Does not make any sense.

Like the Flying Fijians’ Northern Hemisphere autumn matches, it would have also made some sense seeking outgoing coach Gareth Baber’s assistance in my view.

Am I erring in my opinion?

Hard to accept two defeats in pool play.

Leaves a real bad taste to thousands of rugby-mad Fijians at home and abroad.

Should I be proven erroneously incorrect and grossly critical then I will stand corrected: “Mea culpa; Mea culpa; Mea maxima culpa.” (Latin for: Through my fault; Through my fault; Through my most grievous fault).

Isa noda Viti.

Sa rua na druka madua levu.

Mosimosi vei au.

Lo and behold.

Fiji men were on fire early morning Saturday, December 4 against Argentina.

A truly stunning performance 40-7.

Some badly needed consolation.

We take this last gasp win but too late the hero.

Fiji takes the honour of the proverbial wooden spoon holders in Pool 3 in Dubai HSBC 7s 2021.

The truth always hurts.

RONNIE CHANG, Martintar, Nadi

Free tertiary and TELS

MUCH is being said after I had outlined my position as party leader for SODELPA to provide free tuition to tertiary level and put an end to TELS.

On free tertiary, I had tasked my team to determine the cost and they came up with $1 billion each year as the total budget for education, to include free tertiary.

I was pleased with that; knowing a figure I could work, knowing how budgets are done, and with political will, we can do it.

The Minister for Education honourable P D Kumar had indicated in Parliament that the current budget for education is $700 million and that it would cost an extra $200 million, if we include free tertiary.

All up $900 million v our $1 billion, indicating that our estimates were largely on target.

On TELS, the honourable minister has indicated that some $600 million is outstanding as debts owed to Government by our youths.

Our team have options on how to write off these debts, but most important is to remove the burden from our youth and that the debt should not be allowed to grow any further.

In the US, debts owed by students are now in trillions; largely unrepayable and causing much grief.

We should avoid that in Fiji, hence the position taken by SODELPA.

Thank you

VILIAME GAVOKA, Party Leader, SODELPA

Britain rejoins the Pacific Community

RNZ reported, “Britain rejoins major Pacific body”.

After 17 years, London now wishes to rejoin the Pacific Community.

I wonder: was this interest to rejoin purely to reconnect with Pacific states or because of a need to police China’s growing influence in the region?

Regardless, I always find myself with the same question.

Why is the Pacific region a backdrop to the evident power struggle between these global powers?

RATU MANOA ROKOTAVAGA, SAFE & SoLaSS, University of the South Pacific

Our ocean

OUR ocean has been there for a long time even before our ancestors came about.

Our ocean is where we mostly benefit from in the Pacific and maybe some countries around the world.

We should maintain good care of our ocean for the future generations.

KELEPI DAKUIYACO, Waikalou, Serua

Reflecting on 2021

AS we welcome the last month of the year, it’s an appropriate time for reflection on memories of 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic took a sudden shift, coming back to haunt us and thousands lost their jobs, if not worked for limited hours.

What a huge relief or blessing the opening of our borders only days ago.

This has given many people hope as some will now have more money to offer to their families.

Meanwhile, the emergence of the Omicron variant has resurrected the importance of us adhering to restrictions and protocols by the Ministry of Health.

If there was one person who became a household name, it was none other than Dr James Fong as the nation waited eagerly for his daily updates at the peak of the COVID-19 situation.

What a huge relief it was when borders were opened and travel restrictions eased.

If there was one herbal medicine that was hunted like hot cakes, the vevedu plants cannot be ignored.

Many tress along the coast were stripped off their leaves and even roots dug out.

I for one can testify that it did make a difference.

In the sporting arena, our Fijiana side captured our hearts at the Olympics as they played their hearts out only to be denied of opportunities in what appeared like biased decisions by referees.

For our men, it was the opposite.

They cried after the final whistle of the final against the mighty All Blacks and cemented our second gold medal.

Among our heroes was the gentle giant and captain (Jerry Tuwai) who stood out as the only player to have received a second gold medal in sevens rugby.

Former captain Kolinisau was inducted into the Rugby Hall of Fame.

Citizens of Lautoka lost two of their well-known personalities.

Sadly, the famous captain Jonathan Smith and radio personality Michael Faga.

In the Middle East, our men and women were deployed for peacekeeping duties.

Our schoolchildren enjoyed extended periods at home but some are now at the forefront of preparing for external examinations.

We don’t know what 2022 will bring but we must be prepared for change and uncertainty.

This is the reality of living with COVID. Enjoy December and do take time to relax while you have the opportunity.

FLOYD ROBINSON, Toorak, Suva

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