Opinion

The electoral reform conundrum: How exactly?

MANY public commentators have called for the changing of Fiji’s electoral system which has been used in the 2014 and 2018 elections with extreme results for democracy, local representation and accountability. Jioji Kotobalavu is quoted...

$379m in rates owed to municipal councils

THIRTEEN municipal and town councils were owed a cumulative $379 million in rate arrears between January 2007 to December 23, 2022, reveals information that was filed in Parliament by Housing and Local Government Minister Maciu Katamotu Nalumisa. Fiji currently has an estimated 44,749 ratepayers with about 85 per cent of ratepayers being residential ratepayers. As...

Learning from the past as we leap into the future

LAST month on Wednesday May 24, His Excellency the President, Ratu Wiliame Maivalili Katonivere, opened the Great Council of Chiefs meeting on Bau Island. He spoke in the vernacular. On that day the President, among other things, said, and here is a quote from the translation of his speech: “Today we herald in a new...

Mending relations: When Rabuka stands as a repented, respected and forgiven Fiji leader in Auckland

KING’S Birthday 2023 on Monday, June 5, 2023 was a historic day in New Zealand for two reasons. Firstly, it was the first such birthday for the new King, Charles the Third, after many decades in waiting. Secondly, it was of great significance to Fijians in Auckland – it was a state visit of a...

Politics of deceit and connivance

I BELIEVE our democracy would benefi  greatly from a more constructive and respectful debate where leaders focus on policies and programs that will improve the lives of all Fijians.  It is time for us to move away from petty-minded agitators and work together towards a brighter future”. The above appeared as a Letter to the...

75% in poverty are iTaukei: Was it by design, a coincidence or a failure of policy?

 Did the “education revolution” sow the seeds of a poverty trap for the iTaukei?  Did the VAT exemption on high GI foods generate a NCDs crisis and lock in long term poverty?  Did the rapid expansion of TV entertainment and rugby programming deep into rural communities divert attention away from productive economic...

A divided struggle

In our last article I took us through the struggles of the Girmitiya, the Indian and the Indo-Fijian in attempting to attain political recognition and respect over the 144 years of their existence in this their adopted country – Fiji. It was highlighted that the Indo-Fijian has historically been dogged by his inability to work...

The implications! What will happen is a party is deregistered

The recent suspension of FijiFirst (FF) as a political party and possible subsequent exclusion of its members from parliamentary proceedings have given rise to several questions regarding its implications for the functioning of parliament in Fiji. What will happen if FF fails to comply with the financial disclosure requirements of the Political Parties Act 2013...

Letters to the Editor | Saturday, June 10, 2023

A mighty battle The Fijian Drua faces the biggest of all acid tests in their first two years of Super Rugby when clashing with the Crusaders today. Will the rain, mist and slippery ground conditions hold back our Drua from unleashing in this much anticipated quarter-finals? I do not know but for now, do know,...

Editorial | Bring it on!

This is it! Tonight Fijian Drua fans will be keenly focused on the big game at the Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch, New Zealand. On paper, we are not expected to come out of this on top. In fact history is on the side of the Crusaders. They head into the quarter-finals as hot favourites. They...

9th June

Record high pollution

Scientists say we need to make “every effort” to combat dangerous climate change as the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hits a record high. Measurements from the Mauna Loa Observatory on Hawaii’s Big Island averaged 424 parts per million (ppm) in May 2023, up 3 ppm on last year’s May average, according to...

8th June

Culture shock in Canberra

Traveling overseas for the first time as a young undergraduate at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) was both exciting and nerve-racking. Getting selected to attend the 2023 ANU-UPNG Partnership Summer School Program at the Australian National University (ANU) Crawford School of Public Policy in Canberra, Australia, exceeded my expectations. While the program provided...

Letters to the Editor | Thursday, June 8, 2023

India railway accident THE railway accident in Odisha is shocking, horrible and woeful. It is believed to be the worst rail accident in India in nearly three decades that leaves 288 people dead and over 1100 injured (still counting). More bodies are yet to be recovered as rescuers try frantically to reach them. It is...

Editorial comment | A change in mind-set

The past three days have been great for relationships between the media and the Fiji Police Force. At the conclusion of a three-day workshop in Suva this week, work, we learn, is now starting, to decentralise police responses to the media. It’s all in an effort to boost accountability and transparency. It ushers in a...

7th June

The Drua mania | Ancient art meets modern rugby

From an ancient vessel to a modern rugby team—now the name Drua is synonymous with the sporting pride of Fiji as a nation. The team has smashed, pulverized, outrun and scored their way to the quarterfinals of the Super Rugby Pacific and the crazy euphoria this has produced has even eclipsed the significance of our...

Letters to the Editor | Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Fantastic home support SWIRE Shipping Fijian Drua skipper Meli Derenalagi alluded to the faith in God and the support of fans as two critical reasons for the team making it into the historic top eight. Last weekend, despite the bad weather compelled by rain and wind, brave Drua fans made their way into HFC Bank...

Editorial comment | When kids pick up after adults

Laisenia Ratu is right when he says adults should be ashamed for having kids come out and pick up after them. Well, many adults that is! That is the way a lot of people will think given the extent of littering happening around us Mr Ratu, an International School Suva (ISS) oceans and literacy division...

6th June

True leadership is key to transformation

“Flight of the Buffalo” was a groundbreaking concept presented to employees of $US90 billion ($F203.9b) colossus AT&T in the ’90s. CEO Jerry Stead travelled the globe including Sydney where he delivered the theme “Flight of the Buffalo — Soaring to Excellence and Learning to Let Employees Lead”. We implemented locally in a comparatively small enterprise...

American Idol winner season 21

Iam Tongi, the 18-year-old sensation whose voice has captivated the world after winning American Idol by a landslide, becoming the first Pacific Islander to win the popular award. His performance of James Blunt’s Monsters brought tears to the eyes of celebrity judges Lionel Richie and Katy Perry, and is the most viewed American Idol video...

Letters to the Editor | Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Death by sugar THAT’S what diabetes translates to in iTaukei: “death by sugar”. On page 42 of The Fiji Times (3/6/23), there was a serious article titled “Are we failing our children”. On the facing page was a full-page colourful advertisement for a brand of ice-cream on a stick. This particular ice-cream was covered in...

Editorial comment | Promising tourism scenario

It is good to know that the tourism sector continues to go from strength to strength with the visitor arrivals tracking just above the 2019 pace. And that’s 12 months ahead of schedule, says Tourism Fiji chief executive Brent Hill. This, he said, had led the Reserve Bank of Fiji to upgrade their growth targets...

5th June

Marine life recovery | Pacific conservation Global Expedition will allow Pacific people to tell their stories

National Geographic’s Pristine Seas initiative has launched The Global Expedition to support conservation efforts in the remote tropical Pacific. The Pristine Seas team, consisting of scientists and filmmakers, will spend five years on the specially outfitted vessel, the E/V Argo, collaborating with governments, communities and local marine scientists. Since 2008, the group has conducted 38...

Letters to the Editor | Monday, June 5, 2023

The man behind the scenes IF a picture could paint a thousands words – amidst the celebration and shouts of joy after the Fijian Drua emphatic win over the Reds – one man sat in the middle of the field and returned the glory to He, the giver of all strength. The man the living...

Editorial comment | The threat to the environment

In a statement titled ‘A ticking bomb’ Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka has warned that we are being inundated by a surging wave of extremely dangerous plastic pollution that continues to gather strength. In his message for World Environment Day today, Mr Rabuka said it adds to other environmental woes endangering our very existence in the...

4th June

Letters to the Editor | Sunday, June 4, 2023

Farewell Elenoa Kunatuba! Elenoa Kunatuba, who played a huge role in the growth of women’s rugby in Fiji, was laid to rest this week. She was given a fitting farewell. When women’s rugby started to grow in Fiji two names became prominent — Elenoa Kunatuba and Vela Naucukidi. I followed their contributions closely. Kunatuba gave...

Editorial comment | Simply the best!

What a beauty that was! What a game! And the Queensland Reds would have been reminded very early on that they were in for the game of their lives, and a taste of Fijian passion. The fans lapped up the moment, and lived a dream on a great day for rugby. The skies had opened...

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