Sugar mills

Dennis Rounds, Lautoka | Thursday, May 18, 2017

Please allow me to raise some issues of genuine concern to me.

With Penang's closure, the pressure is now on Lautoka and Rarawai to crush the extra cane supply from Rakiraki.

Have Lautoka and Rarawai mills been upgraded to take in the extra load or are we going to see so much pressure placed on the two mills that they will deteriorate as fast as Penang did?

How much will it cost to upgrade the two mills at Lautoka and Ba and will the cost be more appropriately used to restore Penang to its crushing potential? If so, why don't we use the money to restore the Penang mill as the economic/income benefits to Rakiraki as a whole will be better distributed?

What we seem to be doing is equivalent to cutting back on the number of aircraft we fly to a route to a single aircraft but expecting to carry the same volume of passengers. All we're doing is increase pressure on the single aircraft and the staff members who man it.

Taking into account cartage costs and other cane production costs and the volume of cane coming out of Rakiraki might it be best that Government gets farmers to diversify into other crop farming in the area so that we grow and eat more local products?

Can Rakiraki be developed into a manufacturing centre given that it's half way to Lautoka and half way to Suva — the two main ports? It also has good anchorage at Ellington and is close enough to Natovi.

We seem to resort to financial hand-outs as a solution to the real problems that exist.

Where is the $10m that Government is giving as a grant coming from? Do people realise that is not money that is sitting idle but that it will have to be recouped by Government?

I hear the same rhetoric every day about the "old elite" being dismantled. But I also see a "new elite" coming in to replace them.

I am so saddened and disillusioned by what's happening in Fiji — we're now ruling the country through hand-outs in knee-jerk fashion and applying band aid solutions to try and keep a struggling heart functioning at normal capacity.

Some would say God help Fiji. I say the people of Fiji need to wake up and help themselves.

It's time for our Government to stop blaming everything on the past and embrace everyone so that we can move forward to achieve the commonality and the ideals we all desire.

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