"from the information available, the implementation of daylight saving in 1998 and 1999 received very encouraging response from the people and the business community.
"Apart from availability of more daylight time for sport, leisure and shopping, the working people are able to spend quality daylight time in the afternoons and evenings with their family and loved ones, including engaging in healthy activities such as gardening or going for a walk.
Khaiyum further added that:
"In 1999, the Ministry of Labour reported that there was an overall increase in economic activity and productive work as a result of daylight saving."
Then we get to the heart of the matter tucked away behind the drivel. The SOLE reason why the majority of this country is inconvenienced (not just the poor kids) is because of the tourism lobby:
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said that the re-introduction of daylight saving will also benefit the tourism industry, with the tourists being able to make the most out of their visit in Fiji by getting additional daylight time during the afternoons and evenings and engaging in shopping.
So instead of reversing the bad idea that benefits only approximately 10% of people living in the country, they being the inexperienced, illegal and tunnel-visioned policy makers that they are, think that by moving the school hours back by an hour its all going to be all good.
Well that flawed thinking forgets about some really simple details such as:
- For rural families, the normal chores carried out pre-dinner by children will not be able to be accommodated as they'll still be stuck in school, possibly setting back the entire family routine;
- For urban kids starting later they still may not get to school on time because parents who still have to be at work at 8am are not around to crack the whip;
- For urban dwellers the morning rush hour traffic congestions might be reduced but the traffic congestion will spike in the afternoon as workers and students are all clamouring for return transport home on the same roads. Thus any "quality time" is chewed up queueing on the roads; and
- What happens to urban kids who travel with parents daily (either by car-pool, cab or private car) will the Government now foot the bill for the now double daily travel expense?
And specifically we would be interested in ascertaining:
- How much tourism earnings have increased within the few months of daylight savings to justify the national inconvenience; and
- What percentage of these earnings are positively circulating in the domestic economy as opposed to the percentage being directly siphoned out off-shore.
A cut and paste approach for Fiji is just inappropriate.