Editorial comment – Safety, security first

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama during the official launch of the China-Aid Non-Intrusive Inspection Equipment at Suva Wharf. Picture: RAMA

PRIME Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has made a very powerful statement against hard drugs.

He sounded a warning the other day, basically calling on drug peddlers to stay away.

He made no bones about the commitment of the Fijian border security forces to fight much more than the drug war.

In keeping with that general line of thinking, Fijian authorities, he said, needed to keep pace with a new range of tools, training and expertise to provide world-class duty of care to the people.

He made the comments at the launch of the non-intrusive inspection equipment given by China on Wednesday.

Mr Bainimarama said Fijians deserved to go about their lives with the absolute assurance of safety.

Every Fijian child, he said, should be able to walk the streets without their parents fearing for their welfare.

Every Fijian business, he said, should have the guarantee that their hard work won’t be erased by an overnight robbery.

Criminal elements, he warned, had grown more sophisticated and were evolving as well.

“We recognised that final pillar, strengthening law and order, as fundamental, because we recognise that no measure of progress is more central to our citizens’ wellbeing than their feeling of security,” he said.

Strengthening border security, he said, did not only entail protecting Fiji from networks of drug traffickers, but also about keeping our own importers in check.

Too often, he said, businesses try and skirt the rules by misidentifying their shipments to avoid paying the required duties.

With the donation of another tool to protect Fiji from law-breakers within and beyond Fiji’s borders, Mr Bainimarama said the non-intrusive inspection X-ray technology would strengthen the country’s ability to enforce its laws at ports of entry.

The new technology allowed for the quick scan of loads of cargo, containers or pallets without ever having to actually open them up.

Any effort to tighten security should be welcomed.

It means peace of mind for us at the tail end of all this.

It allows for stringent checks, ensuring we have a base that may serve as a deterrent for criminal elements.

Our challenge though is to be vigilant and as the PM highlighted, to keep pace with the new range of tools now available, training and expertise to provide world-class duty of care to Fijians.

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