FIJI NEWS

Ex-prisoner turns over new leaf

By MAIKELI SERU Semesa Roko of Naitasiri has turned a new leaf. He is now a hardworking, honest farmer, in stark contrast to his previous life as a criminal. You
22 Oct 2012 09:47

By MAIKELI SERU

Semesa Roko of Naitasiri has turned a new leaf.
He is now a hardworking, honest farmer, in stark contrast to his previous life as a criminal.
You would never gather from his mild demeanour that he had such a notorious past.
He was instrumental in the hostage taking incident at the Maximum Prison in Naboro during the 2000 coup.
Half of his life had been spent behind bars for various crimes and made some daring escapes while serving time.
On some occasions, he’s even fled with renowned offender Alifereti Nimacere who died after escaping from prison in 2000.
Mr Roko was well known for his notorious ways.
That’s all gone now. Today he’s turned a new leaf. He said he’s had enough of crime.
“I’ve realised that what I did in the past meant nothing at all.
“I look back and I regret how much time I’ve wasted, how I could have been a better person instead,” Mr Roko said.
“I know I cannot bring it back, I cannot change the past. All I can do is try to live a better life.
“I want to focus now on the future,” he said. He is also a father of one.
He was last released from prison in 2009 and with the help of his brother, acquired some land around his village area in Waitolu, Sawani.
Before his release, he had applied for assistance under the Fiji Corrections Service’ Poverty Alleviation Fund.
His was offered help.
In August this year Mr Roko received $619 worth of farming equipment including watermelon seedlings, a cane knife, a wheelbarrow, spray tank, a pair of gumboot, an axe and 14 bags of urea to use on his farm.
He planted watermelons which will be harvested around December – Christmas.
He plants dalo now and is planning to plant ginger.
“I will never look back. I dream to be a successful farmer and I want to support my family, especially my daughter who is attending primary school,” he said as he worked on his farm.




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