Sunvoice

National Security Review will Hopefully Help to Keep Us Safe

Fiji cannot afford to think of itself as being isolated from the rest of world and that because of its size no one takes any notice. The fact is that
23 Dec 2015 10:30
National Security Review will Hopefully Help to Keep Us Safe

Fiji cannot afford to think of itself as being isolated from the rest of world and that because of its size no one takes any notice.

The fact is that despite our size we are very much part of the global community. What happens here has an impact on the region and to a certain extent outside of the region. So we are on the radar of many countries so to speak.

More and more people continue to visit our shores. Many of them come as tourists to experience the best of a tropical paradise.

However, there are those in the minority, who could come here with ulterior or sinister motives. They would try to smuggle in contraband items and large amounts of cash, above the legal level and use Fiji as a transit point for their unlawful activities like drug and human trafficking. Last but not least is the threat of terrorism. We cannot afford to rule it out although we live in a peaceful and stable country. While we continue to strengthen our border security to keep out illegal activities, past experiences show that some have slipped through and evaded the surveillance net.

A co-ordinated approach by all the relevant stakeholders would help reduce these incidents. The National Security Strategy (NSS) group has produced a draft copy of its assessment of the national security situation and proposes recommendations to strengthen it.

The threats to national security that it names are trans-national crime, terrorism, climate change,  natural disasters, loss of natural resources and socio economic issues.

The NSS has rightly included terrorism because no one can foretell what the future holds. There are always risks involved when there is a high volume of human traffic crossing borders.

There has been debate about the definition of terrorism. It can be imported and locally grown. In some jurisdictions like Australia, a terrorist act is defined as when “the action is done or the threat is made with the intention of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause.” Their counter-terrorism laws are based on this definition. Using this definition we can say that any act to destabilise the Fijian government is an  act of terrorism. Australia has had its share of terrorism.

Since 9/11 attacks in the United States and the Bali bombings in 2002 and 2005 there have also been a number of attempted or planned attacks on Australia soil. There have been 35 prosecutions, 26 convictions and a review of the Australia government’s counter-terrorism arrangements.

Our national security review is welcome. Let’s hope it will bring about changes that will keep terrorism at bay and keep our people safe and secure.

NEMANI DELAIBATIKI

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 



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