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EDITORIAL: Unpaid Foreign Affairs Traffic Fines Tarnish The Good Work

It’s a shame that the Fijian diplomatic mission in Australia racked up 35 unpaid road fines totalling AU$9904 (FJ$15,340.66). It is not clear whether only one officer or more were
19 Nov 2016 11:03
EDITORIAL: Unpaid Foreign Affairs Traffic Fines Tarnish The Good Work
Traffic Police

It’s a shame that the Fijian diplomatic mission in Australia racked up 35 unpaid road fines totalling AU$9904 (FJ$15,340.66). It is not clear whether only one officer or more were responsible.

The mission was the worst most recent offender out of all the diplomatic missions accredited at the Australian capital.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says foreign diplomats who disregard Australian law will be named and shamed amid a crackdown on reckless and worse driving, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Egypt was second-worst, collecting 22 unpaid infringements worth AU$9054 (FJ$14,050.66). Saudi Arabia came in third, failing to pay 18 notices amounting to AU$3133 (FJ$4861.26).

This Australian name and shame list has certainly tarnished Fiji’s reputation.

Our Government should take firm action to address this issue if that has not been done already.

Prime Minister and now also Minister for Foreign Affairs Voreqe Bainimarama has quickly set a very high standard for the foreign service. He will not be happy.

For this sort of behaviour at missions representing us abroad needlessly damages all the good work being done internationally. It provides ammunition for those who hunt for opportunities to criticise us.

There will be strong support for the PM if he shows zero tolerance for errant behaviour anywhere by any of those who are supposed to represent us well. Not tarnish our reputation.

 

Attack on Police officer unacceptable

The attack on a Police officer on duty is a serious crime and should be condemned in the strongest possible term.

All right thinking citizens should be vocal and speaking out against this outrageous offence.

But we do not hear many noises from human rights advocates and activists who usually jump and down when members of the public are victims of alleged Police brutality.

Only Ashwin Raj, the Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission director and Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho have spoken out against the attack publicly. This attack should have sparked a public outrage.

If our law enforcement officers are not safe anymore, what about the safety of the ordinary people?

Detective constable Krishnan Keshwan, is recovering from knife wounds he sustained. It could have been worse.

The attack highlights the risks that face our frontline Police officers daily.

They are just like members of the public. They have human rights too. They have an important role to play – to protect members of the public from danger and lawlessness. They are there to uphold law and order. If they are unable to do it because their very safety is under threat, it has serious implications on their ability to maintain law and order.

We should all be concerned, therefore, about this attack. We hope it is a one-off incident and it won’t happen again.

The attack resurrects the old question of whether Police officers should be armed to protect themselves.

Brigadier-General Qiliho has been pondering this question since he became commissioner. He has proposed that an armed unit from the Republic of Fiji Military Forces work with the Police in dealing with difficult situations like the knife attack on Mr  Keshwan.

It is public knowledge that when the military had patrolled the streets, the crime rate had dropped. Armed soldiers acted as a deterrent for would-be criminals.

That was a different period in our history. Now, our Police are entrusted with the role to keep law and order and they need our support.

Interfering with Police in carrying out their work is unacceptable and should be viewed with contempt.

It is in the public interest that we support the Police so that they can do their work properly.

 

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj



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