NEWS

Booze Blamed

Six out of the eight bodies found in December 2018, were linked to alcohol consumption, said the Fiji Police Force. Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho said the number of bodies
01 Jan 2019 09:22
Booze Blamed
Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho

Six out of the eight bodies found in December 2018, were linked to alcohol consumption, said the Fiji Police Force.

Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho said the number of bodies found in a single month was alarming.

“This is a record for alcohol related deaths. People need to enjoy the festive season, but if alcohol is involved then they need to enjoy responsibly,” the Commissioner said.

“Since I joined the Police Force there hasn’t been this many bodies found in a month.

“My advice to people is to drink responsibly. There has been unnecessary loss of lives as a result of over indulgence in alcohol.”

Bodies found:

December 2 – Bhawan Singh, 32, who died at the Valelevu Health Centre after his citizen’s arrest;

December 16 – A body was found in a creek at Cunningham, Suva. The deceased was later identified as 40-year-old Savenaca Tomu Tuivaga;

December 24 – Rayna Rikashni Prasad, 22, was found in Muanikau, Nasese. Her body was partly burnt;

December 24 – Police find the body of a man at Navo- sai in Narere;

December 25 – Sakeo Racolo’s body was discovered at a creek near Vesida HART. He was 36 years old;

December 28 – Makrau Sakiasi, the brother of the deceased identified the 48 year old victim in Vatuwaqa;

December 30 – A body was found in Kadavu after a drinking party at Sinu- sevou Settlement; and

December 30 – A body was also found in Tailevu.

Missing at sea:

It is also alleged that the seven people from Gau Island, Lomaiviti, who are still missing at sea were also consuming alcohol when they left for Levuka, Ovalau, on December 26, 2018.

The seven missing are Filimoni Tuisinu, Livai Bulimaibau, Navitalai Bale, Josevata Bolatakeu, Adriu George, Alipate Ross and Ananaiasa Koroi.

The families of the missing people are hoping to receive favourable news.

Lia Tuisinu, the mother of Filimoni, believes he is still alive.

She said: “I want to see you Filimoni, I believe you are still swimming somewhere.

 “I believe my son is somewhere safe and sound. All we can do is hope for the best.

This incident has really affected us because we never dreamt that this would happen one day.

“I am still hoping for the best because we wanted our son to look after us as we grow old. It hurts till now they are still missing.

“Waking up every day and not seeing my son breaks my heart. It is not easy to wake up knowing that a part of me is missing.

 Filimoni was a good son. He always listened.

“We did not know that he left for Levuka. He doesn’t usually drink because alcohol is not sold at the village. Some of our relatives came from Suva and they bought alcohol.

“The last time I spoke with my son was on Christmas night. If I knew that this would happen I would have taken him home instead of letting him continue drinking.”

Raijeli Talei, 29, still prays for the safe return of her husband, Navitala Bale. They have two sons – Timoci Tikomaisolomoni, 7, and Josevata Vinakasaleka, 6.

“I hope my husband returns to us because our sons are still too young. They kept asking me where their father was and I just couldn’t tell them but I knew I had to. I made them sit and I told them what was happening,” Ms Talei said.

“The way they looked at me broke my heart. My seven-year-old son is more affected then my six-year-old son. I am trying to be strong for my children but it is hard especially when I look at them.

“My husband was a happy man. We have been married for seven years. My husband is always helpful and kind. I am still hoping for the best.”

Livai Bulimaibau, 22, was in Gau to plant yaqona to help fund his sibling’s education. His uncle, Josaia Tawake, hopes Livai will return home safely.

“Livai still has a lot to accomplish. He lives with us at the village. He was planting yaqona to build a house for himself,” Mr Tawake said.

“We were drinking yaqona together on Christmas night and then I went home.

I heard that they were drinking alcohol.

If I knew that this would happen I would have stopped him.

“We hope for the best and will have to accept whatever the outcome will be.”

The Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) Naval Division, Captain (Navy) Humphrey Tawake, said they had suspended the search for the missing seven men until further notice.

“Our search will now depend on the situation. If we get new leads then we will continue the search,” Captain (Navy) Tawake said.

An area of 5000 square/kilometres has been covered over four days by air, marine and ground teams.

However, the Fiji Maritime Surveillance Rescue Coordination Centre and Police will continue to monitor the case.

 

 

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