NEWS

Prepare To Extend Your Stay In Fiji.. In A Prison Cell, Fijian Prime Minister Warns Drug Traffickers

“A campaign to build a stronger, law-abiding Fiji. A Fiji where laws are not only enforced by Government, but by ordinary people who demanded adherence and accountability and work with the authorities to report and uproot criminal networks,” he said
13 Jun 2019 11:52
Prepare To Extend Your Stay In Fiji.. In A Prison Cell, Fijian Prime Minister Warns Drug Traffickers
From left: Fiji Revenue and Customs Service chief executive officer Visvanath Das, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and Chinese Embassy Political Councilor Huang Xuehu following the commissioning of the latest non-intrusive inspection X-ray technology (background) at the Kings Wharf in Suva on June 12, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Be prepared to extend your stay in Fiji indefinitely if you’re thinking of moving hard drugs through here. Because the Government will never allow the country to descend into lawless chaos. This is the warning from Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in light of recent discoveries and arrests over hard drugs being transhipped through Fiji.

Mr Bainimarama made the comment when he launched the Fiji Supply Chain China Aid Non-Intrusive Inspection Equipment at the Port of Suva yesterday. The equipment, which is worth $17 million, is part of an aid package from the Chinese government. The Prime Minister made a point to emphasise what was in store for those who want to come to the country looking to sell hard drugs or use Fiji as a transit point to our neighbours.

He said there were already more than a few overseas offenders spending their nights in Fiji’s prisons who could testify to that fact.

When it came to our border security, he said, the Government and border security authorities needed to protect the people from the devastating impact that illegal flows of trade – particularly hard drugs – could have on a society’s development.

“There’s an enormous body of evidence that shows when drugs pass through a nation’s borders, innocent people become the victims,” Mr Bainimarama said.

He said Fiji was no longer an isolated island economy, but an integrated economic hub and as such criminal elements had not sat idly as Fijian law enforcement agencies grew more sophisticated – they were evolving as well.

As such, the Prime Minister said, Fijian authorities needed to keep pace with a new range of tools, training and expertise to provide the world-class duty of care their people deserved.

He said Fiji had zero tolerance for anyone who disrespected and violated the laws and he was not only talking about the drug trade.

“I’m talking about every aspect of governance, from our environmental laws, to the laws governing our roadways to the laws protecting taxpayer funds from abuse,” the Prime Minister said.

He also said if they allowed any of those laws to go unenforced, they eroded society’s confidence in their ability to keep them safe, and they sent criminals a message that they could get away with exploiting Fiji.

He said Fiji’s borders enjoyed a new level of security.

Mr Bainimarama said this was only one small victory in a much larger campaign.

“A campaign to build a stronger, law-abiding Fiji. A Fiji where laws are not only enforced by Government, but by ordinary people who demanded adherence and accountability and work with the authorities to report and uproot criminal networks,” he said

He said strengthening our border security did not only entail protecting Fiji from networks of drug traffickers, it was also about keeping Fiji’s importers in check.

“Today, we give ourselves another tool to protect Fiji from lawbreakers within and beyond our borders as we officially commission this non-intrusive inspection X-ray technology that will strengthen our ability to enforce our laws at our ports of entry,” Mr Bainimarama said.

He said they were adding an X-ray machine for mobile containers and vehicles, a pallet X-ray machine and four sets of CT X-rays, along with spare parts and seven technicians to help run this equipment.

Edited by Epineri Vula

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