Building on information

Participants of the Table Top Exercise for all Border Agencies in Fiji workshop at the Novotel Suva Lami Bay yesterday. Picture ATU RASEA

THE revelation that our border agencies are in need of local and international assistance to address issues affecting our security is interesting.

It does say a lot about the need for communication and for us to embrace our own security. Deep in there somewhere is the need for us all to take ownership of our own destiny.

Timoci Natuva, the director general for the National Security and Defence Review Committee said it was imperative to create a legal framework and a standard operating procedure (SOP) for our border agencies.

He spoke about the need to discuss ways on how Fiji can strengthen its border surveillance.

He said a three-day workshop for border agencies in Fiji at the Novotel convention centre in Lami was a table topping exercise to test legal issues “because every individual agency have their own legal issues in the way they do things”.

He acknowledged the need for Fijians to come up with information.

Without information we cannot do much, he said.

“We rely on information from individuals… from the islands if there are yachts coming in without being cleared they have to be reported to us.”

He said the plans to introduce the fusion cell concept would help the border agencies to conduct their work efficiently.

He reiterated comments by the police commissioner Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho that there was a need for information from people. There was a need for agencies and Fijians to work together.

Commander James Watson, Regional Director Pacific, Australian Border Force said the increase in international trade and new markets posed a major threat to our borders.

There was a need, he said, for people to come together and co-operate and work together to achieve the outcome of protecting our people, and providing a secure and prosperous society.

The key issue, without a doubt is Fijians taking ownership of our own security. Understandably our border agencies will need our support and assistance to effectively play their important role.

They need us to be on top of possible issues and to be vigilant. At the end of the day it actually comes down to how much we want to be part of a nation that is safe and secure.

It certainly isn’t something that will just happen. There must be a commitment from our agencies to be proactive as well.

Recent issues highlighted in the media have actually shifted the spotlight on to the roles of our border agencies and how effective they are.

It is encouraging to note though that such workshops are actually aiding in the need to raise awareness about the roles of our agencies, strengthen co-operation and build on knowledge.

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