Editorial comment – Fighting crime

AT least three political parties are of the view that the crime rate in Fiji is worsening.

That view obviously may not be shared by the powers that be.

There will definitely be reasons pertaining to changes in this aspect of our lives.

The National Federation Party (NFP), Fiji Labour Party (FLP) and Unity Fiji have expressed concern about what has been termed by one party as the regularity and the intensity of crimes, especially sex crimes.

We asked the six registered parties about their views on Fiji’s crime rate and their plans to address the issue.

The Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA), FijiFirst and the Freedom Alliance Party had not responded when this edition went to press last night.

From the outset though, NFP leader Professor Biman Prasad maintained that despite the severity of sentencing by our courts, sexual offences were on the rise.

While he accepted that there were crimes that police could not stop, the force does and must have the capacity, capability and resources to eliminate if not prevent crimes in public places or in residential areas.

This, he insisted, can only be done through beat patrols or regular patrols at timely intervals.

He believes there is a need to boost the morale of policemen and women and maintains the best way to reduce crime is to increase police visibility.

FLP parliamentary leader Aman Ravindra-Singh said the first duty of a government is to maintain law and order, to ensure the safety and security of its citizens, their families and properties. He touched on the repeated coups which he insists have played havoc with our law and order situation.

Unity Fiji leader Savenaca Narube said figures aside, law and order are basic needs. We must feel safe, he said, and protected in our homes and businesses wherever we are. He touched on challenges he believes parents and guardians face in as far as discipline is concerned for our young.

He talks about finding a balance between right and wrong.

The recent discoveries of stashes of cocaine in Fiji, especially the latest on an island in the Lau Group has attracted attention as well. The views make interesting reading.

Sceptics will ask questions of our border security and wonder whether there is a major shift to Fiji as a transit point for hard drugs destined for other countries.

It will be interesting to see how the powers that be address the views moving forward.

Such surveys are important for they offer us a glimpse of how parties are thinking.

As we prepare for the national elections, they reckon we have challenges to contend with.

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