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Coastal communities join border security program

Filipe Naigulevu
Saturday, January 27, 2018

A NEW partnership initiative between maritime communities and the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (FRCS) is targeted at increasing awareness and reach on border security in coastal areas.

The initiative, known as the coast watch program, was launched yesterday at Navetau Village in Cakaudrove, the first coastal community to be eyes and ears of FRCS through the program.

FRCS chief executive officer Visvanath Das said they were grateful to Navetau Village for coming forward and partnering with them for the program.

"Surveillance in coastal communities and seas are an ongoing challenge for Customs, however, with the new coast watch program, we aim to partner with coastal villages like Navetau who will assist us to monitor and report illegal or suspicious activities along sea and shorelines," Mr Das said in a statement.

"Due to its geographical location, the village is not easily accessible by border authorities, but through this coastal watch initiative the village can now provide information directly to our border officers regarding any suspicious activities/threat to the village/border."

The coast watch program will contribute to the activities organised by FRCS to commemorate the 2018 International Customs Day with the theme: "A secure business environment for economic development" celebrated yesterday.

"We have been striving to facilitate and secure international trade to enhance economic prosperity. This year's theme will allow us to strengthen communication and develop the processes to create a fair, secure and sustainable environment," Mr Das said.

"I take this opportunity to thank the village turaga ni koro and the Navetau community for their support," he added.

Navetau Village is the first of the 14 villages in the Saqani district to work with FRCS and help border control agencies to protect Fiji's borders.

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