Bid to boost border security initiatives

Oceania Customs Organisation Head of Secretariat Roy Lagolago and MSG Director General, Ambassador Amena Yauvoli after the signing at tHE OCO office in Suva yesterday. Picture: JONA KONATACI

THE Pacific is no longer considered a sleepy hub as this is where transnational criminal groups are using to transit all their goods through.

Oceania Customs Organisation (OCO) Head of Secretariat Roy Lagolago made this remark during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the OCO Secretariat and the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Secretariat today.

“No longer is New Zealand and Australia becoming the threat in the region but now countries like Fiji, PNG, Solomon Islands are starting to experience this and that is true when you see cocaine washing up on our shores here in Fiji,” Mr Lagolago said.

“One of the benefits of the MOU is to bring the security initiatives together and make it more tangible. It is not just a signing on paper but we are also looking for tangible outcomes as the result of the MOU.

“The MOU is about OCO and MSG protecting the region.”

Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Director General Amena Yauvoli said the MOU set the pathway for mutual partnership, collaboration and cooperation amongst the two organisations in a number of areas such as customs, trade facilitation and security.

“This is also the first ever MOU to be signed by our organisations so it is a landmark initiative which bears witness to the historic nature of this occasion.”

“I would like to call our relationship today a smart one where two premier organisations in our region are forging ahead to establish a relationship that will not just see the strength of our partnership but also the ability of our secretariats to deliver well to our governments, our people and our joint constituencies.”

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