Editorial comment – A moment of reflection

The Nabua Public Rental Board flats. Picture: ATU RASEA

The fact that the Fiji Police Force and the Public Rental Board signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday that they hope will ensure the safety and security of members of the PRB communities around Fiji is encouraging.

In fact it is the way to go! We say this and reflect on events that have since marred the image of the community up at Mead Rd for instance. As we move forward, we are reminded about the importance of reflections.

We reflect on the events of April 2021 for starters. The turn of events, which began on a Friday night, allegedly started when youths from Mead Rd Housing attacked youths in Sukanaivalu Rd, Nabua, Suva.

The violence continued on Saturday as police moved in and rounded up those involved. Two people were hospitalised after the brawl. We are reminded about the issue of violence, and how thugs will give no second thought to putting the young and vulnerable under duress.

We reflect on the fact that gang activity isn’t a problem that can be taken lightly. Not everyone though is a thug. There are families struggling to live their lives. There are good people, responsible people!

It is unfortunate though that families and residents of Nabua had to witness the events that marred that Easter weekend. They wanted peace and quiet. Surely they wanted to enjoy the message of Easter.

It was a harsh reality of their lives then. There was fear, uncertainty, frustration and anger. Police chief operations officer at the time, Abdul Khan had called for unity, urging people to come together and find a way forward.

The residents of Nabua have a right to feel secure in their own homes, he said. They have a right to feel safe, and be able to live the life they want. They have a right to live as family, enjoying life to the brim, and not be intimidated by thugs who think they own the streets of the suburb.

He said something else that was powerful at the time. “Please let us not give a bad name to Mead Rd Housing like the way things have been going, people are saying it’s a notorious place. “Let us come together and see a way forward, we will look at community policing coming in here and putting up crime prevention committees so we can work together and see that good sense prevails and people are safe and secure in this area.”

Now it is very encouraging that the police and PRB have come together. Acting Commissioner of Police Juki Fong Chew said the agreement would help “penetrate and decrease the level of illegal activities that are happening within the PRB vicinities”.

PRB general manager Timoci Naleba said they had been trying to get their estates organised, which is a good start. “We have in the past a few difficulties, particularly in terms of having to maintain peace at our different estates,” he said.

“These are common challenges in parts of our country, but having the Police Force to support the community work of the PRB, we are very thankful.” In saying that, we are reminded about the importance of communication, and unity. We are reminded about the importance of adherence to the laws of our country, and the willingness to make a difference in society.

That should start from within us. This latest news will no doubt be embraced by residents with the PRB, and we hope, it will bring about positive changes. But the PRB and the police will need the support of the community. They will need us to place value on doing the right thing.

There obviously is a challenge for stakeholders here. And it is about accepting change, embracing it, and being there for one another. It is about unity, and consideration for the welfare of others within the same community. We acknowledge the efforts behind this latest move.


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