Editorial comment: Border security – Let’s be involved

FRCS chief executive officer Visvanath Das. Picture: FILE

The revelation that the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service needs to build its intelligence capability to protect Fiji’s borders from serious threats is noteworthy.

Our borders need to be protected from illegal trade.

Its chief executive officer Visvanath Das said the trend of informing other countries of serious threats entering their borders such as illicit drugs was done immediately.

But intel, he said, did not have time lines when it came to border security. Mr Das said the best way to handle border security issues was through intel. He said they would continue to work with regional and border security agencies.

To strengthen border security, there was a need to continue investing in technology, however, he insists the best way to handle border security issues was through intel.

He said FRCS was keeping track of people and goods movement.

There was international co-operation which is quite important, he points out.

Proactive measures were taken following intel gathered. Understandably there is a demand for intel to provide a strong base for information gathering. Such tip-offs obviously would in effect provide a basis for proactive action that is good for the country.

Last week, Timoci Natuva, the director-general for the National Security and Defence Review Committee spoke about the importance of creating a legal framework and a standard operating procedure (SOP) for our boarder agencies.

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

He spoke at a three-day workshop for border agencies in Fiji at the Novotel Convention Centre in Lami.

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 ‚Ķ from the islands if there are yachts coming in without being cleared they have to be reported to us.”

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.

We have to ask ourselves whether we are taking ownership of our own security.

Our border agencies need our support and assistance to effectively play their important role.

It actually comes down to how much we want to be part of a nation that is safe and secure. There must be a commitment from our agencies to be proactive.

Recent cases highlighted in the media, about the discovery of hard drugs have actually shifted the spotlight on to the role of our border agencies and how effective they are.

We each have a role to play to protect our nation.

Let’s be actively involved if we can.

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