Editorial comment – Claims against juice sellers worrying

Picture: FILE.

THE revelation that juice sellers at the Lautoka Municipal Market have come under police scrutiny in the wake of claims of trafficking of minors, and the sale of illicit drugs and single cigarette rolls from their stalls is worrying.

Lautoka Market Police Post officer Corporal Lagakali Uluiviti made the revelation during the Improving Safety in Markets Western Stakeholders Divisional Meeting at the Novotel, Nadi on Tuesday last week.

Following investigations, she said, two juice sellers had their permits revoked after they were found selling single cigarette rolls and illegal drugs.

Ms Uluiviti referred to it as one of the red spots in Lautoka City.

“It is a spot where criminal activities are happening,” she said.

“It’s a place where criminal activities like trafficking of minors, selling of cigarettes and selling of illegal drugs are happening.

“We, the police, are so glad to be working very closely with the Lautoka Market Vendors Association executives and the crime prevention committee which has resulted in the breakthrough of such cases.”

It’s a partnership she hopes would assist in fighting crime in the Sugar City.

She said women market vendors were most at risk from such activities.

The revelation is a concern because, among other things, it negatively impacts vendors who are adhering to the law.

They have been unfairly roped into something they have no interest and part in, and have been smeared with a perception that isn’t good at all.

It is a major concern that there are people out there who are allegedly exploiting our youngsters, and manipulating the system to meet their own selfish needs.

While it is good to note that this issue has been raised and attention focused on it, the revelation that children could very well be involved is a concern.

We each have a duty to report criminal acts to the police if we come across them.

Perhaps the powers that be should also make an effort to understand possible causes and take pre-emptive measures to avoid or alleviate them, looking to the future.

While it is important that we weed out any potentially bad habits, and criminal behaviour, it is quite important as well for us to understand the possibilities and why this is happening.

We would then be in a better position to effectively address them.

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