Editorial comment – Engaging the youths

Members of the Police Special Response Unit talk and interview witnesses along Sukanaivalu Rd in Nabua during the long Easter weekend. Picture: ATU RASEA/FILE

So now that the Public Rental Board has warned of strong action against tenants found to be involved in violent and illegal activities, we will look on with interest.

It says those found guilty would be evicted.

This was the stern warning from Public Rental Board (PRB) acting general manager Patrick Veu after a meeting with police yesterday, in the wake of discussions over a brawl which happened in Nabua during the Easter weekend.

It involved youths of Mead Rd Housing and Sukanaivalu Rd.

Four people were hospitalised as a result of the mayhem.

“It is very unfortunate that some tenants were involved in the brawl and so we are awaiting police to complete their investigations and identify them before we take action,” he said.

We welcome the strong action, and hope it sounds a warning to every tenant.

We also welcome the proposed plans to involve youths of the PRB flats in activities as a positive move forward.

This should be viewed as a positive and constructive way forward.

Hopefully it will engage youths in activities that will instil discipline, inculcate a sense of belonging, unity and nurture community spirit and pride.

The planning is the first step forward.

The challenge obviously would be to engage the youths, and get them to take ownership of this plan.

It will depend on how well those tasked to set this in motion, can get the message across, and nurture some sense of ownership.

That isn’t going to be easy, however, it’s worth a try, and the key is engagement and creating a level of awareness that will be conducive to fostering pride and building on community spirit.

The meeting between PRB and senior officials of the Fiji Police Force was held yesterday morning at the Southern Division Police Headquarters in Nabua.

We learn that both parties are trying to get to the bottom of the situation.

“We understand that there are only a few tenants who are involved in this and we want to rid them from PRB for breaching tenancy agreements,” Mr Veu said.

“We would like to get them involved in sports activities like volleyball and basketball as it is a positive move, which the police have undertaken with youths in communities around the country under its Community Policing program, and hopefully we can implement one in Mead Road housing soon.”

If this is the way to get youths engaged in something constructive, and thugs off the streets, then the idea should be embraced.

Understandably there will be keen interest on how the powers that be investigate the turn of events, get to the bottom of what happened, and perhaps look behind the scenes to see what else is festering in the background.

The end goal should be to bring about peace, and a safe environment for the people of Nabua.

It’s something we all want in our beautiful Fiji.

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