Editorial comment: Hard drug concern

Bars of cocaine that were allegedly found on an island in the Lau group. Picture: SUPPLIED

The discovery of more white substance washed ashore in Lau and Taveuni this week is worrying. What is a major concern is that the authorities believe it is cocaine in its concentrated form.
Acting Commissioner of Police Itendra Nair pleaded with Fijians to contact the toll-free number 3318529 if they stumbled across any suspicious brown packages at sea or washed ashore.
Members of the public have also been asked to refrain from opening these packages as they may contain cocaine in its pure form. Now this, he said, can be extremely harmful to the health. The discovery of nine parcels containing white substances believed to be cocaine, he said, indicates there is a possibility of more being washed ashore.
Police have confirmed the packaging of the three discoveries made to date are similar to two made in Tonga last month.
He said local authorities were working closely with international counterparts on the likelihood of the cocaine being transported through the Pacific, and were
not intended for Fiji and Tonga. Such a scenario is quite frightening really.
This latest find comes in the wake of 30 cocaine bars with an estimated street value of $F31m found on an island in the Lau Group earlier this month.
A recent joint operation by FRCS, police and Biosecurity Authority of Fiji led to the seizure of cocaine and ecstasy tablets with an estimated value of $US10 to $15m ($F20.9m-$31.4m) from a yacht at Denarau, Nadi on June 22.
The estimated values of the hard drugs are shocking to say the least.
Considering the impact of the latest discovery, sceptics will no doubt add value to their belief that Fiji is being used as a launch-pad of sorts, for the transit of hard drugs through the Pacific to other countries. It does raise the issue of how much of the drugs are actually getting through or past our security barriers.
The question is whether there should be a concerted effort to put in place measures that will toughen up on security in our many islands, and rope in the masses to be the eyes and ears of law enforcers.
It isn’t going to be an easy exercise.
The impact though of our nation being used as a transit point does prick at raw nerves, and should inch out overwhelming concern from the masses.
It should matter. In fact the challenge is on us to put in place measures that will ensure we are vigilant against such activities.
For that to happen will demand the participation of the masses.
It will demand that we all are aware of the impact of hard drugs on our lives, on the lives of our loved ones and subsequently on our nation. This whole scenario is actually quite shocking.

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