Making a difference

The Fiji Times editor-in-chief Fred Wesley. Picture: FILE

THE revelation that police confiscated $4 million worth of marijuana in the North last month is a concern.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Maretino Qiolevu said this when he closed the week long Digicel Duavata Crime Prevention Carnival in Labasa on Saturday night.

ACP Qiolevu said this followed drug raids conducted on Vanua Levu for the month of June.

Officers, he said, conducted raids throughout Vanua Levu focused on the illegal marijuana trade.

He considered the effort a success story in as far as working together with the community was concerned.

ACP Qiolevu said assistance from community leaders helped police achieve great results.

Police, he said, were “extremely pleased with the recent activation of a number of crime prevention committees that have provided information to assist in our war against drugs”.

He praised the efforts by community leaders to step up and rally members of their communities to help eradicate the illegal trade.

“The effect of drugs is real. Innocent people have become victims of crime, families torn apart and society as a whole is affected,” he said.

The revelation comes in the wake of the 30 cocaine bars with an estimated street value of $F31m which were found on an island in the Lau Group recently.

That discovery had come in the wake of another massive haul in Nadi.

A joint operation by the Fiji Revenue & Customs Service, 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.

Every right thinking person should be concerned about the drug hauls.

The estimated values of the hard drugs and marijuana are shocking.

The discovery of the hard drugs for instance is worrying and to a certain extent threatens to cement Fiji’s place as a transit point or a launch pad for hard drugs being moved to other countries.

The illicit drugs discovered in Lau weighed 40 kilograms and were confiscated following a tip-off received by the FRCS.

As police investigations continue we are left to ponder on many questions.

We can only hope these recent discoveries are one-offs.

The harsh reality may not be so.

That’s why the powers that be must engage Fijians to take ownership of our borders for starters.

There will be hope that alternatives are offered as incentives for marijuana farmers to disengage themselves from the illegal trade.

One thing is certain though. The police need our support to make a difference.

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