Editorial comment – The rule of law

Young men smoking something from a bottle at Syria Park in Nausori. Picture: ATU RASEA

The revelation that police will soon set up closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and increase visibility in Nausori Town is interesting.

That was the word from Fiji Police Force chief operations officer ACP Abdul Khan. ACP Khan made the commitment during a meeting in Nausori on Wednesday with the Nausori Chamber of Commerce.

It followed complaints by businessmen and residents of rampant drug use and sales, prostitution, glue-sniffing and extortion in the town.

At least for the business community and residents, there will no doubt be a sense of appreciation that something is happening.

Their concerns have been heard, and action taken.

That is a positive impact of the focus this week on the town

. Surely there will be some hope and confidence restored among the people of Nausori and those from surrounding areas who converge there daily for various activities.

However, questions remain.

What happened?

Businessmen claim they were forced to live with these issues over the past 10 years.

That’s a pretty long time to allow such activities and behaviour to go uncontrolled and unchecked.

Pictures we captured this week showed the darker side of Nausori.

Why wasn’t anything done over the years?

The fact is Nausori isn’t really a big town.

The police station is just a few metres away from the CBD.

Just on Wednesday, we captured pictures of youths smoking something from two empty soft drink bottles.

Now the interesting part is that they were actually doing it at Syria Park, across the road from the police station.

What will raise concern is the lack of care or appreciation for authority, and the apparent lack of respect for the law and the police.

This isn’t a pleasant scenario at all.

When youths display such behaviour, and show no signs of accepting they were potentially breaking the law, we are left to wonder about how society is nurturing some of our next generation.

Why were these activities allowed to thrive in such a small town?

Understandably sceptics will point at the base, the home front, where attitudes and important attributes are nurtured.

But there will also be questions asked of the long arm of the law, and what processes were in place to control or fight these issues over the years?

Surely the force is well resourced to have regular beat patrols through the town.

We live in an era where drugs such as methamphetamine, prostitution, and other associated ills will thrive when left unchecked.

The advent of the digital age has been a major source of empowerment.

We acknowledge ACP Khan’s commitment to review operations. We acknowledge his humility, and willingness to listen, appreciate complaints, and outline possible actions.

Law and order are important ingredients in a stable society.

We accept the fact that our men and women in blue do not have an easy task.

We are doomed though when people deliberately go against policemen and women, and show no respect at all for the law.

As responsible citizens of Fiji, we have a duty to do the right thing and abide by laws that govern our nation.

We each have important roles to play, to ensure we all live in peace and harmony in our beautiful country.

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