13 Jan 2003

Fiji opposition leader says travel advisory by Australia is an embarrassment for Fiji

2:39 pm on 13 January 2003

Fiji's opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, says last week's Australian travel advisory to its citizens travelling to Fiji is an embarrassment for the country.

The Daily Post quotes Mr Beddoes as saying the advisory suggests to the international community that Fiji lacks the political will and resolve to clean up its act and restore credibility to its law enforcement agencies.

The advisory says bag snatching and petty theft are common in Fiji and warns Australians tro avoid walking the streets alone at night, to secure valuables against theft and avoid displays of wealth.

It also says that under no circumstances should they leave personal belongings unattended and further warns that sexual harassment of women may occur as has happened in the past.

Mr Beddoes says this is the first advisory by Australia against travel to Fiji that was not the result of a coup, the overthrow of a government or a natural disaster.

He says this means that the Australian government did not take seriously a claim by the Fiji home affairs minister in parliament that crime was declining.

Mr Beddoes says any reduction in crime figures was the result of people not reporting crimes because of police inability to deal with them.