8 May 2007

Fiji's visitors bureau concerned over soldiers joining police

8:02 am on 8 May 2007

The Fiji Visitors Bureau has expressed concern that soldiers would be joining police at police stations around the country to help them fight rising organized crime.

The Bureau's chief executive, Bill Gavoka, has told the Fiji Times, the impact on tourism of a military presence is severe.

He says a visible increase of soldiers in the streets would be reflected in travel advisories and this would affect their efforts to attract more visitors.

Mr Gavoka says soldiers are best kept in their role as the last bastion of security and has suggested that the option of soldiers wearing police uniforms should be seriously considered.

The comments follow a decision to base several soldiers at all police stations around Fiji from today where they would join police in foot patrols.

The decision follows overwhelming calls from the public to re-activate roadside army checkpoints because of the rapid rise in violent crime and home invasions since they were withdrawn last month.