“I want to make it clear that I do not see our relationship as one of donor and recipient, as we have shared stakes in the security and stability of our region”.These are the words of Australian High Commissioner to Fiji Her Excellency Ms Margaret Twomey during a courtesy visit to the Commissioner of Police Ben Groenewald at the Fiji Police Headquarters this morning.
Ms Twomey was accorded a quarter guard parade, before a brief was conducted about the Fiji Police Force in the presence of the Commissioner of Police and his senior officers.
Commissioner Groenewald expressed the organisations gratitude towards the continuous support shown by the Australian Government in a number of policing issues.
“Since my arrival in May I have experienced some of these generous and cooperative agreements signed with the Australian Government, bilateral agreements and support from the Australian Federal Police and other law enforcement agencies”.
“The restoration and repair of our patrol boat the MV Veiqaravi which is now operational as well as Forensic and technical assistance in our drug units are just some of the outcomes of your Government’s support”.
The head of the organisation also acknowledged the continuous working relationship with law enforcement agencies which has resulted in the detection of major transnational crimes.
“One of our success stories was achieved last December in the country’s largest heroin bust which was a result of shared intelligence and operational assistance with authorities in Australia”.
Echoing his sentiments H.E Ms Twomey said the drug bust is an example of what both the Australian and Fijian law enforcement agencies can achieve by working together.
“We wouldn’t have worked with you to ensure the arrests were done here if we didn’t have all the confidence that Fiji will see it through and I wish you all the best with the case”.
Ms Twomey said she had prior experience in working with the Fiji Police when she was first posted to Fiji as Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner in 2000 to 2002.
“This is my second posting to Fiji and had worked with the Fiji Police on a similar drug bust back in 2000”.
She went on to say that Australia and Fiji have a lot in common in as far as Policing is concerned.
“We are equally affected by the dangers of transnational crime of money laundering, people smuggling, drug trafficking and we will continue to work with you as partners not only in Policing but other agencies such as customs and border security”.
“We are both islands and we have a lot of border to protect and we understand each other which is why I say that as island states we have to stick together because we understand what it’s like to have to defend our entire borders from sea”.
Ms Twomey also reminded the senior officers about the importance of ensuring that they had the respect and confidence of the people they serve.