22 Sep 2004

Fiji chief wants drive against burgeoning crime on Taveuni

10:16 am on 22 September 2004

The former chair of Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs is calling for committees to be set up to combat growing crime on Taveuni Island.

Ratu Epeli Ganilau, who lives on the island, says crime committees would operate like a neighbourhood watch.

He says it's one way to control the rising number of idle youths getting involved in crimes, that vary from theft of root crops and cattle to destroying people's property.

"If its left unchecked, it'll definitely affect tourism, and people won't want to come here knowing there's so much lawlessness around that people are now starting to form crime committees and have been in close contact with police to fight crime within their local village areas."

Ratu Epeli Ganilau says he suspects the latest incident of a fire, which completely destroyed the court house and district administration building, is arson.

Police investigations into the cause of the fire are continuing.