FIJI – The police in Fiji are concerned about the increasing use of the illegal drug methamphetamine in the country. Fiji Village reported that more than US$3.4 million worth of the chemical stimulant was intercepted by Fiji’s police force last year. Two men and a woman were taken in by police for questioning after a discovery of methamphetamine over the weekend. Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho told Fiji Village he was concerned that more and more people were getting trapped into taking the highly addictive substance. He said it was obvious that violent crimes were associated with methamphetamine. The police called for people to contact them if they had any information which would help in the fight against the drug.
ASIAN BUSINESSES UNDER ATTACK
BOUGAINVILLE – A former leader in Bougainville has hit out at the presence of Asians running retail businesses in the main town Buka. The former secretary of the Bougainville Interim Government, Martin Miriori, was commenting after the looting of two Asian businesses in Buka on Friday last week. Miriori issued a statement saying Bougainville is for the Bougainvilleans and that the Asian businesses were being targeted for their insensitive business practices. Miriroi claimed the looting was just the tip of the iceberg. The Autonomous Bougainville Government has planned legislation to limit foreign involvement in the retail sector, largely reserving it for locals. It also planned to encourage joint ventures between foreigners and locals.
STRIKERS WIN BUT FACE PUNISHMENT
PAPUA NEW GUINEA –Staff at Papua New Guinea’s National Weather Service will be paid more than US$500,000 of outstanding allowances, Transport Minister Wesley Nukundj said. However, while the allowances back pay has been approved, striking staff are to be disciplined, he said – as their acts bordered on sabotage and were a serious criminal matter. The Post Courier reported the transport department secured the money from the Budget Management Committee and it would be paid by the end of the month. Striking staff were told of the payment process but reportedly still carried out their strike. About 65 workers nationwide walked off of the job in protest of outstanding allowances despite calls from Nukundj to stay at work.
NO FUEL FOR CITY’S FIRE ENGINES
PAPUA NEW GUINEA – A fire chief in the Papua New Guinea city of Lae is urging residents to be careful, as the service has no money to refuel two of its fire engines. Superintendent Bal Kenna told the newspaper the National that the vehicles had been grounded for two weeks, leaving firefighters handicapped. It was fortunate they had had no callouts in that time, he said. A request has been submitted to national headquarters and forwarded to the finance department in Port Moresby for the Niugini Oil Company to refuel the trucks, Kenna said. This will be the third week in which the trucks will be without fuel. “I am urguring companies, government agencies and public to be careful when using electrical appliances at workplaces and home,” Kenna said.