Let's make it our business

Fred Wesley | Friday, January 5, 2018
AS investigations get underway over a family's claims of police inaction in an alleged incident in Lautoka, we are left to ponder on the issue of drowning.

The family of a young man who allegedly drowned claims three police officers failed to save him from strong currents in a river at Saweni in Lautoka.

The body of Ratu Jope Sigaruarua, 23, who was missing since Tuesday afternoon, was found in a mangrove swamp yesterday.

His family are not happy about what they claim happened on that particular day.

His uncle, Ratu Isoa Tikoca, expressed the family's anger over claims by witnesses that police officers stood by while the 23-year-old called for help.

Fiji Police Force chief of operations ACP Rusiate Tudravu confirmed an investigation would be carried out.

He has assured the family that they would be looking into the claims and would ensure a thorough investigation was conducted.

As we near the end of our first week at work this year, we should remind ourselves of the importance of life.

Let's be vigilant when out at sea or at our rivers and streams.

It is a reality that some people are still pushing their luck at sea.

Maybe because of the inconsistency of inter-island transportation, many people are still braving the elements to island-hop on fibreglass punts. They are toying with danger, taking their chances out at sea.

They place their lives at risk and when accidents happen, they drag in emergency service team members who will be tasked to look for them.

We should do the right thing and work together to put a stop to our drowning statistics.

It made sense that the revelation in 2015 that swimming classes were to be made compulsory in all schools around the country attracted attention.

Many of us do not know the first thing about swimming, leave aside water safety issues.

We have to embrace the reality that we live in a country surrounded by the Pacific Ocean.

We have rivers, streams, creeks and the sea.

Clearly we have a massive challenge.

We have to take the first step of accepting that learning to swim is important. It may even save a life.

But it is equally important that we realise that water safety is critical and we understand our limitations under various scenarios.

It means being aware of issues of safety in or near our many waterways.

It means appreciating the need for vigilance when out at sea for instance.

Then there is the issue of common sense.

It does make sense that our children should be taught how to swim and appreciate water safety. We should start somewhere. Water safety is everyone's business really.

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