REMARKS: Deputy Secretary General at the Launch of the Pacific Regional Transnational Organised Crime (TNOC) Disruption Strategy

Remarks and Speeches
12 April 2024

Welcome Remarks by Deputy Secretary General Esala Nayasi at the Launch of the Pacific Regional Transnational Organised Crime (TNOC) Disruption Strategy

Wednesday 10 April 2024

•    Commissioner McLennan of the Tonga Police, Chair of the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police Network. 
•    Members of the Pacific Law Enforcement Community
•    Excellencies
•    Senior Officials
•    Distinguished guests,
•    Colleagues and friends

•    Transnational Organised Crime is a threat to regional security.

•    For far too long, organised criminal groups have been able to remain ahead and out of reach of law enforcement in the region.

•    Our region is under attack. Our people are under attack.

•    In the past few years alone cybercriminals have attacked Government IT systems in Vanuatu and Marshall Islands, and millions of Australians lost personal information in attacks on Optus and Medibank Private.

•    And a despicable criminal recently impersonated my successor, our Forum Chair no less, and managed to steal tens of thousands of dollars from a well-meaning citizen of my home country Cook Islands.

•    IUU fishing costs Forum Members over 700 million Fijian dollars a year – income that could be spent on health, education, roads and ports.

•    I was shocked to see more than four tonnes of methamphetamines was found in Fiji recently. And while I congratulate all the parties involved stopping those horrible, dangerous drugs from reaching our communities, it was a stark reminder of our vulnerability.

•    It is a sad fact that everyday thousands of criminals go to work to steal the hard earned money of innocent people across the globe, including here in the Blue Pacific Continent.

•    We cannot, and will not, let them win.  

•    Last year, Pacific Islands Forum Leaders launched the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.

•    In doing so, they painted a vision for a future in which all Pacific peoples benefit from safety, security and prosperity.  

•    To achieve this, we need a new approach.

•    We need to work together.

•    The Transnational Organised Crime Disruption Strategy was developed through a thorough consultation process with Members and our critical partners in regional and international agencies, many of whom are here tonight.  

•    It identifies priorities to reduce transnational crime and its impact in the region.

•    I thank all Members for your valuable contribution in the development of this strategy.

•    Let us all work together, in partnership, to deliver on our Leaders’ vision under the 2050 Strategy, for a safe, security and prosperous Blue Pacific Continent for us all.

•    Let us continue to deepen our regional aspirations and collective strengths by working together to remove the scourge of transnational organised crime from our Islands.

•    Vinaka Vakalevu.