Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

Allen Lockington is a self-employed customs agent and business consultant who has regular articles published in www.connectme.com.fj/news/opinion. I thank Allen and Connect for permission to reprint some of them in this political blog. They remind us that life goes on, whatever the political situation. And it's good to know that.


Danger in Timber


The termite problem is one that many people thought would not happen. I worked for the Customs Department for many years and during those times dunnage - which is timber used in packing or propping cargo in containers, is usually taken by people who work on the wharf for their own use. I remember when I worked in Suva in the late 70s to the late 80s anyone taking timber out of the wharf had to get a permit. The “wood” would be inspected by a then Quarantine Officer and if he saw that the timber was safe, he would issue a permit or certificate allowing the person to take it. Timber that was deemed unsafe was not allowed to be taken would be incinerated by the Quarantine officers.

A time came when life started to be hard and people would take the timber out of the wharf without the authorities knowing. I remember one time back then a security guard at North Gate on Kings Wharf telling a dockworker to take the timber he was carrying and get a certificate. The dockworker said it was to help make a little extension in his house. If a person takes enough wood each day, in a year he can build a good home. But I will be bold and say that as time went on, there was no danger in the wood and security lapsed. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I have been on many cargo inspections with my then fellow Border Control associates and a lot of timber that was in containers as props and packing was brought back and burnt.

However, I wish to say that people do get desperate because some of this timber was dressed and looked good. But dunnage is supposed to be just that, timber used for packing but we have seen been putting it to good use without knowing that it can have danger lurking in them.

I don’t know how the termites in Tomuka Lautoka arrived in Fiji but the issue  of people taking pallets and dunnage to build their homes  is a reality. Let’s not deny this because it a fact. Timber used in these homes can be checked to see if they are parts of pallets or dunnage.

Security at the wharves has to be stepped up and let’s put up a sing that says, “The biggest threat to security is if you think there is no threat.”

Whether the timber was bought from hardware shops or from the wharf we have to take care.

There is another danger that has arrived at our shores – the giant African snail. If that pest was to hit Fiji we are doomed. Complacency has been a part of our culture let’s get rid of it together with the pests. Let’s keep Fiji green.
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Also for your weekend reading, check out the humour on the  Namumua Journal.

Comments

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This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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