Visitors Slam Usp Security
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By Nazreen Bibi Wansolwara, USP Journalism Programme
SUVA: Several complaints have been raised with University of the South Pacific authorities over an aggressive attitude of some security officers on campus in the wake of Fiji's political crisis.
Some officers have been accused of "blatant rudeness" and "offhand ignorance" towards visitors to the university.
This follows an incident on September 21 when Pacific Islands Broadcasting Association chief executive Jese Sikivou and a PACNEWS journalist, Samisoni Pareti, were waved down at the main gate by a security guard demanding to know the nature of their visit.
Mr Sikivou and Mr Pareti were due to meet USP Students Association officials and to visit the journalism newsroom.
"When we asked for the reason we were detained while others were allowed to proceed into the USP campus completely unchallenged. They told us to wait, as they were just doing their job," said Mr Sikivou.
Stefan Ali, manager of Macworks, said he was also barred from entering USP by one of the security guards while delivering a repaired computer.
"While I was detained for no particular reason, I saw empty taxis coming and going without any hindrance,” said Mr Ali.
Mr Ali told the guard that he was going to write a letter of complaint to the Vice-Chancellor.
"In reply, the security guard said: 'You can tell George Speight or Rabuka or Ratu Mara - I don’t care'," said Mr Ali.
Provost Filimone Fifita said it was "normal" for all visitors to be checked before entering USP.
But visitors needed to be given respectful treatment.
"While it is necessary for our security checks to be stepped up because of the situation in the country, it is not the intention to be rude, insulting or arrogant," he said.
Chief security officer Wilisoni Jiuta said it was normal procedure to check the identities of all visitors.
Several students who did not wish to be named for fear of being victimised told Wansolwara that campus security was "useless", citing a theft on September 23 near student residential halls.