Fiji draft bill cops boot – PM’s move on proposed police law puzzles critics

Fiji SRU police unit
Fiji police officers from the Special Response Unit patrol on duty. Image: RAMA/Fiji Times

By Wanshika Kumar in Suva

Reports that Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has pulled the plug on Fiji’s draft Police Bill 2020 has raised more questions than answers and left critics puzzled.

What, when, where, why, and how were pressing questions people asked as they tried to unravel how the bill was thrust into the public sphere for discussion without the government’s knowledge.

National Federation Party president Pio Tikoduadua said the prime minister’s statement came two weeks after Defence Minister Inia Seruiratu was photographed at the launch of consultations on the bill.

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The Fiji Times front page today, 18 March 2021. Image: FT screenshot

He claimed everybody knew that everything happened in the government on the Prime Minister or the Attorney-General’s command.

Former PM Sitiveni Rabuka said Bainimarama’s comments that the Fiji Police Force had acted unilaterally and government had not been consulted before consultations began was “puzzling”.

Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre co-ordinator Shamima Ali said the government or the Prime Minister’s Office needed to issue an official statement regarding its stand on the draft bill because the only information people had was from two media platforms and social media sites.

Wanshika Kumar is a Fiji Times reporter.

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