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Seruiratu apologetic over Bill blunder

March 19, 2021 4:30 pm
Minister for Defence, Inia Seruiratu. [File Photo]

Minister for Defence, Inia Seruiratu says the focus of the public consultation has to be on the 1965 Police Act.

Seruiratu has told FBC News the cabinet had endorsed the review of the 1965 Act and they will focus on that and has apologised to all Fijians for the panic caused by the recent public consultations on the draft bill. 

He adds the draft Police Bill has been retracted and his Ministry will work with the Solicitor General’s office and rectify that. 

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The Minister is hopeful that they will get back with consultations on the 1965 Act soon which will lead to the formulation of the Bill.

Seruiratu adds that the work on the Bill should not be used as a political point-scoring opportunity. 

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama had said that the text of the so-called Draft Fiji Police Bill does not represent government policy and will not be presented to Parliament.

Bainimarama also said the Bill was drafted and released unilaterally by the Police Force.

He had highlighted that it is standard practice that government agencies consult within the government before seeking consultation from the public.

Any future amendments to the Fiji Police Act will be made available for public consultation after endorsement by the Cabinet and the Solicitor General’s Office to ensure that they respect the constitutional rights of every Fijian.

Certain sections of the draft Police Bill has received widespread criticism.

This includes confiscation of electronic items including mobile phones without warrants and taking hold of property for their use.

There has also been criticism on the personation and representation of Police vehicles.

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