Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Stop direct interventions, Naupoto tells Minister

Opposition Spokesperson for Home Affairs and Immigration, Viliame Naupoto claims Minister Pio Tikoduadua is continuing to do damage to the reputation and morale of the Fiji Police Force by intervening directly.

Naupoto in a statement said Tikoduadua’s intervention to the tactical level police teams deployed on the ground, as shown recently by his so-called intervention to the work of the Fiji Police who were deployed to supervise the Reclaim the Night March on Wednesday 08 March 2023 was unwarranted.

“It is reported that Hon Tikoduadua spoke on the phone with Shamima Ali and directed her to “give the phone to the officer” and talked directly to the Police officer to reverse his decision and allow what he had initially directed the marchers not to do.”

“The Minister responsible for the Police has no powers to do what he did.”

“The Minister is only allowed to issue general policy directions to the Commissioner of Police according to section 129(6) of the Constitution.”

“In addition, Section 129 (5)(b) of the Constitution states that “The Commissioner of Police is responsible for the deployment and control of its operations and, subject to subsection (6), is not subject to the direction or control by any other person or authority in relation to those matters.”

Naupoto said the two disciplined forces under his portfolio, the Fiji Police and the Republic of Fiji Military Forces are hierarchical and it functions through a chain of command.

“Hon Tikoduadua should understand this, given his military background. Military Officers know of this saying “If the military is a machine than the chain of command is the oil it runs on.”

“When he broke the chain of command as he did to the Police that day he broke and lowered the morale of Police personnel, he embarrassed those Police officers on the ground and discredited the integrity of the Police Commissioner and all those Police Commanders down the chain of command right to the policeman he spoke to directly on the ground.”

“He only must ask himself if, as a Lieutenant Colonel, he finds out that a politician had talked directly to a Sergeant he had deployed for a specific mission and changed his orders. Honourable Tikoduadua should be reminded that he is a politician and not an operational commander.”

Naupoto further claimed that Tikoduadua is one who harps about dictatorial and authoritarian leadership, but during his time as Commander RFMF, his line minister and even the Prime Minister would call him first if they are alerted to an issue regarding the operations of RFMF at any level.

“His actions that day were not only illegal but dictatorial and authoritarian to the core.”

“Hon Tikoduadua has no legal right to do what he did, and he needs to apologize to the Commissioner of Police for his mistake, and I hope that he quickly learns the functions and the mandate of a Minister so that the damage he has done and continues to do to the Police Force is minimized and repaired.”

“I hope he will not extend his illegal actions to the RFMF.”

“The Honourable Minister must cease such interference as it, together with actions of other ministers and their cronies are fundamentally undermining the rule of law and breaching our Constitution,” he further added.

Reginald Chandar
Reginald Chandar
Head of News & Sports | news@fijilive.com

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