26 May 2005

Fiji Police and Army leaders discuss government's reconciliation Bill

10:18 am on 26 May 2005

The heads of Fiji's two security forces have met to discuss their concerns about the Qarase government's Reconciliation and Unity Bill.

It's been confirmed that the police commissioner, Andrew Hughes, and the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, met in Suva yesterday with the Bill as one of the main topics of discussion.

Mr Hughes has said he will meet with the minister for home affairs, Josefa Vosanibola, to discuss police concerns about the Bill, which has generated fierce opposition in the country and internationally.

But despite the backlash, the prime minister says he will go ahead with tabling the Bill in parliament next week.

Laisenia Qarase has rejected calls for a referendum, saying there is no provision in Fiji's laws to hold one.

The Bill will set up a commission with powers to fast track amnesty for coup convicts like George Speight, erase their criminal records, give immunity to those not yet prosecuted and suspend court proceedings against those facing charges.