27 Jul 2005

Fiji police commissioner says government must withdraw Reconciliation Bill

9:36 am on 27 July 2005

Fiji's police commissioner says the government's Reconciliation and Unity Bill will seriously affect his constitutional and statutory role and wants it withdrawn.

The Daily Post reports that Andrew Hughes has made his views known in the police submission on the Bill to parliament's Justice, Law and Order Committee.

Mr Hughes says he has to question whether he can continue to "work in a regime that does not fully and unreservedly condemn terrorism, in all its forms and without exception, by bringing the full weight of the law upon those who participate in or support the overthrow and hostage taking of a democratically elected government."

Mr Hughes says an armed and forceful takeover of parliament for political motives was an undisputable act of domestic terrorism and it is dangerous to deceive oneself that it is anything else.

Mr Hughes says "the polarisation, divisions, disaffection, and unrest in society that this Bill is creating could intensify and escalate if it is enacted and its provisions implemented."

He says both he and the military commander have briefed and documented their concerns to the home affairs minister and "the full responsibility for the expected civil disorder and chaos now rests squarely with the government through him as the responsible minister."

Mr Hughes says he will NOT co-operate with the proposed Reconciliation and Amnesty Commission because this will lead the police inevitably into a High Court challenge.