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Fijian Minister for Defence Ratu Inoke Kubuabola told Parliament today that without security, there can be no economic growth.
To this end, his ministry has embarked on a review and update of legislation in accordance with the President’s agenda that is pertinent to strengthening law enforcement.
“The review of the Security Industry Act 2010 is well underway and the Ministry has held numerous consultations with the legislative arms, the Ministry through the Act attempts to work closely with stakeholders to improve on the processes and regularise the necessary areas to govern the security industry properly. Madam Speaker, the review of the Police Act is progressing through continued consultation with relevant stakeholders.”
Ratu Inoke says a final draft of the legislation is expected to be completed by the year end before handing it to the Solicitor General’s office.
Another area where security is being ramped up is in transnational crime, in particular the trafficking of narcotics.
“Locally they are ongoing initiatives for the reviewing of the Illicit Drug Act to enhance empowerment to the Fiji Police Forensic Chemistry. The Ministry will host a two day workshop on narcotics towards the end of this month.”
Ratu Inoke made the statement in response to the President’s address last week on the opening of the 2017/2018 session of parliament.
Meanwhile, Fiji's main opposition party is calling on the government to withdraw a bill it says will stifle any criticism or debate.
Bill 28, which is likely to be passed when parliament sits in November, proposes penalties for defaming, demeaning or undermining the sanctity of parliament.
Individuals who are convicted would face a US$15,000 fine or five years in prison, while companies would face a US$50,000 fine and prison terms for director and managers.
The general secretary of the SODELPA party, Adi Litia Qionibaravi said the provisions could be turned into a political weapon.
“The bill proposes that no one can criticise any member of parliament and the party views that it in many ways will silence those who wish to raise information or argue against what members of parliament have to say. So it's just going to curtail the freedom of expression,” Adi Litia told RNZI
She said the opposition did not have the numbers to block the bill, but the government should withdraw it anyway.
The government meanwhile said the bill wouldn't stifle criticism of MPs and it only applies to the institution of parliament.
SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS
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