Concept ‘not working’

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Opposition parliamentarian Viliame Naupoto during a break from Parliament on Tuesday, April 4, 2023. Picture: SOPHIE RALULU

The Restore Blue concept is not working, says Opposition MP Viliame Naupoto.

The comment by Mr Naupoto follows Home Affairs Minister Pio Tikoduadua’s response to a statement by Opposition Leader Inia Seruiratu.

“Pio Tikoduadua still blames the past administration as an excuse for the sharp increase in crime and drugs and the minister’s lack of concern over the security situation and the impact it has on the citizens and visitors to our country,” Mr Naupoto said.

In a statement, he said the sharp rise in crime and drugs mentioned by Acting Police Commissioner Juki Fong Chew indicated there was something seriously wrong with the Fiji Police Force that he feared was not of their own doing.

“I would like to remind him that the very much hyped Restore Blue concept touted by him as the Minister for Home Affairs is not working.”

He said the voice of the ordinary people crying for help was drowned out by the voice of politicians interfering in the affairs of the Fiji Police Force.

In a Restore Blue symposium last year, Mr Tikoduadua was quoted as saying the theme of the conference was to get the police to answer only to the law because, in the past, the police had so many masters, including politicians.

Mr Naupoto said those were the words of someone who instigated the suspension of the Commissioner of Police, and the reason the minister gave for the initial call for the COMPOL’s resignation and later suspension was that the former police commissioner was too close to the previous government.

He said he also called the minister out when he directly interfered with police operations during the Reclaim the Night march on March 8 last year.

“If that wasn’t political interference, then what is?”

In response to questions sent to the acting Commissioner of Police Juki Chew, he said the Fiji Police Force did not respond to political statements made by politicians.

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