Opinion

Natuva Assures All Fijians

This is the full text of the Ministerial statement given by Mr Natuva as Minister for Immigration, National Security and Defence,in Parliament on Thursday.   The General Security Situation since
29 Aug 2015 10:31
Natuva Assures All Fijians
Timoci Natuva.

This is the full text of the Ministerial statement given by Mr Natuva as Minister for Immigration, National Security and Defence,in Parliament on Thursday.

 

The General Security Situation since the last General Elections of 2014 has been relatively calm and quiet.

Over the last few weeks, we have been informed of an event that unfolded in the province of Ra that has resulted in sedition charges laid against a select number of individuals.

I will get to this security issue later but please allow me to first speak on other issues that contributes to Fiji’s internal security landscape.

The opposing prejudiced remarks towards Government through social media continues but encouragingly is less than pre-elections. This is partly attributed to the opening of Parliament and the issues discussed within these forums are now been thrashed out in this noble House.

During the leadership of the pre-elected Government till now the Nation has recovered well; however there is still wide spread fear, mistrust and suspicion by a small number in the iTaukei community.

This is fueled by the rumor mongering that has unfortunately been a part of the iTaukei community for some time on the alleged economic threats posed by the Fijians of Indian descent minority and further exacerbated by the misinformation and misinterpretation of certain Government policies by certain individuals and groups.

The lead up to the 2014 General Elections was a challenging time for law enforcement agencies as prospective Parliamentarians hammered each other out in an effort to be elected by our people as Honourable Members of this august House.

Rumours and irresponsible statements were made that was thought to contribute to the insecurity and instability of this nation.

Now that we are here, it is rather unfortunate that the repercussions of those war of words has continued to live on in the hearts and minds of the very people that we had sought vote from to get to where we are today.

The Fiji Police Force continues to receive rumoured reports of instability from time to time and we will continue to stamp down hard on any effort to bring insecurity to this country.

Over the last few months, you may have also noted a distinct increase in the number of high profile drug busts in Fiji. A lot of these drug apprehensions are controlled deliveries which are supervised by law enforcement officers both here and abroad as a means of exposing the intended target of the drug trans-shipment.

Because of Fiji’s strategic location within the Pacific and the ease of access to bigger markets such as Australia and the United States, it is considered as an ideal port for trans-shipment of drugs by drug smugglers.

Let me assure you and the members of this august House that the Fiji Police Force is doing all it can to stop this trans-shipment of drugs through Fiji.

The drug confiscation that has already taken place here in Fiji is a reflection of commitment and hard work of all the border agencies here in Fiji and their counterparts abroad.

It must however be noted with concern that we now have a relatively small market for sale of these hard drugs. The Fiji Police Force is working around the clock to ensure that anyone that engages on this unethical act is brought to justice.

Moving on, Fiji in 2014 recorded a significant decrease (22.8 per cent) in major crimes recorded by the Fiji Police Force with the exception of crimes against morality, and drug related cases.

The increase in the reports on crimes Against morality could be attributed to the increase in public awareness by our law enforcement agencies through various policing awareness campaigns such as the DUAVATA Initiative and also through awareness campaigns done by NGOs.

The rise in reported drug cases is attributed to the close collaboration between our border agencies and the development of close working relationship and exchange of information with our international partners.

The recent increase in drug operations by the Fiji Police Force targeting local farmers of marijuana has also contributed significantly to the increase in reported of drug cases over the past few months.

Apart from these two major crimes that recorded increase in 2014, all other major crimes such as theft, assault, burglary and rape dropped significantly in 2014 compared to 2012 and 2013.

Whilst theft, assault and public morality remain the prevalent offences, burglary is slowly rising and the Fiji Police Force is working hard on curtailing these major crimes further.

The Ministry of Defence together with its key security stakeholders are currently discussing on a way forward for the Government to counter occurrences of rape in the country.

Please allow me now to deliberate more on the incidences in the provinces of Ra and Nadroga/Navosa.

As I have stated before, over the last few weeks, we have been inundated on news of a group conducting training at Navalidi settlement in the province of Ra.

The allegations of this training is indeed correct and the Fiji Police Force and the Military are gathering more information to be provided to court regarding the charges that have been laid.

As I speak, the Fiji Police Force has already confirmed charging 33 individuals on sedition and inciting communal antagonism charges.

This in addition to the 16 individuals that were charged earlier in relation to attempts to create a Ra Sovereign Christian State and another 17 charged last week in relation to attempts to create a Nadroga/Navosa Sovereign Christian State.

There were allegations of weapons been used during this alleged training exercise and that there is no evidence to substantiate these claims during investigations.

But because of the alleged involvement of weaponry arms, the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) is now involved in the investigations but with the Fiji Police on the leading role.

The Fiji Police Force and the RFMF work tirelessly to gather more information on these allegations and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.

Given Fiji’s history in such incidences and the significant number of individuals involved there is reason to believe that there are more influential people behind these moves to create an illegal independent state and further that racial antagonism is being misused to promote these ideologies.

Let me assure members of this august House that we are doing the best to ensure that there are no stones left unturned during this investigation.

In today’s dailies, a suspended member of Parliament and senior leader of a political party even sought the Hon Prime Minister’s executive hand to release current detained persons involved in sedition, dismissing the fact of Government’s pursuit of the independence of the Judiciary and for the rule of law to take its course.

This contradictory demand portrays how blatantly ignorant and insulting this leader has towards the path of Democracy and Government commitment to adhere to this path.

It is quite disheartening to note that while Government attempts to address these illegal activities; bound to cause inevitable instability and incite communal antagonism – Members of the other side of the House seem unbothered by this real threat to National Security. Very disconcerting and alarming to note is that some Opposition Members of the House have even expressed support to this un-Constitutional act to pursue visitation to the remanded perpetrators.

I again refer to today’s dailies reporting on one of the Hon Members from the other side commenting through his convictions using biblical references and saying and I quote “…even God instructed his people appointment through His criteria…”; I wish to respond to the Hon. Member’s remark in that from a religious perspective it is unmistaken that leadership appointments is God sent.

Biblical history undeniably acknowledges that leadership is given and endorsed by God and even the Hon. Member in his wisdom of religious theology must admit and accept that.

If this perspective is embraced than it is definite that the grooming of our Hon Prime Minister years ago is evident through divinity from God resulting in his leadership of the Fiji First party and now this elected Government. The Hon. Member must remember that!

Madam Speaker, this House has been bombarded during various Sittings, on the coup culture and obvious repugnance towards the Republic of Fiji Military Forces involvement.

Just the other day during Tuesday’s sitting; a Hon Member of the other side of the House expressed outspokenly and emotionally her evident scorn towards the RFMF and coup culture.

These incidences of sedition in Ra fall into the realms of coup culture. And yet there is no vocal disdain recorded by any from the other side of the House on the intolerance of these seditious acts in Ra to disrupt the Democracy of this Nation. Could their silence be interpreted as their support for the sedition?

It is highly likely so; and therefore totally contradicts their blunt non-support of seditious acts and/or their contempt for coups.

Parliament daily hansard records numerous eruptive repulsions by the members of the other side of the House on issues presented and tabled to this Parliament like Human Rights; the Constitution Day Holiday; Bills on the Sugar reforms which I admit deserves such great passion.

Why do we not witness this same outburst passion from the Opposition to oppose publicly this sedition incidences and their denouncement of such acts?

Do they not support the pursuit of Democracy and the stability of the Nation?

Madam Speaker, I earnestly urge all members of this Parliament to unite as one and denounce these moves to create an illegal independent sovereign state and also to use all the powers that we have to ensure that peace and stability is maintained at all times in our beloved Fiji.

The members of the public must be reassured that Fiji remains safe and secure and enjoys a benign environment.

I wish to fervently inform members of the public to not be easily influenced by people whose intentions are to derail the progress that Fiji has made over the past nine years.

The safety and security of Fiji is not a law enforcement agency’s obligation alone but a collective responsibility of all the people who call Fiji their home. (I also take this opportunity to dispose of any anxious queries and doubts towards the security of Fiji to current and prospective foreign investors.

Through Government’s incentives and lucrative provisions Investment Fiji has experienced an influx of foreign investors taking advantage of the reforms. Obviously scrutinised by security vetting these foreign investments offer local development and employment contributing to the evident growth of Fiji’s economy. The growth of a Nation’s investment environment is somewhat and crucially influenced by the Security situation. Fiji remains a hub for foreign investment and envisaged to increase potentially because the Security state is normal.

On a positive note, I must commend the Methodist Church of Fiji shown in Wednesday’s Fiji Times for the inaugural introduction of a code of conduct in the Methodist Church constitution; and in particular the ethical concept of the Church’s non-involvement in politics of the Nation and coups.

This is an encouraging venture by the Methodist Church in the support of Democracy and the avenue that Government positively promotes. This constructive progress is a significant mark of the Methodist Church’s patronage towards the enforcement for stability and Fiji’s National Security.

Before I conclude I wish to emphasize to the Nation with due respect to the Press and Social Media, that if an authentic and accurate assessment and analysis of the Security Situation of Fiji is required, it is nobly sound to obtain such reports directly from officials of the relevant Government Ministry.

I therefore wish to conclude by saying that the internal security situation in Fiji continues as normal and is serene as Fiji ought to be. Government does not envisage any significant changes in the short to medium term.

Vinaka vakalevu

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 




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