Police talk about politics, trade unions, itaukei affairs, and religion
Fiji’s security landscape is manageable and controllable, and the Fiji Police Force does not need the assistance of third parties to step in and assist.
Senior police officials made a presentation to a parliamentary committee on the Fiji Police Force’s 2015 Annual Report, earlier this month.
The police team included Deputy Commissioner of Police, Isikeli Liqairi, Senior Research Officer, Robert Turaga, and Deputy Director, Planning, SP Mahendra Shyam.
According to the police, Fiji’s political front is calm; trade unions are united on raising the national minimum wage to $4.00, while the debate is ongoing on draft Village By-Laws.
The Police gave a glowing review of Government initiatives and economic growth but recommended more regulations in the areas of land and sea transportation.
Religious organisations are mostly “calm and focused”, but certain groups are criticised for weighing in on politics.
Here is a summary of police’s assessment of Fiji’s national security landscape:
- like in any democracy, differences in political opinion exist and which will dictate political developments heading into 2018 and beyond; and
- political front is calm, although tempo of political activities is steadily increasing heading into the 2018 General Election.
- a general increase in trade union activities and trade disputes following the 2015 Tripartite Agreement and relevant law reforms;
- unions united on raising the national minimum wage from the current rate of $2.32 to $4; and
- and risk of a general strike as seen in 1959 remains low.
- the debate over the draft Village By-Laws ongoing with many iTaukei villages supporting its enactment;
- iTaukei customary chiefly title, land, and qoliqoli disputes are overall low;
- many vacancies of chiefly titles remain, and Ministry of iTaukei Affairs is advocating for more installations and formalisation; and
- Emerging challenges such as climate change-induced disasters and climate change immigration will pose long-term threats to the iTaukei community.
- public mostly appreciative of: improved Government service delivery, public infrastructure developments; and provision of various Government assistance programs;
- challenges remain in improving service delivery in rural and maritime communities and which have been further impeded by slow development and the increasing impact of climate change and rising sea levels; and
- Government regulation of land and sea transportation companies, mining operations, logging companies, and other commercial entities are generally in need of strengthening.
- Fiji has experienced seven consecutive years of steady economic growth, and further multi-sector growth is expected till 2019;
- risk factors that will impede growth include climate change-induced natural disasters, land and qoliqoli disputes, crime, rising oil prices, etc.;
- need for strengthening of the private sector coupled with sufficient strengthening of Government regulatory mechanisms;
- further, it is anticipated that as Fiji becomes more developed and affluent that this will require a corresponding transformation of the Fiji Police Force to assist Government to sustain Fiji’s long-term development.
- faith-based organisations are mostly calm and focused on propagating their values among followers;
- certain faith-based groups are being criticised for weighing into politics, although most organisations have declared their intent to remain apolitical;
- and risk of radicalisation being promoted by certain organisations remains low.
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