Politics

Qiliho responds to queries over marijuana operation

The Commissioner of Police, Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho said Opposition parliamentarian, Hon. Mosese Bulitavu’s comments in an ongoing drug operation showed his “lack of understanding about operational issues”. Commissioner Qiliho said the possibility of farmers violently retaliating against police was a concern and Hon. Bulitavu should understand that police were not armed. QILIHO: “With regards to […]

Calvin Prasad

June 17, 2016 4:59 pm

The Commissioner of Police, Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho said Opposition parliamentarian, Hon. Mosese Bulitavu’s comments in an ongoing drug operation showed his “lack of understanding about operational issues”.

Commissioner Qiliho said the possibility of farmers violently retaliating against police was a concern and Hon. Bulitavu should understand that police were not armed.

QILIHO: “With regards to the destruction of drugs, all necessary procedures and processes are followed by my team of Police officers who are accompanied by a Government analyst as they are well aware of the need to protect the integrity of the operations and investigations.”

The Commissioner stated that the decision to work with the RFMF was made due to their expertise in the “self-sustainment capabilities in identifying the marijuana farms.”

QILIHO: “As we had highlighted farmers are moving into more extremely hard to reach places, one of which was found after a nine-hour trek into the rugged terrains of the Navosa Hills.”

Commissioner Qiliho urged the public to keep in mind the mission of “Operation Cavuraka”, which was to “rid society of this drug which has over the years had a broad range of adverse impacts.”

An Opposition parliamentarian has questioned the burning of marijuana plants discovered by the Fiji Police Force and the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) in a joint operation conducted in the interior of Navosa this week.

Operation Cavuraka has so far resulted in numerous marijuana discoveries.

Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) MP Hon Mosese Bulitavu commended the work carried out by the Police and RFMF but said the marijuana plants should not have been destroyed.

In a statement, MP Bulitavu said that the confiscated drugs should not be destroyed before being presented to Court.

BULITAVU: “What is the objective of the Operation? To destroy farms or threaten farmers or prevent cultivation or make arrests or what? One of the Police Force primary roles is to investigate, caution accused persons, carry out reconstruction and the collection of evidence for criminal proceedings. The actions by the Police in the Operation Cavuraka abuses or undermines this primary role.”

Police Chief of Intelligence and Investigations, ACP Luke Navela told Newswire he did not wish to comment on Hon Bulitavu’s statement.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho told Newswire he would respond to Hon Bulitavu’s claims in a press statement later.

A team of 50 officers from both the Fiji Police Force and the Republic of Fiji Military Forces are currently combing the terrains of the Navosa Highlands, in an effort dubbed as “the war on drugs”.

Operation Cavuraka commenced last Friday.

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