Govt will assess proposal by RFMF on use of firearms to assist Police in certain drug cases - PM

Govt will assess proposal by RFMF on use of firearms to assist Police in certain drug cases - PM

By Mikaele Liga , Vijay Narayan
Monday 20/05/2024
Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka has echoed sentiments of safety and the need for certain procedures that has to be followed in light of the recent proposal made by the Republic of the Fiji Military Forces for the use of firearms to assist the Police in certain drug cases.

Rabuka says it has to come through the Minister for Home Affairs to cabinet.

Minister for Home Affairs, Pio Tikoduadua says the use of firearms in law enforcement must be carefully considered, with robust legislative support and clear guidelines to ensure the the well-being of our communities.

While responding to Republic of Fiji Military Forces Director of Legal, Colonel Kitione Tuinaosara’s presentation on behalf of the Army Commander during the Ministry of Home Affairs Tanoa Session on Responding To The Illicit Drugs Situation in Fiji, Tikoduadua says the RFMF’sproposal to utilize firearms as a deterrent and means of enhancing security measures in addressing the drug problem, highlights the importance of taking proactive steps to ensure public safety.

Tikoduadua says while they understand the intent behind this proposal, it is crucial to balance our actions with the protection of human rights and the trust of our citizens.

He says in response to the drug challenge, the Ministry is in the process of drafting the National Countering Illicit Narcotics Strategy 2023 to 2028.

Tikoduadua says this strategy outlines a comprehensive approach to address the issue of synthetic drugs, particularly methamphetamine.

The key initiatives include demand reduction and availability of controlled substances, supply reduction, and alternative development, harm reduction, legal reform, data collection, analysis, and information sharing, the establishment of a Narcotics Court, partnership, coordination, and international cooperation.

He says it is important to understand the context in which those statements were made; a “Talanoa” session where various points of view are taken.

Tikoduadua says the issue of illicit drugs is a significant concern that requires our collective effort as a nation.

He adds that they are committed to addressing the drug challenge with a balanced and comprehensive strategy, focusing on both immediate action and long-term solutions.

He says Talanoa and expertise-sharing sessions like the one recently organized by the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime are key to this strategy.

Click here for stories on the Drugs Situation in Fiji

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