Naupoto attacks Tikoduadua on Restore Blue and claims of interference
Drug busts and dismantling networks should not be diminished by political rhetoric - Tikoduadua

Naupoto attacks Tikoduadua on Restore Blue and claims of interference

Drug busts and dismantling networks should not be diminished by political rhetoric - Tikoduadua

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 29/02/2024
FijiFirst MP, Viliame Naupoto and Home Affairs Minister, Pio Tikoduadua

The attack on the Home Affairs Minister, Pio Tikoduadua has continued by the FijiFirst Party in relation to crime and drugs where FijiFirst MP, Viliame Naupoto says the sharp rise in crime and drug cases is concerning and he has alleged interference of politicians into the affairs of the Fiji Police.

However Tikoduadua urges Naupoto and all members of the opposition to work constructively with the government in addressing these challenges.

Naupoto says Tikoduadua’s comments on the very serious concerns raised by the Leader of Opposition on the state of lawlessness in the country given the sharp increase in crime and drug statistics shows a lack of concern on the security situation and the impact it has on the citizens and visitors to our country.

The FijiFirst MP says Tikoduadua still blames past administrations as an excuse to sidestep the issue.

Naupoto says he would like to remind Tikoduadua that the very much hyped “Restore Blue” concept touted by him as the Minister for Home Affairs is not working. He also says although Tikoduadua is saying that, these are the words of someone who had instigated the suspension of the Commissioner of Police, and the minister’s reason for the initial call for resignation and later suspension (because the former COMPOL did not resign) was that the former Commissioner of Police was too close to the previous Government.

Naupoto says he also called Tikoduadua out when he directly interfered with Police operations during the Reclaim the Night march on the 8th of March 2023.

Naupoto claims that the top echelon of the Fiji Police is becoming politically aligned to the Government of the day.

The FijiFirst MP says the minister’s recent comments in the media that drug networks operated with impunity under the previous administration is irresponsible given the hard work carried out by the Fiji Police Force over the years to fight drugs.

He says our Fiji Police Force is already embedded with many internal challenges, and they need all the support by the government to assist them to modernize and be postured correctly to meet the evolving criminal trend.

Nauport says the last thing they need is the constant interference by the minister and politicians.

However Tikoduadua says as the Minister for Home Affairs and Immigration, he takes the concerns raised by Naupoto and the Leader of Opposition very seriously.

He says it is our collective responsibility to address the security challenges facing our nation, including crime and drug-related incidents.

However Tikoduadua says it is essential to approach this matter with a constructive and collaborative mindset rather than resorting to blame and political point-scoring.

He says the "Restore Blue" initiative, while criticized, is part of a broader, multifaceted strategy aimed at enhancing the effectiveness and integrity of our law enforcement agencies, including the Fiji Police Force. Tikoduadua says change of this magnitude takes time and concerted effort, and it is premature to deem the initiative a failure based on short-term observations.

He says it is his firm belief that the Fiji Police Force must operate independently and impartially, free from political influence.

Tikoduadua says the government is committed to upholding this principle, ensuring that the police force can carry out its duties effectively, serving the best interests of all Fijians.

He adds we must not overlook the significant progress made in recent months combating drug trafficking and other criminal activities.

Tikoduadua says their efforts have led to significant drug busts and the dismantling of criminal networks, thanks to the dedication and hard work of our police officers.

He says these achievements should not be diminished by political rhetoric.

Tikoduadua says it is also crucial to recognize that crime and drug trafficking are complex issues influenced by various factors, including socio-economic conditions.

He says the government is taking a holistic approach to address these root causes, including improving education, creating job opportunities, and enhancing social services, alongside strengthening our law enforcement capabilities.

The minister says it is only through unity and cooperation that we can ensure the safety and security of our nation.

He says let us put aside political differences and focus on the well-being of the Fijian people, which remains their highest priority.

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