26 Feb 2003

Appointment of former Fiji police commissioner criticised

8:25 am on 26 February 2003

A leading indigenous Fijian businessman says the appointment of Colonel Isikia Savua from the military to become police commissioner in the 1990's was a monumental blunder.

The managing director of the Shangri-La Hotel chain in Fiji, Radike Qereqeretabua, has made the comment ahead of today's meeting of the Constitutional Services Commission to consider the appointment of a new commissioner.

Col Savua resigned from the force after being made Fiji's ambassador to the UN.

Mr Qereqeretabua says the poor state of law and order in Fiji is a matter of concern to all citizens and the tourist industry, and should be of concern to the government.

He says the single major cause of this state of affairs was the appointment of an army officer to head the police, and the Constitutional Services Commission should not repeat this blunder.

Mr Qereqeretabua says it will be impossible for an outsider to command total loyalty and support from the police, especially its senior officers.

he says if no local is qualified, then the commission should go overseas.

Ten local applicants have applied for the post.