13 Jun 2003

Fij Labour Party opposes proposed munitions industry

8:18 am on 13 June 2003

The Fiji Labour Party has opposed provisions of a new government bill which woild allow the licensed manufacture of arms and ammunition in the country.

The provision is part of the Arms and Ammunition Bill currently under debate in the House of Representatives.

Labour MP Perumal Mupnar has told the House Fiji is not ready to manufacture arms and ammunition because there is no control over law and order.

Mr Mupnar says such provisions would not be conducive to political and social stability in Fiji and could lead the country down the same path of armed conflict as Solomon Islands and papua New Guinea.

Another Labour MP, Gaffar Ahmed, says the weapons used in the 1987 and 2000 coups, the November 2000 army mutiny and tin most armed robberies are state-owned weapons from the military armoury.

Mr Ahmed has expressed concern that in all these conflicts access to the weapons was often with the complicity or open support of the military.

He says the assault on parliament in the May 2000 coup could not have been carried out without weapons taken from the military armoury.