9 Feb 2004

Strong suport for Fiji police chief's decision to set up task force

4:06 pm on 9 February 2004

Political parties in Fiji have welcomed a decision by the police commissioner to set up a task force to investigate his own officers for their alleged involvement in the May 2000 coup.

But, the Fiji Times reports they have all expressed concern about why it has taken so long.

The National Federation Party leader, Prem Singh, says the evidence is there on tape and it's time for the police to start laying charges.

The spokesperson for the Fijian Political Party, the SVT, Ema Druavesi, is questioning why it has taken over three years to get around to the investigation of suspicious elements in the police.

The opposition leader Mick Beddoes, says while something should have been done years ago, police should now take steps to ensure that those who come forward with information are not intimidated.

The leader of the Fiji Democratic Party, Filipe Bole, says it's important

to clear the air about the police force because they are in charge

of security for the country.

The executive director of the Citizens Constitutional Forum, the Rev Aquila Yabaki, says there should be no time limit on investigations into the police force because this is a political process.

In an editorial today, the Fiji Times says the response by the police to the coup left a lot to be desired.

It says police were unable to control mobs who destroyed, looted and burned parts of the capital, the riot squad was not deployed and at parliament they were relegated to the end street where they took down the names of reporters who covered the insurrection.