18 May 2005

Fiji police to outline their concerns to minister over proposed reconciliation bill

1:34 pm on 18 May 2005

Police in Fiji are to present their concerns about the proposed Reconciliation and Unity bill to the Home Affairs Minister.

The police commissioner, Andrew Hughes, says they are taking the initiative and will write to the minister, Josefa Vosanibola, to outline the impact of the bill on police and the way they operate.

This follows the military saying it will do all it can to stop it becoming law, and a group of opposition politicians saying they are planning a legal challenge to the controversial bill which they believe is unconstitutional.

Mr Hughes would not comment on what the letter to the minister would contain but he says work is going on internally to assess the bill.

"We've got a small team looking at the implications for police in the content of the bill, and once they get back to me on Friday, over the weekend I'll be formulating a letter to the minister for home affairs for his information on what the implications for police are."

The bill will set up a commission with powers to fast track amnesty for coup convicts like George Speight, erase their criminal records, give immunity to those not yet prosecuted and suspend court proceedings against those facing charges.