10 Oct 2005

Fiji ex-Opposition leader says the Government should stop interfering with police and military

8:18 pm on 10 October 2005

Fiji's former opposition leader has called on the government to stop interfering with the constitutional independence of the military and police.

Mick Beddoes says it is stupid of the government to control the budgets of the two security organisations when it has shown little ability to control its own spending.

Mr Beddoes' call came after the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama, and the police commissioner, Andrew Hughes, threatened to take the state to the High Court over a ministry of home affairs directive to let it control their budgets.

Mr Beddoes says the move by the ministry is a ploy to pressure the heads of the two security institutions into submission by cutting off their money supply and forcing them to conform.

Mr Beddoes says there is already far too much interference by the government on the independence of the police in matters regarding its controversial Reconciliation and Unity Bill.

He says the latest act is yet another crisis from which the government would be forced to retreat.

Mr Beddoes says the government should be concentrating on reducing squatters, creating employment, removing poverty, and improving health care, and working on the deteriorating economy.