15 Aug 2006

Concern in Fiji over powers of enforcement officers to be appointed under Qoliqoli Bill

10:12 am on 15 August 2006

Fiji police were not consulted about disturbing new powers given to enforcement officers of the new Qoliqoli Bill which will transfer ownership of foreshore areas to their original indigenous owners.

Fiji TV says the police commissioner, Andrew Hughes, has refused to comment on the Bill saying he has not seen it.

But Mr Hughes has confirmed police were not consulted.

Once passed, the Qoliqoli legislation will appoint Qoliqoli officers who will have powers to enter any premises, vessels or vehicles without a warrant, and open and search containers and seize any samples for testing.

The Qoliqoli officers will also have the powers to arrest anyone without a warrant who they believe has breached or is about to breach any provisions of the new laws.

The opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, says he is disturbed about such provisions in the new Bill.