11 Dec 2006

Samoa NGOs strongly opposed to police being armed

12:35 pm on 11 December 2006

Samoa's Umbrella of Non-governmental Organization or SUNGO is calling on the government to withdraw part of the new Police powers bill which will require police to carry guns when it's needed.

The call comes as the parliament Bill's committee this week is hearing public opinions regarding the new legislation.

SUNGO's vice-president, Va'asilifiti Moelagi Jackson, says there is no need for local police to be armed.

She says the constitution and the Village Fono act provides the powers and roles of cultural and traditions through consensus to be used as weapons to resolve any conflict.

The vice-president has suggested that government should consider a law to enforce village councils consisting chiefs and orators to work together with the police instead of using guns.

SUNGO says a referendum is needed before the bill goes back to parliament later this month for its third reading.