Fiji Committee Recommends Splitting Military, Police, Immigration

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Review says institutions deserve three distinct ministries

By Nasik Swami

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, April 27, 2016) – The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence had recommended the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, Fiji Police Force and Immigration Department become three separate ministries.

The recommendation followed a "thorough" review of the Ministry of Defence, National Security and Immigration's 2013 annual report by the committee.

The committee said the ministry's permanent secretary did not have any oversight or control over the military and police. The report, which was scrutinised by the committee, stated the two institutions were headed by the commander and the commissioner and details of their functions, responsibilities and finances were not part of this report.

Tabling the report to Parliament yesterday, committee chairman Netani Rika said the report did not illustrate the full picture of the ministry.

"The committee notes that the report does not present a full picture of the functions and responsibilities entrusted to the ministry," Mr Rika said.

"In their submissions, the ministry confirmed that the permanent secretary does not have any oversight or control over the military and police."

The report also recommended that the National Security Council comprise of the Minister for the RFMF, Minister for the Fiji Police Force and Minister for Immigration under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister.

"That the ministry responsible for the RFMF look into the merits of expanding services to the United Nations (civil, political and humanitarian divisions).

"That the ministry responsible for the RFMF look into the merits of better equipping the navy to vastly improve its valuable service in looking after Fiji's territorial waters and EEZ.

"That the ministry responsible for the RFMF look into the merits of expanding the training, capability and role of the RFMF Engineers Corp to enhance its rehabilitation works in times of environmental disasters," the report recommended.

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