15 January, 2016
NFP Media Release
National Federation President, Opposition Spokesperson on Immigration, National Security and Defence and Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence and Foreign Affairs, Hon Roko Tupou Draunidalo has today expressed serious concern at Fiji’s receipt of a consignment of tear gas and anti-riot guns by the Prisons and Police departments from Korea, in December last year.
“I have a copy of official draft bill of lading documents detailing that a consignment containing 16 boxes of anti-riot guns for the Police, and 10 boxes of anti-riot guns plus tear gas candles for the Prisons Department was sent from Korea on 30 November 2015 on board the container ship Hanjin Florida (Call Sign D5CD3)” said Hon Roko Tupou Draunidalo.
“Taxpayers should know that even as the Opposition debated relentlessly for better government services for the people such as kidney dialysis machines, reduced VAT, better education and enhanced native land use during the Budget Committee of Supply process, their hard-earned taxes continue to be strong-armed and diverted to tear gas and anti-riot guns that in no way brings anything positive to nation building, just more signals of stock-piling and repression. We hope that the NGOs in Fiji are also monitoring these developments of further militarisation of the State,” the Opposition Spokesperson on Immigration, National Security and Defence said.
“The Executive must remember that they are subject to the overview of Parliament and as a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence and Foreign Affairs, I am now particularly interested in FRCA’s ability to effectively undertake their role as the guardian of the primary line of Fiji’s border control.
The Opposition will no longer tolerate dealings that are made in the peoples name but without their knowledge and that which only adds to fear and intimidation,” added Draunidalo.
“The international community needs to be very mindful of their exports to Fiji particularly those related to national security and they need to be aware that we are watching these developments very carefully and we will not forget,” said Draunidalo.
The NFP President said she understood that Williams & Goslings Ltd2 was in charge of clearing this consignment upon arrival in Fiji last December, just as they did for the consignment of 20 containers from Russia yesterday as highlighted by her fellow Opposition member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence and Foreign Affairs and SODELPA Whip, Hon Rt Isoa Tikoca3.
The evidence obtained by Honourable Roko Tupou Draunidalo shreds any iota of credibility of the Acting Military Commander’s claims in today’s Fiji Sun newspaper that the “small weapons were donated by the Russian Government and are for peacekeeping”.
“The Acting Military Commander and his line Minister need to be publicly accountable for why such a large cache of state of the art weaponry has been bought because they are totally irrelevant for peacetime and indeed peacekeeping, moreso when hard-earned public funds have been used for these acquisitions at a time when we continue to be inundated with public complaints about the steep cost of living brought on by new taxes”, concluded Draunidalo.
Roko Tupou Draunidalo
Opposition Spokesperson: – Immigration, National Security & Defence
3 http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-15/fiji-opposition-voices-concerns-over-secrecy-surrounding russia/7089822