Opposition Party Leaders condemn draconian measures unrelated to public health
Wednesday 22nd April 2020
Party Leaders of NFP, Unity Fiji and Fiji Labour Party have strongly condemned the excessive and desperate over-reach of law enforcement agencies who are using the national health and economic crisis, to curb fundamental freedoms and liberties.
The leaders reminded law enforcement bodies such as the Fiji Police Force that ONLY under a "State of Emergency" can rights be limited, as per the Government's Constitution and its supreme law of the land.
As there is no State of Emergency that only Parliament can give effect to, Fiji being under a declared 'infectious disease' and questionable 'natural disaster', does not give law enforcement agencies a free hand to conveniently suppress freedoms under irrelevant laws that suppress valid concerns of the people. The leaders further expressed grave concerns about the harassment of private citizens, by the surveillance and suppression of social media expressions. Recent cases like the political persecution of Opposition MPs as well as other private citizens depict the continuation of the government’s tactic to suppress the truth, under the guise of laws that are touted to protect or unite us. For the country to be genuinely united, the Leaders of the Opposition Parties stressed the need to be honest about views on how the nation is being governed, and to especially be open to listening to contrary views . The leaders strongly urged the Minister of Health to step up fully according to his powers under the Public Health Act, and take control of the health crisis by ensuring that all State entities under his command at this present time, do not get distracted and focus ONLY on public health measures that are necessary to arresting the crisis of covid-19, so that Fiji can try to get its economy back on its feet. If the government is sincere about the “veilomani” tag-line, or to care for each other in order to beat covid-19, central to that traditional philosophy is also the spirit of “veirogorogoci”, or the ability to be able to listen to each other and accept criticism.