What laws are Police using to institute lock-down?
Friday 20 March 2020
The National Federation Party says the Commissioner of Police and his officers should use common sense in imposing restrictions on movement of Lautoka residents in and out of the restricted zone.
NFP Leader Professor Biman Prasad says he has received many calls from people, mostly people of Lautoka, complaining about the arbitrary manner in which police manning the checkpoints are implementing the lock-down procedures.
“There is definitely chaos and confusion in how the lock-down and testing procedures announced by the Prime Minister on Thursday are being imposed and implemented”.
“We have found out that when people call the hotline in the Central Division requesting to be tested for COVID-19, they are denied permission to be tested if they haven’t been an international traveller or haven’t come into contact with anyone who travelled overseas”.
“This totally contradicts what police are doing in Lautoka and restricting the freedom of those wishing to return to their homes or cross the district to attend to urgent business”.
“Police are clearly behaving like we are in a State of Emergency when we are not. They should be operating under the Public Health Act because COVID-19 is declared as an infectious disease”.
“Firstly, there are many Lautoka residents who were out of the district and caught by surprise with the sudden lock-down. They were not given any time or warning to return to their homes. Now they are being denied entry at the checkpoints”.
“Secondly, there are those residents returning from abroad, from destinations not on the quarantine list of nations announced by the PM, who are prevented from entering the district and going to their homes”.
“In one case, a woman waited for hours in her car. Her genuine frustration led her to highlight her plight on social media”.
“Thirdly, it was ridiculous for the Police Commissioner not to allow a truck delivering The Fiji Times to enter Lautoka saying it was a non-essential service. At the same time, he apparently allowed Fiji Sun delivery truck to go through saying they had contacted him earlier”.
“He has denied the people the right and access to information. This is unacceptable”.
“Fourthly, people including overseas citizens who have to cross Lautoka to go the Airport to catch a flight are also being denied access”.
“There should be clear guidelines on what police can and can’t do because their current imposition of the lockdown is impinging the freedom and rights of the people caught outside of the restricted zone”.