Acting Commissioner of Police, Ravi Narayan, has announced that he’s terminated the services of Mr Ligairi for insubordination. We are told that he used his powers under the Constitution to terminate the services of his deputy.
Under Section 129 (7) of the Constitution the Commissioner is empowered “To remove persons from the Fiji Police Force”.
That all sounds very clear, but what about all the protections the constitution is supposed to provide for every individual.
Section 16 of the constitution says “every person has the right to executive or administrative action that is lawful, rational, proportionate, procedurally fair, and reasonably prompt”. It sounds like Deputy Commissioner Ligairi should be protected but the constitution also says the right to fairness is “Subject to the provisions of this Constitution and such other limitations as may be prescribed by law”.
In other words it is worthless. The Executive can do whatever is wants. A policeman does not have the right to decisions by a Commissioner which are rational, proportionate or procedurally fair because the constitution gives the Commissioner the over-riding power “to remove persons from the Fiji Police Force”. The normal protections any police officer should expect as a citizen are subject to this sweeping power.
It’s like the protection of freedom of speech. Our right to freedom of expression is subject any laws the regime may make “for the enforcement of media standards and providing for the regulation, registration and conduct of media organisations”.
This constitution, which no-one other than the unelected Attorney General and PM has had a say in, has been carefully designed by the two of them to keep their iron grip.