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By Maika Bolatiki
Fiji is behind the formation of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Formed Police Unit.
Assistant Commissioner (ACP) Isikeli Vuniwaqa is in Vanuatu for a three month secondment stint with the MSG Secretariat to develop the framework for the unit.
He is involved in the planning and formation of logistics, administration and to alignment of the unit with United Nationspeacekeeping operation standards.
Superintendent Irami Raibe of the Police Commissioner Conference Secretariat – Fiji, confirmed that the United Nations, in 2008, had requested the Fiji Police Force to have a Formed Police Unit and be ready for deployment when needs arise. This was supported by Commissioner of Police, Brigadier-General Ioane Naivalurua.
When Fiji became chair of the MSG, the UN’s request was floated to leaders and they supported it.
Superintendent Raibe said during the 1st MSG Police Commissioner’s Conference (PCC) in Honiara in June 2011 that they unanimously agreed for member countries to set up the Formed Regional Police Unit.
After further deliberations in Vanuatu, the proposal was then presented during the MSG Senior Officials Meeting in August 2011 in Port Vila, Vanuatu, where the proposal was endorsed.
An agreement was sealed during the 2nd PCC meeting in Suva, this year where the appointment of ACP Vuniwaqa was finalised as the Formed Police Unit Desk Officer to be based with the MSG secretariat in Vanuatu.
SP Raibe said the cost for the formation of the unit would be $20 million.
He said Fiji was the likely training venue because of its modern infrastructures.
Under the UN agreement – “The deployment and operations of FPUs will always be based on the principles of necessity, proportionality and accountability and all actions of FPUs will be aimed at the protection and preservation of human life, property, liberty and dignity. In particular, FPUs will assist and advise national law enforcement officials in the exercise of their duties by serving the community and by assisting in the protection all persons against illegal acts, consistent with their high degree of professional responsibility.”
SP Raibe said invitations had been extended to other small Pacific Island Countries for membership for the unit.