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Security matters

Nasik Swami
Thursday, July 31, 2014

NO private security firms will be hired by the Fijian Elections Office to provide security at the September 17 polls.

Instead, the Elections Office will work with the Fiji Police Force to maintain order at the polling venues.

Supervisor of Election Mohammed Saneem said he had meetings with the Police Commissioner Ben Groenewald on the matter.

"We will not hire any private security and we have had meetings with the Commissioner of Police and we are now ironing out details of how the security arrangements will be and how the police is going to work hand-in-hand with us to provide security," Mr Saneem said.

Mr Groenewald had earlier said the force needed additional money from government for operational expenses to provide security in the 2014 General Election.

He said a request had already been made to the government for additional budget.

"I am satisfied that the preparation until now is still in line and the outstanding issue is that we are waiting for the finalisation of the additional budget that we have requested government for," Mr Groenewald said.

He said another outstanding issue was the confirmation of the number of polling stations.

"We have enough resources; the only issue is that we need additional budget keeping in mind that we were not allowed to submit an amount for budget during the submission for last year's budget and that is why we have requested for the additional budget," he said.

"The number of police officers that we have now is enough to deal with all the polling stations as well as the normal policing will go on.

"The idea is, we have at least two police officers per polling station but keep in mind there will be rural police stations that can only be reached by foot."

He said the force had specific functions to deal with.

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