21 Jan 2009

Decision to re-appoint commander guilty of manslaughter will stain Fiji army says expert

11:44 am on 21 January 2009

A strategic expert says the international standing of Fiji's armed forces will diminished by the decision to reappoint the navy commander after his sentence for manslaughter.

Frances Kean was sentenced to 18 moths in jail for the death of John Whippy in Suva in December 2006.

The Director of the Centre for Strategic Studies, Peter Cozens, says the decision to re-appoint Mr Kean will stain Fiji's reputation for having first class soldiers and sailors:

"This is a fundamental problems of discipline, not only self discipline, which this guy has obviously lost, but also the discipline of the service itself and discipline is very closely associated with respect and I would find it extraordinary that those people junior to Commander Kean will have very much respect for him given his record."

Mr Cozens, who was previously a Commander in the New Zealand Navy, says to hold rank in the services, an officer has to have personal qualities of an impeccable nature.

The Fiji military has denied suggestions of nepotism.

The Military spokesman, Major Neumi Leweni, has said Commander Kean, who is the interim Prime Minister's brother in law, is the right person for the job.