9 Sep 2003

Fiji ministers back Iraq deployment of former soldiers

7:54 am on 9 September 2003

Two senior Fiji government members have strongly backed the private deployment of former soldiers in Iraq.

A British company, Global Risk Strategies, is recruiting about 480 former soldiers for security duties in Iraq from later this month.

The minister for works, Lt Col Savenaca Draunidalo, says the company has provided jobs for soldiers who are unemployed and while in Iraq they would be good ambassadors for Fiji.

The Fiji Sun quotes Lt Col Draunidalo as saying if he were not a cabinet minister, he would volunteer to be part of the group.

The Leader of the House, Lt Col Jonetani Kaukeimoce, has told the Daily Post he has investigated the background of Global Risk Strategies and found it to be a reputable company.

He says it has been entrusted with monitoring elections, assisting in the release of hostages and securing vulnerable points in other countries.

He says all trained Fiji soldiers could not be employed by the United Nations and the initiative taken by Global Risk Strategies is commendable, while also earning the country foreign exchange.

A report from Suva this morning says regular soldiers are resigning to sign up for the private deployment.