11 Sep 2006

Fiji's military rejects Cabinet Minister's call for its abolition

10:47 am on 11 September 2006

Fiji's military has rejected a call by a cabinet minister that it should be abolished because it is costing too much money.

The Fiji Sun reports that the minister for public enterprises, Robin Irwin, made the call at the Fiji Tourism Forum late last week.

Mr Irwin said the army had been the cause of all of Fiji's troubles for the last 20 years during which it had cost over 3-point-5 billion US dollars.

Mr Irwin said that money could have gone a long way to pay for much of the country's infrastructure and create thousands of jobs.

But the military spokesman, Major Neumi Leweni, says army does not have to justify its existence as it is common knowledge that Mr Irwin speaks without thinking, as he did when he called for the resignation of the prime minister and the finance minister.

Mr Qarase said from Australia last Friday that he would deal with Mr Irwin's call when he returns to his office in Suva today.