20 Jan 2009

Ex-convict to head Fiji navy labelled reprehensible by strategic expert

3:31 pm on 20 January 2009

A strategic expert says the international community will take a dim view of the reappointment of Fiji's Navy commander after his sentence for manslaughter.

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

The Director of the Centre for Strategic Studies in New Zealand, Peter Cozens, who was himself a commander in the New Zealand Navy, says anything other than very minor convictions normally rule out membership of any Commonwealth armed service.

Mr Cozens says the decision to give Mr Kean his job back does not look good on the international stage:

"Within the current regime, maybe people feel they can get away with it, but in the international community I'm afraid this whole business will be viewed as reprehensible, as indeed it is."

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.