30 Jan 2013

Barr episode shows Fiji is run at whim, says academic

7:42 am on 30 January 2013

A Fiji academic living in Australia says last week's decision to remove a long-serving Catholic priest Father Kevin Barr demonstrates Fiji is run on the whim of one or two people.

Dr Brij Lal, who was deported from Fiji in 2009 for criticising the regime, says the leaders of Fiji attempt to paint any negativity aimed at them as anti-Fijian comments.

Father Kevin Barr was preparing to leave Fiji last week after the Immigration Department revoked his work permit, but the interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama reversed the decision.

The regime has refused to comment on why Father Barr's letter to the Fiji Sun did not constitute a breach of the media decree but was serious enough to warrant deporting him with only two days' notice.

Dr Lal says there is still no toleration of opposing views.

"What this whole episode shows is how things are done in Fiji. It all depends on the whims of one person or maybe at best two people. There is really no room for debate or dissent in the country."

Former Fijian academic Dr Brij Lal.