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FIJI: Social advocate Father Kevin Barr relieved after regime backs down


Father Kevin Barr ... allowed to stay after work permit controversy. Image: FBC News

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Item: 8182

Mika Loga

SUVA (Fiji Broadcasting Corporation News / Pacific Media Watch): Social justice advocate Father Kevin Barr says he is relieved after the Fiji government withdrew an order to have him removed from the country.

A statement from the government last night read that Father Barr had been declared a "prohibited immigrant" for breaching his work permit which expires in December.

Father Barr has been doing community work in the country for the past thirty two years. is still trying to come to terms with government’s decision yesterday.

It’s understood the decision to remove Father Barr came after he made comments about replacing the Fiji flag with a Chinese flag.

I ask questions, I express my opinions and I hope that it is accepted in a good way. I think I have to accept criticisms even though I'm not right all the time…I also have to try to be critical, where necessary. If that's taken the wrong way, I'm sorry. I mean you never know where misunderstanding can occur ... misreporting can occur.

After presentations to Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, Father Barr met with Immigration Minister Joketani Cokanasiga this morning.

It was in this meeting that Cokanasiga decided to withdraw the prohibited immigrant declaration and the removal order against Father Barr.

Military ruler lets old priest stay

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Pacific Media Watch

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Pacific Media Watch is compiled for the Pacific Media Centre as a regional media freedom and educational resource by a network of journalists, students, stringers and commentators.
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