Saturday, January 26, 2013

Father Kevin Barr stays in Fiji

from w
This raises the situation of an expatriate missionary working in Fiji for many years. Where is home?  To Father Kevin Barr it is less Australia than Fiji where he has lived for 32 years. The strange but perhaps predictable situation of three days ago when he was told to pack up and 'go home'  must have come as a shock to him.
Anyway it has been reversed. I can't believe that Jo Cokanasiga who is a nice guy, would be so callous as to have made that decision alone, but anyway the big bosso has said, it's okay for Father Barr to stay on in Fiji - for now. Of course it could imply that he is effectively silenced in being an activist on behalf of the poor and vulnerable, and he will have to watch his 'p's and 'q's and not write funny letters to the Fiji papers!  That bit about putting a Chinese reference to a new flag was certainly meant as a joke.

from the Fiji Times today:

Barr stays

Tevita Vuibau
Sunday, January 27, 2013
FORMER head of the wages council, Father Kevin Barr says he hopes to see out the last of his days in Fiji.
"I have served the country for so long and most of the people I know and love are here. Fiji has been my home for 32 years and I hope to live and die here," he said.
His comments come as the government yesterday reversed a removal order issued to the 76-year-old social worker less than 24 hours after it was given.
When visited yesterday, Father Barr expressed relief and gratitude to the government for changing its stance on the issue.
According to the government statement, Father Barr will be allowed to see out the remainder of his work permit that expires at the end of 2013.
"I have yet to receive official documents from the Department of Immigration, but I have heard it being broadcast and I have seen the official government statement," Father Barr said.
"I am of course very grateful for the deferrment."
The government initially gave Father Barr until today to leave the country "due to a breach in his work permit."
However Father Barr said he remained unclear on what the breaches were and would need to discuss them with Immigration.
A Ministry of Information statement yesterday, said the Fiji government reversed the removal order after a meeting between the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and the Minister for Immigration, Joketani Cokanasiga.
"After representations were made to the Prime Minister's office, which were then followed by a discussion between the Prime Minister and the Minister for Immigration, the Minister for Immigration has withdrawn the declaration of Father Kevin Barr as a prohibited immigrant under section 13(2)(g) of the Immigration Act 2003," the statement said.
"Consequentially, the removal order issued against Father Kevin Barr by the Permanent Secretary of Immigration has also been withdrawn."
"Father Kevin Barr is eligible to continue staying in Fiji under the conditions of his existing work permit," the statement concluded.


saint peter said...

Hmmm...32 years on a work visa?

Anonymous said...

Isa Lei Father Kevin Barr. You are Fiji and Fiji is you. We love you.