Fr Kevin Barr undecided about his future after deportation threat

Some news sources are saying Father Kevin Barr hopes to see out the last of his days in Fiji. Others are reporting that he is deciding whether he will renew his work permit.

Barr, who has lived in Fiji for over 30 years, is an Australian citizen and his work permit expires at the end of the year. Radio New Zealand International reports that he is considering taking out Fijian citizenship now that the laws allow dual citizenship.

He says he has retained his Australian citizenship so that he can continue with his Australian pension “because as you get older you need some money to live. ”

“I guess we’ll wait and see what happens when the time comes but I’d like to stay on in Fiji because as I said this is my home and this is where my friends are and I am very much attached to the Fijian family that I stay with.”

Barr has expressed gratitude that the deportation order for breaching his work permit has been revoked by Fiji’s Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama.

The deportation order was issued after Barr wrote a letter to a local newspaper in which he jokingly suggested that a proposed new Fiji Flag could use a small version of the Chinese flag, to replace the Union Jack “to show that our old allegiance to Britain is being replaced with a new allegiance to China.”

Also a confidential letter which Barr had written to the Archbishop and a few close friends found its way into the hands of what Barr calls “anti-government bloggers” who, he says, “publicised it widely and made me appear to be anti-government.”

On Sunday the Fiji Times reported that Archbishop Elect, Father Peter Loy Chong, said that no church should be directly involved in politics.

“The church is not trained to handle political events such as elections and therefore it will have no direct role in such affairs,” Chong said.

According to Chong “The Roman Catholic Church will have no influence on party politics nor influence the choice of its members for the purpose of enhancing a political party’s victory in any elections.”

Barr has confirmed that he was rung by Bainimarama after the comments about the flag appeared. Bainimarama told him the letter was irresponsible coming from a community leader.

Bainimarama then swore swore at him and accused him of being anti-government and told him to go back where he came from, before hanging up the phone.

The telephone conversation was followed by several abusive texts.







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News category: Asia Pacific.

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